05 Jul The Calm Before the Storm
This week marks the first official week of summer here in New York as schools are out and the sites at Fire Island are finally open at summer business hours. The change is definitely quite noticeable, as the ferry counts grow and the temperatures rise. This week I have been stationed at Sailors’ Haven, home of the Sunken Forest, where there are daily tours through the forest and swale, as well as seining on the weekends. We have been fortunate enough to have some truly beautiful weather out here this week, as well as a steady flow of visitors in and out of the Visitors’ Center. Here in the Sailors’ Haven Visitors’ Center, we have a great variety of activities, information as well as a small gift shop for Eastern National for guests to browse during their time here. Children flock in to complete their junior ranger booklets in order to receive their patches and badges, while their parents browse our collections of books, toys, and seaside treasures we have on display. At about 11:30 am every day, visitors have the opportunity to join in on a ranger-led tour through the Sunken Forest, where they will learn about Fire Island’s history, the wildlife, as well as the plant life. The rangers highly stress the importance of keeping the Island and all of its resources clean and healthy, so as to preserve it for future generations. Every day, our little visitors will come visit to see what marine life we have on display in our tanks, and many will even add to the collection with some of the crabs, fish and shrimp that they have found with their buckets and nets in the bay. As of right now, we have about 24 hermit crabs, 30 snails, 2 spider crabs, 2 blue claw crabs, 12 shrimp and about 5 different species of fish in our tanks, all of which were caught here in Sailors’ Haven by our visitors. While viewing their catch of the day in our tanks, they also are able to view some of the marine treasures that have been found along the sand, including various types of shells, bones and sponges that have washed ashore. We have the remains of many types or crabs, as well as the skulls and antlers of some the deer from the area. While things have been fairly relaxed this week, we expect the rest of the summer to be quite different, as the 4th of July approaches and summer comes into full swing. We have many events, activities and programs coming up in the next few weeks, so we are all looking forward to seeing things pick up and hopefully see some new faces around Fire Island!