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Don’t disturb nature unless absolutely necessary

Recorder/Paul Franz
The Turners Falls Dam currently sits in the area where the Battle of Great Falls was fought in 1676, during King Philip's War.

Recorder/Paul Franz The Turners Falls Dam currently sits in the area where the Battle of Great Falls was fought in 1676, during King Philip's War.

Hello neighbor.

It’s that time of year, when life is just beginning and outdoor scents pull me from winter doldrums.

With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of newborn and newly hatched wildlife.

Dave Small, local naturalist, president of Athol Bird Club, and longtime, recently retired Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation employee, says we need to be aware of the damage we can do when we think we are being helpful, or we simply get too close, to a young, wild creature.

“Every year the lives of many young, wild creatures are disturbed by people who take them from the wild in a well intentioned attempt to save them,” says Dave, who also says many of those attempts have the opposite result.

Wild creatures need to be left in the wild to learn their place in the world. When removed, they are denied important natural learning experiences, which help them survive on their own.

Dave has one piece of advice: “If you care, leave them there!”

That may be difficult to do, especially when you come upon a cute, cuddly, baby animal that appears to need help, but it is really an act of compassion to leave them alone.

If you find a baby bird has fallen out of its nest, you may pick it up and put it back, or in a nearby bush or tree, because adult birds are not disturbed by human scent and will find their young, he says.

On the other hand, you should leave fawns (young dear) and other baby mammals where you find them, because if you continue to visit, it could prolong separation from the mother and delay important feeding.

People love the idea of taking a cute, young, wild animal home, but rarely have the means to take care of it, and approaching a young animal can also be dangerous.

For example, a cow moose, which can weigh up to 600 pounds or more, will chase, kick, and stomp potential predators, including people.

“Only when young wildlife are found injured, or with their dead mother, should they be assisted,” says Dave.

That means you should immediately deliver the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

It is illegal to possess most wildlife, so for more information and a list of local wildlife rehabilitators, visit:

THINK ABOUT VISITING THE TURNERS FALLS FISHWAY this spring. It opens on First Street off Avenue A on Saturday, and will remain so until June 16.

The underwater viewing windows offer visitors a chance to see American shad, sea lamprey and other migratory fish during their spring journey upstream to span.

The fishway will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Memorial Day. Admission is free.

There’s a small window of opportunity, so hurry.

For more information, visit:

I’VE BEEN TOLD OUR NEIGHBOR KAYLA HUBBARD, who lives in Northfield and is a freshman at Pioneer Valley Regional School, has been accepted to participate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Leadership Training Institute’s spring session. Kayla received recommendations from some of her teachers and wrote an essay as part of the competition. She was chosen as one of 24 students from across the state to participate. Congratulations Kayla!

ANOTHER YOUNG NEIGHBOR, ALYSSA C. GARVIN, an eighth-grade honors student at Greenfield High School, has been selected to be a People to People student ambassador in July, when she will travel to England, Wales, Ireland and France with a group of students representing the United States.

Alyssa will meet with a member of Parliament and attend a ceremony at Normandy.

A spaghetti dinner will be held to raise money for her trip on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Greenfield Elks Club on Federal Street.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Children under 5 are free. There will be music, a craft sale, and a raffle.

Congratulations Alyssa! Have a great summer and be safe.

NICOLAS JAMES FREDERICK SKARZYNSKI of Montague will be recognized by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, when he graduates this year, for his exemplary achievement, initiative and leadership.

Nicolas is a chemical engineering major, who played trombone in the Minuteman Marching Band for the past four years. He plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in the fall, where he will study for a doctorate in chemical engineering, with a focus on renewable energy technology and policy in solar energy technologies.

He and 11 other graduating seniors have been named “21st Century Leaders” by the college.

Congratulations Nicolas!

LYNNE TAYLOR OF GREENFIELD will hold a 90-minute Zumba fitness class on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Greenfield Moose Family Center on School Street in Greenfield to benefit the Mooseheart International School Renovation Fund.

Mooseheart is a residential childcare facility located on a 1,000-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago that is a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school.

Lynne, a licensed Zumba instructor and member of Women of the Moose, said she would like to see adults of all Zumba levels, even those who have never tried it, attend.

The cost is $10 at the door and all proceeds will go to the fund.


The tickets are to the Boston Red Sox versus Los Angeles game at Fenway Park in Boston on June 7 and are being sold to benefit The Foundation for Community Justice.

Raffle tickets are $10 each and may be purchased at Diemand Farm in Wendell. They will also be sold at Taylor’s Tavern on May 21 from 5 to 7 p.m., when celebrity bartenders Assistant District Attorney Jeff Bengston and lawyer Leslie Powers will raise money for the same. The winner will be drawn that night.

ARTSPACE AT 15 MILL STREET IN GREENFIELD is currently displaying “Exhiliration is within — Paintings by Sandra Denis, Words by Emily Dickinson” (The word “exhilaration” is deliberately misspelled, because Dickinson had it that way).

Sandra’s paintings will be on exhibit from now through May 31. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.

For more information, call 413-772-6811 or email:

ELM TERRACE ELDER HOUSING on Elm Terrace in Greenfield is now offering lunch Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. to seniors ages 60 and above for a minimum voluntary donation of $2 per meal.

People should call to sign up for lunch by 11 a.m. on the previous serving day — for example, if you want lunch on Monday, you should make your reservation on Friday by 11 a.m.

Please call 413-834-2623.

A SPAGHETTI SUPPER FUNDRAISER will be held Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Greenfield Moose Family Center, 20 School St. in Greenfield.

The supper will be hosted by Relay for Life team Bob’s Bells and proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

Supper will consist of spaghetti with meatballs, sausage or vegetarian sauce, salad, bread and butter, coffee, and dessert.

The cost is $6 per person.

There will also be a 50-50 raffle that evening.

Tickets will be available at the door, or in advance by calling 413-863-5278 or 413-768-9666.

THE LAST “CIRCUS FOR SURVIVORS” workshop of the season, sponsored by Forest Moon: Lighting a Path Through Cancer,” will be held May 18 at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt.

The circus will be from 2:40 to 4:30 p.m. at the center at 74 Cotton Mill Hill in Brattleboro.

Space is limited, so register soon by calling Pam Roberts at 413-625-2402 or emailing her at:

THE 37TH ANNUAL GAS ENGINE SHOW AND FLEA MARKET in Bernardston will be held Memorial Day weekend, starting with an auction on May 24. Proceeds will benefit United Church of Bernardston.

If you have something you would like to donate for the auction, call Bob Allen at 413-218-8640 to arrange pickup. Furniture, office equipment, tools, and more will be accepted.

Vendors and crafters are being sought for the flea market, so contact Harvey at 413-648-9551 to reserve a booth.

Sites are $35 if reserved by May 1 and $40 after that date.

ON APRIL 7, GIRL SCOUTS OF AMERICA of Central and Western Massachusetts held its annual meeting and recognition luncheon and Paula Brault of Northfield was one of 60 volunteers presented with the Volunteer of Excellence Award.

Paula, a 40-year member of Girl Scouts, and teacher at Pioneer Valley Regional School, received her award for the work she did on the 100th birthday of Girl Scouts of America last year.

Both she and her daughter Sarah, who is a student at Smith College, earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest award they could earn. Paula’s mother Laurel Dun of Shelburne is also a longtime member of Girl Scouts.

What a nice family legacy!

VOLUNTEERS FROM THE NORTH QUABBIN COMMUNITY GARDEN group in Orange gathered recently and cleared space and planted perennial shrubs along the woodland edge of Holtshire Road in an attempt to attract native bees and other pollinators to the community garden there.

For information about the kind of plots available, contact Willa Caughey at 978-248-2055, ext. 24 or:

NATIONAL NURSING HOME WEEK will be observed by nursing homes beginning Mother’s Day and ending May 18. I’d like to give a big shout out to our local nursing homes and all of the work their staffs and volunteers do for our elderly and disabled neighbors. As most of you know, Poet’s Seat Healthcare on High Street in Greenfield took good care of my mom the last five months of her life. Keep up the good, and very important, work, all!

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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