November - December 2013
It is time to give thanks for all the bounties we enjoy. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live on the Cape year round can now avail ourselves of the really quiet time. That is until a No'theaster (the fisherman's pronunciation) strikes, stirring up tremendous seas and sending the beach sand flying. It is amazing how many people go to the nearest beach to watch such fury.
Cape Cod National Seashore is much less visited this time of year, but it still is a great place for photography, walks, reflection, and sunset viewing. The sad part of this fall was the fact that both visitor centers and several beaches had to be closed for 16 days due to Congressional inaction.
Your Friends' board of directors will meet monthly throughout the winter, and we will be proactive in support of the Seashore, as appropriate. In the meantime, please be sure to promptly answer the recent request for membership renewal, and consider raising the level of your membership up a notch. That way, we can continue to truly be Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
State of the National Seashore
Superintendent George Price presented " State of the Seashore: Successes and Challenges of 2013" on a recent November evening at Salt Pond Visitor Center, noting that although the year was "stormy" and "challenged," it also was a "Tale of Two Seashores" with many accomplishments to balance the challenges.
Chief among the challenges were the February winter storms that severely eroded the outer beach, took out the stairs at Nauset Light and Marconi beaches, and caused damage throughout the National Seashore.
Then there was the sequestration, eliminating $385,000 from the park's 7.2 million dollar budget, causing a severe cutback in interpretive programs for the public, reductions in natural resource programs, and the closure of the Province Lands Visitor Center (until the Friends stepped in with funds to keep the center open for the summer.)
Follow this with the closure of the park in October, due to the partial government shutdown. This meant, among other things, that the park could not greet the thousands of bus passengers visiting the Cape in the fall season, and lost several days of educational programs with local students during the busy fall school season. And, unfortunately, a full 8% budget reduction is anticipated for 2014.
There were many successes as well, chief among them the completion of the handsome, new, environmentally sound facilities at Herring Cove Beach, the work of 728 volunteers throughout the park, the continuing Herring River restoration, the rehabilitation of the Nauset Bike Trail, and the extraordinary work of the great number of scientists working within the park.
Science in the National Seashore
Ask someone what first comes to mind when they think of Cape Cod National Seashore. Beaches? Sand dunes? Salt marshes? How about a 40,000 acre campus for scientific study and research? Well, the National Seashore is that too. Big time.
With its glacial origins, the Seashore presents many ecosystems headlined by the largest stretch of undisturbed barrier beach in the United States. Its natural and human history offers a crucial laboratory to collect and impart knowledge, and to learn how best to cope with future phenomena such as climate change.
The Seashore is the host of one of the National Park Service's biggest research learning centers, the Atlantic Research and Learning Center (ARLC) headquartered at the Highlands Center in Truro.
The Seashore's own scientists partner with academic institutions, federal and state government agencies and conservation science organizations to monitor local effects like coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels and climate change. Endangered plant and animal species are studied, as is the effectiveness of methods to restore human-caused degraded habitats.
Friends is active in the Park's scientific endeavors. Some of our members are on the Seal Education Team, allowing visitors a chance to observe and learn about the seals hauling out on Truro sandbars. Others participate in the Park's Phenology Program. Still others assist in the monitoring of endangered piping plovers and least terns.
Each summer Friends sponsors a science symposium hosted by the ARLC. On the financial front, Friends manages the Joshua A. Nickerson Fund, the income from which is used to support up and coming young scientists who perform vital research for the ARLC each year.
Learn more about Science in the Seashore by clicking here.
CCNS Nickerson Fellow
Hollie Emery, the 2013 Nickerson Fellow, is studying "The Effect of Precipitation Intensification on Salt Marsh Ecosystems and Their Services." Her fieldwork involves building structures to either eliminate or double the amount of precipitation the vegetation receives over small sections of salt marsh. She will then measure nitrogen removal rates, carbon sequestration, and sediment accumulation on the plots.
The purpose of the project is to inform the park about future climate change effects on salt marshes. Understanding how marsh ecosystems services will change (e.g. carbon sequestration rates, buffering from storm surge) is key for planning and management of these vulnerable ecosystems. It is also useful in the short term to interpret changes in salt marsh vegetation abundance.
Joshua A. Nickerson Fund
Please support science and conservation research in the National Seashore, and promote the science careers of worthy student interns.
You can contribute to the Joshua A. Nickerson Fund by visiting the Friends' Website and click on "Donate"
About the Friends
Increase in Friends' membership
In 2013, Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore membership grew to 715 active members, an increase of about 17%. That is great news, as membership dues continue to be our major source of funding to assist Cape Cod National Seashore. In addition, our members make valuable contributions to the Park through their many volunteer hours.
We are needed now more than ever, as the Park faces a full 8% budget reduction in 2014. Thank you for your continued support, and, remember, a FCCNS membership makes a great holiday gift that keeps on giving throughout the year!
Support for Seashore from Cape Codder Sunglasses
Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore helps its national park financially through membership dues, special donations, and a variety of other sources.
This summer, Cape Codder Sunglasses initiated a program to help preserve Seashore beaches in a most creative way. The company donates 10% of the proceeds from the sale of its popular wooden sunglasses to Friends. It's terrific to have Cape Codder Sunglasses join us in striving to protect the Seashore's precious natural resources. We salute this homegrown, environmentally aware company.
Helping Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts
The Friends board has appropriated $1,000 to support an initiative of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts. The money will go toward the printing of a booklet entitled "Living Lightly on the Land" that is to be distributed to the large number of private homeowners within the Cape Cod National Seashore.
The piece will explain the various ways owners of property within the bounds of the Seashore may apply to local land trusts for a conservation restriction, which would protect their property from development in perpetuity. A worthy cause!
Art of the National Seashore
Each year, from fall through spring, the classroom at Salt Pond Visitor Center plays host to month-long art exhibits focused on the many values and impressions of the National Seashore. Over the years the exhibitions have featured photographs, paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works by artists who have been inspired by the park.
Ranging from large format landscape paintings and aerial photographs, to woven pieces and intricate close-ups of flowers, the exhibitions pay tribute to the idea that no two people see or experience Cape Cod National Seashore in quite the same way.
For information on exhibiting from fall 2014 through spring 2015, contact Sue Haley at the Salt Pond Visitor Center.
December 2013: Amber Barricman, landscape photographer
January 2014: Joyce Zavorskas, landscape painter
News from the Seashore