Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Tale Of Ospreys, Power Companies, Schools and Cooperation.

This is a tale of ospreys, school districts, and power companies ...

For the 25 years that I have called Levy County home, there have been ospreys using an old light pole, in the old ball field at the Cedar Key School. The weathered old pole sits on the edge of the school property, sandwiched between an open ball field/parking area and the salt marsh.

I don't know when the lights atop the pole quit working and that's not important here anyway. The important thing is the old pole has been used by ospreys for years.

Our story, my part of it at least, begins last Tuesday during the teacher preplanning week. As I was passing through the front office, our sweet office ladies asked me to take some photos of the osprey nest for the district office.

Hmmmm ... that seemed odd... so, I asked...

"What do they want them for?"

"They need them for a nest removal permit. They're taking down the old light poles."

"Why? That nest has been there for a couple of decades at least."

The answer involved safety, and at a school with precious children, it is hard to argue on the other side of safety. It seemed that the old lamps and some of the wooden supports were dangling and could fall.

Of course I volunteered to get those photos, because emailing them to the district office would allow me to put my two cents in on why we should keep the vertical pole so the ospreys could eventually use it again.

The power company, Central Florida Electric Cooperative, was right about the safety issue as you can see from the photo above. The nest, inactive at this time of year, is just on the other side of this view of the pole.

I walked out across the field, shot 4 different views of the osprey pole and then returned to my classroom. I attached the photos to an email, made a case for replacing the pole top with a nest platform citing the longevity of the nest site and how it was a part of our school.
The last thing I did before clicking "SEND" was to blind copy my new school principal who was away that day at training.

CLICK ... and the email shot out into the ether.

Later that day, I got a "thank you for the photos" from the district office and nothing more.
No response to my suggestions.

Uh oh.

A little after that, I got a very positive response from my principal after she received her copy of the email.

I was out the next morning for a dental appointment and I did not see my principal until after lunch.

The osprey pole was in the back of my mind, bouncing around as I planned my second round of email osprey diplomacy.

And then my principal popped into my classroom and informed me that she had been working that morning to save the nesting pole and that she had been successful.

We would either get the old pole with the dangerous dangly stuff cut off, or a brand new pole.

I high-fived her ... couldn't help myself.

The "new pole" angle was due to a certain school district employee with strong Cedar Key ties who was really pushing for a brand new pole that would last a long time, rather than the old weathered one that had been in the ground for decades.

Late last week this was the scene as "Operation Osprey" got underway. In the photo above, the old pole has been topped and is yet to be extracted.
The brand new pole is on the trailer waiting to be installed.

In this photo, the Central Florida Electric truck is shaking the old pole to loosen it in a technique familiar to anyone who has ever pulled an old fence post out of the ground.
Shake, pull, shake, pull ...

I worked late that day, but left out of the front entrance to the school so I didn't see their handy-work until I went in Sunday to do a little pro-bono planning before the kids start Monday.

When I walked around back, this is what I found.

The pole was up AND the Central Florida Electric folks had installed cross bars and a makeshift platform ... with some nesting material as bait.


Here's a view of the entire new pole. Just behind the thin band of trees is the salt marsh.

Awesome job CFEC!

This month I'm paying my electric bill with a smile.

If I were a hash tagging kind of guy, you might see things like:

It was a good week at Cedar Key School, folks, a very good week.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is such a heart warming story. High fives to all of you that no doubt saved many generations of Osprey to come.

Jim said...

Great Job! COngratulations Ray and the Osprey's!

Julie Zickefoose said...

OK. third time I've tried to leave a comment, and Blogger is gagging. Thanks for starting my day with a snuffle, FC. So proud for you, for Cedar Key School, for the power company, for the ospreys. Just goes to show that sending positive energy into the universe sometimes returns tenfold. I can't wait to see what the fish hawks think of their new digs. Looks a lot better to me!

Island Rider said...


Anonymous said...

Love this story, FC! Everyone is happy including the very beautiful ospreys. Wonderful in every way!

Banjo52 said...

Send this post to Congress? These days I feel as if I NEVER hear of two sides even trying to meet in the middle to find solutions. So your story is an even bigger feel-good affair than it might seem. To everyone involved, Way To Go.

Anonymous said...

My compliments to all involved in this success story!

Suzanne said...

I loved this story! You are always doing such wonderful things for the critters you meet. Thank you for taking action and for the caring of all those involved. I tweeted this post and also left a thank you at the contact page for CFEC. It's inspiring!!contact-us/c4tz

And bonus, looking forward to pictures of the osprey's when they nest there again.

Katherine Edison said...

Woo Hoo is right! What a success story! I love that no one got angry or nasty either. You just made your case and the "powers that be" saw the wisdom in your words. Great work!

MamaHen said...

That's wonderful!! So cool to see humans all work together for the critter's benefit.

Dan said...

Well done!

Anonymous said...

So glad this had a happy ending. I was thinking it would get ugly. Woo hoo!!
Way to go.

Mark P said...

Good job, FC. I admire you.

R.Powers said...

I was a bit player in this tale of cool cooperation. The lead characters were the three organizational folks,(principal,electric company reps, and school district) who came to a great consensus on the right thing to do.
Can't wait to see the first perching atop that pole.

Aunty Belle said...

very very cool, FC. These victories is what life be all about.

Wally Jones said...

Made my day.

"Can you take a picture of the Osprey nest?" - and look at the results!

I feel like paying my bill to YOUR utility company.

Thanks again, for an inspiring story.

(As you may guess by viewing my avatar, I sorta like them Fish Hawks!)

Dawn said...

Congrats! What a great story. I'm so glad that your principal stepped up to the plate for you as well.

R.Powers said...

They add up don't they?

LOL! Yes, I see the connection.

Thanks, she's a great addition to Cedar Key School.

So I told the kids, "I have a 5 dollar bill for the kid who shows me the first picture of an osprey on the new nest pole."
So far I have seen one black vulture photo. :)
Still have my fiver...