NRWA Free Stream Ecology Workshops

See dates, times and locations below

The NRWA invites the public, including families, scout groups and seniors, to stream ecology discovery events to learn what it takes to determine the health of a river or stream. Participants will learn about water quality and invasive plants in the Nashua River and its tributaries. You'll also receive hands-on training on determining the health of a stream by aquatic bug identification, streamside observations, and exploring the effects of stormwater runoff. Learn how this information will help your community. Most of these 1 or 1.5 hour sessions are held outside rain or shine, so dress accordingly. This could be a fun family outing during school vacation week! These sessions are offered in different locations covering the same content, open to all communities, so you can choose which date and location is most convenient for you:

  • April 22 (Earth Day), 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Willard Brook in Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
  • April 22 (Earth Day), 2:00-3:30 p.m. on Catecunemaug Brook in the Fredonian Park and Nature Center, Fredonian Street, Shirley, MA
  • April 23, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Sucker Brook at the Keyes-Parker Conservation Area, Oak Hill Street, Pepperell, MA
  • April 23, 2:00-3:30 p.m. on Unkety Brook in Dunstable, MA
  • April 25, 10:00 a.m. on the Townsend Common during the Earth Day Celebration, Townsend, MA
  • April 29, 7:00-8:00 p.m. about the Nashua River meet at the Devens Common Center in Devens, MA (this is an indoor event)

Please notify Kathryn Nelson, NRWA Water Monitoring Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. which session you would like to attend. Specific location and parking directions will be provided. Be sure to check this website on the day of the event for any cancellations due to severe weather.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation logoFunding for these free stream ecology workshops is provided by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.


Bears in Our Backyards?: Free Family Workshop

Tuesday, April 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Thayer Memorial Library, 717 Main Street, Lancaster, MA

NRWA's Environmental Education Director, Mary Marro, will lead this free family program about black bears.  The audience will learn how bears use teeth and claws as tools, do experiments with fat to see how bears stay alive and warm in the winter, and explore outdoors looking for bear food and good bear resting places.  Be sure to dress warmly.  This program is appropriate for families with children as young as 5 years of age.  This free program is part of the Rosemary Davis Animal Habitat and Environmental Series.  For more information, please contact the library at (978) 368-8928. 

Orientation and Training for Water Monitoring Volunteers

Thursday, April 2, 2015, 7:00- 8:00 p.m.
NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt. 119) in Groton, MA

The NRWA will launch its 23rd season of water monitoring this year! Monitoring will start on the morning of Saturday, April 18th and continue on each third Saturday of the month through October at approximately 43 sites on rivers and streams throughout the watershed. Water samples taken in the field are delivered to labs in Pepperell or Devens for testing by NRWA staff and lab volunteers. On the evening of April 2nd, the NRWA will be holding an Orientation and Training session for those interested in learning more about water monitoring and volunteer opportunities. Interested volunteers may be asked to join an existing team or be a back-up when monitors are not available. NRWA is looking for volunteers for new sites in Harvard—learn more about our "Protecting Harvard's Waterways" project. Sign up for orientation/training on April 2nd is recommended by March 30th. Please contact Kathryn Nelson, NRWA Water Monitoring Coordinator, at (978) 448-0299, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . View the 2014 River Report Card or watch a video about streamside monitoring, created by NRWA volunteer monitors from Shirley. This orientation and training session is funded in part by a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. NRWA appreciates your participation, help, and enthusiasm!

Who's Active in our Forests, Fields, Ponds and Streams?

Early Spring Wildlife Workshop

Saturday, April 4, 2015, 1:00- 4:00 p.m.
Williams Barn Conservation Property and the Chestnut Hills trail area in Groton, MA

This three hour in-depth wildlife workshop for adults and older children ages 11 and up will focus on four distinct habitats and the animals that survive and thrive here after a challenging winter season.  Develop a greater understanding of these hardy inhabitants and learn to "read" their stories through the signs and clues we discover along the way. During the workshop, participants will get an up close look at an extensive collection of animal mounts, skins, skulls and tracking prints as well as an introduction to a variety of habitats in water and on land, and continues with forest, field and wetland explorations looking for animal activity to gain a better understanding of the predator / prey relationship in each featured habitat. Join River Classroom Director Stacey Chilcoat for a fun and adventurous afternoon! This workshop involves moderate hiking including some off trail exploration. We recommend that you dress with multiple layers, waterproof boots, water resistant outer gear, pack water bottle & energy snack. Fee: $15/person NRWA members, $20/non-members. Directions will be provided upon registration. For the comfort of all, no dogs are allowed. Reservations are required; space is
limited. To make reservations, please contact Stacey Chilcoat, NRWA River
Classroom Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .   

NRWA Summer Eco-Adventures

It's not too soon to think about summer programs for your children. NRWA's Summer Eco-Adventures will be back with these great options:

Wilderness Summer Survival Week for Ages 11 to 14
June 23– June 26, 2015 (Tues – Fri), from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Challenge yourself in nature with four adventurous, action-packed days of hiking Groton trails through numerous conservation properties, paddling the Squannacook River, developing summer survival skills, and exploring the inner world of our local river, woodlands and fields while making new friends. Outdoor adventure at its best with River Classroom Director Stacey Chilcoat. Program fees are $200 for NRWA members or $230 for non-members.

Wild World of Water Week for Ages 6 to 8
July 13 – July 16, 2015 (Monday – Fri), from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Escape the heat of summer with a fun-filled four days all about water!! Collect aquatic critters from the Nashua River, make a fresh water aquarium, do water experiments, make mini-boats to race on mini streams, and stay cool each day with lots of water games. Perfect for nature & water loving kids! Program fees are $180 for NRWA members or $210 for non-members.

All Things Animal: Incredible Insects, Secretive Salamanders & Outrageous Otters for Ages 9 to 11
July 20 – July 23, 2015 (Mon – Thurs), from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Calling all animal lovers and nature explorers! From reptiles to mammals, this program focuses on the amazing lives of our local wildlife. Collect fascinating insects, practice summer tracking skills, hike local trails and play animal camouflage games. Build animals homes and feeders with natural and recycled materials. Program fees are $190 for NRWA members or $220 for non-members.

Pre-registration is required; space is limited. To pre-register or for more information, please contact Stacey Chilcoat, NRWA River Classroom Director, at (978) 448-0299, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.