Explore—Winter 2023

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© Rick Olick

Winter Reflections from Our President

It’s a new year, and I can’t tell you how excited and hopeful I am. When I look back at 2022, we saw incredible progress in the fight against climate change at both the federal and state levels, and in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. We saw our education programs ramping back up to full speed. And we saw people coming together to protect and restore lands that benefit plants, wildlife, and people. And we saw stunning fall foliage that served as a reminder that nature brings us deep joy.

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A Greener Way to Heat Your Home

After being out on a chilly day, there is nothing better than coming back to a cozy warm home. For decades, many homes relied on nonrenewable energy sources like coal and fossil fuels for heat. During the early 1970s, electric heat sources were promoted as a more sustainable alternative for homeowners to heat and cool their homes, but those systems proved to be extremely inefficient and expensive to operate as electricity rates increased. With technological advances in recent decades, electric heat pumps have evolved to be an effective and affordable way to green your winter warm-up.

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Become a Better Bird Photographer

In the summer, photographers flock to the beaches to get pictures of newly hatched Piping Plover chicks or an Osprey finding its next meal. Come winter, photographers often go back to some of these same beaches to search for an elusive Snowy Owl quizzically peering out from a sandy dune. If you’re looking to get the perfect picture of one of these white-winged beauties, or any bird for that matter, keep the following tips in mind to get a great shot in the most responsible way. 

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Measuring Snow in a New England Winter

For 14 years, staff at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton have tracked the overall snowfall of the year by measuring each average snowfall on a piece of wood. This is an example of phenology, or the study of seasonal events. 

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Nature Through a Winter Lens

The crisp crunch of snow beneath your feet, the whistling wind echoing through bare trees, the fragile ice crystals creeping out from the banks of a not quite frozen stream— wintertime is full of sights and sounds that can’t be found any other time of year.  

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In Your Words: Stephanie Kane

I was first introduced to Mass Audubon when I attended the Field Naturalist Certificate Program in 2021 at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. Then, my connections strengthened through the yearlong Birding Certificate Program. With my growing knowledge about the natural world from these two programs, and countless others, my understanding, experience, and relationship with the environment deepened, along with my concern about climate change.

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By the Numbers: Groundhogs

Six more weeks of winter or the early arrival of spring? Even though groundhogs, aka woodchucks, can’t actually predict the weather, every Groundhog Day we look forward to hearing if our furry friends have seen their shadow.

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Outdoor Almanac

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Young Explorers: A Blooming Valentine

Roses are red, violets are blue, we have the perfect valentine for you! This February 14, give your valentines a gift that they’ll love, and other wildlife will too.

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