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Sometimes, you have to be flexible

Friday, 23 November 2012

Normally my work assignment days on the refuge include a half day in the Visitors Center (VC), and a half day roving.  Today my assignment was for a full day in the VC.  While I normally don’t mind a full day now and then in the VC, I wasn’t looking forward to today.  The flooring here is uneven bumpy chunks of slate.  It plays havoc with my current malady, and I have to do a lot of walking on that surface.

After opening up this morning, a call came in that Kathy would not be able to make it in this morning to man the Chesser Homestead.  She was hoping to get here for the afternoon.  I immediately volunteered to take her place for the morning since we had three people manning the VC.  (Overkill in my opinion since the mornings at this time of the year are very slow.)

Sarah, the Brown Shirt on duty, agreed and let me leave to rove and open the Homestead if needed.  Yahoo!!  I was out of there in a flash.  I had the electric cart, so I slowly made my way down the Swamp Island Drive.  One of the parts I like about roving is talking with visitors along the way, and answering any questions they may have.  People are more willing to talk to you when you’re in the little open air cart. 

71 Okefenokee NWR 2012-1316

                Couldn’t pass up the chance to take more pitcher plant photos in the early morning light.

I came upon a couple standing outside their car on the side of the Drive.  The husband had a honking big lens on his camera, and was obviously stalking some little birds in the palmetto understory.  He first asked if I was an expert, and then began to describe a bird he had seen after he told me he was a birder.  I told him the bird he was describing was a male common yellowthroat, and then he showed me a picture he had taken and asked what bird it was.  It was a pretty good photo, so I easily identified a chipping sparrow.  Then he quizzed me on the sounds that these two birds made in the winter.  Luckily, I was able to produce some sounds in my identifications that made him say, “Yes, that’s it!”  Phew!  I’m sure glad they were easy questions, and I’ve always added sound effects to my descriptions.  Who me?  It was a fun encounter.

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After lunch, I returned to the VC to work the afternoon.  Turns out I had done a NO-NO.  I didn’t have a radio (walkie-talkie) with me this morning.  Art, in charge of interpretive programs, had been trying to get a hold of me all morning to tell me to stay at the Chesser Homestead to be the docent all day.  The refuge gets quite a few visitors the day after Thanksgiving, and the Homestead is very popular.  Without a docent, the visitors can’t go through the house to see what it was like back in 1927 for a pioneer swamper family. 

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Needless to say, I hopped back into the cart and floored it back out to the Homestead!  Disappointed smile  I bet I was doing a little over ten miles per hour!  It’s a good thing I got things opened up as I had 72 visitors in three hours.  That’s a lot of people to talk to about the history of the farm.  I was in my element, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Sometimes you have to be flexible, but this time the sudden change in the schedule made my day.

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

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