CSCR Junior Research Program

Due to popular demand and some great participants, we will continue the Junior Research Program into the fall! See registration page for information.  We will continue on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:30, beginning on September 11th, 2018.
 
Summer 2018
 
We have a great group of knowledgeable students with brilliant ideas this year! Everywhere we go, we find interesting things!  We charged Miya Bishop with figuring out a good way to catalog all of our discoveries so that we can share them with the public.  Miya is already known in the program for her skills in identifying coastal animals and plants, and she has a good group of new colleagues with just as much enthusiasm.   We want to create something concrete to complement our general joy of discovery, so the students would like to create a museum exhibit and website.  Stay tuned to see how we go about this.  This will be an ongoing project, and we welcome curious questions and input from the general public.
 
Our first distinct research project of the summer was to look at the part of Bassings Beach Island that was washed over in the Winter storms of 2018 with a big deposit of sand.   In science, if something is "big," we always have to quantify "how big," so we will have a better description of that for you shortly, but if you google "Bassings Washover" you will find footage of what it looked like in May of 2018.  
 
We began by charging Andrew Thompson, another veteran of the Junior Research Program, to get input from his colleagues and figure out a way for us to track the changes of this washover over time, so that we can present our findings to the public.  The big question we are answering, as Del DiBona put in his first day, is: "is it bad?" Others are continuing this endeavor and finding out about the plants that hold the dunes.
  • If the ocean washes sand over the dunes and covers the grass, is it bad? 
  • Will the dune grass come back? 
  • Will the sand continue to land on the salt marsh, and 
  • If so, is that bad? 
  • We will also hypothesize on how long it might take for the vegetation to grow back. 
We still have a lot to learn, but are off to a good start.  This dune serves as a barrier beach for Cohasset Harbor, and the Junior Research leader, Susan Bryant, presented it to the town's Harbor Committee as an environmental Coh Asset -- providing an ecological service to the town for free. 
 
Many municipalities are trying to design ways to protect their towns from the higher storm waves predicted for the coming years, so we will look at whether the influx of sand makes Bassings Beach Island more or less effective at mitigating wave action and storm flooding on our harbor.