Hilltown Families

Sometimes It happens that you have to get your feet wet to REALLY experience nature. The Westfield River Dead Branch State Forest preserves one of the more lively ecosystems, and is...

Throughout the banks of western Massachusetts rivers and waterways, there is an abundance of life. For instance, in "The Ripple" this week, Kurt describes rivers as a mess hall- a provider...

Samuel Beckett spoke of the river Seine: "How in joyous eddies its two arms conflowed and flowed united on." But "The Ripple" brings us to Western MA waterways and invites us...

Once upon a time, people knew their places from the perspective of the river; and what is so wonderful is that this perspective is still available to those who pine for...

Our Friend, the Shortnose Sturgeon Spring equinox has passed and the great thaw is underway, turning greys into green and silence to chansons. Have you enjoyed the cold (as much as...

"In melting time, our rivers rise, taking with them what we put in their way," writes Kurt this month in "The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers." Kurt invites families to...

Our hills are gemmed with gifts—receive them by being present! This month in "The Ripple," Kurt poetically inspires us to get out along side our rivers that run through snow-laden...

The leaves are down, so now is the time to discover the geomorphic character of your brook: how its pools, rapids and boggy spots sit in the land. Soon enough, it...

Take thee to the river! This month in "The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers," Kurt challenges you to stop and look for the rivers and brooks nearest you, and to...

Last week an energetic group of Hilltown Families citizen scientists and Kurt Heidinger, Executive Director of Biocitizen, conducted our fourth annual rapid biotic assessment of the Westfield River in West Chesterfield....

Kurt's call to action this month in "The Ripple"... be stewards of the rivers! Take action in September as citizen scientists by joining Hilltown Families and Biocitizen for our 4th annual...

This month in "The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers," Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Kurt Heidinger, writes about river access .Check out his 5 pointers on how to river walk, preventing...

An Invitation to Think Outside about Floods Floods, like weeds, are problems. Occupying places we don’t want them to, they ruin things we are growing. Weeds are plants in the wrong...

Before May Flies, Meet the Mayfly Imagine never getting swarmed and bit by mayflies as you revel in the vivacities unleashed by the ubiquitous green fountain of spring. Imagine gardening, or...

How do spring peepers know when to start singing? How do spring peepers know when to start singing? They don’t have weather reports, or the ability to see the buds forming...

Spring Hunting Spring has a leap of the leprechaun in it; who can deny that?—but spring’s called spring not because of its leapiness.  Spring’s called spring because of the upwelling waters...

Winter Otters It’s the end of winter (almost), when months of frigid winds have whipped the bare hills and leafless trees into a freeze-dried state. The best loggers cut trees for...

Clouds are Rivers Rains become rivers, so—if we think of the whole instead of the parts—clouds are rivers. How very unscientific is such a thought! If everybody thought clouds are rivers,...

When Our Wetlands Become Icelands Perhaps you love to walk in the woods in winter because, when the leaves are down, the shape (or “geomorphic character”) of our biome is exposed....

What We Can Give to Our Rivers This summer I was lucky enough to visit the West Coast, and spent two days in Big Sur, that rugged part of the California...

Families Learn about the Relationship Between Benthic Invertebrates and River Ecology with Hilltown Families & Biocitizen Halloween’s upon us and the leaves are almost down—and for river lovers that means it’s...

Thinking Like A Watershed One of the funnier thoughts I’ve heard goes like this: “I want to be one with nature.” You might have heard of this thought, or a variation...

Adopt Your Local Stream or River Rivers and streams are beautiful. That’s why we are drawn to them, deeply and elementally. The first colonists in Western Massachusetts hugged close to the...

What Are We Going to Do Now Aldo Leopold was one of the shining lights of our long-awakening ecological movement; and he said that one of the drawbacks of seeing the...

Connecticut River’s Anadromous Fish A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting both the Holyoke and Turners Falls’ anadromous fish recovery operations with a group of intrepid high schoolers...

Heart of the Biome: Rivers A few days ago I was walking along the Connecticut River, at the Bashan in Hatfield (the green space off “Bashin Rd.” on this map), and...

Get Into the Flow Like a Mayfly “Rivers can take this—don’t worry!” said Jason Johnson, who works with Masswildlife’s Caleb Slater to stock our streams with trout and salmon, after hearing...

What the Peepers Are Telling Us Last night, I sped my family home from a week of Spring Break that took us far from the Nonotuck biome. As they slumbered in...

I Like Winter I was supposed to write about ice. I wanted to take you away from the CT river, up into the higher elevations, where the crystal trickles are, and...