Collaboration with the Fishers Island School –

The Ferguson Museum is involved in a number of collaborative projects. A recent endeavor is an exciting collaboration led by the museum’s Land Trust Stewardship Coordinator Jack Schneider and Fishers Island School teacher Adam Murray.

Murray teaches courses in environmental science, construction and lumbering, and land conservation. He and the students he teaches have partnered with Schneider on a number of projects, including repairing and rebuilding a footbridge on Penni’s Path. Using observation backpacks to collect survey data useful to the seagrass coalition; Creation of new plantings behind the museum in the H. Lee Ferguson Jr. Wildlife Sanctuary and elimination of invasive plant species in the Betty Matthiessen Wildlife Sanctuary. While still in development, students began researching information for Fishers Island’s own guide to rare plants and animals.

A new and exciting museum-school collaboration will replace decaying signposts for the museum’s Land Trust with the purchase and use of a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, a sophisticated milling tool that allows students to create new wooden signs for the museum’s pathways .

Adam Murrays Conservation Class is building a plank bridge near Penni’s Path, Middle Farms

Adam Murray’s construction class learned about miter saws

Signpost for the Distressed Museum Land Trust

Shapeoko router manufactured by Carbide3D

Many of the Land Trust marks have deteriorated over time, and while they could be recreated using a hand mill, the results on a CNC machine are programmable and therefore more controllable and consistent. “This machine is like a 3D printer, but instead of building up material, it takes away material and can be used on wood and soft metal,” said Murray. The CNC router was bought by the museum, is currently in transit and will be housed in the school.

The machine uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to design what is needed. Then the computer is connected to the CNC machine and cuts out what has been programmed. The signs then need to be sanded, finished and sealed. Along the way, students will evaluate and address issues on how to make the letters “pop”.

Aside from its intrinsic value in solving a museum need, the CNC machine provides an excellent opportunity to solve problems. “Everything on Fishers Island is unique, so the students who solve problems are also unique,” said Schneider. Students are encouraged to think creatively, and they will also learn that it is okay to fail and come back to the drawing board with an idea. In addition, the school’s students have the opportunity to gain practical experience with a machine that only a few high schools can offer.

Be on the lookout for new signs on the trails when this collaboration comes into play!

Did you know?

Spotted salamander

It’s March and the Fishers Island salamanders will soon be on the move! The first warm rainy night of spring (usually in March or early April) is known in the herpetological world as the “big night” and marks the eve of the salamander and frog migration in spring pools. Vernal pools are deep-seated depressions that are typically found in forests. They fill with spring melt water and rainfall runoff and typically have no inlet and / or outlet. Unable to feed fish, these wetlands provide refuge for common species, including the spotted salamander and the wood frog. Vernal pools are the only viable breeding ground for these species and are therefore vital to the maintenance of amphibian populations.

Be careful when driving the roads between highlands and wetlands at night to avoid crushing a hopeful amphibian on its way to its breeding ground! (One such area is on East End Road near the Boker Doyle Trail and the Gray Gulls.)

Comments are closed.