April Meeting: Cape Cod Viewfinders

Cape Cod Viewfinders Presentation

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Potluck & Program Meeting in the Auditorium
Potluck 12:30
Friends Update 1:15
Program 1:30

John Ward and other master photographers will present around 50 images taken by their members and explain how they were made.

The Cape Cod Viewfinders club, a member of the Photographic Society of America and the New England Camera Club Council, celebrated its 60th anniversary last year and currently have over 100 members. Photographers of every skill level from the newest beginners to the most advanced amateurs and professionals are welcome to participate for the improvement and enjoyment of photography. Members have in-depth lectures, competitions, field trips, slide shows, critique nights, exhibits and hands-on learning sessions. Meetings are the first and third Wednesdays of the month from September to May at Brooks library in Harwich Center.

Potluck Assignments (by first letter of last name)
A-F: Main Entree
G-P: Dessert
Q-Z: Appetizer or Salad


March Meeting: Pruning with Confidence

Pruning with Confidence
with Will Clarke

Tuesday March 12, 2019

Potluck & Program Meeting in the Auditorium
Potluck 12:30
Friends Update 1:15
Program 1:30 – 2:30pm
Program is free. Museum exhibits are not open.

Will has been an active member of the Master Gardener Association of Cape Cod since 1988 when he left a career in Marine Science to start Perennial Solutions a landscape gardening business. He is a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist and a long-time member of the Ecological Landscaping Alliance.

Late Winter to Early Spring Is Time to Do Most Pruning

By learning a few basic techniques, how plants grow, and, most importantly, why you’re pruning, you can approach any pruning job with confidence. You may want to maintain a plant at a certain size or shape. You may want to remove dead, weak, damaged, diseased or insect-infested wood.

Just before spring growth begins is an excellent time to prune summer-flowering plants. They’ll form flower buds on the new growth that pops out in early spring.

For spring-flowering plants such as azaleas or rhododendron, wait until they finish blooming so long-awaited flowers that have formed on last year’s growth can bloom.

The Master Gardener Association of Cape Cod is part of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, which was enacted by Congress in 1914 to provide the public with education, information, and practical applications of new research through the Land Grant Universities (of which UMass is one.) It is supported by your county, state and federal funds.

Pruning with Confidence!
Will Clarke, Master Gardener and Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist

Potluck Assignments (by first letter of last name)
A-F: Dessert
G-P: Appetizer or Salad
Q-Z: Main Entree


February Meeting: Sharks!

with Marianne Long

Tuesday February 12, 2019
1:30pm – 2:30pm
in the Auditorium
Program is free. Museum exhibits are not open.                       

Marianne works as the Education Director for the Atlantic White Shark. Marianne studied marine science at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, where she worked with sharks in their natural habitat. Seeing first-hand how misunderstood these animals are led her to work in a career where she could try to replace fear with facts. 

Great white sharks in Cape Cod waters! What do we need to know to live with these fascinating fish? What has research taught us?  In this multi-media presentation, Marianne Long will discuss the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s ongoing research projects, and what effects that research is having on conservation and public safety.

Marianne Long

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) is a nonprofit organization supporting scientific research, educating the community, and improving public safety. AWSC strives to increase knowledge of Atlantic white sharks to change public perception, and conserve the species and ensure biologically diverse marine ecosystems.
Join us for the potluck!

A-F: Appetizer, salad or side
G-P: Main dish
Q-Z: Dessert

All are welcome!

Potluck Luncheon: 12:30
Friends Update: 1:15
Program:  1:30


2018 CCMNH Holiday Party

About the Chorus:
The Nauset Regional High School Honors Chorus, directed by Tom Faris, has a longstanding reputation for musical excellence.  As Nauset High School’s most active performing group, this group has many performances scheduled throughout the year.  The Honors Chorus is a select, auditioned group and students in this group range in age from fourteen to eighteen years old.  Many current members are planning to continue their music education after graduating from Nauset in fields such as music therapy, musical theater, music performance and music education.
This group has been awarded top honors in national music festivals; most recently: Atlanta Georgia, Montreal Quebec, and, in 2016, a performance tour of Ireland.  It was at the invitation of State Senator Julian Cyr that our vocal music department was requested to perform at the State House in Boston last December. This ensemble specializes in a cappella music from many eras; from Renaissance to pop. Next year, we hope to travel to Rome on our second international tour of the decade.


Cape Cod Canal Story with “Legend” Samantha Gray

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
CCMNH Auditorium

Friends of CCMNH Potluck Lunch at 12:30 PM
Program begins at 1:30 PM
Program is free to the public (Museum closed for regular admission)

Millions of people cross the bridges over the Cape Cod Canal each year. But how many know what this engineering marvel is all about? A US Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger, Samantha Gray will present a program that offers excellent insight into the rich history, fascinating features, and vigilant operation of the Cape Cod Canal. Through video, photos and stories the Canal’s unique blend of engineered and natural histories will be revealed. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters in Washington, D.C., recognized what most in the New England District already knew:  Samantha Gray, Lead Interpretive Ranger at the Cape Cod Canal is a “legend.”

Gray was selected by the Corps for the American Recreation Coalition’s 2018 Legends Award.  The award recognizes federal managers for outstanding work in improving outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people.  Gray was one of seven federal managers to receive the award this year.

Since the opening of the Canal Visitor’s Center in 2001, Gray has been the force behind its transformation, making it the focal point of the Cape Cod Canal’s interpretive mission, and a centerpiece of the New England District’s natural resource program.

For more information, contact fccmnh@gmail.com.

Parnters of the American Recreation Coalition present Samantha Gray with the 2018 Legends Award, May 31, 2018


Friends October Meeting: Watching Bird Behavior

Gretchen Moran Towers and Friend

Watching Bird Behavior…and How it Can Help You to Become a Better Birdwatcher is the program at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, October 9, at 1:30pm.

Gretchen Moran Towers, leader of the popular Tuesday Tweets and Birdwatching for Beginners at the Museum, and Education Coordinator at the Green Briar Nature Center, will be the speaker.

The program, presented by the Friends of CCMNH, is FREE and open to the public. (The Museum itself will be closed on that day.)

If you watch birds, chances are you can tell a robin from a goldfinch by size, color, even shape.  But what about birds that look similar, like a robin and a towhee? A goldfinch and a pine warbler? And what about all those migrating sea birds?

Gretchen will discuss how bird behavior – where they perch, whether they go down or up a tree, if they sit on the tube feeder pulling out seed after seed or scratch through the leaf litter on the ground – provides clues to their identification. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birder, learning to watch bird behavior can enhance your skills and enjoyment.

Attendees are invited to join the Friends of CCMNH for a Potluck Lunch at 12:30pm.

Want more information? Contact the Friends at fccmnh@gmail.com.


Friends visit Fort Warren

Fort Warren

Twenty-two Friends celebrated a beautiful day at the end of the summer season by catching a ride on the MassDOT ferry from Hingham out into Boston Harbor.  When the ferry stopped at Georges Island, we were the only passengers to disembark.  And we had the island to ourselves!

Awaiting Hingham ferry

Georges Island is the home of historic Fort Warren, a Civil War-era fort known for its graceful granite archways. A National Park Service ranger gave us an excellent tour.  Because Britain blockaded the harbor and invaded cities from New Orleans to Bangor, Maine, in the aftermath of the War of 1812, President James Madison determined to protect the nation’s borders with fortifications.  Fort Warren, one of 42 forts built in the ensuing years, is named for Revolutionary War hero Dr. Joseph Warren, who sent Paul Revere on his famous ride and was later killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Ranger led tour of the fort

Begun in 1833, it wasn’t completed until 1861.  During the Civil War, it was used as a prison for Confederate soldiers (some 2,300 of them) including the Confederate Vice-President and political leader Alexander H. Stephens.  It was decommissioned in 1950 after World War II after 100 years of use.

View of Boston from Hingham Ferry

The glacial action that shaped the Cape also shaped Georges Island.  It created a drumlin, or small hill, which was perfectly situated at the mouth of the narrows to protect Boston. While the harbor has more than 50 square miles and 30 islands, only one narrow channel is deep enough for ocean-going vessels to navigate safely and this was right in front of Fort Warren.

Judy Mereschuk, Louise Vivona-Miller, and Sue & Myles Marcus

Thanks to Myles Marcus for organizing this trip, Bob Smith for photos, and Louise Vivona-Miller for photos and trip report.



Updates for George’s Island Trip

Updates for Boston Harbor George’s Island trip on Wed., Sept. 5

Although there is no required up-front cost, we must make reservations for lunch ASAP.

Please be at the museum parking lot at 7:15 a.m. for possible car pooling procedure.

Boarding for the 10 a.m. ferry starts at 9:30 a.m.

Food truck may be at the pier for coffee, etc.  Snacks available on the ferry as well.

Use your GPS for the destination at 30 Shipyard Dr., Hingham, MA.

Ferry returns from Georges Island to Hingham at 1:25 p.m. DON’T MISS THE BOAT!!

Lunch approximately 2:10 p.m. at The Beer Works



Friends and Frogs

Miles Marcus staffing the Friends’ Frog Information Booth at Brewster Conservation Day

Summertime has been hopping for the Friends of CCMNH! When the opportunity arose for us to represent the Museum at the 7th annual Brewster Conservation Day, we leaped into action. (There was a bonus for the Friends: we could put our kayak on display and sell raffle tickets at Drummer Boy Park!)


Ruth Courtnell began by contacting the Friends membership and asking for help – but not before she went to the CCMNH Gift Shop to collect frog toys, books, and scientific models to include in the booth.

Colorful frog posters by Alison Rilling

Using some rusty science librarian skills, Alison Rilling learned that nine species of frogs live on Cape Cod. Mass Audubon generously gave us permission to reproduce the material on their website https://www.massaudubon.org/, and Alison adapted text and photos (adding a few photos from other sources) for eight 3’ by 2’ eye popping colorful posters.



Meanwhile, Shirley Vautin set to work designing a miniature Frog Pond, complete with lily pads, native plants, twigs and rocks for frogs to hide in – and then proceeded to hide 22 frogs.

Frog pond by Shirley Vautin

A number of CCMNH photographers sent us their own pictures of “Frogs From Around the World” for a display to run throughout the day on a digital picture frame.

The booth even featured a digital frog slide show!

July 14, 2018, the day of the event, was clear and sunny – a perfect Cape Cod day. Bright and early, Jan Evans, Anne Best, and Ruth Courtnell delivered carloads of tents, tables, toys, frogs, posters, easels, and chairs.  Elaine Allard joined in and they set up the tent and display.

Anne Best selling raffle tickets

Fred Budreski picked up the kayak from the Museum and arranged the kayak and raffle setup.  The “mobile merchant” Square electronic sales system from the Museum was used to sell tickets and accept charge cards.





The action after that was nonstop! Myles Marcus, Alice Berry, and Doris Shiffman joined the early birds at our little tent, engaging with the dozens of visitors who toured the exhibit and learned about Cape Cod Frogs. Both children and adults loved seeing the photos and chatting with our volunteers (most of whom hadn’t been frog experts, but by the end of the day were coming close). And everyone loved searching for the 22 frogs hidden around the Frog Pond.

Over $300 dollars worth of kayak raffle tickets were sold!

Stickers were handed out to all visitors

And hundreds of people, both Brewster residents and visitors, were able to get a taste of the vast store of information – and fun activities – that our Museum has to offer.  Marjorie Williams, CCMNH Senior Aquarist, reports that the Museum is home to individuals of six of the Cape’s nine frog species, so Museum visitors can get a close-up view of our native frogs. (Except that the spring peeper rarely shows herself; you probably can’t get a peep at her…)



At the free lunch that was provided to exhibitors and volunteer workers, Dorria Marsh, the event coordinator, told our volunteers, “I’m hearing raves about your booth!”  And what fun we all had!

And no one – even our own CCMNH volunteers – could find all 22 frogs in the Frog Pond!