Scientists, park staff, and members of the public gathered at Salt Pond Visitor Center at Cape Cod National Seashore on Saturday September 10th for a celebration and discussion of 50 years of science at Cape Cod.
In coordination with the year-long 50th anniversary celebration of the seashore, the all-day affair proved a multi-faceted event that included exhibits and demonstrations by current science staff, a forum composed of a panel of former Cape Cod researchers, and an afternoon lunch reception for all those in attendance.
Current park science staff descended upon the lobby of Salt Pond Visitor Center, setting up an array of exhibits highlighting much of the management-driven science and monitoring efforts currently underway at the seashore. The exhibits offered the staff the opportunity to interact with members of the public and explain in detail what it is they do and the motivation behind their efforts. Many of the displays were hands-on with opportunities for the public to work with complex scientific equipment and even handle live wildlife.
The science forum was held during the afternoon in the visitor center auditorium. The well-attended event featured a panel of eight scientists representing an array of disciplines, all of whom have been instrumental in developing the culture of science at the park over the decades. The forum was moderated by interpretive ranger Bill Burke and Northeast Region chief scientist Mary Foley.
The panelists were seated at the front of the room facing the audience and each discussed his or her significant contributions to the development of science at Cape Cod. A question and answer session followed which generated an informed and lively discussion about the current state and future concern over the natural resources of the seashore and Cape Cod at large. The forum proved decidedly informal and non-technical making it all the more accessible to a broad audience.
The day culminated in an outdoor lunch reception overlooking Salt Pond. Salt Pond is the furthest inland-reaching part of the vast estuarine system that is Nauset Marsh. While undeniably picturesque, the pond’s proximity to human development makes it among the most ecologically impacted portions of the marsh. The backdrop served as a catalyst for conversation as to the significance of continued scientific efforts in understanding and managing the park’s natural resources.
For more information, contact Mark Adams, the park’s GIS specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org