Free rain garden workshop in Northampton

The Hampden & Hampshire Conservation Districts invite you to Home Remedies for Storm Water Blues, a workshop on how to beautify your yard and help keep streams healthy on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 pm at the Unitarian Church, 220 Main St, Northampton.  Ed Himlan of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition will present a slideshow on the design and benefits of rain gardens.

???????????????????????????????Rain gardens attract birds and butterflies, while protecting local streams and ponds.  These gardens are planted with flowers, shrubs and grasses that are easy to maintain and thrive without fertilizers and pesticides.   The slideshow will explain where to place a rain garden, how to select plants and how to keep the garden flourishing as a beautiful accent for your home or business.

Storm runoff is a big problem as forests and fields are replaced by buildings, parking and hard surfaces.  Rain garden plants and soils filter storm water and recycle nutrients that can harm water quality.  The bowl-shape design also allows rain to recharge groundwater that keeps streams and ponds healthy during dry times.

The workshop will also explain other easy ways to reduce runoff including porous paving, infiltration trenches and groundcover buffers.  Participants will receive a free Pocket Guide with helpful tips about rain gardens and other runoff remedies.  A shorter version of this Guide is at:

The July 8th workshop is sponsored by the Hampden & Hampshire Conservation Districts. The program is free thanks to your support for the District Plant Sale over the years.  For more information, contact Elaine Williamson at Or to register go to


Riverfests, Canoe Trips, Wildlife Tours and More


With summers arrival, there’s lots to do on local waters across the state.  The Division of Ecological Restoration has compiled a 2015 calendar of activities to celebrate rivers, streams and wetlands.

This calendar runs through July 5th with dozens of free events your family and friends can enjoy, such as canoe trips, kayaking, whitewater rafting, nature walks, bird watching and river cruises.

River/watershed organizations around the state are also hosting Riverfests with music, food, children’s’ activities and other fun stuff.

The DER calendar provides more details and links to events – this pdf can be downloaded at

great_blue_heron_210088[1]Great opportunities  to see some of the wonderful waters and wildlife in Massachusetts.