News from the Essex National Heritage Area
February 2007

Submission reminder
17th-Century Saturday site submission forms are due February 16th. Click here to download the form or contact Kate Fox.

In this issue:
  • Comments from Congressman John Tierney
  • Commissioner Corner: Kathy Leahy, Mass Audubon Society
  • Partnership Grant Spotlight: The Courtyard at the Nock
    Rupert A. Nock Middle School, Newburyport
  • Women and Base Ball
  • Merrimack River Eagle Festival
  • National Heritage Area Highlight:South Carolina NHC

  • Comments from Congressman John Tierney

    A "New View" in Washington Means
    New Direction for American Preservationists
    Last November, I was honored to be elected to my sixth term in the United States House of Representatives by the people of the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District. The American people also spoke loudly for change and, last month, I joined others in a new majority Congress in immediately working to restore honor and integrity to the "people's House."

    During this Congress, I will continue my work to pass important legislation that continues the federal government's commitment to the Essex National Heritage Area. Since its creation, the Essex National Heritage Commission (ENHC) has a clear record of supporting heritage preservation, trail development and other projects to protect and improve the natural and historic resources of our local communities. Additionally, the Essex National Heritage Area is a key component of our community, spurring tourism that helps our local businesses, and fostering education about our culture and history.

    The coming year brings an opportunity for Congress to reaffirm its support for Essex National Heritage Area, a proven and successful entity. With Senators Kennedy and Kerry, I will work to help make that happen.

    Commissioner Corner: Kathy Leahy, Mass Audubon Society
    The Great Marsh Coalition logo and link

    Kathy Leahy has served as an ENHC Commissioner since October, 2002. As Director of Massachusetts Audubon Society’s North Shore Advocacy Office, (MAS:NS) Kathy oversees a program to protect critical coastal habitats through an integrated program of identification of conservation threats, education and outreach, technical assistance, advocacy, and land protection. MAS:NS focuses its efforts on issues such as open space protection, land use planning, watershed and drinking water supply protection with a particular emphasis on coastal habitats.

    The conservation successes resulting from the cooperative efforts that began when MAS:NS held the first Great Marsh Summit in 1996 have been remarkable. Conservation groups and government agencies have worked together to achieve significant milestones in land conservation, habitat restoration and protection of biodiversity in the Great Marsh region. One of the most exciting partnerships, the Great Marsh Coalition, set out to give the Great Marsh the recognition it deserves as a “coastal treasure in our backyard.” We’re all thrilled to see more and more people from the North Shore and beyond learning about, appreciating and finding ways to enjoy this truly magnificent natural area.

    Two upcoming events that are open to the public and that will highlight the Coalition’s activities within the Great Marsh are featured below – the Great Marsh lecture and Book signing on Sunday, March 4 and the Great Marsh Symposium on Saturday, March 10. Click here for information about both events.

    Partnership Grant Spotlight: The Courtyard at the Nock
    Rupert A. Nock Middle School, Newburyport
    Nock Middle School grant project pictures

    ENHC is proud to support the renovation of the central courtyard at the Rupert A. Nock Middle School in Newburyport. The school is well on its way to converting an unusable central courtyard into a thriving, year-round outdoor classroom to be used for on-site field trips. The R.A.N. Courtyard Renovation Committee received a 2006 Partnership Grant (Interpretation) to complete Stage II of this project: the brickwork. Construction and bricklaying was complete in December, and the school is poised to create its Colonial Heritage and Great March gardens in new planting areas. The transformed courtyard features amphitheatre seating, handicapped accessible walkways, and a raised platform garden that provides access for handicapped students. This innovative project will bring the region’s environment into the middle school, expanding the school’s capacity to teach cultural and natural history and environmental stewardship.

    ENHC will be accepting 2007 Partnership Grant applications through noon on March 1, 2007. Application guidelines, criteria, and forms are available online. Non-profit organizations and public entities that share the mission of ENHC are encouraged to apply. You are strongly encouraged to contact ENHC staff with questions as you prepare your organization's application.

    Women and Base Ball
    Picture from Genesee Country Village-Silver Base Ball Park

    Women have been watching and playing base ball since the beginning of 19th century. Many early women base ball players were college students. All-girl schools provided women with opportunities to play the game without attracting too much attention. Beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century, however, the novelty of women playing the game attracted large crowds. Women's barnstorming teams became popular forms of entertainment in many areas. For more info on women’s baseball click here.

    The Essex Base Ball Organization, a vintage base ball group made up of three teams playing a variety of rules from the 19th century, is gearing up for its sixth season and thinking of starting two women’s teams to round out the program. We will be recruiting players for the upcoming season. For more information please email Brian Sheehy, call 978-790-5707, or visit www.essexbaseball.org.

    Merrimack River Eagle Festival
    Merrimack River Eagle Festival logo 2007

    Winter's here—and with it, the Bald Eagles return to the Merrimack Valley. To celebrate these special winter residents of the greater Newburyport area, Mass Audubon at Joppa Flats and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge are holding the second annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival on Saturday, February 17, 2007. Come to the Eagle Festival for a full day of fun indoor and outdoor activities, and learn more about these magnificent birds and the habitat they share with us. For the latest information on events, please contact Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center, 978-462-9998 or email joppaflats@massaudubon.org.

    National Heritage Area Highlight:South Carolina NHC
    Issaqueena Falls on Nature Route in South Carolina National Heritage Corridor

    The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor extends 240 miles across South Carolina, stretching from the mountains of Oconee County, along the Savannah River, to the port city of Charleston. The 14 counties of the corridor offer a cross-section of the state's history, culture, and natural landscapes. The visitor will learn of rice and indigo, pirates and patriots, slaves and freemen, cotton fields and mill villages, swamps and waterfalls, railroads and backroads, soul food and "pig-pickin's," spirituals and bluegrass. Traveling along the corridor, you will experience the history, nature, and lifestyles of the rural South. Two routes -- the Discovery Route and the Nature Route -- run the entire length of the Heritage Corridor, connecting special places and creating one unfolding heritage tourism destination. Plan your vacation or day trip around one of these routes, and South Carolina's heritage will unfold before you.

    The History of Aviation in Essex County
    Parker River National
    Wildlife Refuge Headquarters
    Newburyport, MA

    Sunday, Feb. 18, 1-2PM

    Ted Russell of Byfield, former president of the Plum Island Community Airfield, will present a slide show describing Essex County's significant role in early aviation, including New England's first aviation field at Plum Island, the Burgess Company of Marblehead that was America's first exporter of aircraft, and the historic Plum Island Airport. Ted and Charles Eaton of Salisbury will show visitors through the Burgess Aviation Museum, featuring a selection of Mr. Eaton's many models of early aircraft. After the presentation, we will take a short drive down the road, to the Plum Island Community Airfield.
    Explorers: Free;
    Non-Explorers: $7
    Directions & details.

    To RSVP for an event or for information on becoming an Explorer, visit the Explorers webpage or email Sheilagh.

    Looking Ahead...
    Spring 2007

    ENHC is making plans for spring! The spring Explorers theme is Landscaping with Native Plant Species! Watch your mailbox for your save-the-date postcard that lists all of the exclusive Explorers spring events. Stay tuned for the new Explorers page!

    Did you know...?

    The Turner Ingersoll mansion, aka The House of the Seven Gables, was built in 1668 and is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England.

    Quick Links

    A note from Tom Leonard

    Tom Leonard Grant Fund

    Spring time is Birding time!

    Heritage Gift Guide

    Art Escapes Trail

    Hudson River Valley Greenway February Enewsletter!

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