Photos by Judy Schnieder
The 10 Annual Earth Day Festival, organized by the Middleton Stream Team, was an afternoon of fun and learning for all! Attendees enjoyed the Creighton Pond Camp setting and the opportunities the natural setting provided. Essex Tech environmental students and their science equipment filled the pond side learning building to continually educate visitors with on-site experiments. Masconomet environmental students also had an educational display. Boy scouts and girl scouts of all ages demonstrated camp-outs, did crafts, and talked about scouting opportunities in the town. New vendors included Sound Play Children’s Music, Moonshadow Yoga with dwarf goats, Green Meadow farm with chickens, Lasting Legacy Soaps and nature jewelry, and Sanctuary Yoga. Loyal participants returning included Sol Bean, Essex County Beekeepers, Cellar Door of Ipswich, and the Flint Library. Massachusetts Wildlife and Fisheries, with the help of the local Peary family, taught many children to fish. The gigantic beaver, aka Liz Cameron, enjoyed entertaining children! This year, for the first time, IRWA performed a puppet show with a water conservation theme and due to the brief shower, a third show was added and enjoyed in the nice lodge. Owl pellet dissection was taught by Sandy, also known as Mrs. R, and some amazing discoveries were made about the food cycle! One middle age adult asked to join the older children. He was the most excited about what he found, declaring it an activity he had always wanted to do! The raffles, which are the primary funding source for all the free activities the Stream team sponsors, brought in a record amount of sales. Mr. John LeBlanc was awarded the distinction of being hardest working event volunteer, as he had a line for popcorn for a solid three hours! Mother Earth reminded us of her gifts with a shower, we think it was her way of thanking all the people that came out to learn, appreciate, and protect this watershed we all live within. We think we heard her giggle as the people out in the rowboats hunkered down in the rain out on the pond! We would like to thank the Lynn Boys and Girls clubs for letting us use their beautiful facility. Two hours of sun and a bit of rain, laughter and learning in the great outdoors! It was an inspiring celebration of the human and nature connection!
Middleton Stream Team’s Vernal Pool Hike was recently held on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. (scroll down for slide show)The group of almost sixty was excited and laden down with nets. In age, the attendees ranged from toddlers in carriers to octogenarians. We hiked in from Old Hundred Lane, soon venturing off the trail to a large vernal pool, previously scouted by stream team members. Because physical factors such as sunlight, water temperature, acidity, and the duration of the flooding all affect vernal pool life, it is never truly guaranteed that we will find what we had found the week before. However, on this day, groups of children and adults enthusiastically netted, scooped, observed, and eventually found out they had fairy shrimp, predaceous diving beetles, and a variety of beetle larvae. The Stream Team naturalists were concerned about not finding any frog or salamander eggs, worried that the winter thaw could have affected their survival. We will be following up on this to find some answers. A favored critter was the garter snake that Briana Grieco caught and showed all the hikers.
Vernal pools are critical habitats for many species. Through outdoor exploration of these pools, this large group of people learned that much life depends on protecting these ephemeral wetlands. We all had a beautiful day in the outdoors with great exercise and much learning. A “wonder” of a day!
The Middleton Stream Team Annual Nature Photo Contest is Underway!
New this year! Photos are encouraged to be submitted on-line!
The Middleton Stream Team encourages you to enter your photos taken on or near waterways and wetlands in Middleton. We are especially interested in photos depicting the effects of this year’s drought on the river, streams and wetlands.
Cash prize of $200 for first place photo, and $100, $50 respectively for second and third. Under 18 years first place prize is $50.
The Stream Team encourages you to explore and photograph Middleton. Photos must be received by November 1.
Details for rules and submission forms available here.
The weather was cool and a bit of rain fell upon us but hundreds of people of all ages joined the Middleton Stream Team at Creighton Pond Camp for an exciting afternoon. People still rowed out to see the beaver lodge across the serene pond, found out just what an owl ate for dinner, tested soil samples and pond water with Essex tech students, and enjoyed an interactive and creative ocean pollution exhibit by the Masconomet environmental students. Bob Andrews of Mass Fish and Wildlife and the local Peary Family did a great job teaching between 50 and seventy kids to fish, and many fish were caught and released. The scouts cooked delicious cake in a Dutch oven over nice warm coals and shared with many. Children were amazed at the quick sequence of life for meal worms at the exhibit from Mandal Garden Farms of Middleton. North Shore Nature had tanks with snakes, turtles, crayfish and frogs for an up close and personal look at what lives in and near the pond. Starting at noon instead of one due to the weather, families enjoyed pizza, Sol Bean coffee, Artisan Ices and creams, Messenger’s infused waters, popcorn and even the dogs that joined the event had treats from Patty’s Biscuits! Many liked the earlier start time to have lunch so that might be a good change for next year! The Flint library promoted caterpillars and North Shore Bank’s Green Team led a litter pick-up hike! Essex County beekeepers educated people about the importance of bees. The Cellar Door of Ipswich had delicious meat rubs and the mammal display demonstrated that we all share different passions for the wild! The Daisy troop had bird feeders to make and other vendors offered crafts as well as Kathy Davis nature bags, essential oils, and the Stream Team’s tees and new cloth grocery bags. The Boutillier family started each child with a booklet to stamp when each station was visited. The Ipswich River Watershed educated people about how to protect our river. Liz Cameron made folks giggle but didn’t scare any children as a roaming beaver. The Letterboxing activity by Katie Bernard and Marion Duval could be challenging on such wooded and diverse lands. The Creighton Pond Day Camp is such a huge and beautiful area, with the covered pavilion, the big lodge and the pond, it is never too crowded even though the entire back field was filled to capacity with patron’s cars. The Stream team is very thankful that Lynn Boys and Girls Clubs offer us the use of the facility and it is truly a joint venture due to LeLand Boutillier’s contributions. We thank each and every one of you, both the groups that helped make it such a successful event and the people that came out even in a cool sprinkle to enjoy the day with us. Our mission is to encourage you to keep enjoying and protecting our local wild places, including our precious river and wetlands. Many species, including humans, depend on healthy natural ecosystems! As you remember all the Mother’s this month, please take a moment to help Mother Earth!
The 2015 Middleton Stream Team photo contest awards were held on November 29 at the Historical Museum. (photos) The lively group was impressed with the beauty of the photos. The awardees were Inger Pols who took first place and an honorable mention; Alison Colby-Campbell who earned second place and an honorable mention; and Elaine Gauthier who was awarded third place. Also receiving honorable mentions were Pam Hartman and Anton Heckel.
Rob Dodge was awarded first place in the under 18 category, and Gabriella Scarpone received second place in the under 18.
Judges for the contest were Eric Roth, Lucille Wymer, and Sue Goodwin. (photo)
Photos this year depicted scenes at Farnsworth Landing, Thunder Bridge, Prichards Pond/Boston Brook, the heron rookery close to Middleton Pond, and some beautiful wetland areas.
Click here for more info