Five weeks after Hurricane Sandy swept through the region, the Fordham’s Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk continues to clean up the mess the storm left behind.
Like Fordham’s other campuses, the center infrastructure suffered little major damage. Strong winds, however, toppled dozens of large trees (not including those in the 113 acres of forest), including one that snapped a telephone wire, leading to a two-week period where the center was forced to run on generators.
John D. Wehr, Ph.D., director of the center, said Calder was well-prepared for Sandy, having recently installed three building-level power generators this year and one last year in each of the main buildings.
Several houses on the perimeter of the grounds were left without heat or power, so residents there were moved into other buildings.
John Spaccarelli, director of Special Projects and Facilities Management, said there was only one structural close call—near the original Lord & Burnham greenhouse, constructed in the early- to mid-1900’s.
“A pine tree that fell alongside the greenhouse [but]it fell parallel to the greenhouse, not across it. If had gone across it, it would have chopped it in half,” he said.
Keeping the power humming was more than just a matter of comfort for the faculty and students working there, Wehr said.
“Being without power for that length of time after the storm could have been a disaster,” he said. “The loss of thousands of samples (water, DNA, microbes, plants, insect, etc.) from fridges, freezers, and ovens would have set back or ended ongoing research programs, theses, and dissertations of many students and staff.”
“This includes research on water quality in upstate New York watersheds, long-term studies of deer ticks, bat hibernation, and green roof vegetation, among many others.
“Because we had the generators, we came though fine.”