Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ten Thousand Friends - Part I

As a college student I never attended an orgy.  Oh, sure, I had heard about certain “celebrations” that had taken place over Spring Break down in Mexico or occasional initiation parties along “fraternity row,” but I was certain they were more hyperbole than fact.  Even in my current role as a college professor I sometimes overhear inflated stories about bacchanalian weekends or wild end-of-the-academic-year festivals in distant corners of the campus.  But, I have never been an observer of (nor certainly a participant in) a full-blown Roman-style orgy where indiscriminate, and quite frequent, sexual encounters take place long into the night…and even into the following day.
            At least, not until I went to Delaware.
            Although it was late May, there was a crispness in the air as a small group of us stood in informal huddles along a sandy parking area bordering Broadkill Beach.  Directly to the west we watched a brilliant mass of solar hydrogen slowly creep down toward the horizon – spreading crimsons, saffrons, tangerines and fuchsias across the rippled waters of Delaware Bay.
Broadkill Beach is a long sweep of sand positioned two-thirds of the way down the eastern edge of Delaware and across from Cape May, New Jersey.  Broadkill is part of the Prime Hook State Wildlife Management Area – an expansive preserve lying about ten miles northwest of the tourist hotels, T-shirt shops, and ubiquitous saltwater taffy stores that flank the boardwalk of the resort town of Rehoboth Beach.  Houses here are few (condos are fewer) and people are a rarity along this seemingly deserted and forgotten stretch of itinerant sand dunes – each sprinkled with clumps of blue-green sea grass and the tracings of offshore winds.
We were an eclectic troop of teachers, businesspeople, housewives, artists, novelists, plumbers, lawyers, ecologists, accountants, children’s authors, and social workers.  Led by Glenn Gauvry of the Ecological Research & Development Group (ERDG), a wildlife preservation organization whose primary focus is the conservation of horseshoe crabs, we had each signed up to witness one of nature’s most spectacular rites of spring – an orgy of arthropods.  The annual mating call had sounded and tens of thousands of ancient creatures had heeded its siren echoes – scraping their way up out of the depths to frolic in front of several wide-eyed voyeurs who were recording their every move and every action.
            I guess if you want to have group sex, an isolated beach in Delaware is as good a place as any.

Next Post - Part II

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Jersey Seeks to Have Red Knots Listed as Endangered

"In the awkward and contentious dance that wildlife advocates, fishing interests, and regulators are engaged in over the intertwined lives of the horseshoe crab and a tiny shorebird, New Jersey has taken the latest step.
It has proposed to change the status of the bird, the red knot, from threatened to endangered.  As a practical matter, this accomplishes little, adding no new protection measures.  But state officials and others say it is nevertheless important as a formal recognition that despite years of efforts to help the bird, which stops at Delaware Bay every May to refuel, its numbers continue to decline."

Read the rest of this compelling article here:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Horseshoe Crab Puzzle

A dear friend (Nancy Weikert) sent this to me today and I thought readers might enjoy solving a horseshoe crab puzzle (sure beats the heck out of doing your income taxes).  Check it out and have some fun!