(By Ryan Potter)
With my arrival late last week, it seemed as if the final piece of the puzzle had finally been placed. This, this all is happening.
With just over a week till we arrive on Kure, there is no lack of excitement in finally getting out there. As with any field camp though, the first biggest excitement, or maybe anxiety to some, is meeting your field crew for the first time. It can be a bit daunting to think you’ll be secluded working and living aside 6 other individuals you know no more than their name a week prior to departing for a six-month field camp.
Thankfully, this crew, our crew, seems to fit just like a puzzle does. Over a gathering of past Kure crewmembers, we all finally had the chance to meet as a whole. Not only was it our chance to meet our crew, but also was a chance to hear stories, tips, and more than anything, the love each and every one of the past Kureans have for the island/atoll. They’d all be going back if they could. Suddenly, there was so much more to look forward too. Though I’ve been excited, seeing their passion and smiles about the island seemed to validate the feelings I’ve had inside about how great an experience this will be. Before we have even left, we’ve been welcomed into a unique family and are asked to carry on its legacy. It’s a reminder how fortunate we are to be going where we are going. Please, just get me to Kure already!
The day following our introductions, the group of us was able to have a day to bond over an excursion to Moku’auia (Goat Island) to assist in pulling invasive plants. For some it was there first insight into some of the native Hawaiian flora and for all, a beautiful journey up and around the North Shore. Amongst a day worth of hard work, one thing for sure already is that we’ve got one heck of a crew (see team bio’s below). With unique backgrounds and dynamic personalities, we meshed from the very first moment and it undoubtedly is looking good for this winter season. We’re all excited. We’re all having a good time. We’re all ready to contribute to the conservation efforts at hand. But most of all, we’re ready to make this a journey of a lifetime.
We appreciate you for joining us. Stay tuned for what is to come.
Aloha from the newest crew member,
(by Noël Dunn)
Here are seven short profiles, first impressions and probing Q&A’s to officially introduce the 2015 Kure winter field crew:
Andy has already spent a summer on Kure and seems to be looking forward to discovering the nuance of winter field camp. He is both charismatic and patient as he shows off Oahu, gives the newbies advice and tells stories about his experiences on Kure.
Favorite field camp meal to prepare: My favorite meal to prepare is pizza… lots of pizza.
Coryna just finished studying ecology at Hofstra University. This will be her first major field experience. She is incredibly eloquent and will most likely have a smooth season as she described a few hours of weeding as ‘meditative.’
Most frivolous items packed: colored pencils
Cynthia is the Kure Biological Field Station Supervisor. She is a walking encyclopedia for everything Kure from how and why the bunkhouse was built including the name of the man at the hardware store who helped her purchase the right supplies – to the logic and necessity of the invasive species eradication program. She just as easily sits back to talk story with the new ‘Kureans’ as she calls us, past field staff and colleagues. Her passion for Kure is infectious.
Most random marine debris that you’ve found on the beaches of Kure: I found a sealed stainless steel box the size of a plate lunch box. There is a metal object inside that rattles when the box is shaken. I think it is gold bullion and have vowed not to open it until I retire.
Eryn knows a lot about Kure already, as this will be her third trip out. She has been incredibly engaging and warm in her reception of the new team members. She lights up when describing previous experiences out there and tends to say the Latin names of the plants on Kure as though they are friends.
Name the one item you recommend everyone takes to Kure: comfy after-work pants
Martha has been working in Denali National Park for the last nine years and has previously worked as a neuroscientist and Outward Bound instructor. She is constantly smiling and seems ready for any task. When all of us are hot and sweaty (often) she cools us down with stories of snow and commuting to work on skis while working in backcountry Alaska.
Favorite fact about Alaska: The location of surfbird nesting sites wasn’t discovered in until the middle of the 20th century. Surfbirds nest on the alpine ridges in Denali National Park.
Ryan is co-authoring this blog and is no stranger to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. He has previously worked on Tern Island in French Frigate Shoals. He is the ornithologist of the group and always has his eyes pointed skyward. I’m looking forward to learning every bird fact he knows.
Bird most excited to see on Kure: Grey-backed Terns.
Noël – that’s me. My last field site was a small island in the Western Indian Ocean where the entire staff referred to people who get to live on or visit an atoll as ‘incredibly lucky.’ It’s an understatement to say I’m ridiculously excited about this opportunity.
Best advice for living on a remote field site: Name spiders after hot celebrities so you don’t mind sharing your bedroom with them.