Plants, birds and boats, oh my! Wild for Wareham celebrates nature across town

May 8, 2022

The strong winds didn’t stop Saturday’s “Wild for Wareham” event from attracting dozens of people to nature activities across town.

The all-day event was hosted by four organizations: the Wareham Land Trust, Mass Audubon, the Wildlands Trust and Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Onset Bay Center.

“We’re still holding most of the events,” said Jenna Shea, a TerraCorps member with the Wareham Land Trust and Mass Audubon on Saturday.

Shea stood in a first-floor room of the Onset Bay Center on Saturday morning, helping participants learn about native plants and pot some plantlings to take home with them.

The TerraCorps member had also helped plan Wild for Wareham, she said. About 100 people registered to attend events before Saturday, Shea said, though turnout was a bit lower because of the day’s cold weather.

Even as Shea stood inside the Onset Bay Center, occasional gusts of wind whipped through the open door and chilled those inside.

The strong winds changed some of the day’s events, too, Shea said — instead of going kayaking on the bay on Saturday morning, participants were treated to a boat tour to Wickets Island.

Inside the center, Shea taught people the benefits of native host plants, like Brown-eyed Susans, New York ironweed and butterfly weed.

“They coevolved over time with caterpillar species,” Shea said, as the insects use the plants for both food and shelter as they grow. “Natives are the way to go.”

While Shea was leading native plant education downstairs, some participants learned about insects and Wareham’s natural resources upstairs at the center.

Representatives from the four organizations responsible for the day’s events talked to passersby at their group’s tables upstairs, steps away from where Plymouth County Entomologist Blake Dinius had just finished a lecture on insects. The day’s programming was funded in part by grants from the Wareham Cultural Council and Plymouth Cultural Council, which are also supported by the Mass Cultural Council.

At the Mass Audubon table, Morgyn Ellis and Alissa Young led a table on the Audubon’s properties, informational pamphlets about how sea level rise will affect Wareham and vulnerable fauna in town.

“Salt marshes are providing critical habitats,” Ellis said, gesturing to two maps of Wareham showing the potential flooding of coastlines as water levels rise.

The flooding of those marshes and other crucial habitats could affect salt marsh sparrows and other animals that call those areas home, Ellis explained. Her horseshoe-crab earrings swayed as she spoke and gestured toward the faux salt marsh sparrow sitting on the Mass Audubon table.

Though the chilly weather dissuaded some from coming out Saturday, Ellis said there’d still been several dozen showing up to the center throughout the morning, with more events planned for the afternoon.

“It’s still great to see people come out,” she said before recounting a popular outdoorsy saying.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” she said.