Author Archives: Kim Smith


World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. Today, 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

“Water is at the core of sustainable development. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions.” –

Image courtesy Google image search.


First-year immature Iceland Gull, center left foreground

The pretty white gull was on the last remnant of ice at Niles Pond yesterday morning, preening and bathing alongside a mixed flock of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls. Although doing his/her best to blend with the other gulls, he appeared to be playing with a feather blowing around on the ice.

I wonder who amongst our readers has seen an Iceland Gull, and where it was spotted. Please write and let us know. Thank you!

Iceland Gulls are most often only seen in our region during the winter. Despite their name, they do not breed in Iceland, but in the high Arctic and Greenland. Their diet consists of fish, marine vertebrates, carrion, some terrestrial and aquatic plants, and berries during the late summer.

I wished I could have gotten closer to get a better photo, but if you scroll through the following pdf, written by Dick Coombs, you’ll find an excellent description of a 1st-winter immature Iceland Gull, just like the one at Niles, along with photos of a mature Iceland Gull: Pond foliage readying to burst


Calling all dodgeball players and spectators, the 6th Annual Bikini and Speedo Dodgeball tournament is here!
Not only is the dodgeball tournament back on of this year, but due to a few teams combining and a few teams dropping out (none of the defending champs from the last 4 years are able to participate this year!!) THERE ARE STILL A FEW TEAM SPOTS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION!  Get on it ASAP as regstration is first come, first serve.
We have a new location and a new charity as well.  The event will be held in Essex on April 8 from 11-4 (tournament starts at noon).
This is a great event for players and spectators. All proceeds go to Sweet Paws Rescue, which is a phenomenal local animal rescue charity.
Teams of 5 players must have a minimum of 2 women to play and all players must be 21+. It is a double elimination tournament and takes place outdoors with music, and an event MC. Registration fee includes 5 event T-shirts. To register your team and check out pictures and videos from previous years, go to the Facebook event page here:
Or if you want just the google doc for registration:

Please contact Frankie at with any questions or concerns.  See you on game day!


Susan LaRosa shares the following –

Documentary on New England Fishery,
‘Sacred Cod’, Holds Free Public Screenings in DC and Boston

Film to make television debut on the Discovery Channel on April 15

WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) — March 16, 2017 — A new documentary on the state of the New England cod fishery will be screened for the public in a free special engagement in Washington, D.C. The film, Scared Cod: The Fight For a New England Tradition, was directed and produced by Steve Liss, Andy Laub, and the Boston Globe’s David Abel.

The film is a “feature-length documentary that captures the collapse of the historic cod population in New England, delving into the role of overfishing, the impact of climate change, the effect of government policies on fishermen and the fish, and the prospect of a region built on cod having no cod left to fish.” It features interviews with fishermen, scientists, and federal policymakers.

April 4, 2017: Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel as part of the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s national meeting. More here.

April 13, 2017:  The Boston Public Library as part of a Conservation Law Foundation screening.

Sacred Cod will premiere on the Discovery Channel on April 15.

The Museum of Natural History has announced plans to hold a free public screening on Friday, March 23, at 6:30 pm. Registration for the event is free and can be done here. Following the screening there will be a panel discussion with Mr. Liss and Mr. Abel, moderated by Nancy Knowlton, the Museum’s Sant Chair for Marine Science.


Good Morning Gloucester FOB Al Bezanson shares the following story:

The City of Gloucester is represented at the Boston Seafood Show, a trade only event that runs through Tuesday at the World Trade Center.  Here Rosalee Nicastro is handing out bite size fresh cakes where the main ingredient is hake right off the boat.  The recipe is from the Gloucester Fisherman’s Wives Association.  This exhibition features more than a thousand booths with seafood from all over the world and this product is a standout.


We’re sharing this lovely letter about GMG’s own Catherine Ryan, which was sent to the the Gloucester Daily Times, and written by Pauline Bresnahan.

To the editor:

The year 2013 was the first year I was asked to be on the city of Gloucester’s Tourism Commission. I have met many people who love the city and want to use their area of knowledge to help our community.

It was then that I met and started working alongside my now dear friend Catherine Ryan. I am constantly in awe of her dedication to her family and her love of Gloucester and Cape Ann.

Some of the wonderful projects that she has in some way positively impacted and in many cases quietly but with great passion championed are: Gloucester’s Harborwalk, the Downtown Cultural District, Committee for the Arts, the Tourism Commission, the Pop Up Art event at The Hive for Young Artists, Cape Ann Reads and murals at City Hall. She has also helped to guide her sons in their desire to preserve and display the Bachelor Civil War coat at Gloucester High School.

It is a great privilege and honor to be able to call Catherine a friend but even more to let her know that I cannot thank her enough for what she does for us here in Gloucester. I have amazing respect for this amazing woman and I wanted to just let her know that.

If you know Catherine, you also know she is a humble woman who never asks for recognition but will be the first to recognize others for their work. You will often see her posts on Good Morning Gloucester. She is always sharing the work of others in the city and helping to promote events. Catherine does not hesitate to help a young person who might need some help or advice. Her ability to research stories and share factual information for the readers of the blog are extremely useful.

If you know Catherine let her know how much you appreciate what she does for all of us. I know I will.

Pauline Bresnahan

Chairwoman, Gloucester Tourism Commission


Four coyotes on the causeway–thank goodness for the immediacy of cell phones, but oh how I wish my camera gear was not in the back seat!



Under the weather with a two-boxes-of-tissues-a-day head cold, I haven’t been out walking as much as usual. This afternoon I popped over to Niles to take our Rosie out for a very short walk, just in time to see off in the distance a male and female Ring-necked Duck resting at the icy water’s edge, along with freshly opened branches of pussy willows. Spring is surely on her way!

Ring-necked Ducks for the most part breed further north. I imagine the little flock that is at Niles is only here for a brief period of time.


We friends of Mr. Swan think he is practically a genius. You would have to be, to survive the oftentimes inhospitable shores of Cape Ann. And, too, he is well over twenty years old and has out lived two mates!

Mr. Swan at Brace Cove

Mr. Swan is a species of swan called a Mute Swan, which do not migrate great distances. Instead, they move around from body of water to body of water within a region. When Mr. and Mrs. Swan were raising their young, by mid summer, when food was becoming less plentiful and water levels receding at Henry’s Pond, the entire swan family–mom, dad, and all the cygnets–would travel for the remainder of the breeding season to Niles Pond, a larger pond with a more plentiful supply of aquatic vegetation. Several weeks ago, the brackish water of Henry’s Pond thawed. Mr. Swan returned to the Pond, but then with a stretch of cold weather, it quickly refroze. He headed over to Pebble Beach to forage for food in the saltwater cove. This week, sensing the coming nor’easter, Mr. Swan moved over to Rockport Harbor, which rarely freezes, is less rough than Pebble Beach, and where a supply of food is readily available. Whether a September hurricane or March blizzard, Mr. Swan rides out the storm tucked in along the edge of pond or harbor.

Don’t you find it very interesting that although not indigenous to this country, Mute Swans have adapted many strategies for surviving our changing seasons, and with the seasonal changes, the differing types of, and amounts of, food available.

Mr. Swan at Rockport Harbor

When the freshwater ponds freeze, Mr. Swan goes foraging for food in the saltwater coves.

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

If you see Mr. Swan at any of our local bodies of water, please be very kind to him. Dogs, no matter how well meaning, will make any swan feel threatened. And please, if you must feed him, only feed him whole corn. No junk food ever. Swan junk food includes bread, crackers, chips, and Doritos. In all the years that I have been filming Mr. Swan, never once have I fed him. Mr. Swan has friends, wonderfully kind stewards, who regularly look after his well-being, supplementing his native diet of pond greens and seaweed with cracked corn, and that is quite sufficient for his good health.

Thank you everyone for looking out for Cape Ann’s one and only Mr. Swan!

Mr. Swan at Henry’s Pond

Mr. Swan at Rockport Harbor and Niles Pond, with His Ever-present Entourage of Quackers


Listen to this beautiful EP, released yesterday by Sarah Kelly and her brother Daniel Dye. Sometime GMG contributor, and all around most talented of women, Sarah sings beautifully, too!!!

To hear all five songs and for information on how to purchase follow this link: Daniel Dye and Sister Sarah.

Last Day to Vote for Me for Essex Trailblazer Recognition

Please Vote for Me!

Essex National Heritage is celebrating their 20th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, Essex Heritage is recognizing organizations and people that make the Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) so exceptional and I have been nominated in the category Connecting People to Place. The 130 nominees are all stellar and most are businesses and very large organizations, for example, the Peabody Essex Museum, Mass Audubon (statewide), and Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, so it is really quite an honor to be nominated.

The voting process is very simple, you don’t have to provide your email address or any other personal information. Please vote for me in the second of four categories, second Connecting People to Place (center column, halfway down). Here is the link to vote:

Voting ends today, March 14th. Thank you for your vote!

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