The Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. has several public education and outreach programs that are available to the general public, school children, and all guests of the beach. The Town and the Reservation strive to offer all beach guests information on the value of Duxbury Beach’s natural resources. Through our outreach programs, we hope to provide the public with educational and recreational opportunities to enjoy the beach and understand the barrier beach’s role as a storm buffer protecting Duxbury Bay and the mainland. Other areas of outreach include programs addressing habitat for a multitude of coastal fauna and flora, including threatened and endangered bird species.
Summer at Duxbury Beach 2018
Each summer, the Duxbury Beach Reservation sponsors programming put on by Mass Audubon’s South Shore Sanctuaries at Duxbury Beach. These programs are a great way for the whole family to enjoy and learn more about our amazing coast. Programs are free and those with an * require preregistration. Please visit the South Shore Sanctuaries web page to preregister.
All programs meet in the lot on the ocean side of the Powder Point Bridge. Tell the harbormaster you are attending the Mass Audubon program. Non-residents are permitted to use the lot while attending the program.
Click each title for a list of programs.
Thursday, July 5 – Mollusk Mania. Primitive in the eyes of some but, we know better. Take the razor clam’s ability to create its own quicksand in order to escape predation as an example of the complex skills of our calcium clad friends. We will share the many specialized capacities of mollusks.
Saturday, July 7- FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Compass Treasure Hunt with John Tinker. Learn how to use a compass and search for buried treasure… maybe even talk like a pirate! Bezels, meridian lines and bearings. Arghh.
Tuesday, July 10 – Square Meter of Tidal Inventory with Jacqui Shuster. Work as teams to inventory a number of transects, surveying, documenting and photographing species to establish baseline data for future studies. It will be interesting to see how our findings compare to last year.
Thursday, July 12 – Introduction to Birding with Jacqui Shuster. Birdwatching is known as the fastest growing pastime and Duxbury Beach has a variety of bird species that either nest, winter, or pass through at any given time of the year. It makes it a great place to learn the basics of birding. We will cover recommended guide books, optics and tricks of trade. We will have binoculars to lend out for the program.
Saturday, July 14 – FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Beachscape Collaborative Mural with Marcia Ballou. Join the very celebrated artist Marcia Ballou at her canvas as she invites you to add your talents to a piece illustrating the bounty of the beach. Last year’s edition of this installment was a highlight of the summer.
Tuesday, July 17 – Piping Plovers with Autumn Jorgensen. Join Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Biologist and discover the incredible life stories of this pint-sized dynamo. We hope to get a chance to see some of these famous summer residents and hear updates on their progress.
Thursday, July 19 – Walking the Wrack Line with Don Salvatore. The wrack line is the graveyard of the oceans. Many of the Sea’s creatures are cast up on the beach after they die. Join Don Salvatore, author and science educator to explore the life of the sea and remains on the beach.
Saturday, July 21 – FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Bathyscopes. Construct some simple homemade bathyscopes, a viewfinder for underwater exploration and ply the shallows in search of intertidal life. Some shallow wading will be involved.
*Tuesday, July 24 – Visit the Gurnet Lighthouse with Alden Ringquist. Travel to the famous Gurnet Lighthouse. NOTE: Preregistration is required as this program is limited to 10 participants. Preregistration opens one week in advance. This program is more likely to finish closer to noon.
Thursday, July 26 – Botany and Phycology at the Beach. Walk a stretch of the beach between the road and tideline, with guide books in hand, we will challenge ourselves to identify twenty species of plants or algae that thrive in the seashore community.
Saturday, July 28 – FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Prehistoric Life on the Beach (aka Horseshoe Crabs)! Celebrate this ancient beast as we build sand sculptures depicting both this unique creature and its fellow citizens of the beach. Bring your buckets and pails.
Tuesday, July 31 – Walking the Wrack Line with Don Salvatore. Don returns for a second July installment! The wrack line is the graveyard of the oceans. Many of the Sea’s creatures are cast up on the beach after they die. Join Don Salvatore, author and science educator to explore the life of the sea and remains on the beach.
Thursday, August 2 – Salt Marsh Ecology with Don Salvatore. The benefits of salt marshes more than make up for the distractions of the salt marsh mosquito and greenhead fly. We will look at all the reasons why salt marshes are essential to every critter of the sea and our ability to live in a coastal community.
Saturday, August 4 – FAMILY FUN ON THE BEACH: Mud Flat Limbo with Judy Macioci. Explore the mudflats searching for mollusks, crabs and other creatures. Wear your boots because you are bound to get muddy!
*Tuesday, August 7 – Birding by Van with David Ludlow. NOTE: Preregistration is required as this program is limited to 10 participants. Preregistration opens one week in advance. Both of our birding by van programs are scheduled in August this year when it is more likely to see early fall shorebird migrants.
Thursday, August 9 – Barrier Beaches. Duxbury Beach is the classic barrier beach, stalwart but fluid protector from winter storms, a geological marvel subject to both positive and negative influence by humans. We will consider the importance of this celebrated resource.
Saturday, August 11 – FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Shorebird Feeding Adaptations with Tim O’Neil.Learn how shorebirds all eat at the same table and compete with each other for the shoreline’s bounty. Explore the special adaptations shorebird species have developed to get their fill.
Tuesday, August 14 – As the Crow Flies. Duxbury Bay shares it’s ecosystem with it’s geological neighbors to the north and south. Explore the connections of this impressive stretch of riparian tract and it’s influence on the ecological health of our community.
Thursday, August 16 – Square Meter of Tidal Inventory. Work as teams to inventory a number of transects, surveying, documenting and photographing species to establish baseline data for future studies. It will be interesting to see how our findings compare to last year.
Saturday, August 18 – FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Mollusk Mania. Primitive in the eyes of some but we know better. Take the razor clam’s ability to create its own quicksand in order to escape predation as an example of the complex skills of our calcium clad friends. We will share the many specialized capacities of mollusks.
*Tuesday, August 21 – Birding by Van with Sue MacCallum. NOTE: Preregistration is required as this program is limited to 10 participants. Preregistration opens one week in advance.
Thursday, August 23 – Charts and Navigation. Learn how to navigate using a compass and charts! This hour and a half session will convince you to put your GPS back in the box.
Saturday, August 25 – FAMILY FUN DAY ON THE BEACH: Kites and the Science of Flight. We will build a few simple kites as we explore the science of flight. What are the remarkable adaptations birds have developed in order to take flight?
*Tuesday, August 28 – Visit the Gurnet Lighthouse with Alden Ringquist. NOTE: Preregistration is required as this program is limited to 10 participants. Preregistration opens one week in advance. This program is more likely to finish closer to noon.
Thursday, August 30 – Seashore Literacy. Recognize the end of this year’s Duxbury Beach Programs and prep for the new academic year by hitting the books! Reading passages from authors like Carson and Thoreau that celebrate beach ecology will inspire us to continue visiting Duxbury Beach throughout all four seasons.
Public Outreach Programs
Click each title for more information.
Our annual Ed Night usually takes place during the months of February or March. Every year a topic related to the beach is selected with past presentations including the formation and migration of the beach, oystering, tidal pools, sand sharks, and hawks and snowy owls, and rising sea levels. Ed Night programs also address the “State of the Beach” with an overview of the work being done at the beach and the plans for the following year.
Every Spring our Technical Committee evaluates the planting needs of the beach after the winter wear. Many volunteers come out to the beach to plant beach grass and woody vegetation, including bayberry, beach plum, and rosa rugosa, on the sand dunes.
The beach is an amazing place, and you never know what you will find! In May, the DBPS has a scavenger hunt to find and observe beach item.We hope families enjoy the wonders of the beach and leave with goodie bags upon completion of the hunt.
Come “Pound Sand” in the annual 5K Duxbury Beach Race which begins over the bridge at the parking lot and wind its way along the Gurnet Point beach access road to the second cross over, and head back to the finish along the sands of Duxbury Beach. Walk, jog or run! Just come out and have fun while you support the beach. Proceeds from the race will support the Duxbury Beach Reservation’s storm damage fund.
The Annual Spirit of the Sea Festival will be hosted for the whole family at Duxbury Beach in June. The festival will feature live entertainment, lemonade stand, pirate parade, clamming demonstrations, paddle board demos, kayak tours, beach games & activities, hula hoop contest, kite flying, and touch tanks.
Throughout July and August, the Reservation sponsors and funds the Mass Audubon’s educational programs for adults and children on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. While most people tend to use the ocean beach, talks and activities usually focus on the bay side in order to present the coastal environment and barrier beach ecosystem as a whole. Programs are purposely diverse to reach people on different levels. On Saturdays, families with younger children have an opportunity to meet horseshoe crabs, form a human sundial, paint with sand, catch razor clams, and make wave bottles. The Saturday morning beach walks attract as many as 40 or 50 people, and offer a great way for kids and adults to develop and exercise their curiosity together.
The Reservation will be sponsoring a Sand Castle/Sand Sculpture Contest at Duxbury Beach in August. Family teams of all ages will have the opportunity to compete for prizes by building either a sand castle or sculpture. There is no limit to the number members per team. Teams should provide their own building materials and tools. Prizes will be awarded to the best castle structure, the best sculpture structure and for showmanship during the building process.
Each September and March, Duxbury Beach Reservation in conjunction with volunteer leaders, hosts a Duxbury Beach cleanup as part of a statewide beach cleanup program. A community of volunteers gather to help remove trash and assorted marine debris from Duxbury Beach. Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management provides gloves, bags, and data sheets. The Duxbury Department of Public Works (DPW) hauls the bagged debris off the beach. The trucks are weighed empty and then full to provide an accurate accounting of the weight of the debris. Annually in Duxbury, many volunteers walk the 4.5-mile beach, collecting between 5,000 and 25,000 pounds of trash. All work is coordinated with the Harbormaster Department and the Endangered Species Officer. The information compiled by the yearly COASTSWEEP effort in the United States is reported to Congress and provides a scientific basis for legislation and regulations limiting the types and locations of offshore dumping activities, and to establish safeguards to protect beaches in the future. Visit our Volunteer page to sign up for this Spring’s beach sweep!
Enrichment Programs in the Duxbury Public Schools
As part of our education efforts, we offer instructional sections for various schools of the Duxbury Public School (Chandler, Alden, and DMS). Students use the natural resources of Duxbury Beach in a diverse curriculum that is aligned with the standards recommended by the Massachusetts Frameworks. As the scope and sequence changes to meet higher expectations, teachers and students work to address the key understandings and essential questions in Earth/Space, Life, and Physical Sciences.
Students visit Duxbury Beach and have an instructional session at Chandler in the late spring to understand about living sea creatures and their environment. The students use observation, exploration, and discussion skills as they learn more about habitats and the relationships between those habitats. The DBPS provides each student with an age-appropriate booklet containing pictures and information relevant to the beach environment.
Following their Duxbury Tour (part of the Social Studies Curriculum), students visit Duxbury Beach. There they learn about the importance of the bay and shoreline factors in Duxbury’s economic development. The DPBS provides each student with an age-appropriate booklet containing pictures and information relevant to the beach environment.
Elementary school students can use the local resources of Duxbury Beach to enhance their opportunities for research study for the annual Science Fair. Students are able to draw on topics that touch on all categories: Experimental, Illustrative, and Inventions. Battelle Labs, which originally sponsored the Science Fair, continues to provide support by assisting in the judging of over 150 projects per year. Middle and Senior High School
The 6th Grade students expand their knowledge with an in-depth study of life in the ocean and ocean zones and exploration of the Duxbury Beach. With research and observation, they learn more about the impact of pollution on ecosystems and the use of field identification strategies to learn more about habitats.
The 7th Grade Life Science Program at the Duxbury Junior/Senior High School studies Duxbury’s ecosystems in the spring term each year. A major part of this study is the final unit of study specifically focusing on the ecology of Duxbury Beach. After three weeks of preparation, students have a full day of field study on Duxbury Beach, followed by a week of follow-up lab work in the classroom.
Prior to the field study, students learn about the formation of Duxbury Beach, the erosive forces upon the beach, beach flora and fauna, and relative environmental factors that have the greatest impact potential upon the preservation of Duxbury Beach. The full day of field study involves making a comparative study of the Duxbury Ocean and Duxbury Bay microsystems. Data is collected on site to make these comparisons.
The Back River channel contour is surveyed yearly along Powder Point Bridge and data are compared to the previous year’s data. Dune and bay transect surveying is done on site to estimate flora and fauna populations. Relative turbidity, temperature, geology, and salinity are compared from bay to ocean. Plankton samples from both sides of the beach are collected, surveyed, and compared through microscopic observation in the high school laboratory. The ultimate goal of the unit is to provide an appreciation of Duxbury¹s great natural asset of Duxbury Beach. This is done through the direct interaction of the students with this environment.
While at the beach, students meet the Harbormaster/Coastal Natural Resources Officers and learn about some of the innovative programs to enhance shorebird habitat while preserving the beach. Each year, a minimum of 60 parents/siblings/relatives/friends act as chaperone/recording ecologists to assist each team of student participants. This gets the whole community involved.