By Beth David, Editor
The Buzzards Bay Coalition doesn’t let winter stop the exploration of the outdoors. During its monthly “Saturdays at the Sawmill,” the BBC led families on a walk through the trails of the organization’s park on Mill Road in Acushnet this weekend.
Calvin Litwinetz, 4 1/2, said his favorite part was pretending to be a bear and finding berries and twigs. He also liked seeing all the birds, especially the swans.
Jeannine Louro, an Americorps member working at the BBC, explained that the Sawmill property is a good example of how the BBC protects land to keep water clean.
The Sawmill property surrounds a portion of the Acushnet River that has a fishway, allowing River Herring to swim upstream to their spawning areas.
“Most of the area you’re exploring used to be cement,” said Ms. Louro, as she explained the project that demolished the old sawmill and restored the land to nature.
Part of the restoration included dismantling the dam, allowing the herring to swim upstream. She said the BBC used rocks from the dam to create the amphitheater behind the visitors center.
The swans are always a big hit, but they are “super territorial” said Ms. Louro, so they tend to scare away other birds.
“They are not native to here,” she said. “But they do reside here, which is way cool, and they’re really pretty to look at.”
The group walked along the wetlands area and Ms. Louro explained that frogs go underwater to hibernate, “like they’re frozen, which is crazy.”
She said if they move during hibernation, they will die, so she cautioned everyone not to disturb the water.
The group learned that deer move very slowly in winter to conserve energy. Children and adults alike tried their hands (or feet, rather) at walking very, very slowly to conserve energy, taking more than 21 seconds to walk the distance, a record.
Children also hunted for acorns (paper acorns because the real squirrels had taken all the real acorns), berries, fish, snake holes and other natural items along the way.
At the hugging station, children learned that bees “hug” the queen to keep her safe, and that penguins also huddle to keep warm.
“It’s a gorgeous place,” said Nancy Pimental, who visits the park regularly. “It’s beautiful. I love to come to here, the water, the plant life, the river, and those big swans are so pretty, and the high [cattails]. And walking is good for my health.”
“And in the spring, all the flowers are really pretty,” added Lisa Leavitt. “They did a nice, nice job with the place.”
“It’s refreshing,” said Ms. Pimental. “The sound of the water, and it’s so close to the city.”
The BBC holds Saturdays at the Sawmill once a month, when the Hawes Family Learning Center is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The next one is scheduled for February 11.
For more information Visit www. savebuzzardsbay.org/events, or call the Buzzards Bay Coalition at 508-999-6363 ext. 219.
The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection, restoration, and sustainable use and enjoyment of Buzzards Bay and its watershed. Supported by more than 8,000 members, the Coalition works to improve the health of the Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research and advocacy. Learn more at savebuzzardsbay.org.
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