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New Art Exhibit on Display at Salt Pond Visitor Center - The Ancient Mariner - Horseshoe Crabs

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Date: April 9, 2009
Contact: Sue Haley, South District Interpreter, 508-255-3421 ext. 15

Respecting one’s elders takes on new meaning with the latest in Cape Cod National Seashore’s occasional visiting artist series: Perspectives – Seeing Cape Cod National Seashore Through Art.  In “The Ancient Mariner,” local artist Louise Russell turns her eye to the timeless, if somewhat unexpected, beauty of the horseshoe crab.  The exhibit, currently on display at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham, will run through the month of May.

The exhibit originated in 1995 as a labor of love because Russell wanted to bring attention to the increasingly imperiled status of Limulus polyphemus, the horseshoe crab.  These unassuming animals have existed for some 350 million years, but in modern times their numbers have dwindled due to over-harvesting for uses as diverse as biomedical research and the commercial fishing industry.

Russell’s exhibit is on loan from the Highlands Center, Inc.  It touches on the natural history of these amazing creatures, the threats they face, and the critical role they play in the health of the wider ecosystem.  And it does so with an artist’s eye, making use of horseshoe crab molts and other items to bring the display to life.

IF YOU GO:  Salt Pond Visitor Center is located at Route 6 and Nauset Road in Eastham, and can be contacted by calling (508) 255-3421.  The center is open from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and staff is available to assist with activity planning.  There is a museum; orientation films shown regularly; a bookstore featuring interpretive items, such as books, maps, puzzles, and games; and

panoramic views of Salt Pond, Nauset Marsh, and the Atlantic. For more information about the seashore’s programs, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/caco.

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Did You Know?

Wellfleet kettle ponds

Although the kettle ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore are within 2.5 km of the ocean and have been subjected to thousands of years of salt spray, they remain low in dissolved salts. Ponds are flushed out by inflowing and outflowing groundwater, which prevents salts from accumulating.