Author Archives: Hillary T.

About Hillary T.

Where: Mass Audubon Headquarters, Lincoln Who: Massachusetts transplant by way of Florida and New York. Raising two young girls, who she hopes will be budding naturalists Favorite part of the job: Learning something new every day from some of the smartest and most enthusiastic groups of people

Bald Eagle c Dominic Poliseno

What To Do This Weekend: Jan 19-20

Before the snow comes, learn how to ID trees in winter, practice yoga, search for eagles and owls, look for animal tracks, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Bald Eagle c Dominic Poliseno
Bald Eagle © Dominic Poliseno

Greater Boston

As part of Winter Tree Identification at Boston Nature Center, learn identification techniques. and how trees survive harsh winter conditions. Inside, warm up while making sap and leaf comparisons. (adults registration required)

Experience Yoga and Mindfulness in Nature at Habitat in Belmont. After a 45-minute slow and gentle yoga class indoors, head outside to explore the trails. (adults, registration required)

Go on a Naturalist Walk at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln to explore the habitats at the sanctuary. (adults and children ages 12+)

Get the Most Out of Your Digital Camera at Broadmoor in Natick. This workshop will cover optical and digital zoom, white balance, ISO, resolution, proper lighting, focus, depth of field and composition. (adults, registration required)

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North Shore

Focus on Merrimack River Birds with Joppa Flats and look for loons, grebes, gulls, and many species of diving ducks flock to this area. (adults, registration required)

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Central Massachusetts

Go on an Owl Prowl at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester to practice owl calls while searching the sanctuary trails for these creatures of the night. End the evening indoors with hot chocolate and games. (families, registration required)

Connecticut River Valley

See a shadow puppet presentation of Jane Yolen’s classic book Owl Moon at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton. After the show, we’ll take a walk in the dark, brisk winter woods to call for owls. (families, registration required)

During Tracking and Animal Signs at Laughing Brook in Hampden, learn to read the tracks and signs left by animals that live in our area. (families, registration required)

Discover Bald Eagles at Arcadia with a presentation on the life history of eagles and the eagle restoration project. Then head outside to search for these magnificent birds. (adults, registration required)

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South of Boston

Join in on a Fairy House Workshop at Oak Knoll in Attleboro to learn about the legends of the fairies and trolls that live at Oak Knoll. After a hike, head back to the Nature Center to build your very own fairy house. (all ages, registration required)

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Cape Cod and Islands

Explore the beaches, dunes, and waters of the Outer Cape In Search of Winter Birds including snow buntings, horned larks, sea ducks, loons, and snowy owls. (adults, registration required)

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What To Do This Weekend: Jan 12-13

Go on a winter hike, search for birds by day and owls by night, look for animal tracks, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Red-breasted Nuthatch © Richard Alvarnaz

Greater Boston

As part of Survive Winter: Coping Strategies for Your Happiest, Healthiest Self at Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, go on a hike that ends with a thoughtful, meditative silence and then move indoors for a session of restorative, gentle yoga. (adults, registration required)

Go on an Owl Prowl Adventure for Families or Adults at Broadmoor in Natick to walk through fields and forests under moon and starlight listening for our resident screech, barred and great horned owls. (registration required)

Enjoy a Family Bird Walk at Boston Nature Center to search for the most common birds found in Boston! Mini-activities along the hike will include singing like a bird, a bird food hunt, and a closer look at feathers, nests, and other bird related artifacts. (families, registration required)

Bird Away the Winter Blues at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Look for winter residents and some surprises like possible yellow-bellied sapsucker and red-breasted nuthatch on this peaceful walk. (adults, registration required)

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North Shore

Take a Plant and Animal Adaptation Hike at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Stop along the way to identify mammal tracks, watch birds puff up their down feathers for insulation, and marvel over tree buds. (adults, registration required)

Meet Backyard Birds at Joppa Flats in Newburyport. Bird Banding Station Manager Ben Flemer presents demonstrations on bird research and banding. You’ll learn about your own backyard birds and why they’re here while watching scientific research in action.

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Connecticut River Valley

Celebrate Arcadia’s 75th Birthday with cake, wish making art, and an engaging talk about the wildlife sanctuary’s history. (all ages, registration required)

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South of Boston

Go on an armchair travel adventure during Desserts and Destinations: Brazil, Birding the Southern States at North River in Marshfield. Through photos and stories, experience the almost 500 species of birds, mammals, flowers and butterflies they encountered. (adults, registration required)

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Cape Cod

Enjoy a Winter Walk at Wellfleet Bay. Discover the tranquility of the sanctuary while searching for winter waterfowl and other birdlife, tracks and traces of wildlife, and whatever else crosses our path.

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What To Do This Weekend: Jan 5-6

Learn about birding, go for a hike, help clean up trails, look for owls, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Northern cardinal

North Shore

During Ipswich River’s Birding for Beginners in Topsfield, learn how to choose the right binoculars and what to look and listen for to help identify these beautiful creatures. (adults, registration required)

Stop by Joppa Flats in Newburyport for a chance to Meet Backyard Birds. You’ll learn about your own backyard birds and why they’re here while watching scientific research in action.

More on the North Shore

Greater Boston

Go on a Saturday Morning Hike at Moose Hill in Sharon to learn about the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests. (all ages, registration required)

Help out at Habitat in Belmont with a little New Year Trail Tending. (all ages, registration required)

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South of Boston

Take part in an Owl Prowl Adventure at Tidmarsh in Plymouth to search for resident owls and those who may just be passing through. (adults and children ages 14+, registration required)

Explore the different habitats found around Oak Knoll in Attleboro as part of a Family Habitat Day. Look for interesting animals, plants, and see what has visited the sanctuary. (families, registration required)

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Central Massachusetts

Go on a New Year’s Hike at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton for Fresh air, beautiful trails, good company, and some seasonal natural history along the way. (adults, registration required)

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Connecticut River Valley

As part of a free Signs of the Season Walk at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton, enjoy the woods and meadows at a relaxed pace. Find out about the ecological relationships among animals and their habitats as well as tips for identifying birds by sight and sound. (adults, registration required)

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Tufted Titmouse

What To Do This Weekend & New Year’s: Dec 28-Jan 1

Look for birds, listen to a story, go for a hike, take part in a winter survival challenge, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Tufted Titmouse

Greater Boston

Go on a free inter-generational Morning Bird Walk at Habitat in Belmont. Birders and non-birders of all ages and skill levels are welcome.

Attend Nature Story Hour at Boston Nature Center to listen to a nature-themed story then join a teacher naturalist for a short walk around the trails. (families, registration required)

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North Shore

Enjoy Saturday Morning Birding around Newburyport–one of the best year-round birding locations in the country–with Joppa Flats. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome to join. (adults)

Are you up for a Outdoor Winter Survival Challenge? Using teamwork and problem solving, build shelters, collect firewood, and find food and a water source around Ipswich River in Topsfield. End by roasting marshmallows over a fire and trying out some pine needle tea. (families, registration required)

As part of New Year’s Madness with Joppa Flats hit the birding hot spots around the greater Newburyport area and on Cape Ann looking for Snowy Owl, Northern Shrike, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Harlequin Duck, and other sea ducks, loons, and grebes. (adults, registration required)

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South of Boston

Go on a free New Year’s Day Beach Ramble at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth. Walk from the field station through winter meadow to our rocky coastline, hike over glacial moraine and then explore our sandy beach ecosystem. (all ages, registration required)

Ring in the New Year with a free First Day Hike at Oak Knoll in Attleboro. (all ages, registration required)

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Central Massachusetts

Hike (or Snowshoe) into the New Year at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester, looking for tracks and signs of wildlife along the way. After, warm up with coffee and cocoa. (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

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White-breasted Nuthatch

What To Do This Weekend: Dec 22-23

Go for a hike, make a solstice card, look for birds, listen to a story, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

White-breasted Nuthatch

South of Boston

Go on a Holiday Hike at Oak Knoll in Attleboro and visit a pond, forest, field, and vernal pool. After the hike we will make special bird feeders as a gift to nature. (adults and children, registration required)

Make Solstice Cards with Linocut Printing at North River in Marshfield. Explore creative ways to add color to our prints with other printing styles and washes. (adults, registration required)

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Greater Boston

Go for a Sunday Stroll at Stony Brook in Norfolk. See what’s happening on the sanctuary and stop to enjoy any interesting and unusual sights we come upon. (adults and children, registration required)

Head to Boston Nature Center for Nature Story Hour. Listen to a nature-themed story and then go for a short walk around the trails to learn about the resident animals and plants. (families, registration required)

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North Shore

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

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Central Massachusetts

Animals in Winter is the theme of this week’s Preschool Story Hour at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. Dress for the weather and be prepared to go outside! (families, registration required)

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When Nature Heroes Come Together

When nature heroes come together, what they can accomplish is simply amazing. They can fight for and get environmental legislation passed. They can protect at-risk wildlife and the habitats they rely on. They can encourage young kids to connect with nature and enable college students to pursue careers in the environment.

Just take a look at a few of the ways Mass Audubon’s 125,000 members made a difference this year.

NATURE HEROES like you helped protect an additional 923 acres of land, bringing Mass Audubon’s total to 38,004 acres of conserved land.

NATURE HEROES like you helped create and maintain 255 miles of trails across 58 wildlife sanctuaries.

NATURE HEROES like you supported 47 scientific research studies that use our sanctuaries as outdoor laboratories to better understand our natural world.

NATURE HEROES like you provided scholarships for 1,211 summer campers attending one of our 19 day camps and Wildwood overnight camp.

NATURE HEROES like you inspired 45 Coastal Waterbird staff who monitor 183 sites over 140 miles of nesting habitat for Piping Plovers, terns, and American Oystercatchers.

Piping Plover chick © Matt Filosa

NATURE HEROES like you advocated for 173 communities to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) since we successfully helped write and pass this legislation 18 years ago.

NATURE HEROES like you attended one of 7 Climate Cafes, a judgment-free, informal environment for people to discuss climate change solutions with their peers.

NATURE HEROES like you submitted 2,054 firefly observations during the inaugural year of Firefly Watch. These reports came from 37 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.

We recognize that today, more than ever, the stakes are high and that it’s critically important to enlist the help of nature heroes across Massachusetts. Environmental safeguards are being rolled back, conservation is underfunded across the country, and climate change looms large.

But, there is hope. And, that hope is in the people, like you, who can and will do something to ensure a resilient, healthy, and even more beautiful world.

Be a nature hero today … for wildlife, for land, and for people.

What To Do This Weekend: Dec 15-16

Practice yoga, search for owls, try science experiments, go on nature walks, look for winter birds, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Screech owl © Kevin McCarthy

Greater Boston

As part of Yoga and Mindfulness in Nature at Habitat in Belmont, enjoy a 45-minute slow and gentle yoga class indoors and then head outside to explore the trails. (adults, registration required)

During Science Experiments at Boston Nature Center, explore natural wonders. From egg drops to clouds in jars, we have it all. (families, registration required)

Go on an Owl Prowl Adventure under the Moon and Meteors for families and adults at Broadmoor in Natick. Learn about owl calls, behavior, and habitat as we search and listen for resident screech, barred and great horned owls. (families, registration required)

Take a Naturalist Walk at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln to explore and appreciate the world around you. Cover the habitats across the sanctuary from wetlands to uplands as you look for wildlife, trees, and fungi. (adults and children ages 12+)

Join a Sunday Saunter at Moose Hill in Sharon and stroll along the trails to experience nature through the seasons. (adults, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North Shore

Get an Intro to Tracking Mammals at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Following the indoor introduction, hike the sanctuary to search for tracks, chews, and scat. (adults, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More on the North Shore

South of Boston

Go on a Winter Wonder Walk at Tidmarsh in Plymouth to search of scat and tracks, look to the trees for roosting owls, and scour the streams for winter water fowl. 

Experience a Twilight Owl Prowl Allens Pond in South Dartmouth by walking 1 mile without flashlights in order to hear the three species of owls that nest on the sanctuary. (adults, registration required)

Explore Oak Knoll in Attleboro after dark by going on an Owl Prowl. Start off indoors with an interactive presentation and owl pellet dissection. Then head outside for a night hike to listen for evidence of our feathery friends. (adults and children ages 7+, registration required)

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Cape Cod

Go Birding on a Winter Beach in Eastham to search for snow buntings, horned larks, sea ducks, loons, and snowy owls. (adults, registration required)

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What To Do This Weekend: Dec 8-9

Look for seals, go on a holly walk, make a wreath or ornament, watch a documentary, search for birds, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

© Jim Sonia

Greater Boston

Go on a Family Bird Walk to learn how to use binoculars to search for the most common birds found at the Boston Nature Center. Mini-activities along the hike will include singing like a bird, a bird food hunt, and a closer look at feathers, nests, and other bird related artifacts.

Kids can whip up some Winter Lotions and Potions at Stony Brook in Norfolk. Make some Fizzy Bath Bomb Cupcakes, lotion fish, and more as we get into the holiday spirit. (children ages 6-16, registration required)

Watch the documentary Straws at Broadmoor in Natick. Actor and Director Tim Robbins narrates a colorful history of man’s origins and obsession with using straws and marine researchers, citizen activists and business owners discuss how they’re making a sea of change…one plastic straw at a time. (adults, registration required)

Celebrate the start of the holiday season by creating a beautiful and unique wreath to take home during the Wreath Making Workshop at Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton. During the workshop, we’ll learn about evergreens and their adaptations to winter. (adults, registration required)

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North Shore

This year, the Geminid Meteor Shower reaches maximum activity on the night of December 13, when as many as 120 shooting stars might be seen each hour under clear skies. Meet at Ipswich River in Topsfield days ahead to discuss the nature of meteor showers, their origins, and the best ways to observe them. (adults and children ages 10+, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More on the North Shore

South of Boston

Take a Seaside Seal Stroll family hike on Gooseberry Island in Westport that is focused on learning about and looking for harbor and grey seals. Learn about their lives, what brings them to our area and proper etiquette for viewing these protected species in their natural habitat. (families, registration required)

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Cape Cod and Islands

Go on a Holiday Holly Hike at Ashumet Holly in Falmouth. Learn about the natural history of the sanctuary’s 50 original hollies propagated by former property owner and Massachusetts’s first Agriculture Secretary, Wilfred Wheeler. (adults and children ages 12+, registration required)

Celebrate Christmas in Edgartown. Felix Neck will host a pop-up natural history museum with live animals, exhibits, and hands-on activities.

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Central Massachusetts

Head to Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester for the Holiday Nature Crafts Open House  to view our tree decorated with imaginative ornaments handcrafted from natural materials, and then make your own.

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What To Do This Weekend: Dec 1-2

Go on a hike, brush up on your photography, draw hawks, search for birds, learn about feathers, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Eastern Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebirds

Greater Boston

Go on a Saturday Morning Hike at Moose Hill in Sharon. Along the way, find out about the changing season, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests. (adults and children, registration required)

Get the Most of Your Digital Camera at Broadmoor in Natick. This workshop is designed to help you understand the features of digital cameras, and, if nature allows, use the sanctuary to practice techniques to help improve your photography. (adults, registration required)

During Winter Backyard Birding and Crafts at Boston Nature Center learn how to use binoculars, identify different bird species, and create seed and fruit art for the birds to enjoy. (families, registration encouraged)

Help with an Autumn Cleanup at Habitat in Belmont by raking, cutting firewood, hauling brush, and using hand tools, (adults and children, registration required)

Draw Hawks and Falcons at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton. See hawks and falcons close up and discover more about these birds of prey while you learn to draw them from life with pencil and paper. (adults, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North Shore

As part of Fascinating Feathers at Ipswich River in Topsfield, discuss molt, pigmentation, and different feather types and function. Following an indoor presentation, walk the sanctuary looking for few feathers on the ground to identify. (adults, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More on the North Shore

South of Boston

Go on a Twilight Owl Prowl at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth. Hear the three species of owls that nest on the sanctuary on a one mile walk without flashlights. (adults, registration required)

Explore the different habitats found around Oak Knoll in Attleboro as part of a Family Habitat Day. Look for interesting animals, plants, and see what has visited the sanctuary. (families, registration required)

Head to the Holiday Open House at North River in Marshfield for cider and snacks while shopping for unique and locally handmade gifts! Plus, watch woodturning and bird carving demonstrations by local artisans.

More in South of Boston

Connecticut River Valley

Enjoy the woods and meadows found at Arcadia’s 700-plus acres in Easthampton and Northampton as we explore the sanctuary at a relaxed pace during a Signs of the Season Walk.

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Rescuing Sea Turtles on Cape Cod

As winter approaches, the water temperature of Cape Cod Bay slowly drops, and sea turtles should make their way south to warmer tropical waters. However, each year since the late 1970s, some juvenile turtles do not make the journey in time. Trapped by the hook of the Cape, the turtles become disoriented. When the water reaches about 50° by mid-November, the turtles are too cold to eat, drink, or swim, and become “cold-stunned.”

Maureen Duffy, a member of the Wellfleet Bay Turtle Team, monitors a rescued Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

And every year, staff and volunteers from Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary patrol the beaches, rescuing these turtles. This year is no different. Since the season began earlier this fall, Wellfleet has encountered more than 630 cold stunned sea turtles.

During the Thanksgiving freeze, when temperatures plummeted overnight, more than 220 endangered sea turtles stranded on Cape Cod. Wellfleet Bay’s dedicated team of rescuers patrolled the beaches day and night in search of cold-stunned turtles trapped in the surf, and had to deal with the full force of the weather for more than 48 hours straight.

Of the 220, only approximately 50 were alive when rushed to the wildlife sanctuary’s turtle intake unit for weighing, measuring, and assessment. Volunteer drivers were lined up to transport the turtles to the Animal Care Center in Quincy operated by the New England Aquarium, Mass Audubon’s partner in this important rescue-and-rehabilitation mission.

Typically, cold-stunned turtles rescued in November are still alive with a very good chance of recovery. But the unusual cold-snap produced conditions more common in late December when most of the turtles that strand are dead.

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Director Bob Prescott, who has been monitoring sea turtles for more than 35 years, notes climate change is causing more and more strandings. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the water in the Gulf of Maine was too cold for sea turtles. But warming ocean temperatures have allowed sea turtles to enter the Gulf of Maine and some cannot get out before the water temperature drops.

There’s still several months left in the season and the team on the Cape will be hard at work. Be sure to follow Wellfleet Bay on Facebook for the latest information. You can also learn more about sea turtles and how to support the Sea Turtle Rescue Project.