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Water Watch Lecture Series

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2015 Water Watch Lecture Series


Wednesday evenings, 7 p.m. |  January 14 - March 18

South Shore Natural Science Center


This lecture series is FREE thanks to our generous sponsors:


with additional support from:


2015 Water Watch Series Schedule



January 14
Hit and Run History: The Columbia Expedition
Andrew Buckley, PBS Documentary Filmmaker


Cape Cod filmmaker Andrew Buckley’s films have captured the imagination of followers of public television to the tune of two Emmy nominations. And for residents of the South Shore, he is telling a local story.  Hit and Run History: The Columbia Expedition follows the first ‘round-the-world journey of an American ship, one which was built in Scituate at the mouth of the North River. Join Buckley for a screening of the next episode and a discussion of the project, as he transports one and all to the Falkland Islands and the turn around Cape Horn.


January 21
Snowy Owls to Saw-whet Owls
Norman Smith, Director Blue Hills Trailside Museum, MassAudubon



This past winter’s large increase of the Snowy Owl population captured the public’s attention but since 1981, Norman Smith has spent countless days and nights, in every imaginable weather condition, observing, capturing, banding and color marking Snowy Owls at Logan International Airport.  Come learn about exciting new research and uncover the mysteries of the beautiful arctic Snowy Owl and Saw-whet owls.


January 28  - CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER. Rescheduled to March 25

The Coast Guard: A Century of Service on the South Shore 
CDR Anne Morrissey, Executive Assistant to Rear Admiral Linda Fagan, First Coast Guard District


On January 29, 1915 – one hundred years ago – the United States Life-Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service merged to form the United States Coast Guard, forever changing life along the South Shore. For the past century, the Coast Guard has played myriad roles on our coastline, chasing rumrunners, patrolling our beaches in World War II, rescuing the crew of the stranded Italian freighter Etrusco off Scituate in 1956, and more. Join the Coast Guard in celebrating this centenary with a discussion of the service’s local history and current missions.



February 4

Watching the Weather
Danielle Vollmar, WCVB Channel 5 Meteorologist 


Certain basic principles of weather watching have become staples in our lives: the clashing of high pressure and low pressure systems, the constant movement of fronts, the swirl of a tropical storm system moving up the coast towards New England, but what are we missing? Danielle Vollmar of Boston’s WCVB Channel 5 will discuss the sun’s uneven heating of the surface of the earth, the water cycle and more in this meteorologist’s-eye view of the weather we encounter every day.


 February 11
Cashes Ledge – Taking a Closer Look
Priscilla Brooks, VP and Director of Ocean Conservation, Conservation Law Foundation


Just 80 miles off the coast, Cashes Ledge, is one of the region’s most distinct and beautiful marine habitats.  Documented through underwater video and photos by famous National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry, this “undersea garden” rich in kelps, corals and fish – has been off limits to commercial fishing for 12 years.  But now the Cashes Ledge area is being considered for reopening to bottom trawling fishing placing this spectacular place at risk.  Come take a “closer look” at the largest continuous kelp forest on the east coast of the U.S.


February 18
Lost Art of Finding Our Way
 John Huth, Donner Professor of Science, Harvard University


Long before GPS, Google Earth, and global transit, humans traveled vast distances using only environmental clues and simple instruments. John Huth asks what is lost when modern technology substitutes for our innate capacity to find our way. Weaving together astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and ethnography, The Lost Art of Finding Our Way puts us in the shoes, ships, and sleds of early navigators for whom paying close attention to the environment around them was, quite literally, a matter of life and death.


February 25
The Seasons of Cranberries
 Sarah Garretson Lowry, Cranberry Farmer, Garretson Cranberry Farms, Marshfield


Everyone associates cranberries with the fall harvest but growing cranberries is an all year affair. The Garretson Cranberry Farm with over 40 acres of bogs is the largest farm in Marshfield and has been in the Garretson family for 3 generations.  Sarah Garretson Lowry will provide us an in depth discussion on the techniques and practices used to grow cranberries throughout the year.


March 4
Rising Seal Populations
 Dr Gordon Waring and Stephanie Wood, NOAA Fisheries Science Center

After being severely depleted by bounty programs in the early 1900s, gray and harbor seal populations are growing in New England.  This increase in seals has resulted in worries over increased shark interactions and competition for fish while others enjoy “seal watching” and view these increases as positive.  Through aerial and tagging surveys scientists studying their populations and behaviors will show us where their populations are increasing.


March 11
The Quest for the Golden Trout
 Douglas M. Thompson, Author and Director of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment at Connecticut College


Americans’ love of trout has reached a level of fervor that borders on the religious. Federal and state agencies, as well as nonprofits, invest billions of dollars on river restoration projects and fish-stocking programs. Thompson will share his thoughts on how these investments may risk destroying species they are tasked with protecting. The Quest for the Golden Trout is about looking at our nation’s rivers with a more critical eye—and asking questions about both historic and current practices in fisheries management.


March 18
The Mystery of Eels
 James Prosek, Artist, Author and Activist, Yale University


Eels have been a source of fascination to award winning writer, artist and conservationist James Prosek since childhood.  His quest to find out more about these mysterious creatures that live in our rivers and return to the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda to mate took him from Maine, where New England fishermen reap the benefits of a multibillion-dollar eel business; to Japan, where more than 130,000 tons of eel is consumed each year. His acclaimed book, artwork and journey became the subject of a PBS Nature show in 2014 entitled the Mystery of Eels. Come find out more about these fascinating creatures through Mr. Prosek’s writing, film and art.



2014 Lecture Schedule

2013 Lecture Schedule

 2012 Lecture Schedule

2011 Lecture Schedule


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