I’ll see you on the beach…

image006 by Jan Spence

I’ve been very fortunate to have served as Goldenrod Foundation’s Program Manager for the past four and a half years, working on many projects to conserve coastal habitat and educate people about the natural world. However, it’s time to take the plunge and dive into expanding my business, Three Birds Consulting, so I am leaving Goldenrod (but, not Plymouth). I will see you on the beach!

Dorie Stolley

Me (Dorie Stolley) by L. Hirt

I would like to give a huge thanks to all of the talented, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and collaborative people and organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with these last few years. That includes many local residents, other conservation professionals and groups, as well as Town officials and employees, teachers, scientists, students and so many more.

Least terns courting (one with fish)

Least terns. Photo by Bernie Creswick

When I look back over my time with Goldenrod, I remember great birding trips and other programs at our field station on the beach, such as clamming, yoga, fiber arts, and jam making, when everyone learned a lot and enjoyed each others’ company and Plymouth’s beautiful Long Beach.

However wonderful these memories are, my very best ones come from working with the Beach Ambassadors, Goldenrod’s dedicated and fun-loving volunteer group, since its inception in 2013.

Four beach ambassadors on beach

Some of the many Beach Ambassadors. Photo by Mara Delgado

Together, we developed and implemented numerous projects. Three that I especially enjoyed were the Osprey Viewing Station, the Making Waves in Coastal Conservation speaker series, and the Beach Discovery Backpacks.

Looking through the spotting scope at the osprey

Viewing the osprey at Nelson Park

In Nelson Park, at our Osprey Viewing Station, the Beach Ambassadors invited families, camp groups, and passersby to peek in on the raptor family through a spotting scope or binoculars. Park-goers were enthralled to observe osprey behavior throughout the breeding season and to hear details about   life history and adaptations, and the successful conservation measures that have restored them to Massachusetts after they almost disappeared from the state (and beyond) due to the effects of DDT on their eggs.

Beach Ambassadors also shared nature discovery activities with children and adults at the station and at nature festivals, such as Pine Fest and Summer in Winter. Everyone had great fun playing Wrack Attack and Beach Bingo, digging for shells in Beach-in-a-Box, puzzling over Find-a-Nest, and making paper binoculars – all while learning about our local wildlife and habitats.

A winner at Wrack Attack!

A winner at Wrack Attack! Photo by Meghan Copson

In addition to running the Osprey Viewing Station in the summer, Beach Ambassadors assisted with Making Waves in Coastal Conservation, Goldenrod’s annual winter speaker series. The series presented a variety of conservation topics, including shorebird studies in the Arctic, urine recycling, sea turtles and the dangers of trash, and ways to protect whales. Many of these were videotaped (thanks to volunteers from Plymouth Area Community Television-PACTV), edited in-house, and posted on the Goldenrod Foundation YouTube channel.

Binoculars, books and more in Beach Discovery Backpack

Binoculars, books and more are in each Beach Discovery Backpack

Another innovative and educational project the Beach Ambassadors eagerly volunteered to  tackle were the Beach Discovery Backpacks, which encourage schoolchildren and their parents to explore coastal areas in an environmentally responsible manner and give them the tools and information to do so. Containing binoculars, a catch-and-release aquarium, a guide to local public beaches, suggested activities,  field guides, and more, they were a huge hit with kids and their families. Teachers at Nathaniel Morton Elementary School were especially excited about them because they complement their Oceans theme for the school year. The backpacks will continue to engage children for many years, and anyone with a local library card may borrow one from the Plymouth Main Library’s children’s section. The Plymouth Center for Active Living also has one to loan out.

Our booth was popular at wildlife festivals

Our booth was popular at wildlife festivals

Besides these three educational programs, over the years Beach Ambassadors have volunteered on citizen science and stewardship projects, too, monitoring roseate terns in Buzzard’s Bay, installing symbolic fencing to mark tern and plover nesting areas, counting herring for the Town of Plymouth, cleaning trash off the beach, and assisting with high school oceanography field trips. They volunteered an impressive 563, 875,  and 478 hours in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

I’d like to give a big thanks to Goldenrod Foundation for supporting the Beach Ambassador volunteer program and all the great projects they did to benefit Plymouth and nature!

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Much appreciation goes to each and every Beach Ambassador from 2013 to 2016. They are:

Paul Anderson, Penny Axelrod, Jordan Baker, Richard Brech, Richard and Susan Breslow, Mary Lee Caldwell, Tracey Ciavarra, Murray Cion, Carolyn Collins, Mia Delgado, Margaret Emslie, Sharla Fenwick, Francis Giardino, Carolyn Gould, Betsy Hall, Jerry Haller, Lindsay Hirt, Louise Kelley, Maya Lee, Leo and Meg Lessard, Sandra Locke, Lisa Martin, Lisa Meeks, Debbie Plume, Pamela Russell, Nancy Shaughnessy, Sheila Sheridan, Janice Spence, Amy Tull, Sharyn Waters, Fred and Elaine Watson, and Sharon Yopp

And, thanks to Goldenrod’s other expert volunteers:

Meghan Copson (photographer), Dr. Jim Dickson (field trip leader, blog post writer, and Talkin’ Turkey presenter), Brian Harrington (birding instructor), Deb Harrison (birding trip leader), Peter Jamison (photographer), Jim Kundcizc (astronomy program leader), Melissa Kurkoski (fiber arts program leader), Richmond Talbot (clamming instructor) and Soheil Zendeh (birding trip leader)

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Hats off to the volunteers who were trained and shared by Plymouth Area Community Television: Tonia Fleming, David Maybruck, Mark Rutledge, and Leah Simmons.

Great appreciation also goes to the many people and organizations – too many to list – who assisted in a wide variety of ways including sharing news of our events, giving advice, lending equipment, setting up chairs, and collaborating in a multitude of ways.

To contact me, Dorie Stolley, in the future, send an email message to dorie@threebirdsconsulting.net. To contact Goldenrod Foundation, use info@goldenrod.org.

Birding on the beach with the Bird Brains

See you on the beach!

December’s Book – Blue Revolution: The Unmaking of America’s Water Crisis


Americans see water as abundant and cheap: we turn on the faucet and out it gushes, for less than a penny a gallon. We use more water than any other culture in the world, much to nourish what’s now our largest crop—the lawn. Yet most Americans cannot name the river or aquifer that flows to their tap, irrigates their food, and produces their electricity. And most don’t realize these freshwater sources are in deep trouble.

cover of book - Blue Revolution

December’s book

Blue Revolution exposes the truth about the water crisis—driven not as much by lawn sprinklers as by a tradition that has encouraged everyone, from homeowners to farmers to utilities, to tap more and more. But the book also offers much reason for hope. Award-winning journalist Cynthia Barnett argues that the best solution is also the simplest and least expensive: a water ethic for America. Just as the green movement helped build awareness about energy and sustainability, so a blue movement will reconnect Americans to their water, helping us value and conserve our most life-giving resource. Avoiding past mistakes, living within our water means, and turning to “local water” as we do local foods are all part of this new, blue revolution.

Reporting from across the country and around the globe, Barnett shows how people, businesses, and governments have come together to dramatically reduce water use and reverse the water crisis. Entire metro areas, such as San Antonio, Texas, have halved per capita water use. Singapore’s “closed water loop” recycles every drop. New technologies can slash agricultural irrigation in half: businesses can save a lot of water—and a lot of money—with designs as simple as recycling air-conditioning condensate.

The first book to call for a national water ethic, Blue Revolution is also a powerful meditation on water and community in America. It is particularly relevant for Plymouth residents as we still have an opportunity to avoid the water disasters that have hit so many cities, towns, and regions. By planning now, we can keep the water in our sole source aquifer plentiful and clean.

Ten copies of the book are on reserve at the circulation desk of the Plymouth Main Library and anyone with an Old Colony Library Network card may sign one out, read it and participate in the next meeting on November 14 at 7 p.m. at 204 Long Pond Road in Plymouth. If you would like to hear about each month’s book (whether or not you come to discussions), please sign up below.

On December 12th, we will discuss  this book, Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis by Cynthia Barnett at 5 p.m. at 204 Long Pond Road in Plymouth.

To sign up for the Book Club and receive notices about upcoming meetings email dorie@threebirdsconsulting.net.

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