2018 WaterWatch Lecture Series

Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
January 10-March 7
South Shore Natural Science Center, Norwell
Free admission

Join us every Wednesday night for a free public lecture series featuring world renowned authors, scientists and historians focused on the nature and human history of New England waters. This year’s highlights include; Reeling in Striped Bass: Conserving this Historic and Economically Vital Fish, Portland Gale – 120th Anniversary of a Super Storm, and Taking Action on Plastic Bag Use.

January 10
Reeling in Striped Bass: Conserving this historic and economically vital fish
Gary Nelson, MA Division of Marine Fisheries; Department of Environmental Conservation at UMASS Amherst

For fishing enthusiasts, the spring migration of striped bass is a welcome sign that winter might be in the rear view mirror. A prized catch in annual derbies and tournaments, the striped bass’ history and economic importance in Massachusetts dates back to 1620. Hear about this history, the current status and trends in striped bass stocks, in addition to the conservation measures being taken to protect them for future generations.

January 17 – How Seaweed Changed the Demographics of Scituate
David Ball, President – Scituate Historical Society

An out-of-work fisherman walking a Scituate beach in the 1840s stumbles across a familiar species of seaweed, and from this unexpected moment of discovery grows a series of events that cause a cascade of change for the quiet little community that is still being felt today. Join historian and author David Ball as he explains how this particular marine algae found off the coast of Scituate dramatically altered the social fabric of this South Shore town forever.

January 24
Portland Gale – 120th Anniversary of a Super Storm
Art Milmore, historian and author of And the Sea Shall Have Them All: The Wreck of the Steamer Portland

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the Portland Gale, the 1898 storm which struck the New England coast resulting in over 400 fatalities and 150 destroyed boats and ships. Among these was the Portland, a large side-wheel paddle steamer en route from Boston, MA to Portland, ME, whose 190 passengers and crew where among the lives lost. In writing the book, Art completed work begun by his friend, New England maritime historian Edward Rowe Snow.

January 31
Eelgrass as an Ecological Indicator
Kathryn Ford, MA Division of Marine Fisheries; Fisheries Habitat Program Leader

Eelgrass is the rain forest of the coast. A perennial flowering plant, it adds structural complexity and promotes sediment stability in our waters. A 2017 study to assess eelgrass loss in Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth Bays included aerial mapping of growth, field work and a look at the trends leading up to the loss. Learn more about the decline and recommendations to encourage future growth.

February 7
What’s the Buzz? Native Bees of Massachusetts
Sean Kent, Education and Summer Camp Director at Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art

Bees are fascinating and an essential part of healthy ecosystems. Although bee keepers have been stewarding honey bees for thousands of years, honey bees are not native to our country and are not the best pollinators for many of our native plants. We have an amazing diversity of native bees in Massachusetts and they are adapted to pollinating the native plants of our wetlands, roadsides, parks and other open spaces. As a group, they are diverse and beautiful and they are in need of our support.

February 14
Keeping the Storied Tradition of Boat Building on the Rivers
Roger Crawford, Sailor and Boat Builder

Local boat builder extraordinaire Roger Crawford shares his love for the North and South Rivers and the artistry of boat building. Roger has built over 500 of his “Melonseed Skiff” sailboats, and a variety of other traditional small craft totaling nearly 800 boats since 1976. Roger will explain the romantic story of how as he built each individual boat, a community of kindred spirits developed a bond, cemented by the purity of the science of sailing and appreciation of craftsmanship.

February 21
Climate Change and Birds
Joan Walsh, Mass Audubon’s Gerard A Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology

Mass Audubon is building a science-based bird conservation program that works to sustain the diverse and inspiring birdlife that calls the Commonwealth home. Learn about this new initiative, State of the Birds 2017. Discover how warming temperatures, shifting seasons, and rising sea levels are impacting specific species – which are at risk and which are gaining ground. Find out what you can do to help protect local ecosystems, wildlife, and, ultimately, our own homes.

February 28
Awareness Inspires Conservation
Marianne Long, Education Director, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) is a non-profit organization supporting scientific research, educating the community, and improving public safety. AWSC strives to increase knowledge of Atlantic white sharks to change public perception, and conserve the species and ensure biologically diverse marine ecosystems. Marianne Long will discuss AWSC’s ongoing research projects, how that research is impacting conservation and public safety efforts, and up to date information on what that research has taught us.

March 7
Panel Discussion: Taking Action on Plastic Bag Use
Janis Owens (Duxbury), Jeanne Ryer (Marshfield) and Ken Stone (Plymouth)

This panel of community advocates will describe their efforts on the South Shore to build support for banning the use of plastic bags. Bans have been passed in Plymouth (October, 2016) and Duxbury (March, 2017) and efforts are underway to put it before Marshfield Town Meeting in 2018. Also featured will be excerpts from “Bag It: The Movie”, the highly praised documentary about an “everyman” whose pledge to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store completely changed his life.

At the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell.