2017: HCT Events

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

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

The “Eyes on Owls” Live Owl event on March 4th with up to seven different species and the “Meet Your Local Farmers” event on March 25th with more than 40 exhibitors are both held in the Community Center’s gymnasium. 





• Due to the snowstorm on Jan. 7th, please note that the TERN TALK with Peter Trull originally scheduled for Saturday, January 7th at 2:00 p.m. has been re-scheduled to Saturday, January 21st at 2:30 p.m.
Please see details further below.



In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Cape Cod National Seashore into law. Photo courtesy of Bill Burke, Cape Cod National Seashore archives.

• Saturday, January 14th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5.00 pp)
History of the Cape Cod National Seashore:
55 Years and Counting for a Cape Cod Treasure

Presentation by Bill Burke, Park Historian, Cape Cod National Seashore

In the 1950s, Cape Codders were split over the proposal to carve a National Seashore out of the 6 towns of the Outer Cape.  Some feared the “clutches of big government” while others welcomed preservation of wild lands.  Explore the Seashore’s innovative “Cape Cod Model” that created a citizen advisory commission, patched together over 1,000 parcels of land, limited eminent domain, and emphasized preservation of both land and cultural heritage. Learn how the Seashore greets millions of visitors a year, serves as a center for science and learning, and still tries to be a refuge from everyday life.

NEW DATE (Jan. 21st) & TIME (2:30 p.m.)


Least tern on eggs courtesy of Peter Trull.

• Saturday, January 21st, 2:30 p.m.
(RE-SCHEDULED from Jan. 7th snowstorm)
(suggested donation: $5.00 pp)
Terns of Cape Cod:
Birds of Paradox          

Presentation by Peter Trull: Naturalist, Author & Lighthouse Charter School Science Teacher

Take a photo-journey with Peter Trull as he explores the behavior and biology of the Cape’s four tern species: Roseate, Arctic, Common & Least. Terns migrate long distances to reach Cape Cod. They are plunge divers, hovering above the ocean’s surface before plunging beak first into the water to snatch silversides, sand eels, and even squid and shrimp. Many images in this program have never been seen before. This wildlife adventure will provide an opportunity for questions and discussion about infrequently seen behaviors and life histories of our most graceful seabirds.


Photo courtesy of Peter Trull

• Saturday, January 28th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5.00 pp)
Whale Disentanglement:
First Responders Save Lives

Presentation by the Whale Disentanglement Division of the Center for Coastal Studies

When a whale is reported entangled, “First Responders” quickly get to the site, monitor, and standby the animal until the primary rescue team arrives or if possible, free the animal. However, if the weather is not conducive to a disentanglement or the disentanglement is a difficult one, then the First Responders may attach a satellite/ VHF tag beacon to the entangled gear. This allows the first response team to track the animal until the conditions change. Learn about the risks and rewards of whale disentanglement on the high seas. 




Photo courtesy of Janet DiMattia

• Saturday, February 4th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5.00 pp)
Tracking Snowy Owls at Boston’s Logan Airport:
Wildlife Research Takes Flight

Presentation by Norman Smith, Director, Massachusetts Audubon Blue Hills Sanctuary

Since 1981, Norman Smith has spent countless days and nights, in every imaginable weather condition observing, capturing, banding, and color marking snowy owls at Logan International Airport.  Find out what has been learned to date, what questions remain, and how this project also developed to include research on saw-whet owls. Smith has worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Society since 1974 and mainly researched birds of prey, successfully fostering over 1,000 orphaned hawk and owl chicks into adoptive nests. His research has been published in National Geographic, National Wildlife, Yankee, Mass. Wildlife, Bird Observer, and more. 



Photo courtesy of Liz Baldwin.

• Saturday, February 11th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5.00 pp)
The Life of the North American River Otter

Presentation by Liz Baldwin, Assistant Director, BiodiversityWorks

In 2011, Liz and her colleague Luanne Johnson founded BiodiversityWorks (www.biodiversityworksmv.org) to focus on wildlife research and monitoring in the region and to mentor high school and college students in field biology. One of their earlier research projects was documenting river otter activity across Martha’s Vineyard. Liz expanded the project for her master’s degree and looked at the activity patterns, behaviors, and population status of the river otter in a northeast coastal environment. In 2013, she graduated with a degree in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. She will talk to us about the biology and natural history of the North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), results from her thesis, and how to identify otter track and sign.



Dilapidated flumes need removal to enhance water flow and fish passage. Photo courtesy of Bill Giokas.

• Saturday, February 25th, 2:00 p.m.
(suggested donation: $5.00 pp)
Transforming Retired Bogs

Presentation by Eric Ford, Restoration Specialist, Massachusetts Department of Ecological Restoration

Alongside its partners, the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, HCT is planning an ecological restoration future for its largest land holding, the 66-acre Robert F. Smith Cold Brook Preserve in Harwich Port.  For over 100 years, the property was used for cranberry cultivation.  When the HCT acquired the parcel in 2001, cranberry production had essentially ceased, and HCT was left with a decision as to how to manage the property moving forward.  Agricultural modifications, including periodic sand application, water control berms, flumes, ditches, and other activities had resulted in habitat alteration, water quality degradation, barriers to fish passage, and other ecosystem changes.  After much thought, HCT elected to restore the property to its original ecological trajectory as a wetland and coastal stream complex.

The Cold Brook/Bank Street Bogs Restoration Project will focus on restoring  ecological processes (examples: the natural movement of water, sediment, nutrients, organic matter, etc.) to transform the former bogs into a diverse, dynamic, and self-sustaining wetland and riverine system.  The project will remove the decaying water control structures, restore natural hydrology, diversify habitats, and remove barriers to fish migration.  The project will also promote conservation within and adjacent to areas designated by the state as being critical to the preservation of natural communities and biological diversity, provide enhanced ecological services (examples: floodwater storage, nutrient attenuation, water purification, carbon sequestration), foster a more adaptable landscape amidst climate change and sea level rise, and create a vibrant destination for visitors.




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

• Saturday, March 4th
three shows (10 am, 1pm & 3pm)

11th 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. 

Click here to reserve!



Photo courtesy of William Pomeroy Photography

• Saturday, March 25th (Noon – 3:30 p.m.)
8th Annual “Meet Your Local Farmers” Event
Harwich Community Center Gym

Kick-off the 2017 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.
Click here to see the growing list of participating farms and supporting organizations.



• Sunday, May 7th (5:00 – 8:00 p.m.)
15th Annual Spring Winetasting Dinner
Hosted by The Cape Sea Grille in Harwich PortGrapes_by_Nancy-Shoemaker_opt

Reserve for Harwich Conservation Trust’s (HCT) 15th Annual Spring Winetasting Dinner at The Cape Sea Grille Restaurant in Harwich Port on Sunday, May 7th at 5:00 p.m.  The cost of $100 per person includes a multi-course dinner, fine wines, tax and gratuity.  Space is limited.

Proceeds benefit the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) and its mission to preserve land that protects woods, water, wildlife and our shared quality of life in Harwich.

Click here to reserve!

The Cape Sea Grille has received numerous awards including:  2009 Gold Medal Winner for Best Seafood on the Lower Cape, 2008 Editor’s Choice for Fine Dining on the Lower Cape in the Best of the Cape & Islands issue of Cape Cod Life Magazine, and it was rated “Extraordinary to Perfection” by Zagat in 2008 as well as 2009.



• Saturday, September 9th (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.)
5th Annual Wildlands Music & Art Stroll
Park at Monomoy Regional High School

Please join us on Saturday, September 9th from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. for HCT’s 5th annual ‘Wildlands Music & Art Stroll’.  We are excited to host this unique community event once again!  Event admission is a suggested donation of $5.00 per person.

Stroll HCT’s 66-acre Robert F. Smith Cold Brook Preserve and watch as the Guild of Harwich Artists paints ‘en plein air’ while listening to local musicians play jazz, classical, and folk music on the original “piano in the woods” as well as guitar, clarinet, and other instruments.  Ice cream will be available for sale provided by The Local Scoop!

Park at the Monomoy Regional High School (75 Oak Street, Harwich) and board one of the courtesy shuttle buses for the 5-min. ride to the Wildlands Music & Art Stroll in Harwich Port. It will be fun!



• Sunday, October 15th (5:00 – 8:00 p.m.)
Fall Winetasting Dinner
Hosted by The Port in Harwich Port

Reserve for Harwich Conservation Trust’s (HCT) Fall Winetasting Dinner at The Port Restaurant in Harwich Port on Sunday, October 15th at 5:00 p.m.

The cost of $100 per person includes hors d’oeuvres, three-course dinner, fine wines, tax, and gratuity.  Space is limited.

Selected wines with commentary will be generously provided by Orleans Wine & Spirits.

Proceeds benefit the Harwich Conservation Trust (HCT) and its mission to preserve land that protects woods, water, wildlife and our shared quality of life in Harwich. 

Click here to reserve!