erik blomquist

My name is Erik Blomquist, and I have been fortunate enough to call Fishers Island a second home my entire life. Since I was little, I have come to the island to visit my grandparents and experience the unique little world that is Fishers Island. It was at a young age that I began finding undeniable interest in the natural world, always being told by my grandpa, John Ski, to “observe nature”.

For the past seven years, I have spent summers on Fishers working various jobs. Last summer, I worked as an intern for the Fishers Island Conservancy doing basic invasive plant species removal, mostly throughout the Parade Grounds. I worked alongside Adam Mitchell and Joe Henderson, helping to make progress in the projects they envisioned for that specific area.

After making only a tiny dent in overall removal goals for the Parade Grounds, I began thinking of ways to ramp up removal of these invasive species. Down a somewhat unexpected avenue, I found the means to further the progress in the battle against invasives.

During the off-season, I was given a spot on the Island Sentinels team. Justine Kibbe gave me the opportunity to create my own project to add to the Island Sentinels program. My project is still developing into a monitoring site that will encompass a portion of the Parade Grounds, from Airport Road east towards the movie theater, all along the Fort stretch. It will be a monitoring site, where we can observe and record invasive plant species.

Monitoring will be ongoing over the summers so we can gain awareness of how quickly and aggressively these species are taking over the area. My goal is that by recording the location and density of these invasive plant species, we can formulate an appropriate removal and restoration plan. The end result is to eventually see a healthier Parade Grounds habitat.

Island Sentinels
Island Sentinels

2015-16 Island Sentinels (l-r) Conor Wakeman and Gardner Thors, with FIConservancy Naturalist and creator of the Sentinels program, Justine Kibbe.

Sentinel Team 2014

L to R: Conner Wakeman, Gardner Thors, Justine Kibbe, Olivia Backhaus, Aaron Kane (not pictured Alan Eastman)

By Island Sentinel Rob Backhaus.

Combing the beaches of Fishers Island, looking for hidden treasures and historical relatives, is a fun and educational experience. Many of the beaches on Fishers Island present opportunities to find hidden treasure. With its famous military dumping background, Race Rock is loaded with hidden treasures waiting to be found.

Rob and Olivia Backhaus

The Conservancy welcomes our first Island Sentinels, the brother-sister team of Rob and Olivia Backhaus. Rob graduated this year from the Fishers Island School and is headed to college this fall. Olivia will be a senior at the F.I. School this fall.

Rob and Olivia settled right into their jobs monitoring sites around the island. Keep your eyes out for them riding their bikes from site to site and gathering data at various locations – including Silver Eel Cove, South Beach, Dock Beach, Middle Farms Pond, Isabella, Big Club and Chocomount beaches, Hay Harbor, East Harbor, and Race Point. Give them a big welcome and a thank you for their work!