Cool science at Good Harbor Beach | sign up for Piping plover watch


photo caption: Dave Rimmer, Director of Land Stewardship, Essex County Greenbelt (Left) with Ken Whittaker, City of Gloucester Conservation Agent (Right)

Contact: Ken Whittaker

Ken Whittaker, City of Gloucester Conservation agent, put the word out seeking volunteers to help monitor the piping plovers (Gloucester Daily Times). Today was the first organizational meeting and informational session with Dave Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt. Ken is coordinating the schedule, and there are plenty of open slots available. “We will take this a day at a time until I have the opportunity to put together a formal schedule.”  More than one volunteer is welcome on any shift, so please email if you’re interested in helping. Ken, Dave and other officials monitor the birds. When Kim Smith is there, she’s working on critical filming.

For those of you who could not make it, Ken Whittaker is holding a second meeting tomorrow evening about 4:30; Ken will be at Good Harbor Beach from about 3:30 to 5.

Piping Plover volunteers can receive free parking!

Planning on a beach day and can devote an hour of your time for observation? Email Ken to sign up for a shift and to learn more.

Volunteers are asked to bring binoculars and feel free to jot down some observations about the parents and the 2017 brood of 4. It’s simple. The birds need to be left alone and given wide berth when they’re on the move.  Don’t follow after them. Look but don’t touch. Maybe intercept trash tumbleweeds. What gets tricky is when the birds are going back and forth from the water to the enclosed area.

Thanks to the enclosure, it’s obvious to stay away from inside the protected area. What’s less obvious is where to put your towel outside the fence.  If you know your beach visit wouldn’t be complete without a vigorous paddle ball, can jam or football game, lining up your towels right outside the fencing is a little dicey. It happened today and the group was happy to move when Ken explained the situation. However, if you’re not one for major games and are happy to sit in your chaise for a long read and full day, you might want to think about doubling up as a piping plover volunteer for one hour. You’re there anyway. They are super cute and you’ll feel good helping out! Midday is low on sign ups.

You could make it a first class retreat: Good Harbor Beach rents umbrellas and cushy recliners. See “Good Harbor Beach Day: How To Pack Light”

Ken writes:

“I have been in contact with the animal control officer who says she has been monitoring the situation but will kick it up a notch.  Dogs are not allowed on the beach and you can remind scofflaws of this.  If this becomes an issue I suggest people immediately call 978-281-9746 – Diana Corliss is the animal control officer and she can guide you from there. (Note, three essentials for monitoring include cell phone, binoculars …. and sun screen!)”


Essex County Greenbelt is responsible for the fencing of the protected area which is to the right of the boardwalk #3. They’ll tweak the fencing as needed. This year’s nest is within a close distance to last year’s nest.


The piping plovers nested on the beach by the dune’s edge to the right of boardwalk 3 


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