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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I’m going to tell you about all the wonderful, FRIENDLY, informative people that Dan and I have had the opportunity to meet and to work with.

We have met a LOT of people and I can’t even begin to remember names. Many of them were locals and we may never see them again, but they helped us or informed us.

Then there are the employees of Alligator River Refuge and of Pea Island Refuge. I know we haven’t met them all and the ones we have met we may not remember their names yet, but they are just as important as the ones I’m going to tell you about.

I know all of these people have titles, but I can’t commit to memory all of the titles!

We had been corresponding for almost a year with our Volunteer Coordinator, Abbey. I felt by her emails that she would be a genuinely special person to get to know and to work with. We were not disappointed. Abbey strikes us as a warm and caring person. She is so full of energy and ideas; she is also a mother and a wife and a horsewoman. How she finds time to sleep is beyond me.

Then there is Cindy who works out of the Pea Island Refuge; she TOO is a hard worker, extremely personable and a lot of fun to be around. From what we have seen so far, Cindy is on the go all of the time. Cindy is a wealth of information and is very happy to share it with others. And she too puts in a LOT of hours.

And there is Bonnie. She works out of the Manteo Office and due to all the responsibilities Bonnie has, I think she is often viewed as the manager of Alligator River Refuge. She is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. You can tell the dedication to her work and the refuge just by having a conversation with her.

Then there is Bruce who is the head of, I guess you would say maintenance and repairs and all of the 9 (or 11??) refuge’s in the area. He wears a LOT of hats. I can’t even begin to tell you the duties of the field’s operations office but he is the head of it…and he has been extremely helpful when Dan and I need something and don’t know where to go or what protocol is. Dan and I think of this branch of the refuge as an equivalent to the Michigan DNR’s field offices. They oversee 3- year prescribed burnings, the drainage of the ditches, the purposeful flooding of the fields, timbering the dikes, etc.

And speaking of the DNR…the Michigan DNR has finally had to admit that there ARE cougars in Michigan!!! I believe the story was dated November 4th and is out of Chippewa County which is to the east of the county of Luce (where we live). For years locals have been trying to convince the DNR that there ARE cougars and they, the locals, were not taken seriously. One of the DNR’s wildlife cams caught a couple of photos of a cougar! I guess they now have to agree, there ARE cougars in “da U.P”!

Back to the people we’ve met; Friday, Dan and I worked the hospitality table at the Pea Island Visitors Center. This was all part of the Wings over Water festival so there were a lot of bird people at the center who had been on very early morning guided bird walks. We view them as very DEDICATED birders due to the howling wind and the 40 degree temps. It had to have been very cold walking through the marshes that morning to get to the viewing areas. I’ve never seen such a variety of spotting scopes, binoculars, tripods and cameras. And people talking about birds we’d never even heard of. But they were so willing to share their knowledge. It wasn’t only birds that people had seen off and on throughout the day but various types of butterflies, snakes, assorted other reptiles and other types of mammals. It was an education for us.

It appears the bears have been very active on the trails and boardwalks again. Dan and I will have a lot of boards to replace this week. I can’t remember for sure, but it seems to us that the treated lumber that we purchase in Michigan is NOT treated with salt as it is here. I know it use to be treated with arsenic, but I can’t remember what is used now. I feel a search coming on!!! One would think there would be something that could be used for this boardwalks and rails and wouldn’t entice the bears to chew on them.

Have a great weekend!!


  1. Tell those dang bears to give you some rest already! Have you seen one yet to capture a picture? Did you get any pictures the day all those people were out observing too?
    I would be like a kid in a candy store with my camera there! ha
    We had another nice day today in the U.P...high 50's and afternoon sun. One more day of reprive before winter shows up again. Yay!!

  2. Cathy, The Soo residents have been talking about the 'mystery cat' in the area for over 40 years. The DNR has always denied the possibility but the locals have continued to have sightings. The one in Chippewa County was spotted right near my nephew's place on 15 Mile Road near M-129. I'm going to call him and then write a blog about it.

    I'm glad you are meeting such great people. It must make learning a new job so much nicer!

  3. sfeutz7:02 PM

    Hi Cathy

    When I lived in the UP I talked to people that had seen cougars in the area. So it's good that they finally got them on camera. I didn't doubt it. We have some in our area also but as much as we have been out in the hills we haven't seen one. There was a case in close by Cortez where one dropped out of a tree onto a boy who was mowing with a riding lawn mower. The boy's dog chased it off and he wasn't hurt badly. Maybe Dean Oswald knows a solution to your bear and boards question.
    Sounds like you are enjoying and meeting nice people!


  4. All the people you are meeting sound like good, quality people :-) That's a real bonus in a job. Glad things are going so well for you and Dan.

    And like I always say-- WATCH OUT FOR THE BEARS!



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