Guided walks, tracking, vernal pool programs, turtle program, bird walks, frog surveys, monarch butterfly tagging, fotofun-a-thon, art programs, nighthawk watch, Christmas bird count, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
For all programs and further information plus reservation, please contact Rona Balco per phone - 978-779-2259.
For information on birds, visit our "Tips and Links" and "Educational Programs".
If you are interested in volunteering, we need you! Contact Rona Balco at (978) 779-2259.
View the Calendar for a quick update of our current programs.
Take part in the Nature Photo Contest.
Looking at the beautiful photos in the Slide Show might inspire you to take out your camera and come to the Oxbow. To take part in the Photo Contest the photos should be taken at the Oxbow Refuge during this fall. Enter one of the following levels:  Amateur (18 years old and up with camera experience);  Professional;  Youth (13 to 17 years old);  Children (younger than 17). You may enter up to three nature photos, each one in a different category. Choose from the following Categories: (1) invertebrate animals; (2) vertebrate animals; (3) plants; (4) landscape or scenic; (5) abstract; (6) people enjoying nature and (7) black & white. Only minor adjustments to photos will be accepted. No alterations beyond standard optimization.
For more about the contest and to enter the photos, contact Dr. Richard Brown at DrRichardDBrown@aol.com. Also visit "Tips and Links".
Saturday, August 22 and 29 and Saturday, September 5 and 12 - 5:30 to dark: Nighthawk Watch and Survey - As in previous years, the prime location to watch for these migrating birds is from the Oxbow Refuge fields near the end of Still River Depot Road in Harvard before the entrance to the refuge. There is a sign locating the gathering spot. Bring binoculars if possible and maybe a chair. There will be bird guide books to help with the identification. For reasons still unknown, the number of these interesting birds have been falling; hence the importance of these surveys. If you are able to watch on other days beside these Saturdays, then please email us the information you have gathered.
As you might have noticed, there seem to have been very few butterflies this year. Our yearly monarch butterfly tagging has been postponed to next year for that reason, unless suddenly the monarchs appear. (Wouldn’t that be nice.)
Work at the Hospital Road site in Devens has commenced again and FWS is hoping to open the new area to the public this fall. The canoe launch is almost finished. The Friends are looking for volunteers to help with the landscaping. Let us know if you’re interested.
Saturday, May 9 and Sunday, May 17 - 7:00 am. Bird Walks - Come look for breeding populations of migratory birds, but also learn about our resident birds at the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. Naturalists Dick and Peggy Knowlton will again be our leaders. It is not uncommon for about 38 different species of birds to be observed during our spring walks! Bring your binoculars. Birders of all levels are welcome. We’ll walk at a casual pace. There might be some biting insects. Meet at the Oxbow Refuge parking lot at the end of Still River Depot Road in Harvard. Please, pre-register with Rona at 978-779-2259 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, May 17 - 1:00 to 3:00 - Naturalist Day
This will be the first in a series of programs for young and old. Leave your car in the Oxbow Refuge parking lot at the end of Still River Depot Road in Harvard and proceed to the gate. There you will be greeted by Don, a board member of the Friends of the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. Don will explain the lay-out of the different stations as well as what you can expect at each one. The stations are on the trails near the main entrance and will be manned by volunteers/members of the board . Each site will be equipped with information tailored to the season as well as each particular location. There will be displays, and activities where appropriate. Bring a drink and some snacks, and dress suitable for the weather and the terrain. At this time of the year, there will be some biting insects. If the weather looks "iffy", contact Rona (978-779-2259) or Ada (978-618-7703) before you set out. There is no rain date.
Sunday, October 19, 4:00pm: Bald Eagles, and Annual Meeting - Lancaster Community Center, which is to the right and behind the Thayer Memorial Library, 717 Main Street, Lancaster, MA
Saturday, August 16, Sunday, August 17, and 23 (possibly Sat. August 30)plus September 6, 5:30 - dark; Rain dates: Sunday 24 and/or September 7 "DID YOU SEE THEM???" Contact Ada at 978-618-7703 to confirm.
Join Friends of the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge for a late afternoon observing the fascination migration of the Common Nighthawk through the Nashua River Valley. In past years, when the weather and insects cooperated, flocks of as many as 100 birds were seen overhead. However, there can be as few as one or less. Sunsets can be spectacular and the sound of coyotes haunting.
Saturday, July 12th at 8pm "WHOOOO’S THERE?????" - Come and find out what there is to see, hear and smell at the Oxbow at night. We will be helped by a Full Moon. Bring a flashlight outfitted with a red light or cover your light with a piece of red cellophane. You will be surprised how easily your eyes adapt to the dark.
Saturday, July 26th: 9am – Noon "WHAT IS A TURNPIKE DOING ON THE REFUGE?" - We will walk along the Tank Trail enjoying the different habitats, sights, and sounds until we reach the Turnpike Trail. Why was this turnpike built here and by whom? Where did it go? Come and walk along history’s intriguing past and be part of nature at the same time. We will also cover the history of this national refuge during the walk along the Nashua River where much more history took place among the Native Americans, early settlers and the animals that now call this home. This is an easy walk which loops back to the parking lot and takes about one and a half hours. Families are welcome. Bring snacks, water, and insect repellant.
Sunday, June 15, 2014, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. - Chris Buelow of the Mass. Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has very generously agreed to do a program at Pine Hill Wildlife, Lancaster, MA, explaining the plans for the Pine Hill and the other Mass. grasslands restoration projects. “Learn how Mass. Wildlife will restore uncommon Sandplain Grassland habitat and Pitch Pine – Scrub Oak shrubland habitat to benefit rare and declining species.” Chris offers us a unique opportunity to learn more about some of the developments that have been taking place at Pine Hill, what the goals are, what will be gained (and what might be lost), how the work will be accomplished, and who will oversee the projects. Pine Hill is part of the Bolton Flats, but there is nothing flat about it. Wearing sturdy shoes is recommended. We will be walking on sand.March '14 -March 22 - It has been too cold and dry for the mole salamanders and wood frogs to come out of hiding and head for their vernal pool. If you are interested watching the movements of these animals during the evening hours, make sure to leave your name and telephone number with Rona (978-779-2259) if you haven't already.This Saturday, March 22, there is the possibility that Big Night will occur. That day, as well as the day before, will be relatively warm and rainy; ideal conditions for the wood frogs and spotted salamanders to come out of their winter hiding places to head over snow and ice to open water in their vernal pools. Spring peepers will make their presence known as well. The males will arrive first, with the larger females following. Rona will be monitoring the situation. Leave her your name and telephone number and she will call you when Big Night is likely to take place and provide you with other information. Wear warm clothing, rain gear with reflective tape and waterproof boots. Bring a flashlight with a red or reddened lens. (Well, not much happened. it was very quiet; not a peeper to be heard. Some wood frogs and spotted salamanders did cross the roads near our stations. Actually, most of them did a few hops or slithered a short distance and then just sat. It was a cold evening. We helped them on their way, before they got run over by cars.)
April 12 - Vernal pools walk in Shirley. We saw a striped snake, red-backed salamander and a belted kingfisher, we could hear peepers, but there were no wood frog and spotted salamander eggs.
It is spring and you are enjoying walking leisurely between the first verdant leaflets of the bushes, trees and smaller plants at the Oxbow Refuge. The birds are arriving on their spring migration to stay and build their nest or to rest and gather energy for the last leg of their journey. Their melodious voices intermingle in harmony. The fast motions in the trees signal the sources of the songs, but how can you identify the singers? Dr. Richard Brown, biologist, professor, and creative bird expert, will introduce you to the world of bird songs and teach you how to whistle like our real-life feathery friends. People between the ages of 5 and 105 will enjoy this event. We hope to offer this program in Ayer. Actual place, date and time will be announced as soon as possible. Donations will be gratefully accepted and will be used to further future events.