Letter: Kayak camp truly a community effort
A week of kayaking and conservation activities was recently held at the West Mathews Civic League building in Bohannon. It is a yearly camp, partially funded by the Mathews Community Foundation through the Mary Watt Pulley Wildlife Preservation Fund and sponsored by the Mathews Maritime Foundation. This year, the sixth consecutive, was the most interesting and best weather ever. I want to thank each participant and their efforts.
Once again the collaborations were key to the success. Each year we may add new presenters, but there seems to be a list of folks who await the invitation, and more of those who just remind me they want to do it again.
This year the presenters were:
Mary Lee Andrewskiewicz, Virginia Cooperative Extension 4-H, taught the campers which items could be recycled and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 66 with Tom Edwards, Ken Lee and Jim Gierlak illustrated “Safety at Sea” with a life jacket drill, tossing a throwable life-saving device and how to contact the Coast Guard by radio. Carl Thiel-Goin and Rene Moring of the Tidewater Soil and Water Conservation District demonstrated “Protecting our water sources and stopping pollution.”
Dependable Dave Machen and David Montgomery of MMF, helped the campers construct Water Scopes, and supplied the materials to make minnow nets. They also taught deadrise boat construction with the use of Eric Engler’s old deadrise. Mr. Engler also provided docking space for the boat tour and waterfront exploratory station for Thomas Jenkins, Mathews County Planner and Wetlands Administrator, who presented “Marine Life and Salt Marshes.” The campers used their water scopes to see into the water and to capture critters to examine. They also collected specimens with the net they had hand-sewn. Captain Trey Sowers of Chapel Creek Oysters provided an interesting boat tour using the Mathews Maritime Heritage Trail information and aquaculture lesson. He also taught how to properly shuck an oyster.
With Tom Karow and Pete Clendenin of Fairfield Foundation and the Middle Peninsula chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia, the campers conducted an archeological dig on the site of the former Peninsula School. Emily Lewis is researching the artifacts. Nurse Pat Gwaltney presented “Outdoors First Aid” and demonstrated bandaging and the Heimlich maneuver. Master Gardeners Bev Holmberg and Christine Ulrich, and Dr. Diane Tulipani of VIMS helped the campers identify microscopic life in the marsh.
Of course, there was kayak instruction provided by Mobjack Kayaking with certified instructor Dianne Campbell and assistants Jesse and Jonathan Waldron. The highlight of one day and maybe the week was kayaking with dolphins.
Volunteers are always important. Guides for the land-based activities were Mandy Choate, Grace Mortimer, Nancy Lindgren, Nancy Katsuki and Dee Bane. On the water, Marcy Benouameur, Susan Hill, Nancy Lindgren, Jeannie Miller, Janice Moore and Joanie Haury helped the campers with their kayaks. As you can tell, Kids Kayak and Conservation Camp is truly a community effort for our children. Thank you, thank you for all your help and caring for our future.
Mathews Maritime Foundation