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, November 15, 2017

Friends Monthly Presentation: Ed Sterling presenting The Central Mass Railroad: Part II: Beyond Clinton

Ed Sterling will discuss the history of the Central Massachusetts Railroad, known as "The Central Mass" from its beginnings in the post Civil War years to its sad end in 1980. Using both physical and digital maps, and many photos, he will initially take the audience on an imaginary train ride from Boston out to Clinton. Stopping at the various stations and depots, we will see the stations as they were, where they were located, and as they appear today where possible. This continuation of Ed's previous talk will focus on the Wachusett Dam and Reservoir and their impact on the Central Mass railroad, and how the railroad was rerouted around this major project using a tunnel and a viaduct. Then the journey will continue through central Massachusetts beyond Clinton out to Northampton, with a discussion of the impact of the Great Depression, and the Hurricane of 1938.

The Central Mass Railroad tracks pass along the southern border of the Assabet River NWR.

Ed has been studying the history of the Central Mass Railroad for almost 20 years, and has acquired an extensive book and photo collection on the Boston and Maine railroad, which operated the Central Mass Railroad for most of its history. He has a lifelong interest in trains and railroads. He grew up in Essex Junction Vermont, in the twilight of steam locomotive operations on the Central Vermont railway. His family has always had a large Lionel train layout in their homes. He currently collects large Lionel Standard Gauge trains from the 1920s and 1930s. Ed has lived in Bolton for 30 years, and has volunteered on a number of town boards including being a Selectman and has been active in the Boy Scouts for over 20 years.

(click for webcastVideo) Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Friends Monthly Presentation: Hollie Sutherland presenting Citizen Science with Camera Traps

We all know that mammals—like bobcats and bears, mink and moose—are not always easy to see in the wild. Across the state of Massachusetts, we don’t really know where a lot of our wild furry friends are most of the time, especially the ones that sneak around in the shadows at night. Hollie is looking for people who may be able to help in finding these elusive creatures, starting with a survey. Hollie is interested to find out about your interest in nature and whether you own a camera trap (you do not have to own a camera trap to take part). The survey is focused on those based in Massachusetts and over 18 years of age. You will receive a free Massachusetts Bobcat desktop wallpaper image as a thank you for completing the survey. Follow the link to take part

A camera trap is a camera with a sensor. When an animal walks past the camera it triggers the sensor which then tells the camera to take a photo or a video. The cameras are usually battery operated and can monitor wildlife remotely, by being attached to something like a tree and left in an area for days or weeks at a time.

Camera traps (also called trail cameras or game cameras) were first widely used by hunters and started to become popular in the 1980s. In the 1990s scientists realized they would work as a great tool for monitoring wildlife and even estimating how many species of mammals are in an area. As the demand grew for the cameras, designs evolved and the equipment has become more user friendly, less bulky and much cheaper. Now, wildlife enthusiasts are able to use them just to check out what animals are visiting their yard at night.

Hollie hopes to create a new and exciting project that could get citizens like you to contribute their own camera trap photos and videos from across the state of Massachusetts. MassCams is a citizen science project that in the long run aims to engage members of the public in doing just that — including hunters, environmental enthusiasts, local high school and college-age students, and environmental organization members.

Do you want to find out more? Why not check us out on Twitter #mass_cams or Facebook

Hollie is currently pursuing a masters and PhD in Environmental Conservation. Her main research focus is looking at camera traps as a tool to increase public participation in biodiversity monitoring. Since graduating in 2008, in the UK, with a degree in Environmental Science BSc, Hollie has focused on professional development in the field of conservation and wildlife management - which has involved working closely with different organizations- both government and non-governmental, universities and volunteers, in the UK, South Africa and the US. Having a passion for learning about the natural world and helping to conserve native species, Hollie has many years of experience both in the field and in the coordination of large scale Citizen Science and wildlife management projects.

(click for webcastVideo) Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Friends Monthly Presentation: John Milhaven presenting Bird Migration of New England

Have you ever wondered which birds in our area migrate, and why? Which birds are easiest to observe in our area as they migrate south through our area? Do tiny hummingbirds really fly to and from South America every year? And can stocking the feeders in my yard discourage the birds from migrating at all? Find out the answers to these and other questions at this FARNWR seminar presented by John Milhaven.

John Milhaven is an educator and amateur naturalist with a lifelong interest in natural history. He has birded on four continents and participated in scientific expeditions that monitored bird diversity in Ecuador. He previously worked as a researcher in the biotech industry and now teaches high school science.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Friends Monthly Presentation: Jim Lagacy presenting Wildlife Journey in Time: The History of Wildlife in Massachusetts

Join us on a time travel trip that will focus on the history of wildlife in Massachusetts starting from early settlement through the present. MassWildlife’s Jim Lagacy will explain how changes in the landscape changed wildlife populations and people from the colonial era through the present. You’ll learn why the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife was created and how the agency’s role in fish and wildlife conservation has changed with the times. Speculate on the future of fish and wildlife and how you can play a part in it. Jim will describe the numerous spring, summer, fall and winter fishing programs organized and provided by Mass Wildlife for children and adults. Mass Wildlife is celebrating 150 years of wildlife management, conservation, and restoration.

MassWildlife's Jim Lagacy is the Angler Education Coordinator for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. In this capacity he manages a statewide learn-to-fish program and has been doing so for better than 20 years. He has a background in fish and wildlife biology with degrees in Environmental Science and Wildlife Biology. He resides in Ware Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

(click for webcastVideo) Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Friends Annual Meeting and Presentation: Ed Sterling presenting The History of the Central Massachusetts Railroad

Ed Sterling will discuss the history of the Central Massachusetts Railroad, known as "The Central Mass" from its beginnings in the post-Civil War years to its sad end in 1980. Using both physical and digital maps, and many photos, he will take the audience from Boston out to Clinton. Stopping at the various stations and depots, we will see the stations as they were, where they were located, and as they appear today where possible. He will describe operations of the railroad in its role supplying the Sudbury Ammo Bunkers. As time permits, the virtual tour of the line will likely stop at Clinton and the Wachusett Dam, although the railroad went all the way out to Northampton.

Ed Sterling has had a lifelong interest in trains and railroads. He grew up in Vermont in the twilight of steam locomotive operations on the Central Vermont railway. His family has always had a large Lionel train layout in their homes. He currently collects large Lionel Standard Gauge trains from the 1920s and 1930s.

(click for webcastVideo) Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Friends Monthly Presentation: Dan Wolff presenting Ticks: How to Beat the Bugs

Tick bites have become far more common in the past two decades, with Lyme disease being the subject of many headlines across the country. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 300,000 Americans are affected by Lyme disease every year. Come learn about ticks, their behavior and life-cycles and how they relate to the environment.

Dan Wolff is the president and founder of TickEase, Inc., a products manufacturing company whose mission is to provide safe and effective tools for removing and repelling ticks, facilitating tick testing and educating the public for the prevention of tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease. TickEase is a proud preferred prevention partner of the University of Rhode Island’s TickEncounter Resource Center. Dan also founded Mass Deer Service, a suburban deer management program working closely with residents in the MetroWest area of Boston to control deer populations and help reduce the risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases.

(click for webcastVideo) Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Friends Monthly Presentation: Lisa Vernegaard presenting Presence and Condition of Massachusetts Animals and Plants

Our local landscape is home to a great diversity of wildlife. Using a stunning collection of photographs, Lisa Vernegaard, SVT Executive Director, will introduce you to the many animals and plants that call this part of Massachusetts home. Come learn about their conservation status, and what we can do to help our wild neighbors.

Lisa Vernegaard has 30 years of experience working in the protection and stewardship of natural and historic areas across the United States. As the Executive Director of Sudbury Valley Trustees, she oversees the operations of a regional land trust that works to protect natural areas for wildlife and people in a 36-community region between Boston and Worcester. Before joining SVT in 2013, Lisa worked with The Trustees of Reservations, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the US Forest Service. Lisa holds a Masters in Forest Science from Yale University and a B.S. in Biology from Carleton College.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Friends Monthly Presentation: Brian Butler presenting Timber Rattlesnakes

There are fourteen species of snakes native to Massachusetts. They occupy a diverse array of habitats, including: farmland, fields, forests, rocky hillsides, streams, and wetlands. Snakes are a valuable component of natural ecosystems, filling the role of both predator (of amphibians, rodents, etc.) and prey (for birds and mammals). There are two venomous snake species in Massachusetts - the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead, both of whom's populations are believed to be declining across the state. The state of Massachusetts is currently attempting to combat the decline of the timber rattlesnake through a variety of management strategies, including head-starting, population augmentation, and translocation. Come learn more about snake ecology and the exciting work being done by a number of partners to conserve Massachusetts' imperiled snake species.

Brian Butler is the President of Oxbow Associates, Inc., a wetlands and wildlife consulting company providing a broad range of ecological services and specializing in rare and herpetofaunal wildlife study and mitigation. He has studied the ecology of reptiles and amphibians for over 30 years, conducting taxon-specific and general habitat and impact assessments for development projects in Massachusetts. Much of his work consists of reviewing project sites for local conservation commissions, the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, US Army Corps of Engineers and other regulatory agencies.

(click for webcastVideo) Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Friends Monthly Presentation: Katherine Gillman presenting White Nose Bat Syndrome

Bats are unique in many ways, but are often misunderstood and under-appreciated for the many ecosystem services they provide, such as insect suppression. Currently, populations of bats throughout eastern North America are declining due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease. During this presentation you will learn about what makes bats unique, the nine bat species that live in Massachusetts, what research is being done to combat white-nose syndrome, and what you can do to help bats.

Katherine Gillman is a graduate student at the University of New Hampshire where she studies the impact of white-nose syndrome on summer maternity colonies of little brown bats. Katherine has been studying bats for the past seven years and is conducting her research in hopes of developing conservation strategies to help bats survive and recover from white-nose syndrome.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Presentation: David Scarpetti talking about Wild Turkeys

Massachusetts undoubtedly has a distinct connection with wild turkeys! This presentation will document the unique history of wild turkeys in Massachusetts; from the very first Thanksgiving, followed by complete annihilation, to present day where turkeys are very abundant across the state through reintroduction. In addition, David Scarpetti will describe and document the extraordinary life history, biology, and unique behavior of wild turkeys that enables them to thrive in virtually every community across the Commonwealth.

David is a wildlife biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, or (MassWildlife), the state agency charged with the conservation and management of all wildlife and their habitat across the Commonwealth. For the past 10 years, David has worked as the Wild Turkey and Upland Game biologist with MassWildlife and is involved in all aspects of management of game bird and small game management.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

(not recorded) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Paul Boothroyd presenting The History of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge encompassing Hudson, Maynard, Stow and Sudbury, from the World War II years to the Present

Paul Boothroyd will present the history of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge from 1942 to present. He will describe the farms and streams that the US Government took by eminent domain to build a supply and ammunition depot during the Second World War. He will also talk about the various activities that took place on the refuge land during and after the war when it was being used by Fort Devens and the Natick Labs, and the fortunate turn of events when the FWS took over the land to form the refuge as we know it today. In addition to a slide-show supporting his talk, about 14 minutes of 8mm film footage from the 1930s will show the farm families that once inhabited the area.

Speaker Paul Boothroyd is the Maynard archivist. He has been researching the general area for decades and has specifically studied the history of the refuge for the last 15 years. Mr. Booth hosts Spring and Fall bus tours of the refuge each time concentrating on either the northern or large parcel of the refuge, or smaller south portion of the refuge near the old Boston & Maine railroad line used to service the depot during WWII. Paul is in the process of writing 3 books about the refuge. One is the history of the refuge up to its transformation into an Army depot and another from the Army years to the present. Mr. Boothroyd is also the author of a postcard series depicting the Town of Maynard, MA, during the 1900's.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with John Maguranis presenting Coyotes: Learn all about the most misunderstood and remarkable animal in North America

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 Maguranis'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. For more information, visit his website:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Annual Meeting and Monthly Speaker Series with Dr. Elizabeth Farnsworth presenting State of New England’s Native Plants: Challenges and Opportunities for Conservation

New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) recently released a comprehensive, peer-reviewed report that, for the first time, gathers together the most up-to-date data on the status of plants on the New England landscape. From these data, we can discern increases and declines in both rare and common species across all six states. We will discuss the report findings and discuss the importance of plants and habitats in supporting other organisms and in providing ecosystem services for humans. We identify hotspots of rare plant diversity, and discuss factors that foster this diversity. We document the primary ecological and man-made threats to both rare and common species. We discuss activities and initiatives by New England Wild Flower Society and many organizations in New England to conserve and manage rare plants and habitats throughout the region.

Elizabeth Farnsworth is Senior Research Ecologist with NEWFS, and a biologist, educator, and scientific illustrator. She is also senior editor of the botanical journal, Rhodora. She was principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded project to develop an on-line award-winning guide to the regional flora for teaching botany (Go Botany).

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Bryan Windmiller talking about Conservation Begins at Home

In our increasingly crowded and busy world, many of the wondrous living treasures that grace our Earth—from rhinos and polar bears to tropical orchids—are at risk of disappearing. Equally threatened are many of the beautiful and little known animals and plants that live in your state, your town, or, in this case, your local National Wildlife Refuge.

Bryan Windmiller will discuss Grassroots Wildlife Conservation’s mission to help preserve some of our rare and declining species and will specifically address current and possible future rare species conservation efforts in or around the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge.

Bryan Windmiller is the founder and executive director of Grassroots Wildlife Conservation, an NGO which integrates hands-on educational programs into the conservation of rare animal and plant species. He earned a PhD in biology and a Master's degree in Environmental Policy, both from Tufts University and has worked in various roles as a conservation biologist since 1987. Bryan’s wife, Dr. Alison Robbins, is a wildlife veterinarian, and she and Bryan shared an appointment as visiting scholars researching amphibian conservation in Australia in 2006-2007.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Brad Winn talking about Red Knots Are the Coolest Shorebirds

Join Brad Winn of Manomet for a presentation on Red Knots of the Atlantic Flyway. He will show slides of knots and knot habitats from their nesting grounds in eastern Canada, to the southeastern states, and Tierra del Fuego. The program will include discussion of species biology, threats to the species, some of their food resource needs, and recent work looking at two subpopulations that overlap in Massachusetts.

Before joining the staff of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts in February 2011, Brad Winn worked for the state of Georgia for 17 years as a Biologist and Program Manager for the coastal office of the Nongame Conservation Section of the Department of Natural Resources.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Dick Gelpke talking about Life at Lake Boon

Local historian, Richard Gelpke, presents the third in a series of three presentations on the history of Lake Boon. We will learn how the lake got its present size and shape, how Temple and Worcester Avenues got their names, and where the railroad stations were. Also, do you know where there is a Smallpox graveyard, or why the second basin was the happening place in the 1940’s and 1950’s? Join us for this fun and interesting tour through the history of Lake Boon.

Dick Gelpke is a long time Lake Boon resident. He is 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, June 24, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Jon Regosin talking about Recovery of the Northern Red-bellied Cooter

The Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program at MassWilldife and the USFWS have been working together to recover the Endangered Massachusetts population of the Red-bellied Cooter for over 25 years. During the late 1980’s, cooters in Massachusetts were restricted to a about a dozen ponds in the Plymouth area. The USFWS established the Massasoit National Wildlife Refuge to protect important cooter habitat. MassWildlife and USFWS established a program to protect nests and rear hatchlings in captivity for several months before releasing them back to the wild. With over 3,500 “headstarted” turtles released, in partnership with schools and volunteers, this is the largest and longest running program of its kind.

Jon Regosin, Ph.D., Chief of Conservation Science at MassWildlife will give a presentation about these remarkable endangered turtles, and recent field research to evaluate the effectiveness of headstarting. Dr. Regosin conducts research on amphibians, reptiles, and birds, and his cooter research was recently featured on Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with William Lynn talking about The Wisdom of the Barred Owl: Ethics and Wicked Problems in Environmental Policy

What ought we do when the protection of one species may involving the killing of another? This was the wicked problem facing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) when deciding whether to kill barred owls for the benefit of the northern spotted owls. Wicked problems are policy issues over which there is strong moral disagreement, making them problems that cannot be solved through science alone. Recognizing they needed ethics training and analysis, the USFWS formed the Barred Owl Stakeholder Group (BOSG).

The final environmental impact statement recommended a removal experiment, and barred owls are currently being killed in four removal zones in the Pacific northwest. This was both an ethical and scientific judgement. It was also a pathbreaking document in that it was the first time a federal agency integrated a formal ethics review into its environmental analysis, with far reaching implications for environmental policy.

Bill Lynn is Senior Fellow for Ethics and Public Policy in the Center for Urban Resilience at Loyola Marymount University, a research scientist in the Marsh Institute at Clark University, and former Director of the Masters in Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University. His research and teaching focus on ethics and public policy, with an emphasis on animals, the environment and sustainability. Standing astride the environmental humanities and social sciences, Bill uses ethics and policy analysis to explore how moral norms shape public policy. As a consultant and keynote speaker, he also provides ethics advising, training and social marketing to help citizens and organizations improve their toolbox for policy-making.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Annual Meeting and Monthly Speaker Series with Shawn Carey talking about Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch : Conservation and Preservation of Hawks by Monitoring Migration in Massachusetts

Shawn Carey, from the Eastern Massachusetts Hawk Watch, an all-volunteer, member-based organization whose mission is to promote the study, conservation and preservation of hawks, will share information about EMHW and the monitoring of hawk migration in Massachusetts. He will also show a short video "Looking Skyward" A Passion for Hawkwatching by Shawn Carey and Jim Grady. This video examines why people watch hawks, explains some of its long, storied history, and explores some of the prime locations for viewing hawk migration (Hawk Mountain and Cape May). Video footage includes a wide range of raptors in flight as well as interviews with Pete Dunne, Bill Clark, and others.

Founded in 1976, EMHW is an all-volunteer, member-based organization whose mission is to promote the study, conservation and preservation of hawks locally and on a continental scale by monitoring migration in Massachusetts; to share data for research and conservation purposes; to promote education and awareness of the identification of hawks and the issues related to migrating hawks and to instill an appreciation for hawks in general.

Shawn P. Carey (Migration Productions) produces bird/wildlife related Multi-media Presentations that have been presented at many natural history events all over the United States. Migration Productions has been presenting programs to birding organizations, natural history events and camera clubs all over the United States. Shawn's photographs have been published in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Science magazine, Mass Audubon Sanctuary Magazine and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary just to name a few.

In 1997 he started teaching bird photography workshops (Fundamentals of Bird Photography) for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. He works full time as the Operations Manager at AVFX in Boston, MA.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Eileen McGourty and Marianne Piché talking about New England Cottontails of Massachusetts

Join U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist Eileen McGourty and MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Habitat Biologist Marianne Piché for a presentation about the Conservation Strategy for the New England Cottontail Rabbit.

As this species is a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is partnering with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife to implement conservation efforts. This talk will include details about Eileen’s work within the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex related to rabbit surveys, and a trapping and tracking project in Mashpee where both Eastern and New England cottontails were tracked in order to determine habitats being used by the rabbits, and to determine home range size. Marianne will also discuss habitat management techniques taking place on federal, state, tribal, and private land in areas where New England Cottontail occur.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Julia Blatt talking about Protecting Massachusetts Streams: What will the New Water Rules Mean for the Towns Surrounding the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge?

Despite the fact that Massachusetts receives 44 inches of precipitation a year, about a fifth of the Commonwealth's streams suffer from unnaturally low flows during dry summers, a condition that could worsen with climate change. This is particularly true in the I-495 region, due in part to a combination of thirsty lawns and municipal reliance on local water supplies. In an effort to curb the overuse of water, ensure water is available for future generations, and leave flow enough in the streams to keep them healthy, the Patrick Administration recently changed the way the state will allocate its water, beginning in 2015.

What are these changes and why are they necessary? What will they mean for the towns along the Sudbury and Assabet rivers, and for local rivers and streams? Julia Blatt, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, will take us through this innovative – and somewhat controversial – new policy, with a focus on local streams and towns in the ARNWR area.

Julia Blatt has been protecting rivers since 1987, when, as an aide to then-Congressman Chester Atkins, she helped eight communities gain federal Wild and Scenic River status for the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers. She worked as a planner for the state’s Riverways program (now Dept. of Ecological Restoration), and served as the Executive Director of the Organization for the Assabet River (now OARS) for eight years. Since, 2009, Julia has served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. The group’s current highest priorities are protecting stream flow, cleaning up stormwater, improving river habitats, and increasing municipal and state investment in water infrastructure – some of the thorniest challenges facing rivers in Massachusetts. Julia earned an undergraduate degree in history from Brown University and a master’s in Urban and Environmental policy from Tufts. She lives in the Mystic River Watershed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

(click for webcastVideo) Friends Monthly Speaker Series with Ken MacKenzie talking about The Loons of Massachusetts

The Common Loon is the voice of the wilderness. Its haunting call echoes through the forests surrounding the lakes and ponds of northern New England. But did you know that these iconic birds are living and breeding right in our own backyard?

The summer of 1975 marked the official return of the Common Loon to Massachusetts. Loons were extirpated from the state in the early 1900s until a nesting pair on the Quabbin Reservoir successfully produced two chicks. Today the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) watersheds are breeding areas for the largest concentrations of Common Loons in Massachusetts. The DCR has an active monitoring program which keeps track of loon breeding activity on the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs.

Wildlife Biologist Ken MacKenzie will talk about the research and management that has given us key insights to its natural history and conservation in Massachusetts. We will walk through the annual cycle of the loon from the sea to the lake (and back) as well as talk about how humans affect loons and their future.

Ken MacKenzie is the Senior Wildlife Biologist with DCR’s Division of Water Supply Protection. He has spent the last 8 years with the Division implementing all aspects of wildlife management on Division of Water Supply property with a mission is to protect, maintain and enhance wildlife resources while mitigating and minimizing wildlife-related damage to both Watershed structures and water resources.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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, 2014

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, 2014

(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, 2014

(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:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(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, 2014

(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, 2014

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, 2014

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, 2014

(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, 2013

(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, 2013

(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, 2013

(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, 2013

(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, 2013

(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 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, 2013

(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:

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,

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 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 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

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

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

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

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:

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

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.