Having grown up in a small town on the Connecticut shoreline, I used to think it was common knowledge to be able to name all the major constellations in the night sky, to know each of the dozen or so types of birds at the bird feeder in my parents’ backyard, how to identify the varities of trees and grasses and flowers growing locally. I would pick up and investigate horseshoe crabs, mussels, hermit crabs, and anything else I could find on the beaches in the summer without squeamishly getting freaked out. I somehow made it all the way to college before realizing that not everyone spent that much time outdoors, some people lived in places where you couldn’t see anything but the brightest stars, and that the only “wildlife” a few of my college friends knew how to identify were squirrels and pigeons.
Even if you’re a true city dweller, I personally feel that there’s value to escaping once in a while and appreciating nature, be it a hike in the woods, a trip to the Cape Cod National Seashore, or a drive to the Berkshires.
Starting Saturday, June 18, Mass Audubon‘s 2011 season of Discovery Days begins, with six events planned on Saturdays throughout the summer months at wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Each Discovery Day an
d its associated events is free of charge and open to the public.
First begun in 2010, Mass Audubon’s Discovery Days offer a unique opportunity for the residents of Massachusetts to enjoy nature and explore area wildlife in as little or as much detail as is desired; anyone is welcome regardless of age or level of knowledge as it relates to wildlife and the natural environment. Mass Audubon’s website promotes Discovery Days as “perfect for families, nature lovers, and those seeking an easy and enjoyable introduction to the outdoors.”
At each Discovery Day, visitors will have the opportunity to witness a different aspect of the natural environment, and, depending on the location, see animals up close, learn about bird migration, participate in nature games and activities, explore woods and fields, and find out about Mass Audubon and the work that Audubon does in collaboration with other conservation organizations to support environmental laws, policies and regulations and preserve and protect wildlife and land throughout the state.
The six Discovery Days are scheduled to take place from 10 am-3 pm, rain or shine:
June 18—Garden Tours and Open House at North River, Marshfield
July 16—Wilds of Worcester at Broad Meadow Brook, Worcester
August 6—Nature Play Day at Drumlin Farm, Lincoln
September 10—Fall Bird Migration at Blue Hills, Milton
October 1—Grand Opening of the Reflection Trail at Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary, Attleboro
October 22—Fall by the Bay at Wellfleet Bay, South Wellfleet
For more information, you can visit the Mass Audubon website. Also, it’s recommended to print and fill out a ticket (one per family) and bring it to the welcome desk upon arrival in order to help expedite registration the day of the event.