In the coldest POA weekend we can remember, hardy souls braved the elements to turn out for a great meeting on the island. We treasured a chance to spend time with neighbors from near and far, and conduct the business of the island: electing directors, learning about the progress of island projects, balancing budgets, etc.
Festivities began Friday afternoon with a hike through the conservation area, led by island Ecologist Lori Sheridan Wilson. We got to see firsthand how the area is recovering with natural wetlands as a result of our tallow eradication program. A pair of great horned owls was flushed from the roost and startled a roadside participant. We then continued Friday night with a cocktail party at the community facilities at Huyler House, with spectacular flowers arranged by island owner Kathy Warren. The evening is one of the only events of the year that is completely catered: all owners could relax and enjoy the night without worrying about the responsibilities of being the “host.” Winners of the fishing Rodeo were announced, with Dave McIntyre’s team taking the grand prize once again. New owner Geraldine DeRooy Key got a kick out those of us in mittens for the evening, but appreciated the warmth of the community:
“It might have been cold by SC standards but it was 20 degrees and snowing in Montana! We feel very privileged to be a part of this community of people and the island sanctuary. We have called our new home, ” Heaven’s Door” and look forward to meeting all of you more personally on the beach or over a shared meal. Thank you for your warm welcome.”
On Saturday morning we began early with a presentation from the Dewees Utility Corporation. DUC Chair Pat Wilson explained the new single stream recycling program that we are piloting with Charleston County. Paul Conover explained some of the whys and hows of our state-of-the-art water treatment, and reiterated that the new system has been highly efficient, with none of the challenges that have faced other nearby islands in the face of all this recent rain. One of the main water wells now has new pump and fittings, which has increased our water supply by 40 percent. Paul also pointed out that when you hear an alarm sounding outside your house, the pump is trying to get your attention, and you should stop using water and call the Dewees Utility asap. Edmund Frampton graciously agreed to serve another term on the board of the Utility and was elected to the position.
After a coffee break, we moved to the manager’s report, where we learned about the impoundment restoration progress, the new ferry, and our multitasking staff. POA board Chair Dave McIntyre and Treasurer Bill Easterlin presented the financials, and we proceded with elections. Dwight Plemmons, Faith Schwaibold, and Larry McDevitt are now members of the board (Faith is returning for a second term) and we thank them for their willingness to serve. (We also thank outgoing board members Dick Robinson and Alex Kliros for their service.) In addition, the size of the board grew to nine members, with the community voting to add Anne Anderson and Bill Duncan (ARB and EPB chairs) as full voting members. New owner John Gilles was impressed with the professionalism of the meeting:
It was the most professional one I have attended: so organized, and professionally run. I really appreciated getting the 2012 actuals vs budget, and the budget for 2013 ahead of time.
While the votes were tallied, Environmental Program Director Lori Sheridan Wilson gave an update on recycling, the impoundment project, our invasive species programs, and other environmental issues. As the recipient of the birding big year award for the most recorded birds, I was blown away by the prize: a beautiful sculpture of a shorebird by Larry Warren. Great catering by the Noisy Oyster restaurant led the lunchtime festivities: with oysters, burgers, and sides, we gathered with neighbors to celebrate the strength of our community with one another.
On Sunday, we were treated to a reading from Dershie McDevitt on her porch. Even though almost 4 inches of rain fell over the two days, wreaking havoc with the roads, the islanders who showed up on Dershie’s porch enjoyed candlelight and rain on the roof, and her gentle cadences reading from the book as we looked out over the pond described in the novel.
Lila lived in that hammock those last weeks of her life, absorbed as always in the behavior of the wildlife teeming around the swamp pond thirty feet below: a thirteen foot male gator, his mates and offspring, egrets in full breeding fettle, newly arrived, raucous, squawking moorhens with their flashy red facial feathers.
All in all, POA weekend was a celebration of the people who make this community what it is: neighbors who work together for the common good, who support one another and enjoy each other’s company. Rain and cold weather couldn’t dampen the fun!