2016: HCT Events

HCT’s January & February Winter Talks are held at the Harwich Community Center (#100 Oak St., Harwich, MA 02645) in the multi-purpose room.

This program series is supported in part by a grant from the Harwich Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency

This series is supported in part by a grant from the Harwich Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency

The “Eyes on Owls” Live Owl event on March 5th with up to seven different species and the “Meet Your Local Farmers” event on April 2nd with more than 40 exhibitors are both held in the Community Center’s gymnasium. 



The Outermost House, courtesy of the Henry Beston Society

• Saturday, January 9th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5pp)
The Outermost House:
Henry Beston’s Cape Cod

Presentation by Don Wilding, Co-founder & Executive Director, Henry Beston Society

A writer and naturalist, Henry Beston is best known for his 1928 book, The Outermost House.  Upon returning from the horrors of World War I, Beston wrote this classic book while tapping into the healing power of nature on Cape Cod’s Outer Beach. As Don Wilding says, Beston meditated on the rhythms of waves, observed the migrations of birds, and braved the brutal elements in severe winter weather, all while using his 20 x 16 foot dune top cottage as a base in his quest for spiritual peace of mind. Years later, The Outermost House was cited by the National Park Service as one of the reasons the Outer Beach should be preserved. Learn about Beston’s background, the iconic house, and his contributions to an environmental awareness that still resonate today.


Great white shark stranded, courtesy of Jack Cohen Photography & Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

• Saturday, January 23rd, 2:00 p.m.
Due to Winter Storm Jonas
Saturday, February 20th at noon

Great White Sharks in the North Atlantic:
Awareness Inspires Conservation
See details further below under Feb. 20th




• Saturday, January 30th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5pp)
The Birds and the Bees:
Native Pollinators in Your BackyardBee on Butterflyweed Janet DiMattia_opt

Presentation by Mark Faherty, Science Coordinator, MassAudubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

It’s time we had that “birds and the bees” talk. While we have heard much about declining honeybees, many of us don’t know that honeybees are not native to this continent or that our native pollinators are also in trouble. This talk will focus on hummingbirds, butterflies, and some of the incredible variety of native bees, wasps, flies, and other pollinators in our backyards. Mark will discuss some of his favorite garden and native landscape plants and how to provide habitat for these incredibly important little workhorses of our natural, agricultural, and suburban landscapes.



Pleasant Bay, courtesy of Nancy Viall Shoemaker

• Saturday, February 6th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5pp)
Beneath the Waves: Exploring Pleasant Bay

Presentation by Mark Borelli, Chair of the Marine Geology Dept. & Director of Seafloor Mapping, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

Thanks to scientific studies sponsored by the Friends of Pleasant Bay, we can now dive beneath the waves in search of sea floor conditions and marine creatures.  Mark Borelli will help paint the big picture of how the Pleasant Bay estuary is faring during this period of changing climate and population growth.  Mark will discuss seafloor/benthic mapping of the entire Pleasant Bay estuary with high resolution maps that delineate shellfish habitat, eelgrass, and sediment types.  Mark will also discuss the shellfish and finfish inventory of the Bay, which analyzes the distribution and abundance of different species in the Bay– especially relevant for recreational and commercial fishermen and shell fishermen.  Lastly, Mark will describe the seal survey.  Since the bounty on seals was lifted, there has been tremendous population growth in seals, and there has since been no survey:  until now.


Weather on the move at Bell’s Neck, courtesy of Stephanie Foster

• Saturday, February 13th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5pp)
Cape Cod Weather: Where Ocean, Land & Air Meet

Presentation by Phil Burt, Meteorologist, www.capecodweather.net

Cape Cod is unique in many ways including its history, habitats, geography, and even weather. Jutting into the Atlantic, the Cape and its weather are most certainly influenced by the ocean. From the cold and warm front lines of weather prediction, join meteorologist Phil Burt of www.capecodweather.net to learn “weather basics 101” as well as why Cape Cod weather conditions can be so different from the rest of Southern New England. Also learn a bit about how phenomena like El Nino, La Nina, and other far away weather patterns affect the Cape.

• Saturday, February 20th, Noon
Great White Sharks in the North Atlantic:
Awareness Inspires Conservation

Presentation by Cynthia Wigren, Co-founder and President, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Despite its well-established presence in the North Atlantic, the white shark is not considered an abundant species. Scientists have predictable access to white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod yet those scientists rely on outside funding to conduct research. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) was established in 2012 to fund white shark research and promote shark education. From 2009-2015, Massachusetts scientists have tagged 79 white sharks with coded acoustic transmitters and/or satellite-based tracking tags to examine fine- and broad-scale movements along the east coast of the US. In 2014, these scientists initiated a multi-year study to estimate local and regional white shark population sizes in the Western North Atlantic. Cynthia Wigren’s  presentation provides information on AWSC and highlights the results of the research.



HCT’s Matt Cannon and volunteer Tony Pane discover a vernal pool, courtesy of The Cape Codder

• Saturday, February 27th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5pp)
Vernal Pools:  Our Backyard Ecosystems

Presentation by Ian Ives, Director, MassAudubon Long Pasture, Ashumet & Skunknett Wildlife Sanctuaries

Vernal pools are scattered around the Cape Cod landscape serving as homes to a variety of secretive creatures that include spotted salamanders, wood frog, and fairy shrimp.  These creatures have amazing stories to tell. During the winter and spring, the shallow depressions fill with water.  In April, wood frogs and spotted salamanders migrate from their woodland burrows to lay eggs in vernal pools.  Soon after, the adults return to their nearby woodland homes until mating season begins anew the following spring. Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) volunteers have discovered and certified more than three dozen vernal pools. Meanwhile, Ian Ives has been documenting and actually creating vernal pools in the mid-Cape. Learn more about vernal pools, the species that depend on the pools for survival, and some innovative wetland restoration work.



Screech owl (red morph), courtesy of Mark Wilson, Eyes on Owls

• Saturday, March 5th, three shows (10 am, 1pm & 3pm)
10th Annual “Eyes On Owls” – Live Owl Program
Harwich Community Center Gym

Tickets are $5 for ages 5 to 11 and $10 for ages 12 to adult
(Not recommended for under age 5)
Marcia and Mark Wilson return to the Harwich Community Center with their owls to amaze us once again.    See great-horned, snowy, barred, screech, and saw-whet owls as well as the spectacled owl from South America and the Eurasian eagle owl, the largest owl species in the world.  Reserve early for this inspiring and intriguing live owl show.  Reserve online at www.HarwichConservationTrust.org.

Spring and summer are just around the corner, so save these dates, too!


Photo courtesy of William Pomeroy Photography

• Saturday, April 2nd (2:00 – 5:00pm)
7th Annual Meet Your Local Farmers Event
Harwich Community Center Gym

Kick-off the 2016 growing season by meeting local farmers from around Cape Cod.  Start the spring season by learning more about locally grown products, scenic farm settings, and farm-related activities for all ages.  Sponsored by Harwich Conservation Trust and The Cape & Islands Farm Bureau.
Visit www.HarwichConservationTrust.org to see the growing list of participating farms and supporting organizations.


The Grand Overlook at the Wequassett Resort on Pleasant Bay, photo by HCT

• Monday, August 1st (4:30 – 7:00pm)
HCT’s 28th Annual Meeting & Celebration
Generously Hosted by the Wequassett Resort on Pleasant Bay

Pre-registration is required by emailing hctevents@gmail.com. Join HCT at Wequassett’s Grand Overlook & Pavilion perched atop Pleasant Bay to celebrate our shared land-saving success, listen to a featured speaker, and honor HCT’s 2016 Conservationist of the Year.