Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

35 Years of Research & Education

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    Mayo-Giese Coastal Legacy Society


    In honor of the Center's founders and in observance of its 35th Anniversary this year, the Center has established The Mayo-Giese Coastal Legacy Society, whose members will help fund the Center's permanent endowment to support ocean research, conservation, and outreach for a new century of challenges.

    Founding Members of The Mayo-Giese Coastal Legacy Society, including very special friends of the Center who are no longer with us, yet whose support continues to inspire us, will be recognized as the 35th Anniversary is celebrated. Please become part of this extraordinary tradition and enroll in The Mayo-Giese Coastal Legacy Society today.

    It was 1976 when Barbara and Stormy Mayo met Graham Giese and decided to work together at the tip of Cape Cod. They were living through an exciting time, when the wonders of the ocean were first being explored in depth by people like Jacques Cousteau and the US government officially recognized the vulnerability of its marine resources and passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA).

    Stormy, Barbara, and Graham, all marine scientists, had the foresight to recognize that the Cape, beautiful and precious as it was then, with a year-round population of less than half of what it is today, was nevertheless a fragile natural environment.

    In response, they started The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies "on a shoestring," primarily as a volunteer effort, with the passionate support of concerned local Provincetown citizens like Charles Westcott, who acted as business manager; artist Joyce Johnson, who created one of the Center's first field education curricula; and Mark Mello, who collaborated on the earliest ecological studies of Provincetown Harbor.

    Everyone involved shared a vision that science, thoughtful policy, and educational outreach can preserve and enhance our unique and priceless coastal and oceanic ecosystems. Remarkably, that vision is unchanged today, with two of the original three founders still actively at work at the Center (Barbara passed away in 1988), and with the scope and creativity of the Center continuing to grow.

    Accomplishments: Past, Present & Future

    Over the last three decades the the Center has come to play a leadership role in marine scientific research. The work conducted here by Center scientists reaches around the globe from the Gulf of Maine to American Samoa in the South Pacific. Just a few of our longstanding and more recent accomplishments and planned activities follow:
    • Research techniques developed at the Center led the National Marine Fisheries Service to adopt rules protecting humpback, right, and other whale species, and to authorize the Center to perform large whale disentanglements;
    • Over ten years of policy recommendations by the Center led to the establishment of the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, protecting one of the world's richest marine habitats;
    • Involvement in important initiatives, such as the "Coastal and Marine Spatial Plan" (CMSP), set up by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as part of the National Ocean Policy and National Ocean Council recently announced by President Obama;
    • Using sonar to locate derelict fishing gear on the seafloor that could entangle whales;
    • Mining the Center's 25 year-old habitat database to search for links between ecosystem changes in Cape Cod Bay and climate change;
    • Sampling for pharmaceutical and hydrocarbon pollution in Cape Cod Bay and producing a report on the bay's overall health based on five full years of water quality sampling;
    • Studying the effects of tagging on humpback whale health.
    • Bringing a field-based water quality sampling curriculum into schools around Cape Cod;
    • Through internships, fellowships and research assistantships, training dozens of undergraduate and graduate students who have gone on to conduct their own ocean science research around the globe.
    Innovations and achievements continue. Barbara, Stormy and Graham could not have foreseen that, in the thirty-fifth anniversary year of the Center, another generation of young scientists would be conducting near-shore mapping of the very beaches they walked on their first field trips, or conducting aerial surveys of the area's vitally important eelgrass beds and the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale population, or creating educational programs to reach thousands of students through something called the World Wide Web.

    But the principles on which they founded the Center have remained fundamental, and the Center today continues as a dynamic resource for scientific research, stewardship of coastal and oceanic ecosystems, and educational outreach. A few moments with any of the Center's program staff and you'll know that the founding vision of Barbara, Stormy, and Graham is alive and flourishing.

    No one can know what the next 35 years will bring, but we can be sure that in order to thrive, our coastal ecosystems will continue to benefit from the passionate stewardship exemplified by the Center's founders, friends, colleagues, and supporters like you.

    Under the Ways to Give tab on this menu, you may review all of the options available to you for becoming a Founding Member of the Mayo-Giese Coastal Legacy Society, and you can also learn about the ways in which past Center friends and supporters have left legacies to ensure ongoing research and stewardship of our invaluable coastal ecosystems.


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