A decade ago, two Bristol residents and Pemaquid Watershed Association members 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 .. more
Joan and Diane Started It All!
In 2003, the PWA
formed a partnership with the Town of Bristol
Parks & Recreation Commission to open
Beachcombers’ Rest, a nature center located in the town pavilion
at Pemaquid Beach Park. In addition to its displays and interactive
exhibits, the Center serves as base of operations for a variety
of multidisciplinary programs that draw upon beach resources. The
overall intent is to foster awareness and appreciation for the
local environment, thereby helping to ensure that this rare and
remarkable beach will be enjoyed by future generations of beachgoers. Interested
in volunteering at the Nature Center – email
email@example.com or call 207-563-2196
Directions: Click on the green arrow below for an interactive map to Beachcombers' Rest at Pemaquid Beach – or simply click here.
DIRECTIONS: From Damariscotta, take the Bristol Road (State Route 130) about 12 miles. Take the first right about 50 yards after the Fire Department (and just before Hanna's Store) onto Snowball Hill Road. Travel 9/10ths of a mile. At the bottom of the hill, on the left, there is a sign for the entrance to Pemaquid Beach Park (there's also a smaller Beachcombers' Rest Nature Center sign). BRNC is in the pavilion.
Founders at the Beachcombers' Rest Nature Center Joan Lyford (left) and Diane Perry (right)
On Tuesday, July 16, Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center at Pemaquid Beach Park opens for its 10th season. The Center will be open from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays from July 16 to August 31 (weather permitting). The Nature Center is a collaboration between Pemaquid Watershed Association and the Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission. Nature Center programming is offered free of charge unless otherwise noted; however, beach visitors must pay the town’s park admission fee. Parking is free.
Ecology of the beach is complex and fascinating. PWA has created a Pemaquid Beach Interpretive Guide that is available at the nature center, and also can be downloaded here - check it out!
TOUCH TANK Tuesdays July 16 to Aug. 27, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., courtesy of the Gulf of Maine Foundation and Darling Marine Center, allowing visitors to experience first-hand many of the animals and plants that inhabit our coastal waters. Gentle handling of the creatures, observation, drawing, and discussion, with a period of ‘quiet no-touch time’ to give the critters rest from 11:30-noon. Sponsored by The Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund
STORY TIME THURSDAYS: July 18 to Aug. 29, 11:00 a.m. to noon in the picnic area (to the right of the pavilion). Each week will feature a different story about oceans and marine life for different age groups.
The schedule for weekly events is given below, and is available to download as a pdf file here.
• Friday, August 2, 10:30 – noon: Lobster Tales. Come and learn more about Maine's iconic seaside creature – the
lobster. Workshop topics will include what a day spent on the water by a commercial lobster fisherman entails as well as many interesting biological facts about lobsters. Beachcombers' Rest Nature Center Naturalist Kristina Hamrin will lead this workshop. Kristina is a marine biologist and the co-owner of a commercial fishing vessel (lobster/crab, shrimp and blue fin tuna). She has spent time researching lobsters as well as harvesting lobsters and has many stories to share. There will be a live lobster at the workshop, along with a trap and some basic commercial fishing gear. All ages are welcome. Children under 8 should be accompanied by an adult.
• Friday, August 9, 10:30 – noon: TWO CONCURRENT SESSIONS FOR DIFFERENT AGES
FOR AGES 13 AND UP: "Tide Pool Prowl" with Jean McAlice. Discover the tidal pools teeming with life, from mussels, crabs, worms, snails and barnacles to periwinkles, lichen, seaweed, rock weed, and maybe even sea lettuce. Come learn fascinating facts, like how barnacles, which are crustaceans, define the upper tide line , are dormant during the lower tides, feed when wet, that they shed their skin in late winter or early spring, and build limestone houses for themselves. This program is for ages 13 and up.
FOR AGES UNDER 13: "Treasures in the Sand" with Diane Perry, educator and co-founder of Beachcombers’ Rest Nature Center, will share facts and myths about the white sand found at Pemaquid Beach Park. Participants will see microscopic images of crystals and particles that make up the sand, make their own sand, and then go off on an adventurous quest. Be ready to stroll with eyes and ears wide open to the many treasures in the sand! This workshop has a scavenger hunt component for families and friends. A mature caretaker will be needed for any non-readers. Pencils and clipboards will be supplied, but please bring your own if you can. Workshop limited to 15 young participants.
• Friday, August 16, 10:30 – noon: Never Say "Ugh" to a Bug [This workshop was going to be Butterflies at the Beach, but is now more broadly on insects due to the monarch numbers being down.] Join teacher/naturalist Fran Ludwig to learn the fascinating insect tricks that make them among Earth's most successful animals. Investigate the life cycle of insects up close and personal as you observe common and uncommon local insects and insect cousins. Outdoor insectagations will be featured in this workshop, including a visit to the Butterfly Garden and wild area near the nature center. If we are lucky, we might spot a monarch! Leave with a new appreciation for insects. All ages are welcome. Children under 8 should be accompanied by an adult.
• Friday, August 23, 10:30 – noon: "Exploring Maine Seaweeds: From Bay to Body" with Hillary Krapf and Sarah Redmond. Maine is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and versatile seaweeds, also known as sea vegetables, ocean herbs, or marine macroalgae. Quite possibly the ocean’s most versatile and sustainable resource, seaweeds are used for food, extracts, beauty products, artistic creations, textiles, health products and more. Seaweeds are a valuable source of essential minerals, vitamins, and unique marine bio-active ingredients for human, animal, and plant health. Maine is a leader in sea vegetable production and is especially rich in the diversity of native sea vegetable species it provides. We will review the biology, diversity, and ecology of Maine seaweeds and also cover identification, uses, benefits, and applications. There will be a hands-on demonstration that focuses on health, beauty, and food uses of seaweeds. $15 per participant, payable to PWA, to cover supplies. Sarah Redmond is a Maine Sea Grant Marine Extension Agent, providing education, outreach, and research for these valuable and amazing sea plants. Hillary Krapf is a seaweed enthusiast, entrepreneur, health educator, healer, writer and advocate for all things Maine. She is passionate about creating awareness of seaweeds and inspiring others to create health in body, home and land using their abundant benefits. This program is for ages 12 and older.
• Friday, August 30, 10:30 – noon: "Nature Journaling" with Rosie Bensen. Create a journal using an assortment of papers, fibers and found materials. Spend time exploring books and journals that illustrate a variety of responses to nature. Wander and spend time observing the rich treasures of the Pemaquid seascape, or sit in peaceful meditation, listening to the music of birds and breezes. Feel free to combine words with art, using pencils, pens, watercolor pencils and paints, found objects, sand and salt. All ages are welcome. Children under 8 should be accompanied by an adult.