For a future teacher, summer camp is a chance to get valuable experience

Meredith Laliberte

In high school and into her first year of college, Meredith Laliberte enjoyed working summers at Dorman’s Ice Cream on Route 1 in Thomaston. “Seeing the joy in a kid’s eyes when that ice cream cone came out the window was special,” she says with a grin. But last year Laliberte decided it was time to make a summer-job shift and join the staff at Blueberry Cove Camp off Hart’s Neck Road in Tenants Harbor. She’s back working at the camp again this summer, too, because she’s found that this is a job that not only allows her to continue bringing joy to kids, but that also is having a significant impact on her professional future.

Laliberte will be entering her senior year at the University of Maine Farmington with a major in early childhood education this fall, so this summer’s work as “Educator for the First Mates,” day campers aged four to six years old, couldn’t be a better vocational fit. “Working at Blueberry Cove has been the perfect move getting me into my career,” she states with evident conviction. “Being in contact with the children here has given me clarity about what I want to do in life.”

Working with two younger counselors, Laliberte plans activities each week for the 15 or so children in her charge, making sure they are equipped with everything they need—including sunscreen and bug spray—for outings to the beach, the woods, or to the camp’s gardens and for art and other projects. “The four to six year olds like to explore, so the curriculum has to roll with what they find interesting,” she explains. “It is important not to be so goal-oriented with them. It’s about the process, not the product. They are wanting to figure things out on their own at that age.”

Laliberte cites an art project making hand prints during the week of July 4 as an example of what she means. “We usually have a camp-wide theme for each week, and that week it was the Fourth of July. So our art project was to use hand prints to make flags. So the question was, what do we have to do in order to make your hand print look like a flag? Maybe make one corner blue and make each finger a different color? But what they really liked was exploring what kind of difference it makes to open or close their fingers when making the prints. I was very happy with the results—the flags were really cool!”

Another example of building her First Mates’ curriculum from the children’s interests involved a week when her kids were spending time with the camp’s goats. “The kids love the goats! This particular week they were fascinated when they saw the goats pooping, so we talked about the fact that the goats eat things and then they poop, just like humans do. So that day the topic was poop!”

Laliberte says she finds it important to spend the beginning of each week getting to know the children in her group. “I’m interested in figuring out how they learn. Some of them need hands-on experiences to be able to learn, but others will use rest time to read about things like ocean life or different species of trees and things like that. Then they go out and identify what they’ve read about. Others explore and then look things up to learn more.”

Determining learning styles and how to work with them to help a student gain understanding is what turned Laliberte on to teaching as a career path in the first place.

“It was in my senior year in high school that I really found a strong urge for teaching—I started tutoring kids in math who were in the same classes as I was. I was tutoring two different kids in the same class and they had two different learning styles. One was more like mine and one was not like mine at all. To be able to have them explain their thinking to me for how they got the answer, it made me realize there is more than one way to solve problems, that just because I got the answer one way and I was the tutor that doesn’t mean that was the right way to get it, necessarily. For someone else it might be a different way. So the goal was how do I make that student successful? That’s the best feeling in the world, to see a student understand, to find the angle that will work. And I’m doing the same thing at camp.”

Laliberte’s tutoring experience in high school also led her to see the value of peer mentoring, something she enjoys seeing take place at Blueberry Cove. “I’ve really enjoyed going to the beach with my kids, especially when we go with the older campers because they learn so much from each other. I think it is really cool when kids can learn from each other and not have an adult facilitator do the teaching. I think it is more meaningful for them. They don’t have to please an authority figure when they learn from an older camper, and the older camper feels proud that they have something to teach.”

After the day campers leave for the day, Laliberte shifts her attention to the residential campers. “I get to hang out with the kids that stay, which I think is pretty cool because we build relationships with them as well. I was a camper throughout my childhood and I love the sense of community you experience at camp. I’m happy to be a part of that for some of the campers here.”

Asked if any experiences she’s had as an Educator at Blueberry Cove have taught her something about teaching that she has been glad to learn, she promptly admits to some valuable failures. “I have done some activities that just didn’t work for the kids, that either went right over their heads or that were too easy. That has helped me to learn how to figure out activities that work for different age groups. And I also now have activities that I’ve learned at camp that I can bring into the classroom.”—JW

PHOTO: Julie Wortman

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Note of thanks

We want to take this opportunity to sincerely express our gratitude and thanks to each and every one of you for everything that you have done to help Steve and myself through this difficult time. This surgery was a complete surprise. We did not realize how bad his health was. He was getting to a point when he came home, going up our four-step porch and sitting down at the table that it was very exhausting and he had to rest before taking off his shoes. His cardiologist scheduled him for a Cardiac Catheterization for a review of his valves that looked questionable. Our assumption was maybe a possible stent. For a doctor to say, “Steve, you have too many blockages to stent. We will need to do open heart surgery” was quite a shock. A day or two later, before the scheduled surgery date, the doctors also found through a more detailed test two valves that were severely damaged and needed to be replaced.

I will not go through each detail of every day at Maine Medical. I know each day practically by heart. I think I experienced every kind of emotion there is. (Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Disgust, Surprise, Trust and Anticipation)

It is the wonderful actions of others that keep us going. During a time like this we realize how much our family, friends and community really mean to us. I cannot tell you how much this has meant to Steve and me.

Thank you again and God bless you all.

Ruth & Steve Jarrett

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Myxomycetes of our dreams

Nature bummin’ with Kirk Gentalen

Scrambled egg slime

A significant, early summer rain can fill an entire forest with a magical energy. Water (and lots of it!), backed by the longest daylight lengths of the year, have plants thriving, insects taking flight and forming the bottom of food chains, and (if things go right) forest floors littered with mushroom after mushroom. Yes, these are the salad days for life in the woods. And with all that is to be seen, foraged and appreciated, it feels like an appropriate time to give a shout out to one of our favorite (and we do play favorites) groups of “earthling things” that are seldom foraged and often easily overlooked–the slime molds!

Slime molds are collectively known as “Myxomycetes”–derived from the Greek “myxo,” meaning “slime” and “myketes” meaning “fungus.” Taxonomically speaking, that’s pretty much all that Myxomycologists (I may have just made up that word) agree on, and the confusion/disagreements begin on the Kingdom level!

Wolf’s milk slime

Historically, slime molds have been considered a group fungus and some hold fast to this view, giving slime molds the exclusive “Sub-Kingdom” status. Others feel that with their unique combination of traits slime molds are their own Kingdom, bringing them on par with Animals, Plants and Fungus alike (quite the compliment). And yet others dare to insult slime molds by tossing them into the Protoctista, a Kingdom universally viewed as the “trash Kingdom” (huge generalization). Similar to the island of misfit toys, Protoctista is a collection of unrelated castoff life that humanoids can’t really figure out how to categorize and so they are banished and lumped (another huge generalization). The confusion about where slime molds fit in doesn’t stop them being slime molds! They are what they are and they are worth checking out!

For a good chunk of their existence slime molds are protozoan-like. This is the Plasmodium stage and can be tricky to observe as the molds are living within decaying logs, stumps and leaf litter. Depending on the amount of water in the immediate environment at this stage, the molds will move in either an amoeba-like fashion or with a tiny flagellae or tail. As they move, they engulf and feast on bacteria, fungal spores and anything else in their way. Slimes get a “tip of the hat” for helping to lower levels of bacteria in the woods, a niche we all can appreciate!

Coral slime

A good rain (like we are discussing) can inspire a slime to morph into their fruiting bodies, often similar to Ascomycete fungus. This is the time the molds emerge from their home substrate and migrate–even several feet at times–to an exposed location. The slimes then lose their sliminess and “go to spore,” drying up and releasing their spores to the winds and rains in a variety of ways. These fruiting bodies can emerge overnight or over the course of days, and change within hours (or over the course of days), putting on a trailside metamorphous in clear view for all to see.

Recently, a few of our favorite slime molds have been putting on trailside shows in local, shady woods like the nature trail by the school and the town forest trail off Kinney Woods Road. This year seems to be a particularly good one for the Coral slime (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa) with both its column forms (variation fruticulosa) and honeycomb forms (var. poriodes) being found on logs along both trail systems. Wolf’s milk slime (Lycogala epidendrum) patches are also numerous with their pink candy dots turning brown and puffball like. Both species are found on local logs after rains summer through fall.

Chocolate tube slime

For a group of creatures that are not commonly eaten—they may taste good when covered with enough chocolate, but the texture—slime mold common names are full of food references like chocolate tube, scrambled egg, pretzel, carnival candy, raspberry, and tapioca slimes. Chocolate tube (Stemonitis splendens), scrambled egg (Fuligo septica), and tapioca (Brefeldia maxima) slimes seem to do particularly well in mid-coast Maine and may be spotted after rains along with coral and wolf’s milk.

Slime molds are forest (and field) dwellers whose presence is interpreted as a sign of healthy (and moist) woods. And while I can honestly say that I have never gone out specifically to look for slime molds, they are part of any summertime woods excursion. As far as unanticipated distractions go, there is none received with such open arms as a good patch of slime mold. So much mystery, so much unknown, unrealized, so much to learn.

See you out there!

PHOTOS: Kirk Gentalen

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A clay artist always imagining new horizons

Those who are familiar with clay artist George Pearlman’s work are enticed by its unusual color palette referenced from his environment. He derives many of the colors from the winter scenery here in Maine. “You start to appreciate the subtle winter colors here in Maine,” he explains. “I make my own colors. It can take up to five years to perfect a hue.” Over the years his palette has expanded to also include the brilliant hues of British Columbia, where he also spends time and where more vivid colors abound.

Pearlman’s colors add relevance to the forms he paints on his pots. “I want to get into a conversation about nature,” he says. “It’s mark-making in reference to a leaf, stem, stalk, trunk or canopy.” As his designs continue to evolve, Pearlman is finding meaning in the spaces between the forms that he paints on his pots. “I am now at a place where I want to incorporate more and more open space without content.” It is his ability to imagine new horizons for his work that keeps Pearlman working hard.

It was in 1998 that Pearlman moved to St. George. His life story before that time begins with the pursuit of fine art in secrecy. Born in Queens, New York, to parents who were full-time professionals, Pearlman was forced to repress his love of art in order to conform to their desire for him to become a corporate professional. As a child, he would wait until after bedtime to covertly render artful drawings, hidden under a blanket draped over his desk to conceal the light by which he worked. Although his strong desire to become an artist never waned throughout his childhood, Pearlman’s parents would pay for his college education only if he pursued a degree in business. Therefore, he graduated from Syracuse University in 1983 with a B.S. as a dual major in Transportation Distribution Management and Marketing. However, during the final semester of his senior year, and unbeknownst to his parents, Pearlman was able to enroll in fine art courses, including ceramics.

Armed with a fierce determination to become a master ceramicist, Pearlman eventually left a lucrative job with an international shipping company in New York City after a short period of employment. Entrepeneurial by nature, he pursued opportunities to learn from other ceramicists and New York galleries by working for them in exchange for instruction. He also studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City at that time. Once his skills increased to the professional level, Pearlman landed a residency at Peter’s Valley School of Craft in the Delaware River Valley where he taught a workshop. And, after a short stint in California learning from West Coast ceramicists, he returned to New York where he landed a teaching job at Kingsborough College, teaching three courses in ceramics. He also had his first breakthrough selling all his work to a notable gallery in Brookline, Mass. With some cash in his pocket, it was time for Pearlman to buy a home and set up his studio again. This took him to northern Philadelphia. But he continued to follow many opportunities at home and abroad.

After a long series of teaching and gallery jobs and an artist’s residency in Latvia during the fall of the U.S.S.R., Pearlman returned to the U.S. with the desire to pursue graduate studies in ceramics. He earned an MFA in ceramics from Penn State University in 1994.

It was during his graduate years that Pearlman’s work transformed, growing to a grand scale because the school’s kilns were enormous. This allowed him to move beyond functional pottery to create sculptural art. “I got to work in a place of abundance,” he explains. “Making pots is a metaphor for making bodies that have parts like necks, feet, and so on—there’s a real physicality to it.” Just after graduation, Pearlman held his first solo show at Penn State, exhibiting his sculptures, ceramic vessels and drawings. The show completely sold out. Spurred on by this success, he came to Maine for six months as an artist resident at the Watershed Center for Ceramic Art in Edgecomb, where he briefly managed the Center before moving on to other opportunities throughout the country.

But Maine beckoned him to return and so he set down roots in St. George in 1998 and opened his own studio and gallery at 1012 River Road, where his work may be viewed. Pearlman is also represented by the Holly Hamilton Gallery in Portland, and at Craft in Rockland. His award-winning works have appeared in many other notable venues as well, such as the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, D.C., The Montclair Museum in New Jersey, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft. This St. George artist had been recognized by the Maine Arts Commission as an Individual Artist Fellow. Additionally, you may visit his website at www.georgepearlman.com to view his work and read his biography. But, the best way to learn about Pearlman’s pottery is to stop by and talk to him!

—Katharine Cartwright

 

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Check out the planets in July’s night sky!

July is a great month in St. George for viewing the planets. The days are long and the nights are short and most of the planets are visible in the night sky. Earth will be reaching the point in its yearly revolution where it is farthest away from the sun. If you are looking towards the Leo constellation (follow the handle of the Big Dipper), you will see Jupiter, also known as the Red Giant. It will be visible to the naked eye, but if you happen to have a small telescope, or even a good pair of binoculars, you may be lucky enough to view four of its biggest moons.

The most exciting news in the sky this month is Mars! On July 31, it will be closer to Earth than it has been in the last 15 years. Mars will rise in the east at sunset and set in the west at dawn. It should be visible to the naked eye all night long and will look like a giant glimmering orange star.

I hope you grab a blanket, maybe a friend, turn off all of your lights and enjoy the night sky.
—Willow Mae McConochie (McConochie is an avid astronomy buff who watches the night sky from her family’s home in the woods near Otis Cove.)

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A ‘snapshot photographer’ who uses a 600mm lens

A female eider

Just about every day the weather permits—or she’s not iced out—Boulder Hill resident Carla Skinder goes out into Long Cove in her kayak. “It’s my peace moment,” she says.

It’s also a daily opportunity to engage eye-to-eye with the cove’s abundant and varied wildlife. Most often she does this looking through the 600mm lens of a camera, hoping to digitally capture something of what she calls the “magical” quality of this part of the natural world.

“I focus on the eye of the bird or animal. Shooting with a heavy 600mm lens from a kayak, everything is always moving so it ain’t easy,” she says with a laugh. “I really consider myself a snapshot photographer because I don’t set up. The way I do photography I can’t use a tripod because I’m either kayaking or walking through the woods.” She estimates that less than one percent of the photos she takes are “keepers” for that reason.

While Skinder didn’t begin taking a major interest in photography until about six years ago—she now has three Canon EOS bodies along with a 200mm and a 400mm lens in addition to the large 600mm lens she favors—she says she has always liked to take pictures. And she has been interested in animals, birds and insects since childhood in Natick, Mass., bringing home all manner of bugs, snakes and worms after roaming nearby woods and ponds.

Likewise, her connection to this part of Maine goes back more than 40 years—when she became involved with a famous seal named Andre, who lived with Rockport Harbormaster Harry Goodridge from 1961, when Goodridge found him as a pup off the island of Robinson’s Rock, until his death in 1986. Skinder became involved with Andre in the 1970s when she was working at the Boston Aquarium, where she ran the marine mammals stranding program.

“From Maine to Florida, any marine mammals stranded on a beach I would go and rescue or autopsy,” Skinder explains. “I was the one who would rescue baby seals and porpoises. I took care of otters, penguins, beavers that would fit in the palm of my hand. It was great, I loved the work.”

When it was determined that Andre would benefit from spending winters at the aquarium, it was Skinder’s job to transport him from Rockport to Boston where he would join the aquarium’s other seals and then back again in the spring so he could be with Goodridge.

After leaving the Boston Aquarium in 1981, Skinder, who had earlier studied veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, earned a nursing degree from Simmons College and followed that with a Master’s degree in Public Health. Wanting a chance to travel internationally, Skinder was able to leverage both degrees, along with her on-the-job training at the Boston Aquarium, to qualify for volunteer opportunities with such organizations as Earthwatch, with whom she worked in Vietnam studying the Sarus Crane, and with public health agencies in places like Sierra Leone. Everywhere she went she took pictures, most especially of the wildlife.

“After I got my nursing and public health degrees I would take leaves of absence to do the volunteer work,” she says. “I’ve been to every continent and even worked in the Falkland Islands two years in a row helping restore an historic building. There were millions of birds there—penguins, albatross, petrils, ducks, geese, and owls along with sea lions and dophins. It was just magical.”

In recent years her travels have been focused on African wildlife. She’s signed on to a variety of organized tours and worked with such organizations as Panthera, which is devoted to conserving the world’s 40 wild cat species. Last year she and some companions did a “self-drive” in Namibia.

Now that Skinder lives in St. George—it has been nearly two years since she bought her seven-acre property at the end of Boulder Hill Road—her subject matter may be less exotic, but she finds it just as satisfying. “The nature here is marvelous for me. I have songbirds, tons of warblers, hummingbirds, osprey, eagles, eiders, loons, gulls, kingfishers, guillemots, mergansers, you name it.”

She has also become involved with the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, an organization managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. “It’s been fun. I’ve been going out to the islands with them, rounding up sheep so the terns can nest, doing projects like an egg census on herring and black back gulls and on eiders.” On these trips, too, she has been taking many pictures, partly as a way to help document the work being done.

Sharing her photographs, she says, gives her real pleasure, whether through exhibitions of her work or through formal presentations. She has also recently begun working with the children in the Pre-K program at the Jackson Memorial Library and with students at the St. George School, drawing on her extensive—and ever growing—archive of photographic images. “I love showing people what’s out there in nature.”

It is rare for Skinder to be in her kayak without her camera and that big 600mm lens, but sometimes it does happen. She’s missed some great “photo ops” that way, she admits with some disappointment, but then she adds with a shrug, “At those times I just enjoy what I see.”
—JW

PHOTOS: Top, Carla Skinder; below, Julie Wortman

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Join a walking tour of Tenants Harbor on July 26

Tenants Harbor village from the Baptist Church steeple

On Thursday, July 26th, the St. George Historical Society will be sponsoring a walking tour of Tenants Harbor. The tour will start at the Tenants Harbor Baptist Church at 6:30pm and will continue along Main Street, ending at the Odds Fellow parking lot on Watts Avenue. Parking will be available at both ends of the tour—Tenants Harbor Baptist Church and Odd Fellows—and if you want to park midway, you can park at the town office.

The Thomas Henderson Homestead

People participating in the tour will learn about the home of Town Talk, a local newspaper of the 1880s. They will also hear about the many businesses that have disappeared over the years—a funeral home, a furniture store, several gas stations, a bakery, a pool hall and dance hall, a millinery shop, a blacksmith shop, several grocery stores, a drug store, a couple of restaurants, and a hotel! All these were once found on Main Street and at the entrance to Watts Avenue. The location of about a dozen homes that once sat along this route­—either torn down, lost to fire, or moved—will be pointed out and some insight as to why one part of Main Street was known as Nob Hill will be given.

Those attending will be provided with a handout showing pictures of what Main Street has looked like over the years. These will include photos of Sheerer’s Drug Store, H.F. Kalloch’s store, Morris’s Tea Room, H.A. Harris Garage, St. George Bakery, and more! Hope to see you there.—John Falla

Rummage sale at Wheeler’s

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Ditch full of distractions

Nature bummin’ with Kirk Gentalen—

“Our” ditch with a green frog sitting in wait

There are lots of ditches in St. George, but only one that we (the royal “we”) visit on a regular basis. I won’t give out the exact location (you know how protective ditch lovers are!), but let’s just say it’s a typical ditch—one that flows strong after a good rain but becomes a series of deepish puddles filled with some seriously mucky, algae water during drier times. In other words it gets kinda gross. It’s a smallish ditch, no more than a foot across at its widest, but we don’t hold that against it­—there is too much life there to be distracted by volume!

When times are warm and sunny, the air above the “ditchy-water” can be full of fly activity—a “fly lovers paradise,” if you will. And while there are several species of flies (Order Diptera) to be entertained by, there is one species that we actively search for, that we hope for a glimpse of (and maybe a photo or two of) and that is the “Phantom Crane Fly” (PCF). These aren’t your typical Crane Flies (Family Tipulidae)—the ones that are mistaken for huge mosquitoes when found in your house but fortunately don’t bite. Nope, these dudes get their own family (Ptychopteridae—Phantom Crane Fly family) and fly with a style and grace so unique that make them hard to mistake with traditional Crane Flies.

Phantom Crane Fly

Our local species of Phantom Crane Fly (Bittacomorpha clavipes) is quite the sight. Their heads and thorax are miniscule and unassuming, their abdomens are thin and measures a half inch if that. On their backs are a pair of shrunken wings, which are essentially vestigial—organs that have become useless over time—similar to leg bones found in snakes. What stands out with PCFs at first sight, though, are their long, thin, black-and-white banded legs. At the tip of each leg are swollen feet (tarsi) which are loaded with tiny holes called trachea. Trachea are “normally” used for respiration in insects but PCFs don’t breath through their feet (that would be weird). Instead they use the trachea to catch the tiniest of wind currents and breezes as they drift along. An insect with wings that “flies” by its feet! For maximum efficiency and flying potential PCFs fly with their six legs extended and spread wide, giving it an appearance like a flying snowflake or spider web.

In flight this leg arrangement gives PCFs a look similar to filter feeders in the tide pools, but these adults are not thinking about food. They actually lay their eggs in those algae pools, and as larvae their offspring feed on detritus in the muck before morphing into non-eating adults. So there is no chasing after prey or catching of food with those big legs, instead PCFs are floating snowflakes looking to mate. Hot action at the ditch!

The black-and-white pattern on the legs is perfect camouflage for shady habitats sprinkled with sunlight. Disappearing in and out of the shadows in flight gives these flies a “phantom” appearance and makes following them tricky to say the least and attempts to take photos turn into lessons of patience and focus. Those can be tough lessons, because PCFs aren’t the only ones living by the ditch—so many distractions!

Green  Frog

Spend some time with a ditch and you’ll realize that you aren’t alone in hunting PCFs (and the other flies in the area). A handful of Green Frogs also call the ditch home and nothing teaches a lesson in patience like watching a cold-blooded (literally), sit-and-wait predator. Daily fluctuations in PCF numbers makes one wonder how many PCFs have made their way through the ditch frog’s digestive systems. PCFs are towards the bottom of the food chain for sure, so it goes.

A Red-winged Blackbird attacks a Broad- winged Hawk.

Red-winged blackbirds sing from the tops of nearby cattails and bring food in for youngsters hidden in a nest somewhere in the thick patches of reeds. The blackbirds also announce my presence with loud alarm calls (I wasn’t even close to them, I swear!), which makes ignoring them even harder. As I try to convince the blackbirds that I mean no harm—probably would be better if I just zipped it instead of talking to them – Swamp Sparrows start to belt out their buzzy song in the “shared” cattail habitat. Swamp sparrows have a special spot in my heart and have long been my favorite sparrow (for reasons I can’t remember), so ignoring those is not an option. Butterflies and dragonflies zip around the grasses and clovers, and a river otter even crosses the ditch making its way to a nearby waterway it enters with a big splash. A Broad-winged Hawk catches a thermal above us and attracts the Blackbirds’ attention and angst. The hawk is promptly “escorted” away from the wetlands by the male of the pair. It can be hard to pick what to watch when spending time in the ditch (and beyond)!

Like so many ventures, trips to the ditch often have a goal, or “target” or two that gets you out there. In this case, the visit to the ditch was inspired by visions of Phantom Crane Flies. And like almost all adventures, the plethora of “side” activity demands observation and adds to the entire picture. We really aren’t there just to see the PCFs or the ditch—even though that would be more than satisfying. We’re there to see the habitat and learn about that “neighborhood.” All distractions are welcome in these cases!

PHOTOS: Kirk Gentalen

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Fashioning sculpture from wood, metal and rock

Spruce Head resident Rick Bernard is known for his unique sculptures constructed from reshaped wood, stone and metal objects. Working spontaneously, he intuitively establishes spatial relationships between these elements that satisfy his immediate aesthetic sensibility. With the addition of movement induced by the forces of wind and gravity, Bernard includes in his repertoire kinetic as well as stabile sculpture.

Barnard’s interest in sculpture, however, developed only 15 years ago, when he noticed a wine bottle holder—the kind where the bottle is inserted into an angled piece of wood and balanced on a table top in a way that seems to defy gravity. He decided to experiment with the physics of this dynamic equilibrium by sculpting and assembling bits of wood. This was the beginning of Bernard’s career as a sculptor. One thing led to another as he began incorporating metal and rocks into his work. Eventually, his sculptures became larger and suitable for outdoor display.

Bernard’s studio is an unheated small shed next to his driveway where he works throughout the year with the exception of winter. He collects rocks from several local island beaches and purchases the steel from local vendors to construct his works. “For ideas,” he explains, “sometimes I think about possible designs as I fall asleep at night,” thus relying upon his subconscious to create the mental image for his next sculpture. During the construction process, Bernard occasionally sets aside a work until he visualizes a different option for it. “It is not unusual for me to work on several pieces at a time,” he explains.

He works to please himself. “If I like the sculpture, then it passes the test.” Although he repeatedly states that the title “artist” feels foreign to him, his works prove his artistry. And the pieces show an evident ability to “think outside the box.” This ability may have its foundation in his life and career before making sculpture.

Born in Illinois, Bernard’s family moved frequently from coast to coast as his father changed corporate positions. When he was only eight years old, his father abandoned the family and his mother endured a mental crisis that left Bernard and his two siblings in the care of their grandmother and hired nannies. To complicate matters, schooling was also a challenge, especially in art class where students were required to make representational art. His inability to complete these assignments created an obstacle. Bernard confesses, “I learned to hate art from that experience.” But he found other outlets for his creativity during those difficult years. He discovered the joy of building three-dimensional objects like go-carts, tree houses and forts from his imagination, without planning. These activities honed his skills as an intuitive spatial thinker.

After high school, Bernard turned his attention to psychology. He received a B.A. at Bucknell University in 1972 and landed a position in Newfoundland teaching special education. The following year Bernard moved to Pennsylvania where he earned an MA in counseling. It wasn’t until 1976 that he moved to Maine where he forged a 34-year career at the St. George School as a K-8 counselor, sports coach, and drama coach. Tapping into his creative and unconventional style, Bernard found new ways to help students discover solutions to the problems they faced. He even developed skills as a magician to engage his students, and eventually gained enough expertise to become a professional magician. His ability to create illusion, coupled with his unconventional approach to personal challenges, seems to have informed his sculpting, which has proven a success.

It wasn’t long after Bernard began sculpting that opportunities to exhibit and sell his work emerged here on the St. George peninsula. He participated in the annual art exhibitions at the Odd Fellows Hall in Tenants Harbor every summer as well as the arts festival in Belfast. Robust sales encouraged him to keep going and now his work is displayed at the Port Clyde Art Gallery, where he is an artist member. You may view his sculptures there during the summer months. —K­atharine A. Cartwright­

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St. George Episcopal Chapel, Summer 2018

For over a hundred years, the St. George Episcopal Chapel has held services on Sunday mornings from the end of June to Labor Day. On Long Cove Road off of Rt. 131 in Tenants Harbor, the service begins at 10am. In recent years, the chapel has become known as a “community church” with parishioners attending from all denominations. Everyone is welcome!

Each service offers a different priest/minister and different music. This year the music is provided on alternate Sundays by the duo of Renny Stackpole on base and Bob Richardson on keyboard, Janeen Baker organist, and the family group Playin’ Possums. The ministers come from all over the country, including The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, the former Episcopal bishop of Maine, who is serving as interim bishop in the Diocese of Baltimore.

For more information contact Alice Gorman at gormanalice@gmail.com.

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Pursuing a passion for ‘community radio at its finest’

Most Monday evenings Jo Lindsay can be found at her home in Tenants Harbor online, combing through the most recently posted Knox County obituaries to find the seven or eight she will read during “Afterwords,” her one-hour radio show on WRFR-LP 93.3fm Tuesday mornings at 8am. “After each one I play a song based on whatever I have gleaned about the person’s life,” Lindsay notes. “It’s unbelievable what you learn about people. The sad thing is that you find these things out after these people are gone.”

“Afterwords” is one of two radio shows Lindsay produces for WRFR, Rockland’s very local Low Power radio station, which also reaches Camden at 99.3fm. The other is “In Town Tunes,” which airs Thursdays at 9am. “This was my first show,” Lindsay says. “I focus on music by local musicians and on musicians playing in Maine, often at the Strand.”

Producing the shows scratches an itch that Lindsay says she’s had for a long time. “I always had dreams of being a performer,” she admits with a laugh. But her involvement at WRFR has become a quite separate,—and even stronger—passion.

WRFR (Radio Free Rockland) first went on air on February 14, 2002, following Joe Steinberger getting a permit to have a Low Power fm radio service in Rockland in 2000. “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave out Low Power licenses because people were getting very upset with the way big corporations were taking over the airwaves and sucking up all these small stations,” Lindsay explains. “So they opened up a window for people to apply and we were on the air full time, 24/7, in 2002. We were one of the first LP stations in the country and definitely the first in Maine.” In 2003 WRFR obtained a license to also bring its programming to Camden.

In 2005 the station started streaming on the web at www.wrfr.org—something that has allowed the small 100-watt station, which occupies a converted garage behind a house on Gay Street, to transcend the limitations of its 25-mile transmission radius in both Rockland and Camden. “It’s pretty much a line-of-sight thing,” Lindsay says with a wry smile. “If there’s a hill between you and the transmitter you’re not going to get the signal. With streaming we now have listeners all over the country and in places like Switzerland, China and Saudi Arabia. The nicest thing with the streaming is that we have a lot of summer people who find us when they’re here for the summer and then they can take the station home with them so they can still listen and stay connected with the area.”

A unique thing about WRFR is that it is a completely volunteer enterprise, which is how Lindsay first got involved.

“Eleven years ago I kept calling WRFR to volunteer because they said they needed volunteers. I kept leaving my name and nobody would call me back. And then I went to a party and Joe Steinberger was there and I said, ‘How in the world do I get to volunteer to work at the station?’ and he said, ‘Meet me tomorrow. I have something for you to do.’ So I met him and he said, ‘This will take 20 minutes a week, I just need you to write the checks and pay the bills.’ So I started coming in once a week. And now I’m running it! I’m station manager! I’m there 10 to 20 hours a week. It’s great, it’s so fun. Everybody there wants to be there.”

Lindsay still pays the bills, but much of her work as station manager involves providing support for the volunteers who produce the station’s programming and lining up local business sponsors for that programming.

“You learn how to do your own show, you do the board yourself,” Lindsay says of the logistics involved in airing a show. “I tell people no one is going to get hurt if it doesn’t work, just call me and we’ll figure it out. It takes about two or three times doing a show and then basically most people are pretty comfortable. It’s really not very hard. Some people will need a little more time to get ready because they have vinyl—they’re playing actual records—and it takes a little longer to set that up, but it’s a pretty easy change over.”

Since every show needs a sponsor, Lindsay asks that people doing shows explore any connections they might have with potential sponsors so that cold calls aren’t necessary. Lindsay says the station currently has 80 or so local sponsors in hand. This, along with donations from listeners, Lindsay says, “is how we stay afloat. It’s how we pay the rent, utilities, everything.”

As part of its commitment to being a “community radio” station, Lindsay notes with a touch of pride, “All our shows shows are locally produced—nothing is canned.” Even during the hours between midnight and 6am, when the station relies on a recorded play list, the offerings are an idiosyncratic collection of things the volunteers have put together. “You could hear Chopin and then Leonard Nimoy, or poems by Edna St. Vincent-Millay.”

During the hours between 6am and midnight, on the other hand, the station airs shows that Lindsay believes could go statewide if a larger station wanted to pick them up. One such show is “Uncle Paul’s Jazz Closet” produced by Cindy McGuirl for two hours on Mondays starting at 3pm. McGuirl’s uncle, Paul Motian, was a prominent jazz drummer, percussionist and composer. McGuirl inherited all of Motian’s personal musical archive when he died in 2011.

“What an odd thing to have on our little station,” Lindsay marvels. “We’ve got people listening from New York City to catch that show, real jazz people. Cindy does interviews, explores the jazz scene her uncle was involved with and plays cuts that no one has ever heard before. She got everything, including his personal reels—it’s a treasure trove for sure. So this is how she’s archiving it. It’s basically a history show.”

Most of the shows on WRFR—like “Mental Health,” “Stone Coast,” “On the Bus” and “Built For Comfort”—are music shows, but there is also a show by Jacinda Martinez about gardening, shows like the Chris Wolf Show and Rockland Metro that explore local community topics, and even one by Ron Humber called the Pen Bay Report that is about all things Penobscot Bay, its waters, its shipping lanes, its harbors.

Lindsay stresses that the funkiness of WRFR might suggest that its programming has a left-leaning point of view, but the station has no political agenda. “This is community radio. We want to be open to everyone in the community. Shows can have a point of view—some are quite conservative in content—but we don’t want anyone to be able to put a label on the station. However, we do insist that people be respectful of others.”

The newest venture for the station is a print companion called “The Buzz.” “This is another idea from Joe Steinberger,” Lindsay explains. “He just wanted another format for people to get their opinions out there. It’s got community people writing articles on whatever interests them. It’s usually just one story at a time. The Wednesday ‘Rockland Metro’ radio show usually uses the Buzz topic as the basis for a round-table discussion.”

The main thing, Lindsay says in summing up WRFR’s core mission, “is that we are just trying to be a resource that everyone is welcome to use. People can come to the station and hang out, if they want—we have free wi-fi. It’s a funny little place, but it’s a great place.”

After a pause, she adds, “There’s a window in the studio that, during the summer, I usually open when I’m doing one of my shows. Then somebody nearby will start up a lawn mower.” She laughs. “To me, that’s local radio at its finest.”—JW

PHOTOS: Julie Wortman

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