Featured beach: MA_18

18 01 2011

Linda on MA_18. The jetty at the mouth of the Merrimack River can be seen behind her.

Linda McCallum has been Seanetting since October 2010, and took on a stretch of the barrier beach on Plum Island in northeastern Massachusetts. The beach is a sandy stretch popular with locals and tourists and is just south of the mouth of the Merrimack River. The sands on Plum Island are constantly shifting, and beach houses often shift along with the dunes. Linda has witnessed firsthand what many would consider a futile battle–raising houses up on stilts, dumping dredged sand up onto the beach, and rebuilding destroyed houses a few feet back to begin the process anew.

House on the brink: a typical scene on MA_18.

As for Linda, she was very obliging in providing a bio by way of introduction to the SEANET community, and I liked it so much, I have simply provided it in her own words here. Welcome, Linda; we’re very pleased to have you, and MA_18, aboard!

“I have had a lifelong love of birds and all wildlife.  I became concerned with the environment at a very young age when riding my tricycle around my  neighborhood in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I would find dead birds after the trees were sprayed, I believe for Dutch elm disease.  I had a little cemetery for the birds and my passion to help birds started right then and there.

I have a B.A. in English from Michigan State University with minors in zoology and Spanish.  I also have taken courses towards a masters in environmental science.  I ended up working for Ford Motor Company for 23 years in various departments including vehicle engineering and international distribution.  Ford promoted volunteer work and allowed employees to take time off to volunteer for a non-profit of their choice.  I picked the Nature Conservancy and spent several years working at clearing invasives such as glossy buckthorn, honeysuckle and garlic mustard in a beautiful fen rich in biodiversity – including a small endangered rattlesnake and cricket frogs no bigger than a thumbnail!

I raised two sons on my own who are now in their’s 20’s.  I taught them the importance of environmental awareness which hopefully they will remember as now their attention is taken up with all kinds of  technological delights.  For a few years while my sons were fairly young, we volunteered on a farm animal sanctuary.  We worked with pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, geese and chickens.   I learned about inter-species relationships when my dog, a Samoyed, easily guided the geese to their shed in the evening while my attempts were quite futile.

My job at Ford ended, and in 2009 I moved to Massachusetts.  I am originally from New Bedford, MA with family in Byfield.  While living in Michigan,  I came out this way every year and am very happy to now be settling in here.  I live on Ring’s Island, Salisbury which is right on the Merrimack River near the ocean.   This is a superb area for a large variety of sea & shorebirds.

SEANET assistant Charli at work.

I am excited about the opportunity to work with the beached birds survey.  My companion, my Pomeranian, Charli, often helps out by sniffing interesting dead things on the beach.  The beach surveys for SeaNet looks to be a great way to help out and at the same time to learn lots about the rich diversity of birds that the Plum Island beach is fortunate to have. “

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