On the Water: Get Outside this Summer

The dog days of summer have inspired countless biologists. Hot afternoons spent hiking, catching, swimming, and exploring may become the foundation of a life-long passion for biology, conservation, and the natural world.  Maybe that time spent on the river will be the inspiration your Little has been waiting for! If not, it’s no big deal because…

Bigs and Littles can now boat at Regatta point for only $5!

Regatta point allows you to rent kayaks, paddleboats and other fun water craft. Also, check out Boating Boston, who has locations in Hopkinton, Natick and in the MetroBoston area.

When spending time outside on the water this summer, please be sure to be safe! Wear a life jacket and sunscreen, and ensure that you are both strong enough swimmers for water-based activity. Many places that allow you to rent a paddleboat or a kayak have staff who can give you a lesson on how to operate the boat and how to be safe on the water.

If you’re out on the water cooling off, here are some critters to observe:

  • Dragonflies and Damselflies. The iconic Black Saddlebags dragonfly looks like it’s carrying a backpack! Look for the dark saddlebags at the base of the wings to identify this fine insect. Dragonflies are voracious predators, and help control mosquitoes, horseflies, and other things that bite you. Damselflies look similar to a dragonfly, but smaller, and holds its wings back against its body when at rest. This time of year they will frequently be seen mating, and will be attached in a pair that might look like a heart! Their bright teal coloring makes them easy to spot over the water.

dragonfly

damselflie

  • Turtles. There are many types of turtles you might see, but some of the more common include the painted turtle or a snapping turtle.  Especially at night near water, watch out for turtles crossing the road.  Snapping turtles have extremely strong jaws, so if you decide to help them out of a roadway, make sure to nudge them from the very back of their shell. To find a turtle while on the water, try to find a nice sunny spot with a floating log or rock where I turtle might be resting and absorbing some warmth.

freshwater turtles.jpg

    There are a number of beautiful birds that you’ll only get to see near water. A Great Blue Heron is large and has an S-shaped neck, and can be found near the shore looking for fish. You can spot the Red-winged Blackbird diving in and out of foliage snapping at bugs. Due to a resurgence of some fish populations in New England, you might even be lucky enough to find Bald Eagle near the water these days

bird 1bird 2

 

What have you found on the water this year? Tweet at @BBBS_CMMW with #MySTEM, post on our Facebook, or email Jessica.Haggett@BBBSCM.org to share!

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