Wellfleet native, Jacob (Jake) Puffer, has a number of superlatives that come with him as he joins the Wellfleet Conservation Trust Board of Trustees: newest, youngest, and fastest (read on). We are happy to introduce you to Jake, mostly in his own words.
Growing up in Wellfleet was great, Jake says. “I had an awesome group of friends, big family, plenty of woods to run around in, ponds and ocean, and the bay to swim. Through my parent’s fish market/restaurant as well as the grant, I’ve always had a strong connection to the sea. I grew up working for my parents, on the flats, in the fish market and restaurants, and I also picked wild oysters through high school and college. I made new friends every summer from the kids that would vacation here. School was great and I played a sport every season.”
Jake received my BA from Emmanuel College in 2010 with a major in communication focusing on business and psychology. After graduating college, he moved back to Wellfleet and picked wild oysters while also working with his father, Irving Puffer. They went into business together and now grow oysters and clams on a grant off Mayo beach.
Jake reflects on returning to Wellfleet, “I think moving back to a place and settling down where you grew up changes the way you view it. In a lot of ways Wellfleet has become a different place to me. I appreciate the beauty and pristineness more but also realize that it takes hard work and management by dedicated volunteers and the town to keep it that way and fix the mistakes of the past. I’m very fortunate to grow up in a great community and have a way to support myself and my family here. Wellfleet and the harbor in particular has given me so much.”
Jake provided some exciting personal information. Jake and his wife Jacqueline, a 6th grade English teacher at Nauset Middle School own a house together in Wellfleet and are expecting their first baby in January. Jake is a marathon and ultramarathon runner. He has run many races and is the two-time reigning champion of the Nantucket Rock Run — a quarter mile swim followed by a 50-mile race on the beaches around the perimeter of the island.
“Mayo Beach and the Harbor area is the area I visit most often. I live nearby, have my farm on the flats there, been playing basketball there forever, and often go for walks with my wife. I enjoy long runs exploring Wellfleet while listening to a good audiobook. The back roads around the ponds and along the ocean are great, but Great Island has to be my favorite. I always find myself going back there, it offers beach and trail runs, is peaceful, and quiet and often have the place to myself.”
“I love to travel. It started with two student exchanges to Italy in high school. During college, I cruised around the world on a ship with a program called Semester at Sea, visiting 14 countries visiting in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Central America. Since then I have backpacked Europe, did months long overland trips in New Zealand and South America, visited the Azores, Canary Islands, Caribbean and many countries in the Mediterranean with my wife. I have enjoyed many conservation lands all over and I think it has made my appreciation for Wellfleet’s beauty grow, along with my desire to protect it.”
“I first became aware of the Conservation Trust when I was still in high school, after the land behind my parent’s, where I grew up playing, and later walking my dogs and hiking around, was not going to be developed. I never considered joining until Gary [Joseph] approached me, and I was immediately interested.
Being an oyster farmer and an avid runner of the coast, Jake finds that preserving access to and along the coast has become very important to him. A healthy harbor is a vital part of growing shellfish. “Conservation and restoration of wetlands is one of the best things we can do locally to keep it that way,” he says. Jake is a SPAT board member, a member of the Shellfish Advisory Committee and Mayo Creek Restoration Committee, two committees who strive to do just this.
Unlike many of our Trustees, who join us after a long career elsewhere, Jake brings his bright future and energy with his home town perspective to us. We are so excited to have his vibrant outlook as a part of the Trust.