Join us for community learning!

Our Speaker Series consists of informational gatherings designed to spark discussions on topics relevant to our Cape Cod community and PBCB’s mission: boating, marine science, and environmental stewardship. The guest speakers and topics are varied and presentations are followed by a Q&A as we encourage guest participation. 

Each year we plan for 8-10 events that are a  mix of virtual via zoom, hybrid (both on campus and via zoom), and in-person on our campus.  All are welcome to attend.  These events are offered free to the public, but contributions are accepted. We thank the Chatham, Orleans and Harwich Cultural Councils, as well as the Mass Cultural Council for their support of this program!



Click here to access previously recorded talks. 

Check back for our upcoming dates and topics!

Join us in person or via zoom. All attendees must register. 

FRIDAY, November 17, 2023 at 3 p.m.

Speaker Series: Identifying Fungi of Cape Cod

Guest speaker and local fungi expert, Wesley Price, will be leading us through an informative 30-minute slide show presentation on mushroom identification in the PBCB Hillside classroom. We will then take a walk around the campus to collect fungi, and then gather back in the Hillside classroom to observe magnified structures under microscopes. Guests are also encouraged to bring their own findings in for identification.

About the guest speaker: Wesley Price is an amateur mycologist (one who studies fungi), who founded the Cape Cod Mycological Society in 2013. He earned a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology. Wesley has led various talks and walks around Cape Cod and shares his passion for fungi to inspire a deeper understanding and respect for the eco system, which supports the biodiversity of life on earth.

The event is free and open to all.


THURSDAY, October 19, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Speaker Series: CG36500 with Johnny Sinopoli and John Norton

Thank you to our guest speakers John Norton and Johnny Sinopoli and all who came out to the detailed story of the heroic rescue by the U.S.Coast Guard of 32 men from the sinking SS Pendleton. Fighting tremendous wave action, they crossed the Chatham bar and proceeded to the wreck site without a compass or stars to guide them. Numerous conditions combined to cause the breakup of the T-2 tanker in the first place, and still more  factors impeded the rescue. This rescue is considered the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. After years of neglect, the refurbished CG36500 now summers at Rock Harbor, Orleans MA.

THURSDAY, September 28 OR October 5, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Speaker Series: Bog Walk with Herb Heidt

Guests enjoyed a guided tour of the Three Towns Cranberry Bog, just across the street from the PBCB campus. Local naturalist, Herb Heidt, talked about the history of the commercial cranberry industry, and specifically the history of this bog–which does span 3 towns! Everyone was thrilled to learn more about cranberry growing and harvesting, as well as the bog’s flora and fauna. The guided tour was followed by refreshments in the PBCB boathouse. 

FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2023 in the PBCB Boathouse

Speaker Series: Over the Bar with Joe Nickerson

We were thrilled to welcome 40 guests for a talk with Joe Nickerson, author of Over the Bar, in the boathouse. Books are available for purchase at the Yellow Umbrella Bookstore on Main Street, Chatham. About the author: Once upon a time, Chatham was a bustling little fishing village with shanties along the shore and all manner of boats in the harbor. In his debut, longtime fisherman Joe Nickerson shares his experiences growing up on and along the water, the fishing practices that made the region noteworthy, and why the days of yesteryear mattered. From the unique cast of characters you meet along the way, to the unforgettable moments at sea, “Over the Bar” keeps a part of history alive.

FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2023

Speaker Series: An Introduction to Sailboat Racing with Chris Snow

Thank you to Chris Snow for sharing his experience and knowledge with racers of all levels. He covered some fundamentals like understanding the start, “reading” the wind, deciphering your sailing area, and the rules of racing and why they should not intimidate you. About the guest speaker: Chris grew up in Orleans and learned to sail at Orleans Yacht Club. Sailing around the lower Cape he sailed Daysailers, Widgeons, Beetle Cats and whatever else he could get his hands on. After college, he started a 35 year career in sailmaking, eventually managing the One Design division for North Sails based in San Diego, CA. He worked selling, making and developing sails for a wide range of one design classes from Opti’s to the Olympic classes. Chris is an 8 time National/North American champion in the J/24 class and has many top finishes in a wide range of classes. The Snow family is a group of accomplished sailors, Chris’s wife Mary and his son’s Nevin and Patrick were all All-American sailors in college. Their son Nevin is currently pursuing an Olympic campaign in the 49er class. Chris and Mary are excited to be back on the Cape and recently settled into North Chatham. Chris is the current chair of the US Sailing One Design class committee.


Speaker Series: PBCB Environmental Stewardship, Kelp and Eelgrass

Thank you to everyone who could join us! Pleasant Bay Community Boating is continuing its’ efforts to promote environmental stewardship. and we enjoyed sharing the various projects we are working on and ways to get involved. We are currently involved with an eelgrass restoration project, in which we will be hosting more workshops to learn more about eelgrass and recruit volunteers to assist in collecting citizen science data. About the guest speakers:  Jamie Nye started at PBCB in May of last year and is our new Science Coordinator. Previously he worked at the Catalina Island Marine Institute teaching Marine Biology, and at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Marine Biological Laboratory working in both aquaculture and animal husbandry. He also has worked at Walrus and Carpenter Oysters in Rhode Island where he started a kelp farm. Jamie is loves to teach, free-dive and scuba dive, hike, go clamming, and grow kelp! Lily Gooding is an AmeriCorps Cape Cod year 24 member originally from Beverly, Massachusetts. Lily recently graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she studied Global Health and the Environment. Lily is serving with Pleasant Bay Community Boating, helping with estuary stewardship and our citizen science program. She has been working on and developing our current eelgrass project.


Speaker Series: Navigation

PBCB was thrilled to offer this unique two-day workshop focused on navigation skills – including understanding basic chart information, weather apps and plotting a course on the Bay. Guest speaker Neil Tomkinson shared his many years of cruising and sailing experience, and discussed the basics of navigation using the Navionics App and paper charts The 2nd day was a hands-on navigation workshop. Participants plot their own course using wind, tide and time-the logistics we all need to sail comfortably and arrive home on time. About the guest speaker:  Neil Tomkinson began sailing on Long Island Sound with his dad in a Cape Cod Knockabout. He made his way to Cape Cod in the early seventies sailing into Saquatucket Harbor on his Swedish Weekender, Valhalla and has continued to sail, race and cruise on many boats. He and Priscilla now cruise on Chinook, their 37′ Nordic Tug with their furry crew, Lucy. Many of you might recognize their Sandpiper, Sophie, sailing around Pleasant Bay and joining the Wednesday Catboat Series. Suzanne Leahy joined the PBCB staff in 2019 to develop a Catboat Program. Now in its 4th year, the program continues to grow and expand, encouraging folks at all levels to discover the joy of sailing on Pleasant Bay. Suzanne has worked and sailed on the Bay since moving to the Cape in 1993. She loves sharing her passion for both sailing and for Pleasant Bay. Teaching has always a core value and one that Suzanne shares with PBCB. Her position here is a dream come true, incorporating her love of sailing, catboats, teaching, and sharing the knowledge that she has gained from the many generous sailors and teachers she has met over the years.


Speaker Series: Can Art Save the Ocean?

Thank you to everyone who joined us! The ‘A Year of Plastic’ project was started after photographer/conservation artist Sarah Thornington realized the sheer quantity of plastic marine debris she was picking up on a regular basis from Cape Cod beaches. She spent a year doing a beach clean-up every single day, counting and documenting the plastic debris she found as well as posting daily on her Instagram account, @EbbtheTide. To keep awareness on the plastic problem, she creates art and displays with some of the almost 21,000 objects she found during that time and ongoing, her count is now well above 30,000 pieces rescued from the sea. She’s had many shows of this work, locally and across the country. In addition to exhibits and shows, Sarah presents programs and workshops for adults, youth and children, recently completing a mural project with 60+ teens/tweens. About the guest speaker: Sarah Jane Thornington is a portrait photographer & conservation artist who has lived on Cape Cod for the past 30 plus years. A passionate protector of the planet, she can often be found cleaning the beaches- alone or as part of the Center for Coastal Studies ‘Beach Brigade’, creating with the marine-debris found to keep awareness on our single-use plastic problem, or talking about the issues through workshops and presentations. Sarah has completed both the Expert and Leadership tracks of the UN Environment Massive Online Open Course on marine debris through the University of the Netherlands. She recently completed a course of Communicating the Value of Biodiversity. Sarah is also a recipient of the national volunteer award, A Daily Point of Light for her continued work to keep awareness on the issues facing our ocean.