Aloha followers! We, the Summer 2017 crew, are finishing up our first intensive three weeks on Kure Atoll. Our apologies for being quiet, we surely appreciate your patience!
As time goes, each of us is absorbing all the little things that make the Kure life. You get very easily distracted from writing! It is almost surreal that it is happening, living on the Green Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, driven by the natural cycles of the sun and wildlife.
The past few weeks were about getting settled in our new home for the six month period to come: cleaning, organization, updating inventories, various training (among others: emergency response, use of herbicide, invasive plant control strategies on Kure, use of GPS unit) and getting oriented. It is still a work in progress but much has been already accomplished and that feels very good! We started (with lots of impatience and excitement) to control invasive plants the second week. It is our daily effort to restore and conserve the natural habitat for birds. Here comes our countdown to 92 restoration areas (RA) that make the entire island,188 acres! Looks small, right? We will tell you later on, why the task is time-consuming, on top of being weather dependent. Talking about the weather, it has been overall pretty inclement and variable, that included a mix of windy days (up to 40 mph), sunny (up to 80 degrees), coolish (60s degrees) and three days of rain, that brought very few inches of water. We all enjoyed our first full moon on the island, as sunrises and sunsets that frame our daily life, with the unmissable wildlife scenery provided by birds, Hawaiian monk seals, sharks, and rays.
For now, let start by introducing ourselves, the fresh Summer 2017 crew, made of six hard and dynamic workers, ready to get handy and dirty to restore and conserve Kure Atoll. We are different personalities that come from different homes and backgrounds with the same passion for conserving Mother Nature. We feel undoubtedly fortunate to have been chosen to carry on the legacy of this unique Kurean family.
Here are the six Summer 2017 team profiles, with a short biography and first thoughts living on the island:
Naomi Worcester is one of our Kure Camp Leaders, a Kure Atoll veteran. She has been working on the island for the last nine seasons. She has an incredible memory, you can ask her anything from the tiny cotyledon in the field to a Hawaiian Monk seal tagged such number to the tiny arthropod you will find in the pond.
Matt Saunter is our second Kure Camp Leader. He has been working on Kure for the last seven seasons and leading field camps since 2012. Matt is passionate about recovering wildlife habitat and enthusiastic about conducting fieldwork. He loves talking about and eating food, especially spicy condiments that will fire up each of his meals. It is never too spicy!
Tiana Bolosan is a returning Kurean from Winter 2014. She is the DOFAW Offshore Outreach Coordinator since September 2016 and is joining the efforts on Kure until the end of May. She is glad to be back on Kure that she calls her home. She is our entertainment specialist, ask her about music and movies and she has it. Time In!
Jon-Erik (JE) Jardine is a returning Kurean from Summer 2015. JE lives and works on the Big Island as a soil technician in a bioremediation farm. JE is our spiritual guru, he always has some deep reflections about everything that comes out like a reading tape. The mind must work also with his stomach as he is our leftover food finisher. He must have two stomachs!
Stephanie Hurd just finished her degree in Biology, from Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut. She has always a good smile and jokes about everything. She loves to quote films. She is certain that somehow a small magnetic chip was placed in her brain to attract sharks. When she swims in the ocean, sharks would materialize shortly thereafter for the delight of the observers and photographers.
Virginie Ternisien, the blog author, is a French native and was lately living in Charleston, South Carolina. She recently switched her career from conserving artifacts for a decade to conserving the environment and its wildlife. Before Kure, water at 78 degrees was too cold to her but now, she will thrive for it and is a total fan of outdoor showers. A habit that is no longer part of her life: there is no switch light in the room, but her hand would still reach for it!