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Explore the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge
Explore the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge

DEVENS — Nashua River Watershed Association naturalists Stacey Chilcoat and Gaynor Bigelbach will lead a series of three free family programs, with the first scheduled for this Saturday, according to the NRWA.

Each of the programs will focus on a different habitat in the 1,697-acre refuge that runs along almost eight miles of the Nashua River, including woodlands, wetlands, old fields, oxbow ponds, and river ecosystems. Join the naturalists for one, two, or all three programs.

On Saturday, Aug. 7 from 9:30-11:30 a.m., the program will focus on what lives in ONWR in Harvard and participants will explore wetland habitat looking for signs of mammals, bird-spotting, identifying plants, and investigating what is living in wetland waters.

On Saturday, Aug. 28 from 3-5:30 p.m., the program will focus on what lives in ONWR in Devens, where participants will explore river habitat during a guided paddling tour looking at signs of beaver activity, and abundant bird life. There will also be a talk about the history of the land surrounding the river, used by humans for farming, recreation, military training, and now conservation.

On Saturday, Sept. 11 from 2-3:30 p.m., the program will return to the ONWR in Devens, exploring upland forest habitat and riverside trails looking for tracks, dens, scent mounds, scat and other clues we are not the only ones using the trails and forest.

These programs are appropriate for families with school-age children, kindergarten and up. Adventure backpacks will be available for families to use during the program including hands-on science tools such as binoculars and plant and animal identification guides. Come discover the wonders of our local federally designated national wildlife refuge.

No dogs are allowed and appropriate COVID safety protocols will be followed. Registration is required; space is limited. Directions to the sites provided upon registration.

To register, email, indicate which program(s) you wish to attend, the number of people in your group, and ages of any children, as well as a phone number in case of weather-related changes in program plans.

This free series is being offered by the NRWA in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex, funded by a grant from the Freedom’s Way Heritage Association.

The NRWA is a non-profit environmental organization providing water and land protection and environmental education programs in the 32 communities of our watershed. Learn more at

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