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When I started writing this column in 2011, I did so hoping to inspire readers to “make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you!” Rivers are all around us, but they don’t form as much a part of ourselves as roads do. Close your eyes again: can you see a river? How far can you follow it? Does it lead anywhere?

Freshwater Sponges: A Most Ancient and Wonderful River Friend

You will be counting the zeros…so look at it this way: the sea lampreys have been around since BEFORE there was an Atlantic Ocean! Survival is an amazing concept because it requires a lot of moving parts to move in synch. This month in “The Ripple: Stories About Western MA Rivers,” read Kurt’s appreciative piece about this enduring and crafty species.

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 one of those places that could sort the fair-weather nature walkers from the more hardcore nature explorers! It provides the prize of a dry boulder in a swampy storm at the end of a slow but fulfilling nature walk (or waddle!)

The wetlands are amazing with their multi-service mandate. It’s a home to so many species, it takes the quickness out of our step so we can regard and absorb the many movements of this wonderful reserve, and it is a sponge that heads off flooding. Read on in “The Ripple” this month as Kurt offers many excellent reasons why you should visit, and say ‘thank you’ to the wetlands for keeping those floods at bay!

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 a wipe out due to slippery rocks and strong currents…

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