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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 2010 events.
Snowshoeing and Hot Chocolate - Russell, MA: Join Tom and Nancy Condon for a day of winter fun at the AMC Noble View Property on Saturday, Jan 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We'll snowshoe some of the well-marked trails as we wind our way from the parking lot to the cabins, which offer an exceptional view into the Westfield River Valley. Then it's just down the road to Tom and Nancy's home for some hot chocolate, snacks, and conversation to warm heart and toes. Dress warmly for the weather and expect to snowshoe about 2 to 3 miles. We have some snowshoes to loan for those who do not own a pair, so call ahead and reserve yours early. Bring water and a snack to share if you wish. Meet at the Noble View parking area off South Quarter Rd. in Russell at 10 a.m. Please call 413-564-0895 to register.
Moonlight X-Country Ski - Granville, MA: Ski by the light of the nearly full moon (full moon is Sunday, the 28th) at beautiful Maple Corner Farm in Granville, MA on Friday, Feb 26. This is a working farm, doing sugaring in the spring and maintaining an extensive trail system for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Once per month they offer a special moonlight experience for those ready for a glorious outing. As we ski in the darkness of evening, our path will be illuminated by moonlit snow, starry skies and luminaries (candles in bags) lining parts of the trails. When in need of a warm up, we'll go inside and have snacks and a warm drink while sitting by the crackling fire and listening to musicians entertain us. Unlike most WRWA programs, there is a fee ($25 if you've got your own skis, $30 if you need rentals) payable to Maple Corner Farms upon arrival. The following day (Saturday, Feb 27) is the alternate date in case of bad weather. Dress in plenty of layers, as evening will be colder than during a daytime ski. Come join us for a memorable winter evening experience. Meet at Maple Corner Farms, 794 Beech Hill Road in Granville, MA at 7:30 p.m. Please call 413-564-0895 to register by February 19th, as Tom and Nancy will need to let Maple Corner Farms know our numbers.
Atlantic Salmon Egg-Rearing Program (ASERP): WRWA provided chillers and tanks (and other supplemental equpment) for nine local schools to participate in this program during the Spring of 2010. This year's schools were Abner Gibbs & St. Mary's Elementary, and the North and South Middle (2 tanks) Schools in Westfield, Fausey Elementary in West Springfield, Littleville Elementary and Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington, Powder Mill Middle School in Southwick, and Cummington Elementary. About 300 salmon eggs were delivered to each site in February. Students monitored the hatching of the eggs and cared for the fry until they were stocked in local streams in May or early June. Thannks to Marj Lehan, Mark Damon, Phil Sousa, Dave Christensen, Heather Comee, Michael Vorwerk, and Mike Young for helping out with the fry releases!
Sanderson Brook Falls and the H. Newman Marsh Trail - Chester, MA: Join Tom and Nancy Condon for a hike to the falls on Saturday, Mar 13. The total distance for this hike is about 4 miles. We'll start by heading up the access road to Sanderson Brook Falls. If we've had a lot of snow this winter and the melt is early, the falls can be spectacular. If it's been a long winter, the frozen falls can be lovely too. The road heads past the falls and a series of logging roads and trails will help us climb gradually to some outstanding views of the Westfield River watershed. We'll stop there for lunch and to enjoy the views before heading down the H. Newman Marsh Trail back to the start. This stretch of the trail can be steep, so come prepared. We'll take it slow and cautiously. Dress for the weather. Bring along a lunch and plenty of water. And don't forget your camera. Meet at the Sanderson Brook Falls parking lot (off Rt. 20 in Chester) at 10 a.m. and expect to be back by 3 p.m. Please call 413-564-0895 to register.
2010 Westfield River Symposium: The 16th annual Westfield River Symposium was held on Saturday, March 27 in the Scanlon Banquet Hall at Westfield State College and drew about 130 participants. The theme for this years' event was "Green Energy in Our Watershed". The keynote speaker was Alan Nogee of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The morning session featured half a dozen speakers on various issues related to renewable energy, and lots of exhibitors including local companies that offer renewable energy products. Both afternoon field trips were well-attended. Trip #1 was a visit to the recently completed wind turbine of the Williams Stone Company in Otis, while Trip #2 toured two hydropower facilities on the Westfield River. The full program can be accessed at 2010 Symposium Program.
Salmon Fry Stocking: Dozens of volunteers helped MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife personnel with the stocking of a million salmon fry into the Westfield River and its tributaries on Saturday, April 10 (Munn and Dickinson Brooks in Granville) and on Saturday, April 24 (along the Middle Branch of the Westfield River above the Littleville Dam). You can find the complete fry stocking schedule for April and early May, along with additional information at the MADFW Fry Stocking Page. Thanks to Phil Sousa and Bill Rose for helping to coordinate our efforts with the state.
Annual Dinner Meeting: WRWA's annual dinner meeting, including the election of the 2010-2011 Board of Directors, took place on Thursday, May 6 in the Garden Room in the Horace Mann Center (333 Western Ave Ð the old Stanhome corporate headquarters building). A social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 was followed by a short business meeting. Afterwards, Anne Capra of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission spoke on "Volunteer-Based Water Quality Monitoring in the Westfield River Watershed: Results and Next Steps". The cost for this year's event was $21, to cover extensive appetizers during the social hour and a cash bar. Thanks to George Reichert for organizing this year's event!
Kayak/Canoe Demo Day at Hampton Ponds State Park: WRWA, in cooperation with Wilderness Experiences & Westfield Water Sports, sponsored a Demo Day on Saturday, May 22. Approximately 250 attendees had an opportunity to test paddle over 60 different kayaks and canoes. There were also demonstrations throughout the day, and information about the best local places to paddle. Raffles for a kayak and a custom-made paddle were. The event ran from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Hampton Ponds State Park (1048 North Rd. in Westfield). Admission was $5 per person or $10 per family. For more information, check the flyer, call (413) 569-1287, or visit Wilderness Experiences & Westfield Water Sports. This event was a great success thanks to George Reichert, Kathy Meyer and Fran Siska (all WRWA Board members), Scott Cook and Matt Preye (Wilderness Experiences) and Andy (Hampton Ponds State Park) who organized and ran it, to Rick Sullivan who brought greetings from MA DCR, and to the Youth Groups from the YMCA and Wilderness Experiences, Ron Lucassen, Bill Rose, Henry Warchol, John and Helga Shuttleworth, Sheryl Becker, Mark Damon, and Phil Sousa who helped during the day! Thanks also to the companies that donated the raffle prizes: Wilderness Systems (for the kayak won by Dan Sedelow), Aquabound (for the kayak paddle won by Susan Estridge), Thule (for two car-top carriers, won by Brendon Preston and Morrison Worthington), Stohlquist (for the life jacket won by Karen Laski), and Cabot Creamery (for the gift basket won by Joel Walz).
Fishway Open House: The West Springfield fish ladder was open to the public on Sunday, June 6 from 10-3, and more than 400 visitors walked out and took the tour. Parking was available in the former Southworth Paper Co. parking lot at 150 Front St. in West Springfield. In previous years there's often been an adult salmon held at the facility for visitors to view, but this year's warm temperatures and low flow have led to only 3 salmon at this point Ð and none for viewing, though some elvers were on display. Free of charge and open to the general public. Thanks to Phil Sousa, Bill Rose, and Henry Warchol for organizing and running the event, and also to Kathy Meyer, Ron Lucassen, Mark Damon, Sheryl Becker, and Mike Young for helping with registration and/or showing visitors around.
Westfield River Canoe Cruise: Our annual quiet-water paddle from downtown Westfield to Robinson State Park in Agawam was run on Saturday, June 19, coinciding with the Robinson State Park Day hosted by the Friends of Robinson State Park. Registration began at noon at the Meadow St. Canoe Launch (just east of the Great River Bridge on 10/202, on the north side of Meadow St.), with registration and a car shuttle continuing through 1 p.m., when the group (more than 40 strong!) launched. Bring your own canoe/kayak and life jacket(s). Cost is $7 per person, $20 per family, to cover the cost of insurance and refreshments at the end of the trip at Robinson State Park. Contact Phil Sousa (568-3982) for more information.
Storm Drain Labeling at Hampton Ponds: A small group of WRWA volunteers labeled storm drains in the Hampton Ponds area on Saturday, July 17, starting at 9:00 a.m. Teams placed markers reading "No Dumping Ð Drains to Pond" next to approximately 50 storm drains in the area and passed out literature to nearby homes. Thanks to Sheryl Becker (821-0818) and Mike Young (562-8498) for organizing, and to Mark Damon, John Shuttleworth, and Ingrid Shuttleworth for helping out!
Fly-Fishing Clinic: In conjunction with the Western Mass Fly Fisherman's Association, WRWA will hold a fly fishing clinic on Saturday, September 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the turnout along Rt. 20 just east of Huntington (across from the health center). There will be fly tying instruction, fly casting instruction, and identification of insects found in the river and on the banks. This event will be held rain or shine. Contact Bill Rose (786-0195) for more information.
2010 River Cleanup: This year's Westfield River cleanup took place on Saturday, October 2, though the Connecticut River Watershed Council's "Source to Sea" Cleanup was postponed (along with our Agawam cleanup, and some additional work in West Springfield) to Saturday, October 16 due to high river levels following substantial rain in late September. We met at the Westfield Gas and Electric substation parking area (near the new bridge) off Meadow Street and fanned out to sites on the Westfield and its tributaries in Westfield and Russell. A total of 89 bags of debris were collected in the Westfield clean-ups, along with a number of larger items Ð including signs, a motor, a truck cap, a shopping cart and two bicycles! The Westfield High School Conservation and Key Clubs provided lots of help along the River Walk in Westfield Ð thanks to them and their advisor, Scott Koffinke, for their assistance! The Agawam group got another 50 bags of trash, plus a computer screen, a TV, about a ton of scrap metal, and some other miscellaneous items. Special thanks to Mark Damon (572-9991, for the group meeting in Westfield) and Sheryl Becker (821-0818, for the group meeting in Agawam) who organized this year's event.
Storm Drain Labeling in Westfield: We placed labels ("Dump No Waste Ð Drains to River") near storm drains in the vicinity of Powdermill Brook (between Notre Dame and the Westfield High School) on Saturday, October 16. We've purchased additional labels and hope to do more of this work next summer! Contact Mike Young (572-5741) if you're interested in helping out.