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Go wild on your taxes this year

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  Tax season is here, meaning it’s a great time to help keep Massachusetts wild. One easy way to help endangered animals and plants in the state is by donating on your state tax return. Simply fill in the amount you would like to donate on Line 33A for Endangered Wildlife Conservation. Your meaningful donation will go to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund, a fund dedicated specifically to the conservation of rare species. This Fund supports the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). NHESP is responsible for the hundreds of species that are listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern in Massachusetts.

  The fastest birds on earth, peregrine falcons, were classified as endangered in Massachusetts until very recently. Their historical nesting sites – known as eyries – were located on 14 rocky cliff areas of the state. As of 1955, all 14 sites had become completely inactive. Thanks in part to a nationwide ban on the pesticide DDT, as well as decades-long restoration efforts, the first nest returned to the Commonwealth in 1987. Since then, more than 800 wild peregrine falcon chicks have fledged in Massachusetts, and they have returned to five of their historical eyries: Mount Tom, Mount Sugarloaf, Farley Cliffs, Monument Mountain and Pettibone Falls. Peregrine falcons now also nest on the cliffs of quarries in Holyoke, West Roxbury, Saugus, Peabody and Swampscott. Most often, they now also nest on tall, manmade structures, such as buildings and bridges. Buildings that have consistent peregrine falcon nests can be found in Boston, Chelsea, Cambridge, Watertown, Lawrence, Lowell, Worcester, Amherst and New Bedford. They also nest on bridges in Charlestown, Fall River, West Springfield and Northampton. MassWildlife has been banding and monitoring peregrine falcons for decades, tracking their health and progress as part of a broad observer network.

  While Massachusetts has made considerable progress, 432 plants and animals are still recognized as rare in the state. NHESP is the first line of defense for Massachusetts’s most vulnerable plants and animals. Donating to the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Fund ensures continuing conservation for these rare species.

  Already filed your taxes, but still want to donate? There are a few other ways you can donate:

  • Online with a credit card or electronic check
  • Through your MassFishHunt account
  • By check made payable to “Comm. of MA—NHESP” and mailed to: MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd., Westborough, MA 01581.

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