What To Do This Weekend: May 20-21

Celebrate turtles, look for birds and wildflowers, take in an art exhibition, look at the stars, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Snapping Turtle © Susumu Kishihara

Greater Boston

Head to the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton for a Turtle Festival. Explore fun turtle facts, take part in hands-on activities to find out what’s inside a turtle shell, and make turtle-themed crafts.

The Museum of American Bird Art in Canton kicks off its new exhibition with an Exhibit Opening & Artist Reception. Meet Barry Van Dusen, Mass Audubon’s artist-in-residence, who spent the last year travelling across the state and chronicling the rich and diverse wildlife, habitats, and landscapes he encountered at each wildlife sanctuary.

During Nature Photography at Waseeka in Hopkinton learn to fine tune your composition, lighting, depth of field, and other techniques that can help make the most of your images at this beautiful place. (adults, registration required)

Take leisurely walk to explore the Trees of Mount Auburn Cemetery in all their springtime splendor. We’ll examine their trunks and buds and discuss their role in history. (adults, registration required)

Head to Garden in the Woods in Framingham to learn all about Wildflowers of Spring. Find out how to identify flowers, their habitats, and pollinators during classroom instruction and a walk in the field. (adults, registration required)

Take a Nature Walk at the Boston Nature Center. Along with a teacher naturalist, stroll on the trails through the forests, meadows, and seasonal wetlands and found out about the biodiversity in an urban setting. (adults and children ages 4+, registration requested)

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North Shore

During Ipswich River’s Spring Forest Bathing in Topsfield, take a guided mindfulness hike through forested trails and reconnect with the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of nature. We’ll finish our walk with time for reflection and a relaxing cup of tea in the Nature Center.

Enjoy Saturday Morning Birding with Joppa Flats. Join beginners and birders of all levels to search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. (adults)

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South of Boston

Go on a Walk for Wildlife at Daniel Webster in Marshifeld. Whether you’re interested in birds, bugs, plants, or just being outdoors, we’ll have fun for all ages at this free day of discovery.

Join local astronomers for a Star Gazing Night at Moose Hill in Sharon. Look at the stars and other night objects through big telescopes. (adults and children ages 6+)

Take part in a Sensory Explorations hike along Attleboro Spring’s accessible Reflection Trail behind LaSalette Shrine. We’ll focus on using one sense to investigate natural wonders. (adults and children ages 3+, registration required)

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Cape Cod and Islands

Oystercatchers, plovers, and terns, oh my! During Tracking Shorebirds with Felix Neck in Edgartown, walk the beach with a shorebird biologist to record field data, search for birds and nests, and identify bird and mammal tracks in the sand.

Use dip nets and magnifiers to search for swimming, flying, and burrowing wildlife on the beach at low tide as part of Wellfleet Bay’s Seashore Ramble. We hope to see crabs, turtles, fish, and much more! (families, registration required)

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Central Massachusetts

Take an an early morning Bird Walk at Lake Wampanoag in Gardner to search of bobolinks, bluebirds, warblers, and more. Beginners and birders at all levels of expertise are welcome. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them. (adults, registration required)

Create your own art from found material as part of Crafty Art & Upcycling at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. This is a great chance to give yourself some “me” time while meeting other like-minded, crafty people and reusing household items. (adults, registration required)

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Connecticut River Valley

Enjoy the beauty of Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton at a relaxed pace during a Seasonal Nature Walk. (adults, registration required)

Look for Frogs at Laughing Brook in Hampden. Head to the vernal pool in search of wood frogs and spring peepers. At this time of year you should be able to see tadpoles and adults as well as egg masses. (families, registration required)

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Berkshires

Go on a Spring Wildflower Search at Pleasant Valley in Lenox. Take a leisurely walk and search for early blooming flowers. We’ll gather for snacks and look up any mysterious plants we discover along the way. (adults)

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Help Count Meadowlarks

The eastern meadowlark is arguably the grassland bird species that has been hardest hit by the loss of grasslands (think large meadows and farmland) in Massachusetts.

Eastern meadowlark by David Larson

In fact, eastern meadowlarks have disappeared from more than 75 percent of the locations they were found in during the 1979 Breeding Bird Survey.

Mass Audubon’s Bird Conservation team is on a mission to not only protect the remaining meadowlarks, but to also create a plan to increase the population. But they need your help.

Become a Meadowlark Citizen Scientist

Between now and June 15, you can provide valuable data via the Eastern Meadowlark Survey. All you need to do is:

  • Visit a pre-set location 3 times during the early morning hours.
  • Look and listen for eastern meadowlarks (as well as other grassland species including bobolinks and grasshopper sparrows).
  • Record what you did or didn’t see. (Not seeing anything is just as valuable as seeing something)

Get more info on how to participate, see pictures of the grassland birds, and hear the meadowlark song > 

 

What To Do This Weekend: May 13-14

Get into the Bird-a-thon action, learn how to take better nature photos, help out with some farm chores, look for wildflowers and more!

North of Boston

During Family Nature Photography at Ipswich River in Topsfield get the basics of digital nature photography and practice those skills while exploring some trails. At the end of the program each child will take home a print of their favorite photo! (families, registration required)

The folks from Habitat in Belmont will head to Newburyport for some prime birding as part of Bird-a-thon. Go all day, just the morning, or the afternoon. (adults, registration required)

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Greater Boston

Head to Boston Nature Center for an informative, interactive, and free Herb and Weed Walk through the young food forest. Find and identify local plants currently flourishing and discuss their many properties over a slow stroll. (adults and children ages 13+, registration required)

It’s Afternoon Chore Time at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln! Feed chickens and collect eggs, then bring hay to the sheep, goats, and cows. After we finish up we’ll treat ourselves to a farm snack. (families, registration required)

Explore Broadmoor in Natick with your camera as part of Nature Photography: Beauty of Spring. See how composition techniques, use of natural light and changes in exposure and depth of field can help in successfully capturing and strengthening natural images. (adults, registration required)

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South of Boston

Celebrate Bird-a-thon at Oak Knoll in Attleboro. Families can learn what types of birds you can attract to your backyard and build a bird-box to take home. Adults can learn about the challenges birds face in Massachusetts before taking a bird hike on the sanctuary to identify local species! (registration required)

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Cape Cod

See Bird Research in Action at Wellfleet Bay. Meet the bird banding team and learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands

Central Massachusetts

Head to Wachusett Meadow in Princeton for Bird-a-thon Birds and Breakfast. Go on an early-morning guided walk and then return to the sanctuary for a delicious breakfast. (all ages, registration required)

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Berkshires

Go on a Spring Wildflower Search at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield. Take a leisurely walk and search for early blooming flowers. We’ll gather for snacks and look up any mysterious plants we discover along the way. (adults)

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New Hampshire

Visit Wildwood, Mass Audubon’s overnight camp in Rindge for an Camp Open House. Meet staff, ask questions, and see our beautiful site. Head up a little early and go Birding at Wildwood as part of Bird-a-thon. (all ages)

Latest News Re: Trailside’s Budget Woes

As you may know, Blue Hills Trailside Museum, which is own by the state but managed by Mass Audubon, has been facing serious budget challenges.

Governor Baker cut the $500,000 committed to Trailside for its current fiscal year. On top of that, he did not propose any money for the museum to operate for the next year. The House budget included a small, $25,000 appropriation for Trailside (a far cry from the requested $500,000).

Now the budget is with the Senate. Senator Walter Timilty will file an amendment requesting the $500,000 for Trailside. We need all of the senators to support him.

Please contact your state senator as say: “Please support Senator Walter Timilty’s amendment to give full funding for the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.” 

If you have a personal Trailside story to tell, do share that as well. Thank you!

Find your senator here.

Trailside’s river otter via Cynthia McDonough

School’s [Not] Out for Summer

Red Knots © Photographer Shawn Carey

Red Knots © Photographer Shawn Carey

Kids will soon be out of school for the summer, but the adults are just beginning!

Every summer, several of Mass Audubon’s coastal wildlife sanctuaries host classes that offer a wide variety of in-depth learning opportunities for adults that focus on the unique coastal environment and wildlife of the Cape. Field schools emphasize active outdoor “in-the-field” experiences and are taught by professional naturalists and scientists.

The beaches, woods, dunes, and wetlands of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, the islands off Chatham, and the waters of Cape Cod provide the setting for the courses.

Previous experience is not required—all you need is an inquisitive mind and an eagerness to learn!

The following Field School programs are still taking registrations—sign up today!

Bees & Other Pollinators

June 17–18
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet

Summer is the high time for insects and pollen-gathering bees are the essence of the season. So let your summer take flight with the study of the biology, behavior, adaptations, and identification of these beautiful, interesting, and extremely valuable insects.


Let’s Go! Field School Series: Osprey Field Exploration

June 24
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, Dartmouth & Westport

Allens Pond has been working with the Southcoast osprey population for years—a real environmental success story. Now join them for an immersive field school experience. You’ll get up-close and personal with the platforms and check for nest activity and chicks.


Forging a Deeper Connection to Nature

July 15–16
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet

It is in interpreting nature that we come to understand it better and forge a deeper connection. Find inspiration, expand your creativity, and learn to really see the world around you with artist, writer, and naturalist Julie Zickefoose.


Photographing Insects and their Kin

July 21–22
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet

This intensive two-day workshop with entomologist and photographer Kefyn Catley focuses on the intersection of art and science by creating images that are rewarding works of art but also items of scientific data.


Hatching Diamondback Terrapins

August 25–27
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet

During this three-day weekend you will gain first-hand knowledge of turtle biology; monitor nests for hatching activity; weigh, measure, and release hatchlings; and document nesting success at various Outer Cape locations.


Sandy Neck Field Studies Series: Nature Photography on Sandy Neck

October 19–22
Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, Barnstable

Explore all the capabilities of the digital camera with award-winning freelance photographer and photography instructor Laura Gingerich. Say goodbye to blasé images and immerse yourself in the world of photography among the natural wonders of Cape Cod.

What To Do This Weekend: May 6-7

Mother Nature may have other plans in mind for the weekend, but should the skies clear, there’s plenty of adventure to be had from wildflower walks to a goat gala.

Trout-lily

Greater Boston

Habitat is hosting a Spring Celebration in Belmont, complete with an herb sale and Goat Gala.

Join Ted Elliman, author of The Wildflowers of New England, for an Author Talk at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, featuring the wildflowers of many of the natural habitats of Massachusetts. After go on a wildflower hike around the farm. (adults, registration required)

Enjoy Birds and Breakfast at Broadmoor in Natick. Enjoy a guided bird walk followed by homemade pancakes. (adults and children ages 5+, registration required)

Join Boston Nature Center and the Boston Area Beekeepers Association for a Bee for Every House. Learn about different types of observation hives, how to setup and care for them and their occupants through the four seasons, and how to get the most out of your many hours of observations.  (adults, registration required)

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South of Boston

Explore the Habitats of Moose Hill in Sharon. Head out onto the trails to discover how the different habitats are responding to past land use, encroachment by invasive species, climate change, and more. (adults, registration required)

Go on a Family Nature Hike at Oak Knoll in Attleboro to get some exercise and learn about local flora and fauna. (adults and children ages 3+, registration required)

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Cape Cod

Learn about the Cape’s most famous fish, river herring, during Springtime Herring Exploration at the Mashpee River. See live herring as they swim upstream, make your own herring crafts to take home, and learn how to become a citizen scientist to study herring populations.

See Bird Research in Action at Wellfleet Bay. Meet the bird banding team and learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands

Central Massachusetts

Go on a Spring Wildflower Walk at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester to look for dwarf ginseng, golden ragwort, and just maybe an early lady’s slipper on our gentle walk along the trails. (adults, registration required)

Get an Introduction to Birding at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton to learn the basics of bird identification. After a classroom session, we’ll go outside in search of birds so that you will have an opportunity to practice your identification skills. (adults, registration required)

Connecticut River Valley

Enjoy a Spring Walk at High Ledges in Shelburne. Look for both plant and animal life as we walk a moderate three mile trail and enjoy lunch while overlooking the scenic Deerfield Valley. (adults, registration required)

Head to Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton for the Valley Bird Festival. Expect live birds of prey presentations, bird banding, games, bird walks, and activities for all ages.

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Berkshires

Go Spring Birding at Lime Kiln Farm in Sheffield. Listen and look for warblers, sparrows, thrushes, and other birds. (adults)

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North of Boston

Enjoy Saturday Morning Birding with Joppa Flats. Join beginners and birders of all levels to search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. (adults)

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Mass Audubon Goes to Washington

Mass Audubon’s President Gary Clayton and Legislative Director Karen Heymann are in Washington DC meeting with our legislators as part of the Land Trust Alliance Advocacy Days.

While there, the team is advocating for land conservation and is also delivering all of your Speak Up for Nature letters, drawings, and postcards. Check out a few pics from the day here.

Gary Clayton in DC

Gary with Senator Warren

Gary with Congressman Capuano

Gary, Karen, and Senator Markey’s Staff

Gary with Congresswoman Tsongas’ staff

Live From Tidmarsh!

So much is happening at Tidmarsh!

On Saturday, more than 30 volunteers helped spruce up the trails as part of Mass Audubon’s Statewide Volunteer Day.

We are 84% of the way to our goal and all new donations are being matched dollar-for dollar!

And the New York Times featured the project live on Facebook in front of an audience of almost 100,000 people!

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the campaign’s website, please do.

And while you there, be sure to check the latest news and events for info on two upcoming walks on Thursday, May 18, and Saturday, June 3.

Take 5: Awesome Ospreys

Did you know that ospreys eat a diet almost entirely made up of fish? Also called fish hawks, ospreys are one of only a few raptors that regularly dive into the water to catch food. And they can carry prey up to 25% of their body weight!

These amazing creatures are known for the large stick nests they build, often on structures like telephone poles or nesting platforms built specifically for ospreys. Look for them throughout Massachusetts, but especially near rivers, ponds, marshes, and bays in the southeast region and the Cape and islands.

Want more? Check out an osprey program at one of our wildlife sanctuaries!

Osprey In Flight © Nathan Goshgarian

Osprey In Flight © Nathan Goshgarian

Osprey Nest Construction © Linda Fuller

Osprey Nest Construction © Linda Fuller

Osprey and Moon © Paul Rifkin

Osprey and Moon © Paul Rifkin

Osprey Close-Up © Carleen Loper

Osprey Close-Up © Carleen Loper

Osprey Feeding Chicks © Steve Flint

Osprey Feeding Chicks © Steve Flint

What To Do This Weekend: April 29-30

Volunteer at a sanctuary, go birding,  see sheep shearing, take a mindfulness workshop, enjoy a nature walk, and more!

Statewide Volunteer Day

Spend the morning helping wildlife sanctuaries get a jump on spring cleaning while you reconnect with nature. We have a variety of projects suitable for all ages at 16 sites across Massachusetts. View the projects and be sure to register!

Connecticut River Valley

Go on an Early Morning Birding Adventure at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton. This is a great opportunity to see and learn about the many birds that pass through our area at this time. (adults, registration required)

More in Connecticut River Valley

Central Massachusetts

Head to Wachusett Meadow in Princeton for their Sheep Shearing Open House. Meet the flock and learn how sheep are sheared and how those fleeces eventually become warm hats and mittens. There will be local vendors and crafters, kid’s activities, and more!

More in Central Massachusetts

North of Boston

Learn how millennia of glacial advances and retreats created the landforms and topography of Ipswich River during The Ice Age Geologic History of the Sanctuary and Environs in Topsfield. A presentation will be followed by a hike on the sanctuary to see and identify various distinctive glacial landforms. (adults, registration required)

Enjoy Saturday Morning Birding with Joppa Flats. Join beginners and birders of all levels to search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area. (adults)

More North of Boston

Greater Boston

Explore the wild side of Drumlin Farm with the Wonders of Wildlife. Meet some of the wildlife ambassadors, enjoy some “keeper talks” with our Wildlife Care Staff and visit our brand new New England Wildlife Exploration exhibit, and much more. (all ages)

Experience the wonders of spring on a naturalist-led Nature Walk around Boston Nature Center. Observe the beauty of spring flowers in bloom, listen to the birds as they start returning from their winter grounds, and watch for animal tracks in the fresh mud. (adults and children ages 4+, registration required)

Discover some of the fantastic creatures that inhabit Broadmoor’s vernal pool during Frogs, Polliwogs, and Fairies in Natick. Use hands-on activities to explore and learn what hides under the water and lives around this seasonal pool. (families, registration required)

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South of Boston

Explore the forests and wetlands of Moose Hill in Sharon as part of a Nature Egg Hunt.  Meet a costumed character as you learn about Moose Hill’s diverse egg-laying inhabitants. Have fun searching for hidden eggs…find the specially marked egg and win a prize! (adults and children ages 3+, registration required)

Experience and cultivate positive approaches to building resilience and happiness into everyday life during the Mindfulness & Woman’s Wellness Workshop at Moose Hill. This workshop .explores practices to empower women and includes a guided, mindful trail walk in nature. (adults, registration required)

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Cape Cod

See Bird Research in Action at Wellfleet Bay. Meet the bird banding team and learn about banding methods and the information gathered from this research. You will likely get to see live birds up-close and observe the banding process. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

Go on a Hawk Watch at Pilgrim Heights in North Truro for a chance to see migrating birds of prey. (all ages)

More on Cape Cod and Islands