Celebrate Urban Wildlife Conservation with Mass Audubon

In celebration of Urban Wildlife Conservation Day, Mass Audubon sanctuaries across the state are hosting unique programs focused on urban wildlife this October. While Urban Wildlife Conservation Day takes place this year on October 8, Mass Audubon sanctuaries will be offering programs exploring Massachusetts urban wildlife throughout the first two weeks of October. 

Urban Wildlife Conservation Day is the kickoff to National Wildlife Refuge Week, which is observed annually during the second full week of October. This event was started by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to celebrate the important conservation work that the National Wildlife Refuge System accomplishes. 

Bird sitting on a tree.
Black-capped Chickadee

Bird Watching 

There are several opportunities to get out and do some urban birding with Mass Audubon in celebration of Urban Wildlife Conservation Day. On Saturday, October 1, Mass Audubon will be offering a guided birding experience at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Canter and Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, MA and at Magazine Beach Park Nature Center in Cambridge, MA. Search for common birds including Black-capped Chickadees, Mourning Doves, and Mallards and maybe catch a glimpse of a more uncommon bird migrating. 

These programs are both suitable for beginner bird watchers and will teach the basics of bird identification in unique settings that offer the potential to observe a variety of birds. 

Climate Café  

Participate in a Climate Café at Magazine Beach Park Nature Center on October 1 or at the New Bedford Public Library on October 5 and discuss local implications of climate change in a relaxed, informal setting. 

Climate Café conversations not only foster comfort and understanding of climate change and its local impacts, but they also equip participants with the skills and confidence they need to talk about climate change with the people they care about. 

Walk in Nature  

Hit the trails on Urban Wildlife Conservation Day at Boston Nature Center, October 8, with an experienced naturalist and learn how to identify wild edible plants. This program will focus on what to look for and how to safely and responsibly harvest the edible parts of the plants, from berries to flowers to roots and leaves. 


Learn to master your smartphone camera to capture and edit the best of urban nature on the go with a free intro to photography program at Magazine Beach Park Nature Center on October 8. Spend an hour learning how to capture different types of light, using various focal lengths, and practice bringing your photos to life with in-phone editing. 

In Your Words: Lorna Gibson

Mass Audubon Board Member and Professor

Lorna Gibson smiling in front of a green scenery.
Lorna Gibson

My mother always loved walking in nature. I wouldn’t say she was a birdwatcher, but she always fed the birds in the winter. It wasn’t until my older brother became interested in birdwatching that I started paying more attention to birds.

When I moved to Boston from Canada in 1984, I got one of those AMC books called Country Walks Near Boston. Several of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries were included, such as Broadmoor in Natick and Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. That was my first exposure to Mass Audubon, and as an avid walker and birdwatcher, I thought I needed to join this organization.

For years, my involvement consisted of mainly visiting sanctuaries until about 2000. At the time, I worked as a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT. My wife, Jeannie, had been doing community service with her class at Harvard Medical School and suggested I do the same with my students.

I would give a few talks about birds to the class and then we would visit Boston Nature Center in Mattapan and work on a variety of projects with the staff. From there, I joined the Advisory Council and then the Board of Directors. Now that I’m retired, I have more time to dedicate to Mass Audubon. I currently sit on several committees including Design Review, Governance, and Engagement.

Red-bellied Woodpecker on a tree covered in a dusting of snow.
Red-bellied Woodpecker © Cheryl Rose

I just love Mass Audubon. I love all that they do with kids (camps, nature preschools, working in the schools), land conservation, and advocacy, too. And now with the Action Agenda and an increased interest in nature and birding, Mass Audubon is stronger than ever before.

I still love visiting Broadmoor, walking by the marsh on the boardwalk, where you see kids getting so excited to spot a frog or turtle. And I enjoy checking out new Mass Audubon properties, like the Magazine Beach Park Nature Center in Cambridge. Being out in nature, in places like Boston Nature Center, Broadmoor, or Magazine Beach Park, saved me during the past few years; it was my solace and my sanctuary.

To learn more about Lorna’s research, including how woodpeckers avoid brain injury, visit lornagibson.org/video.