Bear cub Whately Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 12.44.40 PM.png

This black bear cub follows its mother through a vernal pool area in Whately this spring, a scene captured by a wildlife camera and shared by the Kestrel Land Trust, which manages the 120-acre site.

My colleague Jimmy Nesbitt at The Eagle recently shared a great video of a barred owl taking off after seizing a meal. With slo-mo to boot!

In the keeping-up-with-Nesbitts category, if there was such a thing, I offer this trail cam video of a recent parade of visitors to a vernal pool in the Franklin County town of Whately. 

Don't stop at the turkey. If you do, you'll miss what the Kestrel Land Trust, which oversees the 120-acre preserved site, calls the "smellfies."

The community is wild in Whately Woods! In this episode, a vernal pool attracts visitors you might not expect. The stars are a black bear family who come in for an extreme close-up and a couple “smellfies.”

In Whately Massachusetts, this 120-acre forest near the historic town center provides neighbors with trails that have become a favorite destination. Whately Woods hosts many large, mature trees and it’s also home to a wild array of forest species. Since 2020, a wildlife camera set up by Whately resident and Quonquont Farm co-owner Allison Bell has been capturing the wild side of the Woods.

Whately residents have come together to help Kestrel Land Trust save this special place for the community—both human and wild—forever. Learn more:

The images were captured by Allison Bell, co-owner of Quonquont Farm, who has put a wildlife camera in the tract for the past year, the trust says. 

As this video makes clear, that little platoon of black bears now knows what Bell's hands smell like. 

Larry Parnass can be reached at and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.