Stories

‘Flying on strings and cloth,’ high above western Massachusetts

July 22, 2022

Sometimes Gallagher launches from Mount Tom and flies to his house in Hadley, Mass., about 8 miles away. Sometimes he flies from Mount Tom all the way to Rhode Island or eastern Massachusetts (paragliders call that flying “cross-country”). But some days Gallagher doesn’t go anywhere, just soars above the mountain with the bald eagles and…

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July 20, 2022

The federal government has designated the deaths of nearly 160 seals since the start of June as an “unusual mortality event” along Maine’s coast. An investigation is now underway to determine the cause, the impact and the environmental factors surrounding it. The highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a large number of the…

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Summer camps can’t find staff. That means less child care for Maine parents

July 18, 2022

The sun is barely above the treeline as Chris Shea welcomes about 80 kids to a summer camp organized by the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston on a recent weekday morning, his voice bellowing through the trees. Each day, the campers scatter across 93 acres of woods and fields, with enough space for all of the classic summer camp…

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Planting 1,000 wildflowers to restore a biodiversity hotspot on Martha’s Vineyard

July 6, 2022

Tim Boland stood next to his black pickup on a dirt road in Edgartown, and waited for a moment. Then, he started handing out wildflowers. “Who would like a flat?” he called to the dozen-or-so volunteers standing nearby. As they eagerly trotted over to the truck, Boland handed out black plastic trays, each holding fifty…

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As sharks return to Cape Cod for the summer, scientists are testing to new ways to track them

July 1, 2022

White sharks are arriving in Massachusetts waters for the summer, and researchers who study shark behavior off Cape Cod are testing some new techniques. State shark biologist Greg Skomal works closely with Megan Winton, staff scientist at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. They and other scientists up and down the coast share data from nearly…

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Wading through revitalized Connecticut rivers, in search of key link in food chain

June 2, 2022

As spring winds down, so concludes the migration of two species of fish that travel from the ocean to spawn in freshwater. While once abundant in rivers and streams, alewives and blueback herring have seen their migration routes fractured by dams over centuries of development. Conservationists are working to remove some of these barriers to…

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A GIF of the North Atlantic Right Whale was spotted off the coast of North Hampton on May 6, 2022.

Rare North Atlantic right whale spotted feeding off N.H. coast

May 9, 2022

New Hampshire’s coast had a rare visitor Friday: a North Atlantic right whale could be seen feeding just off the shore in North Hampton. The right whale has been on the federal endangered species list since 1970. There are fewer than 350 left. Dianna Schulte, director of research for the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, has…

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A view of Madaket Beach on April 25, 2020 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Nantucket votes to allow topless women on town beaches

May 4, 2022

Residents of Nantucket, Mass., approved a measure allowing women to go topless at all town beaches. The Gender Equality on Beaches bylaw amendment passed following debate at the annual town meeting Tuesday. In part, the amendment reads, “In order to promote equality for all persons, any person shall be allowed to be topless on any…

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Low clouds approaching Mount Washington.

Climate change is coming for New England’s highest peak

May 2, 2022

Mount Washington in New Hampshire is famous for some of the world’s worst weather. The mountain, the highest peak in the northeast, has long held the record for the fastest wind gust ever recorded by a human — 231 mph on April 12, 1934. At 6,288 feet, the weather is often freezing, even in spring. And the…

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