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In This Issue

Halloween Happenings
Adult Programs
Family Programs
Upcoming Events
Travel with Ipswich River
Ecological Management
Ipswich River News
Fall Volunteer Opportunities

Browse our Programs Online 


Ipswich River Passport to Nature Pins Now Available

IRWS Passport to Nature Pin

Be sure to stop in our office to pick up one of our beautiful new Ipswich River pins. Every sanctuary has a different pin - collect them all!
$5.00 each; $4.50/members

Passport to Nature

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School Programs

We are already booking winter programs and sugaring tours. Please call or email us if you would like a copy of our school brochure, or download a brochure from our Web site.

To book a program for your class, email or call Stina MacDougall at 978-887-9264, ext. 7705.

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Scout Programs

Fall offerings for scout troops include after-school, weekend, and evening programs, plus canoeing and overnights.

 Download a brochure:
Girl Scouts
Boy Scouts

For more information and to book a scout program, email or call Angela Walsh at 978-887-9264, ext. 7703.

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Birthday Parties

We offer naturalist-led birthday parties for children ages 3-12, September through mid-June. Choose from a variety of themes. From October 24-31, with the Barn all decked out for Halloween, book a Halloween-themed party! Download our birthday party brochure. 

To book a party, email or call Angela Walsh at 978-887-9264, ext. 7703.

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In Our Book & Gift Shop

Audubon calendars for 2011: 365 Butterflies, 365 Songbirds, Engagement Calendar; and Sibley’s The Birder’s Year.

New from Cornell:
The Feeder Watcher’s  Guide to Bird Feeding.

Back in stock:
Don Coyote, a narrative about “the good times and the bad times of a much maligned American Original.”

For young birders:
Young Birder’s Guide to Birds – East, and Finding Your Wings.

Beachcomber Bags Handmade by Kim Brisbois,  these open-mesh bags are the perfect size to hold found treasures from your beach or woods walks. 

Birds & Beans logo

Try out this wonderful coffee (organic, fair-trade, shade-grown, and bird-friendly) - purchase a sample bag in our shop.

Mass Audubon members receive a 10% discount on most items. Your purchases help support the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Thank you!

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Cabin, Camping, and Canoe Rentals

The sanctuary offers several special rental opportunities available only to Mass Audubon members.

The Innermost House
This cozy cabin sleeps four and can be reserved for $30 per night, year-round.

Innermost House by Sue Grimwood 
photo by Susan Grimwood

Perkins Island Camping
Accessible only by canoe, three primitive campsites, accommodating up to 15 people each, are available May 1-October 31

Call the office at 978-887-9264 for reservation information for the Innermost House and Perkins Island.

IRWS Canoe Rack

Canoes (May 1 - October 31)
Canoes are rented on a first-come, first-served basis for $7 per hour, from 9:00 am-3:00 pm. They are sometimes in use for programs, so feel free to call ahead to check on availability.

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Join the Flock for Half Price Through Nov. 30

Help protect the nature of Massachusetts by becoming a Mass Audubon member. From now through November 30, NEW family memberships are only $29, half the regular rate! For more information on membership levels and how to join, call our office at 978-887-9264.

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October 2010


Halloween Happenings

Friday, October 22 & Saturday, October 23
6:00, 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, 7:00, 7:15, & 7:30 pm

Great Pumpkin 2009 for main column

It's not too late to register your family or youth group for our annual Halloween event. We still have time slots open on both nights, but this very popular program fills every year, so don't delay - call today: 978-887-9264. Runs rain or shine.

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Adult Programs


Yellowthroat by Fred GoodwinFall Birds of Ipswich River
Sunday, October 3 / 7:30-10:30 am
Join us to look for migrants, early winter arrivals, and lingering summer birds. Confusing fall warblers are still moving through, and the recent storms may turn up some interesting birds.

Edible Wild Mushrooms Workshop with Erika Sonder
Sunday, October 3 / 9:30 am-12:30 pm
Learn to identify some local edible mushrooms. Erika will even cook up some mushrooms for everyone to taste, so bring your appetite. Don't miss it!

A Morning Paddle on the Ipswich River
Saturday, October 9 / 8:00-11:00 am
Take a morning canoe trip through the unspoiled habitats of the Ipswich River with Scott Santino and Angela Walsh. There truly is not a better time of year to be out on the river!

Forest Forensics: Reading the Forested Landscape
Sunday, October 10 / 9:30 am-1:30 pm
Learn to see the landscape with new eyes with ecologist and author, Tom Wessels. A few spaces are still available in the full workshop, or you can sign up for the slide lecture only from 9:30-11:00 am.

Autumn Celestial Highlights
Saturday, October 16 / 7:30-9:00 pm
For adults, and families with children 8 years and older.
Gary Meehan of the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club will give an indoor presentation highlighting upcoming autumn celestial events, and then we'll go outside to view the night sky through the amazing telescopes of club members (weather permitting).

The Ducks of Bunker Meadows
Wednesday, October 20 / 5:30-6:30 pm
Sanctuary Director Carol Decker will lead a walk down to the observation tower overlooking Bunker Meadows to witness the amazing nightly migration of thousands of ducks flying into the marsh to spend the night. It's quite a sight to see!

Sunday Driver's Glacial Geology
Saturday, October 30 / 9:00 am-noon
Join Scott Santino for this easy-paced program as we learn about glacial land forms and take a walk on the sanctuary to view examples of a drumlin, esker, and moraine firsthand.

More adult programs >

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Family Programs


Green Frog by Fred GoodwinNature Tales - Family Nature Adventures with Literature: Wonderful Wetlands
Saturday, October 16 / 10:00-11:30 am
For families with children ages 3 to 6.
Join us for a story, and then, with buckets and strainers in hand, we will explore wetland habitats above and below the water.

Sense of Wonder Walk: Food Webs of the Pond
Sunday, October 17 / 1:00-2:30 pm
For families with children 3 years and older.
Come explore Waterfowl Pond and get a close-up look at the creatures who call this beaver pond their home.

The Art of Nature: Leaves, Berries, and Nuts
Saturday, October 30 / 1:00-3:00 pm
For families with children ages 6 to 12.
Join watercolorist Brenda Sloane for this class that combines nature and art.

More family programs >

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Upcoming Events


Hamilton-Wenham Green logo

Hamilton-Wenham Green Fall Film Series - SUSTAINABLE WATERS

FREE Fun and Informative Films
for Families on Saturday Afternoons

October 2, November 6, December 4 / 1:30-3:00 pm
Hamilton-Wenham Library

Saturday, October 2: Marion Stoddart: The Work of 1000

Come to the Hamilton-Wenham Library this Saturday to enjoy the first film of this fall series, The Work of 1000.

After the film, Andrew Prazar, our new education coordinator, will lead a discussion about the Ipswich River and show us how big (human) and little (macro-invertebrate) creatures play critical roles in the river's ecosystem. Join us! For more information, visit the Hamilton-Wenham Green Web site.

Ipswich River Events for November & December

Big Woods Hike 300x400It's not too early to sign up for our special events coming up in November and December. Some time slots fill quickly, and you do not want to miss out on the fun!

Big Woods Hike
Sunday, November 21

Winter Solstice Lantern Walk 
Saturday, December 18 or Sunday, December 19 

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Travel with Ipswich River

Magnificent Frigate Bird

We have many exciting trips coming up. Complete descriptions are on our web site. Contact our office to request itineraries or more information.

  • Finger Lakes, Waterfalls, & Wineries: November 4-7
  • Nantucket Island Weekend: January 14-16, 2011 
  • Galapagos Islands Exploration: April 1-10, 2011 
  • NEW! Colorado - Wild Birds of the Peaks & Prairies of the Rocky Mountain State: April 15-23, 2011

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Ecological Management

Deer Exclosures Erected by Boston University Students

Ipswich River Deer Exclosure
photo by Lou Wagner

Our thanks to the freshman group from Boston University, who worked for three days at the end of August to erect our two deer exclosures on the sanctuary. Their purpose is to aid our study of the effects the high population of white-tailed deer at the sanctuary are having on forest ecology.

Mass Wildlife Bands Record Number of Ducks

Wood DuckOne night every September, H. Heusmann of Mass Wildlife comes up to Bunker Meadows with his airboat to band ducks. He arrived on Monday, an unseasonably warm, muggy, and drizzly night, and it turned out to be the biggest "catch" he's had in the state so far this season! We thought you might be interested in the numbers of ducks he and his crew captured, banded, and released:

  • 36 mallards
  • 3 black ducks
  • 54 green-winged teals
  • 7 blue-winged teals
  • 57 wood ducks
  • 1 American wigeon
  • 2 sora rails

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Ipswich River News


Discovery Day at IRWS Sept 11 2010Discovery Day Success

Hundreds of people turned out on a beautiful fall day for our Discovery Day on September 11.  Members from other parts of the state came (as evidenced by the Stony Brook day camp shirt in this photo) while many visitors were nonmembers who had never been here before. Thank you to all our volunteers who  contributed to the success of the day, and thanks also to the staff from our headquarters who came out to help.                                               photo by Henrietta Yelle

More Mass Audubon Discovery Days in October > 

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Fall Volunteer Opportunities

For more information on the volunteer opportunities listed below and an application, please email or call Sue Baeslack, our Volunteer Coordinator, at 978-887-9264, ext. 7707.

Halloween Happenings:
Friday, October 22 & Saturday, October 23

  • Make decorations: Wednesday, October 13, 9:30 am-noon
  • Decorate the Barn: Tuesday, October 19, 9:30 am-noon & Friday, October 22, 9:00 am til done! We also need help with outside setup on October 22.
  • Pumpkin carving: Friday, October 22, 9:00 am til done (by 4:00 pm at latest).
  • Bake cupcakes: We need 24 dozen cupcakes/night.
  • Guide groups: Lead family groups on 1-hour hikes to meet our special "animals of the night". 
  • Characters needed: Contact Sue for a list of this year's characters and more information.

Big Woods Hike: Sunday, November 21

  • Make soup or baked goods for us to sell
  • Help with food sales in the Barn
  • Greet & direct participants in parking lot
  • Lead 2-hour hikes for adults & families highlighting the sanctuary's cultural and natural history (requires attendance at training on November 13)

Office Assistant
Help out in our friendly, informal, but busy office one or more days per week. Greet and assist visitors, answer and direct calls, and handle gift shop sales, program registrations, and clerical tasks. Training provided. Read full description>

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Mass AudubonIpswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
87 Perkins Row
Topsfield, MA 01983

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