Video Archive of Past Programs and Events

Most of our Monthly Meeting programs are recorded and are available at SudburyTV. You can check the list below to see program details and watch the videos. Click on the click for webcast to watch the program.

Wednesday, October 22

Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Lawrence Millman talking about A Painless Introduction to Fungi

Learn about the ecological role of fungi, and why our habitats would be even more unhappy without them, for they are the world’s best recyclers. You’ll also learn that all mushrooms are fungi, but not all fungi are mushrooms. For example, you’ll see images of the so-called Noble Polypore, an endangered fungus that can tip the scales at 300 pounds, as well as the Deadly Galerina, a species so small that it can’t tip any scale. Likewise, you'll learn about Emily Dickinson’s mushroom phobia. Please note that this presentation will not focus on edibles!

Lawrence Millman is a mycologist, Arctic explorer, author. His 16 books include such titles as Last Places, Lost in the Arctic, An Evening Among Headhunters, Hiking to Siberia, Fascinating Fungi of New England, and — most recently — Giant Polypores & Stoned Reindeer: Rambles in Kingdom Fungi.

Wednesday, September 24

Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Helen Dalbeck and Douglas Smithwood talking about The Amazing American Eel: Its Unique Life History and Restoration Efforts in Our Local Rivers

(click for webcastVideo) The American eel is being considered for listing as an endangered species. Prior to colonial settlement, the American Eel was probably the single most abundant fish species in the Sudbury, Concord and Assabet rivers. Throughout most of the eel’s range, its population size has greatly diminished, particularly during the past 30 years. Of all the fish species that once migrated from the sea into the Concord River - including shad, river herring, sea lamprey and maybe salmon - the American eel has been the sole species that has been able to persist in this watershed. This may be because of its remarkable and surprising life cycle. Restoration efforts are currently underway in the Merrimack River watershed to help bring this species back to its former prominence. Come learn about the life cycle of the American eel and the restoration efforts that are occurring in our local rivers and throughout the Merrimack River watershed.

Helen Dalbeck (Amoskeag Fishways Visitors and Learning Center Director) has served on the Fishways staff since 1999 and as Executive Director since September 2001. She has a B.A. in Biology and M.A. Zoology from the Global Field Program, Project Dragonfly, Miami University. As Director, she is responsible for managing this unique environmental education center on the Merrimack River, in the heart of an urban area. Over the years, partnerships and successful grants have been implemented with numerous organizations including the University of NH, NHFG Non-Game Division, EPA, EPSCoR, and MITS (Museum Institute for Teaching Science). Through her leadership, Fishways staff have become leaders in STEM and science inquiry, environmental literacy, and nearby nature awareness education.

Douglas Smithwood (Fishery Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Central New England Fishery Resources Office, Nashua, New Hampshire) has been a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the past sixteen years. His career with the Service has focused on restoring diadromous fish species throughout central New England with a primary focus on the Merrimack River watershed. During this time he headed up an ongoing river herring restoration program on the SuAsCo watershed and he is currently the team leader of the American Eel workgroup of the Merrimack River Diadromous Fish Technical Committee. Recently Doug led the formulation of the restoration plan for American Eel in the Merrimack River watershed. Prior to his position with the Service, he taught environmental science at an independent school in Wolfeboro, NH. He has a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Plymouth State University, a M.A. in biology from Clark University and a B.A. in biology from Denison University.

Wednesday, June 25

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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 Wildlife Refuge.

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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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 kizette_ortizvanger@fws.gov 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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 visit http://symontgomery.com/.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Legislative Forum led by State Senator Jamie Eldridge

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) “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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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: www.greatfallsma.org.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Sharon Stichter talking on Flowers that Fly: Habitat Gardening for Butterflies and Hummingbirds in New England

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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 community.

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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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

(click for webcastVideo) 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.

Contact: info@farnwr.org