GFL Lecture Series: Bird-Friendly Gardens

Bird-Friendly Gardens
with Nanette Masi
Sunday, April 2, 2017
1 – 2:30 pm
To buy tickets online click here.

Nanette Masi, owner
Back to Nature Landscape Design

What are the simple secrets to transforming your yard into a bird buffet and at the same time enhancing the beauty of your landscape? Discover how you can brighten your gardens with the colors and music of birds by using ornamental native plants. Add year-round beauty, and provide the best nutrition and cover birds need to thrive in our own New England gardens.

Does your landscape offer a “must-visit” invitation to your feathered friends? What are the secrets to transforming your yard into a bird buffet while at the same time enhancing the beauty of your landscape? Discover how you can brighten your gardens with a variety of colorful birds and surround yourself with their music by using ornamental native plants.

Native plants have evolved along with our local songbirds over eons. They’re well-adapted to our soil and weather conditions, making them the perfect choice for inviting birds into your backyard. We can add year-round beauty to our gardens while providing the best nutrition and cover local birds need to survive and thrive in New England.

Nanette Masi, M.Ed. shares her love of nature, photography, & education through her landscape design firm ‘Back to Nature.’ Her mission is to help people re-connect to the natural world, to enjoy the rewards of bird- & butterfly-watching, and to learn organic methods of gardening for their own health and the health of their community. With degrees in Botany, Ecology, & Science Education, certification as an organic landscape professional through NOFA, & years of organic gardening and design experience, she has been a guiding force in the creation of wildlife habitat gardens throughout the region, as well as a resource for schools, towns, conservation organizations & gardening associations.



GFL Lecture: Kill Your Lawn!

Kill Your Lawn
with Mark Richardson
Sunday, March 26, 2017
1 – 2:30 pm
To buy tickets online click here.

Mark Richardson, Horticulture Director
New England Wild Flower Society

Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck, read the headline of a recent article on washingtonpost.com. Lawns are resource-heavy, requiring irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides to thrive in our climate. Learn why you should “kill your lawn” and how to replace it with beautiful, environmentally friendly native plantings.

According to NASA, in the United States more surface area is covered by lawn than by any other single irrigated crop. Lawns are resource-heavy, requiring irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides to thrive in our climate. Learn why you should kill your lawn and how to replace it with beautiful and environmentally friendly native plantings.

Mark Richardson is New England Wild Flower Society’s Horticulture Director. He oversees the Society’s botanic garden, Garden in the Woods, and its native plant nursery operation, Nasami Farm. Mark studied ornamental horticulture at University of Rhode Island while helping to run a mid-sized ornamental plant nursery before finding his true passion in public horticulture. He led undergraduate programs at Longwood Gardens, where he overhauled the curriculum of the Professional Gardener Program, and oversaw adult education at Brookside Gardens. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program.


Friends’ Meeting March 14: CANCELED


Tuesday, March 14th, 2017, in the Auditorium
Potluck Lunch at 12 Noon

Program: Presentation by Don Wilding, Cape Cod Historian, Writer and Public Speaker

“A Cape Cod Sampler – The Portland Gale and The Blizzard of ’78”
In this special presentation, Don takes a look at the wreck of the steamship Portland in November 1898, and the Blizzard of ’78 on Cape Cod.

Since the start of the millennium, Don Wilding has been telling stories of Cape Cod Outer Beach history through lectures, video, and the written word.

​An award-winning writer and editor for Massachusetts newspapers for 30 years, Don pens the popular “Shore Lore” history column for the Cape Codder newspaper of Orleans, and is the author of the book, “Henry Beston’s Cape Cod: How ‘The Outermost House’ Inspired a National Seashore.” His next book, “A Brief History of Eastham,” is due to be published by The History Press in the summer of 2017.

​To visit Don Wilding’s website click here.


GFL Lecture with Claudia Thompson

Claudia Thompson

Lessons from the Garden:
What Native Plants Have Taught Me
with Claudia Thompson
Sunday, March 12, 2017
1 – 2:30 pm
To buy tickets online click here.

Claudia Thompson, President
Grow Native Massachusetts

Integrating more native plants into our gardens and managed landscapes is today’s model for being ecologically smart and helping to sustain life for birds, butterflies, pollinators, and wildlife. But creating a beautiful and vibrant landscape utilizing natives requires so much more than simply substituting these indigenous species for our old favorite horticultural exotics.

After a quick refresher about why gardening with native plants is so important, we will take an in-depth look at the lessons these plants have taught me over twenty-five years of gardening. Success rests on understanding their unique needs, ecology and adaptations. In turn, this can help us to create gardens that work synergistically with ecological processes rather than in conflict with them. This program will reaffirm your commitment to the joy and importance of native plants in our managed landscapes, and give you valuable tips for working with them. Yes, we can create gardens that use native plants successfully and to their best advantage!

Claudia’s Biography:
Ms. Thompson is the President of Grow Native Massachusetts, an organization that she founded in 2010 as the culmination of an extensive career in the environmental sector. She began her career as a teacher and environmental educator. More recently, she served as the Director of Education for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Director of Drumlin Farm for Mass Audubon, and as a board member for the New England Wild Flower Society. Her motivation for starting Grow Native Massachusetts comes from her conviction that the wise stewardship of our lands begins at home. We need a 21st century attitude toward conservation that changes the paradigm of thinking of the human and natural world as separate spheres, and that embraces our role in ecosystem dynamics.

Claudia’s happiest moments are spent in her own gardens, watching a diverse array of hawks, migrating songbirds, and even rare species such as woodcocks— all utilizing the habitat she and her husband have created on a relatively small parcel in urban Cambridge.


Read on the Wild Side continues March 8 with The Genius of Birds

Join us on Wednesday, March 8, 2017
1 – 3 pm when Jan Evans will lead a discussion of THE GENIUS OF BIRDS by Jennifer Ackerman

Jan writes,
​Well-researched and beautifully written, Ackerman’s work contends that the bird world is rife with examples of various levels of unexpected intelligence. From tool-making to navigation, from playing tricks to memorizing large volumes of detail, many different bird species contribute to Ackerman’s contention that to be called a “bird brain” is indeed a compliment rather than a criticism.

As Grant McCreary of BirdersLibrary.com says, “…birds are often seen as interesting, and occasionally smart. But genius?” Ackerman clarifies her use of this term for us: “In this book, genius is defined as the knack for knowing what you’re doing – for ‘catching on’ to your surroundings, making sense of things, and figuring out how to solve your problems.” She tells “the story of birds with extraordinary abilities or skills” in six areas: technical, social, musical, artistic, spatial, and adaptive.

Food for thought, and lots to talk about! We’ll be in the Hay Room. Everyone is welcome, and there’s no charge!

Questions? Contact the Friends at friendsofccmnh@gmail.com, or call the Museum office at 508-896-3867.

Lively discussion ensues at the January Read on the Wild Side meeting


GFL Lecture Series begins March 5th

Gardening for Life’s popular lecture series returns for 2017 with five programs on Sundays during March and April.

To see the full schedule of lectures click here.
To purchase discounted tickets for the entire series ($45 for all 5 lectures) click here.
Please note that after March 5th only individual lecture tickets will be available!

The 2017 series begins with
Waterwise Landscape Designs with Trevor Smith
Sunday March 5, 1-2:30, CCMNH auditorium

To purchase a discounted individual ticket ($12) for Waterwise Landscape Designs click here.
Individual lecture tickets will also be available at the door for $15 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Waterwise Landscape Designs
Trevor Smith, owner
Land Escapes Ecological Landscaping

Water is simultaneously part of our daily routine and the stuff of mystery. We use it to cook our food, wash our dishes, and brush our teeth; yet few of us can stand on the beach and not lose themselves watching the breakers roll in.  In the face of climate change, water is becoming much more of an issue. We either have too much rainfall all at once or too little when we really need it, and it sometimes seems that this life-giving resource has turned against us.

Get reacquainted with water! Learn simple methods to capture and reuse stormwater and manage it on your property. We will discuss rain harvesting, permeable pavements, green roofs and rain gardens.

Trevor Smith is the owner of Land Escapes, a full service ecological landscaping company. He is a past-President of the Ecological Landscape Alliance. His professional credentials include LEED Green Associate with USGBC, Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist, Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP), GLTi Certified Green Roof/Wall System Installer, and Landscape For Life Certified Trainer.


Read on the Wild Side begins with The Soul of an Octopus

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness
by Sy Montgomery

“Read on the Wild Side” presents a discussion of The Soul of an Octopus on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 1 PM at The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. In this entertaining read, author Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus, and raises interesting questions about animal intelligence. According to Science Friday of NPR, is it “…one of the best science books of the year”.

The discussion is free and open to the public. Call 508-896-3867 for information.


Friends Annual Meeting Report

After the usual pot luck lunch, Friends president Bill Barber held the business meeting which quickly went through the minutes, treasurer’s report, and passing of new by-laws amendments.  New members of the board were voted on and welcomed, including new vice president Alice Berry and new members at large Anne Best, Ruth Cortnell, Jan Evans, and Lois Katanik.

Myles Marcus, Alison Rilling, and President Bill Barber enjoy the potluck

Thanks went out to people for the various jobs done over the year, with special thanks to Myles Marcus for organizing trips and Alison Rilling for all her work on Gardening for Life.

CCMNH Executive Director Bob Dwyer gave the annual state of the museum address

CCMNH executive director Bob Dwyer was introduced and gave an update on the work of the museum over the past year.  He said that he had thought 2016 would be a smooth sailing year after several years of getting things in place. That hope was short lived as the Butterfly House project popped up soon into the new year. Although it required lots of work to get it up and running, the butterfly house and pollinator path have proved a great success and real attraction for the museum.

Nancy Wigley and new vice president Alice Berry read the bylaws

Bob outlined a number of activities – Mud Flat Mania, Owl Eyes, Green Halloween, miniature golf, and others as particularly well attended, with estimated overall attendance at the Museum at almost 50,000 people.  He talked about continuing to explore cooperation with the Audubon and Green Briar organizations for shared resources and grant funding.  The projects associated with biomimicry are dear to his heart and he looked forward to using new technology to enhance the educational offerings at the museum.

Friends Board of Directors, Front row: Julie O’Neill, Bill Barber, George Tyner, Back Row: Fred Bukowski, Myles Marcus, Anne Best, Jan Evans, Ruth Cortnell, Alice Berry, Lois Katanik, Alison Rilling

Bob also hoped that the Friends would be open to fund raising possibilities as well as continuing its programming, social activities and volunteering.  He made a special point of saying how the Museum couldn’t operate without its many volunteers.

Dee Anson helps Friends renew their memberships for 2017