Crow’s Nest: Balancing Building and Maintenance

June 24, 2020

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

I’m always giving thought to how we don’t want to build more infrastructure than we can maintain—boardwalks and bridges, benches, bird boxes, buildings and signage. It is tempting to add more, especially when there is an identified need, but we since we want to undergo continuous improvement, we don’t want to create something that will someday decline (and everything rots, rusts, or falls into ruin) that we can’t replace when the time comes.

Today, Luke DiBerardinis cleaned and did some maintenance on a kestrel box at Crow’s Nest. Several years ago Tom Kershner hung this box by climbing up this deaccessioned utility pole with spikes. Today, the time had come for some minor repairs. (Our newer boxes, designed by volunteer Jim Moffett, are mounted on poles that swing down for maintenance—but this utility pole was already there and well-sited for a kestrel box.) Since we were already borrowing the lift to do some building projects, Luke offered to drive it over to service the kestrel box.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Another example on ongoing maintenance of infrastructure is replacing planks on the boardwalks. In 2000, the boardwalk leading to the Creek Trail was in good condition:

Photo: Daniel Barringer

By 2008 there were several rotted planks selected for removal and replacement.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Five years later, in 2013, Aubrey Smith and intern Liz Pascale replaced some more planks on the same boardwalk. Just last year, Aubrey again replaced a few more of them.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

You wouldn’t know on a typical visit that so much work had gone into keeping things looking the same. But it has, since time marches on.