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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.

WCT Gains Two New Trustees

The Trust welcomes two new Trustees to our Board.  Jane Baron and David Koonce are two people who add their special skills and love of nature and conservation to the Trust. 

Introducing Jane Baron

Jane BaronSome of you may know Jane Baron for years as your insurance agent at Benson, Young and Downs or simply recognize her as that woman who walks down Main St. at noontime every day.  In fact, walking everywhere – Great Island, along the Herring River, Conservation trails – is Jane’s favorite Wellfleet activity.   Her appreciation for these special places led to her interest in joining the Conservation Trust.

Jane was born in Salt Lake City and moved to Worcester, Massachusetts where she lived until she was 9 years old.  Her family moved from there to Eastham, where she lived until she was 11.   Next, she moved to Wellfleet, where she has been ever since.  Her wedding took place right in the backyard of her parents’ Railroad Ave. home.  She and her husband Walter moved to Old Wharf Rd.  While their two boys were young, she began working for the insurance agency part time.  When the Barons moved to Old Chequessett Neck Rd., she could walk to work on Briar Lane.  She retired from Benson, Young and Downs after a 37-year career.  Jane also retired from her long term as an elected Trustee of the Wellfleet Public Library.

Retirement has given her plenty of time for walking and other favorite pastimes such as reading, boating and beaching in season.  Other groups she has become involved in are the Farmers’ Market, transitioning to a new location behind the Congregational Church and Mass Audubon’s Diamondback Turtle Propagation Program at the Head of Duck Creek and other locations.  She was thrilled to release her first diamondback hatchlings last year.  After the storms this winter, she helped clear Conservation Trust trails of downed trees.

Growing up and having her sons grow up enjoying the unspoiled open spaces and natural beauty of Wellfleet led to her great appreciation of conservation and to joining the Conservation Trust.  Jane hopes to see a future where conservation of trees and nature remain a part of Wellfleet’s essential character.  You may have seen Jane’s and  Walter’s photos on the WCT Facebook page which Jane now administers.

We are pleased that Jane has chosen to make the Conservation Trust a big part of her retirement activities.

 

Getting to Know David Koonce

For David Koonce, a perfect day in Wellfleet would be getting outside and enjoying David Kooncewhatever nature has to offer.  After a 40-year career travelling around the world, over twenty of them for General Electric, he is happy to have retired to Wellfleet to the home he built next door to the first house he rented around twenty years ago.

His interest in WCT was sparked by a number of his people who serve with him on Friends of the Herring River, the AIM Thrift Shop and the Mustard Seed Kitchen.  Even if they had not been there to guide him towards the Conservation Trust, he is drawn to participating in something that produces tangible results.  He believes in getting involved with conservation efforts that make things better today and into the future for generations to come.

David enjoys canoeing here and in Canada.  A little-known fact he supplied was his experience as an Eagle Scout in his younger days.  As a project, his troop created a working car.  Ask him sometime about driving it!

He missed most of our winter storms this year with the arrival of a new grandchild off-Cape, but felt drawn back to Wellfleet and his activities here.

Asked what he would envision ten years from now, David replied, “More property in the Conservation Trust.  This is a gem of Wellfleet some people don’t even realize we have.  He’d love to have more awareness of the efforts of the many organizations working to improve Wellfleet.  Foremost in his wish is seeing progress on the Herring River Restoration Project.  His hope is that people recognize the value of the project to shellfishermen, the health of the river and the whole town.

 

Welcome, David and Jane.  We are looking forward to working with you for many years to come. 

 

Exploring the North East Corner of Wellfleet on the 11th Annual Guided Walk

It was a perfect day for exploring the most northeasterly corner of Wellfleet, and that is exactly what 100 stalwart walkers set out to do on September 9th for the Eleventh Annual Guided Walk by the Wellfleet Conservation Trust. At 9 o’clock, WCT President Dennis O’Connell welcomed the crowd gathered at Gull Pond Landing, and Bill Iacuessa introduced the route which would include two antique homes, a mid-century modern house and studio, viewing of four ponds, the site of the first schoolhouse in Wellfleet and a number of uphill climbs on the sand roads.

Engineer Chet Lay, newly retired from his long career at Slade Engineering, presented information on William Rawlins, former owner of much of the land we were about to see. Early in the twentieth century, Rawlins bought up old woodlots in the area with a goal of preserving the woods and ponds.  Had he lived to see the creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore, he would have seen his vision fulfilled.  He also was responsible for installing the marker at the site of the first schoolhouse.  His initials “W.R.” appear on that plaque.

We set off, surging or trudging up Old School House Hill Road towards the sluiceway between Gull and Higgins Ponds. The route veered onto Steele Road.  Just before the sluiceway we were met by Pat and Randy Bartlett at their home on Gull Pond.  Pat gave the history of the lovely home built by the Higgins family in 1770.  She displayed an old photo of the full Cape cottage, situated on a knoll facing the pond.  She inherited the house through her mother’s line of ancestors.  In response to a question about the location of the outhouse, Pat explained that her family had installed works of art in it and called it the “Art House.”  Today’s house with all modern amenities serves as the Gull Cottage Bed & Breakfast as well as the Bartlett’s year-round home.  Pat says she continues a family tradition of a morning swim every day as much as possible.

While still gathered around for more background information, we heard geologist John Portnoy’s lucid explanation of the Cape’s  pond and land formation by the glaciers.  We then returned to School House Hill Rd., stopping at Patience Brook that connects Higgins Pond to Herring Pond.  There Herring Warden, Dr. Ethan Estey, discussed the herring count and some of the other denizens of the Herring River such as the snapping turtles who lurk in the culverts and the eel population.

The group stopped again to visit the outside of Nora and Sideo Fromboluti’s modern style home designed by Charlie Zehnder. We walked through the courtyard and looked into the house interior through the glass wall on the Gull Pond side. A second free standing art studio for this family of artists lay beyond their residence.

We proceeded to a small parking area at the intersection of Old School House Hill Rd. and Black Pond Rd. and walked to an approximate borderline to get a better look at Slough Pond in Truro. Bill Iacuessa gave an explanation of the terrible name for such a beautiful pond and Horseleech Pond beyond it.  The folks in Truro renamed the ponds, formerly Newcomb’s and Long, to dissuade tourists from disturbing their pristine state.   The locations for the Breuer, Chermayeff and Phillips mid-century modern homes were noted, but they are all on private grounds and not a part of the tour.

The walk turned back westerly along Black Pond Road, providing another full view of Herring Pond and a roof top look at the Saarinen modern home. Designed by Olav Hammarstom, the structure is nestled into the banking below the road at pond level.  At the junction of Old King’s Highway, walkers headed up the hill towards Truro on that road to the site of Wellfleet’s first schoolhouse.  There Dwight Estey, former WCT trustee and current president of the Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum, enlightened us on the early days of schooling when Wellfleet was still a part of Eastham.  Teachers boarded in revolving homes which also served as schools.  The fishermen’s schools met only during times when the boys were not called to sea.  Curriculum at the first schoolhouse was New Testament Bible and psalter only.

Chet Lay spoke again on the route of the Old King’s Highway when it was the main road traversing the town. It still exists disappearing and reemerging in its original location.  In Colonial times, the Old King’s Highway along the ocean side of East Harbor/Pilgrim Lake was also the only land route to Provincetown.  Chet reminded everyone that to see the original Wellfleet layout of the road, one would have to look in Eastham maps because Wellfleet was not incorporated as a separate town until 1763.

Everyone went back towards Wellfleet on the Old King’s Highway, crossing the intersection with Black Pond Rd. and passing over the Herring River stream. Just after the stream was the driveway into Peter Matson’s 1800’s house.  He and his friendly black Lab welcomed us in the front yard of his three-quarter Cape house, which his father had purchased in derelict state in the 1930’s for $400. By that time, it was one of the few remaining homesteads from the settlement that bordered the Herring River.  After the mouth of the river had been diked in 1909, the area had become undesirable with too many mosquitoes and the low water level.  He did recall that the Peters family’s cattle still came to graze in the fields that still existed before the trees took over the abandoned neighborhood.

The walk resumed going uphill on Old King’s Highway to the intersection of Old Hay Road. There we turned east back towards Gull Pond and eventually took a path that completed the loop and brought us right back to Gull Pond Landing where we began our trek three hours earlier.