Author Archives: Jennifer O'Keefe
How to celebrate World Turtle Day…
World Turtle Day was started in 1990 by the American Tortoise Rescue organization to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. At the Taunton River Watershed Alliance (TRWA) we like to celebrate World Turtle Day the best way possible, by releasing head-started threatened Northern Diamondback Terrapins back into the wild.
The TRWA is working with the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to conduct a population study: a multi-year project looking at the numbers, age and distribution of the Diamondback in the Taunton River Watershed. All work is conducted under a State Endangered Species Permit and will ultimately help the State manage and conserve this threatened species. This spring will be the seventh year that TRWA volunteers have collected, documented, tagged and released individual Diamondback Terrapins in the Taunton River Watershed. To date, 299 terrapins have been tagged. For the last two years, two private property owners have allowed TRWA volunteers access to their land to collect and tag females after nesting. In 2021, four nests were screen protected to prevent predators from eating the nests. Half of the hatchlings that came from those four nests were released in August and the other half were sent to be head-started at the Natural Resources Management (NRM) Department at the Bristol County Agricultural High School (BCAHS.)
Head-starting is a conservation practice that helps dwindling turtle species. Eggs or hatched young are raised for a season in artificial, protected conditions to give them a “head start.” When released, they are often large enough to escape any further predation.
At BCAHS, the 19 hatchlings were assigned to NRM Head Start project managers Grace Jackson, Faithanne Lackie, and Shanna McCarty. Wild Diamondback Terrapins normally spend the winter in a semi-dormant state. But Jackson, Lackie, and McCarty spent all of their senior year trying to trick the hatchlings into thinking it was summer and eating as much as they possibly could. Faithanne Lackie, who will be attending Bridgewater State University in the fall, said the greatest challenge was the unknown. The three girls could tell several head starts were ailing. Despite their attempts to change temperatures, diet, and care, four terrapins died. Shanna McCarty, who will be studying to be a Water Quality Technician at Bristol Community College, said they didn’t know whether it was illness or infection or malnutrition. She holds up a tiny terrapin with the number 18 painted on its shell with bright pink nail polish. Its as small as the day it arrived and clearly has not responded to all their doting care. Right next to number 18, Grace Jackson, who will be studying Marine Biology and Aquaculture/Aquarium Science at Roger Williams University in the fall, holds up #1, which has thrived and is as big as her fist. “It was exciting getting to watch them grow.”
On Friday, May 20th, National Endangered & Threatened Species Day, the three girls packed up their charges in bins with damp burlap to be sent back to the beaches where they hatched. They were joined by fellow NRM students, TRWA Terrapin Study volunteers, and the private landowners to send 5 of the head-start terrapins off. On Sunday, the 22nd, the remaining 9 were released in a second location. Head-start #1 and #13 were big enough to be pit tagged. Will #1 and #13 survive to return in seven years to lay a nest where their mother did? Many of the volunteers that day hope so.
Click here for a short video clip of one of the newly released head starts doing what Diamondbacks do best: IMG_3147
Please join us for the TRWA’s Annual Meeting
Please join us for an in-person TRWA Annual Meeting Saturday, November 13th, from 4-6:00 p.m. at the Bristol County Agricultural High School (BCAHS), 135 Center Street, Dighton.
Our Featured Speaker, Dr. William Hanna, President of the Old Colony History Museum, will talk about his upcoming publication “History of the Taunton River.” (A pre-order sign up will be available.)
TRWA Board Member and BCAHS NRM Chairman, Brian Bastarache, and project technician George Bancroft, will present results from the 2021 Taunton River Diamondback Terrapin Population Assessment field season. This is the the TRWA’s six season studying the Diamondback Terrapin population in the Taunton River and the second season of a small pilot nest protection program. We will be raffling off a framed water color painting of a Taunton River Diamondback Terrapin hatchling by TRWA Board Member & terrapin volunteer Pam Lowell.
Steve Silva, TRWA’s Water Quality Monitoring Program, will speak on restarting the program after pausing for COVID-19 health concerns. There will be a treasurer’s update and advocacy update, and the TRWA membership will be publicly voting to fill Board of Director seats and select 2022 officers. Please contact the office if you are a member and have any questions on who is running for officers (or if you wish to join the board.)
The meeting is hosted by the Natural Resource Management Department and will be held in the newly built Student Commons Building. Light refreshments will be served.
This is an in person meeting, all our welcome, but we ask that as per school policy, that masks be worn inside the building. We will be running a live video feed if you wish to watch the meeting proceedings via your home computer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom meeting link and access code.
The Student Commons Building is on the north side of Center Street. Please note, the campus is still an active construction site and not all of the parking lots are available for use. We ask that you park in the temporary grass lot by the cafeteria if you are more abled, leaving the paved parking spots in the central traffic circle (driveway next to the lights) in front of the Student Commons Building for those who may need a shorter walk or handicap access. (The building is fully accessible from all entrances.)
Announcing the Winners of our 2021 Tide Calendar Digital Photography Contest
The Taunton River Watershed Alliance is pleased to announce the winners of our digital photography contest and that we were able to produce not one but two different calendars. We will be publishing our traditional Taunton River Tide calendar with images that showcase our Nationally designated “Wild & Scenic River,” and we will be publishing a one time only “Avian Edition Wall Calendar.” (Well, what do you do when 117 of your 348 entries are photographs of birds?) 2020 has been an interesting year, and with the social distancing requirements, we knew people were spending more time outdoors. Just how much more time became evident when the photo contest deadline rolled around and the TRWA servers regularly started to go down because of the amount of emailed entries. The quality and range of the submissions were breathtaking and our TRWA Board Member judges are still upset about how many images got left on the table because even with two calendars, there was room only for 26. The volunteers who worked to publish the calendar are fondly calling the special bird calendar a “pandemic buster.” At the TRWA we hope it will brighten peoples days a little bit more in 2021.
This year the two calendars combined feature the work of 19 area photographers and nature enthusiasts. Pictures are of the wild life and scenery within the Taunton River Watershed, 562 square miles in all of or part of 43 Southeastern Massachusetts cities and towns.
This year’s Tide Calendar winners are:
“Waiting on the River,” Taunton River, Berkley, MA – Ruth Langlan
“Ice Boat,” Long Pond, East Freetown, MA – Douglas Desjardins
“Old Bridge Street Bridge,” Nemasket River, Lakeville/Middleborough, MA – Chad T. Lovett
“Great Horned Owl with Owlet,” East Bridgewater, MA – Bernard Creswick
“Black Backed Gull Fishing at Oliver Mills,” Middleborough, MA – Janet MacCausland
“Oriole in Apple Tree,” Berkley, MA – Ronald Tomawski
“Bee and Lady Slipper,” Middleborough, MA – Bud Morton
“Takin’ A Walk,” Sweets Knoll State Park, Dighton, MA – Donna Berthelette
“Wood Turtle,” Undisclosed Location, Taunton River Watershed – George Bancroft
“Great Blue Heron,” Lakeville, MA – Mohamad Ojjeh
“Foggy Morning,” Taunton River, Dighton, MA – Mary Lou Nicodemus
“Fall Cranberry Harvest,” Betty’s Neck, Lakeville, MA – Alex Perez
“Nemasket River,” Plymouth Street Bridge, Middleborough, MA – Janice McGonagle
Our special one time only Pandemic Buster “Avian Edition Wall Calendar” features the photography of:
“Green Heron,” Taunton, MA – Mohamad Ojjeh
“Mockingbird,” Brockton, MA – Bernard Creswick
“Northern Flicker,” Great River Preserve, Bridgewater, MA – Bernard Creswick
“Golden Light,” Dighton, MA – Anna LeBlanc
“Oriole Feeding,” Bridgewater, MA – Ruth Langlan
“Orioles in Spring,” Assonet, MA – Carolyn DiFrancesco
“Tree Swallow Sing-A-Long,” Tamarack Park, Lakeville, MA – Bud Morton
“Young Bald Eagle Branching,” Dighton, MA – David Ennis
“Phoebe with Water Drops,” Berkley, MA – Ronald Tomawski
“Gone Fishing,” Norton, MA – Alison F. Kidder
“Ms. October,” Female Kingfisher, Assonet River, Berkley, MA – Pam Lowell
“Drippy,” Broad Cove, Dighton, MA – Rita Eva Spier
“Cardinal in the Snow,” Assonet, MA – Carolyn DiFrancesco
The TRWA will have a vey limited amount of copies for sale for $15/member, $20 non-member at its office starting November 16th. Please call ahead at 508- 828-1101 for times when the office will be open.
Calendars are always available print-on-demand. The TRWA is excited to use all the options of this new technology. The print-on-demand calendars can be printed from any month in the year with the tide data from the Taunton River or any other of the 3,500 NOAA tide stations. Or, if you like to write appointments into your calendar, you can order a calendar printed up without the tidal data. People purchasing the calendar can even customize their calendar with their own photographs. Half the proceeds from the online $19.99 purchase price goes directly to the TRWA to support its ongoing mission protecting and restoring the Taunton River watershed, its tributaries, wetlands, floodplains, river corridors and wildlife.
To order our TIDE calendar, follow this link: http://www.calendarlink.org/trwa/home.html.
To order our BIRD calendar, follow this link: https://www.calendarlink.org/trwa2021bird/home.html
For a step by step guide for going through all the customizations on the order form, click on this link. how_to_order_online_flier )
For over 30 years, TRWA has been a voice for the river, an advocate for environmental protection, sustainable development and responsible stewardship of our precious water resources. We are an Alliance of concerned residents, businesses, and organizations united to restore and properly manage water and related natural resources within the Taunton River Watershed. Your purchase of these calendars helps to support our work. Thank you!
Taunton River Festival Fun
Many thanks to all who helped bring the River Festival back to the Weir!
This past Sunday, the TRWA, with the help of the Taunton Cultural Council and the Taunton River Stewardship Council, the Weir Community once again celebrated the Taunton River with the Taunton River Festival at the Weir Waterfront Park. Entertainment was provided by The Old Foggies, The Goat Roper Band, and the Silver City Dance Studio.
Information Tables: Angels in America, Bristol County Agricultural School, Bristol County Mosquito Control Project, Christ Community Church, MA Dept. of Agricultural Resources, Mass Audubon, New England Herpetological Society, The Nature Conservancy, Rotary Club of Taunton, Taunton Federal Credit Union, Taunton River Stewardship Council/SRPEDD, TMLP Online, Old Colony YMCA.
Vendors included All Things Possible Photography, Andy’s, Anne James Crafts, Avon, B&B Originals, Bea Soapy, Cape Cod Octopus’ Garden, Cindy’s Workshop, Cornucopia Crafts, Custom Built Inc. Hills’ Home Market, Just Tickled Bows, Mpath Imagery, New England Novelty, Northeast Natural History & Supply, Oscar Boxer Doggie Duds, Poppin’ Mad Kettle Corn, Trucchi’s Supermarkets.
Many thanks to our sponsors:
Platinum: Taunton Cultural Council, Taunton River Stewardship Council
Gold: Columbia Gas of MA
Silver: Jordan’s Furniture, Taunton Federal Credit Union, Rep. Patricia Haddad
Bronze: Dr. Peter Bartel Family Dentistry, Berkley Donuts, Inc./Sardinha Family Trust, Bliss Lumber Co., Friends of Boyden Refuge, New England Recycling, Taunton Municiple Lighting Plant.
Many thanks also to The Neighborhood Corporation, PRIDEWRX, and the City of Taunton for their assistance putting on the festival.
Wanted: Educational/Informational/Non-Profit Exhibitors at our Taunton River Festival, Sunday, June 10th
For thirty years, the Taunton River Watershed Alliance (TRWA) has been a voice for the Taunton River, and advocate for environmental protection, sustainable development, and responsible stewardship of our precious water resources. We are an Alliance of concerned residents, businesses, and organizations united to restore and properly manage water and related natural resources within the Taunton River Watershed.
In keeping with this mission, in recognition of our 30th anniversary and in partnership with other non-profits, we are bringing back the popular Taunton River Festival which was held by the Weir Corporation (now the Neighborhood Corporation) for over 20 years. This free, daylong event will again be held at the Weir Riverfront Park in Taunton and offer a variety of activities for the entire family, including live music, a food court, craft fair, river activities, and much more.
We are looking for Educational/informational/non-profit exhibitors; corporate sponsors, and vendors. Please contact us at Director@savethetaunton.org if you would like to participate on that day as a sponsor, exhibitor, or vendor.
TAUNTON RIVER FESTIVAL info page
Music & Poetry in the Grove
The Taunton River Watershed Alliance and the Friends of Boyden Refuge, Inc. are teaming up again this year to host “Music & Poetry in the Grove,” an afternoon of entertainment at the Gertrude M. Boyden Wildlife Refuge, 1298 Cohannet Street, Taunton. This Sunday, May 6, from 2:00-5:00, bring your lawn chairs and picnic snacks and set up in the pine grove next to the Refuge parking lot. The afternoon line up features Matt Borello, Sandy Borges, Louis Leeman, Nancy Brady Cunningham, “Ragtime” Jack Radcliffe, Ethel Fraga and a few surprise guest artists. For more info, call our offices at 508-828-1101 or email email@example.com
TRWA hosts its 2017 Annual Meeting
The TRWA held its Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 4th, 2017. Senator Marc Pacheco and Karl Pastore, DCR South Region Director were our guest speakers. Also, TRWA researcher Patty Levasseur gave an update on the TRWA’s population study of the Assonet Bay Diamond Back Terrapins.
Priscilla Chapman, David Rosa, Craig Hefferman, T.J. Torees, and Carol Traverse were elected to the TRWA’s Board of Directors. Approved for 2018 officers were Joe Callahan, President; Priscilla Chapman, Vice President; Richard Shafer, Treasurer; and Stephen Silva, Secretary. Click here for a summary of the meeting.
Announcing the Winners of our Annual Photography Contest
The Taunton River Watershed Alliance (TRWA) is pleased to announce the release of its Annual Taunton River Tide calendar. For our eighth year running, the TRWA has published a yearly calendar with tidal data for the Taunton River along with the winning images of the TRWA’s Calendar Photography Contest.
Berkley resident David Ennis captured the cover spot this year with his image “Bald Eagle on the Taunton River.” He is the very first TRWA calendar photographer to win the cover spot for a second time; his “King of the Hill” shot of ospreys in territorial displays was featured on the 2016 cover. An avid photographer, he can be found chasing birds of prey from Middleborough to Dighton.
Other winning images and photographers are:
“Radiant Touch,” Dighton, MA – Karen Brilhante
“No Swimming Today,” Muddy Cove, Dighton, MA – Mary L. Nicodemus
“Spring Thaw,” War Memorial Park, West Bridgewater, MA – Mark Genovese
“Farming by the Taunton River,” Bristol County Agricultural High School, Dighton, MA – Stephen Oliveira
“Yellow Warbler,” Burrage Pond WMA, Hanson, MA – Bernard Creswick
“Fall River Heritage State Park, Battleship Cove, and the Braga Bridge,” Fall River, MA – Jonathan Huggon
“Ladybugs” Somerset, MA – Deborah Sharples DeCambra
“Watson Pond Sunset Dip,” Taunton, MA – Mark Genovese
“Eastern Garter Snake in a Tree Trunk,” Pocksha Pond, Lakeville, MA – David Ennis
“Fun with cranberries,” Freetown, MA – Mark Genovese
“The Falls at the Corner of Washburn & County Roads,” E. Freetown, MA – Sally Spooner
“Sunset Bridge,” Dighton, MA – Al Martinez
The calendar also features the photographic work of: Cheryl Aguiar, Donna Barry, Don Sheerin, Barry French, Tricia Gordon, Ellen Hansen, Joanne Lachance, Carol Longo, Kaitlyn Machado, Lester Ruth, Renay Szargowicz, Kat Tasca, and Mike Walsh.
Pictures are of the wild life and scenery within the Taunton River Watershed, 562 square miles in all of or part of 43 Southeastern Massachusetts cities and towns.
Calendars are available now print-on-demand through this link. The TRWA is excited to use all the options of this new technology. Calendars can be printed from any month in the year with the tide data from the Taunton River or any other of the 3,500 NOAA tide stations. People purchasing the calendar can even customize their calendar with their own photographs. Half the proceeds from the $19.99 purchase price goes directly to the TRWA to support its ongoing mission protecting and restoring the Taunton River watershed, its tributaries, wetlands, floodplains, river corridors and wildlife.
The TRWA will be publishing another calendar in 2019 and the submission period for that calendar contest is now open. Click here to jump over to the contest page and download contest submission guidelines.
For 30 years, TRWA has been a voice for the river, an advocate for environmental protection, sustainable development and responsible stewardship of our precious water resources. We are an Alliance of concerned residents, businesses, and organizations united to restore and properly manage water and related natural resources within the Taunton River Watershed.
Bring the whole family to fish at our annual Angler Education Day, Sunday, July 16th
Please join us for the TRWA & Friends of Dighton Rock State Park’s 4th Annual Angler Education Day
A free family fishing event at Dighton Rock State Park, Berkley
Sunday, July 16, noon to 3 p.m.
Activities will include:
- Instruction in fishing techniques with staff from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife;
- Seining the river with leaders of TRWA to catch and identify some of the aquatic creatures who live there;
- More learning about fish species with coloring books.
This event is free of charge and everyone is welcome. Bring a bag lunch. Beverages will be provided, as well as all fishing gear.
Dighton Rock State Park is located on Bay View Avenue in Berkley. The Museum will be open to visitors, where you can view the glacial erratic boulder with its mysterious designs of ancient origin.