Watershed Blitz: Support the Conservation Efforts of the Westfield River

Nature Hike Offers Community Based Crash Course on Environmental Science

It’s easy to see how the turkey tail mushroom got its name. These are just a sample of the biodiversity you’ll discover in the Westfield River watershed during the Westfield River Committee’s Watershed Blitz on Sept 27!

What do green frogs, turkey tail mushrooms, and poison ivy all have in common? They’re all things that can be found in and around the Westfield River – and they’re all things that volunteers will likely encounter at the Westfield River Committee’s Watershed Blitz! Held on Saturday, September 27, 2014,  from 9am-2:30pm, the event is being held in order to honor the 20 years of conservation that the committee has accomplished. More importantly, however, the event will gather important information about the Westfield River watershed’s biodiversity general health.

Participation in the event doesn’t necessarily require extensive knowledge of local plant and animal species, but it does require certain physical abilities. Volunteers should be prepared to hike 1.5 to 2 miles of the river corridor – territory that is challenging, but can make for a great adventure. Alongside nature-loving volunteers will be experts on all kinds of biology and environmental science topics – everything from salamanders to culverts! Armed with the knowledge of experts and some good field guides, participants will be able to help discover and identify all sorts of species to whom the Westfield’s banks are a happy home.

Helping to collect data about local biodiversity is a fantastic way to get hands-on experience in biology. Young learners will learn how to look for specific characteristics in order to identify what they find, and will also be able to to learn about the preferred growing and living environments of the species that they discover. Additionally, students who participate in the blitz will be actively cultivating a deeper connection to the local landscape – a connection that, if deepened, will carry with them as they grow, helping to shape their beliefs and interests. Children who participate in conservation while they’re young are much more likely to exhibit environmentally responsible behaviors as adults – so get out and enjoy the river as a family, and keep in mind that not only are you having a great time rambling down the river’s banks, but you’re helping to preserve the local landscape and raising another generation of ecologically responsible and conservation-minded folks.

Families wishing to volunteer at the blitz must register beforehand by calling Meredyth Babcock at 413-623-2070. The blitz will take place along the East Branch of the Westfield River.  Exact location will be given upon registration.

[Photo credit: (cc) Richard Bonnett; (c) Sienna Wildfield]

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