Trail Mix: nature activities
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.
∎ Great Hall Art Display: landscape and nature photography by Tom Stratford. Through Jan. 31.
∎ Saturday, Feb. 1, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Winter and Spring Pre-school Series: Groundhog Weather School. Will the groundhog see his shadow this year? How long until Spring? Join Janel Nockleby for stories, crafts, and activities to find out more about this hibernating mammal and its mysterious forecasts. For ages 3 to 6 with a parent or guardian. Siblings and friends welcome.
∎ Saturday, Feb. 8, 1 to 3 p.m. Opening Reception for Children of the Swift River Valley exhibit. Family-friendly exhibit of historic photos focusing on the children of the Swift River Valley before it was flooded. This exhibit is presented by the Swift River Valley Historical Society and will be open Fridays and Saturdays through the end of March.
∎ Friday, Feb. 14, 7 to 9 p.m. Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents: Fire Pond. Eveline MacDougall and Douglas Reid present a wide variety of music: old-time fiddle tunes, swing, roots music, Celtic, Eastern European, folk, gospel, and originals. The Valentine’s Evening show at the Discovery Center will feature many types of love songs (love for the earth, love for each other, good jokes, family, chocolate, & community). Doors open at 6:30 p.m., concert begins at 7 p.m.. Refreshments available. Museum and museum store open at intermission. Donations ($6 to $12 suggested) help the Friends support free programming at the center.
∎ Saturday, Feb. 15, 1 to 2 p.m. Watershed Investigators: Bears. It’s the time of year when bear cubs are being born in their dens and adult bears are thinking about coming out of hibernation. Come learn all about bears and what they have been doing all winter. “Watershed Investigators” is a kid-oriented program that focuses on hands-on discovery of local nature. Join refuge staff as we explore different ways to look at the natural world around us. Methods of discovery may include crafts, games, stories, and exploration. This program is geared towards grades 2 to 5, but everyone is welcome.
∎ Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 to 9 p.m. Greenfield Garden Club Presents: The Smith College Botanic Garden: Past, Present and Future. This evening will feature two guest speakers. First, Cynthia Boettner of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish & Wildlife Refuge will present an update on new invasive species to the Franklin County area and the things that can be done to prevent their spread. Following her, Michael Marcotrigiano, professor of biological sciences and director of the Botanic Garden at Smith College in Northampton, will give a talk highlighting the past, present and future of the Smith College Botanic Garden. Smith College contains over 8,000 taxa of plants that are housed within its outdoor gardens, glass houses, and Arboretum.
∎ Saturday, Feb. 22, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Winter and Spring Pre-school Series: Where Are All the Animals Hiding? Winter is a time for staying snug and warm for animals, too. Join Janel Nockleby to investigate the secret hidden animal homes of the season through stories, crafts, and activities. For ages 3 to 6 with a parent or guardian. Siblings and friends welcome.
99 Millers Falls Road (Route 63), Northfield. 413-659-3714 or 800-859-2960. Owned and operated by FirstLight Power Resources. www.firstlightpower.com/
∎ Lower Mountain Snowshoe Ramble; On the Edge with Wildlife. Saturday, Feb. 1, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Perfect for people who are just learning to snowshoe or establishing fitness routines; participants who are on the edge of learning new skills will investigate the edges of habitats. These places where fields meet wetlands and stream corridors wind through woodlands, are often wildlife hotspots and the group will attempt to discover which local animals use them and why. This shorter distance, lower-elevation ramble will be the perfect introduction to both snowshoeing and animal tracking. Bring water and snacks, wear wind pants or gaiters and dress in warm layers that can be shed as we get moving. Warm footwear is essential. All levels of experience are welcome. This event is free, $18 with snowshoe rentals and is appropriate for ages 9 and older. Please register by calling 800-859-2960.
∎ Upper Mountain Snowshoe Ramble; Porcupines and Stone Quarries. Saturday, Feb. 1, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Explore animal tracks, porcupine signs and an abandoned 19th-century stone quarry. Learn tips on snowshoeing technique, equipment and clothing. A cup of hot cocoa by a fire will round out the afternoon. This moderately strenuous hike is approximately 2½ miles with an elevation gain of 400 feet. Bring water, snacks, wear wind pants or gaiters and dress in warm layers that can be shed. Warm footwear is essential. All levels of experience are welcome. For ages 12 and older. The event is free, $18 with snowshoe rentals. Please register by calling 800-859-2960.
∎ Valentine’s Day Full Moon Snowshoe. Friday, Feb. 14, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. On this adventure for lovers of the natural world, look for signs of local wildlife and learn which of them are in a mating mood. There will be piping hot cup of cocoa after the walk. Inspiring quotes, outdoor exercise and local fare. No previous snowshoeing experience is necessary. Bring water, wear wind pants or gaiters if you have them and dress in warm layers that can be shed. In case of no snow, a moonlit hike will be offered. The fee is $5 or $21 with snowshoe rentals and is appropriate for ages 16 and older. Please register by calling 800-859-2960.
∎ Wildlife Tracking; Predators, Patterns and Prints. Join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center naturalist Kim Noyes on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. for Wildlife Tracking. Learn how to identify the tracks left behind by local wildlife. The stories they leave in the snow can offer fascinating glimpses into their mysterious lives. Perhaps we’ll find signs of fox and porcupine, or the elusive and secretive fisher? This outdoor program will include an introduction to common track patterns and helpful tips for observing prints as well as the opportunity to follow tracks and sign to learn more about an animal’s behavior. We’ll explore the trails, field edges and forests as we search for clues and discover which animals are active in winter. Participants should be in moderate shape and the program will include some off-trail tracking. If we are open for skiing, snowshoes are required. This event is for ages 12 and older and is free, $16 with snowshoe rentals. Please register by calling 800-859-2960.