Deborah Cramer’s wonderful book The Narrow Edge translated into Spanish by Ana Lis Salotti now available!

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The original English cover of The Narrow Edge, published by Yale University Press, and the new Spanish edition: Volando a orillas del mar:El viaje épico de un ave playera que une continentes, published by Vázquez Mazzini Editores in Buenos Aires.

An Interview with Ana Lis Salotti, Spanish translator of The Narrow Edge, the award-winning book by Deborah Cramer, under the Spanish title Volando a orillas del mar: El viaje épico de un ave playera que une continentes.

“…Deborah has a unique writing style that I tried to capture. It often feels like rolling waves landing on the beach: she develops concepts gradually, builds them up and gives them strength from within, with depth. She rolls out her writing slowly but powerfully, carrying the same depth from the beginning, leaving readers stirred but also with a feeling of hope and peace. It’s similar to the feeling a scientist must have observing birds on the immense beaches of Patagonia, or what ordinary people feel when we think about the delicate balance between shorebirds’ epic migrations and all the habitats they depend on…” excerpt from Ana Salotti the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network interview

manomet.org Manomet, MA/Brunswick, ME

Read the complete interview here and see pictures of Deborah and Ana lis: 

#GloucesterMA in national news: Audubon feature article by Deborah Cramer ode to city, Kim Smith, piping plovers, volunteers, GMG and Greenbelt

Deborah Cramer wrote an outstanding feature for Audubon published May 2019. This feel good – feel proud story is a great read inspiring efforts near and far. It takes a city.

“…(Kim) Smith, a photographer and filmmaker, had inspired much of the effort. While not everyone can be on the beach every day, her images, videos, and blog offered the entire city an up-close portrait of the birds’ daily lives.”– Deborah Cramer

 Read the article here

“How Plover Chicks Born in a Parking Lot Spurred a City to Make its Beach Safer: The dramatic ups and downs of a piping plover family in Gloucester, Massachusetts, show what it takes to protect a threatened species” By Deborah Cramer published by Audubon May 23, 2019.

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OUTSTANDING COASTAL WATERBIRD CONSERVATION COOPERATORS MEETING!

Piping Plover Chick Lift-off! – Not quite ready to fly yet, but testing his wings and airborne for a few seconds.

On Tuesday this past week my friend Deborah and I attended the Coastal Waterbird Conservation Cooperators meeting, which took place at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable. The meeting is held annually to bring together people and organizations that are involved with population monitoring and conservation efforts on behalf of coastal waterbirds. Threatened and endangered species such as Least Terns, Piping Plovers, and American Oystercatchers are given the greatest attention, while the meeting also encompasses efforts on behalf of heron, cormorant, and egret species.

American Oystercatchers

Conservationists from all seven Massachusetts coastal regions participated, as well as conservationists from nearby states, including representatives from New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. To name just some of the organizations presenting at the meeting-Mass Wildlife, Trustees of Reservations, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and US Fish and Wildlife. Gloucester was well represented. In addition to Deborah and myself, two members of the Animal Advisory Committee also attended; chairperson Alicia Pensarosa and former animal control officer Diane Corliss. Many of you may remember our Mass Wildlife Piping Plover intern Jasmine. She was there to give a presentation on habitat vegetation utilized by nesting Piping Plovers. Her aunt, Gloucester’s Terry Weber, was there to support Jasmine. This was Jasmine’s first time speaking in public and she did an excellent job!

Each region gave the 2018 population census report for nesting birds as well as providing information about problems and solutions. We all share similar challenges with predation from crows and gulls, uncontrolled dogs, enforcement, and habitat loss and it was very interesting to learn about how neighboring communities are managing problems and issues.

Just one highlight of a day filled with helpful insights and useful information is that we can be very proud of our state—Massachusetts is at the leading edge of the Piping Plover recovery effort. The representative from New Jersey was there specifically to learn from Massachusetts conservationists on how they could possibly improve their recovery program as the New Jersey PiPl population is not growing, with fewer and fewer each year retuning to nest. As you can see from the graph provided at the meeting, the Canadian recovery is going very poorly as well.

Readers will be interested to know that our region’s Crane Beach continues to have one of their best year’s ever. Trustees of Reservations Jeff Denoncour shared information on the latest census data from 2018 and Crane’s has a whopping 76 fledglings, with 25 more chicks still yet to fledge. Because of the huge success at Cranes Beach, the northeast region, of which we are a part, has fledged a total 136 of chicks in 2018, compared to 108 in 2017, and as I said, with more fledglings still to come! The northeast region encompasses Salisbury Beach to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Jeff noted that this year they had less predation by Great Horned Owls. Because of owl predation, several years ago Crane Beach gave up on the wire exclosures and now use electric fencing extensively. The Great Horned Owls learned that the Piping Plover adults were going in an out of the exclosures and began perching on the edge of the wire, picking off the adults as they were entering and exiting the exclosure.

Crane has an excellent crew of Trustees staff monitoring the Least Terns and Piping Plovers, as well as excellent enforcement by highly trained police officers. No dogs are allowed on Crane Beach during nesting season and dogs are prevented from entering at the guarded gate. As we saw from one of the graphics presented about nesting Double-crested Cormorants, when a dog runs through a nesting area, the adults leave the nest, temporarily leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation by crows, gulls, raptors, and owls.

Crane Beach Least Tern fledgling.

Compare the Least Tern to Common Tern in the above photo. It’s easy to see why the birds are called Least Terns; they are North America’s smallest member of the tern and gull family (Crane Beach).

Another interesting bit of information shared–if you listen to our podcasts, back in April, we talked about the potential dilemma of what would happen if Snowy Owls remained on the beaches as the Piping Plovers returned from their winter grounds. Knowing that Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) and Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) are close cousins and that the Great Horned Owl eats Piping Plover chicks and adults, I was concerned that a Snowy might eat our PiPl. At one particular beach on Cape Cod, a Snowy stayed through mid-July. An adult Piping Plover skull was found in the owl’s pellet.

Snowy Owls remained in Massachusetts this year through July.

After attending the cooperators meeting, I am more hopeful than ever that our community can come together and solve the problems that are preventing our PiPl from successfully nesting and fledging chicks. What we have going in our favor is the sheer number of amazing super volunteers along with strong community-wide support.  

Piping Plover fully fledged and flying up and down the beach – we”ll have these next year!

Deborah Cramer receives Audubon “A” Award

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Congratulations Deborah Cramer!

Audubon Awards an ‘A’ to Gloucester Author, Gloucester Daily Times article by Joann Mackenzie, photo by Shawn G. Henry. Cramer is the author of The Narrow Edge

FYI local photographers – Mass Audubon’s  Annual Statewide Photo Contest opened June 19th “Do you enjoy taking photos of woodland paths and shining shorelines, songbirds and bunnies in the backyard, family members and friends reveling in nature? Then you’ll be excited to know that Mass Audubon’s annual statewide photo contest, Picture This: Your Great Outdoors, is now under way and continuing through Sunday, September 30.”

 

Deborah Cramer’s book The Narrow Edge galvanizes action to push biomedical rescue for horseshoe crabs and red knots! Revive and Restore convenes Eli Lilly to announce environmental breakthrough

horseshoe crab wingaersheek beach low tide January 21 2018 ©c ryan

Biomedical Breakthrough is win-win for shorebirds and horseshoe crabs:  Deborah Cramer of The Narrow Edge spreads the word

“Jay Bolden, a senior biologist with pharma giant Eli Lilly, has spent the last five years proving a synthetic molecule works as well as horseshoe crab blood in a life-saving medical testIt took a dedicated birder to convince pharma giant Eli Lilly to use a synthetic compound instead of horseshoe crab blood in a mandatory medical test. Now, he hopes the rest of industry will follow…” – from National Audubon article published this March 11 2018  Inside the Biomedical Revolution to Save Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Need Them, by Deborah Cramer with photographs by Timothy Fadek

Cramer explained that Ryan Phelan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Revive and Restore contacted her “to see how this organization might help accelerate institutional and government exploration, acceptance of the synthetic endotoxin test to replace the use of horseshoe crabs…In the book, I’d portrayed how essential the energy rich horseshoe crab eggs are to shorebird migration, and how their numbers decline when they leave for the Arctic, hungry.  I’d described how every human family, and their pets, depend on the horseshoe crab blood test to detect potentially life-threatening endotoxin in vaccines, joint replacements, PET scans, heart stents, IV lines, etc.  And went on to tell the story of the development of the genetically engineered substitute, and the– at the time decade long–that had elapsed without it being accepted or adopted by regulators or the pharmaceutical industry.”  

Revive and Restore’s announcement in the NJ Audubon news this week has more information about these dedicated scientists and exciting news. Deborah Cramer is too modest to spell it out, so I will. Revive and Restore was inspired in part by Cramer’s book, The Narrow Edge, an award-winning read that’s smart and lyrical, and an environmental game changer. Have you read it yet?

 

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Here was a substitute test that could leave hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs in the water every year, no one was using it.

 

 

The Narrow Edge reveals more unexpected alliances and consequences. Readers learn that hunters have done much to protect wildlife at the edge of the sea through the tax on guns and ammunition. The Federal Duck Stamp that’s required on hunting licenses  provides millions of dollars to support national wildlife refuges (and supports contemporary fine art). Memberships to organizations like National Audubon and donations from wildlife fans, photographers, and birders make a difference.

Cramer had to be trained how to handle a gun for necessary wild and remote travel research.  Gloucester, Cape Ann and North Shore readers: she took the course for her license to carry at Cape Ann Sportsman Club found along Dogtown’s edge where it’s been for over a century. (I’m not certain how Cramer rated there, but a president’s daughter was a good shot. In 1912, Helen Taft, qualified as an “Expert with a Rifle” when she visited the range with her Gloucester friend, Elizbeth Hammond.)

1912 Government rifle range in Dogtown Common

prior gmg post, June 2016Piping Plover Fans: Local author Deborah Cramer on sandpipers is a must read. Oh, and dogs vs.

To learn more about Deborah Cramer, go to www.deborahcramer.com

Continue reading “Deborah Cramer’s book The Narrow Edge galvanizes action to push biomedical rescue for horseshoe crabs and red knots! Revive and Restore convenes Eli Lilly to announce environmental breakthrough”

Powerful journalism: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Univ MT, & NY Times shorebird message soars with supreme digital storytelling

Three years ago (!) almost to the day, Deborah Cramer’s NY Times op ed , “Silent Seashores” was published and her horseshoe crab and Red Knot poetic missive “The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey” advanced a global ecological message to the masses. “I hope I never walk beaches empty of sandpipers and plovers. But it is possible that may happen. In the case of some shorebirds, it is increasingly likely. This is why we must commit the money and muscle needed to give these birds safe harbor. If we do, we just might keep our shores teeming with shorebirds.”  Deborah Cramer is a  visiting scholar at M.I.T., and resides in Gloucester.

April 28, 2018

The New York Times, published another mighty call to arms making use of today’s improved visual storytelling tools. “Shorebirds the world’s greatest travelers, face extinction” is breathtaking and devasting digitial photojournalism about shorebird extinction by John W. Fitzpatrick (Director Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology) and Nathan R. Senner (scientist University of Montana). Stuart A Thompson designed the superb interactive graphic element. The indeliable header pulses with a bird on a wire, a “common snipe” it’s captioned, peering, chest beating, and then a sickening struggle. The bird’s caught, and we’re its snipers. Do. Not. Look. Away.

While you’re checking out this NY Times must read on line, think about Gloucester, Deborah Cramer, and Kim Smith. How one person can and continues to make a difference.  Among many other projects, Smith is leading the effort to protect piping plovers at Good Harbor Beach. Let’s support the laws in place to safeguard the natural world. No dogs year round may be easier to remember. Honor system, volunteers, and enforcement (without “teeth” and more funding) are not working. If compassion, art, rules, and legacy aren’t persuasive, there’s always the bottom line. Natural culture all about us is a strategic resource.

Shorebirds New York Times John Fitzpatrick Nathar Senner
Shorebirds the Word’s Greatest Travelers, Face Extinction 

Impact of #teachers | Heidi Wakeman, Selma Bell, Barbara Kelley reconnect at Deborah Cramer talk at Sawyer Free

Heidi Wakeman teaches Spanish at O’Maley. Selma Bell was Heidi’s first grade teacher, and Barbara Kelley was her high school Spanish teacher. Were they yours?

Have you had a chance to thank the special teacher(s) that made a difference in your life? It’s beautiful when it happens!

Heidi and Selma (this photo from Heidi)

Heidi and Selma Bell

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The Bookstore of Gloucester and local artists for Deborah Cramer’s Narrow Edge talk at Sawyer Free Library

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Fans, friends, colleagues, and teachers enjoyed a free public program at Sawyer Free Library to hear more about the making of the Narrow Edge by Deborah Cramer. The talk was sponsored by the library, Kestrel, The Gloucester Writers Center, and Eastern Point Lit House (Deborah will be leading one of the upcoming book discussions at Duckworth’s). It was a treat to hear more about the long friendship and collaboration of Deborah Cramer and Susan Quateman (learn more about Susan’s art here) Patty Hanlon’s Cedar Tree Gallery at Walker Creek Furniture in Essex held the inaugural exhibit for this series.

 

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Cramer read quotes from her book that also inspired Janet Essley’s art; Quateman, Essley and works by Michael DiGiorgio and George Textor were exhibited at the Matz Gallery in the Library.  Martin Ray’s sculpture seen to the right and behind Deborah during her talk is part of the library’s art collection.

 

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“Unbeknownst to most people horseshoe crab blood safeguards human health.”

Avery from The Bookstore of Gloucester helped with the crush at book signing time.

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Heidi Wakeman, a Gloucester O’Maley teacher, was excited to visit with her first grade teacher, and Barbara Kelley who we learned accompanied Cramer on a research trip for The Narrow Edge.

 

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More scenes from this wonderful evening

Continue reading “The Bookstore of Gloucester and local artists for Deborah Cramer’s Narrow Edge talk at Sawyer Free Library”

REMINDER: DEBORAH CRAMER TONIGHT AT THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY!

Don’t miss Deborah Cramer tonight at the Sawyer Free at 7pm. Her book is beautiful, and beautifully written. Deborah’s photos accompanying the presentation create an added depth of understanding to the plight of this most vulnerable of species.

Countdown to Deborah Cramer’s Narrow Edge 7PM talk at Sawyer Free May 4th | Matz Gallery is primed with fine art exhibit

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Fresh from a National Academies of Sciences talk and before taking flight to the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival (hyperlinked because I know you’re going to want to Google it), multi award-winning author Deborah Cramer will give a lecture about the making of the Narrow Edge on Thursday May 4th from 7-8:30PM at Sawyer Free Library, 2 Dale Avenue, in her hometown, Gloucester, MA. The talk is sponsored by the library, Eastern Point Lit House, Kestrel, and The Gloucester Writers Center.

SPECIAL EXHIBITION

Red knots and horseshoe crabs–and Deborah Cramer— inspired artists Susan Quateman, Michael DiGiorgio, Janet Essley, Patty Hanlon, and George Textor. Their art is featured in a special group exhibit in Sawyer Free’s Matz Gallery alongside photographs from Cramer’s journey. As far as architecture, identity and culture go, a gallery threshold for a library in Gloucester is pretty perfect.

Susan Quateman writes about  her “silk paintings, horseshoe crabs and red knots: Lee Steele, Susan’s 91 year young silk painter friend and former Folly Cove Designer, gave her horseshoe crab shells she’d found on Folly Cove 25 years ago. They’re no longer found there. Susan used them as models to interpret with Jacquard dyes on silk, and painted the red knots from photographs.” Quateman’s  Narrow Edge series premiered at Cedar Tree Gallery in Essex.

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DEBORAH’S TALK THIS THURSDAY 7PM

The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab and an Epic Journey
Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s | IndieBound

The Narrow Edge
Best Book Award from the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering
Rachel Carson Book Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists
Reed Environmental Writing Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center

2017, participant in PBS American Experience film “Rachel Carson”

Piping plover fans local author Deborah Cramer on sandpipers is a must read and oh and dogs

Deborah Cramer upcoming Talks:

National Academies of Sciences, April 30th
Sawyer Free Library, May 4th
Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, May 6th
Northeast Migration Monitoring, May 17th
Salem Literary Festival, June 25th
Thoreau Society, July 12th

DEBORAH CRAMER BOOKS

DEBORAH CRAMER SHARES LIVE FROM THE WASHINGTON D.C. MARCH ON CLIMATE

Deborah Cramer writes from the climate march on Washington D.C. “The EPA, under its new leadership, is taking down the climate change pieces of its website. So, so happy to be in Washington with so many kids chanting “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” as thousands of people marched down Pennsylvania Ave. to the White House.”

SAVE THE DATE FOR DEBORAH CRAMER AT THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY MAY 4TH, 2017

On my calendar and very much looking forward to Deborah Cramer’s talk at the Sawyer Free Library on Thursday, May 4th at 7:00pm

Mel Brooks, Terry Gross, Elaine Pagels, Wynton Marsalis, Jack Whitten and 20 others to receive highest NEA and NEH National Medals Sept 22. New Smithsonian National Museum of American History opens Sept 24!

24 NEA National Medal of Arts and  NEH National Humanities Medals will be awarded to artists from our country in a special ceremony on September 22, 2016. NEA and NEH “serve different constituents”. Right. Anyhow, celebrating 24 exciting nominees rather than 12 is great! The event will be live streamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live. Both agencies are celebrating their 50th anniversary and request and receive nearly identical budgets, ie. 146 million FY2015.

Two days after the medal ceremony, the newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture,  will open and I’m told it’s a hot ticket.

NEH National Medal (awarding since 1996) recipients

Rudolfo Anaya (author), Jose Andres (chef), Ron Chernow (author), Louise Gluck (poet), Terry Gross (radio host), Wynton Marsalis (composer/musician- he received an NEA one in 2005), James McBride (author), Louis Menand (author), Elaine Pagels (historian), Prison University Project (San Quentin),  Abraham Verghese (Physician/author), Isabel Wilkerson (journalist)

There are past NEH recipients with Massachusetts ties. A direct Gloucester match includes Hilton Kramer (2004 NEH). I bet Israel Horovitz and Deborah Cramer will be announced one year soon!  Louis Menand to be honored next week wrote about TS Eliot. Prior years there are Gloucester connections like Monuments Men Foundation (NEH 2007/ Walker Hancock.) A wider North Shore net pulls out big names like John Updike/Ipswich (NEH 2003). From the NEH press release: “Since 1996, when the first National Humanities Medal was given, 175 individuals have been honored, inclusive of this year’s recipients. Thirteen organizations have also received medals. A complete list of previous honorees is available at this link:  http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/national-humanities-medals” 

Rudolfo Anaya’s novel Bless Me, Ultima, is a part of the NEA Big Read, grants awarded mostly for one town events with a book that’s pre-selected. Our local  Cape Ann Reads effort will target 4 communities and as Deborah French, Director TOHP Burnham Library comments, “ WE will create one book to be read by four communities!”

NEA National Medal (awarding since 1984) recipients

Mel Brooks (cinema/broadway/tv), Sandra Cisneros (author), Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Morgan Freeman (actor), Phillip Glass (composer), Berry Gordy (music producer/Motown), Santiago Jimenez Jr (musician), Moises Kaufman (theater), Ralph Lemon (dance), Audra McDonald (singer/actor), Luis Valdez (playwright/film/tv), and Jack Whitten (painter)

Any U.S. citizen or group who, in the President’s judgment, “…are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.” [U.S.C. Sec. 955b (b) (1)] Have you submitted a nomination? You can- here’s how. And here’s a link to a list of the prior NEA National Medal recipients.

 

 

Just announced: Gloucester author Deborah Cramer wins major awards for The Narrow Edge! National Academies of Science Best Book Award and Society of Environmental Journalists Rachel Carson Book Award

Congratulations Deborah Cramer!

Remember her request to share horseshoe crab reports and memories

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National Academies of Science Best Book Award 2016 

National Academies of Sciences press release: “The winning entries represent science communication at its finest and exemplify the ability of science writers to engage, inform, and inspire the public.”

Society of Environmental Journalists Rachel Carson Book Award 2016

15th Annual awards for reporting on the environment press release excerpt:

Judges were impressed by the painful beauty and eloquence of Deborah Cramer’s writing; one saw “The Narrow Edge” as a story of loss and hopeful restoration while another said the book “represents everything about Rachel Carson’s legacy that the book award stands for.” In her book, Cramer follows the 19,000-mile migration of an endangered shorebird called the red knot, which depends on horseshoe crab eggs for survival. So do humans:

Continue reading “Just announced: Gloucester author Deborah Cramer wins major awards for The Narrow Edge! National Academies of Science Best Book Award and Society of Environmental Journalists Rachel Carson Book Award”

Gloucester Motif Monday: conservation inspiration. Roger Babson, Sarah Fraser Robbins, Sarah Evans, Philip Weld JR

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 Babson

Reservoir

and Sanctuary

[Eleven hundred and fifty acres]

THIS RESERVOIR, WATERSHED, AND

RESERVATION ARE FOR THE PEOPLE

OF GLOUCESTER, THE LAND HAVING

BEEN GIVEN IN MEMORY OF MY

FATHER AND MY GRANDFATHER WHO

ROAMED OVER THESE ROCKY HILLS–

THEY HAD THE VISION THAT SOME

DAY IT SHOULD BE CONSERVED FOR

THE USES OF THE CITY AND AS

AN INSPIRATION TO ALL LOVERS

OF GOD AND NATURE

-ROGER W BABSON, 1931

There are examples of land preservation, but featuring a watershed in 1931? Isn’t it wonderful! If you haven’t seen it in a while, it’s worth a close look. I believe that it has definitely inspired many in Gloucester. 

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DPW HQ on Poplar

 

THE FIRST CLEAN HARBOR SWIM

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1979

 

Thank you to Deborah Cramer and Dan Greenbaum for sharing this memory and finding this Gloucester Daily Times article! This trio’s swim inspired Cape Ann’s Year of the Coast led by MassAudubon the following summer.

Related posts:

8/13/16, race above same day: And they’re back

8/13/16, Celebrate Clean Harbor Swim, and they’re off

8/12/16 Gloucester’s Clean Harbor: H2O No No’s are in the past – some history of the swim

8/10/16 Accclaimed writer, Gloucester resident, and one of the trio that inspired the Clean Harbor Swim Sarah Fraser Robbins excerpt ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)

8/6/16 litter 1978 Crackdown at the quarries 

8/4/16 history of the swim and news about 2016 Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim

RIO WATERS CAN GET BETTER! THANKS TO DOGGED NATURALISTS, WE CAN PUT OUR HEADS UNDER WATER IN GLOUCESTER. REGISTER NOW FOR THE AUGUST 13 CLEAN HARBOR SWIM

Rio waters can get better! Thanks to dogged naturalists, we can put our heads under water in Gloucester. Register now for the August 13 Clean Harbor Swim

While Rio welcomes the 2016 XXXI Olympics, Gloucester will host the “38th Annual Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim” on August 13, 2016 at 9AM on Niles Beach. A  500 meter course for children ages 8-12 was added last year; any parent and child registering at the same time will receive a promotional discount. I find that incentive extra symbolic because a mother and daughter, Sarah Fraser Robbins and Sarah Robbins Evans, together with Philip Weld, Jr., got this all going! MassAudubon facilitated the annual swim the following year and many years after. More recently it’s been produced by the New England Ocean Water Swimming Association (NEOWSA). Many partners with the City of Gloucester continue to work hard for clean water. I’ll write more about the history of the swim in another post, but in this post I want to delve a bit into the biography of Sarah Fraser Robbins.

They swam for clean water because the Clean Water Act was not being enforced in the Harbor. Today participants swim to celebrate clean water.

There are 2.5 centuries of conservation efforts and notable naturalists in Gloucester. Sarah Fraser Robbins was one.

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Sarah Fraser Robbins was 68 at the time of the first swim, a long time Gloucester resident, environmentalist, author, scholar and museum educator. She worked at the Peabody Essex Museum for 25 years. In 1961, she and others helped persuade the Raymond family to donate land to Mass Audubon, now Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary. Robbins was friends with Ivy LeMon who was active in banding monarchs to trace their migration wintering in Mexico–had to be with that wonderful name. I have heard that together they helped to secure habitat and urged people to garden using the plants butterflies liked. Kim Smith continues on that Gloucester path.

Robbins published articles in regional journals, the journal of the New England aquarium, and for close to 30  years a regular column- “The Curious Naturalist” -for  Mass Audubon publications. The Sea Is All About Us: A Guide to Marine Environments of Cape Ann and Other Northern New England Waters, the 1973 book Robbins wrote with Clarice Yentsch, was an influential touchstone about wildlife at our shores. The lengthy title opens with a nod to the T.S. Eliot poem Four Quartets: The Dry Salvages. What other could it be?  That glorious landmark seamark poem is all Water, art, legacy and nature. And the paradise that’s Cape Ann. 

Read an excerpt with Robbin’s curator, scholar and naturalist’s eye in mind. (Her father was an amateur geologist.)

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,

The ‘savage rocks’ are two groups of rocky ledge off our shores nearby Straightsmouth and Thacher Island. The bigger ‘Dry Salvages’ are a mile and a half out and the little salvages are a mile out. Growing up, including when he came home from Harvard, Eliot sailed from his family’s summer home on Eastern Point. He could clear the Dry Salvages or thread past Avery Ledge and Flat Ground and back home to Gloucester.

… the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.

Check out who wrote the forward for the new edition of The Sea is All About Us:

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None other than Deborah Cramer, author of The Narrow Edge, another Gloucester conservationist ( and still looking for horseshoe crab sightings)

The Peabody Essex Museum and Maritime Gloucester memorialized Sarah Fraser Robbins. Be inspired!

  • In 2003, Peabody Essex Museum established the Sarah Fraser Robbins Directorship for the Art & Nature Center, currently held by Jane Winchell.
  • In 2014 the Center was dedicated in memory of PEM honorary trustee, Dorothy “Dotty” Addams Brown, Sarah’s good friend and Eastern Point resident.
  • Maritime Gloucester’s education center was dedicated in 2008 as the Sarah Fraser Robbins Marine Science Center.
  • In 2014, Maritime Gloucester also established the Sarah Fraser Robbins Environmental Award.

Philip Weld’s father, Philip S. Weld Sr., was a newspaper publisher, editor, writer, environmentalist, veteran, and record breaking sailor. The year after the first harbor swim Phil Sr won a transatlantic race sailing “Moxie” and wrote about that crossing. He grew up in Manchester and raised his family in Gloucester.

You can see Sarah’s daughter, Sarah Robbins Evans, interviewed in a great 2010 GMG video by Manny Simoes. Make sure to watch his terrific mini doc overview of that 32nd Clean Harbor Swim run by Richie Martin. There are brief and peppy participant interviews. Swimmers came near and far- Tewksbury, Beverly, Boxford, Boston, Bedford NH, Essex, Portland ME, Falmouth ME, Swampscott…watch to find out more!

To register for the Clean Harbor Swim

Continue reading “Rio waters can get better! Thanks to dogged naturalists, we can put our heads under water in Gloucester. Register now for the August 13 Clean Harbor Swim”

BREAKING NEWS: Listen live! Deborah Cramer being interviewed right now by WNYC Leonard Lopate. Gloucester and Cape Ann wildlife- sandpipers red knots, horseshoe crabs- featured

Follow this link to listen in to  big interview with renowned 30 year + radio host, Leonard Lopate. WNYC New York public radio reaches 20 million people a month.

I’ll add the audio when it’s there.

AUDIO LINK http://goo.gl/q6114p

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Leonard Lopate welcomes poets, painters, politicians, novelists, dancers, Nobel and Pulitzer winners, filmmakers and actors to talk about their work each afternoon on WNYC’s acclaimed arts and culture interview program. The Leonard Lopate Show has been the proud recipient of three James Beard Awards and three Associated Press Awards.

Are North Shore bird sightings published in the Boston Globe? If so Gloucester horseshoe crab, plover sandpiper somethings, red knots

I saw the BIRD SIGHTINGS call out in the Sunday Boston Globe and noted the Plum Island list. (Under ‘Miscellaneous’ there is one bird listed from Gloucester.) I have no idea if that is the MassAudubon customary geographic selection, randomly culled, or all that’s available at the time of publication. I suppose I was looking for a  ‘Gloucester’, ‘North Shore’,  or ‘Cape Ann’ heading. I am confident the region is represented because folks like Chris Leahy, Dave Rimmer, Essex Greenbelt, other experts, citizen scientists, and fans report from our communities.

*This just in update: Dave Rimmer reports that the piping plover fencing at Good Harbor came down today.

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GMG features many bird photographs, from FOBs and contributors especially Kim Smith and Donna Ardizzoni.  Here’s an unofficial appreciator’s list with a few Gloucester sightings: ‘sandpipers’ on Long Beach last week. Piping plover (heard/saw),’plovers’ and ‘sandpipers’ on Good Harbor beach on July 25. One (dead) horseshoe crab and 1 sand dollar (alive) off Wingaersheek on July 26. Piping Plover (heard/saw) on Good Harbor this morning. What have you seen?

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Continue reading “Are North Shore bird sightings published in the Boston Globe? If so Gloucester horseshoe crab, plover sandpiper somethings, red knots”

Gloucester portraits: Good Harbor Beach piping plover and David Rimmer Essex County Greenbelt with an Edward Hopper house. And Leon Kroll double bridge.

There are more than 110 portraits of the City of Gloucester by the American artist Edward Hopper. There are a few 1923 Good Harbor Beach scenes including one with Jo Nivison seated sketching, and in the distance Bass Rocks and a ‘Hopper’ house. That vista was already a Gloucester motif.

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (73)

piping plover with Hopper house

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Dave with Hopper house

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Dave with Hopper house                                                                                                                                  David Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship, Essex County Greenbelt monitoring piping plovers 2016, Good Harbor Beach.

 

 

Eleven years before the image of Jo sketching, Hopper painted the other side of Good Harbor (Brier Neck) when he first came to New England. Leon Kroll painted two pedestrian bridges on the Bass Rocks side of the beach that same year.

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (75)

Note the double bridges on Good Harbor.

Leon Kroll 1912 double bride 26 x 32 oil on

Leon Kroll, 1912, oil on canvas, (Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester) 26 x 32

 

Leon Kroll 1912 oil on canvas 26 x 32  sold at Sothebys 2011 bridge at bass rocks informal title 170,500
Leon Kroll 1911, 26 x 32 oil on canvas (Bridge at Bass Rocks) sold at Sotheby’s auction in 2011 for $115,700
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Leon Kroll, 1912 oil on panel, 8.5 x 11-3/4

 

Knoll also painted Niles and Pavilion. He kept returning to Gloucester; eventually his family purchased a home in Folly Cove in 1932. Learn more at Cape Ann Museum and see Kroll works of art on display.

Leon Kroll Niles Beach 26 x 32
Leon Kroll, Niles Beach 1913

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (74)

Copy of Edward Hopper all around Gloucester MA (more than 90 works) (71)