In our last blog post, we introduced our Seasonal Field Assistants for 2022. Each year we also hire seasonal staff to help ranger the properties and to monitor our rare and unique shorebird populations. This year we have two seasonal staff: Max is our overall shorebird monitor, tracking and protecting shorebird populations across all of our coastal properties and Bret is returning as our Coatue Ranger, living at the secluded Coatue Ranger Cottage to oversee this unique property and protect the shorebirds nesting there.

Meet Max Chalfin-Jacobs

            Hi, I am Max Chalfin-Jacobs, and I am working as a Shorebird Monitor for Nantucket Conservation Foundation this summer. I am 19 years old, and I am from Newton Massachusetts. Although this is my first summer doing ornithological work, I have been in love with birds and the outdoors in general since I was five years old. There’s a story I always tell, of the way I got into birding, that likely holds at least a little truth to it. I was five and wandering with my mother along the manmade ponds of Florida near my Great-grandmothers house. She had given us a Peterson’s guide to birds and a monocular that was so bad it was better to look with just your bare eyes. We spotted to birds, one blue one we knew to be a Little Blue Heron, that was with a white bird of an unknown species. We determined that it was either a juvenile Little Blue Heron or a Snowy Egret (which is what I thought it was). We looked through the guide and figured out that I was right. I think I am remembering saying to myself: wow I got that right, and I am smarter than my mother I should keep doing this. And so, I’ve been a birder ever since.

            Over the 14 years since then, I have only become more invested. I have spent long hours wandering through the woods, along beaches, falling into marshes. I began to keep track of what I saw, to learn the different field marks and songs of birds from all around the world. I made many friendships, one of which brought me to Nantucket for the first time four years ago. Birding led me through the pandemic, into my decision to go to Middlebury College which is tucked away in the woods somewhere in Vermont, and eventually to this job here on Nantucket. And I am so happy to be here, spending my days walking along beaches, doing what I love, birding (with the mosquitoes and greenheads as company of course). I spend my days observing the oystercatchers, plovers, and terns, doing what I can to keep them safe and teach others about the birds that have enraptured me for my whole life. If you see me while out on a beach somewhere, feel free to approach, even if I am covered in grime, but brace yourself for a conversation about birds that always seems to drag on longer than suspected.

            When I am not out birding, you can find me throwing some discs while playing ultimate frisbee or disc golf, kicking a soccer ball around, or reading a book on the beach. This amazing job is the first of what I hope are many steppingstones into a career in ornithology. In whatever form that takes, the experience I gain this summer will surely come in handy. Plus, what’s not to love about spending a whole long summer on the beautiful beaches of Nantucket.

Meet Bret “Malibu” Tetreault:

Back by unpopular demand. You either loved him or adored him. For a second season everyone’s favorite Coatue Wildlife Refuge’s ranger Mr. Bret Ovila “Malibu” Tetreault! If you weren’t so lucky to have been graced with his oh so charming red goatee or those mirrored aviators, then allow us to expand on his mystery.

As a 2022 graduate of Paul Smith’s College in the great snow kept lands of northern New York state in the Fisheries & Wildlife Management program, let’s just say he knows a thing or two about birds. Although ducks and other assorted waterfowl are his bread and butter don’t let that fool you. The plethora of endangered, threatened, and rare species that call Nantucket their home all have a place in his heart in addition to his knowledge. Their movements as well as their behaviors are all well known to him allowing for a seamless balance of conservation with recreation. For all the beach going public to enjoy.

But things can always be improved upon. No fly he ties is perfect. No wood he carves into bears or alligators is just right. No rapid gorge he shoots is quick enough. The same goes for conservation. Let no land be without protection, and what better a place to protect then Coatue. It is his duty to not only ensure the organisms that walk, swim, and fly are well kept but also to keep the property as pristine as possible.

As working for Mass Fish & Wildlife repairing and replacing wood duck boxes wasn’t enough. Nor was removing invasive species in the city of Taunton’s parks. Neither was propagating and replanting dune grass across the Cape. I guess you could say Coatue was his next and most favorite of projects. So give him a hand and follow the rules, pick up not only your trash but other pieces you find, respect the wildlife even those sky rats we all love to hate, and most of all have a good time!

The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a private, non-profit land trust that depends on contributions from our members to support our science projects, conservation property acquisitions and land management efforts. If you are not already a member, please join us now!