Volunteer Profile: Jerry Golub

11 09 2012

Intrepid explorers Carol and Jerry Golub suited up for an Icelandic excursion.

Jerry Golub has been a Seanetter for nearly eight years, posting walks from his beach in New Jersey since 2004. When skeptics of the citizen science approach doubt that volunteers have the tenacity needed to stick to a long-term, baseline project like SEANET, Jerry is one of the very first people who comes to my mind. I rarely get to see many Seanetters in person, and Jerry is no exception. But his email correspondence is always so warm and open that I thought I should introduce him to all you fellow Seanetters, if only via this digital medium. Jerry kindly obliged my request for a bit of autobiography, and while he describes it as “more than you needed to know,” I beg to differ. I have included his message in its entirety, even his deeply wounding dig at the Red Sox. But my allegiance to SEANET rises even above my lifelong New Englander’s dedication to lost athletic causes. And so, I give you Jerry, in his own words:

“I volunteered for SeaNet surveys because I felt it was a contradiction to use excessive gasoline for birding, and the surveys make me feel I m doing something worthwhile with my gasoline.  Excessive is relative and I don’t mean to impugn birders who drive to increase their life, year, state or whatever lists.  Sometimes I feel I should do more of it.
In addition to my activity for SeaNet I also volunteer for a few NJ Audubon Society projects.  Twice/year I conduct Grassland Bird Surveys on 5 plots in NW NJ.  This has given me an opportunity to see Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow & Meadowlark which I probably wouldn’t see otherwise (but I once saw a migrating flock of Bobolinks in FL.).
It is time for my first Heron Survey in NJ Meadowlands where I have occasionally seen dead birds  which I irresistibly must photograph.  However, I am looking for live herons & egrets to assess success of local breeding.  When there was more $$$$, I also recorded the birds’ foraging  success.
I also do shorebird surveys in spring & fall @NJ Meadowlands, but have been disappointed by seeing virtually nothing besides yellowlegs & peeps.
Of course I bird more extensively in spring & fall and to conserve fuel, I usually go to a spot~2.5 miles from home.  I was “secretly” glad it has been inaccessible most of this spring for renovations that should improve my experience there, because I have less guiltily traveled to Garret Mt., a renowned migrant trap which is ~12 miles from home.

Young Black-legged Kittiwakes at their cliffside nests in Iceland were among the birds Jerry sighted.

Despite the preceding, birding and avian volunteering does not dominate my life.  Living close to NYC, Carol (my wife of 49 years next week!) go to Broadway Shows and the Metropolitan Opera and museums several times a year.  While I can recognize virtually no music from any opera, we always enjoy the productions.

While this is probably anathema to SeaNet’s mostly Massachusetts based constituency, I am an avid NYY fan, and go to a few games a year, even  postseason games last year.  Do you know what the postseason is?  Just kidding!  However, I am astonished by the anti-NYY feelings in the greater Boston area extending to NH where at a luncheonette a few years ago we encountered a “Parking for anyone but Yankee Fans”  sign and baseball card and pennant displays with all teams but NYY!

While Carol and I don’t revere travel like some retirees, we do like to go to interesting places, and in July we went to Iceland for a week.  Surprisingly many of our friends ask, “Why?”.  Most of our travel is to Baltimore where until 4 May there was only Zack, our 8 year old grandson (in addition to son & daughter-in-law of course.).  Eli and Samantha were born then and we have been there a lot more than before.  From the NICU to home took ~4 weeks, but they are growing rapidly.
Our other major travel destination is Melbourne Beach, FL where our older son lives among the nesting sea turtles.  Other time is spent volunteering for and attending services at our synagogue.

As the saying goes, “you probably know more than you needed!”, but I’m just trying to be compliant.”

Pictures like this make me want to go to Iceland too.

You can check out all of Jerry’s photos from the Icelandic adventure here. It was an Atlantic seabird bonanza, clearly. Also check out the photos of signage describing the mythical “Hot Spring Bird.”

For your compliance in all things SEANET, for your dedication, for your knowledge and passion for birds, I thank you, Jerry! I won’t deny my fascination with dead seabirds, but it’s people like Jerry who make this job worthwhile. Here’s to another eight years of Seanetting!




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