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Winter Trails Day offers older children and adults new to snow sports the chance to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing for free, and to discover the great fitness and social benefits of these easy-to-learn winter sports. Winter Trails Day involves almost 100 resorts and Nordic Centers nationwide, and gets 11,000 kids and adults on the snow each year. At Northfield Mountain free clinics for first time skiers begin at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. and last for 45 minutes. Twenty minute long snowshoe clinics are offered at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. for those who have never tried the sport. Clinic participants must arrive 30 minutes in advance of their scheduled start time to sign in and pickup their equipment.
Join William Dean, author, amateur photographer, and nature enthusiast, for an amazing look at the Barton Cove eagle nest during the 2013 breeding season. For the first time since the nest was constructed 25 years ago, three eaglets successfully fledged from the nest. This program will provide a beautiful look at the Barton Cove eagles with a photo and video presentation, interspersed with stories and observations. Mr. Dean enjoys sharing his passion for these remarkable birds that he has photographed and observed for the past seven years. Please visit his website at www.cutloosewildlife.com .
Algonquin tribes knew the January full moon as “squochee kesos” or “the sun has not strength to thaw moon.” Typically the chilliest full moon of the year, it’s the perfect time to maintain New Year’s fitness resolutions by hiking or snowshoeing in the moonlight. Brief stops to discuss fitness benefits of hiking or snowshoeing, Native American moon names, and quotes from other lovers of the night will add interest to this unique way to spend a winter weeknight. Participants will warm up with herb tea and are invited to bring a light, healthy snack to share. Those who want to learn more about snowshoes can see a variety of styles available and learn favorite features that make people love their specific snowshoes. No prior snowshoeing or night hiking experience required. People who engage in aerobic activity three times per week will be most comfortable on this program. Bring water, wear wind pants or gaiters and dress in warm layers that can be shed as we get moving.
Join us for an adventure focusing on eagles in winter. Where do they go and why? What challenges do they face prior to returning to their nests in late winter? This program will take place at Quabbin Reservoir, one of the most popular wintering areas in the state for bald eagles. Visit the Enfield Lookout to search for eagles as well as other wildlife with Jim Lafley and Northfield’s Kim Noyes. A short walk in search of animal tracks and sign will warm us up before heading indoors. Dale Monette, Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation at Quabbin, has been involved with the restoration program since its beginning thirty years ago. Join Dale for a presentation on Massachusetts’ successful eagle restoration program and the fascinating life history of the bald eagle. The program will meet at the Quabbin Reservoir Visitors Center in Belchertown, MA. Some carpooling required. Bring lunch, binoculars (a spotting scope if you have one) and dress warmly.
Micah Roberts' passion for bread baking has "risen" during his ten years at Green Fields Market bakery, where he creates offerings like Pear Gorgonzola Focaccia, Chocolate Coconut Joy, and Bacon Cheddar Bread. Micah will share tips for working with whole wheat flour by using either yeast or sourdough; and participants will make two loaves to take home for baking – one that requires kneading and one that does not. The workshop begins with the story of the flour, which is grown in Northfield along the Connecticut River. How wheat came to be planted, harvested and ground on a local family farm will be shared by a Four Star Farms L’Etoile family member. Mixing, kneading, proofing and forming loaves will take place in the commercial kitchen at our meeting location, the Trinitarian Church, 147 Main Street in Northfield, MA. This hands-on workshop offers participants the chance to talk with a professional about successful baking techniques and how this homey ritual can be fit into busy lives. Sourdough starter will also be available for participants to take home. Check out the baker and the farmer: https://www.facebook.com/BreadBakerRoberts, http://fourstarfarms.com/.
Perfect for people who are just learning to snowshoe or establishing fitness routines; participants who are on the edge of learning new skills will investigate the edges of habitats. These places where fields meet wetlands and stream corridors wind through woodlands, are often wildlife hotspots and the group will attempt to discover which local animals use them and why. This shorter distance, lower elevation ramble will be the perfect introduction to both snowshoeing and animal tracking. Bring water and snacks, wear wind pants or gaiters, and dress in warm layers that can be shed as we get moving. Warm footwear is essential. All levels of experience are welcome.
Northfield Mountain's trails are a perfect place to snowshoe. On this winter ramble we’ll explore animal tracks, porcupine signs, and an abandoned 19th century stone quarry. Snowshoeing is fabulous exercise, incredibly easy to learn and no prior experience is necessary. Enjoy an afternoon of camaraderie and outdoor exercise while learning tips on technique, equipment, and clothing. A cup of hot cocoa by a fire will round out the afternoon. This moderately strenuous hike is approximately 2 ½ miles in length with an elevation gain of 400 feet. Bring water, snacks, wear wind pants or gaiters and dress in warm layers that can be shed as we get moving. Warm footwear is essential. All levels of experience are welcome.
The mountain is a magical place on a bright winter's eve. On this adventure for lovers of the natural world, look for signs of local wildlife and learn which of them are in a mating mood. Our hearts will be warmed by February’s “Wolf Moon,“ and our fingers will be warmed by a piping hot cup of cocoa after the walk. Inspiring quotes, outdoor exercise and local fare follow the adventure - What more could we ask for? No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Bring water, wear wind pants or gaiters if you have them and dress in warm layers that can be shed as we get moving. In case of no snow, a moonlit hike will be offered.
Learn how to identify the tracks left behind by local wildlife. The stories they leave in the snow can offer fascinating glimpses into their mysterious lives. Perhaps we’ll find signs of fox and porcupine, or the elusive and secretive fisher? This outdoor program will include an introduction to common track patterns and helpful tips for observing prints as well as the opportunity to follow tracks and sign to learn more about an animal’s behavior. We’ll explore the trails, field edges and forests as we search for clues and discover which animals are active in winter. Participants should be in moderate shape and the program will include some off-trail tracking. If we are open for skiing, snowshoes are required.
An afternoon of books, woods adventuring and cocoa; what could be better? Fairy lovers will begin in the Yurt with Ammi-Joan Paquette's The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, and then head to the woods to discover special places that sprites might enjoy. Participants will also learn what other creatures are out and about by investigating animal tracks and sign found along the way. Building fairy houses and returning to the Yurt for a warming cup of cocoa will round out this delightful afternoon for young families. If Northfield Mountain is open for skiing, participants with children's boot size two or larger will wear snowshoes, children with smaller sized feet will not.
As we explore wooded wetlands, rocky outcrops and streams swollen with snowmelt, families may find tracks of porcupines, snowshoe hare, and coyote. Participants learn how to build a small fire, boil water for cocoa, build snow creatures, balance on logs, throw snowballs, and any other late season fun we can imagine! If the snow has melted, then muddy fun will be in store. Dress in warm layers that can be shed as we get moving, and bring a water bottle to take on the trail. Cocoa and granola bar snacks will be provided. Directions to meeting place will be shared with registered participants.
Pink and Yellow Lady's slippers, the Fairy Slipper, Purple-Fringed Orchids... all these and more can be found in New England if you know where and when to look for them. Join Nancy Goodman, native orchid enthusiast and naturalist, for an evening slideshow exploration of our native orchids. Of the 59 orchid species to be found in New England we will look at images of 43 that Nancy has found, exploring their beauty, habitats and bloom time. Nancy has been looking for and photographing wild orchids for the last 20 years. Come and share her photos and experiences with these amazing plants. Be sure to join us for a spring wild orchid field session on June 7th. These programs are co-sponsored with the Massachusetts Audubon Society.