Earth Day 2017 and life is definitely returning to the island. How better to celebrate this time of year than with “Spring Fest”. By bringing together a number of local organizations devoted to promoting and protecting the island, its heritage and the well-being of everyone living here, the Rev. Tamara Grenier and Nantucket Eco Group artfully put into perspective just how much Nantucketers have to be grateful for. I braved April showers to attend and was so pleased I did as I was able to see a big screen viewing of the beautifully shot “The Last Bay Scallop” . In just 30 minutes local filmmaker John Stanton brings the Nantucket Bay Scallop industry to life and hammers home how its future rests uneasily on the quality of Nantucket’s water. Why specifically is it under threat? Mainly because of the decrease in “Eel Grass” around the island – on to which the baby scallops latch for survival. And the principal contributing factor for that decline appears to be high use of fertilizers on the island. It was a fascinating glimpse into Nantucket’s last commercial fishing industry.
Next weekend is the annual Daffodil Festival and those bright yellow flowers really are an incredibly welcoming sight at this time of year. Although this winter hasn’t been very harsh in the scheme of things, warm and sunny days can’t come soon enough.
The “off-season” whisked by in a bit of a blur. Islanders take advantage of the quieter months to travel and to brace themselves for another busy summer. While I spent the winter of 2015/2016 undertaking a dog training course at the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy, this year I had the incredible opportunity of putting my newly acquired skills into practice by teaching a “Basic Manners” class at the Nantucket Community School. My first students have been so much fun and I’m eagerly looking forwards to the next class which starts this coming Tuesday.
Staying on the subject of dog training, in March I attended Clicker Expo in Stamford, Connecticut – a huge conference for advocates of positive reinforcement/force-free teaching methods. Wow, was that ever a mind-blowing experience. Talk about some really inspirational speakers and heaps of food for thought. I was lucky enough to listen to some of the most engaging figures in the positive reinforcement training world and even met Karen Pryor (author of “Don’t Shoot the Dog” and a leader of the Clicker Trainer movement). I came back to the island absolutely buzzing with new ideas and thoughts to put into practice. Of course I might also have picked up some new equipment in the conference shopping arena.
On the travel front, this time last weekend I was back in the motherland visiting family. Home really is a wonderful place to visit.
From the tulips in St. James Park to Daffodils on Old South Road, it’s the season of new beginnings. Girl Friday ACK is eagerly looking forwards to welcoming everyone back to the island.