On Mother’s Day 2015 Philadelphia Chapter members Steve Bugaj MN’09 and Doug Soroka FN’06 along with Lynn Kleina spent a Chapter ‘Day in the Field’ kayaking the Mullica River in New Jersey. The trip along the 11 miles took in some of the best bird and turtle watching while also enjoying the entire river day to ourselves, not a single other boat was either seen or heard.
Members gathered in NY to view the opening of the Napoleonic treasure which the Club still holds. Seven of the books were opened for viewing and the exhibited illustrations were of daily life along the Nile River, illustrations of birds and sea creatures, interior of temple tombs, Monuments, and mummies. The colors were outstanding for the age of the books and were remarkable in the fine detail of the plates. Club dinner consisted of lecture of how French and Egyptian taste pallets have inter twined and
Robert McCracken Peck FN’83 was awarded one of the highest honors bestowed by The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Sarah Chapman Francis Medal. This award was presented at the GCA’s annual meeting, recognizing his outstanding literary achievements. In honoring Peck, the GCA observed that “his books, lectures and scholarly work have encouraged preservation of the natural and human treasures about which he writes so passionately.”
Peck is the author of A Celebration of Birds: The Life and Art of Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1982), Headhunters and Hummingbirds: An Expedition into Ecuador (1987) and William Bartram’s Travels (1980), and he is co-author of All In The Bones: A Biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (2008) and A Glorious Enterprise: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Making of American Science (2012). Peck’s explorations have traced travel routes of several 18th- and 19th-century naturalists, including John James Audubon, William Bartram, John Muir and Henry David Thoreau. His research expeditions on behalf of The Academy of Natural Sciences have included Botswana, Ecuador, Guyana, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Siberia, South Africa and Venezuela.
Tim Stevens MN’89 and his 12 year old son Philip joined the crew of the Skipjack “Sigsbee” for a sailing adventure on the Chesapeake Bay for a week in Mid-August. Through the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, the crew received hands on experience in seamanship and navigation much like sailors in the late 18th and 19th century. There was further instruction in marine ecology, conservation and history on one of the last remaining skipjacks on the bay. A highlight of the program was a stopover at the Horn Point environmental research facility of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences where the crew participated in an oyster restoration project.
Michael Gasbarro MS’13 performed bacterial analysis to determine the water quality of Dead End Lagoons in NJ. The dense concentration of houses and recreational activity in coastal towns increases exposure to contamination from point and non-point bacterial and chemical sources. Test sites were located in southern New Jersey and focused on storm drains that empty into the dead end lagoon channels. Enterococci and Fecal Coliform bacteria were used as indicator organisms to predict human or animal waste contamination. Even though these bacteria are usually not harmful themselves, if there is fecal contamination other seriously pathogenic organisms could be present. Determinations were made whether the lagoons were safe for swimming according to EPA standards and elevated levels were reported to local water/health authorities. Many people use the lagoons to swim, kayak, paddleboard and boat. While shellfish beds and beaches are tested for fecal contamination by health authorities, the lagoons are not tested despite there being thousands of families living on the water and using the lagoons and bays as recreational areas. Residents of coastal communities could unknowingly expose themselves to bacterial contamination by swimming or boating in waters they consider to be their backyard.
Last August, Philadelphia Chapter member Dan Lieb, FN ’06 led an expedition to record the remains of the Coast Survey vessel “Robert J. Walker.” The diving portion of the expedition also included Explorer Club members Jim Delgado, Joe Fiorentino, Matt Partrick, Steve Nagiewicz, Mike Pizzio and Herb Segars. The crew, which include professional and amateur archaeologists, treasure-hunters, historians, salvors, and sport divers spent four days diving the wreck. Nominally, twelve divers made two dives a day lasting about a half hour on the bottom. All tolled, 48 hours were spent mapping, photographing and videoing the site. The data collected will be used to produce a drawing for commemorative plaques placed on the boardwalk opposite the wreck site in Atlantic City and at the nearby Absecon Lighthouse.