In a tent lit up in red and blue, the excitement in the air was palpable as hundreds gathered for a beloved tradition: the Lloyd Center’s annual Clambake.
The Lloyd Center’s “Clambake XXXIII: Celebrating Science and Education!” fundraising dinner was held on July 13 by the sea at the DCR Demarest Lloyd State Park in Dartmouth.
The Center sold over 400 tickets to the event, which was chaired for the first time by Nina Weeks, who chose the “Back to Basics” theme. The menu included Rhode Island little neck clams, Spinney Creek Maine soft shelled steamed clams, barbecued chicken, and Rhode Island lobster.
“Back in the day, the clambake used to be at picnic tables,” said Weeks. “It was down and dirty.”
Although the current incarnation of the clambake is far from gritty, it retains a community spirit and is known to its attendees as the beginning of the summer social season in Dartmouth.
“It’s sort of like, ta-da! The summer is open,” said Myrna Hall, the Chair of the Board. “You see everyone who’s been away, and many new people.”
The event also, of course, raises money for the Lloyd Center. The funding mostly goes to support the Center’s many educational programs for school children, both hosted on site and in schools across the region.
The programs cover subject matter like watersheds and water pollution, whale, flounder, and horseshoe crab anatomy, and the fauna that inhabit the estuary. The Center served 13,000 students in 50 schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island last year, in addition to welcoming over 25,000 visitors to the property.
The Lloyd Center is also in the process of building a new welcome center, although construction is currently on hold for the summer as most of the work is being done by students from the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.
The Center and its builders are attempting to complete the Living Building Challenge, a stringent set of building regulations to create structures that are environmentally friendly as well as being beautiful. To meet the standards, the building must be net positive in its usage of energy, water, and waste.
Architect Kathryn Duff has been working with the students as they construct the new welcome center, which is all framed and ready for interior work.
“The students are great,” Duff said. “I couldn’t say enough good things about them.”
She explained that part of the Living Building Challenge means that they have a trash-free construction site. The students bring all their food in reusable containers, and weigh all scrap wood, which is composted or chipped to create trail material.
The process is educational and different from most other construction projects and will give the students a wealth of eco-friendly knowledge they will bring with them into the working world after graduation.
The event also featured live music performed by Lucky 13 and over 100 items up for silent auction, including items like a rattan lamp, designer handbags, a Towboat membership, and a women’s handmade silk vest.