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Trail Mix: Nature events 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.

Help needed for trail work on M&M Trail May 4

SHELBURNE FALLS The Shelburne head of the Mahican-Mohawk trail is in need of some serious trail maintenance. Just east of Shelburne Falls, the M&M passes through an abandoned tree farm protected by the Franklin Land Trust. The combination of litter from Route 2, storm damage to the trees and erosion over the past few years has produced some congested areas on this beautiful section of trail. If you can spend a morning cleaning up this accessible and frequently visited community resource, meet at the Route 2 trail head between the Shelburne Falls Aubuchon’s hardware store and the State Police barracks on Saturday, May 4, at 9:30 a.m. Land stewards from the Franklin Land Trust and Deerfield River Watershed Association will lead three different work groups to address some of the maintenance priorities, including clearing deadfalls, removal of invasive vines and collection of trash. Bring: Loppers, small handsaws, gloves water, and a snack. RSVP to Joshua Morse at the Franklin Land Trust by Friday, May 3. jmorsre@franklinlandtrust.org, 413-625-9151, ex. 105

Sunday Hike in Northfield

NORTHFIELD — The Sunday Series Hikes in Northfield continues Sunday, May 5, with a hike to an old quarry in Northfield. Bill Patterson, retired forestry professor, will lead the hike and talk about granite splitting tools and techniques. The hikes are sponsored by the Northfield Trails Association and the Open Space Committee. Meet at 1 p.m. behind the Northfield Town Hall for carpooling to the trailhead. For more information, call Sam or Barbara 413-498-5931.

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.

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. Starting May 19, it will be open 7 days a week 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.

∎ Saturday, May 11, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Watershed Investigators: Bird Songs and Bird Homes. A monthly kid-oriented program that focuses on hands-on discovery of local nature. Methods of discovery may include crafts, games, stories and exploration. This program is geared toward grades 2 to 5, but everyone is welcome.

∎ Sunday, May 19. The Great Falls Discovery Center Opens seven days a week. Visit the center any day of the week between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Future summer hours will include extended Friday and Saturday hours until 8 p.m.

∎ Friday, May 24, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Discovery Hour: Leaf out of Winter and Discover Trees. Young children ages 3 to 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.

∎ Tuesday, May 28, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kidleidoscope, a kid-friendly, environmental experience for very young children. Each topic includes a story, an interactive game, and craft activity to help you and your child understand the natural world around us. Recommended ages from 3-6 years and must be accompanied by an adult.

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/

∎ 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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