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Tim Purinton

Tim Purinton

Director, Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration

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The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG) recently put out an events calendar marking May and June as “Massachusetts Rivers and Wetlands Months” celebrating river- and wetland-related activities across the state.

The 2013 Massachusetts Rivers and Wetlands Months Calendar contains detailed information and links to more than 275 events in, along or about the rivers and wetlands of Massachusetts taking place from April 27 to July 4. Upcoming events include kayaking trips, riverside picnics, canoe races, birding in salt marshes, fishing derbies, river cleanups, overnight camping trips, and nature hikes.

Here’s a brief sample of events taking place the weekend of May 11-12:

May 11 (Saturday) – IPSWICH RIVER – Birding Paddle Trip through Wenham Swamp, 6:00 AM – 10:30 Great_Blue_Heron,_WadingAM, co-sponsored by the Ipswich River Watershed Association and the Essex County Ornithological
. Paddle the Wenham Swamp section of the Ipswich River while birding with the experts at the
height of warbler migration! Put in is at Route 97/High Street in Topsfield, and take out is at Willowdale Meadows, on Topsfield Road near Bradley Palmer State Park. Click here or contact Cynthia at or call (978) 412-8200 for more info.

May 11 (Saturday) – HOUSATONIC RIVER – River Cleanup Paddle in Pittsfield and Lenox, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, co-sponsored by the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) and the Berkshire Environmental BEAT Housatonic CleanupCrew2Action Team (BEAT). “Bring your own boat or reserve a canoe. We will use boats (canoes and kayaks) to pick up trash that has collected behind downed trees. One group will launch from Fred Garner Park and head south to Decker Landing, while another group will launch from Decker and paddle south and then return to Decker Landing.” Pre-registration required; if you want to start from Decker Landing, please contact Alison Dixon [,  (413) 394-9796]; or, if you want to start from Fred Garner Park and paddle to Decker Landing, please contact Jane Winn at or (413) 230-7321.  Click here to download a flyer on this event; all participants will be treated to a picnic lunch.

May 11 (Saturday) – ESSEX RIVER (NORTH COASTAL WATERSHED) – Essex River Race, sponsored by Essex River Racethe Cape Ann Rowing Club. Registration begins at 8:00 AM; the first race heat sets off at 10:00 AM. The Essex River Race is a 5.5-mile, open water event starting at the Essex River Bridge at Route 133 in Essex, out behind the barrier beaches of Ipswich and back. Participants row or paddle small boats through one of the most scenic tidal areas in New England. Occasionally the water can be very rough, with strong winds and currents. Click here for an overview of the race and here to participate, or contact Suzanne Sweeney for more info.

May 12 (Sunday) – CHARLES RIVER – Nahanton Park Mother’s Day Bird Walk Trip, 8:00 AM start, sponsored by the Newton ConservatorsNahanton Park offers a mix of woodlands, wetlands, edge habitat and meadows along the Charles River, making it one of the best birding spots in Newton for both migratory and resident songbirds. Likely finds include brightly colored Egret at Nahanton Park, Newtonwarblers, vireos, and orioles. Also expect bluebirds, scarlet tanagers, swallows and brown thrashers. Enter the park at the Nahanton Street entrance next to the river. Parking is available inside the park. Bring binoculars if you have them. Beginners as well as experienced birders are welcome. Boots are recommended. Walk will be cancelled in steady rain.  Click here or contact co-leaders Alison Leary (617) 821-5619 or Haynes Miller (617) 413-2419 for more info. (Co-sponsored with Friends of Nahanton Park)

May 12 (Sunday) – HERRING RIVER (CAPE AND ISLANDS WATERSHED – Paddle the Herring River in Harwich, 12:00 Noon start, sponsored by the Kayak and Walk Cape Cod Meetup Group. “The Herring Herring riverRiver is a scenic waterway, surrounded by over 200 acres of Harwich Conservation Lands.  We always see birds along the river bank and expansive marsh.  We’ll head to the end of the river where the culvert allows water to flow into and out of the reservoir in Bell’s Neck”. Click here for basic info on this group and its paddling trips and here to sign up or for more specific info on this event.

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