From MassAudubon:

A 3-day course for adults – sponsored by Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, co-sponsored with Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Service.

Class dates and times:

Fri, May 06, 2016 – 3:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Sat, May 07, 2016 – 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Sun, May 08, 2016 – 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Location: Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, South Wellfleet
Instructor: Abigail Archer – Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
Members: $295.00
Nonmembers: $355.00
Nonmembers can join today during checkout and take immediate advantage of member prices.

Celebrate the rites of spring by exploring the lives of two iconic Cape Cod fish—river herring and eels. The fishes’ fascinating biology, rich cultural significance, and complex management and conservation stories will be revealed through field trips to herring runs, lectures, and demonstrations. We will meet with local scientists, herring wardens, and traditional fishermen to further understand the history and future of herring and eels. And in our travels and explorations, the larger picture of how these species are intricately tied to the region’s ecology will be revealed. At the end of the course you’ll be able to impress your friends with the proper use of the words of diadromous, anadromous, and catadromous!

The movement of herring and eels each spring into our coastal rivers and ponds signals the change of season and the spawning season. As water temperatures warm and the days grow longer, river herring migrate from the ocean, up rivers, and into our freshwater ponds to spawn and lay eggs. Eels do just the opposite; the adult eels leave freshwater environments to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. There, far off-shore, their eggs hatch, and the tiny young eels make the long journey back to fresh waters. We encounter these baby eels (also known as elvers or glass eels) in coastal rivers in the spring. The annual migrations of these fish are eagerly anticipated (by humans and other wildlife!) and are of great historical and ecological importance.

During this educational and fun weekend course we will visit several herring runs from Harwich to Wellfleet and explore in depth the biology of both herring and eels; their annual passage and the resulting impact of dams and related infrastructure like fish ladders; the value of herring to people and wildlife; the management on the local, state and federal levels; and conservation issues.

In addition to the guided field trips, lectures, and transportation for field trips, this course also includes a welcome dinner on the first evening. Sanctuary housing is available at $35 per night; contact the sanctuary if you want to reserve a space.

This weekend is co-sponsored with Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Service.

Course Leader: Abigail Franklin Archer has been fascinated by fish ladders since age 6 and currently works as the Marine Resource Specialist at the Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Service. She earned her Master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst during which time she worked as a research assistant at the USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory. Her research focused on evaluating river herring passage through various types of fish ladders at Town Brook in Plymouth, MA and the East River in Guilford, CT. After a Marine Policy Fellowship in Washington DC she decided to come back to the Cape and work as a Fish Passage Project Manager for the Cape Cod Conservation District. Now with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Marine Program, she coordinates a group called the River Herring Network that organizes workshops for river herring wardens in Southeast Massachusetts. She began her career at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary working as a Natural History Day Camp teacher and Children’s and Family Naturalist for many years.

Instructions and Directions:

Enjoy learning in the beautiful coastal setting of Cape Cod. Since 1986, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary has offered a wide variety of field courses for adults which focus on the unique coastal environment and wildlife of Cape Cod.

Field Schools emphasize active outdoor field experiences and are taught by professional naturalists and scientists. For a complete listing of Field School courses visit

Advance registration is required and is accepted on-line, over the phone, or through the mail. Payment in full is due upon registration. Upon registration you will receive a confirmation letter, then 2-3 weeks in advance of your course you will receive a packet of detailed information related to the class.

Cancellations must be received in writing (via email or regular mail) 30 days before starting date to receive a full refund (less a $50 nonrefundable administration fee per registrant).

Cancellation received less than 30 days before starting date may result in forfeit of entire course fee. If we can fill your spot with another registration then your balance is returned, less the $50 nonrefundable administration fee. The sanctuary reserves the right to cancel any course with a full refund to registrants.

Registration is required.

Register online or call 508-349-2615 to register by phone.
Register by mail: program registration form (PDF 66K)
For your own security, DO NOT send credit card information via email.

For more information, contact:

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary
South Wellfleet, MA 02663