College Interns

John with 350-year-old White PineHaving college interns during the summer months is new for Audubon… at least during my 9 year tenure.  Last year we had just one.  This year we have two.  What an incredible joy it is to have them.  It is fun mentoring them in areas where we have expertise.  It is even more fun learning from their areas of expertise.  Their fresh eyes and energy give us all a boost.  We ended this walk season having seen over 3,000 children and none of us feels burned out.  That’s saying something!

At the end of our busy spring walk season, we always take our trail guide volunteers on a fieldtrip.  (The interns were quite delighted to think that they were still getting paid, even though they weren’t working!  I told them that this was more “professional development”.)  This year, the destination was the Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville, NY.  The center is on a piece of property that was timbered at one time, then used as the summer home.  The chestnut log cabin is a fine centerpiece for the Pfeiffer.  Wandering through it you can just imagine what it must have been like to spend entire summers here.

Chestnut Log Cabin

Partridge Berry Blossom and BudParts of the woods behind the cabin were untouched by the timbering and have a wonderful “Old Growth” feel to them.  The tree behind the cabin (pictured above with John) has been cored and they know it to be 350 years old.  Colleen, our guide, put it this way:  “That tree was already old when George Washington was president.”

Partridge Berry was blooming!  I had a hard time photographing it with the macro lens on.  With all that fuzz, the camera’s auto-focus was having a hard time deciding where to focus…  Also, the light under the trees made it challenging.  But I took enough shots that one came out.

Lunch at the PavillionAfter lunch in the pavillion, we explored the meadow for a while.  It was particularly fun to watch the interns not walk, not run, but BOUND through the meadow like a couple of fawns.

It was pretty breezy, so few of my attempts at flower or butterfly closeups came out.  Amazingly, the Rough-fruited Cinquefoil did come out.  I love the subtle, pale yellow of this flower, so different from the brassy yellow of other cinquefoils.

Rough-Fruited Cinquefoil

It was a great day.   As with any not-for-profit, we could not do what we do without our volunteers.  It was sad that some of them could not join us on this trip.  We are very grateful for their time and dedication.  THANK YOU to all who volunteer.

That’s how we spent the Summer Solstice.  Hope you had a wonderful 1st day of summer, too!

You can see more pictures from this trip at my Flickr site by clicking here.

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