Archive of Selected Past Programs and Events
Note that most of our more recent Monthly Meeting programs are recorded. Links to recordings hosted by SudburyTV are marked with .
Wednesday, June 25
(Webcast) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Dick Gelpke talking about Murder, Merriment & Monahan's - Life at Lake Boon 1850-1950
Local historian, Dick Gelpke, presents the 2nd in a series of three presentations on the history of Lake Boon. This chapter
will cover the period from 1850 to about WWII, concentrating on the people and events around the lake and the dramatic growth
of population. Lake Boon became a recreation destination for Bostonians during the 1920’s through 1950’s. Gelpke will
tell the story of several infamous murders and other mischief of that period. The presentation includes images of
many local landmarks, now gone.
Dick Gelpke is a long time Lake Boon resident, retired from the Department of Geography and Earth Science at the University
of Massachusetts Boston, where he concentrated on historical and environmental issues, and physical geography.
Wednesday, May 28
(Webcast) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Jeffrey S. Cramer talking about Henry D. Thoreau’s Relationship With Rivers
Jeffrey S. Cramer will talk about Henry D. Thoreau’s relationship with rivers, looking at the river
as both a solid yet fluid feature of the landscape as well as a spiritual symbol. Thoreau found a
personal reflection in the “chips and weeds,” that floated past on the river, “fulfilling their fate.”
As Cramer wrote in The Quotable River, for Thoreau “a mountain was never just a mountain, a river never
merely a river.” Please join us for a special evening as we hear about why Thoreau thought “what a
piece of wonder the river is.”
Jeffrey S. Cramer is the editor of Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition, I to Myself: An Annotated
Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, The Quotable Thoreau and The Portable Thoreau
(Penguin, 2012), among others. Jim Flemming, of Wisconsin Public Radio, recently said, "Jeffrey
Cramer lives and breathes Thoreau. He may know more about the bard at Walden Pond than anyone else
alive." Cramer is the Curator of Collections at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods. He has appeared
on various radio and television programs, including "On Point with Tom Ashbrook," WUMB-Boston's
Commonwealth Journal, Wisconsin Public Radio's "To the Best of Our Knowledge," and C-SPAN's Book-TV.
His essays and other writings have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The Literary Review, and The
Christian Science Monitor, and other journals, and have appeared in such collections as The Reality of
Breastfeeding, Contemporary Literary Criticism, and The Robert Frost Encyclopedia.
Author’s website: www.jeffreyscramer.com.
Wednesday, April 23
(Webcast) Friends Annual Meeting with OARS talking about Water Chestnut Mapping of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers
OARS will present the results of two years of mapping the invasive water
chestnut plant in the Assabet River, and one year of mapping it throughout the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers. Learn about the impacts of water
chestnut, where it comes from, and the prospects for managing it. OARS will be providing several ways that residents can get involved in keeping this
serious threat under control!
Suzanne Flint, OARS Staff Scientist, has been in charge of mapping the
extent of water chestnut on the Assabet River since 2012 and on the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord rivers in 2013.
Alison Field-Juma, OARS Executive Director, has been working with municipalities, non-profits and volunteers to develop ways to control water
chestnut in the SuAsCo watershed.
OARS (website) is the watershed organization for the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord
rivers, dedicated to restoring and protecting the three rivers through science-based advocacy, education, and recreation. Founded in 1986, OARS is a non-profit that works through volunteer citizen scientists and a
professional staff to understand the causes of river degradation and find solutions that build sustainability and resilience into our water resources.
Saturday, April 5
(Webcast) Learn about the Threatened Turtles of Massachusetts and how Local Communities and Schools are Working to Save Them!
Learn about two local, threatened turtle species from Jared Green, who has first-hand experience tracking and catching these elusive reptiles.
Families are welcome and you can meet our resident Blanding’s turtles.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex is home to the federally-endangered Northern
Red-bellied Cooter and the state-threatened Blanding’s turtle. Both species have seen severe population declines in the last several decades due to
habitat loss and mortality from motor vehicles. To curb the loss of these fascinating freshwater turtle species, the USFWS has been working to protect
and enhance existing and new populations. A population of Northern Red-bellied Cooters is being augmented at Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
and a new population of Blanding's turtles is being established at the Assabet River NWR using a conservation technique called head-starting, with
local schools raising the turtle hatchlings.
Jared Green, is a graduate student at the University of Georgia who has worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service since 2011.
Jared will talk about the history of both species in Massachusetts and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recent efforts to save them.
For information on how you can help save Blanding's Turtles, see Blandings Turtles.
Wednesday, March 19
Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Susan Russo and Kizette Ortiz-Vanger talking about Share Your Vision for the Future of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
The Assabet River NWR Visitor Center will be celebrating its four year anniversary this October! It has slowly become a
known fixture in the area as neighboring communities have gained awareness about the refuge's existence and the wonderful
opportunities that prevail here. Upon opening the center, the staff began to develop and establish many new programs in
coordination with our Friends group. Now, we are at the stage of developing a “Visitor Services Plan” for Assabet River
National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose of a “Visitor Services Plan” is to specify a management direction for the refuge’s
visitor program for the next 15 years. It will help determine goals, objectives, and strategies for enhancing and creating
the best opportunities for a refuge visitor's experience. In turn, the plan will guide and provide a foundation for the work
of staff and the Friends in the next few years.
During this presentation, we will review the process of the Plan and ask the public to share what your vision is for the
refuge’s visitor program and to contribute to what the program becomes in the next decade. It will be an informal setting with
round table dialogue. This will serve as the first of two sessions. The second session will be held at a later date when we
will have a document for the public to review and comment on. This will be made available on our website as well. We hope
to see you there!
This presentation and discussion will be lead by staff members of the Visitor Center: Susan Russo, the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge
Complex Visitor Services Manager and Kizette Ortiz-Vanger, the Visitor Services Specialist at Assabet River National
Wednesday, February 26
Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Trina Moruzzi talking about Fisher and River Otter in Massachusetts: A Tale of Two Weasels
Fisher have become increasingly common in Massachusetts, yet those lucky enough to see one are often puzzled. Was that some kind of cat?
Actually, the fisher is an agile, tree-climbing member of the weasel family. They share traits with a close relative, the river otter, which
is also far more common than the number of sightings would indicate. Even if you haven’t seen them, chances are that river otter and fisher,
the large members of the weasel family, live as close as the nearest stream, forest or even your own backyard.
Come learn the basics of river otter and fisher biology and ecology. Biologist Trina Moruzzi will explain what these often mysterious animals
are, where you can find them, what they eat, how they behave, and what signs you might see when they are present.
Trina Moruzzi is a wildlife biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. She has a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries
Biology and an M.S. in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has spent the last 13 years with the Division
assisting on a number of different projects from waterfowl banding to black bear capture and radio telemetry, overseeing the deer hunt for
paraplegic sportsmen, as well as providing outreach to communities on wildlife related issues.
Wednesday, January 22
(Webcast) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with John Milhaven talking about Citizen Science for Birders in the era of Smartphones and the Internet
You may already use various technology tools such as smartphone apps and websites to identify species and learn
more about the natural wor
ld. Did you know that many of these same technologies can also be used by amateur enthusiasts
to help scientists answer new questions about our world? Birder John Milhaven will look at the historical context of
the “citizen scientist” and its relationship to modern practices such as crowdsourcing. We will also focus on
opportunities for amateur birders and other nature enthusiasts to participate in scientific data collection from their
backyard, neighborhood, local wildlife refuge and even further afield!
John Milhaven is an avid amateur naturalist and birdwatcher who has been interested in the birds of the Northeast and
New England for almost 40 years and has birded on three continents. A resident of Maynard, he has explored the Assabet
River National Wildlife Refuge since it opened to the public and often bird watches, bikes and fishes there. He has
participated in the SuAsCo Nighthawk survey and research projects with Earthwatch and Life Net in Ecuador. John is a
Molecular Biologist and worked in the biotech industry for over two decades. John is a board member of the Friends of
the Assabet River NWR and leads year-round bird walks on the Refuge.
Wednesday, November 20
(Webcast) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Dr. Robert Thorson talking about The ‘Natural’ History of New England’s Stone Walls
Stone walls lie at the intersection of science and history, which became woven together during the transformation of
wilderness into family farms. – Stone by Stone.
Stone walls mean many things to many people. They are pleasant surprises during many a New England ramble. They are the subject of poems
and photo essays. To the human ecologist, stone walls associated with late colonial and Yankee farms are part of our "extended phenotype,"
displaying the history of our human interaction with the land. Professor Thorson will tell the story of their inevitability, of how they
simply had to happen when a livestock-tillage economy was superimposed on a buried scatter of glacial stones. He will include a local
focus as he discusses Thoreau's love for the iconic stone walls of the greater Concord River watershed and his prescient understanding of
the creation story of the Assabet watershed: both topics of Thorson’s newly released book, “Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and
Nineteenth Century Science.”
Dr. Thorson’s books will be available for purchase starting at 6:30PM. Proceeds of these sales benefit the Friends of the Assabet
River NWR. Books available will include “Exploring Stone Walls,” “Stone By Stone,” “Stone Wall Secrets,” “Beyond Walden: The Hidden
History of America’s Kettle Lakes and Ponds.”
Robert Thorson is a professor at the University of Connecticut where he holds appointments in the Department of Ecology &
Evolutionary Biology, the Department of Anthropology, and the Center For Integrated Geosciences. Dr. Thorson has brought his
enthusiasm for geology to fields as varied as History and Civil Engineering while teaching at universities from Alaska to Chile,
where he was a senior Fulbright scholar. He is currently a visiting scholar in the American Studies program at Harvard University. His
field work has included the U.S. Geological Survey and agencies ranging from the Japanese Ministry of Culture to the National Geographic
Society. In 2002, he published “Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls,” which became a regional bestseller and
won the Connecticut Book Award for nonfiction. This began a decade of advocacy for the preservation of historic landscapes. More
recently, Dr. Thorson has expanded his writings to another signature New England landform, kettleponds. Dr. Thorson is also an
environmental columnist for the Hartford Courant.
Wednesday, October 23
(Webcast) October Monthly Meeting with Ken MacKenzie talking about Winter Gull Ecology: The Relationship Between You and an Extremely Adaptable Species
Gulls are common year-round in Massachusetts. Their numbers and flock locations are closely tied to human activity and have changed as open
landfills have closed and feeding has been discouraged. So, where do they congregate now? How much do they travel? Did you know that gulls have
only bred in Massachusetts for the last 100 years? There is much to learn about these fascinating birds. Since 2008, the MA Dept. of Conservation
and Recreation has been conducting a study on the movement, food resources and roosting patterns of ring-billed and herring gulls. To date, close
to 1,800 birds have been captured and tagged with either colored wing-tags or satellite/GPS transmitters. Almost 5,200 sightings of wing-tagged
gulls have been reported and over 65,000 satellite and GPS locations have been received.
Ken will speak about what the DCR has done with this information and how this new research fuels management to influence how gulls are
impacting the Commonwealth’s citizens.
Ken is the Senior Wildlife Biologist for DCR’s Department of Water Supply Protection. Designing and implementing all aspects of wildlife
management on Division of Water Supply property, his mission is to protect, maintain and enhance wildlife resources on Division property while
mitigating and minimizing wildlife-related damage to both Watershed structures and water resources.
Wednesday, September 25
(Webcast) September Monthly Meeting with Peter Alden talking about Ups and Down of our Birds and Mammals
The mix of birds and mammals in our gardens, fields, woodlands and wetlands has and continues to change. During
the last glaciations, our suite of flora and fauna lived in the southeastern U.S. In coming centuries our familiar
plants and wildlife will dwell in southeastern Canada and many more "Southern” species will live here. The Siberian
peoples who moved in eliminated many larger mammals. European immigrants in the 1600's and 1700's wiped out other
mammals and birds, but their alteration of habitats from forest to farmlands caused bigger changes.
Learn how our bird and mammal life has changed from Thoreau's day to today. Topics will include the invasion of
prairie life eastwards, overhunting to not enough hunting, the recent surge in bird feeding, the plague of invasive
alien plants and insects, the return of our larger mammals and birds, and a few words on overpopulation of deer,
geese and outdoor cats.
Peter Alden is a renowned birder, naturalist, author, and lecturer. He has led bird and nature tours to more than
100 countries and is the author of 15 books, including field guides for the Audubon Society and the Peterson guides.
Peter was an organizer, with E. O. Wilson, of the world’s first Biodiveristy Days, during which experts found 2,700
species in 2 days within a few miles of Walden Pond. Peter is also the founder and current co-compiler of the Concord
Christmas Bird Count. Peter has also served in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.
Wednesday, July 24
(Webcast) July Monthly Meeting with Jared Green talking about Saving a Threatened Species — What You Can Do for the Blanding’s Turtle
Since 2006, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been establishing a new population of Blanding's turtles at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge using an exciting conservation
technique called head-starting. Blanding's turtle hatchlings are collected from Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, which boasts one of the largest
populations of Blanding's turtles in all of New England, and raised in captivity for several months to increase their chances of survival upon release
at Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. Much of the head-starting is done by local schools, building a bridge between the local community
and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, while getting students interested in conservation.
Come join Jared Green, a graduate student at the University of Georgia who has worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the Blanding's
turtle project since 2011. Jared will talk about the history of the project, as well as the results of his graduate research this
summer which is investigating the success of head-starting as a conservation tool for freshwater turtle species.
For information on how you can help save Blanding's Turtles, see Save the Blanding's Turtle.
Wednesday, June 26
(Webcast) June Monthly Meeting with Dave Small talking about The Moths of Assabet River NWR
Learn about the families of moths you may encounter at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, followed by an evening of observing moths and other
insects attracted to specialized lights and baited trees. Bring your digital camera, a flashlight and sense of fun and adventure. Outdoor program
limited to 20 Friends members. To register, please contact Kizette at email@example.com or 978-562-3527 x 117.
Dave Small is President of the Athol Bird and Nature Club and currently acting Director of the Millers River Environmental Center. Dave shares
his passion for birds, butterflies, and most recently moths, through workshops, lectures and field trips around New England.
Click here for more information.
Wednesday, May 29
(Webcast) May Monthly Meeting with Elizabeth Farnsworth talking about Go Botany! A 21st Century Tool for Anyone Who Loves Plants
Imagine being able to identify and learn about all the New England plants in the field using an innovative set of tools on your iPad, smartphone or desktop computer. This
is the vision of "Go Botany", New England Wild Flower Society's definitive online Flora of New England. Elizabeth will introduce this richly- illustrated key to over 3,500
native and naturalized plants of our region. It includes a linked dichotomous key for more experienced botanists and PlantShare, where plant enthusiasts, teachers and students
can share discoveries and develop collaborative checklists for sites. There will be time for you to explore "Go Botany" with some mystery plants. This is a great resource
for anyone fascinated with plants. For more information, visit: gobotany.newenglandwild.org
Elizabeth Farnsworth is a biologist, educator, scientific illustrator and author of many field guides. She is a Senior Research Ecologist at the
New England Wild Flower Society.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
(Webcast) April Monthly Meeting with William Lynn talking about Outdoor Cats and Biodiversity: What Are the Ethical and Policy Implications?
The controversy over outdoor cats and native wildlife illustrates the public policy and it's inherent ethical dilemma. For well over a decade a bitter argument has raged
between conservation biologists and animal welfare communities; the first argues that outdoor cats are a mortal threat to biodiversity and the latter claim that cats are
the scapegoats for a problem of human making. Bill Lynn will explain the scientific facts and discuss the ethics and moral responsibilities of cat owners, but with
local communities, wildlife agencies, and society at large and the way to develop environmental and social policies to meet obligations on both sides. While this
complicates the policy and management environment, it also creates common ground where those who care about cats and wildlife can work to protect both. By taking an
ethically informed approach to managing outdoor cats and biodiversity, we can develop environmental and social policies that meet all our obligations.
William Lynn is a research scientist in the George Perkins Marsh Institute at Clark University, where he focuses on ethics and environmental policy. You can read
about his work on outdoor cats, wolves and other subjects at his blog, www.practicalethics.net.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
(Webcast) March Monthly Meeting with Shirley Blancke talking about The Archaeology of Pantry Brook Village on the Davis Farm, Sudbury
Shirley Blancke will talk about the archaeological excavation of "Pantry Brook Village" on the Davis Farm, Sudbury near the refuge. She'll be presenting information
about this 70 year-old excavation of an important 7000 year-old archaeological site which she is fully reporting on for the first time. On the bank of the Sudbury River,
Pantry Brook Village was a multi-layered site, a comparative rarity in Massachusetts. Layering, or stratigraphy, allows archaeologists to understand the sequencing of
cultures through time. This important site was excavated in 1940-41 and never fully reported because of World War II. Over two summer seasons, the newly founded
Massachusetts Archaeological Society drew over thirty people to excavate, including renowned Harvard anthropologists and local artifact collectors. Work on the
Concord Museum collections has made it possible to recover this information, reported here with pictures of people involved and artifacts, and an analysis of faunal
and floral remains.
Shirley Blancke received her BA and MA from University of Cambridge in England in Archaeology and Anthropology. For a brief period she wasn't sure if she wanted to do
archaeology and came to Harvard University to the Business School and studied for year at a time when women could not graduate from the Harvard Business School with a
degree! She met her husband at the Business School and lived in New Jersey when she began to first volunteer and then work at the American Museum of Natural History.
She and her husband moved to Concord MA in 1966 and she worked at the Anthropology Dept. at Harvard University and received her PhD in Archaeology from Boston University.
Her work on the Concord Native American artifacts began in the 60's when she visited the Concord Library which she was told had a collection of Native American
artifacts. They pointed her to a barrel full of artifacts in to which she put her hand and brought up several paleo indian points. The Library said "oh there are many
more barrels of that stuff!" There was no looking back. She is Associate Curator of the Concord Museum, a position she has held for many decades.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
(Webcast) February Monthly Meeting with John Maguranis talking about Coexisting with Coyotes
Coyotes are important ecologically and need to be welcomed as a much needed predator. This talk covers natural history, habits, diet, hazing of coyotes, human and pet safety,
discusses the unfair press coverage and dispels the myths of the much misunderstood American Song Dog that deserves respect and appreciation. The presentation is filled with
great photographs of local coyotes and will answer your questions and concerns about coyotes and will provide information to educate the community about living with coyotes,
empowering communities and Animal Control Officers (ACOs) with the tools, information, and resources they need to coexist with coyotes. John's passion and engaging personality
have been instrumental in helping to foster educated coexistence and compassionate conservation throughout New England. His ability to distill information from scientists,
researchers and biologists and present it in a way that is meaningful and memorable has earned him recognition throughout the North East.
John Maguranis is the Massachusetts representative for Project Coyote — see www.ProjectCoyote.org. He has worked collaboratively with many organizations and researchers
throughout New England on policy related issues and field research while advocating for better treatment of coyotes and all wildlife. He served as a United States Army
veterinary technician for more than twenty-years, caring for a wide range of animals from bald eagles to bison. John is an Animal Control Officer for a small town near
Boston, Massachusetts and provided classes to the Animal Control Officer Certification School for Massachusetts and working with Project Coyote to expand our outreach
to the animal services community.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
(Webcast) January Monthly Meeting with Douglas Cygan talking about Dealing with Invasive Plant Species in New England
You’ve seen them — along roadsides, bordering streams and wetlands, and even in your own back yard. Many non-native invasive plant species are pretty, grow
easily and spread rapidly. They are pervasive throughout New England — and that’s the problem. Invasive species overwhelm and crowd out native plants, reduce
wildlife habitat, impact water quality, and decrease diversity in natural plant communities. Learn how to identify invasive species in your neighborhood, understand
how they got there and how they impact our environment, and learn how to control their spread.
Douglas Cygan has been the Invasive Species Coordinator for the NH Department of Agriculture for the past 10-years as well as being a nursery inspector and an Authorized Certification
Official for the USDA.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
November Monthly Meeting with Bryan Windmiller talking about Active and Engaged: Conservation of Rare Species "Inside Route 495" in the Greater Boston Area
(Webcast) Did you know that many rare species in our state such as Blanding's turtles, little brown bats, timber rattle snakes and Britton's violets have significant
populations within 30 miles of Boston? This challenges the notion that the area "inside 495", the outer limits of Greater Boston, is simply too urbanized
and fragmented by roads to be of much conservation value. Wildlife conservation "inside 495" will rarely be a passive affair of simply protecting habitat;
instead it will require long-term, sustained, and active management involving the cooperation of private landowners and a variety of public agencies.
Bryan will describe some ongoing conservation projects related to many of the species mentioned above and some of the challenges involved in conserving
wildlife in suburbs and cities.
Bryan Windmiller is head of Grassroots Wildlife Conservation, Inc. and is a board member of Friends of ARNWR. Bryan works as an independent consulting
ecologist and educator and specializes in developing hands-on educational programs into the conservation of rare species.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
October Monthly Meeting with Joey Mason talking about Kestrels and Cranberries
(Webcast) American kestrels are declining in numbers in Massachusetts. Did you know that kestrels prefer nesting around cranberry bogs? Hear from Joey Mason
who has worked for 23 years to conserve these small falcons and other birds of prey in southeastern Massachusetts. She will explain their nesting
preference, describe their diet and her experiences monitoring nest boxes. Joey will bring in a live male merlin and two kestrels for viewing up close.
Her efforts locally to help birds of prey include retrofitting utility poles and producing a guide to better manage methane burners in landfills to
reduce injury or death to raptors.
Take a look at www.keepingcompanywithkestrels.org to learn more.
Joanne "Joey" Mason began watching birds of prey in 1980 during fall migration in Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. In 1985 she began to
band hawks in Cape May, NJ, and continues to band raptors for the Cape May Raptor Banding Project in the fall. During 1987 an 1988 she worked with the
peregrine recovery team for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In 1989 with the help of Mike Maurer in 1989 she initiated a nest box project for
American Kestrels in southeastern Massachusetts on cranberry grower-owned properties. Joey has monitored American Kestrel nest boxes and banded
young and adults with U.S. Fish and Wildlife bands ever since. In 2000, she spearheaded the Raptor Retrofit Project to prevent osprey electrocutions
on privately owned utility poles, and has been responsible for placement of numerous osprey nesting platforms. Joey has also been working on a better
management practices for landfills, to prevent raptors from getting injured from methane burners.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Monthly Meeting with talk Forays in to Birdology by Sy Montgomery
(Webcast) Birds are the wild animals we see every day, yet too often, we take them for granted. In this talk, illustrated with striking images, you'll meet some of the birds that rekindle our awe. Author Sy Montgomery relates her encounter with the most dangerous bird on Earth--the 150-pound, 5 foot-tall Southern Cassowary--illustrating the surprising fact that birds are living dinosaurs. Sy shares the story of her work with a bird rehabilitator, rescuing jewel-like orphaned baby hummingbirds to show us that birds are made of air. Birds' bones are hollow, their bodies full of air sacs, and their feathers (which outweigh their skeleton) little more than air wrapped in light--yet birds' very fragility gives them the power to conquer the skies.
Hailed by the American Library Association's Booklist as "radiant, evocative, enlightening and uplifting," Sy's book BIRDOLOGY will be available for sale. A book signing will be sponsored by the Friends' Nature Store. To read more about Sy and her books
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Legislative Forum led by State Senator Jamie Eldridge
(Webcast) The Senator will lead a discussion of topics of special interest to Friends’ members and residents of the local communities. Of particular interest
is An Act Relative to Land Takings (Senate Bill 1854) in the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. This legislation could
severely impact the Mass. Endangered Species Act. For more information www.massaudubon.org.
Friends invite all members,neighbors of National Wildlife Refuges in the area and all those concerned with protecting wildlife and endangered species to participate in this important discussion.
State Senator Jamie Eldridge serves the Middlesex and Worcester district since January 2009. Prior to this, he served as State Representative for the 37th Middlesex district since 2002. One of Senator Eldridge's main focuses in the House and in the Senate has been to protect the environment.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monthly Meeting with talk Two years and counting: Scenes from the BP Gulf Oil Disaster by Shawn Carey
(Webcast) Have you wondered about the long-term repercussions of the Gulf Oil Disaster? Hear from someone who has actually been there! Wildlife
photographer Shawn Carey will share firsthand accounts, images and video from visits to the Louisiana Coast where he documented the
effects of the oil spill on the gulf region and its wildlife. He will discuss the effects of the nation's largest environmental disaster
and the risks facing the huge numbers of migrating birds heading to the Gulf region.
Shawn Carey and his good friend Jim Grady began the Boston-based migrationproductions, a multi-media company in 1994, that creates presentations
on bird/wildlife related topics for live audiences all over the US. Shawn moved from Erie, Pennsylvania to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1986.
He began birdwatching in 1988 and combined it with his interest in photography. Migration Productions has presented programs to natural history
and birding organizations and camera clubs since 1994. (Mass Audubon, Manomet, Eastern Mass Hawk Watch, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and local bird
and camera clubs). Shawn's photos have been published in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Mass Audubon Sanctuary magazine, Science magazine,
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary magazine and many others over the last 15+ years. Since 1997 he has conducts bird photography workshops (Fundamentals
of Bird Photography) for Massachusetts Audubon.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Annual Meeting with talk “BioMap2”: Conserving the Biodiversity of Massachusetts in a Changing World by Sarah Haggerty
(Webcast) “BioMap2” is the latest conservation blueprint designed to protect the State of Massachusetts' biodiversity to meet the challenges
of the changing climate. Sarah Haggerty will describe the process of identifying, mapping and geographically balancing habitats for the
creation of Core Habitats and Critical Natural Landscapes across the state. This includes the state's rare species and habitats of
conservation concern as described in the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife's State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). With the vernal pool season
upon us, she will also describe the new data gathering system being put in place by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP).
Sarah Haggerty is the Chief of Information and Program Development at the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW).
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monthly Meeting with talk How Local is “Native”? by Debbi Edelstein
(Webcast) People are using “native” plants more frequently in projects ranging from small backyard gardens to large-scale restoration of landscapes.
But what does “native” mean? Hear from Debbi Edelstein, Executive Director of New England Wild Flower Society, about how the
Society and others are refining the concept of “native” and looking at plant genetics and recent experiments to help with the
effects of climate change on native plants. She will also give an overview of the Society’s recent activities, including publication of
the new Flora Novae Angliae (“Flora of New England”).
Debbi Edelstein is the Executive Director of New England Wild Flower Society, the nation's oldest plant conservation organization. She
traces her commitment to nature to those carefree childhood years spent wandering in the great suburban outdoors. She was previously a
senior manager at the Northeast’s regional air quality association; Vice President of National Audubon Society and the Executive Director
of Audubon Washington; head of the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve project for The Trustees of Reservations; and Executive
Director of the Taunton River Watershed Alliance.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Monthly Meeting with talk The Natural and Unnatural History of the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers
(Webcast) Dave Griffin tells the story of the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers that for the most part, flow silently through our towns. Beginning
with the glaciers scouring the landscape through the taming and industrialization of the last 300 years, Dave will share this story with
unique visualizations and a smattering of photography.
Dave Griffin is first and foremost a storyteller who uses images, video, sound, and words to connect the viewer with the land, water, and animals that
surround us and enrich our lives. He owns and operates Confluence Visuals, a video and new media production company. Dave has been a board member for
OARS since 2001, and currently serves as its President. A long-time resident of Maynard, he is President of the Board of Trustees for the
Maynard Historical Society, a member of the Maynard Historical Commission, a Corporator for Emerson Hospital where he serves on the Patient and
Family Advisory Council, and a member of the North American Nature Photographers Association. Avid kayakers, you’ll find Dave and his wife Betsy
on a nearby river or lake - with camera in hand.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Monthly Meeting with talk Students on the Cutting Edge: Blanding's Turtle conservation efforts at the Bristol County Agricultural School
(Webcast) Last year, the Bristol County Agricultural School students efforts to conserve the Blanding's Turtles made it to national news and was
cited in the US Fish and Wildlife Service's newsletter Refuge Update. The students have to date released 150 hatchlings at the Assabet River
NWR. Learn from Brian Bastarache how he pioneered this program to get his students excited about wildlife conservation and make a tangible
contribution in the real world. Hear some students interviews that relate their wonder and excitement. Twenty years ago "Bristol Aggie"
was one of the first High Schools in Massachusetts to develop a comprehensive environmental studies curriculum. Over time, the choice of
wildlife conservation as a critical area to educate students in, and the partnerships built among, federal, state, academic institutions
and private researchers have been a dedicated effort that has paid high rewards and hopefully will inspire others to follow.
Brian Bastarache is the Natural Resources Management Division Head at the Bristol County Agricultural School in Dighton, MA. He teaches
wildlife biology, fisheries and outdoor skills, he oversees several cooperative conservation projects in partnership with universities,
private and government agencies, NGOs and enjoys working part-time as a field biologist.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monthly Meeting with talk Protecting Paradise: Gowing's Swamp and Thoreau's Bog
(Webcast) Join us for an presentation by Cherrie Corey of images and stories that recount the natural and social history and unique ecology that make Concord's Gowing's Swamp and Thoreau's
Bog the intimate and magical landscape that has inspired 150+ years of study, reflection, and protective response. Cherrie will also share highlights of
recent citizen efforts to defend this fragile wetland complex from the potential impact of proposed development and to seek the permanent preservation of its
waters and surrounding shorelines.
For more than 150 years, this rare 9-acre bog, nestled in some twelve acres of a beautiful, glaciated woodland off the eastern flank of Concord's
Revolutionary Ridge, has been a fascination and sanctuary for naturalists, literary luminaries, scientists, Thoreauvian scholars, and generations of
neighbors and passersby. Gowing's Swamp was a sanctuary for Thoreau and "Paradise" for the young Alcott sisters and their playmate, Clara Gowing.
Thoreau's meticulous study of the bog's characteristics and plant life led to more than a century and a half of scientific investigations there.
Over the past forty years steps have been taken to protect the bog from encroaching development from Concord's growing suburban community.
Sudbury Valley Trustees and the Meriam Close Conservation Trust now protect two-thirds of the wetland complex and surrounding shoreline.
And after a recent, vigorous grassroots effort to protect the remaining shoreline and wetland portions, it's hoped that Gowing's Swamp will
soon enjoy permanent protection.
As a naturalist Cherrie Corey helps to inspire others to seek their sense of place in the landscape. She is a long-time Concord resident with a
special affection for the area's historic bogs and wetlands. Cherrie has served as the New England Wildflower Society's first education director,
founding Board member of the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society (MEES), Executive Director of the Harvard Museums of Cultural and Natural
History, and now delights in sharing her experience and following her muse as an educational consultant and freelance photographer.
For information on her work see sense-of-place-concord.blogspot.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monthly Meeting with film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time
Join the Friends for a special viewing of the first full-length documentary film ever made about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold and his environmental
legacy. Well known as the author of the classic nature writings in the Sand County Almanac, Green Fire shares highlights from his extraordinary career,
explaining how he shaped conservation and the modern environmental movement. It also illustrates how Leopold's vision of a community that cares
about both people and land continues to inform and inspire people across the country and around the world. Leopold’s ideas remain relevant today,
continuing to inspire projects nationwide that connect people and land. For more information see Green Fire Movie.
Dr. Doug Seale, Friends member who teaches Philosophy and Environmental Ethics at Framingham State College will introduce the movie and lead a brief discussion.
Green Fire was produced in partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the US Forest Service.
The movie was made to mark 100 years of the Weeks Act, 100 years of restoring America's forests. Friends co-sponsored the Boston Premiere in June together with USFWS
Eastern Mass. NWR Complex, US Forest Service Urban Connections; Harvard Forest Wildlands and Woodlands Project.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Monthly Meeting with a Special Star Party
Join us at the refuge to stargaze with the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston who will set up a variety of telescopes and guide us through the millions
of celestial objects visible in the night sky. Don't miss your chance to observe astronomical objects such as planets, comets, stars and view distant galaxies.
Stargazing begins at dusk and ends at 10 PM. Use a red LED flashlight or a flashlight covered in red cellophane, to help you find your way but not ruin the
dark adaptation for those who are viewing through the telescopes. Dress warmly as the temperatures tend to drop off after dusk and bring plenty of bug spray.
Familiarize yourself with the night sky for this month by visiting www.skymaps.com.
The Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston, Inc. (ATMoB) is an astronomy club devoted to telescope making, observing, and studying the heavens. The ATMoB was
founded in 1934 with the cooperation of Dr. Harlow Shapley at Harvard College Observatory. For more info visit www.atmob.org.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monthly Meeting with a talk by Shirley Blancke Have You Ever Eaten Water Snake?
Native American Food 5000 Years Ago
Find out what archaeologists have determined about what Native Americans had for dinner 5,000 years ago on the Sudbury River at
the Concord Shell Heap. First described by Henry David Thoreau, this midden was at a camp site occupied for 9,000 years, one of
over 100 camps in the Concord-Sudbury area. The site yielded a trove of stone artifacts and animal remains that shed light on a
hunting and fishing way of life, as well as the seasonal diet at one time. Blancke explains how archaeologists analyzed
collections made over a 100-year period to create this understanding of the Native American past.
Shirley Blancke, Associate Curator of Archaeology and Native American Studies, Concord Museum has published intensive research
on the ancient shell heap/midden created by Native Americans near the present location of Emerson Hospital.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monthly Meeting with talk by David Paulson Natural History of New England Cottontails
(Webcast) The native New England Cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) is being considered for protection under the Federal Endangered Species
Act. Once a staple for Native Americans and early settlers, populations of this species have decreased drastically in the
last 25 to 50 years, largely due to the decline of its habitats which are successional forests or thickets. They are
also out-competed by the non-native Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) introduced in the early 1900s by hunters.
Learn about the measures underway to help conserve the species by State and Federal authorities as well as private landowners.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is encouraging animal control workers, hunters, and other citizens to assist with a
statewide survey of the rare New England Cottontail by turning in rabbit carcasses and skulls. Because the New England Cottontail
cannot be easily distinguished in the field from its non-native counterpart, the eastern cottontail, officials plan to identify
each collected specimen using skull characteristics or DNA analysis. Results of this study will help determine the population
distribution of both species across Massachusetts. The survey effort is part of a larger New England Cottontail Initiative to
address the decline of this species across its native range throughout New England and New York.
The speaker David Paulson is an Endangered Review Biologist, at the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program of the Mass. Division of
Fisheries and Wildlife.
For more information on the New England Cottontail, see New England Cottontail: Rabbit at Risk and When Rabbits Have Trouble Multiplying.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Annual General Meeting with talk by Don and Lilian Stokes Bird Identification For Everyone
(Webcast) Whether you are a beginning, intermediate or advanced bird watcher learn how to better identify birds from the experts, Don and Lillian Stokes,
authors of the new, national best-selling bird guide The Stokes Field Guide to The Birds of North America. Learn to Identify those spring
migrant birds like a pro with "quantitative shape" the new tool for bird identification pioneered in their new guide. Join this lively presentation
where the Stokes will share with you what was involved in producing their 6-years-in -the-making new field guide, help you fast forward your
birding skills, and show you beautiful photos, taken by Lillian, of Massachusetts' birds. There will be a book signing before and after their talk.
Bring your Stokes guide along for a signature or become the proud owner of one. The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America is the most
comprehensive national field guide ever produced and features over 3,400 stunning photos. It also includes a promotional CD of 600 sounds of
150 common birds, recorded by Lang Elliott and Kevin Colver, which will help you identify by ear the spring birds.
Don and Lillian Stokes have been prominent bird authors and educators for over 30 years. They created, hosted and produced the first national
PBS television bird watching shows and more than 40 million viewers tuned in to their “Stokes Birds at Home” TV series. They have written over
32 bird and nature books, which have sold over 4.5 million copies. Their books have included such bestsellers as Stokes Field Guide to Birds
Eastern and Western Regions, Stokes Beginner's Guide to Birds Eastern and Western regions,
Stokes Field Guide To Warblers, Stokes Beginner’s Guide To Shorebirds. Don and Lillian received the Partners in Flight National
Conservation Award in 2005. They have been writers and columnists in all the most popular birding magazines. Residents of Massachusetts for over
20 years, they now live at Bobolink Farm, their 48 acre southern NH property, to which they have attracted over 190 bird species.
Advance Praise for the field guide,
"Birders worldwide will eagerly welcome this comprehensive and all-inclusive new field guide from Donald and Lillian Stokes.
Brimming with 3400 stunning photographs illustrating 854 species, this is unequivocally the most spectacular compendium of North American bird
identification photographs ever assembled between two covers. With high-quality depictions of the essential plumages of virtually every species
and subspecies currently on the American Birding Association (ABA) Checklist, this monumental volume offers birders the most up-to-date
information on field identification of North American birds currently available. The guide also contains many innovative text and layout
features, and an accompanying CD with more than 600 sounds and songs of 150 common birds. Handsome, comfortably sized at 5.5 x 8.5 inches,
and affordable at less than $25 this volume significantly resets the bar for North America field guides." — Wayne Petersen, Director
Important Bird Areas Program, Massachusetts Audubon Society
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monthly Meeting with talk by Jill Phelps Kern Take A Hike! Exploring the Woods and Waters of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers
(Webcast) The Assabet River and Great Meadows National Wildlife Reservations lie in the heart of the SuAsCo watershed, a region encompassing over 1,000 miles of
hiking trails in over 30 towns. Jill Phelps Kern, author of the book, Hiking the SuAsCo Watershed has explored them all, and will share photographs,
maps and experiences from over 20 years of hiking in the area, with the intent of inspiring you to get out and explore for yourself. Jill is a board
member of the Stow Conservation Trust.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monthly Meeting with talk by Doug Seale The Environment, Virtue, and You
(Webcast) Those who care about other species, the loss of biodiversity, the environment at large, and nature in general often confront the question of their own
ethical values. What kind of values should we hold, what kind of lives should we live, and what kind of people should we be, if we are not to degrade the
very environment and its inhabitants that we hold so dear? This presentation is about philosophy and ethics, and will explore the concept of virtue as it
applies to environmental values. Through it I hope to encourage a discussion of the kind of people we, as environmentalists, should become.
The speaker Doug Seale is a former Friends Board Member and teaches Environmental Ethics at Framingham State College and is involved in several
local environmental organizations.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Monthly Meeting with talk by Vladimir Douhovnikoff Plants Don't Always Come From Seeds: the Ecology of Clonal Growth in Plants
(Webcast) Do you think that plants grow only from seed or mostly from seed? This talk will challenge that assumption. Come find out about
clonal growth as a normal strategy that most plants use. Clonal plants represent about 40% of the planet’s flora, our most
important crops and many of the most invasive plants.
Clonality can make plants near immortal by repeatedly copying themselves and sharing risk. Understanding these dynamics can
provide opportunities when conserving a species or challenges when eradication is called for.
Vladimir Douhovnikoff is a faculty member in the Biology Department at Simmons College. He teaches undergraduates in Biology. His research focuses on clonal
plant ecology and he has explored the dynamics of clonality in coast redwood, sandbar willow, arctic willow, aspen, and phragmites.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monthly Meeting with talk by Bryan Windmiller Blanding’s Turtle Conservation: How Citizens and Schools can Help Save Rare Species
(Webcast) Learn about the effort to save the rare Blanding’s turtles considered “threatened” in Massachusetts and the critical role school children and citizens can play in conserving local populations of rare species. Together with US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, Bryan Windmiller has been researching the ecology of these turtles in the Great Meadows NWR, Concord since 2003, protecting turtle nests and raising hatchlings through their critical first year. This conservation effort has been boosted by the participation of school children and their teachers from local schools.
Bryan Windmiller is a wildlife ecologist who specializes in rare species conservation, citizen outreach and education projects. He is the founder of the ecological consulting firm, Hyla Ecological Services, Inc. and he works as an independent consultant. His recent research includes the study of a fungal disease that has caused the extinction of amphibian species worldwide.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monthly Meeting with talk by Amber Carr Combating Alien Invaders: Invasive Plant Removal Efforts in National Wildlife Refuges of Great Meadows, Assabet River and Oxbow
(Webcast) Learn what an "invasive plant" is and find out the negative impact of these plants on the economy, environment and human health. Do you know
the two dozen invasive plant species being targeted for control locally? Learn about the strategies and methods for early detection, mapping,
removal and rapid response employed in the Wildlife Refuges. Initiatives to involve schools and communities in these efforts and the new inter-agency
collaborative agreement for invasives control (CISMA) will be explained. Fresh seasonal specimens and herbarium specimens will be available for
inspection to help you identify invasives occurring locally and tips for keeping invasives under control in your garden and neighborhood
will be provided.
Amber Carr is the Invasive Plant Technician of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Eastern MA NWR Complex. For the past two years she
has designed and coordinated the invasives plant removal efforts for the three refuges of Great Meadows, Assabet River and Oxbow. She
organized over 50 invasives removal parties during the 2009 field season between spring and early winter.
For background information see the following material from the New England Wildflower Society: Invaders ... We’re fighting back and Controlling Invasive Plants at Home.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Annual Meeting with talk American Dinosaurs: The Discovery of Fossils in the Connecticut River Valley
The talk describes early events in American paleontology when footprints were found in South Hadley in 1802 thought to be
tracks left by the raven that disappeared from the Noah's ark. Later in 1835, tracks on a stone slab in Greenfield were thought to be
turkey traces or a chance arrangement of geologic features. Those discoveries became the first dinosaur footprints ever studied by
scientists, long before the word "dinosaur" was coined and the animals not even known to have existed! As the 19th century progressed,
the Connecticut River Valley became one of the world's premier sites for what scientists eventually realized was evidence of a lost
world of awe-inspiring reptiles.
Sarah Doyle is president of the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls and the Sivio O. Conte National
Wldlife Refuge that showcases the Connecticut River Valley Watershed. For more information see:
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sharon Stichter talking on Flowers that Fly: Habitat Gardening for Butterflies and Hummingbirds in New England
(Webcast) Sharon Stichter describes how to create and maintain small habitats for some common and not-so-common butterflies in our area, and what to
plant for hummingbirds. Handouts will be provided. This talk is jointly sponsored by the Massachusetts Butterfly Club.
Sharon Stichter is a longtime member of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, editor of the club's journal, Massachusetts Butterflies, and of
the MBC Guide to Good Butterfly Sites. In the summer she maintains a large butterfly and hummingbird garden in Newbury, Massachusetts.
For information on the Massachuetts Butterfly Club see www.naba.org.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Retrospective of the First Decade of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
(Webcast) Join the Friends of Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge for a retrospective of the first 10 years of the refuge. Barbara Volkle, one of the
founding members and President of Friends since its inception in 1999, Tim Prior, former Refuge Manager, and Libby Herland, current Complex Manager,
will join in a Retrospective of the First Decade of the Assabet River NWR. This event will mark the beginning of our Tenth Anniversary celebrations
of the Friends. Please join us for birthday cake, memories and proud accomplishments.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Cherrie Corey talking on Inspiring a Sense of Place: An Intimate Journey Through Great Meadows NWR in Concord
(Webcast) Cherrie Corey, naturalist/botanist and long-time Concord resident, will share favorite images and epiphanies from her years of
communion at Great Meadows. What began as a personal practice of bringing deep attention to this special place repeatedly through the
seasons, in 2008 became a series of monthly public walks emphasizing both the flora and a fuller and greater awareness of one’s
immediate experience in the landscape. Over the two years, more than 100 individuals have participated in this inspired learning
Cherrie has been communing with the flora and fauna of Great Meadows for much of her life. She was the New England Wild Flower
Society’s first education director, a board member for the Mass. Environmental Education Society, and former Executive Director of the
Harvard Museums of Cultural and Natural History.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Doug Seale talking on The Meaning of Wilderness
(Webcast) Doug Seale, Board Member of Friends and a well-known conservationist will explore changing historical attitudes about wilderness
and wild things in America, and how those attitudes inform present preservation efforts and the ongoing debate over the appropriate
uses of the natural world. The talk will consider how the views of Thoreau, Emerson, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Liberty Hyde Bailey,
Theodore Roosevelt, Rachel Carson, and others have influenced our thinking about what wilderness means to us today.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Laura Hajduk talking on Bobcats
(Webcast) Laura Hajduk, MassWildlife Furbearer Biologist will present on basics of bobcat biology and ecology, including life history, habitat use, and prey.
She will bring bobcat pelts to view and touch. Laura will also discuss the history of bobcats in Massachusetts.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Peter Alden talking on The Ups and Downs of our Birds
(Webcast) This will be a lively overview of how and why our local birds have responded to huge changes in our landscapes over the years. Topics discussed (with fine photographs) will include the flood of prairie birds east in the 1800's, the role of cowbirds, the pros and cons of bird feeding, the role of medium-sized carnivores on our game birds in an anti-trapping era, the role of birds in spreading invasive alien plants, invasive birds, and whether climate change or other factors is allowing all these "Dixie" birds to dominate New England.
Peter Alden of Concord, is a past president of both the Brookline Bird Club and the Nuttall Ornithological Club, and a founder and current co-compiler of the Concord area Christmas Bird Count, the nation's largest. He has pioneered and led bird and nature tours to 100 countries. Peter is the author of 15 books with sales of 1.5 million so far (many available at the talk). In 1998 he created the world's first Biodiversity Day with E.O.Wilson, where 100+ invited experts found 1,905 fungi, flora and fauna in one day. The Walden Woods Project is sponsoring him to run the Walden Biodiversity Day II on July 4, 2009 to celebrate Ed's 80th.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Ron McAdow talking on Beasts of Burden: New England's Wild Animals
(Webcast) Author and conservationist Ron McAdow will show photographs of New England's vertebrate fauna: birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
He will describe how motion-triggered cameras capture images of secretive mammals such as fox, fisher, bobcat, and river otter.
Photos will be accompanied by brief readings from essays by Thoreau, Emerson, and others that help us understand how these animals enrich
our culture, our imaginations, and our lives.
Ron moved to Massachusetts, from his native state of Illinois, in 1971. He is author of a guide to the nature and history of the Concord, Sudbury,
and Assabet Rivers, and a similar work about the Charles River. Ron has worked as a volunteer and staff member of the regional land trust Sudbury
Valley Trustees for the pass two decades, and has served as Executive Director since 2002.
Ron’s column, “Knowing Our Place” has appeared in 40 Massachusetts newspapers. Ron has documented his explorations of Massachusetts’ outdoors with
his camera as well as his pen, and takes pleasure in sharing his pictures, and those of his friends, with audiences interested in the natural world.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
John F. O'Keefe talking on Massachusetts Wildlife: A Journey Through Time
(Webcast) For the seemingly limitless forest tracts of colonial time, to the largely cleared agricultural landscape of the nineteenth century, and back to the predominantly forested state of today, the Massachusetts landscape has gone through major historical transformations. In this presentation John O'Keefe, forest ecologist and Coordinator of the Fisher Museum at Harvard Forest, will discuss the legacy of these transformations, emphasizing how a sequence of human and natural disturbance has shaped the character of our modern landscape with special emphasis on wildlife responses.
John O'Keefe was born and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and received a BA in sociology from Harvard College. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho and as a pilot with the Massachusetts National Guard, he returned to school and received his graduate degrees (MA AND PhD) in forest ecology from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Since 1988, John has been Coordinator of the Fisher Museum at the Harvard Forest Dioramas, where he interprets forest history and current research to visitors. With Forest Director David Foster, he is co-author of "New England Dioramas". John, his wife, Lynne, and daughters Sara and Erin live in North Orange, Massachusetts, close to the New Hampshire and Vermont borders in a 200 year old home built by the first sawmill owner in the area.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Debbie Dineen, Sudbury Conservation Coordinator, talking on Vernal Pools
(Webcast) Think you know everything about vernal pools by now? Do you know the difference between obligate and
facultative? How about wet and dry certification?
Come and listen to what is new in vernal pool certification. We will begin with the basics, and work our way through the proposed
regulatory changes revisions to the certification process. We will discuss methods to protect vernal pools even if they are not
certified by the State. If you plan on investigating vernal pools for certification this spring, please attend. A Q & A will
immediately follow the presentation and a site visit to a vernal pool will be scheduled shortly thereafter, weather permitting
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Robert D. Childs talking on The Asian Long-Horned Beetle in Massachusetts
(Webcast) An established population of The Asian Long-Horned beetle (ALB), recently found in Massachusetts, resulted in the designation of a 33
square mile regulated area for the pest, (the northern section of Worcester and parts of four other towns). The pest arrives from China
in wood packing material and pallets and then seeks out and destroys healthy hardwood trees, especially maples. The Worcester find is
the closest that this beetle has ever been to invading a forested area in North America. This talk will highlight the realities and
ramifications that this serious invader has brought to our doorstep and its potential affects on Green Industry businesses, neighborhoods,
the forest, and town budgets.
Bob Childs, an Instructor since 1984, teaches entomology courses at UMass with the bulk of his students being enrolled in the
Stockbridge School of Agriculture. He also has a 60% Extension appointment to the Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry program,
providing accurate and timely diagnostics of insect pests, making recommendations, writing about current trends in pest identification
and management, and acting as an overall resource for the Green Industry. He also performs numerous workshops that are related to
Integrated Pest Management. He was one of the faculty involved with the development and funding of the Urban Forestry Diagnostic Lab
at UMass, Amherst, and was responsible for the development of the New England Recommendation Guide for Insects, Diseases, and Weeds
of Shade Trees and Woody Ornamentals. He has produced two reference books for the industry through funding from the Massachusetts
Department of Environmental Management.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Strickland Wheelock and Kathy Clayton-Seymour talking on Saw-whet Owl Banding in Massachusetts - What we Know and What we Don't"
Strickland Wheelock and Kathy Clayton-Seymour will give a brief history of saw-whet owl banding in Massachusetts,
followed by an overview of saw-whet banding methodology, and an analysis of what they have learned collaborating with other
Massachusetts saw-whet owl banding stations and Project Owlnet. The program will end with a discussion of the myriad of
questions their research has raised.
Strickland Wheelock has been an active birder, field trip leader for the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and Master
Bander since 1972. For the past 5 years, Kathy Clayton-Seymour and Strickland have been running duel Saw-whet banding
sites at Drumlin Farm and Lookout Rock in Northbridge. When not birding, Strickland manufactures woolen textile products.
Kathy Clayton-Seymour is a member of the Sanctuary Committee at MassAudubon's Drumlin Farm. Kathy chairs the Birder's
Advisory Committee and serves as Bird-a-thon Fundraising Coordinator. In that role, she has helped raise over one hundred
twenty thousand dollars towards avian education and conservation efforts at the sanctuary. She leads adult and family
birding programs for Drumlin Farm, and is very active with their youth birding clubs. An experienced bander,
she helped set up the Lookout Rock owl banding station in Northbridge, and manages banding operations at Drumlin Farm.
She was honored by MassAudubon as one of 7 people who made a difference in 2007.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Constance A. Bean MPH presenting on Beating Lyme. Understanding and Treating This Complex and Often Misdiagnosed Disease
Constance Bean co-authored Beating Lyme along with physician, Lesley Ann
Fein, MD, MPH, who among other positions, is medical director for the
Pennsylvania Lyme Disease Society. Constance is the former coordinator of
health education at MIT, and was, herself, diagnosed with the disease. She
is the author of six other books on health issues. Informed by her
professional and personal expertise, "Beating Lyme" offers comforting and
hard-won advice on recognizing symptoms, researching resources for
treatment, protecting against Lyme and much more. Constance lives in
Wayland. There will be opportunity for questions and discussion.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
John Root talking on Wildflowers of the Northeast
"Wildflowers of the Northeast" celebrates the intricacy and enchanting beauty of our native flora.
This ninety-minute presentation features close-up images of plants in a range of magnifications as well as photographic
portraits taken from a more customary perspective.
The audience will become familiar with the distinguishing characteristics of the most common plant families and learn
how to apply this information to identify herbaceous plants in the field. The survival value of these plants'
specializations in accomplishing such essential functions as pollination, seed dispersal, and photosynthesis is also explored.
Everyone is invited to share their knowledge about habitat preferences, life cycles, and cultivation of our native wildflowers.
Illustrated pamphlets with descriptions of plant families, informative websites, and a bibliography for further study will be
distributed at the conclusion of the program.
John Root is a naturalist and educator based in the Pioneer Valley. For additional information about John and his work,
visit his website.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Cynthia Menard talking on Wolves in New England?
Are there wolves in New England and if not, will there ever be? Can wolves and people live together harmoniously?
Have you ever heard the howl of a wolf in the wild? Cynthia Menard, an educator with the MetroWest YMCA will present a slide
show and discussion about the history, ecology and future of this amazing animal. Come join us to hear wolves howling,
touch real wolf fur, and find out first-hand how large a wolf's canine tooth really is! This talk is suitable
for adults and families with children ages 10 and up.
Cynthia Menard has her Masters degree in Conservation Biology from
Antioch New England Graduate School. She spent two years tracking and
mapping predators in northern Massachusetts for her Master's Thesis,
and co-led a trip of her graduate peers to Yellowstone National Park
to study wolf ecology with park biologists. She currently teaches
animal tracking throughout Massachusetts, and works as a Naturalist
and Assistant Camp Director for the MetroWest YMCA in Hopkinton, MA.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
David Griffin talking on Assabet Osprey
In 2002, on the edge of a heron rookery, in a pond at the headwaters of the Assabet River, was
something that was very unique to the area: a thriving Osprey nest. The nest had been there for a
few years beforehand, but it was then Dave Griffin began a love affair with these magnificent birds.
Osprey spend their summers with us, raising a family, and then migrating to South America for the
winter. The program documents the past five years of how the Osprey have been making a home
on the Assabet River - and what the future may hold for this unique raptor.
The program contains over 250 photos of Osprey, Great Blue Heron, and other species that make
up the changing landscape where the Osprey struggles each year to raise a new generation.
Dave Griffin is a photographer and multimedia producer. His photographic work concentrates on
conservation projects for both environmental and historical organizations utilizing digital imaging,
video, and audio recording technologies. Dave’s presentations blend the storytelling power of
photojournalism with the visual impact of fine art photography and tosses in a bit of dry wit. Dave
has been photographing since age 9 and has been working in the digital photography world since
Dave has been a board member for the Organization for the Assabet River since 2001, and
currently serves as its President. He is also President of the Board of Trustees for the Maynard
Historical Society, a Corporator for Emerson Hospital, and a Consulting Software Engineer for
Novell, Inc. An avid kayaker, you'll often find Dave and his wife Betsy on a nearby river or lake -
with camera in hand. For more information about Dave and his work, see his website.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Scott LaFleur talking on Listening to the Landscape: Using Nature's Clues to Design a Garden That Works
Natural ecosystems can provide us with a lot of information on native plants and how they grow. Looking into the
symbiotic relationship these ecosystems make use of will lead us in the choices we make when designing sustainable
landscapes. Natural ecosystems will also provide us with the framework we need to attract Birds, Bee's, Butterfly's
and other exciting critters. Choosing native plants that provide food and forage for wildlife is a great way to keep
a diversity of life happy and abundant in your landscape. Invasive plants can disrupt this delicate balance of life
and removing them is the great help you can provide. We at the New England Wild Flower Society have many great
native alternatives you can make use of.
Scott Lafleur is Director of Horticulture at the New England Wild Flower Society.
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire horticulture program, Scott specialized in perennials and perennial
garden design. Upon graduating in 1996 Scott started a professional gardening Service in Rye,NH. The hallmark of
Scott’s business was meticulous work using the best horticultural practices. Scott expanded his business into a
landscape design and installation company. He sold the business in 2001 after 10 years of operation and undertook
a three year project designing a 135 acre VT farm into rolling green hills, extensive gardens and a network of
trails to access the property for horse back riding and hiking. During his designing and research for the project
Scott became very interested in native plants and ecological landscaping. These pieces of the design were key to
its success. Scott completed the project in 2006 and was hired by the New England Wild Flower Society as the
Senior Horticulturist for their botanic garden, Garden in the Woods. Scott was promoted to Director of Horticulture
in 2008, his current position.
Garden in the Woods is a 45 acre Botanic garden dedicate to the conservation, protection and artistic display of the flora of North America. The purpose of Garden in the Woods is to educate and inspire visitors to conserve our native New England
flora in ecosystems of which they are a part, as well as provide a place of tranquility, beauty and sanctuary.
As a living museum, the Garden is a classroom and resource for learning about conservation, horticulture, landscape
design, botany, and natural history through both formal and informal instruction. The propagation, cultivation,
and artistic display of plants in the Garden promote appreciation of our native plants as horticultural subjects
and as our natural heritage. For more information, see their website at www.newfs.org..
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Marion Larson of MassWildlife talking on Connecting Children with Nature: Wildlife Education Opportunities from MassWildlife
If you like wildlife and have an interest in sharing your passion with young people, MassWildlife offers some
educational opportunities for families, students and youth groups and for people who work with youth.
Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, youth group leaders and other people who work with kids can find out how to
incorporate wildlife and the environment into their programs through MassWildlife. Families who want to learn
outdoor skills can also explore MassWildlife's opportunities as well. Marion Larson, Information and Education Biologist
with MassWildlife will not only talk about education programs, but will also conduct an activity or two for you
Marion Larson has worked with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1985. She has a degree from the University of
Vermont in Environmental Interpretation and began her career as an Environmental Police Officer (game warden) patrolling
northern Middlesex and Worcester Counties. (Law enforcement is just another form of education!) She transferred to the
Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in 1991 as a Wildlife Education Specialist where she worked with teachers and
other educators on wildlife programs and a watershed education program that included high schools in the SuAsCo watershed.
Currently she serves as an Outreach Coordinator working with tourism groups, writing newsletter articles, providing agency
web page content and answering questions on a variety of wildlife topics. She volunteers as a Hunter Education Instructor
for MassWildlife, serves on her town’s Open Space Committee and enjoys hiking, birding and running.
You can find out more about MassWildlife at: www.mass.gov/masswildlife.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Chris Hepburn of Boston College (aided by Tracey Arvin) talking on Assembling the Jigsaw Puzzle of Eastern Massachusetts Geology
The rocks we find in eastern New England arrived here in the closing of an ancient, pre-modern Atlantic, ocean basin through
plate tectonics. Eastern Massachusetts is made up of the last-to-arrive fragments from the other side of this ocean as well as
volcanic island chains that formed within the closing ocean. These pieces crashed into the edge of North America over tens of
millions of years, growing our continent. Major faults, no longer active, form the boundaries of these bits of geologic wreckage
and also record the ways in which they were assembled. The rocks of the Assabet River National Wildlife refuge lie close to one
of these major fault zones and formed as part of an ancient volcanic island arc that existed some 500 million years ago.
J. Christopher Hepburn is a Professor in the Dept. of Geology and Geophysics at Boston College where he has taught geology
for over thirty years. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from Harvard University. His research has largely been
devoted to deciphering the geology of the northern Appalachians through its petrology, geochemistry, structural geology and
Tracey Arvin is a graduate student in geology at Boston College in the process of completing her M.S. degree. Part of her
thesis work includes the geologic mapping of the area containing the Assabet River NWR. Ms. Arvin currently teaches at Blue
Hill Regional Technical School.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Bear Expert Jim Cardoza talking on Black Bears of Massachusetts
Perhaps you've seen and heard about occasional sightings of black bears and human confrontations with them.
How common are black bears in our area? What draws them to our towns and how can we learn to live at a respectful
distance with these large furry neighbors?
This slideshow presentation by Mr. Cardoza will cover the history, biology, and management of the black bear in Massachusetts.
He will help us understand the bear's history, changes in status and distribution, biology and life history,
habitat changes, research programs, human-bear interactions, and management issues.
Mr. Cardoza, a certified wildlife biologist, has been the leader for the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife
wild turkey (since 1969) and black bear (since 1970) project. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in wildlife biology
from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. His years of study and field experience with black bears
has made him the state's leading expert on the subject. He has received numerous awards for his work in
conserving and managing our state's bear population.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Dr. Kurt Buhlmann talking on Establishing a Population of Blanding's Turtles at Assabet River
NWR: Using Reintroduction as a Conservation Tool for Turtles
Come learn about the proposed reintroduction of Blanding's Turtles to
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge. Dr. Kurt Buhlmann will
discuss turtle reintroductions, including his recent work on the
proposed reintroduction of Blanding's Turtles to Assabet River NWR.
Dr. Kurt Buhlmann is a conservation ecologist focusing on amphibians
and reptiles, including turtles. He has been fascinated with turtles
since he was a boy. His research interests include habitat management
needs of herps with emphasis on issues such as the amount of
terrestrial habitat needed around seasonal wetlands, the effects of
prescribed fire, and control of invasive species. He has worked with
a number of organizations including The Nature Conservancy, U.S.
Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kurt spent
several years working with Conservation International on conservation
strategies for turtles globally, particularly in Asia. He is
co-author of the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservations
(PARC) Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of
the Northeast (as well as a companion volume for the Southeast). He
has recently become involved with turtle projects on several National
Wildlife Refuges, including Great Swamp, Wallkill River, and Assabet
River in the Northeast. He and his wife, Tracey Tuberville have
implemented some reintroduction strategies for gopher tortoises at
several sites in the Southeast, and more recently begun designing
similar research with freshwater turtles. Kurt currently wears
several hats, and is a research scientist at the Savannah River
Ecology Laboratory in South Carolina and also works independently as
a consulting conservation biologist. Originally from New Jersey, he
holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Stockton State College, a
M.S. in Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Ecology
from the University of Georgia (UGA). He is senior author on an
upcoming book, Turtles of the Southeast, soon to be published by the
For additional information on this proposed work see News.
The Blanding's Turtle is listed as
Threatened in Massachusetts. "Threatened" species are native species
which are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, or
which are declining or rare as determined by biological research and
inventory. For more information on the Blanding's Turtle in
Massachusetts, see here.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Professor Amy Cannon talking on Green Chemistry: Necessary Steps to a Sustainable Future
Imagine a world where all segments of society demanded environmentally benign products! Imagine if all consumers,
all retailers and all manufacturers insisted on buying and selling only non-toxic materials! The unfortunate reality
is that, even if this situation were to occur, our knowledge of materials science and chemistry would allow us to provide
only a small fraction of the products and materials that our economy is based upon. The way we learn and teach chemistry
and materials science is for the most part void of any information regarding mechanisms of toxicity and environmental
harm. Green Chemistry is a philosophy that seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of hazardous materials at the design
stage of a materials process. It has been demonstrated that materials and products CAN be designed with negligible
impact on human health and the environment while still being economically competitive and successful in the marketplace.
This presentation will describe the history and background of Green Chemistry and discuss the opportunities for the next
generation of materials designers to create a safer future.
Amy Cannon is the director of community outreach and education at the Center for Green Chemistry and an
assistant professor in the department of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Amy graduated as the first PhD in Green Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston where her
research involved the environmentally benign synthesis of photoactive materials. Amy received her
undergraduate degree in chemistry from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH and worked for the Gillette
Company as an analytical chemist for 5 years before returning to graduate school. She was awarded the Kenneth
G. Hancock Memorial Award in Green Chemistry in 2004 for her work on titanium dioxide semiconductors and their
application in dye-sensitized solar cells. Amy has recently worked for Rohm & Haas Electronic Materials
in Marlborough, MA developing silicon polymeric materials for optical electronic devices. Her current
research interests in Green Chemistry are based in materials chemistry and range from electronic materials
to cosmetic chemistry and biobased materials. For more information on the Green Chemistry program at
University of Massachusetts Lowell, see http://www.greenchemistry.uml.edu/.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Stephen Brown talking on Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Stephen Brown, Director of Shorebird Research & Conservation at
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, will discuss his book,
Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and his
research expeditions to Alaska's North Slope. Arctic birds highlight
the interconnectedness of the hemisphere as they complete epic
migrations between the ends of the earth, and illustrate the
importance of halting global climate change before their habitats are
destroyed. Dr. Brown's presentation features stunning photographs of
elusive arctic birds on their breeding grounds, and includes insights
into new discoveries about their habitats and the conservation
challenges facing them.
As Manomet's Director of Shorebird Research and Conservation, Stephen
Brown works on a wide variety of science and policy issues related to
protecting this imperiled group of birds that literally cover the
globe during their annual migrations. Stephen was the lead author of
the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan which brought together wildlife
managers and policy makers from all 50 states and several federal
agencies, university researchers, and many other conservation groups
to develop a coordinated strategy for restoring the declining
populations of shorebirds. Stephen has an active research program in
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where his work helps to
determine the impacts that oil development would have on nesting
shorebirds, and he has recently completed a study of American
Oystercatchers that included a census of the entire Atlantic and Gulf
coasts (see www.shorebirdworld.org).
Stephen has been a conservation biologist with Manomet Center for
Conservation Sciences since 1998. He earned his undergraduate degree
from Hampshire College in Environmental Studies, and his Master of
Science degree from the University of Michigan School of Natural
Resources studying an endangered shorebird. His Ph.D. research in
Natural Resources at Cornell University focused on improving habitat
for birds through wetland restoration. Stephen has published dozens
of articles on wetlands and shorebirds in scientific journals, and
the recent book Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic National Wildlife
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Madeline Champagne talking on Monarch Butterflies
Monarch butterflies are perhaps our most intriguing butterflies, arriving in New England early in the
summer and then migrating thousands of miles away to spend the winter. However, only a few of Massachusetts’ 125
or so species are migrants, and most people don’t stop to think about how they get through our winters. Madeline Champagne,
former President of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, will discuss survival techniques (from getting through the winter and
from evading predators) for Monarchs and other species of butterflies, as well as for moths.
Madeline has been fascinated by butterflies since in the early 1990’s when she raised some Monarch butterflies from eggs
that she found in the wild. Her butterfly-related activities have included planning and maintaining butterfly gardens,
giving talks, working in the classroom and in the field with teachers and students, and monitoring specific butterfly
populations at various sites. She has worked with land trusts, garden clubs and other organizations. In the past few years,
she has focused on educating people about butterflies.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Paul Baicich talking on Shade-grown Coffee Future: Birds, Agriculture, and People
Surely, you've heard about the links between birds and shade-grown coffee. In this talk, we will take a journey to
visit vital points of intersection, a crossroads for birds, agriculture, and people. Join Paul Baicich as he leads us
through an exploration of the shade-coffee/birds connection, focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean.
You will leave the presentation with the ability to explain the issue to birding and non-birding friends alike!
Paul Baicich has been an active birder since his early teens. He went on to work for the American Birding Association,
where he organized their conferences and conventions, edited publications, and then served as ABA's Director of Conservation
and Public Policy until late 2003.
His concerns include an abiding interest in bird conservation (especially shade-grown coffee) and studies in the breeding
biology of North American birds. Paul also has co-led a number of birding tours to Alaska. He is on the Management Board of
the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture and on the Waterbird Conservation Council. Paul has worked as an independent consultant
and writer for the National Wildlife Refuge Association for the past two years and has spent the past few years promoting
support for our unique and valuable National Wildlife Refuge System. He has made two special visits to Nicaragua over the
last few years, specifically to visit shade-coffee co-ops.
An article on birds and coffee by Paul recently appeared in Bird Watchers' Digest. It is provided at
www.birdwatchersdigest.com thanks to the generosity of BWD.