Category Archives: Get Outdoors

Green is for Nature

For over four decades, the rainbow Pride flag has been a symbol of hope and support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Mass Audubon is flying a newer version of the flag, the Progress Pride flag, to celebrate Pride Month at our wildlife sanctuaries. Learn more about the flag, what it means to Mass Audubon, and more ways to celebrate Pride outdoors.

Progress Pride Flag at Broadmoor

Get to Know the Flag

The original rainbow flag dates back to 1978, when it was first used in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Parade. It originally had eight colors (including pink and turquoise) but has since been trimmed down to six colors. Each stripe represents an important value: red is life, orange is healing, yellow is sunlight, blue is harmony, violet is spirit, and green is for nature. 

While the Progress Pride flag, developed by designer Daniel Quasar in 2018, still contains the original colors of the rainbow flag on one half, it also features five new colors that make up a chevron on the other half. The colors in these additional stripes represent gender non-conforming and transgender people (light blue, light pink, and white), People of Color (brown and black), and those living with AIDS (black). The triangle shape suggests forward progress, reflecting how far we have come and where we hope to get to in the future. 

Pride at Mass Audubon 

Nature is truly a place that welcomes everyone with open arms. No matter who you are or how you identify, the natural world offers an opportunity to find inner peace and love. The green stripe on the rainbow flag reminds us to do just that: seek out places that help us grow and prosper.  

Mass Audubon is dedicated to creating inclusive, equitable access to nature for people of all backgrounds and identities and making our wildlife sanctuaries a place of safety and belonging. Flying the Progress Pride flag demonstrates that commitment and acknowledges that Mass Audubon is made up of people with a broad range of identities—those who work at our organization and those who visit and support our efforts every single day. 

Throughout the month of June, Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries across the state are hosting Pride events for members of the LGBTQI2SA+ community. Relax at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan for an LGBTQIA2S+ Afternoon, explore somewhere new at the Green is for Nature Pride Walk at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, or join a Pride Month Game Night at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. See all upcoming Pride events across our network of sanctuaries here

Celebrating Across Massachusetts 

© Jim Leahy

There are also plenty of other organizations hosting nature-based events for the LGBTQIA2S+ community during Pride Month.

Backpack through the wilderness with leaders from the Venture Out Project, or hike across New England with GayOutdoors. The Chiltern Mountain Club organizes outdoor activities for LGBTQI+ people, including canoeing, biking, camping, and more. 

Share Your Pride 

We hope you will spend time this Pride Month in nature. Tag us in all of your outdoor activities on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! We can’t wait to see how you explore nature and the color green. 

Celebrating Wildlife in Massachusetts

World Wildlife Day is a time to appreciate and advocate for nature. As residents or visitors of Massachusetts, we are lucky to be able to enjoy a wide array of wildlife across our landscape – from animals as small as a Bog Copper Butterfly to giant Humpback Whales.

To help you celebrate on March 3, we’ve highlighted some plants and animals you should keep an eye out for as you explore the outdoors this spring! 

Blooming Skunk Cabbages 

Skunk Cabbage ermerging
Skunk Cabbage

While they may not look like a flower, Skunk Cabbages are one of the first flowers to bloom in the springtime. You can find them sprouting in wetlands with a curved hood-like structure (the spathe) surrounding a round flower-bearing spadix. Eventually, big bright green leaves will emerge. As their name suggests, Skunk Cabbages release a potent, skunk-like smell as it blooms.  

“Quacking” Wood Frogs 

Wood Frog
Wood Frog © Amanda DeRosa

True to their name, Wood Frogs live in forested areas and breed in the vernal pools. They are a brown or tan color, with a dark “mask” covering their eyes. Wood Frogs have ridges running down their sides and no pattern on their back. As you approach a vernal pool, listen for the distinct quacking sounds of the Wood Frogs that have congregated there.  

Nesting Carpenter Bees 

Carpenter Bee
Carpenter Bee © Meyer Franklin

Solitary bees, such as carpenter bees, sweat bees, and mining bees, are a type of bee that overwinter in Massachusetts. Many of these bees are hole-nesters, making their home out of hollowed-out twigs or tunnels in the soil. In the winter, solitary bee eggs develop into larvae and emerge in April as young bees. You can tell the difference between carpenter bees and fuzzy bumblebees by their completely black, shiny, hairless abdomen.  

Returning Killdeer 

Killdeer © Ken DiBiccari

Named after their shrill kill-deer, kill-deer call, Killdeer are one species of shorebird that you don’t need to go to the beach to enjoy. They can be found in fields and pastures, on playgrounds, lawns, unpaved driveways, beach dunes, and other open areas. When a predator ventures too close to their young, the Killdeer parent begins a classic distraction display, which includes flopping along the ground with its wings dragging as though injured and constantly flashing its brightly marked tail to deter the potential threat.  

Denning Coyotes 

Coyotes © George Brehm

After their mating season wraps up in February, coyotes begin to search for a suitable den site to raise their young. Coyote dens are typically hidden in downed trees, stumps, or culverts. Coyotes resemble a German shepherd in appearance but have pointed ears that stand erect, a more pointed muzzle, and a very bushy tail that hangs down in a vertical position. While you may see coyotes any time of day, they are most active at dawn and dusk. Usually, coyotes will avoid human interaction, but it’s always best to observe them from a distance.  

What are you seeing on our adventures? Share in the comments or tag us on social using @massaudubon.