The Mayo-Giese Coastal Legacy Society was established in 2011, and its founding members will include several very special friends of the Center who are no longer with us. These giving individuals were all staunch supporters of the Center in their lifetimes, and wanted to ensure that the Center would thrive beyond their own time on earth.
Two examples are Ruth Hiebert, one of Provincetown's most beloved and generous native philanthropists, and Wendy Joan Shadwell, a New York archivist whose fondest travels included annual pilgrimages to Provincetown to commune with the sea birds and whales that she loved with a passion.
You may read more below about the unique and profoundly significant gifts these and others have left to the Center's scientists and their work. Perhaps they will inspire you to give to the Center's future in ways you may not have previously imagined.
If it were not for Ruth, today there would be no marine laboratory, no fellowship for women in science, perhaps even no Center for Coastal Studies. That is because Ruth, one of the Center's earliest board members and boosters, would give money where it was needed most-to make payroll during a tough season, to buy a furnace or a truck, to pay the electric bill.
Ruth, who amassed a complete collection of every Trash Fish Banquet T-shirt ever made, was the Center's most ardent hometown supporter. She bought a table for every event and brought in her legions of friends to support the Center, too. She held potluck suppers to feed hungry re-searchers just in from a brutal winter day on the bay. And she loved beyond measure the unique coastal environment that made Provincetown her favorite place to be.
Because Ruth planned ahead for her considerable estate to be formed into a charitable foundation, PCCS was fortunate to be considered as a candidate for funding. Due to a major capital grant from the Ruth Hiebert Charitable Foundation, the Center was able to purchase the 10,000 square-foot high school annex on Holway Avenue in 2005 and transform it into the Hiebert Marine Laboratory, now not only the core of marine science and marine animal rescue on outer Cape Cod, but an exhibition hall for marine art, a community gathering place, and a center for environmental education-all of which we know would be near and dear to her heart.
Wendy Joan Shadwell
Like Ruth, Wendy was drawn to the ocean at our doorstep. Unlike Ruth, she had to come from many miles away in order to go on a whale watch, but she did so annually, and became an admirer of the breadth of knowledge and enthusiasm exhibited by the Dolphin Fleet's naturalists, many of them Center researchers and educators.
In addition to her profound love of nature and wildlife, Wendy was highly educated, possessed of a fine intellect, and appreciated scientific research and the academic life. Following graduate work at Columbia University, she became curator of prints for The New-York Historical Society, a position she held for 28 years until her untimely death from cancer in 2007.
Wendy Shadwell aboard one of many
natural history cruises she took during
her lifetime. Photo courtesy Estate of
Because of her generous bequest, the Center has been able to sponsor and host an annual naturalist training workshop in collaboration with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the Dolphin Fleet every spring, in conjunction with the beginning of the whale watching season. And with the advise and consent of her dear friends and executors, Janice Coleman and Richard Allgaier, we have also used some of Wendy's bequest to help publish an environmentally friendly boater's guide for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound, as well as purchase our research vessel's first-ever fridge, to make life for the researchers Wendy so admired a little more comfortable during month-long cruises.
In this way, we know that Wendy's gentle spirit and thoughtfulness accompanies every whale watch, research cruise and even short little day trip into Cape Cod Bay by families that never met her, but thanks to her generosity, carry a boater's guide that shows them who to operate their vessel in a "whale-safe" manner and teaches them about the sea around them.