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Tail Mix: nature activities in our area

Northfield Mountain

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

∎ Moth Night. Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, Friday, July 11, 8 to 11:30 p.m. Learn about and observing moths and other night flying insects. The program will be presented by a team from the Athol Bird and Nature Club including naturalists: Dave Small, Lula Field, Betsy Higgins and Sue Cloutier. They will share their knowledge and enthusiasm for these amazing animals, beginning indoors with an introduction to moths and concluding outdoors observing moths attracted to lights and baited trees. With over 10,000 species in North America alone, moths offer endless options for study, education, photography and fun. Their diversity is astounding with a range of colors and patterns, shapes and sizes. Bring a camera and a flashlight. Free. Co-sponsored with the Athol Bird and Nature Club. For all ages. Please register by calling 1-800-859-2960. Please note: this program may end later than 11:30 p.m. depending on interest and enthusiasm.

∎ Eagle One on Board the Quinnetukut ll. On Saturday, July 12, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., board the Quinnetukut II Riverboat for a cruise with author Dianne Benson Davis. Davis spent four months living alone as a caretaker for eight baby bald eagles in the remote Quabbin Reservoir as part of an ambitious and successful effort to reintroduce the endangered bald eagle to the skies of New England. Her new book, “Eagle One: Raising Bald Eagles, A Wildlife Memoir,” is the story of her time with the eagles and the story of a woman’s life devoted to the care of wildlife. Davis also has many memories of banding eagles on Barton Cove Island. Davis has worked with and cared for countless animals at the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic and the EcoTarium. Bring your binoculars on board for this scenic cruise on the Connecticut River, which will pass two active eagle nests. Free with Qll Riverboat ticket ($6 child, $12 adult, $11 senior). Please call 1-800-859-2960 to egister. It is important to call soon because the boat fills up fast.

∎ Totally Tree-mendous: Gnomes Knoll. Gnomes knoll is 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. On Friday, July 25, from 10 a.m. to noon, join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s Beth Bazler for tree-related activities, games, unstructured play and tree-sourced snacks. For ages 3 and older. Free. Register by calling 1-800-859-2960.

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: www.greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org

∎ In the Great Hall: “Women Painters of GCC:” Frankie Dack, Marti Olmstead, Mari Rovang, Susan Valentine and Sandy Walsh, July 4 through July 31.

∎ Tuesdays, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kidleidoscope. Every Tuesday morning, each program includes a story, interactive games, and a craft to introduce you and your child to wildlife along the river. Recommended for ages 3 to 6 with a parent or guardian.

∎ Sundays, July 6, 13, 20, 27, 8:30 a.m. Canal-side Nature Walk. Meet outside the main entrance. Leisurely explore level, paved bike trails and village sidewalks to learn about plants, animals and mill town history.

∎ Mondays, July 7, 14, 21, 28, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Junior Rangers is a four-part nature education workshop for young naturalists ages 8 to11. Become a Connecticut River watershed expert and find out who lives along the canal-side bike path in Turners Falls. Children and parents should meet at the Discovery Center lobby. Free. Friends and siblings welcome. Space is limited so please register. Each day will have a theme related to the Connecticut River watershed.

∎ Friday, July 11, 7 to 9 p.m. Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents: Folksinger and storyteller Tim Van Egmond weaves together songs, tunes, and tales — from the rib-tickling to the spine-tingling to the heartwarming. He accompanies himself on a wide variety of traditional instruments, including hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, mouth bow, and limberjack (a dancing wooden puppet that taps out a rhythm on a paddle board).

∎ Saturday, July 19, 9 a.m. Montague Sand Plain Hike. Come learn about the story of fire on the Montague sand plain. Your chance to explore a unique habitat designed by fire, ice and sand. Find sand dunes, scrub oak, pitch pine, and blueberries. Join a DCR park interpreter for an introduction to the fauna, flora, and geology of this amazing and threatened habitat. Easy-to-intermediate difficulty hike. Bring water, bug repellent and sunscreen. Free. Meet at the Great Falls Discovery Center to carpool to the site.

∎ Friday, July 25, 2 to 3 p.m. Watershed Wonders: Secrets Inside Vernal Pools. A story hour with crafts and activities focusing on the many wonders of life in the Connecticut River watershed. For ages 6 to 8, with a parent or guardian. This month’s topic is the secrets of vernal pools. Who’s in there?

∎ Saturday, July 26, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bike Path Bingo! Canal-side Nature Walk for Kid. Kids, grab your parents, bug spray, and sunscreen, and then we’ll go exploring. All ages are welcome. Practice examining the natural world with field guides, binoculars and a fun game.

∎ Thursday, July 31, 5 to 7 p.m., Artist reception: “Women Painters of GCC:” Frankie Dack, Marti Olmstead, Mari Rovang, Susan Valentine, and Sandy Walsh. The paintings include landscapes of the Pioneer Valley.

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