Tag Archives: Earth Month

Dutchman's Breeches © Deborah Kellogg

Take 5: Spring Wildflowers

April in many parts of Massachusetts can feel a bit like nature is holding its breath, so that on any given morning you might wake up to find the world outside transformed from gray to green (or, as last Friday proved, blanketed in white one more time). Never fear, spring wildflower season is upon us! These bright harbingers of spring burst forth from the long-dormant earth in a dazzling variety of colors, shapes, and arrangements.

There’s an advantage to blossoming early—plenty of sunshine to provide energy before the trees fully leaf out and obscure the sun’s rays. The majority of spring wildflowers need to bloom, be pollinated, and store enough food for the following year—all before the leaves on neighboring trees have fully appeared. Some of the earliest species (and those needing the most direct sunlight) are known as spring ephemerals. These are plants that, after flowering, virtually disappear in a few short weeks.

Timing Is Everything

While the exact timing can vary due to variations in elevation or temperature, including the warming temperatures caused by climate change, if you want to catch a glimpse of Dutchman’s breeches and trout lily, make sure you get out by the first week of May; even sooner if you’re looking for bloodroot, which in some regions is already setting seed by the end of April.

You’ll see the greatest diversity of spring wildflowers around the middle of May, including red trillium in deciduous forests and jack-in-the-pulpit in wetlands. You’ll find the bright-red, nodding flowers of wild columbine perched on rocky outcrops. Last to the party in late May are the orchids: pink lady’s slipper is more common than most people realize and grows beneath pines and oaks, but you have to be lucky to stumble across yellow lady’s slipper or showy orchid in pockets of rich woodlands.

Learn More

Read up about spring wildflower season on our website, grab a copy of the classic go-to Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, or take an upcoming wildflowers program at a sanctuary near you. Please enjoy these five photos of spectacular native spring wildflowers from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

And don’t forget to check out all the great Earth Month things going on at Mass Audubon—Earth Day is this Thursday, April 22!

Jack-in-the-Pulpit © Anne Greene
Jack-in-the-Pulpit © Anne Greene
Dutchman's Breeches © Deborah Kellogg
Dutchman’s Breeches © Deborah Kellogg
Red Trillium © Allison Bell
Red Trillium © Allison Bell
Yellow Trout Lily © Richard Welch
Yellow Trout Lily © Richard Welch
Bloodroot © Maili Waters
Bloodroot © Maili Waters

Your Mass Audubon Earth Week Calendar

April 18 marks the beginning of Earth Week 2020. This year, activities have gone completely virtual so we can still safely convene around a common goal: Climate Action. If you don’t know where or how to start celebrating, we’ve compiled a Climate Action Calendar to guide your festivities. Download an interactive copy of the calendar.

Day 1, April 18:

Earth Day 2020 Boston Facebook Live Rally, 10 am–1 pm

Kick off Earth Week by joining Boston Earth Day’s Facebook live event. Throughout the day, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from various experts (such as City Councilor Michelle Wu and Mass Audubon’s very own Climate Change Program Director, Alexandra Vecchio), engage with others in the Massachusetts climate action community, and listen to some great music.

Day 2, April 19:

Take the Pledge to Vote, All Day

A consistent voter wields the power of voice. Mass Audubon and the Environmental Voter Project are working together to remind you to vote in each election. These simple reminders can dramatically increase someone’s likelihood of voting.

Day 3, April 20:

Mass Audubon Virtual Climate Café, 7–8:30 pm

Join Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary to discuss and engage in climate solutions. While we’re socially distancing, login and learn about the origins of Earth Day, find out more about greenwashing, and discover how you can be involved and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Registration is required. A link to the virtual cafe will be sent out approximately four hours in advance of the start time.

Day 4, April 21:

Electric Cars Are Greener Than You Think 12–1 pm

Join the Green Energy Consumer Alliance in discussing electric vehicles and climate change. Learn how clean electricity mixes, especially those implemented locally in towns and cities across Massachusetts, are guiding us towards a zero-carbon future.

ACE’s 6th Annual Earth Week Climate Teach-In, 1–2 pm

This is a great event for educators and their students that includes climate change trivia, Q&A with special guests, and climate curriculum in celebration of Earth Day.

Ask me Anything (AMA): Climate Change and Wetland Restoration – Submit Your Questions at 2 pm

Ever wonder about the mysterious, climate fighting power our local wetlands wield? Hop on over to @MassAudubon’s Instagram Story to submit your questions to Lauren Kras, Mass Audubon’s Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary Director. Lauren will answer the questions on April 23. *You must have an Instagram account to submit a question*

Day 5, April 22 (Earth Day):

Earth Day Youth Climate Strike: Day One, All Day

  • Day one of the three-day virtual youth climate strike begins with collective power, unity, and environmental justice through storytelling and community building. Strike with Us’ National Live Stream: Storytelling highlights the voices of people on the frontline of climate change, Indigenous, and POC (people of color) leaders. Register >

Eyewitness: Earth Day Storytelling Slam, 12–1:30 pm

Climate Generation’s live, national event aims to share personal experiences about climate change including stories, poems, and musical performances. 

Day 6, April 23:

Earth Day Youth Climate Strike Day Two, All Day

  • Today’s focus is fossil fuel divestment. At Strike with Us’ National Live Stream: Divest, participants can find out how corporations are investing in the climate crisis by investing in fossil fuels, and why stopping this is one of the most important ways we can address the climate emergency. Register >

Food and Agriculture Seminar, 9 am–12 pm

In partnership with Earth Day Network, We Don’t Have Time’s 2020 Climate Conference includes this international seminar on food and agriculture’s impact on climate change globally. Tune in to learn from speakers from the UN, Project Drawdown, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

AMA: Climate Change and Wetland Restoration, 2 pm

Lauren Kras, Mass Audubon’s Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary Director, is taking over our Instagram account to answer all YOUR questions about Climate Change and Wetland Restoration! Hop on over to @MassAudubon’s Instagram story to see these questions answered live. *You must have an Instagram account to view our story*

Day 7, April 24:

Earth Day Youth Climate Strike Day Three, All Day

  • The final day of striking focuses on the urgency of effecting political change through inspiring youth across the nation to register to vote. Participate in a digital, voter registration challenge to see which region of the country can register the most voters and call on elected officials to support advocacy. Register >
  • You can also join the Worcester Strike: Political Action, 12–1 pm and 7–8:30 pm

Birds, Bark, and Brews (21+), 4–5 pm

Raise a glass to mother nature while learning about the basics of birding and tree identification! Zoe Davis, Project Coordinator at Climate Ready Boston, will host Tree ID 101 and bring her extensive background in urban climate resilience planning, climate municipality preparedness, and land stewardship to the lesson.

Day 8, April 25:

Climate Hackathon, 9 am–12 pm

This isn’t a broadcast, it’s a hackathon! Working in small groups, hackathon-ers will explore communication, design, technology, and sustainability to work towards solving the climate crisis. You don’t have to be a computer programmer to participate.

Looking for other ways to engage this month?

Tune into our last AMA of April. Submit your questions about Climate Change and Urban Food Systems on April 28 at 2 pm on our Instagram for Nia Keith, Mass Audubon’s Statewide Climate Change Education Manager, to answer them on Thursday, April 30!