Trail Mix: Nature activites in our area

Millers River Blue Trail Opening Day Saturday

The Millers River Watershed Council invites all trail enthusiasts and relaxed paddlers for a run from Athol to Orange on Satruday, May 18, from 1 to 5 p.m. The group will check Blue Trail signage, pick up debris, check paddle stop locations and soak up the beauty of this homegrown water trail. Paddlers will spot cars at Orange Riverfront Park at 12:30, shuttle to Athol and then head downstream. Bring your own boat and work gloves. Participants are requested to signup by contacting Keith Davies, MRWC, MassLIFT-AmeriCorps project outreach coordinator at watershed@millersriver.net or 978-248-9491.

Northfield hike Sunday, May 19

NORTHFIELD — The Sunday Series of Northfield Area Hikes, sponsored by the Northfield Trails Association and the Northfield Open Space Committee, continues Sunday, May 19. Visit some of the “special places” in the Northfield area. Hikers will meet behind the Northfield Town Hall at 1 p.m. for car pooling to the hike trailhead and return by 3 p.m. School-age children are welcome but please leave the family dog at home. For cancellation or more information, call Sam Richardson at 413-498-5931

Forbes Library Community Bird Walks in May

NORTHAMPTON — Come along during the height of the spring bird migration for the Sunday morning bird walks, May 19 and 26, at 9 a.m. Meet at the front door to Forbes Library, 20 West St., and walk from there at a leisurely pace around the Smith Campus and down to Paradise Pond. You can look for all the species you can find, everything from black-capped chickadees to blackburnian warblers. Also, listen to bird calls and learn how to identify some birds by their songs.

Bring binoculars and your favorite field guide if you have them. Dress for the weather; it can still be cold on a May morning. Rain cancels, but if it is just drizzling we will still go. Each walk will be led by a different leader who is a seasoned birder.

Free and open to the public.

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.

■Discovery Hour: Leaf out of Winter and Discover Trees, May 24 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. 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.

■Kidleidoscope! May 28, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kidleidoscope is 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.

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 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.

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/

∎ 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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