Heart Healthy Trail Walk in Ayer, MA

September 13, 2016 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

All are invited to join the NRWA for our free Heart Healthy Trails walk on Tuesday evening, September 13th, beginning at 5:30 p.m., when we’ll explore two trails, one in Ayer and one nearby in Devens. We’ll begin our tour at Pine Meadow Conservation Area in Ayer and end with a visit to the Shepley Hill Trail in Devens.  At both properties, we’ll take a short, approximately 20-minute, guided walk, on trails that are appropriate for easy or moderate activity levels. The meeting location to start at Pine Meadow Conservation Area is on Groton-Harvard Road in Ayer. View a Google map. Directions to Shepley Hill will be provided that evening.  This trail tour is free, open to all ages and all communities. Join us for exercise and to experience the beauty of our local trails.

As part of its Heart Healthy Trails project, the NRWA is seeking to introduce people to trails in their own “greater backyard” that are accessible to everyone, even those with some physical limitations, including young children or elders. The goal of the project is to identify easy to moderately strenuous trails to help people feel comfortable that they know the location of the trailhead and parking areas, and to motivate people to make walking on these trails part of a healthy exercise routine. The NRWA encourages everyone to get outdoors and connect with the natural world for their own well-being and that of the environment. The NRWA’s Heart Healthy Trails project is funded by a grant from the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation.

This walk will take place rain or shine, but will be postponed in the event of severe storms; postponement will be posted on this website, by 4:00 p.m. on the day of the walk. For the comfort of all, no dogs are allowed. Pre-registration is not required, but appreciated for planning purposes. To pre-register, please contact Al Futterman, NRWA Land Programs and Outreach Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Hike and Hawk Watch

Saturday, September 10, 2016 beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, MA

Every September, thousands of hawks from New England and Canada ride the thermals of the Wapack Range as part of their southward migration. On a good day in mid-September, a keen-eyed observer may see up to 3,000 hawks from the various peaks of the range, such as South Pack Monadnock in New Hampshire and Mount Wachusett in Massachusetts. On Saturday, September 10, 2016, the NRWA will lead a free "Hawk Watch and Hike" up Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, MA (off of Route 119). In the event of a steady rain on Saturday, the event will be held on Sunday, September 11.

After convening at the trail-head off Route 119 at 8:00 a.m., we'll hike up Mt. Watatic, a 30 to 40 minute hike, moderately difficult with a few steep sections. We'll spend about 3 hours at the summit, watching for hawks and observing whatever else nature presents. Many of the Broad-winged Hawks will be in kettle formations, which can be spectacular to behold. Other species such as Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks may also be seen. We'll head back to the cars around 1:00 p.m. If the birding is exceptionally good, people can choose to stay longer.

Bring along binoculars (a must), spotting scopes, bird book, food and water, hat, hiking seat and a windbreaker. The hike is free and open to the public; limited to the first 20 people who register. Children should be old enough to hike on their own (12 years and up) and be patient enough to spend several hours at the summit staring into the sky. For the comfort of all, no dogs please.

To register or for more information, please contact Mark Archambault, NRWA Smart Growth Circuit Rider, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Because the trip is limited to 20 people, anyone registering after that number is reached will be placed on a waiting list. Directions to the meet-up location will be given registrants before the event.