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Our E-Interview with AmeriCorps Member Celia Dávalos

A recent graduate of U. C. Berkeley, Celia Dávalos from Los Angeles County is the new AmeriCorps member assigned to the Wellfleet Conservation Trust and Conservation Commission.  We did the following e-mail interview to get to know more about her. 

What are some of your first impressions of Wellfleet?

Wellfleet so far has been very reminiscent of home to me; its people are very open and friendly like the folks in my hometown.  The natural beauty, however, is truly special and unique and I feel so fortunate that I get to serve here in my backyard because there is so much to see!

Any comparisons between Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean and beaches?

The beaches here on the opposite coast from what I’m used to are so neat because of how they seem so inconspicuous and tame compared to the Pacific Ocean waters. But, the two tides a day are something that will take getting used to and how close seals, sharks, whales and other marine animals come up so close to the shoreline!

What services you will be offering to the Conservation Commission and the Conservation Trust?

I will be serving alongside the Conservation Trust in a manner of performing inspections on Conservation lands and creating detailed maps using GPS and GIS.  Through the Health and Conservation Department, I get to travel with the Conservation Committee and learn from the members about new things I may not have been aware of before, and travel to beautiful sites throughout town!  I’ve been to nearly every pond in Wellfleet so far, most of the beaches, and some trails on Conservation Trust Lands.  Spectacle Pond is the most awe-striking to me of all the places I’ve visited.

What are some of the trails or places you’ve been to so far?

I’ve been to nearly every pond in Wellfleet so far, most of the beaches, and some trails on Conservation Trust Lands.  Spectacle Pond is the most awe-striking to me of all the places I’ve visited.

How are you doing with accommodations at the AmeriCorps house?

So far, I have loved having the opportunity to live in such a well-loved, historic, and traditionally New England home. We have a beautiful wood burning stove, and when I first arrived, I had never built a fire before in my life. Now, I build fires almost nightly in it for myself and my housemates to enjoy. 

Have you cooked for everyone yet?   If so, what did you make?

I have already cooked dinner for everyone in my house with my housemate Nick. We made sweet potato and black bean enchiladas which were a hit!

How did you like the Oyster Fest this past weekend?  Did you eat oysters?  Learn how to shuck shellfish?

I had a blast at Oyster Fest! There was beautiful weather all weekend, though Saturday was slightly overwhelming with the amount of people that showed up because of that! I was able to serve on both days, sorting recycling on Saturday and assisting with the Shuck and Run 5K on Sunday morning. I spent all of Sunday eating as many oysters as I could, hitting up 5 different vendors selling them! I still don’t know how to properly shuck an oyster, but I hope that by the end of my service term, that is a skill I leave the Cape with.

Are you looking forward to winter in New England and snow activities? 

Having lived in California all my life, I have never properly experienced all four seasons and the sound of winter on Cape Cod has been a bit daunting to me.  But, I have been given the same advice from different people: “layers!” I hope to get to experience snowfall for the first time and plan on fully embracing the cold winter months and participate in all the fun activities that there is to do! 

Tell us a little more about your experience of travelling to Cuba.

Travelling to Cuba for study abroad was so special mostly because it was my first time abroad in a new place all by myself, and the university program provided some remarkable opportunities. I was able to visit all the major cities of the island and traveled the entirety of the country. The people and seemingly untouched natural beauty of the places I got to experience are memories I reflect on often.

What were some of your favorite classes or teachers in high school, the community college and Berkeley?

Community college was where I completed all of my general education courses through an Honors track which allowed me to able to dip my toes in various subjects and get to know my professors and peers really well through the small class sizes. This was also where I solidified my choice in my major, so when I transferred to Berkeley to complete my degree, I took classes that were upper division and explorative. Berkeley was my dream school, and the academic experience was more prodigious than what I could have ever expected. Living in Berkeley was also the first time I had ever lived away from home, and experiencing the Bay area was complementary to my growing and learning experience.

Who or what have given you inspiration for conservation of the natural world?

Post-high school was really a time for me to experience some growing pains in the challenging of my thoughts and ideas of my then-scope of the world. From the people I have interacted with and the new ways in which I have experienced my world, I have a greater appreciation for the natural world and believe it should be something that everyone is consciously working to conserve and contribute to.

Did your family play a role in your interest in nature?    

My parents have raised my siblings and I to be curious and ask questions. My mother is an elementary school teacher/my personal hero and planted the seed in mine and my three younger siblings’ minds to love and appreciate our natural world.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?   In 10 years?

I had plans post-college graduation to serve in an AmeriCorps program but did not know about the Cape Cod placement until a few months before the application opened.  I am so excited to be here, learn as much as I can and be present during the rest of these nine months.  I have plans to someday return to school and pursue a law degree, but who’s to say what will actually happen!

Welcome, Celia!  We can’t wait to see what will happen during your year in Wellfleet.

Successful First Mushroom Exploration Walk September 28, 2019

Wesley Price, founder of the Cape Cod Mycological Society, led a group of almost 30 mushroom enthusiasts on an exploratory walk sponsored by both the Wellfleet and Harwich Conservation Trusts on Saturday, September 28th.  The mushroom foragers gathered in the parking area of Wellfleet’s Pilgrim Springs Woodland at 1 p.m. on another superb September day.  Tyler Maikath, Land Stewardship & Outreach Coordinator of the Harwich Conservation Trust, organized the participants and introduced mycologist Wesley Price.  Dennis O’Connell, President of the Wellfleet Conservation Trust, welcomed the assembly to Pilgrim Springs Fox Island Conservation land, a mix of WCT and Town Conservation holdings. 

Wesley Price was eager to explore the Pilgrim Springs Woodlands and wasted no time in finding a first mushroom by the split rail fence before the crowd even left the gathering place. 

A show of hands indicated there was a split of experienced gatherers and first timers.  The mushroom hunters split up in all directions or trailed Wesley Price to see what he would discover.  The directions to bring all finds back to a collection table resulted in a plethora of mushrooms.  The expected species of boletes, amanitas, Leccinum, and Tricholoma were included in the finds of over two dozen different types of mushrooms.

Wesley Price leads guided mushroom walks all around Cape Cod.  The Farmer’s Market booked him for two fall walks this year.  We will be keeping an eye out for his 2020 schedule and let you know what mushroom exploration you might be able to do with him next fall.

All photos courtesy of Gerry Beetham

Three Great Ponds, the 13th annual guided walk

Hurricane Dorian’s leftovers caused a one-day postponement, but other than that the Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT)’s annual guided walk, entitled “Three Great Ponds”, was one of the best ever.

Mike Fisher relating history of the firing range
Mike Fisher relating history of the firing range

It was held on Sunday, September 8th, 2019 at 9:00 am starting at the Wellfleet Senior Center at 715 Old Kings Highway. Despite the postponement, 87 people participated. The weather was perfect, sunny, with the lightest tinge of fall.

The WCT Annual Guided Walk is a tradition that began in 2007. It offers the public an opportunity to experience the beauty of Wellfleet’s open space and conservation lands while being guided by naturalists and other local experts who share their knowledge of the history, geology, and ecology of the areas being explored.

Duck Pond
Great Pond

Topics this year included the Council on Aging, the Community Garden, the Municipal Water System’s well pumping station, the old Boy Scout Camp, a discontinued firing range, the dog park, early 20th century Governor Eugene Foss’s Wellfleet connection, a visit to two early 1900s camps, and views of three of Wellfleet’s great ponds: Duck, Great, and Dyer.

Walkers spread along the trail, with trail organizer, Bill Iacuessa

The camps were a special treat. They’re private, so one normally cannot see inside, but because of this special event we were able to view them and to hear great stories from current owners. One was  the Garrison family, for a camp established by Frank Garrison’s grandfather, MA Governor Eugene Foss and his brother. The other was the Lay family.

Susan Anthony describing the community garden
Susan Anthony describing the community garden

It looked as though nothing had been changed in these beautiful spots for over a 100 years. In one camp we saw the propane toilet in the outhouse, the pump in the kitchen, the propane fridge, kerosene lanterns. There was a list of birds killed by each hunting party long ago.

Chet Lay describing early lake cottage life
Chet Lay describing early lake cottage life

The walk was a bit over 2.5 miles in length and took three hours, allowing ample time for wandering about and hearing presentations. The terrain was a combination of sandy roads, narrow paths and a few paved roads, most of it shaded. There were a couple of steep bits.

The annual walks are free of charge. They’re held shortly after Labor Day.

All are welcome to participate, and no reservation is required. There are cars posted at various spots for anyone who can’t easily make it the full three miles.  The difficulty level is easy to moderate.

[Photos by Susie Quigley and Susan Bruce]

 

 

Exploratory walk to identify mushrooms in Wellfleet

Sorry, this walk is now full.

Co-sponsored by Wellfleet Conservation Trust and Harwich Conservation Trust, join mycologist Wesley Price on an exploratory walk to identify mushrooms in Wellfleet on Saturday, September 28 (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). Wesley founded the Cape Cod Mycological Society in 2013 and leads guided walks around Cape Cod in search of mushrooms.

Admission: free, but space is limited, so advance registration required

To register:

Please include your name and cell phone in an email to: events@harwichconservationtrust.org.

Location: Pilgrim Spring Woodlands Conservation Area

(directions will be included with your registration confirmation email)

Time: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Day/date: Saturday, September 28, 2019

Rain cancels. You would receive an email cancellation notice.

Old Wharf Point boat rack

The Wellfleet Conservation Trust is now accepting 2019 applications for use of the Old Wharf Point boat rack (formerly called kayak rack).

Some of the changes for 2019 are:

  • Places on the rack will be awarded by lottery.
  • A total of 20 places will be awarded.
  • There will be a $50 charge for each boat on the rack.

Applicants must

  1. Be a resident or property owner on Old Wharf Road or off a road accessing Route 6 via Old Wharf Road,
  2. Own their own boat,
  3. Not rent their property for more than two weeks during the season,
  4. Two applicants may be on one application form provided they both meet the resident requirement listed in #1.  If their application is drawn in the lottery, they will be awarded two places.

For further information and an application please send an email to: wct.kayakrack@gmail.com

16th Annual State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference

Screenshot 2018-10-15 13.21.39

The 16th Annual State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference will be held on Saturday, November 3, 2018, 8:30 am–2:00 pm, at the Wellfleet Elementary School.

See details and schedule here.

 

Volunteers to staff Oysterfest recycling stations, October 13-14

Wellfleet Conservation Trust has partnered with the Wellfleet Recycling Committee on CoastSweep, sharing a common interest in maintaining a healthy, sustainable environment.

Volunteers are needed to staff Oysterfest recycling stations, October 13-14, 10 AM -5 PM:

This year the Wellfleet Recycling Committee is partnering with SPAT to increase recycling and shell collection rates and keep these waste streams clean.

We are working upfront to identify food & beverage service ware so we can prepare signage and train volunteers.

We need your help to monitor recycling and shell collection at the Recycling Stations.

Not the most glamorous job, but essential – contaminants prevent recyclable products from being recycled.

Your role will be to guide festival goers on proper separation of waste (recycling, shell, landfill) and to remove contaminants from recycling and shell containers as needed. Gloves and grapper tools will be provided!

Please call Christine at 508-349-5864 or email eclshreves@gmail.com to sign up for one or more two-hour shifts.

Thank you for helping us make OysterFest a more sustainable event. Next year we hope to introduce reusable beer cups and add compost collection for food waste and compostable food service ware.

Wellfleet Conservation Trust coordinates COASTSWEEP 2018 on September 29 and seeks citizen volunteers to clean Wellfleet Harbor Coastline

coastsweep1Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT) announces that it is organizing volunteer efforts to conduct the annual COASTSWEEP program for the Wellfleet Harbor coastline. As before, this year’s program will coordinate with co-sponsors including the Wellfleet Recycling Committee, the Wellfleet Conservation Commission, the Open Space Committee, and the Friends of Herring River.

Last year’s Wellfleet sweep included 30 volunteers in 11 teams, covered more than 8 miles of beaches, and recovered 400 pounds of plastics and other debris. The clean-up took approximately two hours.

coastsweep2Since 1987, volunteers throughout Massachusetts have turned out for the annual COASTSWEEP cleanup organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). Each September and October, thousands of volunteers collect literally tons of trash from beaches, marshes, river banks and the seafloor. COASTSWEEP participants join hundreds of thousands of other volunteers in the world’s largest volunteer effort for the ocean—Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup—collecting trash, fishing line and other marine debris and recording data on what they find. This data is used to find solutions for keeping trash out of the ocean.

As part of the annual COASTSWEEP, the local cleanup is organizing at the Wellfleet Mayo Beach parking area on Kendrick Avenue at 9 AM, Saturday September 29. The rain date for this event will be the next day, September 30. No advanced sign-up is needed, so volunteers are asked to come to Mayo Beach to be assigned to a small team and a section of beaches for the Sweep. All supplies are being provided, but if you want your own gloves and reusable water bottles, it is suggested that you bring them. No water crossings are expected, so regular footwear should suffice.

For further information, please see full press release or contact us.

Photos from 2017 CoastSweep – Wellfleet Harbor, October 9, 2017.

12th Annual Guided Walk at Indian Neck Dedicated to Memory of Don Palladino

12th Annual Guided Walk around Indian Neck Dedicated to Memory of Don Palladino

About 90 people gathered at the Indian Neck breakwater for the start of our 12th Annual Guided Walk at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 15th.  Vice president Bill Iacuessa dedicated the 3.5-mile walk to the memory of the late Don Palladino, who introduced the walk as our signature event in 2006.  

To kick off the walk, Dwight Estey, president of the Wellfleet Historical Society, discussed historic background and changes to the Wellfleet harbor front. 

The group proceeded along Indian Neck beach to WCT land where erosion has revealed a Native American shell midden. South Wellfleet historian Pam Tice discussed the year-round community of Nausets in the vicinity. 

The walk continued along the open beach to just beyond the Town landing at Burton Baker Beach.  There John Portnoy explained jetties, groins, and revetments—all attempted means of mitigating beach erosion, some now out of favor, others still used today.

Walkers enjoyed splendid views of Great Island across Wellfleet Bay.  After crossing Sewell’s Gutter, the group awaited Shellfish Constable Nancy Civetta for her scheduled 10:30 talk.  Since the walk had arrived ahead of time, Assistant Constable Johnny (Clam) Mankevetch pitched in until Ms. Civetta arrived.  She discussed oyster propagation, as well as recent efforts to increase quahog production in Wellfleet. 

The route continued along the beach to Field Point, where walkers turned into the Fox Island Marsh area.  At WCT’s Field Point turtle garden, Dr. Barbara Brennessel released terrapin hatchlings into the marsh with the help of her grandson, Sterling.  Alice Iacuessa spoke about Wise family’s midcentury modern home designed by Marcel Breuer.  Jeremy Wise, whose family donated the land which now includes the turtle garden, invited participants to walk around the home and explore the property. 

Some participants took advantage of a ride back to the breakwater parking lot, but a hardy group continued back on their own.  It was a long but memorable morning’s walk.  After the walk, many gathered at a memorial event put on by Don Palladino’s family.  Thus, the walk ended as it began, with a tribute to Don.

August 18, 2018: 34th Annual Meeting

The Wellfleet Conservation Trust (WCT) just held its 34th Annual Meeting.

Ms. Heather McElroy, the Natural Resources/Land Protection Specialist for the Cape Cod Commission, delivered the keynote address. She described work of the Commission, with a special focus on the Commission’s work in Wellfleet.

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Mary Rogers, with delicious refreshments

In a presentation entitled, “Planning to Keep Wellfleet Special,” Ms. McElroy helped the audience understand the challenge for the Commission, first in terms of Cape geography, with its 560 miles of coastline, 15 towns, and a population of 216,000, which more than doubles in the summer, and a single freshwater aquifer. The Commission’s mission, “…to protect the unique values and quality of life on Cape Cod by balancing environmental protection and  economic progress,” proceeds in a context of sea level rise and changing climate.

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WCT President Denny O’Connell

She then described the various strategies that the Commission uses to address these challenges, including helping to develop adaptation strategies and providing decision support tools. In Wellfleet, the Commission has worked on affordable housing and historical preservation. In addition there are Cape-wide projects, such as the Outer Cape Bike Plan. As an example, see “Buy Fresh, Buy Local,” an award-winning story map.

There was a lively Q/A session, in which the audience asked about the Commission’s work in detail, discussed political resources and constraints, and explored the relationship of the Commission to other organizations, such as the WCT.

The Annual Meeting began at 9:30 AM, with coffee and a spread of delicious pastries. It was called to order at 10:00 AM. During the business meeting, President Denny O’Connell presented an historical overview of the group’s actions and achievements. A key point was that the all-volunteer Trust now has 385 acres in Wellfleet under its protection. There was also a Treasurer’s report, an invitation to the upcoming Annual Walk, the election of new Trustees, and a tribute to the late Don Palladino.

Annual Meetings are open to the public; no reservation needed.