The Salem Sound is an embayment that runs from the Marblehead Neck to Manchester-by-the-sea. But it’s not just a body of water.
The non-profit organization, Salem Sound Coastwatch, and Marblehead’s Abbott Public Library, are teaming up to host a free series of four monthly lectures entitled “Underwater in Salem Sound” in an effort to inform the public about the sound and all it has to offer.
The first lecture kicks off Wednesday January 30 at 7 p.m. at Abbott Public Library in Marblehead. Dr. Lindley Hanson, professor of geology at Salem State University, will begin the lecture with a presentation of the geology of Salem Sound. Hanson will talk about the creation of the seafloor and rocky coastline.
“I’m hoping to educate people so they can then look at the area around them and have a greater appreciation and understanding of what they see,” Hanson said.
Hanson added that the oldest rocks are 600 billion years old. In order to understand the context in which the sound lies, she said, it’s important for people to understand the geological formation.
“It’s the geologic history that would govern the natural resources,” Hanson said. “If you can’t understand the geology you couldn’t possibly fathom what kind of resources are there. “
Experts say that Salem Sound’s natural resources play a crucial role in the ecological, social and economic life of the region. According to Susan Yochelson, the Salem Sound Coastwatch outreach coordinator, the embayment is plentiful with fish for both recreational and commercial use, and home to an ample lobster nursery.
These are just a few of the resources that most local residents are not aware exist.
“We want people to know more about our coastal resources, which is really huge,” Yochelson said. “It’s our backyard. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how Salem Sound was created and what lives in the water and how people make their living on the waters.”
The four sessions will be held on the last Wednesday night of the month – January through April – at the Abbot Public Library in Marblehead on Pleasant Street.
In February, marine biologist Tay Evans will give a tour of eelgrass meadows, which is an underwater plant that supports a diversity of life in the local waters.
This lecture series is funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET). MET grant funds are made available through the sale of “Preserve the Trust” environmental license plates.