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  • DRAGON ST. GEORGETHE

    A bi-weekly publication of Dragon’s Breath Communications, LLC

    When Kirk Gentalen talks about what got him thinking about pursuing a career in environmental education and management he doesn’t point to the influence of a favorite teacher or a child- hood spent camping and hiking. Instead, he credits the Grateful Dead.

    “It was going to the band’s concerts in high school and being exposed to different ways of thinking. Beyond the stage there were always booths devoted to different topics and issues—simple things like recycling that I hadn’t thought about before.”

    Another formative experience for the New Jersey native was spending three weeks studying milkweed on Hardwood Island in Blue Hill Bay near Mount Desert Island. “I went to my guidance counselor at the end of my junior year in high school and said I wanted to do a summer science camp,” Gentalen recalls. “He went to his filing cabinet and picked out the thinnest file in the drawer. It was about the Maine Island Ecology program on Hardwood Is- land. That seemed perfect.”

    While at Hardwood, Gentalen traded t-shirts with another camper. “The one she gave me was covered with banana slugs, which got me interested in the University of California Santa Cruz—the Fighting Banana Slugs!” At Santa Cruz Gentalen ma- jored in Environmental Studies. Following graduation in 1992 he began working in environmental education, mostly at three- or four-month summer camps.

    Gentalen’s choice of which camps to apply to for work was often motivated by a desire to see some bird or environment that piqued his interest. “I left California for Ohio—the warblers out there are just not as cool as back here so I ended up back east a lot. Here there are many more species and many more niches. I like the di- versity and seeing how different niches developed.” His summer travels eventually took him to Wisconsin, Tennessee, Cape Cod,

    Volume 5 Issue 10

    Thursday, July 20, 2017

    Thanks to a rock band, pursuing a career in getting kids and adults out into the natural world

    Continued on page 2

    Georgia, Washington state and back to California. Along the way he met up with Amy Palmer, to whom he is now married. While out in California the couple also spent several summers doing eco- tourism work in Homer, Alaska.

    As Palmer worked on completing a master’s degree in teaching the couple contemplated their next move, this time, they thought, to a more permanent location. “We had things lining up in Cali- fornia when we decided that maybe it would be good to relocate to a place closer to Amy’s parents in upstate New York,” Gentalen says. “So I said, how about getting a job on an island in Maine? And within a couple of weeks that’s what she did—she got a job teaching at the school on Vinalhaven.”

    Gentalen and Palmer spent 11 years on Vinalhaven, from 2004 to 2015. That is where their son, Leif, who is now eight years old, was born. Gentalen again found summer work at Tanglewood Camp in

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    “We totally lucked out on this spot. The other day I photo- graphed 10 different species of dragonflies!”

    PHOTO: Julie Wortman

    Kirk Gentalen at home near the Tenants Harbor marsh

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  • The St. George DRAGONPage 2 July 20, 2017

    Lincolnville and with a whale watch busi- ness in Bar Harbor. But in 2007 he began working year-round for the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT), taking the post of “regional steward” for Vinalhaven and North Haven, a position he still holds.

    The work of each MCHT regional stew- ard differs according to the specific needs of each region and the skills and experience each brings to the job, Gentalen explains. “My main job is to provide access for open space on the islands through trail mainte- nance or forestry, like attacking invasives, building bridges or waterbars to prevent erosion, or chain sawing. I also monitor easements—mainly for views either from the water or the land—to make sure people are doing what they’ve agreed to do.”

    And because of his background in envi- ronmental education, especially with young people, a big piece of Gentalen’s job is to do outreach with schools. “I work with kids on Vinalhaven, but I also do a lot of walks and talks with kids around the state.” Although Amanda Devine is the regional steward for the St. George area, this past year Gentalen worked with her and St. George School sci- ence teacher Alison England and her 8th grade students studying vernal pools in the Bamford Preserve at Long Cove.

    While his work for MCHT had famil- iarized him with St. George, his ties to the town have grown stronger since he and his

    ‘Natural world’ From page 1 family moved to St. George from Vinal- haven in 2015, when Palmer took a job teaching at the St. George School. Last year, for example, Gentalen became a Cub Scout den leader here. He also has helped out with the Girl Scouts and be- gun leading occasional nature walks for the Jackson Memorial Library.

    Gentalen and his family also recently bought a house near the end of Watts Av- enue in Tenants Harbor. Most exciting for Gentalen is that their new property reaches right down to the Tenants Harbor marsh not far from a beaver dam. “We totally lucked out on this spot.” Gentalen says. “The other day I photographed 10 different species of dragonflies! I’m also a big otter guy. The first time I went down to the bea- ver dam I went down to this point of land and found an otter latrine. I was standing there looking at it when I heard this snort- ing sound. I turned around and there were two otters looking at me.”

    Encouraging people to get out into the natural landscape is something Gentalen enjoys and believes stimulates conserva- tion mindedness. “We’ve been doing these Thursday morning bird walks out on Vin- alhaven for seven years. And when we first did them there weren’t that many hikes offered and people came along just to see where we were going to go so they could come out and hike later. Anytime you can get people out there is just great. It has just been impressive to me, from when I was a kid until now, how much more conscious people are of the environment.” —JW

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  • The St. George DRAGON Page 3July 20, 2017

    The corner of Long Cove Road and Route 131 then and now

    PHOTO: Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum

    This is the first of two columns on the history of the Long Cove quarry, covering the time frame up to 1900. Most of the informa- tion comes from local newspapers, labor union reports, census re- cords and the books On Solid Granite by Margaret Graham Neeson and Tombstones and Paving Blocks by Roger L Grindle.

    Long Cove quarry saw its beginning in 1875. James M Smith, Joseph Hume and William Birss were partners in the foundation of the Long Cove Granite Co. In an 1877 newspaper article it was reported that the quarry had shipped 38 tons of granite and employed from 60 to 100 men. In late 1879 the company got the contract for the completion of the government building in Albany, N.Y., and work was expected to last a year. Earlier granite supplied for this building came from Spruce Head.

    In the 1880 census of St George there were some quarry workers in the Smalleytown area–just north of Long Cove–and although most of them were local families, there were some from Canada and a few from England and Scotland. A boarding house for workers doesn’t appear in the 1880 census, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. In June 1880 a local branch of the Granite Cut- ters International Union was created at Long Cove and while work continued on the Albany contract, the paving cutters at Long Cove were responsible for cutting 500,000 blocks in 1880.

    The cutting for the Albany contract was completed by the fall of 1881 and it was reported that some of the men then left “for other parts.” Those remaining were out of work for about a month and had started back to work when things went bad. The local newspa- per reported in October 1881 that the company had been attached by creditors. A list of property at the time of the Sheriff ’s sale in March 1882 reveals the extent of operations: 3 derricks; a carpen- ter’s shop; crowbars, hammers and sledges; six horses; two cows; a complete blacksmithy; 300 drills; 70 kits of stone cutting tools; several carts and wagons, including two stone wagons; and various blasting equipment. The sale also included a boarding house and a store with its contents–which included food, kerosene, chimney lamps, gun powder, 22 bottles of bay rum, 23 bottles of cologne and 12 bottles of hair oil.

    The early history of the quarry at Long Cove

    Building in our community for over 30 years

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    Continued on page 3

    PHOTO: John M. Falla

  • The St. George DRAGONPage 4 July 20, 2017

    there were 140 granite cutters, paving cut- ters and quarrymen busy at Long Cove. A new steam car also arrived. Then things went downhill. Besides the problems that occurred during the Great Lockout, Booth Brothers had a fire in the e