Reserve Manager Cory Riley welcomes attendees to the ribbon cutting of the new boardwalk, June 2016

A Brief History of the Estuary, Reserve, Trust and Stewards …

1939  Proposal to dredge or dam the Bay between Adams Point and Newington Shore to allow for more shoreline property

November 27, 1973  Spokesman for the Olympic Oil Company announces its intention to build in Durham the largest oil refinery ever started from scratch anywhere in the world

March 6, 1974  Ninety percent of Durham residents vote at Town Meeting against the refinery

March 7, 1974  State legislature votes not to override Durham’s decision

1983  Great Bay Trust formed to help preserve Great Bay

October 3, 1989  Designation of Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

1992  Boardwalk construction at the Discovery Center

1994  First Great Bay Matters issue

June 2, 1994  First official public event held at the Sandy Point Discovery Center, which was then still under construction

March 1995  First meeting held at Sandy Point to discussing forming a support group, following concern that the state was not providing financial support for the Reserve

June and July 1995  Meetings with consultants at the Center to decide on creating a support group for the Reserve

August 18, 1995  First meeting held to vote on the recommendations of the steering committee and to officially start the process of becoming a non-profit corporation

September 30, 1995  First annual meeting; Fred Langley (Greenland) becomes chair

May 28, 1996  Joint meeting of the Trust and Stewards – “Much animated discussion closed the meeting”

June 1, 1996  Grand opening of the Sandy Point Discovery Center; first Evelyn Browne award given out (Dr. William Penhale receives the first award by unanimous vote)

November 1996  Great Bay Trust trustees unanimously decide to pursue a merger with the Great Bay Stewards; Stewards receive their 501(c)(3) designation

May 10, 1997  Great Bay Trustees and Great Bay Stewards vote to merge “By joining with the Stewards we can continue, with renewed energy and commitment, our efforts in protecting and preserving our valuable natural resources,” wrote Richard Langan, president of the GBESCT

1998  Great Bay Rough Water Swim launched with seven swimmers

1998  Trustees join Vice President Al Gore on the banks of the Oyster River to announce $1.6 million restoration and protection plan toward protecting estuaries and reopening clam and oyster beds

1998  The Reserve purchases the historic 1854 railway station adjacent to the Discovery Center (the “Depot House”) with the help of Marple & James real estate

1999  Great Bay Matters editorship is handed from Stewards Trustee Bill Penhale over to Reserve Education Coordinator Kelle Loughlin

October 2, 1999  Great Bay 5K is launched as part of the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Reserve (the “Great Bay Fest”)

2002  Plans for “the Barn” for use in education programs begin

2002  The Gundalow Company is formed; the Stewards begin developing projects with them

Fall 2002  The wigwam is constructed

2003  20,000th student attends the Reserve’s school program

2005  First Art of Great Bay show and sale

June 16, 2006  Dedication of the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center (“the barn”)

2009  40,000th student attends the school program

2009  20th Anniversary of the Reserve

2011  Great Bay Special Collections opens

2014  Blue Heron Education Pavilion constructed

June 2016  Ribbon cutting for opening of new boardwalk

2017  Dedication for the Wellenberger Woods Natural Play Area

November 2017  Allison Knab becomes the GBS Executive Director; Development Coordinator Lauren Saltman joins the staff

2018  Accessibility to waterfront improved

Fall 2018  Estuary Explorers fund for field trips launched

2019 30th  Anniversary of GBNERR; Time Capsule unearthed with the help of Greenland students and buried again in front of GBDC

October 2020  Great Bay 55K Challenge added to the Great Bay 5K

December 2020 – 2021 Free Grab & Go educational kits put out weekly during the pandemic, with support from the Stewards