Trail Mix

Time to Learn Your Trees!

The Pioneer Valley Institute is bringing back naturalist Nancy Goodman on Saturday, Oct. 26, for a hike on Mount Tom. Participants will meet Goodman in the parking lot at Lake Bray off the main Route 5 entrance — look for the orange cone — at 10 a.m. for a five-hour walk-and-talk to learn how to identify trees by their barks and other habitat clues. The cost is $5, although current PVI members and children under 13 are admitted at no cost. Please register for this program at Heavy rain cancels the walk.

You may have looked at a tree in winter and wondered what it might be. For nearly half the year, bark provides the best clue to tree identification. Here’s the opportunity to become familiar with the characteristic bark of various trees in different habitats and at different stages of growth. The hike will encompass two different areas checking the changes in the trees. One is a pond/wetland area and the other a dry upland. Bring binoculars, water, very warm clothes in many layers, lunch, warm boots, and the book “Bark” by Michael Wojtech, if you have a copy.

Northfield hikes return Sunday

NORTHFIELD — Sunday hikes in Northfield resume Sunday, Oct. 20, with a walk on the New England Trail (NET). The moderately paced trek will feature views to the east and west. Additional hikes will occur on the third Sunday in November and December.

Hikers will meet behind the Northfield Town Hall at 1 p.m. for car-pooling to the hike trailhead and return by 3:30 p.m. School-age children are welcome but please leave the family dog at home. For cancellation or more information, call Sam Richardson 413-498-5931. Sponsored by the Northfield Trails Association and the Northfield Open Space Committee.

Athol Bird and Nature Club

As the days get shorter, students head back to school and birds — many of them, anyway — head south to warmer climes. This fall, the Athol Bird and Nature Club will offer a number of opportunities to observe both fall migrants and resident birds

∎ Joseph Superchi continues his popular “Second Tuesday” accessible birding sessions from 8 to 10 a.m. Nov. 12, and Dec. 10, 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 birding year will end off with the Christmas Bird Count all day on Dec. 14. This “citizen scientist” project is the longest continuously running compilation of bird data in the area. Contact ABNC president Dave Small at 978-413-1772 or for additional information and to participate in this nationwide annual event.

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 New members are welcome.

Great Falls Discovery Center

2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, 413-863-3676, 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: “Changing Coastlines, Oil Paintings by Paula Tessier,” through Nov. 30.

∎ Friday, Oct. 25, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bats: Young children ages 3 to 6 and their parents are invited to join refuge staff as we explore different things about local wildlife and the places they live. Be ready to have fun and be crafty. Bring your imagination as we explore the natural world around us.

Northfield Mountain

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

∎  Halloween Celebration around the Campfire with Roger Tinknell. On Saturday, Oct. 26, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center’s 35+ year-old celebration of Halloween through songs, stories and dance will be hosted by Roger Tincknell, a locally loved, two-time Parents’ Choice Award-winning recording artist with numerous CDs for children and adults. Imagine a group of young witches, fairies and aliens in the glow of the firelight, spellbound by a slightly spooky story — or waltzing around in small family groups to Tincknell’s beautiful music, and you can get some sense of the delight this evening brings. Wholesome snacks also served. Dress WARMLY, bring blankets to cuddle up with, chairs for seating and flashlights. Program meets behind Visitor Center. In case of poor weather, the program will be held inside the cozy yurt. This is a free family event and is appropriate for all ages. Register by calling 800-859-2960.

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