During the Celtics game on November 30, 15-year-old Mass Audubon Youth Climate Leader, Ollie Perrault, was given the Heroes Among Us Award. For 25 years, the Boston Celtics have recognized people across the Commonwealth who are making a difference in our communities. This year, Governor-elect Maura Healey presented Perrault as the recipient of this prestigious award.
As an added bonus, Perrault also had the opportunity to meet Prince William and Princess Kate, who were sitting courtside as part of their brief trip to Boston for The Earthshot Prize 2022. “I told them how incredibly inspired I was to see them taking up the climate cause by dedicating themselves to policy change and supporting climate mitigation efforts by implementing innovative, sustainable solutions,” said Perrault. “I also wanted to thank them for recognizing the power and importance of youth voices in the climate conversation and taking some time to highlight some of the incredible student-led organizations I am a part of.”
Perrault became a Youth Climate Leader when she was 11 years old. The Youth Climate Leadership Program provides young adults and youth the support and tools they need to advocate for climate action in their communities. “I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to spread the word about my work and to highlight the issues and solutions that young people are prioritizing today,” she said.
Perrault’s passion and dedication to making a difference is inspirational for people of all ages, and she is the perfect example of a Heroes Among Us. In the days following the ceremony, Perrault reflected, “I have been feeling incredibly hopeful to know just how many people out there support my work and I am ready to take this recognition back to Youth Climate Action Now and the Youth Climate Leadership Program to inspire more youth leaders to join the climate conversation and continue educating, empowering, and advocating for our right to a livable future.”
To learn more about Perrault and what drove her to become a Youth Climate Leader, read what she wrote for our In Your Words column in March of 2022.
In the distance, a Red-bellied Woodpecker drums on a tree for food while a plump squirrel scampers through the browning leaf litter on the forest floor. A Broad-winged Hawk shrieks somewhere in the grasslands beyond the tree line, and a small garter snake slithers quietly through the commotion. What other sights and sounds can you experience during a fall hike? Find out by exploring these 10 trails.
Trail with Still Waters
See a cloudy sky reflecting off the glass-like waters of the Grassy Pond at Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary in Falmouth along the Grassy Pond Trail. Walk around the entire pond while listening to birds high in the trees. Before heading back, take a break on the wooden benches of the Grassy Pond Overlook to soak in the tranquility of the site.
Ponds, Saltmarshes, and Beaches
On Martha’s Vineyard, almost every trail at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary passes some form of water—combine three of the trails to circle the perimeter of the Sanctuary. Start on Sassafras Trail to cross over Turtle Pond, then continue along Shad Trail to stand on the shore of Major’s Cove on Sengekontacket Pond and meander along the beach. Link back with the Sassafras Trail to rest on a bench overlooking the Pond, then discover the Marsh Trail with dramatic views of State Beach and Moffett Cove beyond the tidal salt marshes.
Take the Boardwalk Less Traveled
Walk along almost half a mile of boardwalks, over a marsh and a river on the River Walk at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield. Look for fall and winter sparrows like the White-throated, Field, Swamp, American tree, and Song sparrows, in the maple forest and shrubby thickets.
A Fall Sense for Sensory Trails
Watch waterfowl like Hooded Mergansers and American Black and Ring-necked ducks cruise the shallow waters of Kingfisher Pond and Teal Marsh from the boardwalk on the Sensory Trail at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk. The boardwalk also has a deck that overlooks both the pond and marsh, before continuing to Beech Grove Trail.
Rock and Roll
You could easily spend the whole day wandering through the 12 miles of trails at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, but make sure you spend some time in the Rocky Grotto on the Rockery Trail. The narrow caves and spiraling rock pathways were built in 1905 by Thomas Proctor, who started living at the estate in the late 1890s. The loop around the Rockery Pond is surrounded by a mix of native and non-native trees, which was once a private arboretum built by Proctor.
Lone Wolf Legend Walk
Massachusetts has plenty of predators like coyotes, bobcats, and black bears, but our forests are free from the howling packs of hungry wolves. According to local lore at the High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne, the last wolf that lived in the area lived at a geological feature named Wolve’s Den, found at the corner of North Trail and Wolve’s Den Loop Trail. As you travel along the trail, think of how different our wildlife and ecosystems may have been just 200 years ago, when the last wolf sighting in Massachusetts was recorded.
Enchanted by History
Other evidence of life from 200 hundred years ago can be seen from the Enchanted Forest Trail at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester. Weave between remnants of stone walls built in the late 1700s and early 1800s, then make your way to the Sagatabscot Ridge Trail where a small quarry is located on the western end near the Piggery Trail.
Don’t Overlook This Spot
At the overlook site on Fox Trail at Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary in Mattapan, you can feel right in the center of the wetlands by being surrounded by native cattails. Make sure to bring (or borrow) binoculars to look out across the area for any Red-tailed Hawks.
Seven Viewing Areas, One Sanctuary
There are seven observation sites at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, six of which are in the first half mile from the nature center. To get to the seventh overlook, you have to get on Little Farm Pond Trail, which starts at the 3-car parking lot off Farm Road just east of the intersection with Lake Street in Sherborn. The trail leads you to a 0.3-mile loop, with benches on the eastern lookout of Little Farm Pond.
A Special Habitat
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellfleet is home to some of the rarest habitats on Cape Cod. Take the Try Island trail to pass Mockernut Hickories and Black Oak trees that are nearly 100 years old. This trail is a short loop that offers salt marsh overlooks and expansive views of Wellfleet Harbor.