Habitat Management Grants Awarded
Spring Trout Stocking
Learn to Hunt Turkey Program
Get Involved in Conservation: Spring Citizen Science Opportunities
Young Adult Turkey Hunt
Junior Conservation Camp
Upcoming Meetings and Events

 

Habitat Management Grants Awarded
The MassWildlife Habitat Management Grant Program was developed to establish partnerships between The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and private and municipal landowners to enhance habitat and increase recreational opportunities on properties that have been conserved across the state. Recognizing that land protection is only the first step in maintaining the diverse habitats of Massachusetts, the Habitat Grant Program  provides financial assistance to private and municipal landowners of conserved lands to improve and manage habitat for wildlife deemed in greatest conservation need. The projects will also expand opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and other outdoor recreation, and complement ongoing habitat management efforts on state lands.

“Wildlife in special need of conservation and some game species will benefit directly from these habitat management activities,”said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George Peterson. “In addition, the sporting community, birders, naturalists, and other wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy better recreational opportunities as a result of this program.”

“Though the Division is responsible for the conservation of wildlife and the habitat upon which it depends, the reality is that 80 percent of Massachusetts’ lands where wildlife lives is held in private ownership,” said MassWildlife Director Jack Buckley. “It makes sense as an agency to apply science-based habitat management activities with committed private landowners, thereby protecting their investment in wildlife and habitat.”

During its first round of grants, MassWildlife awarded $320,464 in grants for 13 wildlife habitat improvement projects across Massachusetts. The approved projects are listed below.

  • Athol - Using $24,610 in grant funds, the Town of Athol Conservation Commission will conduct forestry activities to create young forest habitats on Athol’s Bearsden Conservation Area. 
  • Brookfield and Ware - The East Quabbin Land Trust has been awarded $16,730 to use fire to promote native wildlife in Pitch Pine-Scrub Oak and wet meadow habitats on Frohloff Farm and Wendemuth Meadow Preserve.
  • Dartmouth - The Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust has been awarded $18,096 for field and grassland creation and restoration at Smith Farm Reserve.
  • Edgartown - The Nature Conservancy has been awarded $32,908 to conduct prescribed burns to maintain sandplain grassland habitat on the Katama Plains Conservation Area.
  • Great Barrington - For $20,900, the Berkshire Natural Resources Council will work to control invasive plants on the Housatonic Flats Reserve. 
  • Hardwick - The East Quabbin Land Trust has been awarded $16,290 to maintain and promote shrubland and to treat invasive species of plants. 
  • Heath - The Franklin Land Trust will be using $19,899 to create grassland habitat and remove invasive plants on Crowningshield Farm.
  • Monson - The Town of Monson has been awarded $27,750 to restore young forest habitat on its Carpenter Road property.
  • Nantucket - For $20,357, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation will reduce shrub and tree species cover to improve habitat conditions for wildlife dependent on grasslands and heathlands.
  • Sheffield - The Nature Conservancy has been awarded $49,480 to improve fen and grassland habitats through invasive plant control and removal of woody plants on the Schenob Brook Preserve.
  • Sheffield - The Trustees of Reservations has been awarded $33,000 to restore grassland habitat on the West Grumpelt Parcel of Bartholemew’s Cobble Preserve.
  • Wilbraham - Using $11,600 in grant funds, the Town of Wilbraham will treat invasive species and improve meadow and old field habitats at the Thayer Brook Conservation Area.
  • Wilbraham - Using $28,844 in grant funds, the Town of Wilbraham will treat invasive plants, improve young forest habitat, and install shelter for wildlife on its Twelve Mile Brook Conservation Area. 

These winning projects will be completed by the end of June 2016; highlights from completed management activities will be featured on the Habitat Management Grant Program webpage later in the year. Future funding opportunities will also be posted on that page; please check back periodically.

Back to top.

 

Spring Trout Stocking 
Close to 500,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout will be stocked this spring from MassWildlife’s five hatcheries located in Sandwich, Palmer, Belchertown, Sunderland, and Montague. The close to 500,000 fish being stocked this spring, coupled with the more than 66,000 12+ inch trout stocked last fall, should provide some excellent fishing in the coming months. Stocking is scheduled to begin in the southeastern area of the state during the first full week of March with other regions of the state expected to follow soon after.

Anglers can get updated stocking information at Mass.gov/Trout, or contact individual district offices for the latest stocking information.

2016 spring trout stocking stats:

  • 55% of the fish average over 14 inches
  • 72% of the fish average over 12 inches
  • 215,700 rainbows will average over 14 inches
  • 39,350 rainbows will average over 12 inches
  • 10,000 rainbows will average between 9 and 12 inches
  • 530 brown trout will be over 18 inches
  • 48,500 brown trout will average over 12 inches
  • 80,600 brown trout average between 9 and 12 inches
  • 940 brook trout will average over 15 inches
  • 41,900 brook trout will average over 12 inches
  • 46740 brook trout between 9 and 12 inches
  • 2,900 tiger trout that will average over 14 inches

Back to top

 

Learn to Hunt Turkey Program

MassWildlife is offering an adult 1-day Learn to Hunt Turkeys Course on March 19th from 9:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M. in Conway MA! This free hands-on workshop will cover turkey calling basics, how to scout for turkeys, range time as well as hunting laws, equipment needs and proper ways to set up your turkey hunting spot! If interested in this course please email Astrid Huseby at astrid.huseby@state.ma.us For more information about MassWildlife’s Learn to Hunt Programs, please click here.

Back to top

 

Get Involved in Conservation: Spring Citizen Science Opportunities

Bald Eagle Nesting
There are now more eagles nesting in Massachusetts than any time in the recent past, and we need your help keeping track of them! Please report eagle sightings to Andrew Vitz (MassWildlife’s State Ornithologist, andrew.vitz@state.ma.us). Many of our nesting eagles are banded with coded-color bands that identify the individual, so make sure to look for these leg bands whenever you see or photograph an eagle. We are particularly interested in getting reports of birds carrying sticks. When there is evidence of a new breeding territory, our staff verifies the report as they monitor known nests. MassWildlife will conduct its Spring Eagle Survey on Friday, April 8. The Survey consists of coordinated teams of staff and volunteers who spread out across the state to check on historic nest sites and look for new nests

Report Rare Species and Vernal Pools
Spring amphibian season is just around the corner. When we experience rainy nights with temperatures above 40 degrees, Spotted Salamanders, Jefferson Salamanders, Blue-spotted Salamanders, and Wood Frogs will begin emerging from their forest retreats and piling into vernal pools to mate and deposit their eggs. Spring Peepers, Pickerel Frogs, and Leopard Frogs will be chorusing in large, open wetlands. Other frogs and salamanders will become active, moving about the landscape in preparation for their respective breeding periods that come a bit later in the spring. You may observe many of these animals as they cross fields, yards, and roadways to reach their destinations.

Attend our March 150th Speaker Series event on Tuesday, March 1 entitled, “Amphibian and Vernal Pool Conservation Needs You.” Learn about vernal pool ecology and about ongoing amphibian conservation projects from Matthew Burne of the Vernal Pool Association and Jacob Kubel of MassWildlife. This is the perfect introduction for those who want to get involved and contribute to monitoring projects this spring and summer. The talk begins at 7:00 P.M. at the new MassWildlife Field Headquarters building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road in Westborough. Talks are free and open to the public.

If you believe you have found a vernal pool which could become certified, or a rare amphibian, report your observations via the Vernal Pool and Rare Species Information System (VPRS). Data collected through VPRS is used by MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program to better understand densities and distributions of species listed under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA). If you want to learn more about vernal pools and the specialized wildlife that rely on this habitat type, get A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools.  Learn more about all NHESP publications and how to purchase them.

Report Roadkill on Linking Landscapes Site
Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife, a partnership between MassWildlife, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT), and the University of Massachusetts, is a long-term, multifaceted, volunteer-based monitoring program and planning collaboration. The program aims to 1.) reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and improve public safety, 2.) enhance, protect, and restore habitats impacted by roads, 3.) incorporate conservation priorities into transportation planning, and 4.) implement wildlife transportation and research. As a citizen, you can help by contributing data or volunteering to survey road segments. You can document your observations of roadkilled wildlife using this form. Roadkill reports help inform our wildlife mitigation and transportation safety decision making process.

To learn more about this program, attend our April 150th Speaker Series event on Thursday, April 14 entitled, “Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife: Citizen Science and Road Ecology can Benefit Wildlife and Motorists.” MassWildlife’s David Paulson and DOT’s Tim Dexter will tell you how reporting roadkill helps to keep turtles and other wildlife safe as they discuss the mission of the Linking Landscapes program. Also learn the basics of turtle identification and how to conduct and submit your own surveys. The talk begins at 7:00 P.M. at the new MassWildlife Field Headquarters building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road in Westborough. Talks are free and open to the public.

Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz
MassWildlife needs your help documenting Rusty Blackbirds during spring migration. The Rusty Blackbird has undergone one of the most precipitous declines documented for any species in North America. Since the mid 1900s, the population is thought to have declined by 85%, and the cause largely remains a mystery. Very little is known about the migratory habits of this species, and the goal of the Rusty Blackbird Migration Blitz is to gain a better understanding of the species requirements during migration. This project is run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. To report your Rusty Blackbird sighting through Ebird, learn more about the project, and review identification tips visit the International Rusty Blackbird Working Group’s website: rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz. This is the 3rd and final year of this project, so support the conservation of this species by reporting your Rusty Blackbird sighting. Please contact Andrew Vitz (MassWildlife’s State Ornithologist, andrew.vitz@state.ma.us) with any questions.

Bobolink Project
Grassland birds represent a suite of species that are undergoing sharp declines throughout the Northeast. One of the leading causes of these declines is the mowing of fields in the middle of the breeding season when many grassland birds, including Bobolinks, are nesting. If mowing is simply delayed for a few weeks, these birds can completed the vulnerable nesting period without threat of mowing machinery. MassAudubon and partners are working to raise money to offset the financial loss to farmers who decide to delay mowing to benefit grassland birdsbirds. MassWildlife supports this effort! To learn more about this project go to bobolinkproject.com.

Back to top

 

Young Adult Turkey Hunt
The Massachusetts Young Adult Turkey Hunting Program is a partnership program between MassWildlife, participating Sportsmen’s clubs, and the Massachusetts State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The program is designed to provide hunters ages 12-17 an opportunity to:

  1. Participate in a field workshop that provides specialized training in turkey hunting and safety, including firearms instruction and practice
  2. Hunt wild turkey under the supervision and guidance of a safe, experienced, adult hunter serving as a mentor on a special day set aside just for young adults.

Hunter safety is emphasized in all aspects of the program to help build the confidence of young hunters so they may feel comfortable hunting alone or with others in the field. This program is more than just a day in the field hunting turkey; it is a comprehensive recreational program that includes two parts: a pre-hunt workshop and a one-day mentored hunt. A list of the 2016 participating clubs and dates can be found here. All participants must have a valid hunter education certificate prior to enrolling in the Program. Click here to view the hunter education course schedule.

Permits for the Young Adult Turkey Hunt for past participants are NOT automatically issued through MassFishHunt. To obtain a permit/certificate, all past participants must fill out a past participant application EVERY year. New participants must complete the pre-hunt workshop to obtain a permit for the special Young Adult Turkey Hunt Day (April 23, 2016). To register as a new participant for the program, fill out the Youth Participant Form and send it to Astrid Huseby at astrid.huseby@state.ma.us or Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife: Attn Youth Hunting Program, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough MA 01581.

Those who harvest a turkey on the Young Adult Turkey Hunt date (April 23, 2016) must report their turkey either online at MassFishHunt or at a traditional game check station within 48 hours of harvest.

For more information about the Young Adult Turkey Hunting Program, please click here.

Back to top

 

Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp

Attend camp for two weeks- learn skills that will last a lifetime! The Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp is a unique outdoor program which introduces youth to the concepts essential to enjoying our natural resources, while developing an interest in conservation and the stewardship of those resources to promote ethical responsibility in the pursuit of outdoor activities.

Boys and girls 13 to 17 years old who enjoy outdoor activities and want to learn more about the environment are eligible to attend. Enthusiastic outdoorsmen and women of today will become tomorrow’s leaders in upholding outdoor traditions and safeguarding our natural heritage. Although some campers have considerable outdoor experience, others are just beginning to learn about outdoor activities and natural resources. The camp program is designed for both. A sincere interest is the only pre-requisite.

Outdoor skills include the shooting sports, from archery to firearms, state Hunter Education and Boating Safety Course, and fishing. Natural resources subjects include fisheries and wildlife management, and forestry and fire management. Optional electives include Bowhunter Education, sporting clays, a fishing trip, and hiking. Evening presentations are given by naturalists, biologists, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Campers participate in all courses presented, however ample opportunity is provided for relaxation and recreation through many traditional summer camp activities such as swimming, frisbee, fishing, and volleyball.

The camp is held at the Horace Moses Scout Reservation in Russell, MA. Campers sleep in two-person tents on cots atop raised platforms. A modern dining hall, fully equipped medical lodge, beautiful waterfront, classroom buildings, shooting ranges and a variety of sports facilities round out the camp. Resident counselors are experienced outdoorsmen and women with a strong commitment to conservation. Certified lifeguards and medical staff are always available. All instructors are certified in their respective fields.

The Camp holds one session each year, for up to 120 campers. Applicants are accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Reservations are now being accepted for the 2016 session, which will be held Sunday, July 31st to Friday, August 12th, 2016. Tuition for 2016 is $800 per camper. All reservations must be accompanied by a deposit of $400 per camper, which will hold a space until May 1, 2016. Full payment of $800 must be received by May 1, 2016. Checks should be made payable to “Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp”. Cancellations must be received in writing prior to May 1, 2016 in order to receive a refund. Refunds will not be issued after that date and are subject to a 10% administrative fee.

Campers may be sponsored by their families or by any of a wide variety of organizations such as sportsmen’s clubs, youth organizations, civic groups, garden clubs or other conservation organizations. Scholarships are available to a limited number of campers needing financial assistance. Inquire at local sporting clubs or sporting club county leagues about scholarship availability—in most cases the camper does not need to be a club member to be eligible for a scholarship. A letter from the camper explaining why they would like to go to camp and their interest in the outdoors is usually sufficient.

An application form and more information about the camp may be found at www.juniorconservationcamp.org If you have any questions, please email MAJuniorCamp@gmail.com or call 508-450-5120.

The Massachusetts Junior Conservation Camp was founded in 1949 as a cooperative project between the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game and a citizens group. Since 1983, it has been administered by the Massachusetts Sportsmen’s Junior Conservation Camp, Inc., a non-profit tax-exempt corporation solely responsible for the conduct and operation of the camp.

Back to top

Upcoming Meetings and Events

February 25 & March 1: Basic Freshwater Fly Tying Course, Charlton – This course is in cooperation with the Charlton Conservation Department at the Fay Mountain Farm (12 Cemetery Road, Charlton) from 7:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. This is a free, two-session course for beginning fly tyers only. Participation is mandatory for both sessions. All tools and tying materials provided. *Open to the public, minimum age is 15. Pre-registration is mandatory. Please contact Todd Girard to pre-register at 508-248-2247 or todd.girard@townofcharlton.net  

March 1: Amphibian and Vernal Pool Conservation Needs You, Westborough – Come the first warm, rainy nights in spring, large numbers of salamanders emerge from their underground burrows and migrate to vernal pools to breed. The elusive Eastern Spadefoot might emerge, if weather and groundwater conditions are just right. Learn about vernal pool ecology and about ongoing amphibian conservation projects from Matthew Burne of the Vernal Pool Association and Jacob Kubel of MassWildlife. This is the perfect introduction for those who want to get involved and contribute to monitoring projects this spring and summer. The talk begins at 7:00 P.M. at the new MassWildlife Field Headquarters building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road in Westborough. Talks are free and open to the public. This event is part of the Conservation Connections: MassWildlife150 Speaker Series. The speaker series is part of MassWildlife's 150th Anniversary events in 2016.

March 5: MACC Annual Environmental Conference, Worcester – The Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions' Annual Environmental Conference will take place at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. MassWildlife Fisheries Biologist Jason Stolarski will present on coldwater resources and discuss a new MassGIS layer for coldwater resources. MassWildlife Endangered Species Review Biologist Jesse Leddick, MassWildife Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Information Chief Sarah Haggerty, and MassWildilfe Habitat Biologist Caren Caljouw will present on conserving biodiversity through strategic conservation planning. For more information and to register, please click here.

March 7: Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, Westborough – The March meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held on Monday, March 7, 2016, at 12:00 P.M., at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Field Headquarters, Richard Cronin Building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, off North Drive, Westborough, Massachusetts. 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

March 9: Growing Up WILD Professional Development Workshop, Needham – Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, hands-on, 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The Growing Up WILD Activity Guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social and cognitive skills. Carter Center for Children, 800 Highland Ave,. Needham. Please click here for more information about this workshop. links to PDF filePlease contact Lauren Alves at office@cartercenterforchildren.com or (781) 449-4771. Registration deadline is March 2, 2016.

March 10: 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.

March 11: Growing Up WILD Professional Development Workshop, Bedford – Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, hands-on, 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The Growing Up WILD Activity Guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social and cognitive skills. EDCO Collaborative, 36 Middlesex Turnpike, Bedford. Click here for more information about this workshop. links to PDF filePlease contact Dana Mullaley at dmullaley@edcollab.org. Registration deadline is February 26, 2016.

March 12: Pioneer Valley Ecological Management and Research Symposium, Easthampton – This symposium will feature presentations about research and ecological management that is occurring in the Pioneer Valley. MassWildlife Habitat Biologist Brian Hawthorne will be giving a presentation entitled, "Habitat and species results after 17 years of ecological management in inland pitch pine-oak sandplain communities" and discuss the pitch pine/ scrub oak habitat restoration at the Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area. The symposium is located at the Arcardia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton from 9AM- 2PM. This event is open to the public, but space is limited so please register in advance. Click here for more information and to register.

March 12: Project WILD: Mammals in Winter Professional Development Workshop, Northfield – Receive training in this award winning, interdisciplinary nationally recognized program! It is one of the most widely-used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. This workshop will emphasize activities that teach about a variety of Massachusetts mammals and winter ecology. Through the use of balanced curriculum materials and professional training workshops, Project WILD accomplishes its goal of developing awareness, knowledge, skills and commitment. Workshop participants will receive a copy of the guide and a certificate of completion. This hands-on workshop has applications for school teachers, scout leaders, camp counselors, nature center staff, home educators, after care teachers, etc. Click here for more information about this workshop. links to PDF fileTo register please contact Kim Noyes at kim.noyes@gdfsuezna.com or (413) 659-4462. Registration deadline is March 4, 2016.

March 13: Mass Audubon's 24th Annual Birders Meeting, Boston – Join birders from around New England for Mass Audubon's annual Birders Meeting. The theme of this year's meeting is Seabirds: divers and their drivers. The 2016 Birders Meeting will address the remarkable characteristics and behaviors of seabirds, the challenges they face in a changing world, and some of the factors that influence their distribution and ecology. 8:20 A.M. 4:00 P.M. at UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  Click here for more information and to register.

March 16 – 20: MassWildlife Display at the Boston Flower and Garden Show, Boston – Learn from MassWildlife staff about the wildlife in your backyard and hear what MassWildlife is doing to protect and conserve wildlife habitat in the state. MassWildlife staff will be available to answer your fish and wildlife questions and provide information about outdoor recreation opportunities in Massachusetts. The Boston Flower and Garden Show is at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. For more information, please click here.

March 17 & 22: Basic Freshwater Fly Tying Course, Charlton – This course is in cooperation with the Charlton Conservation Department at the Fay Mountain Farm (12 Cemetery Road, Charlton) from 7:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. This is a free, two-session course for beginning fly tyers only. Participation is mandatory for both sessions. All tools and tying materials provided. *Open to the public, minimum age is 15. Pre-registration is mandatory. Please contact Todd Girard to pre-register at 508-248-2247 or todd.girard@townofcharlton.net  

March 19: Growing Up WILD Professional Development Workshop, Boylston – Pre-school educators are invited to this fun, hands-on, 6-hour workshop that focuses on early childhood education. The Growing Up WILD Activity Guide builds on a children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides a foundation for developing positive impressions about nature while also building lifelong social and cognitive skills. Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary, 690 Linden Street, Boylston. Click here for more information about this workshop. links to PDF file Please contact Pam Landry at pam.landry@state.ma.us or (508) 389-6310. Registration deadline is March 5, 2016.

March 21: Angler Education Program Display at the Western Massachusetts Fly Fishermen’s Spring Exposition, Ludlow – Join us at the Western Massachusetts Fly Fishermen’s Spring Expo! This event is in cooperation with the Ludlow Elks from 6:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. *Open to the public. Please contact Bill Rose for more information at 413-737-0281.

March 23: "Moose in Massachusetts" Talk, Amherst  – Join MassWildlife Connecticut Valley District Manager, Ralph Taylor, for a presentation about moose in Massachusetts. You may have heard about the challenges facing moose populations in northern New England - warming winters, brain worm, winter tick... We have all these challenges here, also, but they don't seem to be impacting our local moose in the same ways. Hear from Ralph as he describes the current moose situation in Massachusetts. This event will take place at the Hitchcock Center from 7PM-8:30PM on 525 South Pleasant Street in Amherst. This event is open to the public, but donations and registration are appreciated. Click here to learn more.

Back to top