MassWildlife Open House is June 10
Enjoy Free Freshwater Fishing Weekend June 3-4
Endangered Turtle Release Success
Report Wild Turkey Sightings
Lexington High School Wins 2017 Envirothon
Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool Wins National Award
Brief Seasonal Announcements
Upcoming Meetings and Events


MassWildlife Open House is June 10

MassWildlife is hosting an Open House on Saturday, June 10 at its Field Headquarters (1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough) from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Experience the range of MassWildlife programs through interactive displays, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. This event is FREE and perfect for families and wildlife enthusiasts of any age! Participants will enjoy all the favorite activities from last year, including archery, the scavenger hunt, and live reptiles. See images of last year’s event. We’ve added some great new features this year, including live owls and hawks, working dog demonstrations, and a kayak raffle!

  • Free hot dog lunch
  • Archery
  • Kids' crafts
  • Prizes and giveaways
  • Live owls and hawks
  • MassWildlife vehicles including an airboat, trout stocking truck, and boats
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Live turtles, snakes, and fish
  • Working dog demonstrations
  • Learn to fly or spin cast
  • Fly tying demonstrations
  • Interactive displays on wildlife and fish management, habitat management, and endangered species conservation
  • Learn to attract birds and pollinators with native plants
  • Tour the American Chestnut orchard
  • and much more!

Parking is available on-site. There will also be overflow parking and a shuttle provided from the parking lot near Outback Steakhouse (Stagecoach Plaza, Route 9, Westborough). There is a rain date of Sunday, June 11. If rain is in the forecast, please visit mass.gov/dfw/open-house for weather-related updates.

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Free Freshwater Fishing Weekend: June 3–4
Take a friend or family member fishing! You won't need a fishing license to fish any public freshwater lake, pond, reservoir, river or stream statewide from 12:00 A.M. Saturday June 3rd until 11:59 P.M. Sunday June 4th. While you can fish for free on June 3rd and 4th, a license is required at all other times for those 15 years of age or older. At all other times, residents ages 15 to 17 and those over 70 must obtain and carry a fishing license; however, licenses are free for those age groups. Funds from fishing license sales support MassWildlife’s fisheries research, fish stocking programs, and angler education programs. 

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Residents Help Release Endangered Turtles Back into the Wild

Despite the dreary weather, local residents helped MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program staff release 55 Northern Red-bellied Cooters at Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area in Hanson on Friday, May 27. These turtles are federally and state listed as Endangered.

Partnering organizations—including schools, nature centers, and museums—cooperate with MassWildlife in a restoration effort to raise wild-caught hatchling turtles from October through May; a process called headstarting. The turtles are kept warm and are well-fed, which accelerates their growth. By the time the turtles are ready for release, they are much larger than a wild turtle of the same age and are less likely to be eaten by predators. Released headstarted turtles have more than a 95% survival rate.

The Massachusetts population of this endangered turtle is confined to ponds and rivers within Plymouth and eastern Bristol Counties. The next closest population is hundreds of miles away in New Jersey. Northern Red-bellied Cooters’ native range spans from central New Jersey to northeastern North Carolina and westward up the Potomac River into eastern West Virginia. Learn more about Northern Red-bellied Cooters with our Fact Sheet.

Since the inception of the program in 1984, over 4,000 headstarted hatchlings have been release into waterways and ponds in southeastern Massachusetts. This year, 27 partners from across the state assisted with the headstarting program.

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Report Wild Turkey Sightings

Sportsmen and women, birders, and other wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to assist with MassWildlife’s Annual Wild Turkey Brood Survey. The public is asked to record sightings of hens, poults (newly-hatched turkeys), and males (both juvenile and adult). For help identifying male and female turkeys and determining if a male is a juvenile (jake) or an adult (tom), please click here.

MassWildlife conducts the Annual Brood Survey from June 1 through August 31 each year to estimate the number of turkeys. The brood survey helps our biologists determine productivity and compare long-term reproductive success while providing an estimate of fall harvest potential. Turkey nesting success can vary annually in response to weather conditions, predator populations, and habitat characteristics. Citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and can be a fun way for people to connect with nature. Be sure to look carefully when counting turkey broods, the very small poults may be difficult to see in tall grass or brush. MassWildlife is interested in turkey brood observations from all regions of the state, including rural and developed areas.

NEW THIS YEAR! Observations can now be reported online. Simply fill in all the information and click submit and your turkey observations will be logged by MassWildlife. You can still download and print a Turkey Brood Survey form to complete over the course of the summer. Completed forms should to be mailed after August 31st to: Brood Survey, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581. If you’ve submitted your observations online, please do not mail in duplicate observations.

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Lexington High School Wins 2017 Envirothon

The message from teenagers who participated in this year’s Massachusetts Envirothon environmental education program was clear: local agriculture is booming in Massachusetts. For the past school year, they’ve been researching farming in their communities – from urban community gardens to rural orchards and pastures, from row crops to working forests – and assessing its benefits and its effects on local land and water resources, ecosystems and biodiversity.

Two hundred fifty students from nearly 40 Massachusetts communities converged on Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln on Thursday, May 18th to compete in the 30th annual Massachusetts Envirothon. At the event, teams presented what they’ve learned about agricultural soil and water conservation, and tested their knowledge of the area’s soils, forests, water, and wildlife. Top honors went to a team of students from Lexington High School.

At the outdoor field competition event, teams rotated through four “ecostations” where they answered written questions and engaged in hands-on activities such as soil analysis, wildlife habitat assessment, tree identification, and water quality measures. Each team had up to 10 participants and split into specialized sub-teams during the competition, each focusing their efforts at different ecostations.

At the fifth station, the Current Issue, each team gave a 15 minute presentation to a panel of judges about their research into “Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation” in their own community. Each panel of judges included concerned citizens and environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit organizations, academia and private industry. Teams were asked to assess the potential for producing local food, given the soil, water, and people resources in their community, and to recommend what might be done to protect and enhance soil health and water quality at the same time.

For more information on the Massachusetts Envirothon visit www.massenvirothon.org.

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Brief Seasonal Announcements 

·         Help Bats by Reporting Colonies: If you see a colony of bats, please let MassWildlife know. Ten or more bats make up a colony. We study bat colonies in Massachusetts to see how many have survived after the onset of White-nose Syndrome, a deadly disease affecting hibernating bats. Monitoring leads to advances in conservation and management for endangered bat species, ensuring protection and security of the colonies. Two species of bats—the Little Brown Bat and the Big Brown Bat—have summer colonies in Massachusetts. These colonies may be found in trees, buildings, or houses. Please email Jennifer Longsdorf (jennifer.longsdorf@state.ma.us) to report a bat colony and include the address, location, type of structure where the colony was found (tree or building), and approximately how many bats are in the colony. Your help is greatly appreciated!

·         Leave Fawns and Young Wildlife Alone: Every year, the lives of many young creatures are disturbed by people who take young wildlife from the wild in a well-intentioned attempt to “save” them. These well-meant acts can have a very negative effect. Please remember, finding a young animal alone does not mean it’s abandoned; the best thing you can do for young wildlife is to leave them alone. Only when young wildlife are found injured or with their dead mother may the young be assisted, but must then be delivered immediately to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Due to the difficulty in properly caring for them, there are no rehabilitators licensed to care for fawns. It is illegal to possess most wildlife in Massachusetts without a permit. A list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators can be found here. For more information on what to do if you find young wildlife, please visit

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Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool Wins National Award
In May, the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy Joint Implementation Working Group selected the Massachusetts Wildlife Climate Action Tool for the Working Group's 2017 Climate Adaptation Leadership Award for Natural Resources in the “broad partnership” category. The Tool was created for decision-makers, conservation practitioners, and managers and developed by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the Department of the Interior's Northeast Climate Science Center. While designed for Massachusetts, the tool offers broadly relevant information and could serve as a model for other states in the region. MassWildlife staff members involved in this project included John O’Leary, Jonathan Brooks, and Nicole McSweeney.

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Upcoming Meetings and Events

June 3 & 4: FREE FRESHWATER FISHING WEEKEND – Take a friend or family member fishing this weekend - you won't need a fishing license to fish any public freshwater lake, pond, reservoir, river or stream statewide from 12:00 A.M. Saturday June 3rd until 11:59 P.M. Sunday June 4th. While you can fish for free on June 3rd and 4th, a license is required at all other times for those 15 years of age or older. At all other times, residents aged 15 to 17 and those 70 and older must obtain and carry a fishing license; however, licenses are free for those age groups. Funds from fishing license sales support MassWildlife’s fisheries research, fish stocking programs, and angler education programs. Free Saltwater Fishing Weekend is June 17-18.

June 3: Great Falls Discovery Center Family Fishing Festival, Turners Falls – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls (2 Avenue A) from 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. This event is in cooperation with the Department of Conservation and Recreation. *Open to the pubic – for more information, contact Jim Lagacy at 508-389-6309 or jim.lagacy@state.ma.us

June 4: Endicott Park Family Fishing Festival, Danvers – This is a non-competitive, family-friendly, learn to fish event at Endicott Park, 57 Forest Street, Danvers from 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided. This event is in cooperation with Danvers Recreation. This is a FREE event; however, all visitors are subject to a $1 resident vehicle or $3 non-resident vehicle user fee. *Open to the public. For more information, contact Christine Dean at 978-774-6518 or Jim Lagacy at 508-389-6309 or jim.lagacy@state.ma.us

June 6: Deer Ecology in the Suburbs, Sudbury -- The Sudbury Valley Trustees is hosting a program on deer management by MassWildlife Biologist Susan McCarthy at 7PM at SVT’s Wolbach Farm. The focus of the talk will be on deer management in suburban eastern Massachusetts, how high deer densities impact forest ecosystems and our natural resources, as well as options for realistic, effective deer management strategies suggested by MassWildlife biologists. The program is free for SVT members, $10 for non-members. Seating is limited. Calendar and Registration link.

June 8: Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting, Westborough – The meeting will take place at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Field Headquarters Office located at 1 Rabbit Hill Road in Westborough from 1:30 – 4:30 P.M. in the Southwest Meeting Room, Room #103. Please note: If you have a disability or medical condition and would like to request special accommodations, please contact Susan Sacco at 508-389-6342. *NOTE: This meeting has been cancelled. The next Advisory Committee Meeting is scheduled for July 13th at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters (1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough) from 1:30 – 4:30 P.M. in the Southwest Meeting Room, Room #103. 

June 10: MassWildlife Open House, Westborough – Join MassWildlife for an Open House at its Field Headquarters (1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough) on Saturday, June 10 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Admission and all activities are free at this family-friendly event. Try your hand at outdoor skills like archery, target shooting, and fly or spin casting. Get an up close look at live animals including owls, hawks, turtles, snakes, and fish. Learn about endangered species research, find out where trout are stocked, and get tips on how to attract birds to your yard. Enjoy a free BBQ lunch and win prizes! All Open House visitors will have the chance to win a 10' Ascend kayak, life vest, and paddle, generously donated by Bass Pro Shops. This event is in cooperation with the Town of Westborough's 300th Anniversary. Rain date: Sunday, June 11. Click here for more MassWildlife Open House information.

June 10: Family Fishing Festival, Westborough – In conjunction with MassWildlife's Open House and the Town of Westborough's 300th Anniversary Celebration, families are welcome at the Westborough Reservoir (Sandra Pond) to learn how to fish from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. MassWildlife staff will provide instruction, equipment, and bait. No fishing license required. Click here for more MassWildlife Open House information.

June 10: “Hooked On Scouting” Family Fishing Festival, Russell – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event at Russell Pond in Camp Moses, Birch Hill Road in Russell from 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided. This event is in cooperation with the Boy Scouts of America Western MA Council. *Open to the public. For more information, contact Steve Roberts at steven.roberts@scouting.org

June 10: Horn Pond Family Fishing Festival, Woburn – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event at Horn Pond in Woburn (south end of the pond near the boat ramp area off of Pond Street) from 9:00 A.M – 1:00 P.M. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided. This event is in cooperation with the Town of Woburn. *Open to the Public. For more information, contact Jim Lagacy at 508-389-6309 or jim.lagacy@state.ma.us

June 11: Family Fishing Festival, Georgetown – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event in cooperation with the Georgetown Fish and Game Association. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided at Indian Hill Reservoir, Moulton St., Byfield, from 9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. *Open to the public. For more information, contact John Holt at jhnholt2@gmail.com.

June 12 & 13: Adult “Learn To Fish” Class, Newton – This is an adult only “learn to fish” course designed for beginners at the Cove Picnic area, 0 West Pine Street, Auburndale from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. This event is in cooperation with the Newton Recreation Department. *Open to the public, minimum age is 18, and pre-registration is required. There is a $10 per person fee payable to the Newton Recreation Department. Go to Newton Parks and Recreation at www.newtonma.gov/gov/parks/default.asp to sign up. For more information, contact Judy Dore at 617-938-4664 and jdore@newtonma.gov

June 14: Adult “Learn to Fish” Clinic, Westborough – This is an adult only “learn to fish” clinic designed for beginners at Minuteman Park on Westborough Reservoir (Sandra Pond), Upton Road, from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. This event is in cooperation with Westborough Recreation. *Open to the public, minimum age is 18, and pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Alan Grady at 508-366-3066 or agrady@town.westborough.ma.us

June 17: Great Meadows Family Fishing Festival, Sudbury – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided at Great Meadows, 73 Weir Hill Rd., Sudbury, from 10:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M. This event is in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex. *Open to the public. For more information, contact Sue Russo at susan_j_russo@fws.gov

June 24: Spot Pond Family Fishing Festival, Stoneham – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided at Spot Pond in Stoneham (located at the Straw Point area on the north end of Spot Pond off of New South Street) from 9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. This event is in cooperation with the Department of Conservation and Recreation DCR and the Stoneham Police. *Open to the Public. For more information, contact Jim Lagacy at 508-389-6309 or jim.lagacy@state.ma.us

June 28Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, Westborough – The June meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at 10:00 A.M., at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters at 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough. Please note: If you have a disability or medical condition and would like to request special accommodations, please contact Susan Sacco at (508) 389-6342.

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