By CHRISTINA STYAN
May 01, 2013 11:45 am
DARTMOUTH — The Lloyd Center for the Environment held its 2013 annual meeting on April 22 at the Dartmouth Grange, with the agenda highlighted by the introduction of new Executive Director Rachel Stronach, whose “association” with the educational environmental organization dates back some 23 years. The presentation of the annual Haydock Award and a talk by keynote speaker Dr. Anamarija Frankic were the evening’s other highlights.
Ms. Stronach presented the prestigious Haydock Award to local artist Carole Veiga, for her volunteerism and her beautiful nature art; she has helped with the decorations for the annual clambake and also with designs for some printed materials for the Center. “She also volunteers for Allen’s Pond, and the Council on Aging. She has such a positive attitude,” Ms. Stronach noted.
“We are really expanding our outreach offerings… for families and the public, with a focus on schools. We hope people will start looking at (our) canoe trips and night programs” too, Ms. Stronach said. “We have added programs during the day, in the evening and weekends, and more information online,” she added.
Ms. Stronach, who lives in Dartmouth, talked about her 23-year history of working at the Lloyd Center, and how the career became intertwined with her school and work lives. “I started as an intern (at the Center) for three summers; beginning as a student on a coastal field study at Barney’s Joy. Then, I worked with other non-profits such as the New England Aquarium as an educator and naturalist,” she explained.
During interim periods, she lived in Florida, and earned a master’s degree in marine biology. “It took me four hours to be hooked, and I keep coming back here. I felt like coming back to the Center because it is one of those special places. I feel I can tell the Lloyd Center story from different perspectives to the community,” commented Ms. Stronach.
She briefly recounted some of the achievements of the different departments. The Research Department under the guidance of Director Mark Mello conducted the first annual Biodiversity week in June 2012. A local naturalist led volunteers on trips to selected sites, focusing on observing and collecting specimens in their area of expertise. Students from Dartmouth and New Bedford collected data as part of their day-long field programs at two of the long-term field stations. “They catalogued as many as 506 species,” she advised.
The Research department staff has also managed the Bristol Country population of Piping Plover for 27 years. “The protection at Horseneck Beach and West Island has about one half of all the plovers in this area,” she commented.
The Education Department is continuing the Climate Science Learning Project, focused on climate change’s impact on the ecology of southern Massachusetts. The overall project is designed to strengthen science education programs, and better public understanding of the region’s ecology. More than 4,000 students have participated so far, the new director said. “Research is important, and the education and outreach pull it altogether,” Ms. Stronach suggested.
The evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Anamarija Frankic, spoke about biomimicry, a new branch of science that studies nature’s models and then uses these designs and processes to solve human problems. Dr. Frankic neatly summed up her work as “a new scientific method that is a shift from learning about nature, to learning from nature” during her slide presentation.
PHOTO 1. BY CHRISTINA STYAN/THE CHRONICLE
Treasured volunteer Carole Veiga received the prestigious Haydock Award from Lloyd Center executive director Rachel Stronach at the 2013 annual meeting. The wooden Piping Plover is presented annually to a person who makes an outstanding contribution to the protection of our fragile coastal environment.
PHOTO 2. BY CHRISTINA STYAN/THE CHRONICLE
It’s official: Outgoing Lloyd Center for the Environment Executive Director D’Arcy MacMahon congratulates incoming Director Rachel L. Stronach at the center’s annual meeting at the Dartmouth Grange.