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September is when the Monarch Butterfly starts its 2,500 mile migration to central Mexico. Join Jennifer Uncles and learn about this amazing butterfly. We’ll begin indoors with hands-on activities and stations, then venture outside in search of migrating monarchs. With luck, we will catch and tag a monarch, as part of the national citizen science program , Monarch Watch. Join us to learn about the monarch’s life cycle, challenges they face on their journey, how the tagging helps scientists learn more about these butterflies and what you can do to help. In case of rain, please join us for the indoor session.
Many so-called "weeds" are tasty, free, & nutritious. Join us as we forage in field and forest and discover new wild edible plant friends with author and filmmaker Blanche Derby. This relaxing "walkshop" around the Center's grounds will be followed by a light snack. Blanche has spent years foraging and preparing foods from the wild. Join her as she shares her knowledge and stories about these plants. Be sure to check out her website: www.tagyerit.com/freefood.htm which has a link to over 30 of her wild food videos on YouTube.
Go down into the bottom of a working river and gain unique insights into both the structure of the river and the animals that live there. The annual dewatering of the Turners Falls Canal allows for maintenance on the Cabot Power Station and the two miles of canal walls. Participants assemble with buckets and boots to collect mudpuppies, young sea lamprey (called amocetes), eels and other fish, plus invertebrates like dragonfly nymphs that live in the canal. This is an opportunity to see and hold species that you may have only heard about or seen on television. Collected creatures are then released in the main stem of the river with the help of staff from the Silvio O. Conte Fish Lab. Program strictly limited to first 24 participants, so register early. Directions to meeting place sent to confirmed participants.
Get involved in the 17th year of the Cleanup! Last year 122 volunteers in Eastern Franklin County filled 1½, 30-yard dumpsters with trash in addition to collecting 64 tires, 15 automobile gas tanks, 4 mattresses, 3 recliners, 800 pounds of scrap metal and a parking meter, which were collected from along rivers and streams in Montague, Gill and East Deerfield. Individuals or groups work as teams to make the watershed a cleaner place on sites that run the gamut from fishing trash to illegal dumping. School groups can schedule cleanups in the week preceding the 5th. Co-sponsors: CT River Watershed Council, Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, MA Department of Conservation & Recreation, Town of Montague and FirstLight Power.
Enjoy the brilliant colors of fall, the dramatic cliffs of Rose Ledges, and explore historic 19th century stone quarries and signs of wildlife. This three mile loop hike is one of our favorites, offering beautiful scenery during peak fall foliage. Hikers should bring lunch, water, dress in layers, wear sturdy footwear and be comfortable hiking over somewhat hilly terrain with an elevation gain of 800 feet . The program will be cancelled in the event of inclement weather.
The Halloween skeletons are hanging around; and this program is an opportunity to check out the real thing! What stories can bones and skulls tell us about an animal’s life? Families will compare bones and skulls to see how birds differ from mammals and predators from prey. Much of the time will be spent doing hands-on activities indoors, with a short field walk. Will you be brave enough to try all the mystery bone building snacks and discover which of your favorite foods are best for bones?
Enjoy a leisurely fall foliage hike to the top of Northfield Mountain where we’ll enjoy the sun setting and the moon rising. Only one night past full, October’s “Hunting Moon” should be a treat to watch as it rises over our mountain-top reservoir. Bring a snack or picnic supper for dining at the summit. The down-hill walk will be on a quiet, paved road, lit by moonlight (weather permitting!) Participants should dress in layers, bring a flashlight or headlamp, water and food. Hike participants should be in moderate condition and able to hike 4 & 1/2 miles with an elevation gain of 800 feet.
Growing Up WILD and Project Learning Tree's Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood build on children's sense of wonder about nature and invite them to explore the natural world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, these new curriculums provide an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills. Educators taking this professional development workshop will receive both multi-award winning curriculum guides for educators of young children. The activity guides feature over 150 experiences that engage children in outdoor play and exploration. Join instructors, Patti Steinman, Education Coordinator, Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries and Kim Noyes, Northfield Mountain’s Education Coordinator, for a fun-filled day of interactive, hands-on, activities. Gain experience and skills helpful for taking children outside to explore the natural world. This professional development workshop is great for teachers, camp counselors, child care providers, home school parents and other educators. Both curriculums are correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework.
This 35+ year-old celebration of Halloween through songs, stories and dance is led by locally loved singer/songwriter Roger Tincknell. Roger is a two-time Parents' Choice Award-winning recording artist with numerous CDs for children and adults. Imagine a group of young witches, fairies and aliens in the glow of the firelight, spellbound by a slightly spooky story – or waltzing around in small family groups to Roger’s beautiful music, and you can get some sense of the delight this evening brings. Wholesome snacks also served. Dress WARMLY, bring blankets to cuddle up with, flashlights and chairs for seating. Program meets behind Visitor Center. In case of poor weather, the program will be held inside the cozy yurt.
Come watch 40 teams as they compete on our challenging course. Food concession on hand. Start times for the Jr. College Men’s 5 mile Race is at 10:00 a.m. and for the Jr. College Women’s 3.1 mile Race is at 11:00 a.m.
Come watch the top teams from Western Massachusetts high schools compete for a place at the State Cross Country Championships. This event includes the teams from Divisions I and II schools running on Northfield Mountain’s challenging 3.1 mile course. Great spectator viewing! Food concession on hand.
Project WILD and Aquatic WILD are national award winning environmental education programs which explore both aquatic and terrestrial life and habitats. Participants will be introduced to the Project WILD and Aquatic WILD curriculum materials, activities and strategies. Through hands on lessons, educators will gain experience needed to work with elementary and middle school students and integrate the materials into their teaching. The cost of the program includes both comprehensive guides which focus on wildlife and habitats and integrates science, language arts, math, social studies and art. This professional development workshop will focus on wildlife in winter and is great for teachers, scout leaders, camp counselors, and other educators. Co-sponsored with Massachusetts Audubon and taught by Arcadia's Patti Steinman and Northfield Mountain's Kim Noyes, the workshop will be held both indoors and outside, so please dress for the weather. Participants will receive 7 hours towards PDPs. The program is suitable for both formal and non-formal educators.
We drive by forests and fields every day that may have once held farms, taverns, or Native American villages, all of which could now be prime archaeological sites. University of Massachusetts archaeologist and lecturer in anthropology Dr. Eric Johnson will share images and tales of archaeological finds from across Massachusetts including indigenous people's rock shelters and villages, colonial backyards and taverns, even the maintenance garage for an early mass-transit company. While the stories shared are from other parts of the Commonwealth, many of the same land uses occurred in Franklin County, so artifacts shown and lessons learned throughout more than 10,000 years of archaeological history could easily be applied in our local area. Participants may bring artifacts for possible identification by Dr. Johnson.
Eric Johnson has worked in the field of archaeology for 30 years including excavating sites, working in a laboratory and leading field schools for the University of Massachusetts. Sites shared in this lecture relate to publications he created for the MA Historical Commission website interpreting a variety of archeological sites. http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarch/archresources/Roads_Rails_Trails_REPORT.pdf
A holiday celebration for hike lovers, this romp will be on the carriage width ski trails at Northfield. Our headlamps will light the way on this longest night of the year as we share solstice facts and quotes from literary lovers of the night. A visit to a mid-mountain campfire and shared cider and snacks will sweeten this night as we turn toward the sun. Participants should bring a headlamp, dress in layers for hiking in winter weather and expect to hike 1 ½ miles with an elevation gain of 300'. If our trails are open for skiing, snowshoes are required.