Trail Mix: How to identify trees by bark and habitat clues Saturday

How to identify trees by bark and habitat clues

On Saturday, March 1, Nancy Goodman will lead a Pioneer Valley Institute walk in the Connecticut River floodplain starting from the parking area at the base of the Sunderland Bridge just west of the river on Route 116. Participants will meet there at 10 a.m. for this four-hour walk and talk. Goodman will have an orange cone on the trunk of her car. The hike is free to PVI members, the cost to the general public is just $5.

Ever looked at a tree in winter and wondered what it might be? This is a continuation of an ongoing series showing trees that can be found in different habitats. This workshop will help you become familiar with the characteristic bark of different trees in different habitats and at different stages of growth. Since for nearly half the year, bark provides the best clue to tree identification, Goodman and the group will be keying out the trees to see what can learned. Since there will be no leaves this is going to be a little more challenging than in the late spring or summer, but a much better way to focus just on the bark.

Bring binoculars, water, very warm clothes in many layers as there will be little walking, lunch, warm waterproof boots, and the book Bark by Michael Wojtech if you have a copy. There are no facilities at this spot so please plan accordingly. There is no rain date. To contact Goodman for more information, email at

Great Falls Discovery Center

2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, 413-863-3676, 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, 19th and 20th century photographs: Children of the Swift River Valley

∎ Friday, March 7, 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. The Greenfield Community College Chorus: Songs of Nature. The GCC Chorus will be under the direction of Margery Heins, with Marilyn Berthelette, accompanist, and soloists drawn from the chorus. The chorus is singing sacred and secular choral music on the theme of nature; planned for the concert are madrigals, rounds, folk songs, and choruses in several languages about mountains, flowers, birds, bugs, the ocean, the earth, and wind! Composers represented will include Josquin des Prez, Orlando di Lasso, Felix Mendelssohn, Antonín Dvorák, Eric Whitacre and Pete Seeger.

∎ Friday, March 14, 7 to 9 p.m., Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents: David Fersh of Charlemont. Fersh will play guitar and sing a wide variety of styles and songs, both original and by others. His repertoire ranges from folk and blues, to country and oldies rock, and also includes jazzy standards, Broadway and movie tunes, and others not easily categorized. He will perform selections from his album “Welcome to Western Massachusetts” and from his upcoming album “Songs of Peace, Protest & Spirit.” John Miller will accompany David on guitar, bass and possibly vocals.

∎ Saturday, March 15, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Winter and Spring Pre-School Series: Animal Babies! Little animals are more than cute. They are adapted to grow into the best grown up animals they can be! Join Janel Nockleby to learn about the lives of young animals through stories, crafts, and activities. For ages 3 to 6 with a parent or guardian. Siblings and friends welcome.

∎ Saturday, March 22, 1 to 2 p.m. Come learn about the mammals of the Connecticut River Watershed. Discover interesting things about bobcats, moose and bears. Watershed Investigators is a kid-oriented program that focuses on hands-on discovery. 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 toward grades 2-5, but everyone is welcome.

Northfield Mountain

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

∎ Tracking Fairies (and Other Things), Saturday, March 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. An afternoon of books, woods adventuring and cocoa Fairy lovers will begin in the Yurt with Ammi-Joan Paquette’s “The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies” and then head to the woods to discover special places that sprites might enjoy. Participants will also learn what other creatures are out and about by investigating animal tracks and sign found along the way. Building fairy houses and returning to the Yurt for a warming cup of cocoa will round out this afternoon for young families. If Northfield Mountain is open for skiing, participants will wear snowshoes. This event is free, $16 per family for snowshoe rentals and is appropriate for ages 4 and older. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 1-800-859-2960.

∎ Last Blast of Winter Family Fun Hike, Saturday, March 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. Explore wooded wetlands, rocky outcrops and streams swollen with snowmelt. Families may find tracks of porcupines, snowshoe hare and coyote. Participants learn how to build a small fire, boil water for cocoa, build snow creatures, balance on logs, throw snowballs and more. If the snow has melted, then muddy fun will be in store. Dress in warm layers that can be shed and bring a water bottle. Cocoa and granola bar snacks will be provided. Directions to the meeting place will be shared with registered participants. For ages 6 and older. The event is free, $16 per family for snowshoe rentals. Pleaseregister by calling Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 1-800-859-2960.

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