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WRWA sponsors or participates in a variety of events during the year. Many of these events offer opportunities for volunteers to get involved with watershed issues. The listing below includes some specifics for 2017 events.
Trout in the Classroom (TIC): WRWA provided chillers and tanks (and other supplemental equpment) for five local schools (7 tanks) to participate in this program during the Spring of 2017. This year's schools were the North and South Middle Schools (3 tanks altogether) in Westfield, Gateway Regional Middle School in Huntington, Powder Mill Middle School (2 tanks) in Southwick, and the R. H. Conwell Elementary School in Worthington. About 100 brook trout eggs were delivered to each site in January. Students monitored the hatching of the eggs and will feed the young fish until they are stocked in local streams in late spring. WRWA volunteers also helped out with 3 mornings of stream activities for about 90 students at the North Middle School - held in early June at Sanderson Brook in Chester.
2017 Westfield River Symposium: WRWA's annual river symposium was held on Saturday, March 25 in the Scanlon Banquet Hall on the campus of Westfield State University. Roughly 85 people attended the indoor portion of the day, and a dozen or so visited the Knightville and Littleville Dams on the afternoon field trip. This year's theme was "The Ups and Downs of a River: Floods and Droughts on the Westfield". The keynote address was given by David Billips, head of the City of Westfield's Dept. of Public Works, who spokes on the impacts of recent weather events (2011 tornado, Tropical Storm Irene, and the drought of 2016) on the city's infrastructure. The full program is available here.
Spring River Cleanups: Our annual spring river cleanups were held on Saturday, April 22 in Westfield and on Sunday, April 23 in Agawam. We had great turnouts (roughly 40 volunteers each day!) for each of these Earth Day events and cleaned a number of sites along the Westfield River in the downtown Westfield area and at Pynchon Point and the bike trail running south along the Connecticut River in Agawam. Thanks to Mark Damon (Westfield) and Sheryl Becker (Agawam) for organizing, and to all those who came out to help keep our rivers clean!
Annual Meeting: WRWA's annual meeting was held in the Owl's Nest at Westfield State University on Thursday, May 18. Light refreshments were provided by the WSU Dining Services and the business meeting (where a brief overview of the past year was given, and the board, secretary and treasurer were elected) was followed by an excellent presentation from Benjamin Mazzei, a MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife habitat biologist working on the grasslands to the east of North Pond in Southwick. The Waite Award for 2017 was presented to Mark Damon, long-time board member and officer and the driving force behind river clean-ups in Westfield for more than a decade.
Fish Ladder Open House: Our annual open house at the West Springfield Fish Ladder was held on Sunday, May 21 on a partly sunny, cool day. More than 300 people attended this year's event and many got a chance to see shad moving upstream. Thanks to Bill Rose and Phil Sousa for organizing and running the event, and also to Mark Damon, Timblin Judy, Ron Lucassen, and Mike Young for helping out at the fish ladder.
Westfield River Canoe Cruise: More than 40 paddlers (mostly kayaks - we need to update the name of this event!) made their way down the Westfield River from downtown Westfield to Robinson State Park on Saturday, June 17. Participants left their boats on the levee at the end of Hanover Street in Westfield, then dropped their vehicles at Robinson Park and took a shuttle (provided by the Westfield Boys & Girls Club) back to Westfield. Two groups left about 45 minutes apart and spent 2-3 hours navigating this stretch of the river, which is surprisingly natural given that it parallels the busy Rt. 20 corridor much of the way. Two bald eagles were seen on this year's trip, along with muskrats, a great blue heron, and other wildlife. Light refreshments were served at the end of the cruise. Thanks to Phil Sousa for taking on the organization of the event this year, and to Ann Barone, Mark Damon, Ron Lucassen, Jack Pelli, Mike Young, Kathy Meyer, Art Sousa for helping out. A special thanks to Tom and Nancy Condon, who led the second group and provided a safety sweep for the event.
Storm Drain Labeling: We re-visited some areas in Westfield between Court and Franklin Streets on Saturday, July 22, replacing labels that have gone missing since this area was first labeled more than 5 years ago, and also placing original labels along the newly curbed section of Franklin Ave. We've now exhausted our supply of labels and adhesive!
Fly-Fishing Clinic: In conjunction with the Western MA Fly Fishermen, we hosted a fly-fishing clinic at the Rt. 20 turnout across from the Hilltown Community Health Center on Saturday, September 9. More than a dozen people participated, and several stayed for the entire 4-hour event!
Source to Sea River Cleanup: WRWA held another river cleanup (part of the Source to Sea Cleanup throughout the Connecticut River watershed) on Saturday, September 23. Groups assembled in both Westfield and Agawam and collected trash, tires, and other large debris from along the river and its banks. A collection of photos was published on masslive!