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WRWA sponsors or participates in a variety of events during the year. Many of these events offer opportunities for volunteers to get involved with watershed issues. The listing below includes some specifics for 2007 events.
Robinson State Park Hike: Join Tom and Nancy Condon on Saturday, January 13 to explore this gem of a state park along the Westfield River. We'll exlore various trails at a leisurely pace looking for and discussing how plants and animals prepare for the harsh winters of New England. We'll also delve into the controversy surrounding the cutting of timber from this land. How will such a harvest change this area and affect the character and natural history of the park? We'll hope for a light snow the day before and clear, sunny skies on the day of our hike, but of course, we live in New England and as Mark Twain once said "if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute; it will change." So, come prepared for all types of weather, wear good boots, and bring a lunch. Meet at the Robinson State Park Main Entrance, off North Street in Agawam at 10:00 a.m.; plan on returning by 1 p.m. Please call 413-564-0895 to register so that if bad weather forces a cancellation, you can be contacted.
Atlantic Salmon Egg-Rearing Program (ASERP): WRWA is again providing chillers and tanks at the North and South Middle Schools in Westfield, the Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington, the Powder Mill Middle School in Southwick, Fausey Elementary in West Springfield, and Chester Elementary during the Spring of 2007. About 300 salmon eggs were delivered to each site in mid-February. Students will monitor the hatching of the eggs and care for the fry until they are stocked in local streams in May or June.
13th Annual Westfield River Symposium: Approximately 150 people attended this year's symposium, which was held on Saturday, March 31 in the Scanlon Banquet Hall at Westfield State College - a new location! This year's theme was "Water, Woods, and Warming", with a variety of talks on related topics, including: American eels, Westfield's water suppy, sustainable forestry, the MassACORN project, and a preview of "The Watershed Waltz" - a puppet show being produced by WRWA that we hope will be performed in many area elementary schools over the next year. The keynote address was "An Update on Global Warming" by Dr. Ray Bradley of the UMass Dept. of Geosciences. We also showed "An Inconvenient Truth" early in the afternoon, and sponsored two afternoon field trips (photos are from the tour of the Westfield Water Pollution Control Plant). The full program can be accessed through this link.
Salmon Fry Stocking: Stocking of salmon fry in the Westfield River and its tributaries will take place in April and May, with official "WRWA days" on Saturday, April 14 (in Granville and Westfield), and Saturday, April 28 (along the Middle Branch above the Littleville Dam. Additional information, and more fry stocking dates at other locations are available at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife fry stocking page - check it out!
WRWA Annual Dinner Meeting: About 30 people attended WRWA's 55th Anniversary Annual Dinner Meeting on Thursday, May 10, which was held at Tucker's Restaurant in Southwick. Beginning at 6:00 p.m., the event included a review of WRWA's 2006 accomplishments and finances, an elegant dinner with choice of three entrees, and a presentation by well-known birder Seth Kellogg. Seth, a native of Southwick, began birding in 1968 and is a noted local authority with a weekly column on birding in the Sunday Republican. As a follow-up to our Annual River Symposium with its look at the effects of global warming on our environment, Seth discussed "Changes in Local Birdlife Over the Last 30 Years" Thanks to Kathy Meyer for organizing the event.
2nd Annual Fly-Fishing Clinic: The Fly-fishing Clinic attracted about 20 kids (and their parents) on Saturday, May 12 from 10:00am to 3:00pm. There was fly tying instruction and demonstrations as well as fly casting instructions and a chance to inspect insects living in the stream water. Location was the rest area on Rt. 20 across from the Hilltown Community Health Center about a mile east of Huntington. Thanks to Bill Rose for organizing this event and to Mark Damon, Mike Young, Kathy Meyer and a half dozen members of the Western Massachusetts Fly Fishing Association for their help.
Fishway Open House: The open house for viewing the West Springfield fishladder was held on Sunday, June 3, from 10 am to 2 pm, with about 250 people braving the wet weather to attend. The entrance and registering area will be at the gate near the former Southworth Paper Co. Office building, 150 Front street West Springfield. A female adult Atlantic salmon, captured the previous day, was available for viewing, and a number of shad were spotted at the viewing window. Thanks to Henry Warchol and Bill Rose for organizing and running the event, and also to Mark Damon, Kathy Meyer, Leon Pothier, Phil Sousa, and Mike Young who helped out during the day.
Westfield River Canoe Cruise: Our annual Canoe Cruise, from downtown Westfield to Robinson State Park in West Springfield, launched at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 9 (registration was from 12:30-1:00 p.m.) at the River Walk entry point off Meadow Street in Westfield (just 0.1 miles SE of the Great River Bridge, where Rts 10/202 cross the Westfield River north of the center of town). Early morning rain and clouds kept the group small, but we were rewarded with a nice water level, and views of numerous fish and birds - including a bald eagle perched at river level eating an eel! We drifted to within 20 yards or so before the eagle decided it was time to leave! This event was free for WRWA members, and $5 per person for non-members (to cover the cost of insurance). Thanks to Michael Vorwerk for organizing again this year.
River Cleanup: About 40 volunteers assisted with our annual fall river cleanup, held in conjunction with the Connecticut River Watershed Council's "Source to Sea" cleanup on Saturday, September 29. Volunteers met at 9:00 a.m. at the G & E substation, off Meadow Street, just east of the south end of the Great River Bridge in downtown Westfield (where Rts. 10 & 202 cross the Westfield River), then spread out to half a dozen sites along the river between Russell and West Springfield. Thanks to Mark Damon (572-9991) and Heather Comee (427-5089), who did most of the organizing for this years' event.