Village Times Herald

Stony Brook, NY; Stony Brook University: Judith Brown Clarke, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer

Judith Brown Clarke, a silver medal winner in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics, is taking a prominent role at the National Fitness Foundation.

Clarke, who is vice president for Equity & Inclusion and chief diversity officer at Stony Brook University, will become the chair from 2022 to 2024 of the only non-profit organization established by Congress to support youth sport, health and fitness initiatives. She will serve on the board until 2028.

The White House held a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health on Sept. 28. Clarke said her goal after that conference as chair is to “take that call to action, look at what our role is in lifting some or those things off the page, and improving nutrition and physical activity, food insecurity and ending hunger.”

Tackling a number of challenges, such as the obesity epidemic, access and affordability of healthier foods, the lower rate of participation in youth sports among girls, and a need to increase physical activity will involve working with numerous partners and taking a multi dimensional approach.

“Some of the things that complement what happens at home” such as the expectations in gym class and the overall approach to health and nutrition “need to be strengthened,” Clarke said.

Lower levels of activity among some children stem from concerns about safety. Children may not play in the park, ride a bike, jump rope or go outside because areas where they might engage in these activities could involve some risk.

The foundation will partner with parents, teachers and corporations.

“How often do you find within the ingredients [of popular foods and condiments] where there’s sugar and salt?” she asked rhetorically. Numerous foods have supplemental ingredients that may be for taste, but that are above the daily allowance. People start to crave foods with high levels of salt and sugar.

Working with companies that manufacture food products, the foundation hopes to encourage the kind of decision making that helps their customers and their workers.

“Unhealthy people” who have eating habits that include high levels of carbohydrates, sugar and salt have “higher levels of absenteeism” within a corporation, Clarke said. “It actually is a financial model for organizations and corporations to lean into this. There’s a return on investment as it relates to their organization’s enterprise model.”

Conference pillars

The foundation plans to use the five White House Conference Pillars to guide their efforts and assessment of their effectiveness.

The White House conference is focused on improving food access and affordability. This includes expanding eligibility for an increase participation in food assistance programs and improving transportation to places where food is available.

Another pillar is to integrate nutrition and health. By prioritizing the role of nutrition and food security in overall health, the conference hopes to address the nutrition needs of all people.

The third pillar is to empower consumers to make and have access to healthy choices.

Fourth, officials would like to support physical activity for people, in part by ensuring that people have access to safe places to be active. The conference also hopes to increase the awareness of the benefits of physical activity.

Fifth, the conference plans to improve nutrition metrics, data collection and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly regarding issues of equity, access and disparities.

Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services secretary, expressed confidence in the ability of the board to reach their goals. “This experienced group of advisors will enable the National Fitness Foundation to take the next steps in advancing the health of our nation through fitness and nutrition,” Becerra said in a statement. 

In addition to serving as a role model through her success as an athlete, during which Clarke was a four-time national collegiate champion and 1987 Sports Illustrated Woman of the Year, she also hopes to encourage girls and their families to learn about the benefit of ongoing participation in athletics.

According to the National Fitness Foundation website, 30% of girls aged six to 12 participate in sports, compared with 39% of their male peers.

The foundation supports organizations committed to providing equal opportunity for girls to play sports.

In addition to leading healthy lives, women who participate in sports are often successful in the workplace, taking their disciplined approach to training, their ability to work together, and their recognition for how to handle fluid situations into a wide range of professional settings, Clarke said.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of some of these efforts may depend on the ability of people in communities to access these programs.

Go Green. Pixabay photo

Last month, President Joe Biden (D) signed the Inflation Reduction Act, a comprehensive investment package which covers taxes, health care and climate measures, too.

The climate portion of this act provides coastal communities across the U.S. with access to $2.6 billion over five years in federal funding through grants distributed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. These funds can be used for projects not only in response to sea-level rise and heavy storms but also to help communities to become more resilient against such disturbances.

Green infrastructure is a new trend in coastal resiliency that offers an alternative to traditional, human-engineered construction, also known as gray infrastructure. These are nature-based solutions, working with rather than against the natural terrain to battle the negative effects of climate change and related issues.

It is vital that Long Island communities make an aggressive plea for green infrastructure funding offered through the recent federal act. 

Instead of resigning ourselves to unsightly, inflexible, retrograde man-made sea walls to fight beach erosion, municipalities should explore more natural solutions for coastal hardening. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July, “During the 20th century, global sea level rose by roughly 7 inches. Global temperatures are expected to continue to climb, resulting in rising sea levels, amplified storm surges, greater frequency and intensity of storms.”

Our era will be defined by these changes. Entire communities may soon be washed away. As shorelines continue to erode, homes and critical infrastructure will follow suit. 

The EPA suggests measures such as using plants, reefs, sand and natural barriers to create a living shoreline which in turn can reduce erosion and flooding. Wave heights can be reduced by restoring wetlands that serve as buffers against the water’s velocity and intensity.

Vegetative shorelines also help to improve water quality, aquatic habitat and carbon sequestration. Living shorelines also don’t have to be one thing. Designers can use native wetland plants, stones and rocks, oyster reefs, mussel beds and more to create different shorelines.

In many cases, natural solutions can be more cost-effective than gray infrastructure. Structures such as seawalls can deteriorate quickly after they are constructed, and they can be difficult and costly to repair and replace. Green alternatives can be more cost-effective, even though some critics say it is time consuming to replenish them. 

Of course, while choosing natural resources may work in some situations, in certain circumstances a home may be ready to fall in the water, and a seawall may be the only or quickest answer to saving the property. 

To meet the demands of this century, we must radically adjust our thinking. We are competing with other coastal communities nationwide for limited grant funding. If we choose to avoid the difficult environmental realities of our time, we are going to get passed by. In the intermunicipal survival of the fittest, communities that adapt themselves to the changing circumstances will survive and thrive. Those that don’t will wither away with the coastline.

To survive, we must adapt to the new pressures of an ever-changing environment. Moving forward, rigidity and narrow-mindedness will be our worst impediments, adaptability and realism our greatest resources.

Facebook photo/New York Yankees

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

If I were pitching to Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, I would probably take a long pause before throwing my first pitch.

I know it’s absurd to think of this older man who never threw a ball much harder than low high school level pitching to a generational legend, but let’s play out the fantasy for a laugh or two.

I wouldn’t pause so I could figure out how to get him out. Sure, it’d be nice to do my job well and my teammates might appreciate it if I gave us a better chance to win a game.

Instead, I would need to ponder the moment that history might be calling. I’d be thinking about the best choreographed reaction to him hitting a home run. I mean, after all, the pitchers who surrender his long home runs are, in their own way, famous.

They share the moment between when they release the ball, and he obliterates it into the night sky, sending thousands of people screaming out of their seats, arms in the air, sharing in the majesty that wouldn’t be possible without my meatball pitch sputtering, laughably, towards his powerful bat.

If he sent a ball out of the stadium, I would be joining select company, with so many pitchers around the majors surrendering home runs in a historic year.

I’d be thinking about how I’d look in newsreels or newscasts or digital versions of the Aaron Judge year to remember.

I could imagine ways to overreact. I could throw my glove on the mound, gesture wildly by putting my hands in the air, or shake my head so violently that my manager and the trainer would have to waddle out to the mound to put me in a neck brace.

Or, maybe I’d hold my glove up to my face and appear to yell a stream of expletives into my mitt, as if, somehow, I knew I should have thrown a different pitch in a different spot.

Then again, I could rub my fingers in some dirt and write a capital “AJ” on my uniform, like scarlet letters, except it wouldn’t be anything puritanical, and I would be acknowledging my inferiority.

None of that seems like me, even in my fantasy world.

Being stoic would make me too much of a personality-less pitcher. Let’s face it: even in my imaginary moment of being an above average starter or relief pitcher, the time to focus on me would be incredibly short.

Let’s say I didn’t blink after he hit the home run. Or, maybe, I tracked the flight of the ball carefully, like a zebra eyeing a lion suspiciously in the Serengeti. That might get me on TV and make me more than just another guy who gave up a home run to Aaron Judge.

Maybe I’d wait at home plate and give him a high five or a fist bump to acknowledge a full season worth of greatness. While kids do that in Little League, professional players generally don’t acknowledge the remarkable achievements of their opponents.

When he reached second base, I could put down my glove and clap from the mound, ever so briefly. Then, perhaps, I’d take off my hat and salute him.

Or, maybe I could take a page out of the more subtle but celebrated Mona Lisa textbook. I could give just a hint of a smile as if I were saying, “you beat me and you’re a pretty spectacular hitter. There’s no shame in losing this battle and now we’re weirdly connected, like we’re kind of twins, except that you’re great and going to be remembered forever and I’m just going to be remembered for starting the ball on its magical journey into the history books.”

Gallery North in Setauket hosted its 56th annual Outdoor Art Show & Music Festival on Sept. 17 and 18. 

The two-day event, which attracted over 5,500 visitors, showcased the works of 106 juried exhibitors offering original paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, pottery, woodwork, glassware, artisan created jewelry, handmade crafts, decorations and clothing .

Juried by Marianne Della Croce, Executive Director of the Art League of Long Island; Lorena Salcedo-Watson, Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Art at Stony Brook University; and contemporary artist Tom Brydelsky, awards were granted for each art category, including wood craft, fiber art, glass art, jewelry design, paiting in oil and acrylic, ceramis and pottery, graphic and drawing, watercolor and pastel and photography along with Best in Show and Honorable Mentions. 

Gallery North’s Executive Director Ned Puchner had the honor of presenting the awards. The winning artists will be featured in Gallery North’s Winners Circle Exhibition in 2023.

And the awards go to:

Best in Show: John Deng

Outstanding Wood Craft: John DiNaro

Outstanding Fiber Art: ­Diana Parrington

Outstanding Glass Art: Justin Cavagnaro

Outstanding Jewelry Design: Gail Neuman

Outstanding Painting in Oil and Acrylic:  Mary Jane van Zeijts

Outstanding Ceramics and Pottery: Jessamyn Go

Outstanding Work on Paper – Graphic and Drawing: Cassandra Voulo

Outstanding Work on Paper – Watercolor and Pastel: Myungja Koh

Outstanding Photography: Holly Hunt

Honorable Mentions: Karen Kemp, Diane Bard and Toni Neuschaefer

Photos by Kate Schwarting/Gallery North

 

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Herb Mones, right, announced the Three Village Community Trust’s new challenge grant in honor of Maria Hoffman. Her husband, George, above left, was on hand for the announcement on Sept. 27. Photo above by Rita J. Egan

Three Village Community Trust members gathered in Setauket for a special announcement Sept. 27.

Maria Hoffman. Photo by Robert Reuter

Standing in front of the Bruce House headquarters on Main Street, TVCT president Herb Mones announced the kickoff of the Maria Hoffman $50,000 Challenge Grant campaign. Hoffman was a land trust member and an aide to state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket).

Mones said nearly $10,000 had already been raised toward the goal. A $50,000 matching grant was acquired from the state by Englebright earlier this year, and Mones said the funds raised would go toward the restoration of historical properties in the Three Village community and the land trust’s operational costs. 

Mones said Hoffman “impacted so much of what we have inside of this community on a continual basis, and provided the services that often we needed through a legislative office. She did it with grace, she did it with dignity and she always did it quietly.”

Englebright described Hoffman as “the right-hand side of my brain.”

“I think it’s appropriate that we recognize her and remember her to continue her legacy,” the assemblyman said, adding she was the “brains behind the whole operation” at his office.

He also talked about Hoffman’s sense of place that she memorialized through her work and with her photography and artwork, too.

Hoffman’s husband, George, was also in attendance. He said his wife loved the Three Village area and Setauket Harbor. The Bruce House was a spot Maria Hoffman always cherished. When the home was up for sale before they met in 2009, she was looking for a house but knew it would be too small if she were to marry one day. He added she was also excited when the immigrant worker homes were moved to the location from their former site near the Setauket firehouse down the street.

In addition to the state matching grant, Investors Bank recently gave TVCT a separate $4,000 grant. These funds will go toward restoring the immigrant worker houses which need work, such as replacing deteriorated exterior siding and damaged interior wallboard.

METRO photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Have you ever heard of reflective listening? While I like to think of myself as being a good listener, and really I should ask others who speak to me to make that determination, I came upon this new technique and thought I would share it with you.

Reflective listening is a communications strategy that involves two steps. The first is, if you are the listener, seeking to understand what the speaker is saying. So many times in our lives, we think we hear what the other person is saying, and it turns out we didn’t hear that person correctly at all. I think that is particularly true when on the phone or when reading a text or an email. We don’t have the benefit of seeing facial expressions or body language. And even when on Zoom, we don’t get a good look at the other person, nor do they have a good read of us.

Then the second step is to offer back the thought, and even the words of the speaker, to confirm that his or her idea was understood. Here is just a simple example between two people who sometimes quarrel that could be misunderstood.

“Do you want to go to a Yankee game with me Friday night for a change?” asks the speaker. 

The listener hears, “Do you want to go to a Yankee game with me?” as opposed to with another person Friday night, and so reflects back the question accordingly by repeating, “Do I want to go to a Yankee game with you?”

The speaker can then clarify with, “Yes, do you want to go to a Yankee game Friday night instead of going bowling?”

By repeating the words, the listener has given the speaker a second chance at making his meaning clear. The listener then answers, “Yes, I would like to go to a Yankee game with you Friday night.”

This is probably an oversimplification of how a speaker might be misunderstood, but the essence of the reflective listening is to pay respectful attention to the content and the feelings expressed by the speaker. The listener hears and then understands what is being said and lets the speaker know that she has gotten the message.

This kind of “checking out” requires responding actively while keeping focused completely on the speaker. It’s a step beyond what is normally thought of as listening. It’s reflecting back accurately on both content and feeling levels.

Reflective listening offers a number of benefits.  It lets the speaker know that they have been heard, understood, and perhaps, even cared for and supported, depending on the nature of the exchange. It gives the speaker feedback on what he or she said and how it was understood. 

It allows the listener to check his or her own accuracy in hearing what the speaker said. It avoids the illusion of understanding. It helps prevent what has been termed the “mental vacation” in which the listener is inattentive during conversation. It can give the speaker a second chance to focus on self, vent, sort out issues, express feelings and deal more effectively with emotions. 

It allows the speaker to move to deeper levels of expression at his or her own pace. It can help the speaker to articulate more clearly. It may help the speaker to arrive at a solution to a problem being voiced. It helps the listener clarify what is expected of him or her. It helps the listener to deal effectively with the issue, problem or needs the speaker raised.

In a confrontational exchange, it gives a couple of seconds pause, which might enable a cooling down.

In a social situation, it can create a climate of warmth between speaker and listener. In another situation, directions can be clarified by the listener. And as a technique in leading a group discussion, effective hearing, then repeating all points of view, is certainly required.

I hope you can see why I thought this one communication technique was worth sharing.

Up next for Gallery North in Setauket is Home · Land · Nature, a selection of recent works by artist Han Qin, on view from Sept. 29 to Nov. 13. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 6  to 8 p.m. 

Artist Han Qin

The solo exhibition features small, medium, and large cyanotypes, woodblock prints, and drawings that explore concepts of home and the process of relocation. 

Drawing from her own experience of migration, Qin renders moments of passing through, of conflict, of getting together, and of migrating into form and image. Her artwork incorporates poignant, structural elements of Confucian philosophy, conveying the fluidity of identity and its evolution.

There is a sense of displacement, chaos, triumph, and eventual replanting in Home · Land · Nature. Qin translates social phenomena and movement — among groups and individuals — into works which incorporate traditional cyanotype, woodblock printing, 3D scanning, and digital printing methods. 

‘The Triumph of Wanderers’ by Han Qin

“One of the elements that excites me about the exhibition is that while Han’s work draws on the emotions of her own lived experience of migration, they are universal in their ability to connect with viewers. … The works silently call viewers to explore them and ask where they themselves are or have been among these images,” said curator Kate Schwarting.

In collaboration with the Three Village Community Trust (TVCT), Gallery North will also present an outdoor projection event featuring Han Qin’s multimedia work at the TVCT’s Immigrant Worker Houses, located behind the Bruce House at 148 Main Street in Setauket, on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. This projection event will highlight the important experiences of all immigrant groups throughout the history of the Three Village community.

Gallery North will also host an ArTalk with Han Qin on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 6 pm. 

Generously sponsored by Jefferson’s Ferry, bld Architecture, and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning, the exhibition, reception and affiliated events are free and open to the public.

Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Audubon lecture

Join the Four Harbors Audubon Society for an autumn lecture via Zoom on Wednesday, September 28 from 8 to 9 p.m. Guest speaker and naturalist, artist, writer Julie Zickefoose will discuss her latest book, Saving Jemima: Life and Love With a Hard-luck Jay, the intimate story of how an orphaned bird can save a soul, which she wrote and illustrated after spending nearly a year healing, studying and raising a young blue jay for release.

From the press release:

Naturalist/artist/writer Julie Zickefoose thinks of herself as an unsung, minor, rather dirty superhero. Her superpower: saving small, economically worthless wildlife that would otherwise die. An orphaned jay named Jemima was one such foundling. Spending nearly a year healing, studying and raising the young blue jay for release opened the door to their world for Julie. She began writing and illustrating Saving Jemima: Life and Love With a Hard-luck Jay immediately upon becoming her foster mother. More than a wildlife rehab story, it’s the story of life, love and dealing with great loss; of finding grace and redemption in bonding with a wild bird.

Julie Zickefoose lives and works quietly on an 80-acre wildlife sanctuary in the back country of Whipple, Ohio. She is a prolific writer and painter and Advising Editor to BWD Magazine. Her heavily illustrated books include Natural Gardening for Birds, Letters from Eden, The Bluebird Effect, and Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest. Saving Jemima: Life and Love With a Hard- Luck Jay, the intimate story of how an orphaned bird can save a soul, is her newest book.

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This special event is free and open to all. Reservations required. To join this Zoom presentation, you must register in advance by clicking on the link here. Afterwards you will receive an email with link and instructions on how to join the presentation. For more information, visit www.4has.org.

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The Ward Melville Patriots girls volley program has not meet defeat five games into the 2022 season. The team and made it 6-0, defeating Bellport at home with a 3-0 sweep in a League IV matchup Sept. 21.

Senior Mackenzie Heaney notched 34 assists, and senior Gianna Hogan had 16 digs in the sweep, where the Patriots prevailed 25-14, 25-21 and 25-22. The win keeps the Patriots atop the leaderboard in their league. They will retake the court Friday Sept. 23 with a 5 p.m. road game against Newfield and compete in tournament play the following day at Smithtown West High School. First service is scheduled for 8 a.m.

By John L. Turner

Once in a while I get a phone call, text or email message along the following lines:  “John, could I have seen a canary? Moments ago I saw a bright yellow bird at my bird feeder.”. My response? Something along the lines of: “While there’s always the outside possibility of seeing a canary that’s escaped from its cage, it’s much more likely you’ve just seen an American Goldfinch, one of the more colorful native songbirds native to Long Island, brilliantly wrapped in its garb of lemon yellow marked with black wings, tail, and a cap.” 

The black coloration and the white wing bars and undertail coverts complete the colorful and distinctive plumage of this native songbird species, distinguishing its appearance from any exotic canary that has escaped from captivity. 

Goldfinch are common on Long Island both in wild places and as a regular visitor to backyard thistle feeders. They are routinely found in open habitats with trees — picture a meadow dotted with widely spaced trees — and are a common nesting bird here. Given their attraction to open habitats they are a species that has probably benefited from clearing and the removal of forests and are likely much more common today than when the country was founded. Underscoring their abundance, they were possible, probable, or confirmed breeders in 94% of the designated blocks in the 2005 statewide Breeding Bird Atlas; the only place they were routinely missed was in the heavily forested areas of the Adirondack Mountains, making them one of the top ten most widespread breeders in the state.

And, as mentioned above, they are a welcome and regular visitor to backyard feeding stations, favoring cylindrical thistle feeders where they often compete with each other to gain a perch upon which to snatch thin black thistle seeds. In the winter they are often joined by their finch cousins: Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls, all of which relish thistle seeds. Watching these three colorful species jostling to secure thistle seeds provides one of the birding delights of this season. 

Speaking of thistle, the goldfinch has an intimate relationship with the wildflower and it affects their breeding biology. Goldfinch, unlike almost all other songbirds, eat and feed its young very little animal protein such as caterpillars, moths, or beetles. Rather, they eat and feed their nestlings seeds, of which thistle makes up the bulk (but also seeds from other composites). Given this, unlike other songbirds that breed in spring, they have to wait until middle to late summer to breed, until thistle has bloomed and set seed. At a time when other birds have either finished breeding or are well into raising their second brood, goldfinch are just beginning their family-raising chores — it’s not at all unusual to see breeding in late July through August, even into early September.   

Thistle also plays an important role in nest building as goldfinch routinely use thistle down for lining the inner cup of their nest. This material helps the bird to make a tightly constructed nest, so well constructed it can hold water. The abandoned nests are sometimes used as wintering and food storage sites for mice and chipmunks, making snug homes and pantries.       

The most telltale sign of breeding is the male goldfinch’s nuptial flight. With the female watching from below, the male flies in a wide circle a hundred or feet above the ground in a classic undulating or roller coaster-like pattern, all the while singing which contains a phrase that has been likened to “potato chip, potato chip”! We heard a male goldfinch “potato chipping” regularly over our backyard patio while eating dinner outside on several late August nights, suggesting our yard was within breeding territory. I looked for a nest among the yard’s shrubbery but, alas, turned up empty. Henry David Thoreau observed the goldfinch’s nuptial display and characterized the bounding flight as if the bird was “skimming over unseen billows.” I, too, came up empty in feeling any buoyant billows but enjoyed the repeated phrases of “potato chip” as I ate potato salad.   

While the “potato chip” sequence may be the bird’s most familiar vocalization, they have other songs and calls. Their typical song is a delight — varied notes of different intensity and tone, given rapidly, imparting a happy quality to the song. They also have a call that has a distinctive “wheezy” quality, quite similar in sound to other finches.   

After the breeding season, the American Goldfinch experiences a full body molt replacing the colorful breeding plumage with a duller but still attractive feather coat of subdued colors. This is the goldfinch that visits your yard feeders during the colder months. With the arrival of Spring the male molts again, this time a partial molt involving only its body feather (but not its wings and tail) and the “canary yellow” plumage has returned.

Two other goldfinch species ­— Lesser and Lawrence’s — occur in North America. These are both western species and rarely if ever turn up here. So if you vacation in the West be on the lookout for these cousins of the American Goldfinch, and of course you might see American Goldfinch too, as their breeding distribution encompasses all of the lower 48 states. And if you see the American Goldfinch in Washington you will have seen its official state bird (it is also the state bird of  Iowa and New Jersey). 

Much folklore and indigenous American stories surround the goldfinch. Writing about indigenous people stories, one animal folklorist notes: “In one Iroquois legend, goldfinches were originally a drab black or grey color. Dissatisfied with their plumage, these finches only earned their gold coloration through an act of selfless kindness. As the story goes, a fox took a nap beneath a pine tree. As he did this, the sap dropped into his eyes and sealed them shut. He begged for help and the drab grey finches agreed to help him. They worked in shifts pecking at the sap until the fox could open his eyes again. The fox offered them a reward of their choice for their help.  When they asked him for brighter colors, the fox pressed yellow flowers into paint and painted the finches with his tail as a brush. The finches were so pleased with their new plumage that they began to flutter, dance, and sing. This is the reason that finches still flutter while they fly and sing such cheerful songs!” 

Given their bright and sunny colors, bubbly songs, and gregarious nature, goldfinches have long been symbols of good luck and to see one, or better yet, to watch a flock, was a good omen meaning good fortune. I think my spouse, Georgia, I and our three dogs Esmy, Henry, and Daisy are in line for much good fortune because during a recent walk we had a flock of twenty-four goldfinches perched in a copse of shrubs at Forsythe Meadow County Park in Stony Brook. For Georgia and me, though, the good fortune was watching and listening to this cheery flock of lemon-yellow sprites of sunshine, singing away for minutes on end. For the dogs, their fortune came when they each received a barbecue-flavored dog cookie at the end of the walk.    

I hope you also see goldfinch during your late summer rambles or later in the year at your bird feeders — and are imbued too with good fortune, not the least of which is just the opportunity to watch these most colorful and cheery of birds.   

A resident of Setauket, John Turner is conservation chair of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, author of “Exploring the Other Island: A Seasonal Nature Guide to Long Island” and president of Alula Birding & Natural History Tours.