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Trail Mix: Get outside and enjoy nature!

Connecticut River celebration

On Sunday, July 21, the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) is hosting its annual meeting and “Celebration of Rowing on a Cleaner River.” The event will celebrate both the rebirth of rowing programs along the river and the cities and towns that have made significant investments to clean up the river. The celebration will be held at the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club, North Riverfront Park, 121 West Street, Springfield. Three local rowing organizations – Northampton Community Rowing, Holyoke Rows and Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club – are partnering with CRWC to offer rowing events and field trips.

The celebration will feature a number of opportunities for participants to get on the river, learn more about the river in the region and find out what local cities and towns have done to clean up the river.

Events include: A rowing or paddling trip on the Connecticut River from Holyoke to Springfield from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; kayaking, biking, and learn-to-row field trips departing from the Riverfront Club in Springfield from 12:30 to 2 p.m.; and a celebration along the river and the presentation of the Bud Foster award for outstanding devotion, service and commitment to the river from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

For more information and event registration available, visit www.ctriver.org/news-events/annual-meeting or call 413-772-2020.

CRWC advocates for the entire, four-state Connecticut River watershed, working to protect water—the river, its tributaries, lakes, fish—and the land, plants, and creatures connected to that water to keep them safe now and for future generations. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020 x201.

Great Falls Discovery Center

2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, 413-863-3676, www.greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org. Open to the public 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: Photography by David Albeck, July 1 to 31.

∎ Sunday, July 21, 28, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Canal-Side Nature and History Walk. Meet outside the main entrance at 8:30 am. We will leisurely explore level, paved bike trails to learn about plants, animals, and mill town history. Your interests will determine our focus — perhaps birds, fish, wildflowers or industrial history. Bring water, bug repellant and sun screen.

∎ Sunday, July 21, 28, 1 to 3 p.m. Habitat Highlights Museum Tours. On demand, every half hour on Sundays, just ask for a tour at the front desk. Explore the center’s Connecticut River watershed dioramas in a guided tour of the special habitats along the river. Each habitat plays a vital role in creating a home or rest stop for the thousands of animals and plants that depend on the watershed.

∎ Monday, July 22, 29, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Junior rangers is a four-part nature education workshop for young naturalists ages 8 to 11. Children with a parent or guardian should meet at the Discovery Center lobby at 10:30 a.m., and each day we will explore themes related to the Connecticut River watershed. Junior Ranger programs are free and open to all, but space is limited so call 413-863-3221 to register.

∎ Tuesday, July 23, 30, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kidleidoscope is a kid-friendly, environmental experience for young children. Each topic is based on the theme “we share our home” and includes a story, interactive games and craft activities to help children explore the natural world. For ages from 3 to 6 years, accompanied by an adult.

∎ Thursday, July 18, 25, and Aug. 1, 10:30 a.m. to noon. Junior Refuge Explorers is a four-part nature investigation for children ages 8 to 11. Each week, there will be hands-on explorations, games, and activities that will allow children to actively learn about the Connecticut River and the many critters that live in its watershed. Children who complete the program will get official badges identifying them as Junior Refuge Managers. There is a maximum of 10 children so register early at 413-863-3221.

∎ Friday, July 26, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Discovery Hour: Cool Caterpillars. Young children ages 3 to 6 and their parents are invited to join refuge staff. Be ready to be crafty and have fun.

∎ Friday, July 26, 6 p.m. Watershed History: Brickyards. Local industrial-era mills, businesses, tenements and homes were built from the ground up — quite literally from the clay found on the banks of the Connecticut River right here in town. Come learn about local brick manufacturing and architectural styles and designs with brick in Turners Falls.

∎ Saturday, July 27 (all day) Upper Valley Music Festival. We are one of several venues in Turners Falls for this great yearly all day music festival that raises money for cancer research and features great talent. www.uppervalleymusicfest.com

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/

■ Simple Machines: Water Turbines with Rachel Roberts. Saturday, July 20. This event has been cancelled.

■ Wildlife on Board the Quinnetukut ll. On Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., bring your binoculars and interest in wildlife on board the Quinnetukut Riverboat for this special cruise. Ralph Taylor, Mass Wildlife’s Connecticut Valley district manager, will be on board to answer questions and share an update on the status of bald eagles and other species of interest. How is the river important as a migratory corridor for waterfowl and fish? What kinds of fish inhabit this stretch of the river? What is happening to wildlife populations both in the river and along its shores? Learn about the success of the Bald Eagle Restoration Project, evident in restored breeding populations along the river, in Massachusetts and in surrounding states. Taylor will also give an update on populations of Connecticut Valley residents such as black bear, deer and moose. Bring your questions and sign up for this special cruise along a scenic six-mile stretch of the Connecticut, as we explore the French King Gorge, the “narrows” and Barton Cove. Free with a Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center Quinnetukut ll Riverboat ticket ($6 child, $12 adult, $11 senior).

■ Sunset Moonrise Paddle. On Sunday, July 21, from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m., enjoy an evening paddle with Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s naturalist Kim Noyes as we explore Barton Cove and the narrows of the Connecticut River. We’ll watch the moon rise and the sun set accompanied by the sounds of the river at twilight. The program, appropriate for both beginning and experienced paddlers, will include moon lore, wildlife sightings and river stories from days gone by. Bring dinner or snacks to eat and a flashlight. Single and tandem kayak rentals available. For ages 16 and older. Free with own kayak, $25 with rental.

∎ Dynamite, Whiskey & Wood; Logging Tales on Board the Quinnetukut, Saturday, August 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., join Ed and Libby Klekowski on board Northfield Mountain’s Quinnetukut Riverboat for stories of days gone by. During this cruise they will bring the forgotten history of the log drives back to life. From the North Woods in Canada, men drove over a quarter of a million logs 300 miles downriver to saw mills in Massachusetts. These were the longest log drives in America and tall tales will add color to this slice of American life. Hear about log jams that took over two years to free up as we travel the same stretch of river. Professor Klekowski, a diver and retired Biology Professor from UMass-Amherst, is an expert on the historical, geological and biological resources of the 410 mile long Connecticut River. For ages 16 and older. Quinnetukut Riverboat Ticket ($12 adult. $11 senior) Special WGBY package includes Ct. River Log Drive DVD $24 adult, $23 senior).

∎ Song Swap and Stories around the Campfire, Saturday, August 10, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Don’t miss a family-friendly night of silliness and song around the campfire with toasted marshmallows at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. Naturalist Beth Bazler fell in love with camp songs as a child in Ohio and expanded her repertoire via a connection to Camp Takodah in Southern New Hampshire. Learn her favorites and bring your own songs to share be they serious, funny or even a bit gory. Beth will also share Tajar Tales, written and first told at camps in the Colorado Rockies in 1925 by Jane Shaw Ward. This free event is for ages 5 and older. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain at 1-800-859-2960.

∎ Woolly Bully and Citizen Science, Thursday, August 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. What impact is the tiny insect, known as the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA), having on our forests? Join Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center staff to learn about this invasive insect and the protocols of data collection and monitoring as we visit a research plot and take sample data. This program will take place both indoors and outdoors, includes a short walk and is great for home school audiences as well as adults and families interested in natural history and citizen science volunteering opportunities. This free event is for ages 7 and older. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain at 1-800-859-2960.

∎ Sunset on the Mountain, Friday, August 30th from 6 to 9 p.m., celebrate the end of summer with a hike to a sunset scenic view. Spend an evening hiking to the sounds of crickets and katydids and enjoying late summer wildflowers. Feast on a picnic supper (bring-your-own) on a rocky ledge while enjoying the sunset and beautiful views. Adventure seeking participants in moderate condition, able to walk three miles and comfortable with a small amount of elevation gain will be a good fit for this hike. Wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes that can get wet or muddy and bring a trail picnic, water and flashlight. Directions to nearby hike meeting location will be shared with registered participants. This free event is for ages 9 and older. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain at 1-800-859-2960.

HOLYOKE RANGE STATE PARK

1500 West Street, Amherst. 413-253-2883. These programs are sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and are free and open to the public.

∎ Friday July 26, 10 a.m. History Hike: Trolley Trail. Join a park interpreter for a hike along the old trolley bed and learn more about the unique role of the trolley in recreation and commerce in the early decades of the 20th century. Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Hike is approximately two miles over mostly flat terrain. Bring plenty of water and insect repellant.

∎ Saturday, July 27, 10:30 a.m. Beginning birding. We will learn about binoculars, bird guides and bird lists as we go out and test our newly acquired skills.

∎ Saturday, July 27, 1 p.m. Let’s explore nature. This family geared program will explore different topics of nature every week. This week’s program is titled “Tools and Tasks”. Every animal and plant has some type of adaptation to help it do it’s tasks. Through props and pictures visitors will try to determine which tool connects with each pictured animal.

∎ Saturday, July 27, 2 p.m. Geology Hike. Take a guided hike to the summit of Bare Mountain, stopping along the way to examine the unique geology of the Holyoke Range and to talk about how the range formed and changed over the past 200 million years. The hike is around one mile round-trip over moderately-strenuous rocky terrain, and departs from the Notch Visitors Center. Participants should bring appropriate footwear and plenty of water.

∎ Sunday July 28, 11 a.m. Wildlife Program: Owls. Learn about local owls. This program will talk about the owl species that inhabit the region, their biology and how to identify them by their calls. Then play detective and dissect an owl pellet to determine what the owl ate.

∎ Sunday, July 28, 2:00 p.m. Family Hike: Nature Bingo. This program will bring families into the forest for a hike and bingo game. Families will be given bingo sheets with objects and wildlife they may see on their hike. The Park Interpreter will take families on a guided hike as they keep their eyes open for the objects on their sheet and race to be the first to get 5 in a row.

∎ Monday July 29, 11 a.m. Kidleidescope: Chipmunks. Introduce your child to nature at this weekly program designed for parents or caregivers and 3 to 6 year old children. The Kidleidoscope Program explores a new theme each week through an outdoor activity and an art project.

∎ Monday, July 29, 2 p.m. Explorer’s Club. Children ages 10 to 12 can increase their knowledge of natural history by attending this weekly hiking program. We will take a closer look at nature as we hike the different trails of the Holyoke Range.

∎ Tuesday, July 30, 10:30 a.m. Nature Kids. Through games, crafts and exploration children ages 5 to 6 can learn about nature and work towards a nature certificate.

∎ Tuesday, July 30, 1 p.m. Senior Hike. Everyone age 55 and older is welcome to join us on this easy paced/easy terrain hike. Along the way we will explore the wonders of nature. Bring water and bug spray. This program will have a duration of one hour.

∎ Thursday, August 1, 11 a.m. Junior Ranger. Children will explore the park and learn natural history to become a Junior Ranger. Appropriate for children ages 9 to 12. Wear sturdy footwear and bring insect repellent, sun block and plenty of water. Meet at the Visitor Center. There is no charge for this program. Children must complete three of the four weeks to receive their Junior Ranger patch.

∎ Thursday, August 1, 2 p.m. Nature Walk: Our Changing Forests. Take a guided walk through the woods. Learn to identify common trees at Holyoke Range State Park by their leaves and bark, and learn about how forests in Massachusetts have changed since European colonization and how they might change into the future. This program is intended for those budding naturalists interested in the basics of tree identification and in the history of forests in Massachusetts. Participants should bring insect repellant and plenty of water.

∎ Friday, August 2, 2 p.m. Geology Hike. Take a guided hike to the summit of Bare Mountain, stopping along the way to examine the unique geology of the Holyoke Range and to talk about how the range formed and changed over the past 200 million years. The hike is around 1 mile round-trip over moderately-strenuous rocky terrain, and departs from the Notch Visitors Center. Participants should bring appropriate footwear and plenty of water.

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