2013 marked the 10th anniversary of Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center. In 2003, two Pemaquid Watershed Association members who live in Bristol had a wild idea. These two friends shared a passion for the ocean, beach environment, art, and teaching. They came up with the idea of having a nature center at Pemaquid Beach Park where they could merge science and creativity with marine education.
On behalf of PWA, they proposed their idea to the Town of Bristol, which owns the Park, and a partnership was born. This year Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center (BRNC) at Pemaquid Beach Park celebrates its 10th year of educating all ages about Maine’s seaside wonders, and Pemaquid Waterhed Association thanks Joan Lyford and Diane Perry for their passion and initiative that brought Beachcombers’ Rest into being.
BRNC is one if only three seaside nature centers along the 4,500 miles of Maine coastline and is the only one on a sandy beach. The Center is open annually during July and August to offer public education about inter-tidal and coastal habitats in Maine.
Through displays and activities, youth and adult participants are encouraged to examine, enjoy and experience the wonders of Maine’s seaside environment in new ways that combine science and nature with the arts. Outreach focus includes general near-shore marine ecology as well as the unique flora, fauna, history and geology of Pemaquid Beach. Each week, there is a Tuesday Touch Tank, a Friday workship, and, new this year, a Thursday story hour. The touch tank is provided courtesy of the Gulf of Maine Foundation and Darling Marine Center and is sponsored by the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund.
PWA thanks the Town of Bristol and the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission (BPRC) for the partnership that makes it possible for Beachcombers’ Rest to reach thousands of people each year. PWA provides nature center staffing, coordinates the outreach programming, and provides funding for nature center operations, and the BPRC provides the space, facility maintenance, and park staff assistance. PWA also thanks Phil Averill and Russ Guibord, who spearheaded the design and construction inside the center.