December 21, 2008

Winter at the Dunes

This past Friday a big storm front crossed the US. With temperatures dropping into the teens, most of the northeast was blanketed with snow. Eastern Long Island got dumped on all through Saturday too, but it already started disappearing Sunday when the temperatures rose to 40F and precipitation turned into rain. I left work early on Friday so I could get home before the roads got too bad, (and to do some sledding on the hill by my house before the sun went down). I made it my mission to get into camp to snap some snow photos before the rain washed away the snow. This is for all the P Doonzers stuck inside or far away. Enjoy...
...Winter At The Dunes





Think warm, dream of summer...
Happy holidays!


November 2, 2008

Back from vacation...

Greetings P Dunes Community! It has been a little over 2 months since camp ended and my last post to this blog. I'll do my best to get you caught up:

The biggest news is that long time P Dunes facilities manager, Roger Martin, married former Dunes administrative assistant Mellissa Modugno. They're presently enjoying some time off taking a honeymoon in the warmer climes of the Sunshine State. Congratulations Roger and Missy! Well wishers are encouraged to send messages to

Peconic Dunes Camp was selected as the "2008 Best of the Best" children's camp by Dan's Paper readers. Thanks Dan's Paper readers! And thank you to all the staff that make Peconic Dunes safe and fun.

The American Camp Association re-accredited Peconic Dunes for another 3 years. Thank you again staff!

I spent 2 weeks in Japan, visiting friends, surfing, hiking, and doing research for P Dunes agriculture projects. More on the agriculture projects to follow...

60 brand new Medline mattresses were donated to the camp by the Pilgrim's Landing nursing home up in Buffalo. Apparently, their maintenance director, Anthony Giambra is a 4-H camp alumnus and heard about our good work through the 4-H network. Thank you Anthony and Pilgrim's Landing!

A 40ft by 17ft hoophouse-style greenhouse was donated to Peconic Dunes by Peggy Falconer. Thank you Peggy!

Letters to 2008 camp staff have been sent out inviting their return for 2009. I'm looking forward to finding out who'll be returning so we can get to the work of planning for the coming summer.

I'll do my best to update on a weekly basis from now on. Be well Everyone!

September 5, 2008


Before another second goes by, I wanted to take a moment and express a heap of gratitude on Everyone who helped make the 2008 Peconic Dunes Camp a resounding success...

Antoinette Clementson, NY State Sea Grant
Mark Fast, SUNY Professor
Diane Van Buren, North Fork Audubon (Damselfly / Dragonfly Foray)
John Seponoski, North Fork Audubon
John Brush, New York Audubon
Mark Cappelino, CCE-Marine
Lourne Brousseau, CCE-Marine
Larissa Graham, NY State Sea Grant
Steve Schott, CCE-Marine
Mrs. Watts, helped with Art
Peter Danforth, CCE-SOAR
Fred Rolfe, US Power Squadron
Donna Ryniker, Camp Nurse
Sang Lee Farms
Rory McNish, CCE-Marine
Andy Senesac, CCE-Hort Lab
Chris Pickerell, CCE-Marine
Gary Enright, DEC
Fay A Fuerch, DEC
Go Solar!
Jimmy King, Long Island Traditions
Sharon Shine, Job Skills Coordinator @ Mattituck-Cutchogue Schools
Michael Romeo, Troop 6 Eagle Scout Project
Troop 6 & Eileen Mazzei, Troop 6 boy scout master
Troop 864 & Rose Anasagasti, Troop 864 girl scout master

Obviously, a big thanks to all the staff...counselors, cooks, facilities, health staff, CITs, and most especially, Roger and Diane!

Thank you Everyone for making my second summer at Peconic Dunes my best yet!

Stay tuned for updates throughout the year on improvements to our programs and facilities, as well as Staff Spotlights, photos of the Dunes through the seasons and interesting camper news.

See you in 10 moons...

August 18, 2008

Week 7- "Big Booty!"

Our second week of E.C.O. was productive with all of our groups making further progress with their projects. We also had a Halloween themed dance complete with scary costumes worn by some of our counselors.

European handball + Counselors Khriss and Ryan= DANGER!

7:30 Din...I mean breakfast!



Watch out! Ryan's coming!

"Have you ever wrestled a grizzly bear?"


Who's scarier?



Land of Peconic Dunes!


August 11, 2008

Week 6- "Something Strange in the Neighborhood..."*

Our first week of E.C.O. was extremely fun! The week also included a toga-themed dance which despite a thunderstorm ending turned out successful. The CITs created an evening program featuring Olympic style games.

Campers showing off their Environmental Art project.

Lots of toads could were found and caught throughout the week; sometimes for E.C.O. projects and sometimes just for fun!
Our toga-themed dance.

A sunset after a long day at camp.

*"...Who you gonna call?" -Ethan Comber

August 4, 2008

Week Five- ZINGER!

Despite a very wet start to camp, week five was full of enthusiastic campers and counselors. We had a talent show featuring both campers and staff. Our CITs finished building benches for roundup and created a scavenger hunt as an evening activity. The counselors competed in an intense basketball game. We finished the week with a rave-themed dance, amazing water carnival, and a campfire complete with skits!

*"Zinger!" is a trademark phrase of Jackie Polden

June 2, 2008

Rookie Camp!!!

It's Monday morning and I miss everybody already. It's WRONG starting camp for a weekend and then having to wait a full MONTH before we get things started again. I'm ready now! It's cruel to tease me so...

The problem is that we had too much fun. I blame the kids. And Jimmy, Danielle, Ryan and Sarah for being such excellent counselors. Everybody was awesome. And even though it was supposed to thunderstorm all day Saturday, it didn't and we spent almost the entire day outside. We Polar Bear-ed, camp fire-d, and bbq'd. We canoed, kayaked, and arched (sp?). We built sand sculptures, and played soccer, volleyball, basketball and capture the flag. We did as much as we could do in 46-hours.

Enjoy the photos gang...

Helene's first ever experience in a kayak...and handling it like a champ.

Connor getting some archery instruction from Ryan, and James taking aim.

Henry showing off some impressive athletic skills and his brother Teddy zigging and zagging somewhere in the background.

Jared showing off his catch.

(l-r) Yoav, Teddy, Eidan, and Henry...brothers from 2 families unite to build a sea turtle and co-hold the sand sculpture crown.

The Ladies showing off their fish that earned them co-holders of the sand sculpture crown.
(l-r) Helene, Natalia, Charlotte, Ariel, and Nicole

May 9, 2008

Registration Update

Hello Everybody! Over the past two months I've reconnected with many of you through facebook (Peconic Dunes Camp) and met many new campers and families at our Open Houses. I can't tell you how excited I am for the approaching summer!

First off, we're launching several new programs. Coming up in only 3 weeks is Rookie Camp, a weekend camp experience for kids considering a full week of Peconic Dunes. This program is being offered May 30 - June 1. You can read more about on our main Web page and an earlier post. Or, you can always call the camp office (contact info at bottom right). There are still spaces available for Rookie Camp.

Next, we're kick starting sailing for all 8 weeks of camp. Currently, sailing sessions 2, 3 and 4 are completely full. Register for sailing now while there's still room! Space is necessarily limited to 24 campers per session to ensure safe supervision and adequate time on the boats.

Extender Weekends are another new option for campers who would prefer an uninterrupted stay at the Dunes. We provide laundry service and some special activities for a maximum of 60 campers. Extender Weekends are only being offered the first 4 weeks of summer and there are still spaces available.

General enrollment is also filling up, especially for the girls. General enrollment sessions 4 and 5 are full for girls. Other sessions are filling quickly, so if you haven't registered yet, do so online to quickly reserve a space. Check out our new E.C.O. program during weeks 6-8!

Finally, this summer we're offering Family Camp, about which all registered campers will receive information in the mail. Family camp will take place over Labor Day weekend and is exclusively for families of Peconic Dunes Camp alumni. If you'd like information before the brochures go out, please call or email our camp office.

Be well Everyone and see you soon!

May 5, 2008

E.C.O. (Ecology Camp Organon)

What's E.C.O.? Ecology Camp Organon is the newest program to arrive at Peconic Dunes this summer. This program is offered in part by New York State Sea Grant and Cornell University Nanobiotechnology Center. But what's ecology? And what on earth is an organon?

Ecology = The scientific study of the distribution and abundance of life and the interactions between organisms and their environment.

Organon = An instrument of thought or knowledge.
The Organon is the name given by Aristotle’s followers, the Peripatetrics, to the standard collection of his six works of logic.

The E.C.O. philosophy is to connect children with their environment through authentic research and observation. Hands-on, field-oriented projects enrich our campers’ understanding of our local ecosystem and how its micro-systems are interconnected. We encourage the open discussion of many ecological issues, some controversial, so that campers reach a deeper understanding of the natural world and their role in preserving it.

Campers choose from a variety of conservation projects dealing with our local environment and (wo)man’s relationship to it. Projects will include Long Island Sound, Great Pond Waterbody, Coastal Birds, and more! An integral part of the program includes using sampling instruments used by professional biologists, botanists, ornithologists, and other environmental scientists. Campers work on their project every morning, Monday to Thursday, then transition to the traditional 4-H program each afternoon. Campers develop public speaking skills as they prepare a presentation on their project and deliver it to an audience of their peers Friday morning. Presentations also initiate dialogue between project “specialists” and reveal the importance of developing solutions to problems in community.

During E.C.O., campers will practice stewardship in their projects and in their relationships. The projects will all be completed in groups, so for a presentation to be successful, cooperation and communication will be required. And of course, the data that each group collects will stand over time as an authentic contribution to the growing body of knowledge CCE is collecting on Peconic Dunes County Park and the ecosystem for which it serves as steward.

E.C.O. is being offered sessions 6-8 (August 3 - August 23) and will replace Sea Wolf. Children 8-15 are eligible. All projects will take place within walking distance of Peconic Dunes County Park.

April 28, 2008

Eagle Scout Project: Michael Romeo

Southold resident, Michael Romeo, is on his was to becoming an Eagle Scout. To attain the Eagle Rank " a Life Scout [must] plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, and school, or your community." Michael choose Peconic Dunes County Park as the site to perform his service project, replacing the sad remnants of the retaining wall outside the Nature Center with a beautiful new wall that is sure to stand for decades to come. Michael coordinated his fellow scouts from Southold Troop #6 with assistance from his father, Richard Romeo, and Roger Martin, CCE Education Specialist. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, the Suffolk County Department of Parks & Recreation, and all the campers and community groups who benefit from Peconic Dunes wish to offer Michael and his team a big THANKS!

Now, for some photos documenting the destruction of the old and the construction of the new...


The materials for the new wall.

Demolishing the old "wall".

No more wall.

Getting rid of the debris.

Look what Roger found.

The boys planning their next step.

Perfect timing...the reinforcements!

Michael explaining to the troop how the wall's foundation will be laid.

The Troop #6 boys get right to work.

Michael and his dad laying the foundation of the wall.

The boys tamp down the foundation so the rest of the wall will be solid.

Michael driving in 1 of the over 400 12-inch nails needed to hold the wall together.

Michael taking a higher vantage point to inspect his team's progress.

The boys taking a well deserved lunch break. Oatmeal raisin cookies courtesy of Michael's mom. (They were pretty awesome.)

Roger and Michael planning how they'll work around the terrain and negotiate the necessary angles in the wall.

The pieces of wood turned into the dune help anchor the wall.

Finishing the trench on the other side of the wall.

The end of Day #1.

After everyone rested on Sunday from a full day of work on Saturday, the crew showed up ready to go Monday morning, quickly building upon where they had left off.

The black fabric is a semi-permeable membrane. It allows water to pass through, but not sand. Without it, small grains of sand would creep between the wall slabs and slowly pry open gaps that would eventually cause the wall to fall apart. Michael and his crew thought of everything!

The east side of the wall nearly complete.

Building a new wall made it necessary to build new steps up to the boardwalk entrance to the Nature Center.

Addressing some of the finishing touches.

Backfilling the area above the wall where one of our edible berry bushes lives.

The wall and stairs complete!

Thank you (l-r) Roger Martin, Richard Romeo, Buddy, Billy McDonald, Fido, and Steve Romeo for the excellent wall!