Tag Archives: water

Fall River in Otis, MA © Geoffrey Coelho

Take 5: Babbling Brooks

While any amount of time spent in nature has been shown to boost your mood, reduce stress levels, and improve overall health and wellbeing, there is something particularly soothing about the gentle, continuous babbling of a forest stream. Close your eyes and picture a quiet spot in the woods somewhere, with moss-covered rocks and warm sunlight filtering down through the canopy, dappling the water and leaf litter with a haphazard checkerboard of verdant light.

Getting outside to enjoy special places like these can be challenging right now, so here are five gorgeous photos of babbling brooks from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest for you to enjoy. We hope that imagining yourself in the gentle repose of these scenes will bring you a moment of peace, serenity, and clarity.

Fall River in Otis, MA © Geoffrey Coelho
Fall River in Otis, MA © Geoffrey Coelho
Waterfall over mossy rocks at Mount Everett State Reservation, South Egremont, MA © Rebekah Ford
Waterfall over mossy rocks at Mount Everett State Reservation, South Egremont, MA © Rebekah Ford
Wahconah Falls in Dalton, MA © JG Coleman
Wahconah Falls in Dalton, MA © JG Coleman
Doane's Falls, Royalston, MA © Trevor Meunier
Doane’s Falls, Royalston, MA © Trevor Meunier
A hidden waterfall in Colrain, MA © Vivien Venskowski
A hidden waterfall in Colrain, MA © Vivien Venskowski
Anne Monnelly Carroll Canoeing at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

In Your Words: Anne Monnelly Carroll

In Your Words is a regular feature of Mass Audubon’s Explore member newsletter. Each issue, a Mass Audubon member, volunteer, staff member, or supporter shares his or her story—why Mass Audubon and protecting the nature of Massachusetts matters to them. If you have a story to share about your connection to Mass Audubon, email explore@massaudubon.org to be considered for In Your Words in a future issue!


Anne Monnelly Carroll Canoeing at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Anne Monnelly Carroll Canoeing with day campers at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary circa 1992

Mass Audubon’s Wildwood was the first overnight camp I attended. I was quite homesick at the start, but as the week progressed, I had several experiences that were transformative. One morning we woke before dawn and hiked Mount Wachusett to see the sunrise. I remember the lavender pre-dawn light and how exciting it was to be up before the sun. When we got off the mountain, it was hot and we were tired, but the best was yet to come.

The counselors brought us to a nearby bog, talking excitedly about a special ceremony, a sort of rite of passage to become “one with nature.” We walked along a boardwalk until we got to a spot where the water was deep and clear, and we completely immersed ourselves in the bog water. I can’t explain what made it so magical, but it clearly made an impression on me that has lasted all these years.

Water has always played a central role in my life. My first water adventures were with my parents in the Ozarks, where they would take me as a newborn down the Current River in a canoe, stopping to camp on gravel bars. In fact, many of my childhood family vacations took place outdoors: we hiked, canoed, camped, birdwatched, and snorkeled.

Looking back, I believe that day in the bog was so special in large part because of the Wildwood counselors. Their excitement and love of nature was infectious. I clearly caught the bug because years later, during summers off from college, I became a counselor myself at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary’s Nature Camp in Topsfield. There, Sanctuary Director Carol Decker became a mentor who showed me how to share the magic and wonder of nature with children.

As a result of these experiences, I have focused my career on protecting water—and my volunteer work on connecting children to the outdoors. My parents planted these seeds, and Mass Audubon nurtured their growth with its wonderful staff, programs, and wildlife sanctuaries. And I hope that I am doing the same for future generations.


Anne Monnelly Carroll is Director of the Office of Water Resources at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.