Join us on a two-and-a-half-hour guided journey through Upper and Lower Mill Ponds to the spawning grounds of the alewife and blueback herring as we retrace the steps of John Hay, noted naturalist and author of The Run. Learn about the primordial, annual return of the alewife/herring to their original breeding grounds, the history of the Punkhorn and kettle ponds, and the health of the Mill Ponds, and discover the life that exists in this amazing ecosystem.
One of our signature programs—the Pond Education Program for 2nd and 5th graders in Brewster public schools—was scaled back this year due to COVID-19. The schools were closed and pond trips canceled. We were disappointed, but our committee of dedicated education volunteers put their heads together and came up with several exciting virtual pond education activities, including virtual pond visits and storybook reading from prominent Cape Cod authors. Right now, they are busy creating virtual pond-related games, puzzles, and fun learning activities, which will be made available to the schools and parents on the BPC website and new BPC YouTube channel. Stay tuned for our finished products, and click here to donate and become a member.
Instead, as a volunteer with the Brewster Ponds Coalition and its citizen science committee, he traveled to the ponds to assemble an automated aerosol collector known as a CLAM. The Compact Lake Aerosol Monitor looks like a potted plant, a nondescript plastic tote sprouting four articulated gooseneck arms each hooded in black mosquito netting. It sits on a platform in shallow water, the arms positioned to droop within a few inches of the pond’s surface.
It may look simple – it was custom built by researchers at the University of New Hampshire – but its purpose is incredibly complex: The monitor collects microscopic toxins from a cyanobacterial bloom that has become airborne, mainly through evaporation.
Large-scale gathering of these airborne toxins for research would be prohibitively expensive for scientists to do themselves, said James Haney, professor of biological science at the UNH Center for Freshwater Biology. His department oversaw the collection process and trained the citizen scientists at the pond coalition, making sure their methods were rigorous enough that they could produce data researchers could use.
For the complete article, click to go to the Cape Cod Times.