Saturday, March 31, 2012

Essex Happenings 4.4.12

Essex Happenings…..April 4, 2012

Essex Heritage Spring Meeting

It is certainly not too late to sign up to attend the ENHC Spring Meeting at Merrimack College in North Andover. MA.

This year the ENHC annual meeting will take place at Cascia Hall at Merrimack College at 10:00 am on April 10, 2012. It is not too late to sign up for this FREE networking event. Contact the ENHC office at 978 740 0444 ot at to sign up.

First, I want to apologize for a brief period when I was not able to produce an edition of Essex Happenings. Toward the end of the period that I spent on holiday in Florida, I experienced some physical difficulties and had to spend some time in a local Florida hospital. I have met with most of my medical team in this region and they have provided me with programs that will help me complete my recovery from this small setback. The postings that I will offer may not be as frequent as in the past but I will continue to report on the activities Essex Heritage and its partners.

School Sports

My congratulations are offered to two local school systems that achieved recent sports successes . The young women from Andover once again ruled the basketball world in their division. The young men from Danvers after many decades of trying produced a basketball winner in their division. In the second half of my life, I have lived in Danvers and viewed success in many sports, but never in boys basketball. Congratulations on the win and for the perseverance to see those efforts thought to a State CHAMPIONSHIP.


I wanted to provide information on an upcoming presentation by the Town Archivist. Dick is a most entertaining presenter and the event is open to the public.

Hi Folks:

FYI, I have been asked to give an illustrated talk on the architecture of Danvers and Essex County, and how I date houses. It will be at the Library's Gordon Room on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:00 pm. All are welcome!

If you want to see if slide projectors are still being used, I'll answer
that for you. The program should be over in plenty of time so that I can
get home to watch my hero "Doc. Martin" on PBS.


Richard Trask, Archivist
Peabody Institute Library, Danvers Massachusetts
North of Boston Library Exchange


Florida Everglades, here we come....

Day 4: Manatees, Crocodiles, and the Night Sky

After a delicious all you can eat pancake breakfast cooked in the garden by Jim and Kyle, we headed to Flamingo. The night before the kids lobbied to go there to see the onlyAmerican crocodiles and the manatees. Even though everyone we talked to gave us little hope of seeing the two rare animals, they were determined to go, so off we went.

Did they make the right decision to spend the day in Flamingo? I'll let the kids tell you the rest through excerpts they chose to share from their journals.

I scan the water's murky surface looking for the creature that evades me; the crocodile who supposedly hides in the mangroves. They say he is almost impossible to find in the day, but I am not one to listen to doubters.... Jonathan

Searching and scanning, I found a manatee. The massive tail rose from the water exposing most of the body. With the slightest hint of a splash, its tail disappeared underneath the murky water...Will

The blazing hot, unyielding sun beats mercilessly upon my body. Its piercing bright rays penetrate the weak shield I have against it, my shirt. I glance up and squint my eyes to keep the violent sunbeams from blinding me. I am not the only one the sun has targeted, though. My gaze drifts downward to rest upon the sight of the glistening sunlit water.... Leo

Birds' call, motors roar, and classmates talk as I walk towards the dock. As we approach the docks, Barbara points out grazing off the wooden dock post. My heart starts to race. I faintly see its body below the dark brackish water. Its nostrils poke out. I am excited because I have another once in a lifetime experience....John

By far my favorite part of his little journey was seeing the deadly American Crocodile. In my entire life I have never seen anything as terrifying as that fully grown crocodile. Even the alligators couldn't match the scariness of that creature. Everything about that crocodile screamed deadly and I was very glad that I was not in the water. As I said to Jim, "I would much rather swim with the manatee than the crocodiles." Despite this, I marveled at its simple beauty. This animal has such a successful design that it has been around for hundreds of millions of years....Jonah

My eyes gleamed with delight as if I had ever seen it before. The sparkling water made the murky brownish water much more clear. Behind the manatee, a few people were canoeing. I heard the great birds calling to one another. Butterflies flew around with their wings flapping delicately. Little ripples in the water surrounded the great creature. A crocodile swam past with its strong mighty tail pushing and guiding it along. Its rough tail and skin were just enough above the water so that I could just barely see it. I felt relaxed and ready to take on our next adventure... Isabelle

When I saw the crocodile I got a little excited because that was the first time I have seen one in my life. The manatee was pretty cool, but we did not see much. I was a little disappointed...Danté

Stone sturdy stairs lead down to mangrove trees and shallow water. I blink and shake my head, but what I though to be a step moved. An American Crocodile blinked and I jumped...Elliot

The most exciting thing to hear was that there might be manatees in the water. With excitement in my head about seeing one my group sits down. Believe it or not I actually saw the whole body of one for the first time and I knew to myself it would be a long time until I saw another one. I loved seeing the beauty of the creature no matter the weight...Chris

At Flamingo I got to see some really cool birds sitting in their nests or flying around. The landscape and weather makes this a really nice day with all the water, trees, and grass...Alfred

Big ripples went in a line on the water leading to the dock.
When I reached the end of the trail of ripples there was nothing. Then a bulky gray mass rose slowly up from the fog-like water. It was a manatee. Its tail was like a big and wide fan. With a swish of its tail, the manatee sank back down to the depths. It was an experience I will never forget...Noah

Then Barbara called out, "There's a manatee!" and I feel fulfilled happiness, a state of euphoria. Now I finally get a chance to see a manatee. I get a space on the platform to see the manatee graze on some algae. After a few minutes of anticipation, I see a gray blurry blob, and realize it's a real-life manatee. My dream is fulfilled when I see a nose pop up two times, a back and, the best part, a tail...Ben

Ripples came from the dock. I could feel the excitement racing through my veins. A miniscule grey spot peeped out of the water. Then came a huge grey body, so unbelievable I almost thought what I was seeing couldn't be happening. As the manatee slowly ate the seaweed I realized that the majestic creature was surely real. Out of nowhere, "plop"-- a grey paddle tail slapped the water...Mayan

After a visit to a rookery and a quick picnic pizza dinner at West Lake, we made our way to Mahogany Hammock. Kyle led us out onto the boardwalk to see the sunset and watch the sky at twilight. Within moments, he had us in the palm of his hand, teaching us about the planets, stars, how to determine longitude and latitude, how to find the North Star, the magnitude of stars, apparent motion, the reason for seasons, Earth's orbit around the sun, retrograde motion, and hours of information and stories, filling our minds and making us want more. Kyle had all of us in the palms of his hands, with a delivery of information that made such a complicated and sophisticated topic easy for us to understand and appreciate. As it got later and later, there were more questions. We must have been directly under some lucky stars, because tonight local amateur astronomers arrived and set up their telescopes, their incredible and very complex equipment and allowed us to view Orion, several stars, Mars, a dead star, and more, all under a very visible Milky Way. The magic of an Everglades night extended from the sounds of the glades, to the serene waters of Florida Bay, to the mystery of the stars. There was no better way to end our day.


To see more photos, go to the PHOENIX SCHOOL Facebook page. Be sure to LIKE us if you haven't done so already.

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