The Gift of Holly Knoll:
Bill & Judy Shinkwin
Leave a Legacy


Passersby who pause to notice the knoll, know there must be a story woven among the grove of holly trees and their shiny green leaves.  Atop a slight rise off Long Road, these evergreens stand like sentinels, spiny and strong, glistening in the early morning sunlight. The trees are old, and big; there are lots of them and their roots run deep into the earth that is now protected by the Harwich Conservation Trust.

“Oh there’s a story all right,” says Bill Shinkwin from his home in Wisconsin. “And it starts with my dad, but not where you might think.”

Shinkwin’s voice carries all the lilt and warmth of a natural born storyteller. Although he’s speaking by phone, any listener can hear he’s happily settled in to tell the tale of the holly trees, or, more to the point, the story of his dad who owned the land on Long Road, and who was, above all else a gardener.

“During World War I, my dad was in the expeditionary force in France,” Shinkwin begins. “He wrote letters to his family, to his mother, in Chelmsford.”

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2017 Winter Talks:
Whales, Snowy Owls,
River Otters & more!


Save the dates for a whole new season of fascinating Winter Talks sponsored by HCT. Join us in the Harwich Community Center on selected Saturday afternoons in January and February to learn about wildlife, history, scientific research, and more about the great outdoors.

Marvel at plunge-diving terns with Peter Trull. Travel back in time with Park Historian Bill Burke as he recounts the founding and formative years of Cape Cod’s very own national park, the National Seashore. Witness the high seas adventure of first responders from the Center for Coastal Studies who brave the elements to disentangle whales from rogue fishing gear. Learn about tracking snowy owls at Boston’s Logan International Airport from pioneering wildlife researcher Norm Smith. Explore the world of the North American river otter with biologist Liz Baldwin. Discover the ecological restoration opportunities at HCT’s largest land holding, the 66-acre Robert F. Smith Cold Brook Preserve in Harwich Port.

Each winter presentation is $5.00 per person. Discover your nature with HCT.

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New AmeriCorps
Member Joins
HCT & Town











HCT’s latest AmeriCorps member, Gerhard (pronounced ‘Garrett’) Jansen, is 22 years old and hails from Arlington, Virginia.  He graduated in May 2016 from the College of William and Mary with a degree in the sociology of religion.  Given his love of working outdoors, community service, and desire to explore new places, he thought AmeriCorps Cape Cod would be the perfect way to spend the year. 

His conservation experience comes from summers working on a sustainable, heritage farm and a garden market, as well as his independent reading on the subject.  He also has beekeeping experience, having helped his apiarist of a grandmother manage her hives in Missouri, as well as founding his high school’s bee club.  During summer 2016, he travelled to Poland to study language, history, and culture on scholarship at (click here to read more!) . . .

Bell’s Neck Trail Loop
Completed thanks to
Many Partners


The Bell’s Neck ring was completed on Friday with a chainsaw-cutting ceremony (photo courtesy of Bill Galvin, Cape Cod Chronicle) which removed a wooden barrier along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, creating a passage way to the former Hall property and connecting the loop of public trails around the West Reservoir.

The Bell’s Neck Conservation Area is one of the town’s premiere nature preserves and encompasses a large stretch of the Herring River, which leads into the West Reservoir. The Harwich Conservation Trust has been especially interested in working with the town to protect the Hall parcel, which otherwise could have been a four-lot subdivision. The February acquisition of 4.1 acres was the final piece in the puzzle.

“This is the last undeveloped, unprotected land around the reservoir. It’s a keystone piece in the greater Bell’s Neck open space puzzle to protect wildlife habitat and water quality, ” said HCT Executive Director Michael Lach.

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The Wilsons bring owls that are found locally including great-horned owl with golden irises, red morph screech owl and the soda can-sized saw-whet owl. They also showcase owls from around the globe, including the Eurasian eagle owl (largest owl species in the world) and the South American spectacled owl. The barred owl with its dark charcoal-colored eyes and the striking snowy owl will also make an appearance. – See more at: