What we're about

Our purpose:

1. to discover and identify the plants and animals living among us

2. to learn their habits and survival requirements

3. to implement landscaping and other wildlife accommodations, such as nest boxes, feeders, brush piles, rock piles, tree snags, ponds and other water features.

Meetings will alternate between trips to public greenspace and private homes. We'll search for plants and animals and learn how they function in our ecosystem. We'll visit meetup members' homes and neighborhoods to evaluate their habitat potential and discuss improvements.

A knowledge of plants--their identification, nutritional value to wildlife, and cultural requirements--will serve a major role in our endeavor, since they are an ecosystem's foundation. All animals require plants--specific plants--for their survival. Even carnivores rely on plants to nourish their prey. We'll learn and share many techniques for creating habitat, but landscaping is key.

This meetup is chiefly intended for nature lovers who are upset to see wilderness vanish and want to become actively involved in making a difference--starting with their own backyard (and frontyard). Many of you have enough greenspace around your homes to make an impact. There are also many who haven't got much more than a couple windowboxes or a single tree beside your apartment. Yet, you shouldn't feel limited to your immediate surroundings; there are opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood's public parks/public spaces, or chances to guerrilla garden in vacant lots.

Many of you are interested in ethnobotany--medicinal plants, foraging wild edibles, etc. While that hasn't been the central focus of this group, it is certainly a welcome supplement, and engages people in their natural world in a way that helps them best identify with the experience of wildlife: gathering and using plants for survival. We neglect our environment when we fail to recognize this common interest and the value it provides.

All suburban properties are landscaped to some extent; owners recognize the improved appearance and property value. Yet, the plants chosen are too often non-native, invasive, produce sterile blossoms, inedible fruit, often situated in monocultures, and are a limited selection of tedious repetition (on average, the same 40 plants--in various arrangements--comprise 90% of our suburban landscapes). Some of the problem lies with limited availability from nurseries and garden centers; the rest with uninformed consumers. So let's get informed. With a little insight, plants offering beauty and greater wildlife benefit can be substituted.


We love dogs, but many of our members prefer not to walk with them during our nature hikes--they can sometimes be a distraction when we are trying to observe wildlife.


Upcoming events (5+)

Winter Tree Identification

Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

Winter Tree Identification Sat, Jan 19,[masked]:00 pm - 2:30 pm Location: Boston Nature Center, Mattapan Audience: Adult Members: $5.00 Nonmembers: $7.00 In this program, you will learn about the adaptations that help trees survive the harsh conditions of winter and identification techniques. Inside we will warm up while making sap and leaf comparisons. Register online or call[masked] to register by phone. https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/program-catalog#program:sanctuary=21:program_code=63711 For more information, contact: Boston Nature Center 500 Walk Hill Street Mattapan, MA 02126 [masked]

Winter Survival

Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

Winter Survival Sun, Jan 20,[masked]:00 pm - 2:30 pm Sun, Jan 27,[masked]:00 pm - 2:30 pm Sun, Feb 10,[masked]:00 pm - 2:30 pm Location: Boston Nature Center, Mattapan Audience: Adult Members: $15.00 Nonmembers: $21.00 Nonmembers can join today during checkout and take immediate advantage of member prices. Would you like to spend more time outdoors in the winter, but are not sure how to prepare for potentially bad weather? This is a three part series. Part one will cover clothes and supplies for winter explorations, part two will cover navigation and shelter building, and part three will cover the natural history of New England forests. Registration is encouraged but not required, and walk-ins are welcome. Register online or call[masked] to register by phone. https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/program-catalog#program:sanctuary=21:program_code=63712 For more information, contact: Boston Nature Center 500 Walk Hill Street Mattapan, MA 02126 [masked]

Sumac School - Year long, monthly wild food intensive program in Western MA.

• What we'll do Leapfrog Programs Presents: The Sumac School - year long intensive wild food class This apprenticeship will take you deep into connection with the natural world we live in and are a part of through the doorway of wild foods. Penetrate the wallpaper that limits our relationships with the wide world of plants and animals! Through a year's cycle, we'll cover a wide range of survival, practical and awareness skills with a strong focus on learning from and about plants and animals. Enjoy an immediately positive impact on your diet, budget, health, awareness and sense of belonging to the land. Gain confidence and familiarity with more than 50 edible, medicinal & useful and poisonous species of plants, and their uses - how to find, ID, harvest and prepare them into food and medicine. Plant and land stewarding skills: Learn how to care for and propagate plants by coppicing, grafting, layering, and germinating seeds and cuttings; and the basics of permaculture design and gardening as we explore gardens in the area. Explore a diversity of habitats and wild hotspots in the Valley as we explore gardens, streams, rivers, forests and fields together in different towns. Learn how to make plants into useful tools to create glue, baskets, mats, cordage and rope, tinder and insulation, making friction fires, and projectiles. Learn 20 mammals and 20 bird species that share our habitat, their habits, appearance, songs and tracks. Process animals into food with skinning, butchering, meat curing and hide work. We will slaughter chickens and a sheep. Class appropriate for ages 15+. Meets one Sat. a month closest to full moon from 4/18 to 3/19. Cost is[masked]$ sliding scale, requires a 200$ deposit - and supports public fruit tree planting. Limited work trade available. Register by 3/15. Partial/day attendance negotiable. Saturdays: 4/28, 5/26, 6/23, 7/28, 8/25, 9/22, 10/27, 11/17, 12/15. 2019: 1/5, 2/2 ,3/2 Instructor bio: Felix Lufkin has been foraging and educating about plants, for 12 years. He teaches nature and gardening programs at K-12 schools in the Valley, and has offered hundreds of plant walks for the community through Acorn Kitchen and Help Yourself. For more info and to sign up visit leapfrogprograms.org Signing up on Meetup will not count as complete registration. • What to bring • Important to know

Winter Photography Workshop

Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

Winter Photography Workshop Sat, Feb 02,[masked]:00 pm - 3:00 pm Location: Boston Nature Center, Mattapan Instructor: Eduardo del Solar - Photographer Audience: Adult Members: $30.00 Nonmembers: $35.00 Get ready to take your outdoor photography skills to the next level! Join local photographer Eduardo del Solar to expand your ability in this creative workshop centered on a Winter Photography. Invernal or winter light here in New England is a very special time for photographers. Aimed at the enthusiasts who want to progress further than just using their camera basics, this workshop is geared toward beginner to intermediate photographers wanting to move from taking images to making images.. Topics include equipment recommendations for digital cameras, lenses and associated accessories, in addition to discussions relating to exposure, lighting, and composition techniques. We will go outside to take photographs and, if time permits, come back indoors to discuss ways in which to enhance our images. Participants must have either a digital point-and-shoot or digital SLR camera. Cell phone cameras will not suffice. MEMBERS $30; NONMEMBERS $35. SPACE IS LIMITED; PLEASE REGISTER EARLY. Register online or call[masked] to register by phone. https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/program-catalog#program:sanctuary=21:program_code=63713 For more information, contact: Boston Nature Center 500 Walk Hill Street Mattapan, MA 02126 [masked]

Past events (354)

Winter Bird Walk

Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

Photos (623)