By Island Naturalist Justine Kibbe
As another summer season shifts to autumn shadows I have a lot of observations to document. But the most important to note would be how grateful I am to see an idea nurtured back in 2011 come to fruition this year.
The Island Sentinel Program is established. Local Traditional Knowledge can be bridged with Science and a community empowered with the capability and capacity to contribute to the preservation and conservation of its own lands.
Three returning Sentinels – Olivia Backhaus, Conner Wakeman, and Gardner Thors continued to help collect data from 10 monitored sites. Year-rounder Cristina Frazier has been a tremendous help with her office presence, enabling us to remain in the field.
F.I.S.H. (Fishers Island Sentinel Handbook), an Island specific field guide of sorts continues to evolve with a future App in the making – all with hopes of recording environmental trends where community monitoring and citizen science becomes essential, and being “naturalists” becomes second nature.
I am happy too, that the Fishers Island Conservancy has supported the vision of helping to create “employment” for students in this important area of work on the island.