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Northern Woodlands – Great Outdoor Publication

If you are looking for a great gift for an outdoor enthusiast on your holiday list, look no further. I have been a subscriber to this fabulous magazine for four years, just gifted all of our staff with a subscription, and ordered about 40 back issues.

I find this to be one of the best resources that I know of to keep me learning about the natural and cultural history of our New England forests. The magazine is full of beautiful pictures, well written articles, and all in all a great resource.



Get Outdoors & Remember to Wear Your Orange – Deer hunting season is upon us!

The season is upon us where all outdoor enthusiasts need to take caution. The deer hunting season in Massachusetts is the most popular and concentrated hunting season of the year. Monday through Saturday, the woods and forests are full of folks hoping to fill their freezers full of meat and engage in an age old pastime that has been happening in the state for many, many years. I have attached a document that reflects the “when” of the hunting seasons, though not the where. Please inform yourself as to where in your area hunting is occurring, and keep yourself safe by wearing orange, sticking to the trails, and using common sense.

Have fun and stay safe!

Hunting season Doc:seasons-summary-2014


Biking In The Quabbin!

I have spent many a day wandering on and off trail in the Quabbin Reservoir over the last 30 years. I recently, and happily,  found out that certain sections of the

Quabbin can be explored by bicycle! It was such a delight over the last few weeks to venture out, with my wife on one occasion, my friends on another, and once on my own.

On my solo venture, I had a wonderful encounter with a moose, 4 otter, and a number of loons!

There are four different spots to explore – see maps here: eastquabbike, northquabbike, quaboffresbike, quabparkbike




Five (More) Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do

In another inspiring TED talk, Gever Tulley continues his exploration of risk and safety as they relate to children.

Does the media fuel an illusion that our children are in danger? How does reality compare to our fears? Tulley asks these questions and others.

And, the answers may surprise you. For example, regarding the fading concept of ‘stranger danger,’ did you know that kidnapping by a non-family-member doesn’t even make the top 5,000 dangers that children face?
Maybe walking to school isn’t such a bad idea, since it increases situational awareness, improves character judgment, and increases fitness (and thus memory and overall well being).

Then there are activities we can do with children with some actual risk involved,  like playing with fire, whittling, driving a car, licking a battery, and more. According to Tulley, by exposing children to small risks we teach them about safety, and we equip them to challenge fear and address real risks in the world.

Or, as Tulley says, “The most effective way to keep children safe is to give them a little taste of danger.”

For more by Gever Tulley, check out his book 50 Dangerous Things, his website, and his talks on Ted.Org.

The Importance of Self-Care

“Self-care is a touchy subject. That’s because our society largely views self-care as selfish, slothful and overly indulgent…Yet, it’s anything but. Taking good care of yourself not only makes your life more fulfilling and contributes to your well-being, but it also extends to others.” – Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

In a field that requires as much energy as outdoor education, the importance of self-care cannot be overstated. That said, it’s also important for everyone else: educators, students, parents, etc.

The concept reminds me of the oxygen masks on airplanes: we are charged with putting on our own so that we are then better able to help others. It’s the same in many other areas of our lives.

Self-Care Ideas:
Have a game nights with friends and family, go on a nature walk, meditate, take a yoga class, garden, journal, cook a delicious meal, listen to a favorite podcast, work on a craft/DIY project, get a massage, read a favorite book, go to the movies or a concert, tell bad jokes with a loved one.

The sky’s the limit! Whatever you find relaxing and rejuvenating can be employed in your self-care practice. For some deeper self-care suggestions, check out this article on PsychCentral.Com.

Was a 9-Foot-Long Shark Eaten Off of Australia?

An 11yo incident off the coast of Australia has recently come to light, and it’s a fascinating one.

Four months after ‘shark alpha’ was tagged with a radio tracker, its unit washed up on shore only miles from where it had been tagged. After reviewing the data, researchers believe that the radio tag took an eight day ride in the belly of a massive great white.

It is possible that in a fight with another shark the device was bitten off, but scientists are entertaining the possibility that the entire shark was consumed by a “colossal cannibal great white shark.”

For more information visit IFLScience.Com and The Smithsonian Chanel.

Reflections on Integrity

Recently I’ve found myself reflecting on the notion of integrity. Sounds simple enough, right? That’s what I thought.

With each unique person and mind comes the possibility of interpreting even the most basic of things differently than the person standing next to you. Thus, with that in mind, I turn to quotations, for I am often inspired by the words of others that have stood the test of time…

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

“When you are content to simply be yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Stay classy, adventurers!

Moving ‘Natural Capital’ from Metaphor to Reality

For better or worse, nature and ecosystems have been discussed in the ongoing dialogue/debate about the environment and anthropogenic climate change in economic terms. A new article by Eli Fenichel and Joshua Abbott explores this topic with more nuance than is common in the regular discourse.

“The researchers show the importance of valuing natural resources as a capital asset that stores wealth for the long term (Emphasis Added) rather than simply as commodities that are bought and sold in the day-to-day by developing a formula that combines economic with biophysical measurements and quantifies the feedbacks between nature and human behavior.” – Kevin Dennehy

To read more of Dennehy’s piece, visit Phys.Org. And, to read Fenichel and Abbott’s original article, find yourself a copy of the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

Century-Old Shackleton Antarctica Photos Discovered

The Antarctic Heritage Trust recently announced the discovery of 22 never-before-seen images from one of Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions. Transported to New Zealand in early 2013, the negatives have been developed and are on display for all to see on the NZAHT website.

Thought by many, including some at the AIAO office, to be the ultimate example of adventure and leadership, these photos are bound to excite and inspire anyone with an intrepid spirit.

Tick Season: Additional Suggestions

We’ve posted once already about tick and tick-spread-disease prevention this spring, but knowledge is power, so here’s some additional information compiled by Carey Goldberg and Boston’s WBUR.

Stay safe and tick-free out there, adventurers!

17-Year-Old Drowns Self after Sustained Bullying

Sadly, the story of Callum Moody-Chapman is one more in a long line of tragedies. Bullied aggressively and ruthlessly by his partner’s former boyfriend, he ended his life by walking into the sea to drown himself.

What more needs to be said? Can we not feel the pain of this on a gut level? What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen to teens and children in our/your community?

To identify signs and symptoms of online bullying you can read the full article here. You can also contact AIAO to learn more about our anti-bullying program, You Belong.

People of all ages need to know that there are people there for them, so if you’re lucky enough to have young people in your life (children, students, friends), let them know you’re there for them, ask questions, and listen to the answers.

Onward and upward…