Our river ecosystems are about more than just water – they about thousands of species of plants and animals, fascinating natural history, and the connections between humans and their surroundings. By utilizing resources made available by a handful of local community-based organizations, families can learn about and connect with our local landscape.
Hilltown Families and Mass Appeal (a weekday, hour-long lifestyle program on NBC) have teamed up to offer a live monthly segment on WWLP 22News! Each month, Hilltown Families’ Founder & Executive Director, Sienna Wildfield, joins Mass Appeal hosts to talk about ways to engage in your community while supporting the interests and education of your children (and yourselves!).
This monthly segment continued on Monday, June 20, 2016. This month Sienna and Lauren talked about intergenerational ways to engage in natural resources to support interests and education, including River Walks and Nature Centers!
A handful of local paths and trails provide access to the natural and human history contained on the banks of western Massachusetts rivers. From short, interpretive paths to remnants of ancient trail systems, these paths and trails bring families closer to the waters that sustain the landscape.
Sustainability: the River Knows the Way Biology tells us that water is life. Religion tells us that life is sacred. Biology does not want to admit that life is sacred (because that would not be “objective,” but it would not exist without water. Think of any biologist and name one not totally dependent upon water for life. Einstein’s brain was 75% water, and so are ours. Think of how you are reading… Read More
Kurt takes us on an adventure to Rock Dam in Turners Falls, connecting us to our landscape and broadening our awareness of place… this month in “The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers.”
Before the leaves come down—or better yet, while they’re coming down—get your family to the river. If they can’t make it, make sure YOU do! This month in “The Ripple,” Kurt shares special places on the Connecticut River you can visit as Summer turns to Fall, and things to observe when you get there.
Community-based educational opportunity available for all ages as fish lifts and ladders showcase a broad species of fish and the environmental challenges they face. Critical thinking is an essential by-product as children view the efforts made to maintain a river’s natural flow at the Turners Falls Fish Ladder and the Robert E. Barrett Fishway in Holyoke.
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. This month in Kurt’s post, “The Ripple,” hear all about it, what we found and images from the afternoon…
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 time to do Rapid Biotic Assessments (RBA), which involves capturing and cataloging the bugs—benthic invertebrates —that live on the riverbed. Certain bugs like stonefly-nymphs need lots of oxygen to survive, and when you find a bunch of them, it’s a sign… Read More
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 of it, too. The reason I find it funny is that it’s actually impossible not to be “one with nature,” if being “one” means directly, physically and existentially connected to the vital sources of being. If, by any chance, you are… Read More
Source-to-Sea Clean-Up in Hampden County Sunday, Sept. 30th The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees), United Water, and Holyoke Friends of the River have joined forces this fall to organize a river clean-up volunteer day on the banks of the Connecticut River. On Sunday, September 30th, from 9am-Noon, folks of all ages and abilities are invited to meet at the American Legion next to Pulaski Park (50 St. Kolbe Dr., Holyoke, MA) to… Read More
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 rivers because of the abundance of life that issued from and through them, and our (or at least my) favorite town of all—Northampton—still retains much of the vibrancy of its original biocultural character: an idealistic, community-oriented and caring character generated by… Read More
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 world from the ecological perspective is that, at the same time you see the incredible beauty of the kinship of all living creatures, you also see the damage being done to our great shared life. He implored educational leaders to not… Read More
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 (Anadromous fish are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean for most of their lives, and return to fresh water to spawn.). Holyoke has a fish elevator, which is somewhat unique, and Turners Falls has a fish ladder; both are… Read More
The Heart of Our River The Connecticut River is ours, right? It doesn’t really matter if you live in the Pioneer Valley or the Hilltowns of Western MA: when you drive I-91 to invade, or retreat from, the DC-to-Boston sprawl it roils conspicuously beneath bridges or courses by your side—the broad, slow, murmuring River. As you’re chased over the Cooli Bridge by a wolfpack of Volvos, it flashes in the sun like… Read More