MassWildlife: Amphibians & Vernal Pools Need You!

Come the first warm, rainy nights in spring, large numbers of salamanders emerge from their underground burrows and migrate to vernal pools to breed. The elusive Eastern Spadefoot might emerge, if weather and groundwater conditions are just right. Watch the presentation to learn about vernal pool ecology and about ongoing amphibian conservation projects from Matthew Burne of the Vernal Pool Association and Jacob Kubel of MassWildlife. This is the perfect introduction for those who want to get involved and contribute to monitoring projects this spring and summer.

MassWildlife is celebrating 150 years of conservation in 2016 with a monthly speaker series. Be inspired, hone your skills as a naturalist, and try something new! Hear from our biologists and our partners as they discuss current conservation issues and programs. Learn how you can contribute to projects that rely on public input and observations.  All talks take place at 7:00 P.M. at MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, unless otherwise noted.  For more information, visit:Mass.gov/dfw/conservation-connections

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Below is the schedule for upcoming presentations/events:

April 14: Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife: Citizen Science and Road Ecology can Benefit Wildlife and Motorists. How can reporting roadkill help turtles and other wildlife, and keep motorists safe? MassWildlife’s David Paulson and DOT’s Tim Dexter will tell you as they discuss the mission of the Linking Landscapes program, a long-term and multifaceted effort to minimize the impact of existing roads on wildlife, while improving highway safety. Also learn the basics of turtle identification and how to conduct and submit your own surveys.

May 19: Bird Conservation at MassWildlife. Andrew Vitz, MassWildlife’s State Ornithologist, will discuss the many ways MassWildlife is promoting bird conservation across the Commonwealth. Topics will include the return of Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons, Piping Plover and Roseate Tern conservation, grassland and shrubland bird management, and what is being done to support nesting Common Loons and American Kestrels. Also learn how to contribute to bird conservation through a number of citizen science activities.

May 21: Birding Walk, Bolton Flats WMA. Join MassWildilfe’s State Ornithologist, Andrew Vitz, for a walk through the grassland, wetland, and forested habitats of Bolton Flats that are home to a variety of birds including the state-listed Grasshopper Sparrow and Vesper Sparrow. During spring migration you can also expect to see or hear many other forest songbirds, grassland birds, and wetland birds. Check the Mass.gov/dfw/Conservation-Connections for meeting time and location.

June 9: American Chestnut Restoration in Massachusetts. Most people are unaware of the enormous ecological disaster that the loss of the American Chestnut tree represents. Blightresistant American Chestnut seedlings, painstakingly developed and now planted adjacent to MassWildlife’s Field Headquarters, are a major step toward reintroduction of the species into the wild. Join Lois Breault-Melican from the American Chestnut Foundation as she discusses the history and future of this important tree. Participants can view the trees and learn about restoration volunteer opportunities.

July 21: Into the Night: Exploring Moths and Other Nocturnal Insects. Discover a world of beautiful colors and patterns and extraordinary diversity when you learn simple techniques to observe moths from MassWildlife’s Invertebrate Zoologist Michael Nelson. From luring techniques and rearing methods to identification tips, novice and experienced naturalists alike will learn something new. After the lecture, attendees will have a chance to view live moths at a luring station (light and sheet) outside the building. Talk begins at 8:00 P.M.

August 4: Prescribed Fire: Maintaining and Restoring Wildlife Habitat throughout MA. Did you know that many rare plants and animals in Massachusetts rely on periodic fire to thrive? Join Tim Simmons and Caren Caljouw, both part of MassWildlife’s prescribed fire team, to learn how these special fire-adapted communities are being restored on public lands like Inland Barrens in central Massachusetts and Sandplain Grasslands on the Cape. Also, find out how members of the public are helping catalogue these fire-adapted habitats.

August: MassWildlife Habitat Showcase Walks in Hardwick, Falmouth, Montague, Windsor, and Newbury. Walks will take place at various dates during August, check Mass.gov/dfw/Conservation-Connections for updates.

September 18: Sandwich Fish Hatchery Tour. Did you know that the Sandwich fish hatchery annually produces about 75,000 trout that are stocked into Massachusetts water bodies? The Sandwich facility is the oldest of MassWildlife’s five fish hatcheries. Join us for a tour of the rearing facilities and raceways and see Brook, Rainbow, Brown, and Tiger Trout in different stages of growth. Check Mass.gov/dfw/conservationconnections for tour times and details.

September 22: MassWildlife Hatchery History. Shortly after its founding 150 years ago, MassWildlife began rearing and stocking fish. In fact, Massachusetts was the first state in the country to initiate a fish culture program. Today more than 500,000 trout are produced by the Division’s five fish hatcheries for anglers across the Commonwealth to enjoy. Join Ken Simmons, MassWildlife’s Chief of Hatcheries, for a fascinating look at the history of the agency’s longest running program. Also, historical photos and other artifacts from the hatchery and stocking program will be on display.

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