Author Archives: Kim Smith


Phil Curcuru shares that a new and improved boardwalk is being installed this week at Good Harbor Beach at the #2 location, directly in front of the snack bar. The boardwalk will be wide enough to be handicap accessible.

Thank you Phil and Mike, and thank you to the Gloucester DPW for the tremendous job they do maintaining Good Harbor, and all of Gloucester’s public beaches, throughout the year.


It was a grand day for the Schooner Adventure and Maritime Gloucester as our beautiful National Historic Landmark has returned to her home berth at the Maritime center. The reconstructed pier looks fantastic, and ready for a summer of fabulous fun and educational experiences. Come on down and check out the pier and see the Adventure back at home. Click here for Schooner Adventure’s exciting calendar of upcoming events and summer programs, as well as here for news and noteworthy activities at Maritime GloucesterCaptain Willy Leathers and Crew
Don Boye, Captain Stefan Edick, Michael Bergmann, and Steve Parks

Moving the float from the Jodrey Fish Pier across the Harbor to Maritime Gloucester pier.



Behind-the-Scenes Factory Tours | The Best 5


Article and photo by Kim Knox Beckius

Want to see Yankee ingenuity in action? Go behind the scenes on a factory tour. “Made in New England” pride thrives at factories that produce everything from frozen commodities to cuddly gifts guaranteed to melt hearts. As a piano or a naval destroyer takes shape before your eyes, you’ll realize anything built to last requires one component that can’t be manufactured: passion.

Cape Pond Ice
Gloucester, Massachusetts

When Cape Pond Ice was founded in 1848, Mother Nature provided the refrigeration. These days, giant blocks of ice aren’t harvested from local ponds; they’re manufactured. On ice house tours year-round, you can watch the “coolest guys around” turn water into cold, hard cash. Inside this frosty factory, where 300 tons of ice are produced daily, antique hydraulic block upenders are everyday tools, and ice sculptures survive for decades. Cape Pond’s diverse product line includes everything from ice shot luges to three grades of chopped ice critical to Gloucester’s fishing industry. Plus, more than 15 years after actor John Hawkes wore a Cape Pond Ice T-shirt in The Perfect Storm, sales of logo wear still account for nearly 10 percent of revenues.


Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Update

We will have a display at Motif No.1 Day in Rockport on Saturday, May 20.

  • It will be somewhere down there near T Wharf. Exact location to be determined when we get there.
  • The event is from 9 am – 5 pm.
  • We need to be set up by 8:30 am.
  • We’ll have a tent, display panels, tables, live animal exhibit…
  • We need lots of volunteers for this event.
  • Please get in touch if you can help out –

We will be at the Crane Estate Sunday, May 21st at 2 pm with Snakes of New England and the World one hour live animal presentation.

  • Also a great volunteer opportunity in a lovely setting.
  • Set up at 1ish.
  • Again email if you can help.

Don’t miss our Annual Yard Sale on Saturday, May 27, 9 am – 1 pm (Rain date Saturday, June 3)

  • In the lot behind St. Peter’s parking lot at Rogers and Main Street in Gloucester.
  • Please bring all your donations over there on the day of the sale by 7 am… so we have time to sort and price.
  • We will need lots of volunteers. Many of us will need to be there early, like by 5:30 am.
  • The finishing crew will need to stay until everything is picked up and cleaned up.
  • Maybe you can do a couple hours. All help is appreciated.

This is a big fundraiser for us, so gather your stuff and please help us out at the sale.


Dad Piping Plover spends considerable time showing Mom how good he is at nest-building.

Mom nonchalantly makes her way over to the nest scrape.

She thoroughly inspects the potential nest.

Dad again rearranges the sand. Mom pipes in, “Honey, I think I’d prefer that mound of dried seaweed over there, nearer the blades of seagrass. And can you please add a few seashells to the next one, rather than bits of old kelp.”

Here we go again!

Five Piping Plovers have been observed at Good Harbor Beach. They are battling over territory and beginning to pair up. The male builds perhaps a dozen nests scrapes in a single day–all in hopes of impressing the female. Hopefully, within the next week, they will establish a nest; the earlier in the season Plovers begin nesting, the greater the chance of survival for the chicks.

Dave Rimmer from Essex County Greenbelt reports that although many nest scrapes have been seen, no nests with an egg on any of Gloucester’s beaches have yet been discovered. He suggests that perhaps the cooler than usual spring temperatures are slowing progress.

An active Piping Plover nest scrape, with lots of PiPl tracks 🕊

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Not one, but two, potential nesting sites have been roped off for the Piping Plovers. The second site is near the Good Harbor Beach Inn.


Congratulations to Eric Magers, so well deserved!! Seaside Sustainability was given the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 2017 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education. 

Learn more about Seaside Sustainability’s programs here.

And recent GMG podcast with Eric here.

Photo, left to right:
Mathew Beaton – Secretary of Energy and Environmental Education
Eric Magers – Executive Director
Kris Scopinich – Director of Education Mass Audubon
Don Siriani – Legislative and Communications Director Commonwealth of MA

State Officials Recognize 33 Programs for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education

From the office of Energy and Environmental Affairs:

BOSTON – At a State House ceremony, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton today honored 33 energy and environmental education programs at Massachusetts schools and nonprofits as part of the 23rd Annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education.

“Hands-on energy and environmental educational programs improve students’ problem-solving skills and create lifelong passions for science and the environment,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is proud to recognize the students, teachers and nonprofits raising awareness and coming up with creative solutions to our pressing energy and environmental issues.”

“These educators are engaging students in real-world environmental and energy issues and bringing topics they learn in the classroom to life,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The programs recognized today are developing students who will make a positive and lasting impact on their communities, schools and the environment.”

Winners competed for $5,000 in awards, funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust with the intention to fund further environmental education initiatives at the schools. EEA solicited Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award nominations in early 2017. Schools and organizations that voluntarily incorporate environmental education into public or private school curricula are given priority.

“The outstanding educational programs honored today immerse students in important issues like energy, recycling and wildlife conservation,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beaton. “It is more important than ever that we teach the next generation the importance of preserving and protecting our natural resources.”

The project applications were scored by the Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education, a group of environmental educators from state agencies, non-profits, industry and academia.

“Not only are these schools teaching students important lessons about protecting the environment, they are also providing them with valuable knowledge and skills in STEM subjects that could spark their future career choices,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.



Today’s grand open house for two new C. B. Fisk pipe organs was a joyful event, crowded with well-wishers, fans, friends, and musicians. Opus 148 will be installed at Christ Church, Cincinnati, and Opus 150 at Benjamin Franklin’s Christ Church in Philadelphia.

Listen to the music!

What a treat to hear Opus 148 played by Nami and violinist Harold Byers.

Morgan Faulds Pike and David Pike, C. B. Fisk Senior Vice President and Tonal Director

Nami Hamada, organist and organ builder, and Harold Byers, former violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Chair of the Music Committee at Christ Church.

Greg Bover speaking about Opus 148

Thibaut Lenfant and Rick Isaacs

Sarah Tuvim helped restore the exterior case of Opus 150

Morgan’s brother, Tom Faulds, and friend Carole Crowther

Scale model of Opus 148. Morgan Faulds Pike, sculptress of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial, carved the oak angels and panels for Opus 148. See more here.

Angels for Opus 148

Opus 150 and scale model


Elise and Sunshine

Cedar Rock Gardens is bursting with a fabulous selection of blossoms and veggies and all would be much loved by Mom. Load up now on milkweed, petunias, pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, violas, osteosperum, alyssum, thyme, cilantro, parsley, dill, and much, much, much more.

Check out Cedar Rocks Gardens updated and complete plant list here.



Tucker is building dozens of new tray tables to hold all the fantastic seedlings coming along.

Jeffrey Thomas, Tucker Smith, and Irv Falk

Teacher Feature: Ms.L’s creature collection helps students learn biology

Biology teacher Jessica Lichtenwald with her pet snake.

May 11, 2017
Filed under Features, Showcase

Are you an animal lover? Then head down to Gloucester High School’s very own zoo in Room 2411. There, you’ll find a variety of creatures – from the smallest cockroaches to to the longest snakes, and much in between.

Biology teacher Jessica Lichtenwald, also known as “Ms. L”, has accumulated these pets for years. Some she has bought on her own, while others were donated by students and friends. Her extensive collection contains a bull snake, corn snake, bearded dragon, tarantula, hedge hog, fish, and a colony of cockroaches.

“I like weird animals,” said Lichtenwald.  “I’m intrigued by the diversity, and the way they’re so adapted to their environments.”

When dealing with these different animals, Lichtenwald is able to get to know their different personalities.

Jasper, the corn snake, is very active in his cage but calms down when he is held. He’s not aggressive in anyway, in comparison to the bull snake, Snarky. “The bull snake, he’s more aggressive in general, especially about his food,” Lichtenwald said when asked about the contrasting natures of her snakes.

Mrs. L’s most recent addition was Libra, the hedgehog. This diminutive animal has come a long way from when she first arrived. When Libra was brought to her, she was very flea ridden and required special treatment to make the parasites go away. According to Lichtenwald, the animal is now much happier and slowly warming up to the people in her environment. However, because of the cool temperature in the classroom, Libra is being kept at Lichtenwald’s home until her return next school year.


Join Betsy Williams at the Stevens Coolidge Place

Join Betsy Williams Sunday, May 21 at the beautiful Stevens Coolidge Place in North Andover to create a Fragrant Flowering Garden in a 14” pot.
We’ll plant a combination of 6 sweetly scented annual and perennial plants, such as nicotiana, stock, heliotrope, nepeta, lavender, sweet alyssum, violas and miniature roses, accented with climbing, twining vines and fragrant variegated greens. 
With proper care, your pot will bloom happily all summer long on a patio, porch, sunny balcony or doorstep.
Please bring an apron and floral scissors to class.
Sunday, May 21, 2017.  1-3pm
To register contact Kevin Block <


A Plain Jane, resting on a tuft of grass at the marsh edge, backlit, I at first thought she was a stone. A slight turn of the head and upon closer look, not a stone but a very large shorebird, with feathers worn in a subdued arrangement of brown and white—still, nothing special. Then she began to unfold her long elegant wings. Boldly barred in chocolate brown, this Plain Jane was swiftly transformed to Beauty Queen.

Willets are one of the few shorebirds that nest not in the Arctic tundra, but prairie and salt marshes of America and Canada. For over one hundred years Willets were hunted to non-existence in Massachusetts. Biologists have a name for this tragic occurrence, when a species is not extinct, but is no longer present in an area, and the term is extirpated. Because of the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, the Willet population is increasing and the Massachusetts coastline has once again become a safe home for these beautiful members of the sandpiper family.

Belonging to the same genus as yellowlegs, they do look similar to Greater Yellowlegs, but are comparatively larger, their beaks are thicker, and their legs are not yellow but gray. Look for Willets on beaches, marshes, mudflats, and rocky coasts. They forage on crabs and other small crustaceans, worms, mollusks, fish, and grass. The call of the Willet is unmistakable, piercing and urgent and their name comes from the ringing “pill-will-willet.”


Drone captures dramatic sinking of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Tamaroa, formerly the Navy fleet tug Zuni, at the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef. The reef is located 26 nautical miles southeast of Cape May. (Video by Andre Malok and Craig McCarthy | NJ Advance Media for

By Craig McCarthy | NJ Advance Media for
MAY 10, 2017

A famed Coast Guard cutter and former Navy tug has entered its third tour of duty as it now sits 135 feet below sea level off the coast of New Jersey, creating a destination for divers and adding to an already thriving ecosystem of marine life.

The Tamaroa, famously featured in the book and movie “The Perfect Storm” –where its crew saved three from a sailboat caught in the storm and four of five members of the Air National Guard whose helicopter had ran out of fuel– was first commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1943 as the Zuni and tugged torpedoed ships to safety during the assault on Iwo Jima.

“Now she’ll serve forever,” said Rollie LeDoux, who was stationed on the ship 35 years ago. “It’s sad to see her go, but it’s better than her becoming some beer cans.”

Planning began last summer to scuttle the Tamaroa, which was retired in 1994 after nearly 50 years on the seas. The 205-foot ship began its trip to waters off the Jersey coast Monday night after it was towed to Suffolk, Va., where it was cleaned and prepared for its sinking.

Shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, The Tamaroa was on her way to join up with the largest vessel ever deployed on the East Coast, a 563-foot destroyer, in the artificial reef off Cape May Wednesday afternoon.

“It could last for 100 years, creating a marine environment for fisherman and the diving community,” said Peter Clarke, who coordinates the artificial reef program at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Clarke said the site where the Tamaroa was sunk has attracted a variety of fish, including mako shark, blue fish and tuna.

“She’ll be serving long after I’m gone,” LeDoux said.

Read More Here


Two weeks ago Eastern Point Lit House kicked off a new bi-weekly series called Lit House Lit Talks, informal discussions covering a wide variety of writing related topics. This week we’ll be discussing The ABCs of Publishing. We had a lot of fun at our first discussion, and are hoping to draw even more folks this time around.

The Annisquam Village Church 2017 Concert Series launches with “Music from the Misty Isles”

The Annisquam Village Church 2017 Concert Series launches with “Music from the Misty Isles” on May 21 at 3 in the afternoon. The Anglo-Irish ensemble, O’Carolan Etcetera, plays their irresistible toe-tapping fiddle, flute, guitar, and hurdy-gurdy tunes in the unequalled acoustics of the historic 1830’s Village Church (Cape Ann’s Third Parish) at the head of Lobster Cove.

Celtic balladeer Michael O’Leary and his bodhran joins in, setting off the jigs and reels with laments, lullabies, and love songs. A tea and scones reception rounds out the event.

Tickets at the door are $20. (Students / Seniors $15.) and may be purchased in advance from Diamond Cove Music or The Bookstore in Gloucester or at Toad Hall Bookstore in Rockport.

The Annisquam Village Church is at 820 Washington Street (corner of Washington and Leonard Streets) in Gloucester 01930. Handicap accessible.


In the next day or so, the Schooner Adventure will be leaving the Jodrey State Fish Pier and returning to her home at Maritime Gloucester! Look for the Adventure making her way across the Harbor.

As Captain Stefan Edick is assuming more responsibilities in his executive director role, Captain Willy Leathers (above) will be commanding the Schooner. An absolutely fantastic season of education, adventure, and sailing events is scheduled for 2017. Visit the Schooner Adventure website here for more information. Last days at the Jodrey for the Adventure!



FROM: Sandy Robinson, President, National Garden Clubs, Inc.
SUBJECT: Milkweed

It has been brought to my attention that some “Big Stores” have been selling milkweed plants that have been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids. This will kill caterpillars! Please, be aware and be on the lookout for these tags placed in plants. Please pass this information along to your garden club members!

Garden Club member Mary Writes, I purchased a Milkweed plant from Home Depot near my home and it wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the little information stick hidden behind the identification information that the plant had been treated with systemic Neonicotinoids. The container boasted how desirable the plant is for birds and butterflies. Yesterday I went to a different Home Depot and they had just put out an entire rolling cart of these plants, maybe about 100, all poisoned. I contacted the store manager and told him that it is the same as giving poison candy to kids on Halloween. This is THE host plant for the Monarch. My club, Shady Oaks and our junior club, Little Shadows have worked so hard to establish a Monarch Waystation and to educate people on the decline of the Monarch. I hate to think of the millions of poison Milkweed being distributed nationwide by Home Depot.

The container says distributed by Home Depot, 2455 Paces Ferry Rd N. W., Atlanta , Georgia.

I contacted the LSU Ag Agent for New Orleans, Dr Joe Willis. He said the Neonicotinoids will dilute as the plants grow but that only a very small amount will kill the larva of the Monarch. He is contacting the Master Gardeners of the area. I contacted the newsletters of garden clubs to ask that they send a notice to members. I contacted a local GOA club and the president said she would inform her members. I contacted our LGCF President and our Environmental School Chairman with the information.
We need a notice to Home Depot from a national source.

I contacted the Monarch Watch organization at the University of Kansas (1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045) .
It needs to be sent soon as these plants are being sold now to well meaning people who are wanting to help the Monarch and not kill them. I hate to think of the billions of plants being sold nationwide and how that will cancel the efforts of so many to stop the demise of the Monarch. Could you please help?

GMG Readers, Wednesday I am planning to check to see if our local Home Depots are also selling milkweeds with pesticide. I don’t purchase plants from Home Depot as they are generally of a much poorer quality, however I have in a pinch. 

Milkweed can be purchased from these local sources:

Cedar Rock Gardens

Wolf Hill

Northeast Nursery

Male and Female Monarch Butterfly on Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)


GOOD HARBOR GOOD MORNING! Featuring Twin Lights, Two Lovers, a Photographer, and Sunrise

Today’s gorgeous good morning, from GHB.


One of the teeniest butterflies you’ll see at this time of year is the Spring Azure, with a wing to wing span of less than one inch. Found in meadows, fields, gardens, and along the forest edge, the celestial blue flakes pause to drink nectar from clover, Quaker Ladies, crabapples, dandelions, and whatever tiny floret strikes her fancy.

You can find the Azures flitting about Crabapple blossoms.

Native wildflowers Quaker Ladies, also called Bluets, are an early season source of nectar for Azures.

If you’d like to attract these spring beauties to your garden, plant native flowering dogwood * (Cornus florida), blueberries, and viburnums; all three are caterpillar food plants of the beautiful Spring Azure Butterfly.

The female butterfly curls her abdomen around in a C-shape and deposits eggs amongst the yellow florets of the flowering dogwood. Pink or white, both are equally attractive to the Spring Azure.

Cornus florida ‘rubra’

*Only our native flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, is a caterpillar food plant for Azure butterflies. Don’t bother substituting the non-native Korean Dogwood, it won’t help the pollinators.

Native Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) at Willowdale Estate Butterfly Garden

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