Trail Mix: Nature activities in our area

Puffins and terns June 9

The Hampshire Bird Club will hear about efforts to restore nesting terns, puffins and other seabirds at its monthly meeting on Monday, June 9. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Immanuel Lutheran Church Hall, 867 North Pleasant St., Amherst.

Stephen Kress, vice president for bird conservation for the National Audubon Society, has directed the society’s seabird restoration efforts in the Gulf of Maine for more than 40 years. The work now includes 13 islands off Maine.

Many threatened seabirds, which come to land only to nest, have been chased from the once isolated islands that had provided them with a safe refuge. And some of the techniques developed by Kress and his staff to coax the birds to return to Maine islands they had abandoned are now used by seabird biologists around the world.

Still, seabirds continue to face manmade and natural threats around the world, ranging from volcanos in the Sea of Japan to Caribbean hurricanes. Other seabirds, including herring gulls and great black-backed gulls, whose populations have soared with the proliferation of inland as well as coastal garbage dumps, can take over the nesting islands for their own use. And on the Maine islands, the smaller seabirds also have to deal with recovering populations of once endangered bald eagles and peregrine falcons.

Hawley hike June 8

During RiverFest Sunday, June 8, The Deerfield River Watershed Association will lead a hike in Hawley, from the State Forest Garage on Route 8 A through the woods to the Hallockville Pond and mill sites near the Plainfield line. Bring a lunch to enjoy at the pond. Spring flowers should be blooming in abundance.

Participants have three options: 1) To hike from the State Forest Garage through the woods to Hallockville Pond (approximately 3 miles, with little elevation change); 2) Meet the group at Hallockville Pond (on Route 8A) for a nature hike around the pond’s perimeter (approximately 1 mile); 3) Hike back through the woods from the pond to the cars (approximately 2 miles).

Because of the necessity of spotting cars beforehand, since people may park in different places, participants must register with the hike leader, Polly Bartlett, 625-6628.

Hikers should meet at 9:30 at the State Parking Lot on Route 2 next to the bridge over the Deerfield River in East Charlemont. Those living in Hawley or Charlemont should meet at the State Forest Garage in Hawley at 10 a.m.

Hike will be canceled if it rains.

Northfield Mountain

99 Millers Falls Road (Route 63), Northfield. 413-659-3714 or 800-859-2960. Owned and operated by FirstLight Power Resources.

∎ On Saturday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., come to High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne and enjoy spring wildflowers. Join Nancy Goodman, native orchid enthusiast and naturalist, who has been looking for and photographing wild orchids for the last 20 years. Noted for its views of the Deerfield River valley and Mount Greylock, this sanctuary is home to an extraordinary variety of native flora and fauna. High Ledges is also home to many beautiful orchids, though each year it is unpredictable as to which will be blooming. Participans will be looking for the yellow and pink lady’s slippers, showy orchid, early coral root and purple fringed orchid. There will also likely be wildflowers such as Solomon’s seal, pitcher plants, Indian cucumber, painted trillium and columbine. Wear boots or hiking shoes and bring a lunch and water. Program co-sponsored by Northfield Mountain and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. This event is for ages 14 and older. The fee is $10. (Note, earlier this event was listed as free in error.) Please call 800-859-2960 to register.

∎ Mindful Full Moon Walk in Northfield’s Woodlands: join Kripalu certified yoga instructor Jenny Tufts and Northfield Mountain Naturalist Beth Bazler on Thursday, June 12, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., for yoga on the trail. Both yoga and hiking offer benefits to body, mind and spirit and participants will learn poses based on the natural world while enriching the hiking experience with strength building and flexibility exercises for feet, legs and core. Mindful walking, simple meditation techniques and sound yoga, say organizers, will heighten your awareness of the springtime forest. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and flexible footwear. This free program is a part of the Dickinson Memorial Library “Northfield’s Woodlands” program series funded by the Tortuga Foundation. Register by calling Northfield’s Dickinson Library at 413-498-2455.

∎ Canal Days Along the Bike Path: take a springtime stroll along a 1½-mile section of the paved bike path in Turners Falls on Saturday, June 14, from 10 a.m. to noon with local historian Ed Gregory, industrial history buff, Steve Winters and Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Kim Noyes. Using historical maps, quotes and illustrations, participants will explore the scenic west end of the popular Canalside Trail. Organizers say participants will gain a new appreciation for this quiet end of the bike path as they imagine canal barges waiting their turn for the locks, a lively 19th century tavern, the birth of the iron whistle coming to town and much more. This program is co-sponsored with the Pioneer Valley Institute. Meet at the parking lot on the east side of Montague City Road across from the Farren Care Center in Turners Falls. Call 413-659-4462 after 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning if weather is questionable. Rain date: Saturday, June 21. The event is free, donations to institute are welcome. For ages 16 and older. Call 800-859-2960 to register.

∎ Saturday, June 14, from noon to 2 p.m., Free Fish Printing for Families at the Turners Falls Fishway, located on First Street in Turners Falls. Print your 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 migratory fish that return to the Connecticut River to lay their eggs. Drop in anytime between noon 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 and wear clothes that can get stained. This event is part of the ninth annual Family Fish Day at the Great Falls Discovery Center. If raining, this event will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center. Appropriate for ages 5 and older. No registration is required.

∎ Saturday, June 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Summer Solstice Sunset Kayak at Barton Cove in Gill. 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? Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer, known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice. During this evening paddle, participants will explore some of the celebrations from around the world as well as the rich history and natural history of Barton Cove. Ancient waterfalls, historic log drives, dinosaur footprints and nesting bald eagles are unique to this peninsula, cove and “narrows” on the Connecticut River. This program is appropriate for both beginning and experienced paddlers. For ages 16 and older. Free with own kayak, $25/boat with kayak rental. Tandem kayaks available. Pleaseregister by calling 800-859-2960.

∎ Saturday, June 28, at Barton Cove in Gill, Family Eagle Expedition from 9 to 11 a.m. Using a tandem kayak is a great way for an adult and child to give paddling a try, say organizers, who add that visiting the Barton Cove Eagle nest is a good mini expedition for new paddlers. Kids can paddle as they are able and parents can provide the power and direction for the boat as participants try to glimpse eaglets on the nest, exercising before their first flight. The group will begin learning paddling basics on land, how to turn and go straight and then set off across the Cove. Bring along a snack and drink for when the group takes a break from paddling before returning to its starting point. No prior kayaking experience is required. Suggested gear list will be emailed to registered participants prior to program. For ages 7 and older. Fee: $20 per adult child pair. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 800-859-2960.

Great Falls Discovery Center

2 Avenue A, Turners Falls. Open 7 days a week,10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All programs are free to the public unless otherwise noted. 413-863-3221 On the web at:

∎ In the Great Hall: Natural Images by Mary Hayes-Siegrist, through June 30

∎ Saturdays, June 8, 15, 22, 29. Canal-side Nature Walk. Meet outside the main entrance at 8:30 am. We will leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals and mill town history.

∎ Tuesdays, June 10, 17, 24. 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kidleidoscope. Each program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to wildlife along the Connecticut. Recommended for ages 3-6 with a parent or guardian.

∎ Saturday, June 7, 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Eyes on Owls Presents: Owls of the World — Who’s Watching You? This live owl program introduces the owls of New England and beyond. Mark and Marcia share the field marks, signs and naturalist’s skills that you can use to find wild owls without disturbing them. Next, you meet six live owls (from small to huge) up close. Everyone participates in a hooting lesson and learns tips on how to attract and protect owls near you.

∎ Sunday, June 8, 2 to 3 p.m. Watershed History: The Grand Trunk Hotel. What was so grand about the Grand Trunk Hotel in Turners Falls? Right next to where the center is today, the hotel was built in 1872 and taken down in 1968. We’ll use our imaginations, old photographs and testimonials to piece together the story of the grand old days in Turners Falls.

∎ Friday, June 13, 7 to 9 p.m. Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents: Neptune’s Car: Holly Hanson and Steve Hayes. An acoustic duo from Massachusetts and New Hampshire that plays original, contemporary folk music. The duo has become known for its intimate performance style, carefully crafted lyrics, generous harmony singingand exceptional guitar picking, say promoters.

∎ Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ninth Annual Family Fishing Day. Adults and children of all ages can join refuge staff, staff from the commonwealth of Massachusetts, educators from Northfield Mountain and volunteers in a day of fishing fun. Activities include: fly fishing demonstrations, fly-tying lessons, fishing at Barton Cove, fish printing, aquatic insect investigations, raffles and more. Equipment is provided and no fishing licenses needed.

∎ Thursday, June 19, 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. Turners Falls Third Thursday: Barton Cove Eagles & Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center Annual Meeting. What happened to the Barton Cove eagles? Join William Dean, avid eagle watcher to find out! He will present stunning photographs of the Barton Cove eagles from the last couple of years as they grew from egg to adult. He will also share stories and videos from his adventures. A short annual business meeting for the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center will occur immediately before the program.

∎ Sunday, June 22, 2 to 3 p.m. Watershed History: The Great Hall. Originally built as a machine shop during the early days of industrialization in Turners Falls, the Great Hall building of the Discovery Center has a great story. We will investigate tales of machines, fly fishing rods, historic preservation and more.

∎ Friday, June 27, 2 to 4 p.m. Watershed Wonders: Migration. A story hour with crafts and activities focusing on the Connecticut River watershed. For ages 6 to 8, with a parent or guardian. This month’s topic is migration. Birds, fish, and butterflies are on the move. Where are they going? Where have they been?

∎ Saturday, June 28, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bike Path Bingo Canal-side Nature Walk for Kids. Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen and then we’ll go exploring. All ages are welcome as we practice examining the natural world with field guides, binoculars, and a fun game to see just how much you can see.

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