September 2022

TownGreen Launches Workshop Webinar Series On Good Harbor Beach Ecosystem

TownGreen is launching the first of a three-part workshop/webinar series focusing on the Good Harbor Beach ecosystem: Protecting and Preserving the Good Harbor Beach Ecosystem for Current and Future Generations. The Good Harbor Beach ecosystem includes Good Harbor Beach, Salt Island, the marsh, and the surrounding connected ecosystem.

The first workshop/webinar will be held on Wednesday, October 26th from 6:30-8:30pm on Zoom (register here). Local experts will review the history of the beach and Denton Crews will summarize research commissioned by the conservation group Friends of Good Harbor Beach. Harvard Graduate School of Design Professor Charles Waldheim will outline current climate threats to the ecosystem and Jayne Knott, TownGreen board member and founder of HydroPredictions, will address incremental sea level rise, surface water and groundwater flooding, ecosystem adaptation, and vulnerable infrastructure. Breakout groups after each section will allow participants to discuss the issues raised and reflect on the changes that have already happened.

The first workshop will be followed by a Good Harbor field trip to tour vulnerable areas identified in the workshop. The second and third workshop/webinars will address adaptation options and project planning for the Good Harbor Beach area and also include field trips. The Good Harbor Beach Ecosystem workshop/webinar series is a pilot program that TownGreen will replicate to focus on climate impacts in Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport.

TownGreen Announces Maureen Aylward as its New Director

The TownGreen, Inc.’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has appointed Maureen Aylward, MBA, as the organization’s first Director. Aylward joins the organization at a dynamic moment as addressing the issues of climate change on Cape Ann takes on a new urgency. The hiring comes at a time of pivotal growth in the organization as it prepares to explore more climate research studies and grants for Cape Ann and ramp up its public and municipal outreach and education programs.

Aylward joins TownGreen after a career in teaching business sustainability and climate change as an adjunct professor at Northeastern University and Endicott College. She has an MBA in Environmental and Organizational Sustainability from Antioch University New England and spent that last decade dedicating her time to climate issues and initiatives, especially those that impact youth. In addition, she has a background in communications as a business writer and a producer of videos, podcasts, multimedia projects, and live performance events, all skills that she will use to bring awareness to the climate threats, initiatives, and solutions that Cape Ann municipalities and residents will need to address.

As Director, Aylward will oversee operations, communications, organizational systems, and play a key role in managing and developing relationships with Cape Ann municipalities, local leaders, and community stakeholders.

EPA Building Blocks for Resilience Workshop Slideshow

Our collaborators at the EPA just sent over this slideshow summary of the two Building Blocks for Regional Resistance Workshops that took place earlier this year. It’s a great overview of what was discussed and ideas identified for future work. To access the full EPA report, use this link: EPA Workshop Cape Ann Summary Report August 2022 with Appendices

More Excerpts from the Voices Project: Composite Character “Kathy”

Here is another excerpt from “Cape Ann Fieldwork: Perceptions of Climate Change Among a Coastal Populationthis time highlighting “Kathy,” one of the six composite characters in the study. Information was gathered from casual conversations with over 100 people and interviews with 44 Cape Ann residents, resulting in a final report that contains a fusion of multiple viewpoints as six composite characters that represent the viewpoints of all the people engaged by the Harvard team.

Q. Could you tell us about yourself?
Hi, my name is Kathy. I am a mother of two children: an eighteen-year-old son who is in his first year of college and a fifteen-year-old daughter who goes to Gloucester High School. I have lived in West Gloucester for the past twenty-one years. I used to work in Boston, commuting by train, but I got a job in Cape Ann around ten years ago. Now I work in a community charity organization as an administrator.

Q. Why do you live in Cape Ann?
My family is from this area, and I grew up here until high school. I moved to Boston for college and work. But I always wanted to come back here. It is such a nice community here. When we had our first child, I decided to come back to Gloucester.

Q. What do you like about living in Cape Ann?
Of course, the beautiful beaches and landscapes like the ocean, the quarries. It’s a nice place to raise kids. I also like that Gloucester has a history of a hardworking fishing community and a mixture of diverse cultures. Not only are there Sicilians, Portuguese, and Finns, but also Brazilians, Guatemalans, and Asians. As diverse as the occupations here—from fishermen, artists, to scientists, there are groups of people with different wealth. Both of my children went to Gloucester High School. It is a large school. The children of million-dollar families in Eastern Point and hardworking immigrants study and hang out together. I really like how the school exposes my kids to various groups in society, instead of siloing them in homogeneity. We really have good both public and private schools in the area. Rockport is known for being a smaller school with a quality education. I also have some friends sending their kids to the Waldorf school in Beverly.

Q. What do you not like about Cape Ann?
How can you not like this town?

Q. What is your greatest concern for the future of Cape Ann?
I am actually worried about housing situations in this area. Houses are becoming more expensive, and our children might not be able to afford to live here in the future. My husband and I are considering selling this house and moving to a smaller house after our children move out.

Q. Tell us how you feel about climate change. Do you think the climate in Cape Ann is changing?
I feel that summer is getting hotter. Before, we did not need A/C. When I felt too hot at home, I could just walk to the beach and jump in. Soon I felt cold. But last year, when I dived into the water when it was too hot, the water was so lukewarm that it didn’t cool me down at all! So I had to install A/C in our house this year. Also, sea level rise! I am concerned about more frequent flooding. When the GHS parking lot was flooded, it was a big shock a few years ago. More than fifty cars were damaged. Oh, but not everyone thinks it is a problem. I visited my neighbor’s house during the high tide one day. Her house was surrounded by water! But she was saying that it’s beautiful to be surrounded by water. She could say that probably because she has another house.

Q. Are there any positive sides of climate change?
It’s a tough question. Climate change can be a common ground for people to think about the town’s future together. As I said, Cape Ann has a strong sense of community, so I hope we can tackle this problem together.

Q. What can be done to better prepare Cape Ann for the impacts of climate change?
I recently changed my car to an electric car. I think other people can also do the same… I also try to recycle really well, reduce plastics, and plant more trees. Um… And I am willing to do more, but feel a bit frustrated because I am not sure if this is enough to stop climate change. I don’t feel so.

Q. Is anyone doing anything about climate change in Cape Ann?
I know there is a tree-planting initiative, which I am a part of. Also, I believe conservationist groups are active in protecting beaches and marshes for shorebirds and migratory birds.

Q. What is your greatest concern for the future of climate change in Cape Ann?
As the waves become higher with stronger storms, they might break bridges over the 128. Since Cape Ann is an island, if the 128 bridge collapses, it will be a huge problem because people will be stuck on the island.

TownGreen October Reminders

  • Electrify Everything! Heat Pumps will take place on Saturday, October 1st starting at 11:30am at the Rose Baker Senior Center in partnership with the City of Gloucester. Mayor Greg Verga will be there along with representatives from HeatSmart Alliance, MassSave, Action, Inc., and HomeWorks to present detailed information on how homeowners and landlords can retrofit homes and apartment buildings with heat pumps for heating and cooling and take advantage of new heat pump incentives.
  • Electrify Everything! Affordable Ideas for Action will happen on Thursday, October 6th at 7:00pm at The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck (6 Wonson Street, Gloucester) as part of the exhibit, Land, Mark. This workshop will explain how to electrify homes and places of business as well as ways to engage in community renewable energy projects. Revision Energy will outline a roadmap to the electrified home and the Green Energy Consumers Alliance will get you thinking about how to purchase an electric vehicle. Learn how to access up to $10,000 in state incentives and rebates.
  • TownGreen Open Forum: Tuesday, October 25 at 7PM on Zoom The October TownGreen Open Forum will provide a summary of ongoing projects, news, and allow for the public to ask questions and participate in discussions regarding climate change impacts and strategies on Cape Ann.