Thornton W. Burgess Society

Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen

Nature Program 2019


The Green Briar Nature Center is excited to announce the second year of the Thornton Burgess Nature Program, which will explore a variety of naturalist topics through all seasons. The Thornton Burgess Nature Program draws its inspiration from Burgess’s passion for natural history and learning.


All programs occur on the first Saturday of the month from 10am-12pm at the Green Briar Nature Center unless otherwise noted. This program is for ages 16 and up.

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April 6 - Birding led by Alice Wynn

This class will open with a 40-minute lecture on the natural history, behavior, and general biology of bird species native to Cape Cod, focusing specifically on the types of birds frequently found in the habitats surrounding the Green Briar Nature Center and Smiling Pool. Following this, we will take a hike on Green Briar’s trails, identifying and observing the species we encounter by sight and sound. Long pants, appropriate footwear, bug spray, and a hat are highly recommended, along with binoculars and/or a camera with high zoom capabilities.

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May 4 - Pine-Oak Forests led by Elise Leduc

Pine-oak forests are one of the most common habitats found on Cape Cod, but how well do you know the plants and animals that live there? We will explore Boyden Farm Conservation Area, with a focus on identifying key tree, shrub and wildflower species, as well as any birds or wildlife encountered. We will meet at the main parking lot for Boyden Farm Conservation Area on Cotuit Road in Sandwich. Please dress according to the weather and wear appropriate footwear, as we will be outside for the two hours session.

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Jun 8* - Butterflies led by Marjorie Williams

We will be using the Butterfly House and Pollinator Path at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History to start things off. Then there will be a presentation about pollination in the museum auditorium followed by a 'Walk and Talk' of various gardens around the museum. We will focus on plants that make for the some of the best butterfly and pollinator plants and how they can be used in various garden settings, large and small. We will meet outside the main entrance of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History.

(Switched to the second Saturday of the month to avoid the opening day of the butterfly house)

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Jul 6 - Salt Marsh led by Nancy Wigley

We will explore the salt marsh habitat surrounding Scorton Creek. The walk will focus on the history, the plants, and the animals (marine algae, birds, invertebrates, etc.) of the salt marsh, as well as the surrounding coastal forests. Foot-wear that can get wet is encouraged to be able to get into the creek and explore. We will meet at the entrance to the Game Farm property on Route 6A. Binoculars, bug spray and a hat are highly recommended.

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August 3 - Wild Food led by Rachel Goclawski

We will begin the morning with an introductory presentation inside the Education Building focusing on foraging basics. This introduction will cover foraging Safety, “how to”, identifying edibles, foraging throughout the seasons, collection, preparation and preservation, and foraging ethics. From there, before we will set out on the Green Briar grounds to forage, applying all the things we learned during the briefing while we collect.

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September 7 - Wildflowers led by Janice Dill

We will use the Wild Flower Garden at Green Briar as the main component of our classroom and incorporate Thornton Burgess's connection to wildflowers. We will examine the various stages of a wildflower's life - from budding to bloom, to seed setting and dying back - from shade loving to full sun. We will engage all our senses in our learning experience. We will hike Smiling Pool and see what remains of spring ephemerals in the forest. And in the end, get a little dirty and be better for it.

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October 5 - Insects’ Winter Preparations led by Hannah Nadel

We will gather at Talbots Point and familiarize ourselves with a few examples of wintering stages and signs of insects, present and gone. We will then walk slowly through mixed woodland to find insects and their galleries, galls, and pupal chambers in living and dead plants, leaf litter, soil, and other feeding and hiding places. Our focus this time will be on the terrestrial environment. We will  meet at the parking area for Talbot’s Point at the end of Talbot’s Point Road. Hand lenses or binoculars (to view backwards) are encouraged for exploring this miniature world.

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November 2 - Lichens led by Tom Walker

Lichens are a unique pairing of fungi and algae, and they’re everywhere around us. Naturalists Tom Walker has been studying Cape Cod lichen’s carefully over the past few years and will share information about the life history of lichens, how to distinguish common species from each other and how they fit into the larger ecosystem. We will spend the first part of the class inside reviewing the basics of lichen identification and biology, before venturing out to explore the various lichen species present on Green Briar Grounds.

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December 7 - Winter Birding led by Brittany Hoffnagle

With the changing of the seasons, there is a changing of the birds present in our area as well. Enjoy a bird walk focusing on discovering where the migrant visitors spend their winter. We will walk along the Cape Cod Canal to observe birds we only get to enjoy during the colder months on Cape Cod. We will meet in front of the Army Corps of Engineers Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center near the Sandwich Marina. Dressing in warm layers is encouraged, along with binoculars.

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