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As the sun begins to set, the stage is ready for the woodcock to perform his courtship flight. This unusual bird, also known as the Timberdoodle, performs an air-born ritual accompanied by a variety of unique sounds. It is a spring tradition not to be missed! This program will begin with an indoor introduction, followed by a twilight walk to experience the courtship flight of the woodcock. Dress warmly, wear boots and dark clothes, bring a blanket to sit on, and bring binoculars if possible. Please be prepared to sit quietly outdoors for 30 minutes.
Looking for a fitness activity in the natural world? Like working toward a shared goal with others and giving back to places you love? Participants will perform basic trail maintenance techniques using simple tools like hand saws and loppers. Put as much energy into the work as your comfort dictates and find a great new way to have fun in the woods. Trail work will take place at Northfield Mountain. The quarter mile long trail section we will create further extends a hiking/snowshoeing trail project begun in the spring of 2012. It will wind through a wooded section and nearby a vernal pool, so users can enjoy more time on traditional hiking trails. Names of other organizations in need of trail maintainers will be shared with those bitten by the trail worker bug! Registered participants will receive directions to meeting location, clothing and gear list. Trail snacks provided.
Was there a tree you loved to climb or a vacant lot that your friends turned into an imaginary world? Does your child have similar outdoor places? Come help build a place where young families can immerse themselves in nature through play, and take some natural play ideas home to your own “back 40.” This program is the very beginning of an evolving space for free nature play at Northfield Mountain which is close enough to the Visitor Center to allow for access via stroller and far enough away to feel like an adventure for young children. Family members of all ages will work on creating one or two play elements and share any ideas they have for making the area even more fun in the future! Registered participants will receive a clothing and gear list. Trail snacks provided.
The quiet, wooded Barton Cove peninsula once rang with the sounds of men hammering out slabs of sandstone from Lily Pond and other small quarries. These laborers unearthed dinosaur tracks, insect trails, raindrop impressions, and other trace fossils created during the Jurassic period, when marks in sandy mud hardened into rock and formed a record of what this land was like nearly 200 million years ago. Lily Pond quarry is now underwater, but one old quarry site is still in the open air. Join us for a few hours with Jurassic Roadshow, a team of experts who share their fascinating collections of these special fossils and answer questions about the creatures that made them and the geology that preserved them. Bring in your rocks and fossils from home to stump the experts! There will also be a guided walk to the old quarry, where you can learn about how the tracks were discovered and quarried and how they made their way into museums in American and European cities. See fossils and talk with experts from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Quarry walks will be at 10:30 for families and 12:30 for adults, or feel free to use the Barton Cove Quest map available on site and discover the quarry on your own. Jurassic Roadshow is a project of Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (Deerfield), funded in part by an Adams Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. www.jurassicroadshow.wordpress.com.
The Jurassic Roadshow is staffed by a group of local historians, geologists and rock hounds. Participation by these experts varies, but will likely include many of the following: Andrew Brodeur, Bob Oakes, Dan Vellone, Ed Gregory, Harry Sharbaugh, John Fellows, Sarah Doyle, and Steve Winters.
The woods should be bursting with birdsong and late spring wildflowers on this 5.5 mile hike along the trail formerly known as the M-M trail. The hike begins in the town of Erving and travels through hemlock forests to the oaky woods on the ledges above the Millers River with a view of the River and east to Mount Wachusett. The group will then continue to Briggs Brook above the village of Farley, where a connector trail leads to the Northfield Mountain trail system. A second viewpoint atop the Mountain looks north to Southern Vermont with a view of the Northfield Mountain Station upper reservoir. Hikers will finally descend along the scenic Rose Ledge foot trail to the Northfield Mountain Visitor Center. Participants will meet at Northfield Mountain and carpool to the hike start location and should wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes, and bring lunch, water and trail snacks to enjoy along the way. Long pants, sleeves, a hat and bug spray may also be desired. People who participate in aerobic exercise three times per week or more will be a good fit for this program.
Print your very own T-shirt or tote bag and discover the intricate beauty and important function of fish fins and scales. Learn about resident fish as well as fish that return to the Connecticut River to lay their eggs. Drop in anytime between 12 and 2 p.m. at the Turners Falls Fishway to create your work of art using scientifically accurate replicas of Connecticut River fish. Remember to bring a T-shirt or other material to use for fish printing. Fish T-shirts make great Father’s Day presents. Please wear clothes that can get stained. This event is part of the 7th Annual Family Fish Day at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Families may want to bring along a picnic and enjoy our beautiful riverside picnic area adjacent to the fishway.
Using a tandem kayak is a great way for an adult and child to give paddling a try. As the group explores the special nooks and crannies of Barton Cove, kids can paddle as they are able and parents can provide the power and direction for the boat. The group will begin learning kayaking basics, turning right, left and going straight and then set off across the Cove while singing a classic paddling song. Bring along a snack and drink to enjoy while the group takes a break from the boats and skips stones. Then paddle, explore and return to our starting place. No prior kayaking experience required. Life jackets will be worn by all participants during the program.
Celebrate Father’s Day and the upcoming Summer Solstice with educator/musician Aimee Gelinas M.Ed., co-founder of Gaia Roots World Music and Director of Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center in Windsor, MA. Hear and see demonstrations of traditional West African and Caribbean instruments, rhythms and songs in a short demo with members of Gaia Roots. Then try your hand at drumming by joining a community music jam for all ages. This event takes place along the river at Unity Park in Turners Falls, MA and is FREE thanks to a grant from the Montague Cultural Council in collaboration with FirstLight Power, Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Rain or high heat (80°+) program location is the Great Falls Discovery Center, decision to move program will be made by 12 noon on 6/16 and posted at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Northfield-Mountain-Recreation-and-Environmental-Center/224531920912692. Please bring your own chair for outdoor performance. Visit www.tamarackhollow.com & www.gaiaroots.com.
At the summer solstice, poet Mary Oliver asks, "… what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Perhaps we can begin by celebrating the birth of summer on a paddle through the sunset and moonrise? The peak of day length and the suns energy also has profound impacts on the plants and animals that live year 'round in the Cove. During this evening paddle, we'll share poems about the turning of the seasons and observe how plants and animals of the Cove may view the day. Two nights before the Full Strawberry Moon, we also hope to paddle in both sunlight and moonlight as we immerse ourselves in the longest day of the year. This program is appropriate for both beginning and experienced paddlers. Tandem kayaks available.
Northfield Mountain will host the 30th Annual Connecticut River Valley Astronomer's Conjunction. Enjoy the camaraderie of amateur astronomers learning and observing together at Northfield Mountain. Held during the dark of the moon, the weekend will be jam-packed full of slide presentations, talks, and Friday and Saturday night sky viewing through telescopes of all shapes and sizes. Check out the conjunction website at: http://www.philharrington.net/astroconjunction/. Registration forms available from Richard Sanderson at RSanderson@springfieldmuseums.org or by writing Jack Megas, Astronomy Conjunction, 311 Surrey Road, Springfield, MA 01118
Northfield Mountain abounds with wildflowers in summer. Come ramble across the lower slopes of the Mountain and explore the fields and forests with Northfield Naturalist, Kim Noyes. Learn to identify common wildflowers, shrubs, and trees and hear stories about how they have been used by Native Americans, Colonial Americans and modern-day folk. Which shrub was called “magic water”, which tree was featured on a 1600s Massachusetts coin, which flower was called Demon Chaser? Plant lore will abound on this summer morning walk as we look for plants with beautiful flowers, wonderful aromas and fascinating legends. Plant loving children ages 10 and older are welcome to join us.
Join educator Rachel Roberts for this exciting program about Simple Machines focusing on water turbines. Together we will do a variety of hands-on science activities connected to general concept of transforming the power of moving water into electricity. This class will reinforce participants’ understanding of simple machines, generating power, and how electricity is made. The Northfield Mtn. facility uses a water turbine (a rotary engine that takes energy from moving water) to generate electrical power on-site and will provide exhibits and models of their station for participants’ observation of a local water turbine in action. This workshop is free and intended for families. Call Northfield to pre-register at 1-800-859-2960. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Northfield Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Bring your binoculars and interest in wildlife on board the Quinnetukut Riverboat for this special cruise. Ralph Taylor, Mass Wildlife’s Connecticut Valley District Manager, will be on board to answer questions and share an update on the status of bald eagles and other species of interest. How is the river important as a migratory corridor for waterfowl and fish? What kinds of fish inhabit this stretch of the river? What is happening to wildlife populations both in the river and along its shores? Learn about the success of the Bald Eagle Restoration Project, evident in restored breeding populations along the river, in Massachusetts and in surrounding states. Mr. Taylor will also give an update on populations of Connecticut Valley residents such as black bear, deer and moose. Bring your questions and sign up for this special cruise along a scenic six mile stretch of the Connecticut, as we explore the French King Gorge, the "narrows" and Barton Cove.
Enjoy an evening paddle as we explore Barton Cove and the narrows of the Connecticut River. We'll watch the moon rise and the sun set accompanied by the sounds of the river at twilight. The program, appropriate for both beginning and experienced paddlers, will include moon lore, wildlife sightings and river stories from days gone by. Bring dinner or snacks to eat and a flashlight. Single and tandem kayak rentals available.
Join Ed and Libby Klekowski on board the Quinnetukut Riverboat for stories of days gone by. During this cruise they will bring the forgotten history of the log drives back to life. From the North Woods in Canada, men drove over a quarter of a million logs 300 miles downriver to saw mills in Massachusetts. These were the longest log drives in America and tall tales will add color to this slice of American life. Hear about log jams that took over two years to free up as we travel the same stretch of river. In addition, hear firsthand stories about the discovery of new insect species, the bottom of a glacial lake and “Deep Hole” as we visit the 130 foot abyss. Professor Klekowski, a diver and retired Biology Professor from UMass-Amherst, is an expert on the historical, geological and biological resources of the 410 mile long Connecticut River. Although the Connecticut was studied by Europeans for 300 years, Ed realized that underwater it was totally unknown, and learned something new on almost every dive. Ed's explorations combined with Libby’s historical research as she unearthed extraordinary old photos, resulted in the pair producing five documentaries including "Under the River" and "Dynamite, Whiskey and Wood – the Connecticut River Log Drives 1870-1915."
Tom the toad; Oh, Tom the toad:
Don't miss this family-friendly night of silliness and song around the campfire with toasted marshmallows for extra sweetness. Naturalist Beth Bazler fell in love with camp songs as a child in Ohio and expanded her repertoire via a connection to Camp Takodah in Southern New Hampshire. Learn her favorites and bring your own songs to share be they serious, funny or even a bit gory. (Maybe you can imagine what happened to poor Tom the toad?) Beth will also share .Tajar Tales, written and first told at camps in the Colorado Rockies in 1925 by Jane Shaw Ward. After hearing a few of these entertaining tales, participants will be inducted into the Tajar Society, receive a Tajar pin, and of course learn the secret reply to the question, .Are you a Tajar?
What impact is the tiny insect, known as the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA), having on our forests? Learn about this invasive insect and the protocols of data collection and monitoring as we visit a research plot and take sample data. As a citizen scientist, you can contribute to on-going long-term ecological research by monitoring hemlock tree growth and hemlock wooly adelgid presence on plots set up on the mountain. Data will be sent to Harvard Forest to contribute to their knowledge of this invasive pest and its impacts on our forests. This program will take place both indoors and outdoors, includes a short walk and is great for home school audiences as well as adults and families interested in natural history and citizen science volunteering opportunities. Volunteer commitment of two field visits per year, however, there is no commitment necessary to attend the program.
Celebrate the end of summer on top of Crag Mountain. Spend an evening hiking to the sounds of crickets and katydids, enjoying late summer wildflowers and scrambling up the rocks of Crag Mountain. Feast on a picnic supper on top of Crag while enjoying the sunset and beautiful three-state views. Adventure seeking participants in moderate condition, able to walk three miles and comfortable with a small amount of rock scrambling on steep slopes will be a good fit for this hike. Wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes that can get wet or muddy and bring a trail picnic, water and flashlight. Directions to nearby hike meeting location will be shared with registered participants.
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 Fisheries Biologists 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.