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Thornton W. Burgess Nature Lecture Series: Animals

Join us as we welcome Mary Beers who will share insights into the public view of nature and the North American mammal animal world during Burgess’ lifetime as compared with today. Her basis for this talk is The Burgess Animal Book for Children, first published in 1920 with pen and ink, as well as, color illustrations by famed ornithologist and bird artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes. On the book’s dedication page Burgess wrote, “To the cause of wild life in America, especially the mammals many of which are seriously threatened with extinction, this book is dedicated.”

Mary Beers, former Director of Education for the Thornton W. Burgess Society, came to the Burgess Society in 1986 as an education intern her senior year at Bridgewater State University. She was hired as a summer naturalist after graduating in May of 1987 with a BS in Biology. She received her Master’s in Education in 2005. She was mentored into the “Burgess World” by Education Director Stu Parsons and Staff Teacher/Naturalist Kathy Calabrese. She would later become School Program Coordinator and eventually replace Stu as the Director of Education. In 2017 Mary was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Sandwich Public Schools for “30+ years of dedicated service to SPS”.

Mary worked for Camp Bournedale and Cape Cod Learning Tours as a Teacher/Naturalist. She started as a substitute teacher for the Sandwich Public Schools in 2020. In 2021 she was hired as a full-time Science Specialist at the Forestdale School where she teaches science in her “Lab” classroom to students from PreK through Grade 2.

“I started at the Burgess Society because I was in awe of the location and wanted to share my love of science with children. I stayed at the Burgess Society for close to 32 years because I quickly came to love the Staff, Shirley’s Wildflower Garden, the Smiling Pool, the Dear Old Briar Patch and the Society’s dedication to continuing the work of Thornton W. Burgess to instill in children a deep love and respect for the natural world. This wonderful place will always hold fond memories: my own wedding to my husband Don in the garden in 1989; my many adventures with Girl Scouts, either leading my own troops when our daughter Jenny was a scout, or the many troops who visited for a sleepover; leading live-animal story hours on the lawn at the Museum; teaching about local habitats in area schools; leading educator workshops; and even teaching jam classes in a sweltering yet historic kitchen.”