Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shoveling sand for a good cause

Sand is insidious. It gets in everything. It covers everything. Wind moves it effortlessly. Man moves it not so well. So consider the impact a hurricane has on these barrier islands and the Forts that protect their shoreline and harbors - sand & water moving a incredible speeds. Sand & water that will cover everything including various support structures of the fort - structures that provide great interpretive opportunities to explain the challenges of building a fort on sand. Along came Hurricane Ivan and buried some of these key structures, along with all the road ways and much of the forts walkways. Sand is hard to move.

As a Service Opportunity, volunteers from the conference tackled the tasks of removing brush, sweeping walkways & digging out one of the reverse support structures that allowed the visitor to understand how the heavy artillery guns and implacements were able to sit on top of a fort built on sand. The enthusiastic crew tackled each of these tasks with gusto. Thankfully, many of the crew, including myself had some experience on archaeological digs (Thanks Steve Mrozowski - UMASS-Boston) therefore, the crew was utilizing brooms to clear away sand to identify the brick edges of the reverse support.
The crew worked tirelessly and energetically and moved a ton of sand, absolutely, had to be a ton. The highlight was accurately depicted by Rachel D'Nato, "The coolest thing was as we were finishing up at the reverse support, the 2:00 Tour came by and said, 'Wow! Look at that!' We felt so good that this structural component of the fort was revealed allowing the visitor to really understand the fort's construction. It was great."
The general agreement was that these service opportunities were really great opportunities, but we could expand them by doing the physical labor in the AM, then attacking a problematic issue at the site - after all, we have all these really smart people who have done really interesting work acting as free consultants to the museum, historic site, etc. A free charrette.
A good afternoon of work with tangible results and it was totally a team effort.
Chuck Arning

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