Letter: Community of volunteers
Community is defined as joint participation, sharing or ownership. Mathews County exemplified all of these at the recent Kids Kayak and Conservation Camp held on the East River. The Mathews Maritime Foundation and Mathews County sponsored the camp. The Mathews Community Foundation graciously helped fund the camp through the Mary Watt Pulley Wildlife Preservation Fund. West Mathews Civic League donated use of their building and Dave Machen assisted every day. Thanks also go to Danette and Richard Machen, Donny White and Janet Rilee for use of the location.
I issued the call for presenters in January, and spaces were quickly filled. Volunteers included Nancy Grimstead who taught wildflowers and quail habitat. The children constructed their own wildflower and grasses habitat in flower boxes, which they took home. They also made flower presses from books donated by Mathews Friends of the Library and covered with wallpaper supplied by Jessica of The House Key in Yorktown. May Sligh, Department of Environmental Quality, completed her third year at camp, demonstrating enviroscape and discussing the effects of sea level rise.
Master Gardeners Bev Holmberg with Christine Ulrich and Edie Bradburypresented Butterflies and "More than Monarchs," then jumped after an illness cancelled National Park Service personnel. The campers saw a chrysalis Tuesday and viewed its transformation into a butterfly on Thursday. They also made their own caterpillar cage.
Six members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 66, gave an excellent demonstration on "Safety on the Sea." The youth learned how to radio for help, put on life jackets, practiced man overboard drill, and identified aids to navigation.
Michael and Ed Cannon, and the Rev. Bob Wohlfort, from the Creation Care Team of Central UMC, disclosed "Secrets of the Dump" through, activities and prizes. Leigh Lewis assisted in preparation and Tim Hill helped in procuring prizes from The Cake Man, Subway, and Moughons Hardware. Dave Montgomery helped create can crusher kits and the kids who enjoyed making and using them!
Tom Karow, Linda Brison and partner Pete of the Fairfield Foundation and Middle Peninsula chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia gave new insight to Mathews County’s past as they presented prehistoric and historic artifacts dug up in the county. Ralph Horn brought in animal skeletons which enabled the campers to see wildlife up close.
Dale Merris made kits and taught birdhouse building along with Rich Goldstein and Dave Montgomery. Carl Thiel-Goin and Rene Moring of the Tidewater Soil and Water Conservation District directed rain barrel and composter construction. These were also painted by the campers and donated to Thomas Hunter Middle School.
Guides escorting campers to and from the river were Beth Bond, Susan Goldstein, Nancy Katsuki, Grace Mortimer, and Chelsea Clifford who is also a Virginia Master Naturalist and conducted "Conservation Conversations." Maree Morgan and Marcy Benouameur presented East River maritime history while paddling with the group.
On the water were Dianne Campbell, outfitter with Mobjack Kayaking, and her assistants Jonathan and Jessie Waldron with helpers were Louise and Jack Caldwell, Janice Moore, Shelly O’Conner, Maree Morgan, Christine Ulrich and coordinator Marcy Benouameur.
The saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." With the Kids Kayak & Conservation Camp it takes volunteers who are willing and a dedicated community like Mathews to conduct a successful camp.
Janet Burgess Loyd
Mathews Maritime Foundation