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Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary

Mass Audubon, the statewide conservation nonprofit, protects four wildlife sanctuaries in the Central and Southern Berkshires. At Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, flat and easy trails wander along the Housatonic River, sheltering migrating birds and butterflies in the meadow, and otters and turtles along the water (and now and then a bear). The paths wander through fields and wetlands and across a quiet boardwalk.

Guides lead birding walks regularly, especially in migration season, looking out for warblers and even osprey. And about 100 gardeners grow vegetables, flowers and herbs in the 4.5-acre community gardens here. The trail head is on Holmes Road, a few minutes from downtown or Herman Melville’s historic house at Arrowhead.

The Sacred Way trail follows the river for a half an hour’s walk, past an old oxbox pond. (Beaver activity can make for wet walking in some seasons.) And the longer Wolf Pine Trail takes an old wood road through hardwoods and hemlocks to a wildlife observation building. Mass Audubon also protects land and water at Tracey Brook in Richmond, Pleasant Valley in Lenox and Lime Kiln Farm in Sheffield.