In this outdoor survival skills program, we will venture out onto the Ipswich River. Learn the In this outdoor survival skills program, older children will learn the basics of the ancient outdoor skill of fire-building. Participants will learn important safety steps, collect their own firewood, try different methods of fire-starting, and end with a roaring campfire and s'mores. No experience is necessary - just a willingness to learn and a respect for working with fire.
There's a walk in the woods... and then there's a walk in the woods with a naturalist. Bring your friends for a pre-Thanksgiving guided walk to discover the world of nature as plants and animals prepare for winter. Sanctuary naturalists will lead small groups as they venture out to Averill's Island, to find some of the sanctuary’s oldest trees. We will stop along the way to hear stories of those who lived on the land before us and learn more about the fascinating cultural history of the sanctuary. Look for animal signs as we hike through the woodlands and marshes, taking in the beauty of the muted colors of late autumn. Walks are approximately 2 hours and 3 miles in length.
Before you settle in for the long winter ahead, bring your family to unplug, stretch your legs, and give thanks for the great outdoors and all its beauty. Journey back in time with a Mass Audubon naturalist as your guide as we look for signs from long ago of the people and wildlife who once lived here, and some who still do. You will have a chance to see and touch old tools and artifacts, learn the names and stories of the towering trees that reach overhead, and search for the wild creatures that rustle in the leaves around us in these special places. This hike is approximately 1.5 hours long, set at a leisurely pace, with stops to explore.
Brighten up your yard this winter with a bird feeder handmade by you and your child. Each family will receive a kit containing all the necessary parts to build a feeder that will attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, and many other birds to your yard. Mass Audubon's Scott Santino from Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary will explain winter birds and then lead a workshop to build bird feeders.
Stretching high overhead at this time of the year once the sun has fully set and darkness has settled in, from vantage points far removed from light-polluted city skies, is the starry river we call the Milky Way. In the indoor portion of this evening's program, we will go on a photographic tour of the celestial jewels strewn within its starry fields that are best viewed through a telescope. Such so-called deep sky objects include star clusters, stellar nurseries, supernova remnants, and more. Presented by physicist Gary Meehan
Come enjoy an early evening excursion at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield! During the autumn months, thousands of migratory waterfowl fly directly over the sanctuary as they travel from their summer breeding grounds in the north to their winter homes in the south. Each night, hundreds of ducks drop into Bunker Meadows to rest and refuel for their journey. We will hike down to Bunker Meadows and climb the observation tower to observe the magnificent spectacle of ducks coming in to roost. Learn to identify different species, use counters to keep track of numbers, hear the sounds of ducks settling in for the night, and listen for the call of a great horned owl across the marsh. This is an evening not to be missed.
Mid-October is an excellent time to take in the spectacular and stunning colors provided by the Ipswich River. The riverside silver maples will be showing off their yellow-gold, while the cattails and other marsh grasses will provide beautiful greens and browns, all set against the winding blues and blacks of the river. Have your family join us for a few hours as we explore this pristine habitat via a gentle paddle in canoes. With a little luck we might encounter a beaver, otter, or muskrat as well!
At sundown this Halloween weekend, Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary will be transformed into a magical forest with creatures that can talk! Take a guided walk along our Halloween trail, home to some interesting creatures that come out just for Halloween. Learn firsthand about the creatures of the night and some history and myths that surround this spooky holiday.
The Ipswich River is the perfect place to start your children canoeing. We'll pair up two adults and two children per canoe and take a leisurely paddle up the river. We'll stop off in one of the backwater areas and do some dipping in the river to get a closer look at the creatures that live under the surface. On our return, we'll enjoy a snack at the picnic tables by the Nature Center and talk about what we discovered. Bring a blanket and we'll provide a sweet treat.
The Topsfield Fair is a perennial favorite for us. We're not the biggest fans of the midway, although it is always worth a walkthrough and a ride or two. We love fruits and vegetables, and are always on the lookout for the winning 'biggest pumpkin'. Another favorite is checking out the pigs and other farm animals, as well as the interesting variety of guinea pigs and rabbits.