This week at Ocean View: Stepping stone
Block Island did not have a palm tree until last Thursday. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s a palm tree, although it also kind of looks like a wand or a shooting star. It’s a new salmon-colored stepping stone, up at the Ocean View Pavilion site, the newest addition to the long line of 75 (and still counting) concrete stepping stones that lead to the pavilion, which are crafted slowly but surely, at the rate of one a week.
They’re made during the Thursday morning Stewardship session, which is all about helping protect the environment from erosion or weather decay — specifically, footpath erosion, the wear and tear created by each seemingly insignificant footstep on the dirt path. The stepping stone project has been going on for coming up to seven years, and its benefits have become evident. You will see, if you stroll up to the site, that the grass is much healthier around the oldest of the concrete slabs.
The stones can be tailored to any shape within a certain size, although they don’t lend themselves to too much complexity — Ocean View Director Kim Gaffett and I have to dig a hole that matches the shape. Many different shapes are chosen by Ocean View’s activity participants, the most common of which seems to be the outline of Block Island.
Participants also get to decorate their stones with garbage and trash, from bottle caps to water pistols, and from seaweed to flowers. It’s exciting to wonder what the next masterpiece will look like.
If you’re looking for more fun activities: on Fridays, Ocean View hosts an amazing Bird Walk down at Andy’s Way. We get some enthusiastic birders and naturalists on these walks, and even they usually come away with something newly learned. Great and snowy egrets and little yellow legs are among the most common shore birds around this time of year, but we get ibises and night herons as well. It’s great to get a close up view of one of these birds through a spotting scope. You get to see them in so much more detail than with the naked eye or even with binoculars.
It’s a really fun walk to do on Friday morning or afternoon (depending on the tide). You learn a lot about how these birds look and you’ll take away something about their migratory patterns. Kim is very informative and is great company on one of these strolls beside the Great Salt Pond.