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Stephanie Hodges, zoo educator with the Zoo at Forest Park in Springfield, speaks at an event Thursday hosted by the Adams Free Library at the Vistors Center.
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Daisy the Hedgehog is about a year old.
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Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but have a great sense of smell.
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Squash the Corn Snake is pretty easygoing, unless you are a mouse.
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Squash is a young snake but probably won't get much bigger.
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Sage the Rabbit was most likely someone's pet at some point.
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The hissing cockroaches are essentially garbage disposals.
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A few brave souls held the cockroaches.
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Hodges said Angus is a good traveling companion because she doesn't have to worry about him running off.
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Angus had a good day. A few pets and a few bites of the Visitors Center Lawn.
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Hodges said Cheese the Rooster is related to dinosaurs but has an attitude more like a sleepy cat.

Zoo at Forest Park Brings Animals to Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Children had the chance to learn about some wild and domestic animals, such as a bunny and a rooster.
ADAMS, Mass. — The zoo came to town Friday as the Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center visited the Visitors Center with some of their animal ambassadors.
"A lot of people don't get the opportunity to see nonnative species up close and personal like this," said Stephanie Hodges, a zoo educator with the Springfield zoo. "We think it is an enriching experience to have kids see something they might not see otherwise and it gets them interested in conservation and could spark a new passion."
The program is part of the Adams Free Library's "Tails and Tales" summer reading program.
Hodges had a variety of animals to show off including Daisy the African pigmy hedgehog. Hodges explained that her quills work as body armor and make predators think twice about approaching her.
She said the quills are sort of like human hair in some ways and that like many people, hedgehogs often lose their hair as they get older.
"Some of our grandparents lose their hair when they get older. When hedgehogs get older they lose their quills," she said. "We have some at the zoo that look bald."
Squash the corn snake was also in tow. Hodges said Squash is about 2 years old as she pulled him from his snake bag, the preferred snake travel method.
Corn snakes are pretty easygoing and can often be found in cornfields. She said farmers like having the snakes around because they keep the mouse populations under control.
Sage, the 27-pound rabbit, was a big hit among the kids. Hodges said Sage's origins are quite sad: a woman brought the rabbit to the zoo after the rabbit hopped up to her during a walk.
Hodges said this is something wild rabbits typically do not do.
"There is no way a wild bunny would hop up to you and jump on your lap," she said. "She is the sweetest rabbit."
She said Sage was likely once someone's pet and was abandoned. Hodges did reiterate to the kids the importance of pet ownership and explained that with pets come great responsibility. 
She said Sage has things pretty good now and has an indoor-outdoor habitat with other rabbit friends. And yes, Sage likes to frolic in the snow.
Hodges had some smaller creepier animals to show and brought out a Madagascar hissing cockroach. 
Some kids stepped back in horror, but Hodges explained how important the little critters were.
"They eat banana peels, orange peels — things other animals throw away," she said. "They are like little garbage disposals ... they are really important to the ecosystem."
And, yes, they do hiss. Hodges explained that they have little holes down their bodies and are able to force air out to make a hissing sound. This sound makes them sound bigger and scarier to predators.
Unlike the cockroach, Cheese the rooster was a familiar sight to many in attendance. Hodges said Cheese pretty much has run of the zoo and often gives visitors a little peck, encouraging them to give him a cuddle.
She explained that chickens and roosters are sort of modern-day dinosaurs and are closely related to the giant reptiles that used to roam the earth.
Although Cheese is related to velociraptors, they don't have much in common. 
"He is your modern-day velociraptor who is falling asleep in Sabrina's [Hodges assistant] arms right now," she said. "Apparently he is half cat … he is a special rooster."
The kids were asked not to touch the animals but were allowed to give Angus the tortoise a pet on the shell. He was eating grass off the Visitors Center Lawn and didn't seem to mind.

Tags: adams library,   animals,   

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Preliminary Sitework Begins at Greylock Glen

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Preliminary sitework for the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center has started, and town officials hope to have an official groundbreaking ceremony later this month. 


Town Administrator Jay Green said some tree and utility work has already begun at the site, with concrete work coming during the next two weeks. He said contractors, engineers, and town staff frequently hold meetings to discuss the project. 


"There's a lot of work going on with it. If people drive up there, they can see it. Please stay away from construction site for safety, but work is ongoing and we'll hopefully stay on track for an opening sometime in fall '23," he said.


Green said the town should also be ready to submit requests for proposals to operate the outdoor center's cafe and campground by the end of the month. He said the official groundbreaking should also be near the end of August and had hoped there would be a time where both Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal could attend. 


"Unfortunately, we weren't able to get both of their days to align, so we're probably going to choose a date last week of August for the ceremonial groundbreaking," he said. "We'll do some invitations and see if we can get people to show up, but we thought it was important to be celebrated for an hour, among ourselves, that we're finally under construction."


The town is the developer for the 54-acre glen, part of the Mount Greylock State Reservation, and the state has committed $7.3 million to the construction of the outdoor center. 


"It's important for people to know who are using the Glen walking trails, particularly the the gravel trail, that there are periodic disruptions to that as the site work is beginning to encroach slightly in that area," Green said. "It's not always closed. However, there's essentially supervisors, construction supervisors working in that area to alert walkers that there is some construction going on."


In other business, the Board of Selectmen once again heard about property concerns on the corner of Summer and Hoosac Streets. 


The concerns were brought forth by resident Lisa Mendel several meetings ago. She took issue with the number of unregistered cars and the property's condition, which she said had been in disrepair for some time. 


The property owners, Lisa and Francis Biros, said the issue had come up in the past and town officials told them that covering the unregistered vehicles would be enough to meet compliance with the bylaw. The bylaw allows for one unregistered vehicle, stating that any further unregistered vehicles must not be "within view" of any public way or abutting property. 


Police Chief K. Scott Kelley said he sent an officer to check and found two of the cars are unregistered. Mendel alleged there was a third unregistered vehicle, which the Biros' said should soon be removed from the property. 


The board read the bylaw, 125-17, aloud to help clarify the situation and debated the meaning of within view. Selectman Joseph Nowak suggested Town Counsel Edmund St. John III, who was not present, look at the bylaw so the town has clarity for future incidents.


Green said he feels the wording does not imply a simple cover meets compliance, but understood that the Biros' may have been told differently in the past. 


"I think Mr. Nowak is correct, in the sense that, it would be nice to have town counsel look at it," he said. 


Building Commissioner Gerald Garner said he would handle the situation further, noting is not an uncommon issue in Adams. 


"There are families here that have six vehicles in their driveway, because they have children that vehicles," he said. "So there's six vehicles that are registered in their driveway and then you'll see one unregistered vehicle on the property as well. So this is not an uncommon thing in the town, or anywhere." 


Selectman Howard Rosenberg said he empathizes with Mendel's complaint about the property and supports whatever action Garner deems necessary to uphold the bylaws. 


  • The board ratified the hire of seasonal Department of Public Works Employee David Shade. 


  • The board designated Kelley as the authority to assign officers to town polling places. A recent change made by the Legislature gave this authority to Boards of Selectmen. 


  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for St. John Paul Parish's Polka Festival. The event will be at the polka grounds on Sept. 11. 


  • The board approved a one-day liquor license for the Fall Run on Sept. 17.


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