Through education, monitoring, and hands-on stewardship assistance, NAPS brings together farmers, watermen, businesses, educators, and other concerned citizens to help protect and enhance our unique quality of life in Northumberland County. NAPS is a non-profit organization dedicated to:
What looked like “the Cockrell sea monster”, an unidentified sunken object (USO), and a battered boat were just three of the 3800 lbs. of trash hauled ashore at the NAPS annual creek clean-up, Saturday, September 28. A six-boat armada with crews of Northumberland High School students and Boy Scouts cleared the shores of Cockrell’s Creek in Reedville on the wind-swept morning.
Four of the 12 NHS students from the Beta Club were veterans of last year’s clean-up along the Great Wicomico. All of the five Scouts, led by Bob Monk, were return crewmen. They included Trent Newsome, Grayson Hughes, Matt Pitman, and Robert Stickler. Fourteen NAPS volunteers were on hand to set up the landing at The Stack, sort the recycles from the trash, and serve lunch.
Monty Deihl, Senior Director of Fishing Plant Operations for Omega Protein, was instrumental in organizing the boat captains and providing dumpsters, Port-a Potty, and lunch.
The Cockrell sea monster when towed ashore turned out to be an oil-spill float. It took six NHS girls to heft the “USO” into the boat and off-load it onto the quay at the Stack, but it remained unidentifiable. As for the boat, Monty Deihl got a fork lift from Omega to haul it out.
The boat captains included: Vincent Haynie, Warner Rice, Lynn Haynie, Tom and Zachery Moore, Andy Hall, and Monty and Parker Deihl.
“The weather was not as nice as predicted, but the ‘crews’ said it was fun,” said NAPS President Bill Estell. “The kids were involved in a cleaner environment and hopefully lessons were learned. A special thanks goes to Monty and Omega for hosting our project and providing everything needed to carry it out, even the fork lift.”
NAPS also thanks Omega for a very generous gift of $300 to support the clean-up.
By Ida Hall
NAPS presented its 2013 Distinguished Citizen Award (DCA) to Jane Towner during the annual Social on Saturday, October 12, at the Bay Quarter Shores Club House along the Potomac River in Northumberland County.
Speaking to nearly 60 NAPS members, neighbors, and guests who gathered to enjoy good food, fellowship, common interests, concerns, and celebrate the Distinguished Citizen Award recipient, NAPS President Bill Estell said it was “not surprising that so many people are here, knowing who we are honoring.” Bill added that “choosing the Distinguished Citizen Award recipient goes on all year” and thanked Ralph Millar for heading the search committee.
Representing the RCC Educational Foundation (EFI), Sharon Drotleff told the audience that RCC “applauds Jane Towner’s selection.” As a Board member for 10 years, Jane envisioned developing a Life-Long learning Center. In the fall of 2004, her dream became reality when the RCC/EFI offered the first courses through the Rappahannock Institute of Lifelong Learning (RILL), that Jane co-founded with Libby Singleton Wolf.
John Bott, who took over Jane’s position when she retired in 2009, said, “Jane never gives up on learning.” In recognition of her lifelong contributions to education, RILL awarded her a Citation and named a scholarship in her honor in 2011. With her foresight and focus on others, John added that “Jane has spoken to us in many ways that can’t be measured.”
On behalf of the NAPS Board and membership, Bill presented Jane with an engraved plaque recognizing her many accomplishments that “Define Distinguished Citizen.”
With Sibley, her husband of 57 years, and daughters Ann and Hope in the audience supporting her, along with friends and colleagues, Kitty and Jennifer Creeth, Judy and Dean McBride, Jack and Susan Moore, Mary Louisa Pollard (NNLC), and DCR’s Rebecca Wilson, Jane humbly and gratefully accepted the award. “I am deeply honored, because this award comes from NAPS,” she told listeners, including Shirley Smith, a founding member of NAPS and Supervisor Tommy Tomlin, who represents her district.
Jane pointed out that NAPS is a “small organization” focused on big issues such as conservation, preservation, and the economic benefits of being good stewards of the environment. Reflecting on her 28 years in the County, Jane remarked, “The best years of my life have been in this County.” With typical modesty and generosity, Jane concluded, “I have been educated and mentored by you. This award goes to all of you.”
By Jay Walker
Headed by Lynton Land, a project to identify and mark trees along a trail in the woods behind the Northumberland Elementary School moved ahead in October with the help of Rich Steensma, Forester for the Virginia Department of Forestry. The project entails putting signs on selected trees to identify them for students and others when they are on the “Blue” Trail.
In a little over an hour, Steensma identified over 30 trees, both hardwoods and pines, commenting, “There’s a lot of diversity here.” He noted that the woods were clear-cut more than once in the past and pointed out passages used by loggers to haul away the trees.
Both Lynton and Bill Estell took careful notes to establish the exact location of each tree. The next step will be to acquire and attach the signs. Steensma recommends 3 to 4 inch stainless screws set loosely so the name plate can slide away as the tree grows. “You need to loosen the screws annually so the tree doesn’t have to grow around the plate,” he added.
According to Lynton, if the school sees the value in the tree markers, other trails will be added.
By Jay Walker
NAPS Vice President Lee Allain has arranged an Eco-Tour of the Chesapeake Bay area aboard a Bay Quest Charters boat on Saturday, April 26, 2014, for 20 Northumberland High School students and two teachers. The tour will be offered to Ecology and Biology students first and fill in empty spots with others, according to Rebekah Jones, NHS Ecology and Biology teacher.
Capt. David Rowe, a waterman and VCU graduate, will lead the tour on his 43 foot Chesapeake Bay deadrise. The tour is definitely “show and tell” concerning the oysters, crabs, and other marine life of the Bay, rivers, and creeks.
“This is a great opportunity for students to become familiar – up close and personal – with the Bay environment, with a lot of information about key species,” said Lee.
Said Mrs. Jones, “We’d like to emphasize human impact on the environment, importance the Bay has on our ecosystem as far as relationships among the species, and the significance the Bay’s ecosystem plays for people living and working on it.”
NAPS will cover the $500 fee and, if all goes well, will offer the tour to Northumberland Boy Scouts later, Lee added. For more information, check the Bay Quest website: www.bayquestfishing.com.
By Janice Mahoney
Special thanks to the 11 volunteers who answered my call for help to do the Fall Adopt-a-Highway clean-up along Route 200 starting at the church in Wicomico Church, Tuesday, October 29. They included Alice Imbur, Kathy and Walter Brodtman, Bob Holley, Bill Estell, Andy Kauders, Jack Yunker, Susan Carter Hughes, Bryna Brennan, Charles Smith and Sue Lindsey.
It was a bright and sunny day which helped to make the clean-up more palatable. Like the creek clean-up, the highway clean-up is a nasty job. We wonder just what prompts people to throw their trash out the window for others to pick up. Well, why not, when a group of retired folks avail themselves to do the pick up twice a year.
Enough preaching to the choir. We filled 17 bags of garbage with nothing of note to equal what came out of Cockrell’s Creek in September. It was just the usual fast food wrappers, beer and soda cans, and many cigarette butts – the refuse of a “use it and toss it” society.
We will have another go at the Spring Adopt-a-Highway. Please look for my call for help.
Book Review - Posted 10/10/13
By Lynton S. Land, PhD
The title of the book Chesapeake Invader: Discovering America’s Giant Meteorite Crater by C. Wylie Poag (Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-00919-8, 183pp.) tells the reader what to expect. It is a documentation of how several geological puzzles were solved once the late Eocene impact of a bolide centered on Cape Charles was postulated and accepted.
The story starts when a peculiar breccia was identified from tiny rock chips or “cuttings” as wells were drilled in search of potable water. There were chips of rocks of many ages, from the igneous/metamorphic “basement” rocks to coastal plain sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous through Eocene age. Microfossils of many ages were also identified and the water in the well was anomalously saline. Rock cores provided better samples, but the origin of the breccia, overlain by unbrecciated late Eocene strata, remained puzzling.
The Deep Sea Drilling project provided the first clue to a meteorite impact by finding tektites, or glass from rocks melted by meteorite impact in late Eocene strata as they drilled off New Jersey. Once a meteorite impact was postulated, the theory could be tested by many different disciplines. Eventually, after much better subsurface imaging by seismic techniques, the discovery of abundant “shocked” quartz and more coring, the breccia was satisfactorily explained as the result of an impact event.
Well written for the non-scientist with many helpful illustrations, my only criticism is that Dr. Poag, a paleontologist specializing in microfossils, is too enamored of an extraterrestrial explanation for Earth’s mass extinctions. Of the five major mass extinctions, only one has been unequivocally shown to involve an extraterrestrial component, namely the Chicxulub event at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary that was partly responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.
Most mass extinctions are probably caused by relatively rapid environmental changes that accompany redistribution of the continents by continental drift. Rapid environmental changes do not allow enough time for evolution and adaptation. We must take heed of that postulate, recognizing that since the industrial revolution the rapidly expanding human population has altered, and continues to alter Earth’s climate at a prodigious rate.
The Eocene impact certainly created local havoc, but no global mass extinction. The consequence of the large and growing human population rapidly burning Earth’s finite reserves of fossil fuels is another matter.
By Lee Allain
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are getting priority nationally for students with natural talents in these fields. Locally, the Vo-Tech school in Warsaw is now incorporating a STEM curriculum and moving toward recognition as a STEM Academy.
Northumberland High School, under the auspices of the Warsaw school, now has a Stem Lab. To learn more about it, a group of NAPS Board members toured the NHS Lab with instructor Scott Syster. Here, about 15 students are learning to use CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing) systems.
We were particularly impressed with the number of gears and hinged boxes recently generated on the lab’s 3-D printer. In a STEM Lab, students design, test, and actually construct circuits and devices such as smart phones and tablets and work together on a capstone project. It’s STEM education and it’s the heart of today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy.
By Gregory Haugan, PhD
We had three very interesting meetings that were well attended. In September we saw the documentary Do the Math that featured Bill McKibben of 350.org. The math consists of three numbers: first – 2º Celsius, the temperature increase that is universally accepted as the critical danger point of global warming; second – 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide which is the additional amount of CO2 that we can pour into the atmosphere and stay below the 2º C level; and third – 2,795 gigatons of CO2 which is the amount contained in the proven coal, oil and gas reserves. So it is necessary to keep 80% of our fossil fuels locked in the ground. A daunting task.
At the October meeting we saw the award winning documentary Chasing Ice. Using time lapse photography the team documented the astonishingly rapid retreats and melting of major glaciers from around the world. The film provides undeniable evidence of our changing planet being threatened by climate change.
Please contact Greg Haugan if any of your other organizations would like to borrow either documentary. (See contact information at end of article.)
In November we focused on the new fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report titled Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science Basis (IPCC5). Dr. Lynton Land and Dr. Greg Haugan led the discussion and addressed what has changed since the last report in 2007 and what are the most important takeaways. The meeting included an audio description of IPCC5 by Dr. John Abraham, one of the reviewers of the report.
At this meeting we resumed our discussions of getting out opinion pieces and letters to the editor of the newspapers in the First Congressional District.
Plans for December include a workshop led by Gail Kenna on writing opinion pieces and letters.
For people unfamiliar with CCL you are invited to call in on Wednesday evenings at 8:00 p.m. (1-866-642-1665 and access code 440699#) to hear a presentation on the organization by the Executive Director of CCL. Alternatively contact Dr. Greg Haugan, NNK CCL Group Leader at 804-580-2166 or email@example.com.
By Lynton Land
Efforts to contain the invasive grass Phragmites australis continue. In 2013, 64 sites were sprayed with herbicide, 18 with the power sprayer on loan again from U.S. Fish and Wildlife. I have concluded that the herbicide, glyphosate, does not always kill the rhizomes (underground stems) when applied only once each year in September.
The first few treatments are usually very effective and after a few years only scattered plants or patches appear. Each year they are sprayed, and each year the process repeats. Once this stage is reached I can’t make any more progress so the property owner must choose among three strategies:
Ignore the Phragmites and watch it come roaring back,
Spray in September, to prevent it from spreading, or
Spray plants as soon as they can be identified. This strategy can eventually eradicate it and the property owner has the advantage of being able to spray whenever the marsh is dry enough to access the plants.
I’m asking more property owners to take over and will accept new sites only if I think elimination is likely.
Despite a last minute change from the Little Wicomico River to Cockrell’s Creek, the annual NAPS Creek Clean-Up on September 28 went off smoothly and was a huge success. Thanks to Omega Protein volunteers, the Northumberland High School Beta Club, Boy Scout Troop 200 and many NAPS volunteers, nearly 3,800 pounds of trash and debris was removed from the creek. Monty Deihl and Omega provided lunch, the staging area, clean-up equipment and the boat captains. The usual NAPS Clean-Up tee-shirt was provided to all participants.
The NAPS Fall Social followed on October 12 at the Bay Quarter Shores Clubhouse. Our own Jane M. Towner was recognized as the NAPS Distinguished Citizen for 2013. A large turnout and wonderful sampling of excellent food and visiting among old and new friends were the orders of the day. The Chesapeake Garden Club provided truly outstanding flower and fruit decorations celebrating the Fall Season. Jane was surrounded by family and friends and said she had a memorable evening of celebration good cheer. A special thanks to all who helped with the preparations and clean-up and especially for the outstanding gourmet dishes contributed.
NAPS educational efforts are currently reflected in three areas of interest in coordination with the High School; the STEM initiative, a follow-up to the solar panel project of the Senior Capstone Math Class effort, and the scheduled Spring Ecology Tour on the Bay with Ecology and Biology students. All are exciting programs that have captured the interest of school officials from the Superintendent Gates, Principal Burns and the subject teachers involved. See the details in the newsletter.
The NAPS road Pick-Up under Janice Mahoney’s guidance was successful but we had just enough volunteers to cover the rather extensive section of Route 200. We can always use more helpers. Keep this in mind when the Spring Pick-Up comes around.
As always, thanks for your continued support of NAPS in all of our programs.
Best to you and yours,
– Bill Estell, President
The 23 years of NAPS history tells a story – a story of how a community works to preserve its unique features as it grows and changes. NAPS volunteers have worked hard by monitoring, educating, and getting their hands dirty. We work with many other organizations sharing the same spirit. Together we can continue to make a difference, not just for our county, but for our country and world. How would you like to spend a few fun hours this year helping NAPS help your community? Read more...