Concord Massachusetts MOTT spotlight | Little Women, Great Buildings, writing, history and hikes — plus ties to #GloucesterMA

Heading from Gloucester & Cape Ann to Concord makes for easy nature hikes and must see visits year round. Winter walks on mild days offer unobstructed views. It’s remarkable how many points of interest and preservation are within walking distance — or brief drives– from each other.

Concord Museum

 

The Concord Museum expansion, the Little Women film impact, and Carol Thistle are featured in the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Industry Update from January 2020 (MOTT). Read the full January 2020 news and stats here for inspiration. Nice to see North Shore highlighted.

“On behalf of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Happy New Year to our tourism colleagues around the world, as we embark on an exciting new year and a new decade here in Massachusetts. We are looking forward to a busy and productive year.  
In-state initiatives on our horizon include Plymouth 400, the Restaurant Promotion Commission, a new Historic Women Trailblazers of Massachusetts initiative in honor of the 100th anniversary of the right to vote for women, and a major exhibit on King Tut coming to Boston in June. On MOTT’s international front, we have trade opportunities in Germany, Japan and South Korea in the coming months, as well as two of our most important tourism conferences, DNE and IPW. In this month’s MA Spotlight, we profile Concord Museum’s Marketing & PR Director Carol Thistle, who shares details about exciting new exhibits coming up in 2020 here.” 

Concord Museum expansion Little Women Concord Mass Carol Thistle featured in Mass Office of Travel & Tourism Industry Update Jan 2020 (MOTT)

Massachusetts Mass Film Map Little Women

Mass Film map Little Women

“…we are so excited about the Little Women film and we have already seen an increase in visitation to Concord because of it. Louisa May Alcott’s copper tea kettle that she used as a nurse during the Civil War is showcased in the Museum. Louisa almost died during the endeavor and was inspired to write her first published work, Hospital Sketches, which helped launch her remarkable and prolific career as one of America’s favorite writers.” – excerpt from Carol Thistle interview for MOTT spotlight Jan 2020

On exhibit at the Concord Museum through June 7, 2020 Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere

Special events featured here– save the dates!

Concord Museum save the date

The $13 million capital campaign supported construction of the new Anna and Neil Rasmussen Education Center, which opened in fall 2018. What are some of the educational features? With this state-of-the-art Center, we host Forums on women’s suffrage, the abolition movement, revolutionary history, decorative arts and other topics connected to our collection. Since the opening of the Rasmussen Education Center, the Museum has served 14,000+ students through a variety of curriculum-based educational programs. Kids can explore the world of Henry David Thoreau, cook over an open hearth, and learn about Native culture through archaeology and so much more. In 2019, the Paul Revere’s Fund provided free bus transportation to the Museum and underwrote all program fees for nearly 4,000 students from Lowell, Lawrence, and Everett.”

One of the greatest joys in my marketing and public relations career has been promoting so many incredible destinations in our state. Massachusetts has so much to offer local, national and international visitors with its natural beauty, seacoast and of course its history.  In the past 25 years, through branding campaigns and strategic marketing, I have promoted some of Boston’s key icons, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Boston Harbor Islands and the Museum of Science – as well as the cities of Gloucester and SalemFor the past 3 ½ years, I have been the Marketing Director for the Concord Museum as it has undergone an exciting $13 million dollar capital campaign, expansion and renovation. I’m also currently serving on the Board of the Concord’s Chamber of Commerce as well as the Advisory Board for both Discover Concord and the Town of Concord’s new Tourism initiative.” – excerpt from Carol Thistle interview for MOTT spotlight Jan 2020

Plan ahead because there’s so much in close proximity. It’s easy to park at one of these sites and walk to the others.

Home of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Concord, Mass. Emerson’s home of 50 years is situated across from the Concord Museum and a two minute walk from Alcott’s family home. The house belonged to his wife, Ellen Tucker who died of TB at twenty in 1831, just two years into their young marriage. Emerson supported Thoreau, Alcott’s father (Bronson Alcott) and Hawthorne because of spousal inheritance. He married Lydian in 1835 in Plymouth, Mass. They raised a family in the Concord home.

Gloucester – Concord connections: Emerson itemized “Gloucester” in his pocket journal entries because he came here for work and pleasure: as a  Gloucester Lyceum invited speaker; with friends, most notably a famous walk here with Thoreau; visited Rockport in August 1855 and Pigeon Cove with family in 1856 (where he is remembered as the Inn in Rockport Mass most famous guest). Art fans aside: his ancestor, Thomas Emerson, built Arthur Wesley Dow’s house in Ipswich!

 

Lousia May Alcott home of Little Women Orchard House

Founded in 1912 (!), the museum is the long time family home where Alcott wrote and set Little Women website  Ralph Waldo Emerson backed her father’s work. Thoreau was her schoolteacher.

“When she was about seven her father enrolled her in a school taught by Thoreau, then 23. Thoreau often took his students out of the classroom into the woods. He  taught them about birds and flowers, gathering lichens, showing them a fox den and deer tracks, feeding a chipmunk from his hand.

Sometimes he took the children on his boat, the Musketaquid, and gave them lessons as they floated down the Sudbury and Assabet rivers. As they passed the battlefield where the American Revolution started, he explained how the farmers had defended themselves against the redcoats. Louisa recorded her vivid memories of those field trips in Moods.” excerpt New England Historical Society

Gloucester – Concord connections: Alcott stayed on Rocky Neck when she visited Gloucester.

 

Walden Pond

Concord, Mass. Don’t forget that Walden Pond is right here, too! Hike to the site of the Henry David Thoreau cabin which he built on Emerson’s land and stayed 2-2-2 (as in two years, two months, two days) over  1845-47.

“When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond, published 1854. 

Combining this stop with downtown Concord underscores the scalability of his solitude and deep nature study, and how it was made possible with support from cherished family and friends. (Since it’s pretty much his back yard, no wonder he could walk home!)

Thoreau lived at 255 Main Street in downtown Concord from 1850 until his death in 1862. His former student, Louisa May Alcott, bought the historic house for her sister. She and her father lived there, too.

Gloucester – Concord connections: Walden Pond NPS Visitor Center designed by architect MaryAnn Thompson, same firm that built Temple Ahavat Achim in Gloucester, Mass. Thoreau came to Gloucester at least twice that we know of- in 1848 as an invited speaker by Gloucester Lyceum hosted in the town hall; and in 1854 as the penultimate stop of his north shore trek. Dogtown.

Temple Ahavat Achim Gloucester Mass. designed by Mary Ann Thompson architect. photograph ©c ryan Jun 2017
Temple Ahavat Achim Gloucester Ma designed by MaryAnn Thompson 2012 (photo July 2017)

 

Gropius House

Lincoln, Mass. (Walden Pond/Concord line). A Historic New England property, Gropius House  is a landmark Bauhaus residence now museum built in 1938, the same year as MoMa’s legendary Bauhaus exhibition. Marcel Breuer’s house 1 is down the hill.

Gloucester – Concord connections: Mass Modern trail and great buildings. Don Monell and other modern inspiration can be found on Cape Ann. The Graduate school at Harvard designed by Gropius was a TAC (The Architects Collaborative) build in 1950. TAC was founded in 1945 with the clout addition of Gropius who continued with the firm until his death in 1969. Original 7 founders were Norman FletcherLouis McMillenRobert McMillanBenjamin C. Thompson*,  Jean FletcherSarah Harkness and John Harkness. Twenty years later, Monell’s Plum Cove elementary school design in 1967 in Glocuester Mass was leveraged by partnering with The Architects Collaborative. Gloucester’s Plum Cove school is a TAC build. (Wikipedia lists several commissions. The school could be added.) This early 20th century history in Concord could inspire another movie.

*Jane (Fiske McCullough) Thompson and Deb Allen were co-founding editors of Industrial Design; Thomson had worked at MoMa for Philip Johnson. She married Ben Thompson in 1969. To my knowledge, no relation to architect MaryAnn Thompson who designed the Walden Pond visitor center. 

 

The Marcel Breuer House 1 (1939) at 5 Woods End Road is essentially nestled into the Gropius hill property. Floor plans and interior photo published here are from the Marcel Breuer papers in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution collection. It was added to the National Historic Register in 1988. Minutes away conservation land was set aside thanks to 20th Century modernist architect, Quincy Adams. He served on the town’s conservation committee and donated hundreds of acres of his family’s land for green space.

Marcel Breuer house 1 lincoln mass_floorplans Smithsonian archives

Marcel Breur papers Smithsonian

Six Moon Hill

Lexington, Mass. One could drive to Six Moon Hill after stops mentioned above, on the way back to Gloucester. It’s about 15 minutes from the Gropius House. Six Moon Hill is the nick name for an enclave of neighborhood homes in Lexington, Massachusetts, designed by the modernist architects of The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC) between 1948 and 1950. (The Gropius home was already optimally sited within the Walden Pond/Thoreau orbit. I’d wager intentionally so, a poetic and multidimensional nod to the natural and built environment and how to live. This dialogue among masters across centuries is another reason I believe Maryann Thompson’s visitor center is ideal.)

“Six Moon Hill is a community of twenty-nine Mid-Century Modern houses designed by members of The Architects Collaborative (TAC), beginning in 1948… The property was purchased by the TAC architects in 1947 so they could build inexpensive homes for themselves, their growing families and their friends, and express Modernist socially progressive ideals. A corporation was formed, creating by-laws affecting future development, maintenance and communal responsibilities. The parcel was originally part of a farm, and while the land was initially used for grazing, the steeper areas had reverted to forest at the time of the purchase. Most of Moon Hill is on a ridge with rocky outcrops, wooded with oak and conifers. The impact of construction has been minimized, leaving the site as natural and undisturbed as possible” read more from the historical survey here

Art historian Simon Schama resided on Moon Hill between 1981 and 1993.

Don’t miss what’s nearby!

Concord Mass. Points interest_Thoreau Walden Pond_downtown Concord_ Ralph Waldo Emerson_Louisa May Alcott_Concord Museum_Gropius_Moon Hill Road_decordova Minute Man Nat Park_Drumlin Park ©c ryan

Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm is a five minute or so drive from the Gropius house. Moon Hill Road is more like 15-20 minutes. Minute Man National Park and Decordova are here, too. There are ample and varied scenic treks to mix it up for repeat visits.

Wonderful Essex County islands IBA #ornithology talk by Chris Leahy | Straightsmouth keeper’s house gets love from Thacher Island Assoc & looks like a scene from Edward Hopper!

Esteemed conservationist and bird and insect authority, Chris Leahy discussed recent multi-year surveys of Essex County islands for Mass Audubon and Mass Fish & Wildlife with humor and depth as only he can having resided on the North Shore, in Gloucester, and championed this Important Bird Area for some 50 years.

The islands range in size and offer different kinds of nesting habitat. There are great shoals for fishing. Islands include familiar names like Tinkers, Straitsmouth, Thacher, Children’s, Kettle, House, Eagle, Ram, Cormorant and Ten Pound. Leahy recalled visiting some in the 1960s-70s for the first ever field counts with Dorothy “Dottie” Addams Brown, Sarah Fraser Robbins & others, and readily compares data then and now.

Some of the bird species making the count: gulls, egrets, herons, cormorants, harlequin duck, geese, loon, coots, purple arctic sandpiper, common eiders, and snowy owls. There are not a lot of songbirds due to restricted habitat although so many song sparrows he quips, “it almost feels like they’re going to attack.” Predators do and did. Gulls and rats stuck in my mind, and our ruinous plume hat trade. At that time “Snowy egrets– in FLA and elsewhere south– were slaughtered for plumage developed solely at breeding time, leaving any young to die and rot.”

Climate is partly a factor and population dispersement in the birds they find. Sometimes there are great “fallout” of migratories which are unpredicatable and awesome. Various species are easier to count especially those perched amid low tree shrubs. Guess which ones? Forgot the burrowers! Forecasts are exciting. He predicts we might see Manx shearwters maybe nesting here in the coming years.

Kindness of organizations and people with boats helps make this happen. And one steel hulled sailboat that makes access to these rocky isles a bit more possible.

Chris Leahy presented Treasure Islands for Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library. Mary Weissblum has endeavored to host evenings for Leahy’s numerous publications and projects, so many that she’s lost count. “Always a treat to be educated and charmed by his incredible store of knowledge,” she writes. Look for Chris Leahy’s next talk.

Learn more about Thacher Island Association (Paul St Germain) here 

Learn more about Birdlife International here

photos below ©Linda Bosselman Sawyer Free Library- thanks for sharing Linda!

Mass Cultural Council ‏ thrilled to congratulate the Boston String Academy winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Awards!

Winners are Boston String Academy, Mass Audubon, The Care Center in Holyoke, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum

Learn More! Boston String Academy

And this was a rehearsal!

 

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read more about all the thirteen 2019 MCC Commonwealth Award nominated finalists here

“Presented every two years, the Commonwealth Awards shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions the arts, humanities, and sciences make to education, economic growth and vitality, and quality of life in communities across Massachusetts. The Commonwealth Awards ceremony also presents an opportunity for the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector to gather, assert its value, and make the case for public investment in its work.

Past winners include leading artists, writers, and scholars such as Olympia Dukakis and David McCullough; world-renowned institutions like Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Peabody Essex Museum; and social innovators like the Cambridge Science Festival and the Barr Foundation.”

The city of Gloucester received a Commonwealth Award in 2015.

 

NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREE PIPING PLOVERS TODAY AT GOOD HARBOR BEACH!

Throughout the day, a threesome has been actively feeding, battling for territory, and two of the three, displaying courtship behavior.

Often times I have read that Piping Plovers in Massachusetts do not begin to actively court until mid-April. That has simply not been the case with our Good Harbor Beach pair. As soon as they arrive to their northern breeding grounds, they don’t waste any time and get right down to the business of reproducing! Last year, the PiPls were courting within a week of arriving, and this year, on the first day.

I only had brief periods of time to visit the beach this morning, but within that window, FOUR separate times the male built a little scrape, called Mama over to come investigate, while adding bits of dried seaweed and sticks, and fanning his tail feathers.

Papa scraping a nest in the sand.

Fanning his tail and inviting Mama to come inspect the nest scrape.

Tossing sticks and beach debris into the scrape.

Papa high-stepping for Mama.

It was VERY cold and windy both times I stopped by GHB and the PiPls were equally as interested in snuggling down behind a clump of dried beach grass as they were in courting.

Mama and Papa finding shelter from the cold and wind in the wrack line.

Good Harbor Beach was blessedly quiet all day. Our awesome dog officer Teagan Dolan was at the beach bright and early and there wasn’t a single dog in sight, I think greatly due to his vigilance and presence educating beach goers this past week.

Heather Hall, Katharine Parsons, Alicia Pensarosa, Laurie Sawin

Saturday we had the pleasure of meeting Katharine Parsons, Director of the Mass Audubon Coastal Waterbird Program. She gave an outstanding program to a crowd of Piping Plover advocates and interested parties, which was held at the Sawyer Free Library. Katharine covered everything from life cycle, management strategies and tools, habitat conservation, and the fantastic role Massachusetts is playing in the recovery of Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Roseate Terns, and Oystercatchers. We are so appreciative of Alicia Pensarosa and Gloucester’s Animal Advisory Committee for sponsoring Katharine!

Ward One Councilor Scott Memhard and Katharine

City Council President Paul Lundberg, Katharine, and Alicia

Fun Fact we learned from Katharine’s presentation–a Piping Plover chick weighs six grams at birth. In comparison, and after consulting Google, a US nickel weighs a close 5.5 grams.

When a field trip is a field trip! Mass Audubon and O’Maley Middle School

Gloucester public schools have stellar community partners and locales

Mass Audubon Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary

 

Two+ centuries of naturalists in Gloucester is quite a legacy. Here’s a partial list from Robbins to Cramer and Smith to Smith–there have been notable champions most every decade.

  • Mason Walton (Hermit of Gloucester)
  • Alpheus Hyatt, principal founder of world famous Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole– from 1880-1886 the school was on Goose Cove and later off Lobster Cove
  • BH VanVleck  (wrote book with David Starr)- instructor at Annisquam seaside laboratory 
  • Samuel Sawyer land conservation
  • Alfred G. Mayor (Hyatt’s son in law) marine zoologist- his studies on marine life led to 1905 book Sea Shore Life
  • Prince Mahidol of Thailand “Sanitary Survey of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts 1921 by M. Songkla” in city archives- Includes brief history of Gloucester and description of public health activities
  • Roger Babson land conservation and watershed
  • Dr. Ralph Dexter, began his studies on marine life in 1933 (later Kent State) and chimney swifts
  • Ivy LeMon banded monarch butterflies to trace their migration wintering in Mexico
  • Sara Fraser Robbins curator of education ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)
  • Betty Smith
  • Dan Greenbaum
  • Sara Evans
  • Philip Weld, Jr
  • Jane Benotti
  • Deborah Cramer
  • Chris Leahy
  • Harriet Webster
  • Martin Ray
  • Kim Smith
  • Ian Kerr

organizations such as Gloucester Civic and Garden Club, Essex County Greenbelt, Mass Audubon, Ocean Alliance, Martime Gloucester, UMASS Marine Station…

easternpoint-iba

What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction

Justice Lowy’s JUDGEMENT was released April 5, 2018. The Museum may sell Shuffleton’s Barbershop, and — via Sotheby’s– the remaining 39 works free of any restrictions.

“The museum has satisfied its burden of establishing that is has become impossible or impracticable to administer the Museum strictly in accordance with its chartiable purpose, thus entitling the Museum to relief under the doctrine of equitable deviation. Accordingly the court allows the Museum’s request for equitable relief to sell the designated artwork.”

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Justice Lowy MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING

page 1 MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING Justice Lowy Berkshire Museum and AGO April 5 2018

Reaction from Sotheby’s Auction House:

“We are very pleased that the court approved the agreement reached between the Berkshire Museum and the Massachusetts Attorney General. We look forward to working with the museum to ensure a bright future for the people of Pittsfield and Western Massachusetts.” Judge Lowy’s decision came in just in time to meet the auction’s press deadline clearing for art sales this spring, else sales would have been pushed back till the fall at the earliest. The catalogue pages are ready from last fall’s prep.

Reaction from Elizabeth McGraw, President, Berkshire Museum Board of Trustees:

“This is great news for the people of Berkshire County and everyone who visits the Berkshire Museum for one-of-a-kind experiences in history, art, and science. We recognize this decision may not please those who have opposed the museum’s plans. Still, we hope people will be able to move forward in a constructive way to help us secure and strengthen the future of this museum, at a time when our community needs it more than ever. “

Reaction from Save the Art – Save the Museum (STA-STM)

“Save the Art-Save the Museum continues to oppose the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s art treasures and its unrestricted use of the resulting funds. We also regret the judge’s disregard of the public trust in which the museum held its collections. The impending sale will not only diminish Pittsfield as a city claiming to be of cultural import to Berkshire County, but will reverberate destructively for years through collections similarly held in trust throughout the state and country. As a group, we will make a more detailed statement after meeting in person to consider the loss to our community and its impact.”

Patiner flight into egypt featured in 1953 article celebrating Berkshire Museum 50th celebration
1953

Have a look back at an inspiring 1965 Berkshire Eagle profile about Berkshire Museum Director Stuart C. Henry, and an earlier feature from the Berkshire Evening Eagle, published Thursday, Aug. 20, 1953, heralding the Berkshire Museum’s 50th anniversary. Both convey the museum’s seamless blend of high art, science, community and education.

I wonder what happened to the marble swans over the Berkshire Museum elliptical pool designed by A. Sterling Calder, father of the sculptor, Alexander Calder, and resident of Richmond, Massachusetts, less than 20 minutes away from Pittsfield?  Continue reading “What a low blow: Justice Lowy clears contested Berkshire Museum art for auction”

Boston Globe lists the Great Marsh symposium NOV 9th- public invited

20161029_075405TOMORROW

Great marsh logoThere’s still time to register today or walk in tomorrow for the Great Marsh Coalition 5th annual special conference on rising water issues and natural systems. Register thru Essex County Greenbelt $20 fee  WHEN: November 9, 2017, 8:30AM- 3:15PM. WHERE: Woodman’s in Essex.

From the Great Marsh Coaltion:

Generous Great Marsh coalition symposium supporters (many are coalition members)- local municipalities, Essex County Greenbelt, Essex National Heritage Area, Mass Audubon, Ipswich River Watershed  Assoc., League of Women Voters Cape Ann, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC), National Wildlife Federation, and The Trustees 

What is the Great Marsh Coalition?

The Great Marsh Coalition is a group of organizations and agencies that began meeting in spring 2000 to discuss ways of building a regional consciousness and identity for the Great Marsh. The Coalition supports a coordinated approach to education, research, protection, and management to promote preservation, restoration, and stewardship of the Great Marsh. Current Coalition members include (but are not limited to): City of Gloucester is one of Eight Towns and the Great MarshEssex County Greenbelt AssociationEssex National Heritage AreaIpswich River Watershed AssociationMassachusetts Audubon SocietyMassachusetts Office of Coastal Zone ManagementMassachusetts Department of Environmental Management’s ACEC ProgramParker River Clean Water Association, Cultural Alliance of the Lower Merrimack Valley, and The Trustees of Reservations.

GREAT MARSH COALITION

Boston Globe article and Continue reading “Boston Globe lists the Great Marsh symposium NOV 9th- public invited”

Before Dogtown was Dogtown: Archaeological Survey project to be presented at City Hall November 29! Maybe hello blueberries bye bye Lyme Disease

Old tree Rockport Road ca.1892

Dogtown is eligible for the National Register! Will Gloucester earn another major district designation?

Nov 29th, 7PM, Public Meeting

Come to a special public presentation November 29th in Kyrouz Auditorium in Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, at 7pm.

Read excerpts from the press release shared by Bill Remsen, local project coordinator, and Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-chair Gloucester Historical Commission, and some Dogtown maps and memorabilia 1633-1961:

Continue reading “Before Dogtown was Dogtown: Archaeological Survey project to be presented at City Hall November 29! Maybe hello blueberries bye bye Lyme Disease”

What if…a section of Dogtown brush was cleared away? If you missed Chris Leahy at Sawyer Free Library last week come to a summit by Essex County Greenbelt & Mass Audubon at Cape Ann Museum March 4

“This Saturday morning forum is offered in collaboration with Essex County Greenbelt, Friends of Dogtown, Lanesville Community Center and Mass Audubon and held at Cape Ann Museum. The forum will be moderated by Ed Becker, President of the Essex County Greenbelt Association.”

Register here

UPDATE: Cape Ann TV is scheduled to film the event!

hopper-yale
Edward Hopper Cape Ann Pasture watercolor drawing (ca.1928) was gifted to Yale University in 1930
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East Gloucester Atwood’s Gallery on the Moors as seen on the left in 1921–open vistas at that time

 

Chris Leahy gave a presentation at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library on February 23, 2017: Dogtown- the Biography of a Landscape: 750 Million Years Ago to the Present
A photographic history through slides presented by the Gloucester Lyceum and the Friends of the Library. Mary Weissblum opened the program.

Chris broadly covered the history of the local landscape from an ecological bent with a bias to birds and blueberry picking, naturally. New England is a patchwork of forested landscapes. He stressed the evolution of bio diversity and succession phenomenon when the earth and climate change. “Nature takes a lot of courses.” He focused on Dogtown, “a very special place”, and possible merits of land stewardship geared at fostering greater biodiversity. Perhaps some of the core acres could be coaxed to grasslands as when parts of Gloucester were described as moors? Characteristic wildlife, butterflies, and birds no longer present may swing back.  There were many philosophical takeaways and tips: he recommends visiting the dioramas “Changes in New England Landscape” display at Harvard Forest HQ in Petersham.

“Isolation of islands is a main driver of evolution”

“Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester has the highest concentration* of native butterflies in all of Massachusetts because of secondary habitats.”  *of Mass Audubon’s c.40,000 acres of wildlife sanctuaries statewide. “The fact that Brook Meadow Brook is in greater Worcester, rather than a forested wilderness, underscores the value of secondary habitats.”

“1830– roughly the time of Thoreau (1817-1862)– was the maximum period of clearing thus the heyday for grasslands…As farmsteads were abandoned, stages of forests return.”

Below are photos from February 23, 2017. I added some images of art inspired by Dogtown. I also pulled out a photograph by Frank L Cox, David Cox’s father, of Gallery on the Moors  (then) compared with a photo of mine from 2011 to illustrate how the picturesque description wasn’t isolated to Dogtown.

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Edward Hopper, Cape Ann Granite, 1928, oil on canvas can we get this painting into the Cape Ann Museum collection?

dogtown-cape-ann-massachuestts-by-louise-upton-brumback-o-c-vose-galleryLouise Upton Brumback (1867-1929), Dogtown- Cape Ann, 1920 oil on canvas

atwood-cox-gallery-on-the-moors-photo-1921

Ma Audubon’s Chris Leahy retirement party May 21

It’s not a surprise party, but it is limited in size. Invitations will go out in April. Mass Audubon is hosting a special retirement tribute for Chris Leahy in celebration of his remarkable career –45 years of “impact and success”. How nice to see a Gloucester naturalist treasure being recognized in the spring –(bird-a-thon season!)– at Joppa Flats Education Center, Parker River National Wildlife sanctuary.  Folks and fans can also swarm cards and MA Audubon gifts as a great way to acknowledge this milestone. Chris’s astonishing powers of observation and communication skills can make anyone care about birds, nature, and place. Within a mere twenty seconds of conversation he can capture history and immediacy in such an affable and effortless manner. What an ambassador.

“If I said, ‘Are there more birds around in the summer or the winter?’ most people would say the summer, and that’s right. But not by much,” said tour leader Christopher Leahy of Gloucester, who holds the Gerard A. Bertrand chair of natural history and field ornithology at Mass Audubon. “Actually almost 50 percent of the 300 bird species that occur in Massachusetts occur here during the winter.”– Chris Leahy  from Boston Globe article Thrills and Chills: Birders Brave the Cape Ann Cold and Find What They’re Looking For by Joel Brown, published February 5, 2009 

Congratulations, Chris

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RECENT SUNRISE AND BIRD SCENES FROM ALONG THE BACK SHORE AND MY UPCOMING BIRD TALK

Brace Cove winter sunrise www.kimsmithdesigns 2016Brace Cove at dawn, a great place for bird watching

Please join me Thursday night at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center where I will be presenting a brand new illustrated talk “Beautiful Birds of Cape Ann.” The program covers the gorgeous migrating and resident birds that we see in our neighborhoods, as seen through the seasons, and includes such beauties as the Snowy Owl, Brant Geese, Snow Goose, Redheads, a rarely-seen-in-our region White Pelican, egrets, herons, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, songbirds, and some life history of Cape Ann’s resident swan family. The program begins at 7pm and is part of the RNCC and Mass Audubon ongoing exhibit “For the Birds.” I hope to see you there!

Redhead Duck www. kim smith designsPair of Male Redheads, the Dynamic Duo

Common Eider Gloucester harbor www. kim smith designs

Common Eider Gloucester Harbor

Niles Pond winter sunrise www.kimsmithdesigns 2016

Niles Pond and Gloucester Harbor are both excellent for viewing water birds

Mallard Ducks Gloucester www.kimsmithdesigns 2016JPG

 

Also too, if any of our readers live in the Rye, New Hampshire area, I am giving my illustrated talk on the Monarch Butterfly tomorrow morning, Tuesday the 16th, at 10am. Please email me if you would like more information.

 

Kim Smith Talk

TRIDENT GALLERY’S FANTASTIC NEW WEBSITE

Trident Gallery Director Matthew Swift writes,

Dear Friends,
I am very pleased to announce that Trident Gallery now has a new, more comprehensive, and better organized web site at Trident.Gallery.
The content and design should be familiar to visitors of other contemporary gallery sites. Nearly a thousand images of works of art available for purchase are already online, and over the next few weeks, we will regularly be adding more images of art, documentation of past exhibitions and performances, introductions to artists and series, artists’ statements, publications, press clippings, and other news and information. I hope you will enjoy browsing the art and find the site increasingly informative and useful.
I also write to introduce the exhibition Nest, Trident Gallery’s third collaboration with the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon to present a program of visual and performance art with a natural history theme.
1842; hand-colored lithograph; 21 x 27 in.
1842; hand-colored lithograph; 21 x 27 in.
READ MORE HERE

Continue reading “TRIDENT GALLERY’S FANTASTIC NEW WEBSITE”

SNOWY OWL RELEASED AT SANDY NECK BEACH!

PH-123009997-2 Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, has been relocating snowy owls from Logan Airport for 35 years. He does this for the safety of both the owls and planes that use the airspace.

On Wednesday, December 30, Smith brought an adult female snowy owl he had safely removed at Logan to Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable and released it back into the wild. This owl was one of 15 Smith has removed from the airport this year. Before she was released, Smith attached a a new G3 solar transmitter, which will track her movements. The transmitter was provided by Project SNOWstorm, who collaborates with Trailside’s snowy owl research.

The Cape Cod Times was there to capture the release on video. Read more about Norman Smith and the Snowy Owl Project here. From the Mass Audubon website.

SEE VIDEO HERE

PH-123009997-1PHOTOS: Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times

ROCKY NECK ART COLONY PRESENTS NEW EXHIBIT ~ FOR THE BIRDS

American Goldfinch -1 ©Kim Smith 2015

The Rocky Neck Art Colony kicks off the 2016 exhibition season with an extraordinary six-week exhibition and fundraising event at the RNAC’s Cultural Center at Rocky Neck. Juried by Amy Montague, the Director of the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon, in Canton MA, the exhibition “For The Birds” features multi-media avian art. The public is invited to a reception on Sunday, January 31 at 2-4 PM. Save the dates for a talk on the life and art of John J. Audubon by noted local author Chris Leahy, Bertrand Chair of Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, at the Cultural Center on Thursday, February 11 at 7:00 PM, a talk about the Birds of Cape Ann by local photographer and filmmaker Kim Smith, and “The Artful Birdhouse,” an auction of original, artist-created birdhouses on Sunday February 21, beginning at 1:00 PM. A raffle of a basket full of birding-related items concludes the events with a drawing of the winning ticket on Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 PM. A portion of all events proceeds will support Mass Audubon’s mission to protect the flora and fauna of Massachusetts.

Concurrent with RNAC’s “For The Birds” exhibition, The Trident Gallery, Director Matthew Swift, presents “Nest” its third annual exhibition in partnership with Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art offering artworks from the Museum’s collection. Exhibition dates: January 30 – March 6, 2016.

The songs, vivid colors and enormous variety of bird species attracted to Cape Ann’s coastal waters, marshes, and waterways often bring with them both birding enthusiasts and artists, each drawn by their vibrant visual appeal. Come to The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck to view the aesthetic heights their wildly patterned beauty has inspired in the work of New England artists’ multi-media offerings in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, assemblage, and more.

This spectacular melding of the avian and the artistic is juried by Amy Montague, Director of the Museum of Bird Art at Mass Audubon, the only museum dedicated to art inspired by the beauty, science and wonder of birds. In her 23 years at Mass Audubon, Ms. Montague has stewarded and grown the organization’s broad and eclectic art collection that embraces fine art, folk art, sporting art, illustration, and more. She has curated more than thirty exhibitions exploring the intersection of art and nature focusing on artists as varied as John James Audubon and Andy Warhol. She has twice been a juror for the internationally renowned “Birds in Art” exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin.

The Artful Birdhouse Auction: Sunday, February 21. Preview 1-2PM, Live Auction at 2:15 PM. The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester MA. Engaging the charm and appeal of birdhouses as a foundation, the imagination of friends and members of the Rocky Neck Art Colony will soar in creating whimsical, modern, traditional, fantasy and completely unexpected “artful” birdhouses. The following artists have donated their time and talents for an auction of their birdhouse creations in support of Mass Audubon and in conjunction with the “For The Birds” art exhibit at The Cultural Center. Promoting the Auction, early bird creators will have the opportunity to display their works at several venues in and around Gloucester.

Artists participating in the auction event are Kathy Gerdon Archer, Deborah Barnwell, Carol Mansur Benesh, Lisa Carlson, Joy Dai Buell, Elizabeth Gauthier, Rachel Gauthier, Joy Halsted, Jane Keddy, Mindy Lind-terk, Ron MacNeill, Tom Nihan, Sinikka Nogello, Christy Park, Hans Pundt, Kenny Riaf, Karen Ristuben, Sally Seamans, Pam Stratton, Karen Tibbetts, and Karen Tusinski among others.

“For the Birds” A Juried Exhibition of Avian Related Art, January 28 to March 6, 2016, Opening Reception: Sunday, January 31, 2–4 PM.

John J. Audubon: The Man and His Art, A talk by Chris Leahy, Bertrand Chair of Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, Thursday, February 11, 7 PM.

Birds of Cape Ann, Talk,photos, and short films by local filmmaker and photographer Kim Smith, Thursday, February 18th, at 7PM.

The Artful Birdhouse: An auction of artist-created birdhouses, Sunday, February 21, Preview: 1-2 PM, Live Auction at 2:15 PM.

Raffle Drawing for a basket of birding related items, Sunday, March 6 at 2 PM

The Cultural Center Gallery

6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, MA 01930 Gallery hours: Thurs-Sun, 12:00-4:00 PM

Bonapartes Gulls Preening -2 ©Kim Smith 2015

Bonaparte’s Gulls Preening Lighthouse Beach

THE SNOWY OWL PROJECT

With all the wonderful recent Snowy Owl sightings in Gloucester, I have been reading much about the Snowies and in doing so came upon this great project being conducted by Norman Smith, Director of Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum. Since 1981, Smith has been studying the Snowy Owls and as part of his research, he attaches bands and transmitters to the owls at Logan Airport, and then tracks their travels.

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From the Mass Audubon website:

Snowy Owls and Airports

As snowy owls migrate north and south, they look for stopping places that resemble their home, the Arctic tundra. To them, the land around Logan Airport fits the bill. It’s low and flat, with short scruffy plants and grasses, and there’s an abundance of small mammals and birds to eat.

Logan airport has the largest known concentration of snowy owls in the Northeast. The birds usually show up at the airport in early November; the earliest date recorded is October 22. They leave in early April; the latest date recorded is July 7.

The airport owls help by scaring away other birds that might endanger aircraft. Unfortunately, they are large enough to pose a threat themselves. To protect both birds and jets, Smith safely captures and relocates snowy owls each year.

Tracking Snowy Owls

Since 1997, Smith has attached tiny transmitters to the healthiest owls he relocates. These transmitters send data such as location, temperature, and altitude, enabling researchers to learn more about:

  • Snowy owl migration routes
  • The rate at which they travel
  • If and where they stop along the way
  • Where they spend the breeding season
  • Where they spend the winter

The transmitter batteries last 1-3 years, and the transmitter harnesses fall off once the batteries have worn out. Researchers have worked hard to determine the best size, weight, positioning, and attachment of the transmitters so that they don’t impact the behavior and health of the birds.

This project is a partnership with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Boise State University (BSU).

Note: This work is performed with special permits. The public is not allowed to enter restricted airport property, or to capture any kind of owl or other raptor.

Migration movement of owl #134376 March 9, 2014- April 11, 2015.

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More from Mass Audubon

Link to more very cool Snowy Owl migration maps.

Tips for Viewing Snowy Owls

About Snowy Owls

 

 

 

 

Nichole’s Picks 12/26 + 12/27

Well, Christmas will be behind us and most of us will be ready to sit and relax for a bit.

Honestly, my “Picks” for the weekend immediately after Christmas would ideally involve doing nothing at all.  Watch the children play with their new things, grab a good book, curl up and hunker down for a while.   Or…even better….with the weather being so unseasonably balmy….get outside.  Go for a walk, a hike, or a bike ride…or a skate.

To be honest, I’m not sure what the status of the outdoor skating rinks is when it is almost 70 degrees in September, but it is worth checking out.

So,

Pick #1:   Get Outside and Walk Off Christmas Dinner

Find a place to hike and explore.  Follow the link below to find your ideal Mass Audubon location.

http://www.massaudubon.org/

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Photo Courtesy of Mass. Audubon website

Pick #2:  Take to the Ice in Lynnfield or Boston 

Remember to call and see if they are a rink or a pool due to warm weather before going!

Market Street Rink

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The Frog Pond, Boston

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Pick #3:  The Polar Express in 4D at The Museum of Science  (or any of their other IMAX Movies

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I think that this is fairly short…so don’t expect a full-length movie!

The Polar Express 4-D Experience

Go on an extraordinary 4-D adventure this holiday season on THE POLAR EXPRESS! When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ 4-D Experience is based on the inspiring and beloved Caldecott Medal children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Featured in digital 3-D and brought to life with 4-D multisensory effects, this is an immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy!

See the rest of the IMAX schedule right HERE

For a more comprehensive list of family activities please visit our friends at North Shore Kid

Kerrie Callahan Donahue Has Some Nice Things To Say!

 

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Kerrie Callahan Donahue Writes in response to my Sista’s Dish Post, posted yesterday regarding the Common Eider sighting on Roger Street~ I love it, Felicia Ciaramitaro Mohan! You are quick on the draw with your camera, catching the best moments!! Ty

Sista Felicia Writes~ Kerrie, I will be sure to save this photo in a safe place for his 21st Birthday and Wedding Video!

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Click Link below for more details of my post yesterday!

https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/a-ducky-day-for-a-walk-on-roger-street/

 

Have Prius–Can Do!

I wrote this post several days ago. Westport was hit very hard by Sandy.

Let’s hope Westport is spared coastal flooding from Hurricane Sandy

This upcoming planting week for my newest project, The Mary Prentiss Inn, a beautiful inn in the heart of Cambridge (more about The Mary Prentiss Inn later) has been disrupted by Sandy. One of the nurseries I work with cancelled delivery and wanted to reschedule, but not until after the 5th of November. By that time I’ll be knee-deep planting Willowdale for the spring of 2013. I didn’t want to disappoint my clients and postpone work until later in November. What to do? Have Prius, will travel.

Much has been written about the super fuel efficiency of the Prius (saving me much, much $$$ over the eight years I have owned a Prius), but rarely do I see mention of it’s fantastic carrying capacity when the back seat is made flat. People look at me in disbelief when I tell them I have transported trees and (smallish) sofas in the back of my Prius so I thought you’d like to see.

125 Boxwood plants, with room to spare in the front passenger seat

Friends often tell me I need a truck or a van. Perhaps when an auto manufacturer designs a 22k truck or van that gets 45 miles to the gallon (when loaded to the max), I’ll consider. In the meantime-have Prius, can do!

Westport is one of the most exquisite New England towns you will ever see. The topography is such that the farmland runs to the ocean’s edge. Through community and conservation groups, Westport is earnestly endeavoring, and succeeding, in preserving its historic and agricultural heritage–as we know in Gloucester, it is very intelligent when communities work together to help protect and preserve their farmers and fishermen.

The Bayside Restaurant ~ Charming little spot to eat in Westport, across the road from Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. The Bayside offers a complete menu, including many delicious seafood entrees and Homemade Pies!

Super Fresh Rhode Island Calamari

You can see why Sylvan is one of my top five nurseries, not only for their exquisite plant stock, but because they are located about a hundred yards down the road from Allens Pond Wildlife Santuary.  In autumn, after the coastal Monarchs depart Cape Ann, they fly south and next congregate in the Westport area, in and around Allen’s Pond and Horseneck Beach.

 Allens Pond ~ Hurry Monarchs and Get Going! October 26, 2012

From the Trustees of Reservations website, “In many towns throughout Massachusetts The Trustees of Reservations have worked in partnership with the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources to help preserve family farms. Nowhere has that work been more successful than in Westport, where the partnership includes the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the town. Together, the groups have protected 13 farms in Westport over the past five years, including two dairy farms, two Christmas tree farms, an organic fruit and vegetable farm, a beef cattle operation, and even a piggery. There are now a total of 28 preserved farms in Westport, encompassing over 2,100 acres.”

Westport, Massachusetts

Message from Chris Leahy about the Mass Audubon Bird-a-thon

Spring has finally returned to New England! It is arguably the most exciting birding season of the year, when it is possible to find over 100 species in a day with relative ease – many of them in stunning breeding plumage!  And each year I organize a small group here on Cape Ann to bird for conservation as part of Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon. It’s great fun, involves some friendly competition, and supports bird conservation.

Here’s how it works.

This year Bird-a-thon takes place May 11-12 and consists of having as much birding fun as we can stand in the 24 hours between 6:00 PM Friday until 6:00 PM Saturday. Back in 2004, I thought it would be fun to see how many species we could find without leaving Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester). In addition to the geographical challenge, this reduces birding time lost to driving (one of our team birds by bicycle!) and of course shrinks the team’s carbon footprint. In the 7 years that Cape Ann has fielded a team, we have ticked 183 species total with an average of 132 species per year –dragged down by monsoon rains in two years! In our best single year we found 156 species.

The Cape Ann Bird-a-thon team is back this year with its (catchy?) nickname, “Twitchers with a Purpose” to emphasize the fact that all funds raised will go to specific bird conservation projects. The conservation dollars that can be raised can be significant. For example, last year, Drumlin Farm’s team won the prized Hathaway Cup for raising the most money ($34,820) and a dedicated individual on that team was the statewide top fundraiser with $15,309 raised. My team is trying to hit the $5,000 mark this year.

This, as you’ve probably guessed, is where you come in by pledging to my team as generously as you can. You can either pledge an amount per bird ($1/species @ 132 species = $132) or just pledge a set amount. Pledging is a snap. Just go to my webpage:http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/chrisleahy/bird-a-thon-2012 , click on the green DONATE button and just follow the simple pledging instructions. OR you can just send a check made out to Mass Audubon and designated for the Bertrand Chair (that’s me), attn: Ellen McBride, Mass Audubon, 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773. No gift is too small (or too large!) and all are eligible for a charitable deduction.

I hope you can help. Remember, your pledge will be dedicated to specific bird conservation efforts undertaken by my colleagues and me at Mass Audubon, such as the recently publish and authoritative State of the Birds report. I can assure you on the best existing evidence that our birds need all the help you can give them.

Thank you Chris for all you do to help the birds of Massachusetts!

Gray Catbird 

In looking through my photo library for an image for this post, I am reminded of when the Catbirds and Mockingbirds began to call our garden home–when our first batch of blackberries ripened! Catibirds dine on fruits and berries and are year-round frequent visitors for the feast we provide, including blueberry, Juneberry, winterberry, and holly berry. As the fruits of our magnolias approach their ripening time, the Catbirds noisily guard the trees in anticipation of the ripened fruit.

For more information about the Gray Catbird:

Mass Audubon: Gray Catird (Dumetella carolinensis)

All About Birds: Gray Catbird

The Cornell website has excellent crisp, clear recordings of the Catbirds “mew” sound. Anyone who has heard the repetitious male catbird vocalizing at daybreak knows exactly why they are called Catbirds. From Cornell, “The Gray Catbird belongs to the genus Dumetella, which means “small thicket.” And that’s exactly where you should go look for this little skulker.”

Love the beautiful shade of blue of Catbird eggs!

Gray Catbird Eggs image courtesy Cornell Lab of Ornithology