Odd Jobs with Stewart B. McKinney Part 1: Outer Island
I finished my time on Calf Island in early August. However, with no job to go to right off the bat I asked the Staff at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge if they had anything for me to do for the remainder of the summer. Luckily for me there’s almost always something that needs doing at a Refuge.
My first assignment was to go and take the place of the pair of Island Keeper’s that had been assigned to live on Outer Island over the summer. “Oh great,” I thought to myself. “Another couple days of roughing it on a deserted island.”
I wasn’t…exactly correct on that. You see, while I’d known that Calf Island was the most “rustic” of all the Island’s within the refuge, I wasn’t really clear on how big the gulf between my experience and the experiences of some of my coworkers actually was.
As it turns out, Outer Island is pretty much the opposite of Calf. Where I lived in a (cozy) screened in porch off a pavillion on Calf, the Outer Island Keepers lived in a two bedroom house with electricity and a living room.
The experiences aren’t really equatable.
At any rate, helping the refuge ‘keep an eye’ on Outer Island turned out to be a cake job. At night there were boils of baitfish by the docks (fleeing from a dozen or so marauding bluefish) and during the day the Terns that had been breeding on nearby Falkner Island flew around fishing. Outer Island has some amazing history behind it. Which unfortunately I do not actually know. The Island Keeper’s who lived there during the summer worked extensively with the Friends of Outer Island helping with the upkeep of the island and with giving tours to the hundreds of people who visited the island over the course of the summer. I just had to babysit for a couple of days.