Youth Education Program -yep!

Youth Education Program:  BH Ecotours naturalist Phil Kyle teaching about horseshoe crabs
Youth Education Program Trip: A chilly May day

Friday’s Youth Education Program yep! trips with Barnstable Harbor Ecotour were a big hit with Barnstable High School English Language Learners.

Topics covered on the trips ranged from basic mapping, bird identification and behavior, description of Barnstable Harbor’s extraordinary tides and selfies! Yes selfies, it seems that no matter how beautiful the surrounding scenery, there is simply never enough selfies!

Barnstable Harbor Ecotours naturalist introduced students to electricity-free Sandy Neck Cottage Colony, reminding the students that there are lifestyles where the phone is a tool.

Nevertheless, the magic of Barnstable Harbor penetrates the even the age of electronics. Phones away and hands out to feel how horseshoe crabs really don’t bite.

Barnstable High School English Language Learners aboard the Barnstable Harbor Ecotours "Horseshoe Crab"
Barnstable High School English Language Learners were dressed
appropriately for the chilly May Day

We have 12 class trips scheduled for this spring. Students from the Lighthouse Charter School will be taking trips next week and in early June. We look forward to warmer weather for our upcoming trips.

Finally, if you are a teacher and would be interested in our Youth Education Program -yep!, please contact us at We feel that a boat ride with BH Ecotours expose students to coastal life on Cape Cod. We believe that students of all ages will have an experience that will never forget.

2018 Annual Meeting Announcement

It’s that time of year for the 2018 Annual Meeting

Friday, December 14th, 2018


Long Pasture Audubon Conference Room

345 Bone Hill Road, Barnstable, MA

Click Below to download the:

Agenda Proxy 2018 Annual Meeting

Pretty Marsh Scene on Barnstable Harbor's Navigation Road


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Benthic Habitat Mapping Reports for Pleasant Bay

Are you curious about our Benthic Habitat Mapping Project and the information that it will yield?

Here are the Benthic Habitat Mapping Reports for Pleasant Bay:

Friends of Pleasant Bay Benthic Report

Center for Coastal Studies Pleasant Bay Report Final 2018

Side Scan Sonar Tracks

Geoforms of Pleasant Bay as determined by side-scan sonar and bathymetry.

The Friends of Pleasant Bay engaged the Center for Coastal Studies to assess their benthic habitat, study their fin fish populations as well as their seal populations.  The “final report” draws conclusions about the relationships between the three studies.  For example, through the inspection of seal scat, they discovered that main forage of the seals was sand lances!

The overall study took place across a three year period and commenced with mapping coupled with benthic grab sampling followed by a fin fish study and then the seal population study.

Macro Invertebrates

Micro-invertebrates most abundant in biotic groups.

Friends of Barnstable Harbor Benthic Habitat Mapping Project

Our own Benthic Habitat Study began this past June with the  22 days of sidescan sonar data collection.  Remaining for the 2018 season will be the collection of approximately 20 benthic grab samples.  Processing of data, sorting and counting of benthic samples will be performed in the lab.  If all goes well, we will be a position to embark on a fin fish study in the summer of 2019.

Benthic Habitat Mapping Ponton Boat

Center for Coastal Studies Pontoon Boat collecting side-scan sonar data in June 2018.












Our fundraising efforts are underway.  The total budget for the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project amounts to $214,000.  The Center for Coastal Studies has offered a 25% match leaving the remaining balance for funding of $165,000.  We have secured a $25K grant from an (as of yet) unnamed source, and we are working with the town and other foundations for further funding.

We have just begun efforts seeking private donations and will gratefully accept donations of any size.

Barnstable Harbor is one of the most robust and healthy harbors on Cape Cod.  Its large tidal flow contributes to its clean and fruitful waters.  It hosts several significant maritime enterprises including aquaculture grants, whale watching, harbor eco-tours, restaurants and several marinas.  Its charter fishing boat fleet is thriving on the bounties provided by the harbor’s sand lances, shrimp, and other forage fish.  Recreational anglers and shell fishermen also share in the abundance that Barnstable Harbor provides.

Added Value!

Finally, the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project will not only likely beget more scientific studies in the harbor (its baseline data will be very attractive to other scientists studying habitat, geoforms, horseshoe crabs and countless other subjects), but it will become the center of our own Youth Education Project.  The data collected and sorted by the Benthic Habitat Mapping Project can be incorporated into “programming” for students of all levels.

Please click the PDF links above and take a look at the completed study for Pleasant Bay.  The summary of these studies speak clearly to exactly why our Benthic Habitat Mapping Project is so important.

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Where Does the Water Go?

Where Does the Water Go Event

This event is co-hosted with APCC – Association to Preserve Cape Cod

Where Does the Water Go Event

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Mass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor

Mass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor Poster for the Event 4/6 @ 3pmMass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor

Join us to hear coauthor Professor Brian Howes from UMass Dartmouth and Tom Cambareri from the Cape Cod Commission discuss the important topics and issues discovered in this 217 page report -Mass Estuaries Project Study of Barnstable Harbor.

Click here for a PDF copy of the report:

MEP Draft Barnstable Harbor

The event will be held at the Harbor View Conference Room at the County Complex, 3195 Main Street, Barnstable Village.

We’ve been waiting many years for the finalization of this report and data contained in it!  Don’t miss this event!

The Town of Barnstable, which had long recognized the potential threat of nutrient over-enrichment, developed a comprehensive water quality monitoring program to establish current water quality conditions in the harbor and monitor it for changes over time.

Harbor Report January 2017

Barnstable Harbor Report – January 2017

Barnstable Land Trust Gifted 4.5 Acres of
Barnstable Harbor Salt Marsh

CLICK HERE for details about this generous and important donation by the Bilezikian Family to the Barnstable Land Trust!

153 Freezer Road Marina Construction Project

Dredging began in October 2016 and appears (as of early December) to be progressing without any types of barriers (such as hay bales or booms) in place. There is visual evidence of erosion and silting in a number of areas surrounding the dredge site.  Town Councilor John Flores reported that a number of commercial shell fishermen have mentioned to him that sand is also building up on the launch ramp.

A stop order was issued by the Conservation Commission on December 21st for failure to comply with the silt fence condition.

As of January 4th, 2017, construction continues at the site with what appears to be new booms in place.

Membership Premiums

It may seem an easy prescription to follow for running a non-profit organization. You create a mission, build a website and collect members. You assume that everybody wants a hat, a tee shirt, a tote bag or some emblem of his or her affiliation with the organization. You visit the local embroidery store and are overwhelmed by the unlimited selections of promotional items that can be used as membership premiums.

The little voice in my head, or actually, the louder voice that is my conscience, reminds me that that there is already too much stuff in our lives. Do we really need another logo hat, tee shirt, or tote bag?   How can we tell our story and promote our organization without further contributing to the endless supply of toxic debris that fills our homes, our landfills and frankly, even our harbor?

Next month’s Creek Clean-up will likely uncover more of the plastic bags and bottles that litter our marshes. And once again I will consider a reusable tote bag and or metal canteen as a membership premium.   But not before I am confident that such choices are part of a solution, not just further contributing to the problem.

In the meanwhile, I encourage our membership and our community to take every opportunity to re-cycle and re-use all plastic items. Further, in the spirit of less is more, all members will simply receive a sticker, a Friends of Barnstable Harbor sticker that can be proudly displayed on a car, boat, or wherever you choose.

Introducing YEP!




As a stewardship organization for Barnstable Harbor, we feel that education is an integral component of ensuring that future generations gain knowledge and interest in maintaining a healthy coastal ecosystem and environment, as well as develop a historical perspective with regard to our maritime heritage.
Many children growing up on Cape Cod miss the opportunity to experience the coastal world that is the fundamental difference between seaside and inland communities. With this in mind, we have crafted a Massachusetts STEM curriculum compliant program for 4th grade classes to engage in an “outdoor classroom” experience with Barnstable Harbor Ecotours.   We hope that educators will find our Education Project to be an attractive learning experience for their students.


For more information visit our website or email us at

2015 Annual Report

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for…

FBH 2015 Annual Report

or click here to navigate to the 2015 Annual Report Page on our website.



The Glacier & Barnstable Village

BH Glacier

The Glacier and Barnstable Village

Don’t miss Phil Kyle, Barnstable Harbor Ecotours Head Naturalist, as he shares the fascinating scientific story of Glacial Geology; its impact on our village and its role in our ecosystem.

Tuesday, October 20th @ 6pm

Sturgis Library, 3090 Main Street Barnstable