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Trail Mix: Outdoor activities in our area

Editor’s note: This is an online version of Trail Mix, a listing of outdoor activities that runs weekly on our Thursday Outdoors page. Listings in Trail Mix are free. E-mail outdoor@recorder.com. The deadline is Tuesday by 8 a.m. Questions? Call 413-772-0261 Ext. 276. Weather may cancel or force the rescheduling of some of these events. Additionally, space is often limited. Please contact organizers to ensure you can attend. This is particularly important if registration is required.

Catamounts Hill hike Saturday

COLRAIN — The Deerfield River Watershed is hosting a hike Saturday, April 27, in the Catamounts Hills of Colrain. This will start at the end of East Catamount Road at 10 a.m. There is a little climb to begin with, followed by a very gentle four-mile loop to MacLeod Pond, where we will have lunch and then explore the caves on the way back to the cars. Bring lunch and a flash light for the caves. To reach the starting point, from Route 112 in Grizwoldville, Colrain, take the Adamsville Road a half mile to Lively Road on the left then a quick left on to East Catamount road (steep and dirt) to the end where there is parking. Please register with the leader, Polly Bartlett 413-626-6628. Rain will cancel. Hikers should be prepared to hike the whole distance since we will not be returning the way we go into the pond. These hikes are free and open to the public to help them know and appreciate the beauty of the watershed, its flora and fauna.

Naturalist to lead nature walk Sunday

The Pioneer Valley Institute is sponsoring a hike led by Hadley naturalist Nancy Goodman. On Sunday, April 28, she will meet participants at the old Ashram site now called Atticus Glass on Route 63 in Leverett for an early spring walk on Mount Toby. The hike begins at 10 a.m. and will last about five hours. $5; current Pioneer Valley Institute members and children under 12 are free. For more information email Nancy at wildeyes@rcn.com or PVI at pvi@gcc.mass.edu. Come enjoy an early spring walk up the eastern side of Mount Toby, which has interesting plants that are different from the surrounding area because of the geology of this particular range. We will be looking at the changing habitats and discussing what might be causing these changes. Again dress warmly, bring binoculars, rain gear and have plenty of water and a lunch. We will be meeting at the old Ashram site now called Atticus Glass on Route 63 in Leverett. The parking area — look for the orange cone — is on the west side of the road just north of a small cemetery and south of Montague Road There is limited parking so if possible try to carpool; contact Goodman at wildeyes@rcn.com and she will try and put people in touch with others.

Athol Bird and Nature Club

Millers River Environmental Center

100 Main St. Athol. 978-248-9491. Open to visitors Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Joseph Superchi returns with his popular “Second Tuesday” accessible birding sessions from 8 to 10 a.m. on May 14, June 11 July 9 and Aug. 13, meeting at the center before heading out to a variety of sites. Those wishing wheelchair van access can call ahead to 978-248-9491.

In what has become an annual treat, expert birders Joan and Larry Duprey will on Saturday, April 27, lead an expedition to the historic Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, a famous spring hotspot for migrating songbirds. Participants should meet at the center for carpooling at 6 a.m. or at the main gate at 7:30 a.m. (Call the Dupreys at 978-249-4964 if you’ll be meeting them at the gate.) If time allows, the group will also visit the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Participants should bring snacks or a lunch.

All of these trip leaders are self-taught enthusiasts who have become experts over time. After an accident left him in a wheelchair, Superchi also started using a camera to record his experiences.

The outings are sponsored by the Athol Bird and Nature Club, an active group of people sharing an appreciation of nature’s many forms. More information about the club is available on the web at www.atholbirdclub.org. New members are welcome.

Great Falls Discovery Center

2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, 413-863-3676, www.greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org. Open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All programs are free to the public unless otherwise noted. Facilities are accessible.

∎ In the Great Hall: Student Art Exhibit, “Exploring Quilting Traditions from North and South,” through May 31. Art, history and literature converge in this exhibit of student art inspired by traditional New England- style quilts, African American story and improvisational quilts and the quilters who made them. As part of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association & Memorial Hall Museum’s valley-wide BIG READ of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” the art was created by public school students at the Discovery School at Four Corners and the Math and Science Academy, both in Greenfield; and the elementary schools in Bernardston and Northfield.

∎ Friday, April 26, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Discovery Hour: Frogs and Salamanders. Young children ages 3-6 and their parents are invited to join refuge staff as we discover different things about local wildlife and the places they live. Be ready to be crafty, have fun, and bring your imagination as we explore the natural world around us.

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/

■ Help Create a Natural Play Area. 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 on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. Participants can also take some natural play ideas home to their own “Back 40.” This program is the very beginning of an evolving space for free nature play at Northfield Mountain that 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. Registered participants will receive a clothing and gear list. Trail snacks provided. This free event is for ages 4 and older. Register at 1-800-859-2960.

∎ Jurassic Roadshow “Home Team” 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 on Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. 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 a.m. to 2 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. This free event is appropriate for all ages. Barton Cove is located on Route 2 in Gill. No registration is required, but if you have any questions, please call Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 1-800-859-2960.

∎ Fitness Hike on the New England National Scenic Trail. 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. On Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center staff will lead the hike which 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. This free event is for ages 12 and older. Register by calling Northfield Mountain at 1-800-859-2960.

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