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Science in the Seashore - Discover What Scientists are Studying at Cape Cod National Seashore

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Date: July 11, 2011
Contact: Patrick Bird, Park Ranger, 508-487-1256

Throughout the year, scientists at Cape Cod National Seashore diligently study and monitor the ever-changing natural environment of the area. Research in a variety of topics, such as shoreline change, salt marsh restoration, and the life cycles of rare amphibians and reptiles has provided the scientific community, policy makers, and individual citizens with a better understanding of the diverse and dynamic systems that are at work within the seashore's boundaries.

This ever-changing peninsula is also being impacted by global shifts in the Earth's climate. Sea level rise, changing weather patterns, and increased storm intensity, have posed new questions for park scientists to consider. In response, the park has developed a well-rounded monitoring program to help inform some of the speculated concerns about climate change and its effects on Cape Cod.

Cape Cod National Seashore has also been designated a Climate Friendly Park by the National Park Service. In conjunction with reducing its own environmental impact, the seashore is dedicated to communicating and educating Cape residents and visitors on the fascinating research being conducted by park staff members.

The Science in the Seashore program is an opportunity for education and outreach to occur. Each Tuesday in July and August, park scientists will be presenting slide presentations at the Province Lands Visitor Center (unless otherwise noted) with an emphasis on how climate change has and may impact Cape Cod in the future. One field program is planned. Programs are free of charge, begin at 1 PM, and last approximately one hour. Pre-registration up to one week in advance is required. Call the Province Lands Visitor Center at 508.487.1256 for more information and to register for upcoming programs.

Schedule and Topics of Upcoming Programs

July 12 -- Cape Cod National Seashore and its Climate Friendly Park's Initiative with Park Ranger Christine Harris

July 19 -- Monitoring Climate Change Effects at Cape Cod National Seashore with Park Scientist Megan Tyrrell

July 26 -- The Use of GPS and GIS Mapping for Scientific Research at Cape Cod National Seashore with Park GIS Specialist Mark Adams

August 2 -- The Natural History of Amphibians and Reptiles on Cape Cod with Park Scientist Bob Cook

August 9 -- Visualizing the Nearshore Seafloor Through the Use of LIDAR Technology with Park GIS Specialist Mark Adams and Coastal Geomorphologist Graham Giese (meet at High Head parking area)

August 16 -- The Revegetation of Salt Marsh Dieback Areas and the Continued Progress of the East Harbor Restoration Program with Park Scientist Steve Smith

August 23 -- Exploring the Life in Inside Eastham's Vernal Pond with Park Scientist Bob Cook (Meet at the Salt Pond Visitor Center)

IF YOU GO: The Province Lands Visitor Center located off Race Point Road, is open daily from 9:00 A M to 5:00 PM. Staff members are available to answer questions, assist with activity planning, and provide hiking and bicycling trail information. The visitor center features exhibits on the Outer Cape's natural and cultural resources, orientation films, and a bookstore with interpretive items for sale, such as books, maps, games and puzzles, games, t-shirts, and 50th anniversary commemorative items. There are short films shown throughout the day. The 360-degree rooftop observation deck provides views of the surrounding dunes and sea. A listing of all of the National Seashore's programs is available at the two seashore visitor centers, or on-line at www.nps.gov/caco.

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Did You Know?

Spadefoot Toad

An abundance of sandy soil and shallow freshwater ponds for breeding make Cape Cod National Seashore an ideal landscape for Spadefoot Toads. A Threatened Species, the Seashore supports their largest known population in the Northeast. Some park roads are closed on rainy nights to protect them.