(RFHRHS) students are being offered an opportunity to learn functional carpentry and wood expression with new wood technology classes.
The new classes include an introduction to various practices and crafts involving woodworking from artisans in the community. These introductions will step away from texts books and will bring in local professionals like Anthony Ciambrone, local decoy carver, and Captain Nick Hawley, who creates hand-carved fishing lures. The guest speakers focus on the history of their craft and tie it specifically to coastal Monmouth County and New Jersey wetlands.
Ciambrone, of Rumson, is an award winning decoy carver who discusses the history of decoys with the woods classes during his visit, and relates the traditions of decoy creation and use in coastal Monmouth County. This year's presentation will be his second at RFHRHS and he will demonstrate the making of a "flatty" decoy for the students. Ciambrone will also talk about decoy crafting as part of wetlands preservation and developing an appreciation for hand carving wood.
Hawley, of Keyport, will join the woods classes to demonstrate, start to finish, the creation of fishing lures (also called plugs) from wood. Students will also hear about the many influential lure crafters from New Jersey and ultimately get a chance to see these items made as they have been for a century or more. Both the craftsmen make a point to keep traditional means of wood handcrafts alive.
These lessons will focus on connections to the ecological system and will allow students to understand the role of animals and their place in the food chain. Species identification and animal behavior are behind the functions of these handcrafts. Both Hawley and Ciambrone will also talk discuss collectability of their crafts and the business aspects involved in creating and selling the decoys and lures.
Mr. Pagano, RFHRHS Woods Instructor, remarks that students will get a rare "chance to see history in action before it's gone. The kids get an opportunity to learn about and hopefully continue these traditions".
Throughout the year, Pagano’s classes also take a tour of the tree species on the school’s campus getting a dendrology lesson. Students in woods participate in other cultural programs like boat building for the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association’s River Rangers program.