Teens Talk!

Check out this page for fun stories by and about teens!

 Rowing on the Merrimack  By Annie Marsh, 17 years old, North Andover High School





The Merrimack River provides both drinking water and fun. This river gives many the opportunity to practice their passion and perform what they love. It has given hundreds of rowers and crew teams the ability to practice and compete.

For Katie Mermelstein, a twenty-year old rower of six years, the Merrimack has been her second home. She started rowing in the spring of 2008 when she was in the eighth grade. At the start of her rowing career, Katie rowed on the Merrimack River in Methuen. Later in 2011, she rowed in Lawrence, and has continued there ever since. As the seasons of rowing passed, Katie found herself becoming more and more passionate for crew.

The Merrimack River is alive and well and in constant use. “There are almost always rowers out, at all hours of the day,” Katie said. In the summer, Katie has seen sailboats, waterskiing boats, kayaks and canoes. She has also noticed plenty of plants and wildlife. Fish leaping out of the water, swimming otters, and beautiful foliage are only a few examples of wildlife that fill Katie’s memories of the past six years!

Throughout her rowing career, Katie has noticed a definite change in cleanliness in and around the Merrimack River. It has become much cleaner since she started six years ago. She has also noticed a dramatic increase in the amount of people using the river recreationally, no doubt due to the river being cleaner. Katie says that there are two large barges, from the all Volunteer Clean River Project that are constantly out on the river, no matter what time of day, picking up trash and debris. Large, yellow nets/ barriers line the river, serving to collect trash. Not only has the cleanliness of the Merrimack River improved conditions for rowers,  it has improved living conditions for people in the area.

The Merrimack River is one of the most important rivers on the East Coast for drinking water and wildlife. It is also a source of happiness for many. Because the river caters to many wants and needs, it is crucial that we keep it clean. Katie claims that there is no better place to row. The amazing sunsets and beautiful nature of the Merrimack River are like no other!

About the Author      

I’m Annie Marsh, a 17 year old from North Andover, MA. After taking an Environmental Science course at North Andover High School during my junior year, I have taken a huge interest in the topic. Because I live so close to the Merrimack River, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me to write articles about the river and its’ surroundings. I’ve been on the Merrimack River a number of times on my friend’s boat during the summer, and it’s great to see the continuous improvements taking place.

If you want to share your story about the Merrimack River, send them in to !




Caroline Laughlin

Peregrine Falcons (Falco Peregrines) By Caroline Laughlin

In the clock towers of Lawrence, Massachusetts, a pair of peregrine falcons perch on a ledge, waiting for their next prey.

Peregrine falcons are a beautiful raptor with long pointed wings and a long rounded tail. Adult Peregrines have a bluish-gray to slate-gray back and a buffy crown with moustache like markings or “sideburns”. They have a white throat, and a yellow bill with a black tip. They also have yellow legs and sharp talons that can catch prey in an instant. Juvenile Peregrines have a brown back and a heavily streaked underside. Peregrine falcons are medium-sized falcons. Males are 15-18 inches (0.4 to 0.45 meters) tall and have a wingspan of 35 to 42 inches (0.9-1.1 meters). Males are slightly smaller than crows, while females are a big larger than crows. Females are 18-20 inches (0.45 to 0.5 meters) tall and have a wingspan of 42-48 inches (1.1-1.2 meters).

Sometimes these beautiful falcons can be mistaken for Cooper’s Hawks which are another kind of raptor (bird of prey). Cooper’s Hawks are mistaken for Peregrines because they are very similar in size and because adult Cooper’s Hawks have a blue-gray back like Peregrines.

Peregrine Falcons live mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, and coastlines. However, what is unusual about these birds is that they can also be found in urban areas! They can be found here as well as other places around the world. Most Peregrines live in northern Alaska, Canada, and Greenland and migrate in the fall to Central and South America.

Peregrine falcons feed primarily on other birds, such as songbirds, shorebirds, and ducks. In urban areas, they feed on starlings and pigeons. They fly high above their prey and “swoop” or dive and strike in mid-air, killing their prey with a sharp blow.

Peregrine falcons are endangered, but there are efforts by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that is helping these falcons make a comeback.

What I find amazing about these raptors is that they are one of the fastest birds on earth, reaching 200 miles an hour when they are diving! That’s about 3 times faster than a car on a highway!