A day of discovering wildlife and plants close-up at the Saugus Iron Works
On Sunday, May 1, the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and the Saugus River Watershed Council held a City Nature Challenge event which was attended by visitors from Saugus and several other towns. Park staff and volunteers at a resource table made suggestions and encouraged families and individuals to photograph and explore the park. Tanks in which were displayed some small aquatic creatures, such as glass eels and scuds, gave people a look at some of the inhabitants of the river. Bill Fuchs of the National Park Service provided macro lenses for cell phones and introduced visitors to iNaturalist. Selectman Debra Panetta spent several hours sharing information with visitors and orienting them to the park. Visitors traded stories of plants and animals they had seen at the Ironworks, and many visitors photographed what they observed that day using their own phones and cameras.
The City Nature Challenge is an international effort to document all forms of life (animals, plants, fungi and more) between April 29 and May 2, 2022, all over the world. The iNaturalist app (free and available for both Android and iPhone) can be used to identify plants and animals from a photograph. The activity’s purpose is to encourage people to observe and document urban biodiversity, and appreciate the wide range of life forms that exist around us.
A few of the animals seen that day were one snapping turtle, several ducks, geese, crows, robins, barn swallows, herring gulls, one egret, two hawks and small marine life. Plants in bloom included wood anemones, wild strawberries and crabapple trees near the nature trail and tulips, daffodils and lilacs in the gardens, but the total number of plants seen on the site was much more.