Cape Cod National Seashore to Host Evening Program - The Alewives Tale with Barbara Brennessel and Derrick Alcott

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Date: June 12, 2015
Contact: Sue Moynihan, Chief Interpreter, 508-957-0738

The annual migration of river herring is an event many Cape Codders look forward to each spring. In the Herring River estuary in Wellfleet river herring face many obstacles on their journey to their freshwater spawning grounds. Join Dr. Barbara Brennessel and Derrick Alcott at 7 PM on Tuesday, June 23 at Salt Pond Visitor Center for a free, one-hour presentation about the spawning migration of river herring in Wellfleet's Herring River estuary and the man-made barriers and predators they encounter along their journey. Learn about the biology and natural history of river herring and of their historical importance. The program will also discuss how volunteers are helping to assess the size of a local herring run.

Barbara Brennessel, PhD is a Professor Emerita at Wheaton College where she retired from teaching in 2013. Although she trained as a biochemist, her experiences as a homeowner on Cape Cod, as well as her membership on the Board of several Wellfleet and Cape-wide environmental organizations, led her to pursue research and conservation work outside of the laboratory. She is the author of Diamonds in the Marsh: A Natural History of the Diamondback Terrapin, Good Tidings: The History and Ecology of Shellfish Aquaculture in the Northeast, The Alewives' Tale: The Life History and Ecology of River Herring in the Northeast, and a children's book, The Adventures of Allie the Alewife.

Derrick Alcott is a PhD candidate at UMass Amherst studying river herring movements around physical barriers in the Herring River in Wellfleet. He completed his Master's degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 2012 in fisheries statistics. He is also an author for the educational ocean sciences outreach website Derrick is originally from southern New Jersey and now splits residency between Western Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

This program is part of the annual "Tuesday Evening Series" at Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. Held weekly at 7 PM in the summer in the air-cooled comfort of the visitor center auditorium, programs cover the diverse natural and cultural resources of the Outer Cape and are suitable for all ages, free of charge and accessible. The series is sponsored by the Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

IF YOU GO: Salt Pond Visitor Center is located at the intersection of Route 6 and Nauset Road in Eastham, and can be contacted by calling 508-255-3421. The center is open from 9 AM to 5 PM and staff is available to assist with activity planning. Stop by and visit the museum, view a park film, enjoy panoramic views of Salt Pond and Nauset Marsh and shop in the book and gift store featuring interpretive items such as books, maps, puzzles and games.For more information about the seashore's programs, visit the park website at

Last updated: June 12, 2015

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99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667


(508) 255-3421

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