Starting Where We Are
By Evelyn Nathan
---- — KINGSTON - In 2008, I received a kayak as a Christmas gift. Until that kayak hit the water the next spring, I was obsessed with changing my latitude as often as was humanly possible – in short – getting the heck out of New England. I had lived in Jamaica in my 20's and since that time had existed for the annual tropical trip. I'd seen a great decline in the quality of the Caribbean reefs, however, and in the sheer number of fish in the sea. I thought someday I might like to some kind of contribution to help protect the ailing oceans of the world. Meanwhile, I was stuck in New England, but my early morning paddles took me deep into marshes where it seemed no one had ever been. The only sounds were wind in reeds and the skraaks of great blue herons annoyed by my presence. Reflections of the ripples shimmered on foliage. Water lilies, pickerelweed and arrowheads closed in around me like an Amazonian jungle. Clouds of dragonflies, flocks of birds and rafts of sunning turtles were all around. Frilled weeds grew up from the golden lake beds like seaweed, and there were freshwater sponges called bryozoans. Within a 10 minute driving radius I could put-in on a different river, stream or pond every day of the week, and it occurred to me then that the appropriate place to begin saving the oceans was in Kingston. That revelation inspired me to join the Conservation Commission to see what could be done. This June, three biology teachers at Sanborn High School, several members of the Powwow Pond Council and the Kingston Conservation Commission will lead 180 students in surveying some of the problems affecting our Powwow Pond, and hopefully, work out few organic solutions together. We will plant some rain gardens, enhance some shoreline buffers, and try to slow down the flow of detrimental "non-point source pollution" into the pond. Powwow pond runs into Tuxbury Pond and Lake Gardener. Lake Gardener runs into the Merrimack River. The Merrimack River runs into the sea. Planting a rain garden on Powwow Pond may be a proverbial drop in the bucket, and a very long shot from saving the ailing oceans of the world, but it's here, in our town – and so are we.