Town’s outdoor charm takes the spotlight in TV show

Aug 29, 2023

This November, NESN viewers will get a peek at the highlights of outdoor recreation in Wareham.

Mattapoisett’s Tom Richardson, host and executive producer of the show “Explore New England,” explores different modes of outdoor recreation in the New England area, with a focus on family-friendly activities.

This season, Wareham has earned its very own episode, which is sponsored by the Community Events Committee who helped pick the activities and venues Richardson focused on.

Once aired, the footage will become property of the committee, according to Select Board member Alan Slavin.

Growing up on the South Coast of Massachusetts, Richardson said his parents often took him and his brother fishing, hiking and camping with them “kicking and screaming.”

Though reluctant at first, Richardson said he grew to love the outdoors and couldn’t imagine spending his time any other way.

He recalls catching his first fish in Rangeley, Maine — since then, he’s been hooked.

Richardson said he spent much of his time as a kid exploring the outdoors and found himself fascinated with nature, especially the birds in his suburban neighborhood that he would watch and keep records of in a notebook.

“I was just always interested in critters and being outdoors,” Richardson said.

He added fishing has never just been “fishing” to him. It’s about more than catching the fish — but learning about them too and studying the behaviors and environment.

Richardson also shared his love for outdoor recreation with his family, including dragging his own kids along “kicking and screaming.”

He said each episode of this four-season show compiles a number of segments on different parts of a town’s outdoor recreation.

Some of the locations Richardson filmed in Wareham include the Horseshoe Mill, Wickets Island and Red Brook. 

He worked with local organizations for each segment, including the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Onset Bay Center and the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance.

With the wildlife alliance, Richardson learned about Wareham’s terrapin turtle population.

“Wareham has a robust population of diamondback terrapins, which are very rare — they're threatened species,” he said. “They're the only estuarine turtles in North America and a lot of people don't even know they exist, but they have populations in Swift Beach and over in the Agawam River and it's pretty interesting.”

Estuarine describes the turtles’ habitat, which is where a tide meets a stream.

Richardson said he watched the director of the alliance release a baby turtle back into the wild.

Richardson and his crew also went mountain biking in Minot Forest, kayaking in Agawam Mill Pond and exploring in the Marks Cove Conservation Area with the Wareham Land Trust.

“We spent two and a half to three full days filming around Wareham,” he said. “It's got a lot to offer, and that's one of the things that I like about doing the show — we get to focus on hidden gems.”

Richardson said the tricky part is deciding which clips to include in the episode.

He added many of the stories shared in each episode will have its own, longer segment available on YouTube.

Richardson said none of the activities shared are too strenuous and are meant to be easy and accessible to families. 

He said he is “just encouraging people to get out there, get off their butts and go see the amazing stuff that New England has.”

Richardson encourages everyone to begin exploring the outdoor opportunities available to them right in their backyards — even if it initially requires a little “kicking and screaming.”