March - April 2015

A message from our president





Wow! Didn't the early winter weather trick us! Since our last eNews, we have endured two blizzards, extreme cold, and protracted snow cover.

Here it is mid-March, and the ocean water temperatures range from 36 to 32 and ice floes are the subject of tourist interest. Shipping in the Canal has been hampered by these large ice floes. Cakes of sea ice are over 6 feet high on Bay beaches. I suspect that this will be a foggy spring, as warm air hovers over the cold ocean. Signs of spring are just waiting under the snow, and we'll be ready to revel in the nice weather sure to come.





Bill Burke of the National Seashore, left, and Richard Ryder inspecting the work needed to restore the Penniman House.

Photos by Marcia Bromley


Look for Cape Cod National Seashore's ambitious maintenance project, painting the Penniman House! It is labor intensive because of all the architectural features that will need scraping, sanding, priming and painting.


Thank you for your continuing support of the Cape Cod National Seashore via the Friends!


Richard Ryder


Member Appreciation Event
May 5
Penniman flag

"The Pennimans of Fort Hill: A Story of Family, Fortune, and Far-flung Adventure"


Friends will hold its annual Member Appreciation event at the Penniman House this spring, in recognition of our major commitment toward the cost of the much-needed painting of this historic structure later in the year. 

Bill Burke, Cultural Resource Program Manager at CCNS, will give a tour of the house and tell us about the Pennimans, their lives, community and neighborhood. He will then take us on a tour of the grounds and on a short walk to sites on Fort Hill. 

This promises to be a perfect outing for a spring day on the Cape! Open to all Friends members. 


Please RSVP to or call 508-957-0729. Group limited to 20 people.


Tuesday, May 5

11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Penniman House, Fort Hill, Eastham

News from the Seashore

National Park Service Centennial is Coming!

Excitement is building for the National Park Service Centennial in 2016. The official launch of this nationwide event will be during National Park Week in mid-April. 

This week coincides with spring break in Massachusetts, and interpretation and education rangers are planning several activities. 

Click here for more details.

A major element of the national  seashore's centennial celebration is the repair and rehabilitation of visitor facilities and historic buildings, including amphitheaters and the Penniman House. 

Another focal point is engaging young people who are the park stewards of the future. Staff are looking forward to working with park partners and neighbors to develop meaningful centennial activities.

Storm Damage Repair Update

Funds to rebuild stairs at Nauset Light Beach were secured in early March. This is terrific news following an unprecedented series of intense winter storms. 

The seashore is also receiving funds to work with coastal engineers on development of removable stairs for the future. Global climate change and its effects of rising sea level and more frequent and intense storms call for a more sustainable approach.

National Seashore Producing Sustainable Practices Video

The National Seashore's Green Team, a park-wide committee, is developing a short video for the public that will feature messages on recycling, reducing emissions and solid waste, use of green cleaning products, and other climate-friendly practices. 

Production is funded by generous contributions by Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore and CARE for the Cape and Islands, a non-profit focused on travelers' philanthropy. The short film will premiere in early summer and be shown at both visitor centers.
Ice volunteer
Science in the Park

 Citizen Scientists Monitor Seasonal Changes in Plants and Ponds


There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in the National Seashore for citizen scientists and naturalists.  The ongoing Citizen Science Phenology Monitoring Program has it all.


It provides an outdoor work place, a chance to learn first-hand about the seasonal changes in native shrubs and trees, and a sense of accomplishment as a participant in a national program measuring the effects of climate change on living organisms.  Participants even acquire a new lingo to drop on their friends.  Try "phenophases", "bud bursts", and "ice overs."


Our program is run through the Cape Cod National Seashore's Atlantic Research and Learning Center, and is part of the USA National Phenology Network.  Like we do so often on the Outer Cape, our phenology volunteers are simply following in the footsteps of Thoreau.  The acclaimed author and early citizen scientist, maintained detailed journals of his observations of animal and plant life around Walden Pond in the 1850s.


The phenology volunteers - many of whom are Friends members -- monitor selected examples of tree and shrub species at observation points extending from Herring Cove in Provincetown to Fort Hill in Eastham.  Monitoring subjects include the red maple, eastern red cedar, white oak, beach plum, black cherry, rosa rugosa and smooth cordgrass.  Four volunteers also measure ice coverage in kettle ponds throughout the winter.


Everyone is interested in the effects of climate change.  Learn more about the Cape Cod National Seashore's role in determining those effects. Click here.


Dick Spokes, FCCNS board member and phenology volunteer


Our Mission Statement

Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore (FCCNS) is the not-for-profit fundraising partner of the Cape Cod National Seashore; a partnership established in 1987 to help preserve, protect and enhance the fragile environment and unique cultural heritage of the Park. By leveraging existing federal support with additional private philanthropy, FCCNS engages members, donors and visitors alike in the shared values of cultural appreciation, environmental stewardship and historical preservation.