Winter Nature Challenge 2022!
Stay active and engaged with nature this winter! Join the North and South Rivers Watershed Association and Mass Audubon for our 2022 Winter Nature Challenge! Each week starting in January and running through March, will have a virtual presentation, a nature challenge to do on your own or with your family, and an optional guided outdoor event! This program is the new iteration of the familiar WaterWatch Lecture Series. Register below one time for the entire series.
2022 Presentation Schedule
Wednesdays, January 19 – March 9 @ 7:00pm
January 19 – Insect Decline with Plymouth County Entomologist Blake Dinius
Just this past September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared 23 species in America to be extinct. When we think of examples of endangered species, our minds often jump to animals from distant lands: pandas, tropical birds, rhinos, big cats. But, Plymouth county is home to several protected species of insects. These species need our help just as much as any others. Buck Moth (Hemileuca maia) is of special concern, as is the Frosted Elfin Butterfly (Callophrys irus), and, Barrens Tiger Beetle (Cicindela patruela) is endangered. These are just a few names on a growing list of animal life. In 2018, the New York Times published on the “insect apocalypse,” a term that has come to represent both documented and anecdotal declines in insect populations around the world. While some agree with the Times article, others say that “it’s not as bad as it seems.” This is hopeful, but is it true? The correct answer to this question is critical. Insects make up 77% (or more) of all animal life! They fulfill vital roles for keeping our planet functioning, such as pollinating our flowers, serving as food sources for birds, decomposing wastes, and cycling nutrients. Join our program where we will review the literature surrounding this nuanced and (still developing) topic of entomology. We will also review ways that you can make your own yard a safe-haven for nature. Whether rare or common, in the words of E. O. Wilson, insects are “the little things that run the world.”
January 26 – Awareness Inspires Conservation with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) is a nonprofit organization supporting scientific research, educating the community, and improving public safety. AWSC strives to increase knowledge of Atlantic white sharks to change public perception and conserve the species and ensure biologically diverse marine ecosystems. This program provides an overview of the work of the AWSC as well as a wide range of topics – from public perception of sharks to the role of sharks in our marine ecosystem. The ongoing white shark research taking place off Cape Cod is explained in detail, as well as how that research is connected to white shark conservation. The program wraps up with a discussion on how the presence of white sharks close to shore has specifically affected the Cape Community and the New England area.
February 2 – Birding the Southeast Watersheds with Mass Audubon and the NSRWA
Birds adapt to winter in amazing ways. We will explore some of those adaptations and by using maps and other tools we’ll introduce a number of winter birding hotspots in the numerous watersheds of our communities. From White-throated Sparrows to Northern Gannets, our riverine and coastal habitats have it all.
February 9 – Salt Marshes of the South Shore with Mass Bays, NSRWA, and the National Wildlife Refuge System
Our New England salt marshes have a fascinating agricultural history that has only been fully clarified relatively recently. The topographic legacy of these practices has influenced the way salt marsh restoration practitioners currently approach improving salt marsh hydrology in the face of climate change and sea level rise. Susan C. Adamowicz, PhD, the Land Management Research and Demonstration Biologist at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, will discuss the history and future of our marshes and regional efforts to understand and preserve our marshes. Sara P. Grady PhD, NSRWA Watershed Ecologist and MassBays South Shore Regional Coordinator, will tie these projects back to work being conducted in our own watershed.
February 16 – Reading the Winter Landscape with Mass Audubon and the NSRWA
The many diverse habitats that our coastal proximity provide, are home to wildlife that needs to adapt to an increasingly difficult existence. Climate change being one of the most influential. We will step into each habitat and describe the techniques that our flora and fauna use to navigate change and the challenges of winter.
February 23 – Spotted Lantern Flies and Their Threat to Our Forests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Have you heard of the spotted lanternfly? First detected in Pennsylvania in 2014, this invasive, non-native pest is rapidly spreading across the US, and in 2021 was detected in Massachusetts. With a wide host plant range, including tree hosts like maple and black walnut as well as crops including grapes and hops, this pest poses a significant threat to North American forest and agricultural resources. Join us and USDA Entomologist Joe Francese as we take a closer look at this species and other invasive pests — the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer hemlock wooly adelgid and Lymantria dispar (formerly know as the gypsy moth) — all of which can also be found in Massachusetts, and their potential impact on our economy, environment, and our forests.
March 2 – Introduction to Duxbury Beach Reservation with Cristin Luttazi
Join us for an overview of Duxbury Beach Reservation, managers of the popular barrier beach. The program will highlight the diverse ecosystems and their wildlife as well as the importance of maintaining the landform in the face of climate change.
March 9 – Your Guide to Hiking the South Shore with Mass Audubon’s Doug Lowry, NSRWA Educator Brian Taylor, and NSRWA Correspondent Kezia Bacon
When looking to go on an outdoor walking adventure, the South Shore region of Massachusetts has so much to offer. Whether you’re looking for specific wildlife, amazing views, places of notable history, unique locations, or simply a fun and successful outdoor experience, the South Shore has it all! This presentation will provide you with valuable information to help you prepare for your very own outdoor adventure.
Watch last year’s recorded 2021 presentations below!
Amazing Arthropods! with Plymouth Co. Entomologist Blake Dinius
Exploring Wonder: A Child’s View of Nature with the SSNSC
A Beachcombers Guide to Winter with NSRWA Ecologist Sara Grady
An Introduction to Birdwatching with Mass Audubon’s Doug Lowry
Reading the Landscape with the SSNSC
Owls; In Search of Strigiformes with Mass Audubon’s Doug Lowry
Join the City Nature Challenge! The world’s biggest biodiversity study with the SSNSC
A Guide to Your Very Own River Adventure with South Shore River Guides NSRWA’s Brian Taylor and Mass Audubon’s Doug Lowry
Forest Foragers! Geocaching the South Shore with NSRWA’s Brian Taylor
January 9, 2019
Barstow’s Two Oaks and the Upper North River Shipyards
Caleb Estabrooks of Hanover, NSRWA Board Member
For 200 years the North River bustled with the industry of building wooden ships and we see the evidence of this on historical markers and local town seals. Recently discovered artifacts and stories are adding to the depth of what we know about this influential piece of local history. Come see a collection of images and artifacts from the Barstow’s Two Oaks Shipyard in Hanover and hear how the shipbuilding industry shaped the town of Hanover, and the influence these ships had on the early United States.
January 16, 2019
Eating Green Crabs to Save Our Clams and Estuaries?
Roger Warner, Green Crab Research and Development
Green Crabs are a marauding European invader that is eating our clams, mussels, eelgrass and eroding our salt marshes. What can be done? Researchers and the seafood industry are teaming up to market these crabs as food and fertilizer. Could this be a winning strategy help manage these invasive species and help save our coasts from this destructive invader? Come find out!
Jessica Donohue, Sea Education Association
Plastics in our oceans are a major concern for wildlife and for us. But how do we know how much plastic is in the ocean? Sea Education Association scientist Jessica Donohue will explain how this data is collected, what the sources are, where it accumulates in the North Atlantic and what we know about the impacts of microplastics on sea life and human health.
From Single Use to Zero Waste: What’s New with Recycling
Claire Galkowski, South Shore Recycling Cooperative
Recycling has been in the news – from China not taking our recycling to making sure we recycle correctly. Longtime director of the fifteen-town South Shore Recycling Cooperative and lifetime waste hater, Claire Galkowski, will do a deep dive into impacts from some everyday consumer products, both upstream and down. The presentation will inspire new ways to think about “stuff,” explain how recycling works, and provide practical tools to “Recycle Smart” and be gentler to our forests, streams, oceans and atmosphere.
What’s Up with the Whales
Amy Knowlton, New England Aquarium, Senior Scientist
North Atlantic Right whales, entangled in fishing gear, struck by ships, dying in higher than normal numbers, and feeding in new parts of the ocean, are at risk of going extinct. This small population is facing existing and new threats and people are working hard to save them. Other large whales have also been dying along the east coast at unprecedented levels. Come find out “What’s Up with the Whales” from whale researcher from the New England Aquarium, Amy Knowlton.
Sea Run Brook Trout
Warren Winders and Geoffrey Day, Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition
Before the Industrial Revolution there were hundreds of rivers and streams from Long Island to Maine with populations of sea run brook trout, a special kind of brook trout that seek out rich food and shelter in our estuaries. Prized for their flavor, size and strength, these salter brook trout became the focus of America’s first sport fishery during the 1800’s. By the turn of the century their habitat had been so degraded by dams and pollution that now only remnant populations hang on in our streams and estuaries. Come find out more about sea run brook trout and how people are working to restore this once prized sport fish to our local streams.
Firefly Watch: Citizen Science from Your Back Porch
Don Salvatore and Jacqui Shuster
Join Don Salvatore and Jacqui Shuster, past and present coordinators for this international citizen science project. Learn how to identify and record a number of species of “lightning bugs” to help track their populations as scientists explore the challenges in habitat and climates for this iconic summer time resident. Recommendations on how to make your yard more attractive to fireflies will be shared.
The History of the Gurnet Light and Fort Andrew
Wally Hempel, Project Gurnet and Bug Lights
Celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Gurnet Light with history buff Wally Hempel, of Project Gurnet and Bug Light, as he explains the back story of this important landmark. Wally is a renowned story teller and will share accounts of the lighthouse being fired upon by British ships, and how it was once under the watchful eye of the first female lighthouse keeper. Through the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers this crucial aid to navigation continues to guide mariners into Plymouth, Kingston and Duxbury Bays.
At the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell.
- Community Programs
- Estuary Explorers
- River Adventures Camp
- School Programs
- Winter Nature Challenge (Formerly WaterWatch Lectures)
- Workshops and Conferences
- Healthy Rivers
- Dam Removals
- South River Restoration
- South River Restoration
- Third Herring Brook Restoration
- Improving Water Quality
- Shellfish Beds
- Streamflow Restoration
- First Herring Brook Restoration