The second week here at Cape Cod Canal has come and gone. On Tuesday I was sent with a coworker, Gabe, to paint numbers on the light posts on the Bourne Bridge. That was interesting because I had never done anything like that before. We were part of a construction crew that was doing other maintenance while we were there, so the police blocked off a whole lane so we could park our vehicles and do our work. The company truck Gabe and I were operating out of had a blue light bar on top, which was useful while we were parked in the middle of the road. However, when we left to go to lunch we couldn't figure out how to turn the light bar off, so we had people pulling over for us all the way back to the office! It was hilarious.
On Wednesday I was part of a crew that went out and constructed a nest exclosure for a family of piping plovers on Mashnee Island. The exclosure is made of fencing similar to chicken wire that is embedded about a foot in the ground and covered with netting. The exclosure is designed to let the plover family in and out while keeping anything bigger -- predators such as foxes, coyotes, and hawks -- out. While we were working, Mom and Dad Plover were running around having an absolute hissy fit, because of course, we couldn't explain to them what we were doing. One of the parents did a classic "broken wing" act in a vain attempt to draw us away from the nest. There were three eggs in the nest. Plover eggs are extremely hard to see because they look like small rocks, so we had to be very careful not to step on them. Hopefully, all three eggs will hatch soon.
One thing that is a regular part of working at the field office is giving tours to school groups. I did that with coworkers on Thursday and today. The kids are elementary school students; we've had third and fourth graders so far. Usually I do the PowerPoint presentation in the theater, which introduces the kids to the history of the Cape Cod Canal and what it would be like to be a marine traffic controller. The kids range in behavior from rambunctious to really good; Thursday we had a rambunctious group, and today we had a really good group. After the kids eat lunch, we play a game called "Tugs to the Rescue" with them, in which each tableful of kids has to answer questions about the canal correctly in order to get closer to a sinking boat so they can rescue its crew.
Saturday and Sunday I worked in the Visitor Center. As time goes on, I am becoming more familiar with operations there. Sunday we had technical difficulties with some of the technology in the exhibits, but my coworker, Jackie, who is in her fourth season at the canal, knew how to fix the problems. My boss, Sam, said she will begin teaching me technological troubleshooting in a few weeks.
At this point I have entered the planning phase for two interpretive programs. One will be a weekly walk up Sagamore Hill, which is near Scusset Beach. The other will be an evening program; for that one, I hope to interpret some aspect of the local pre-Columbian history. My current idea for the evening program would require some cooperation from one or more community partners, so if that turns out to be impractical, I will have to revise my plans.
So that's week 2 in review. I'll write more when I finish week 3!