Trail Mix: outdoor activities in our area

Athol Bird and Nature Club

∎ 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 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: November, “Changing Coastlines, Oil Paintings by Paula Tessier”; December, “Landscape and Nature Photography” by Tom Stratford.

∎ Friday, Nov. 8, 7 to 9 p.m., Great Falls Coffeehouse Presents: The Ferne Bork-Dan Tinen-Bruce Kahn Trio, which uses three voices, guitar and keyboard in performing a range of music including standard compositions to weave a beautiful tapestry of song. Their music expresses the richness of human experience and the complexity of our relationship with one another and the planet. 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 Great Falls Discovery Center.

∎ Saturday, Nov. 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Nolumbecka project will be sponsoring a Beaver Moon Gathering in the Great Hall. A variety of Native American crafts will be offered for sale. Other events include music by Native American flute player Barry Higgins, Strong Oak and the Visioning B.E.A.R. Drum Singers, Medicine Mammals Singers and songwriter-guitarist Joe Graveline. Wolf Tree Programs will offer stone tool making and primitive fire-making demonstrations and there will also be children’s activities, refreshments and a traditional gardens exhibit. A raffle drawing will be held at 2 p.m. for items that will include jewelry, a moose hide frame drum and other unique gifts.

∎ Friday, Nov. 22, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Discovery Hour: Turkeys! 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, be crafty, and bring your imagination as we explore the natural world around us.

∎ Saturday, Nov. 23, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Watershed Investigators: Beavers! Ever wonder what it would be like to be a beaver? Come experience life as a beaver, learn about these amazing engineers of nature and try your hand at building a beaver dam! Please wear clothing that can get dirty. This program is geared toward grades 2 to 5, but everyone is welcome.

∎ Friday, Nov. 29, center closed

∎ Saturday, Dec. 14, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Watershed Investigators: Winter Birds.What birds do we see in our back yards in the winter? Join us as we go on a pretend birding experience, learn how to identify local winter birds, and make our own bird feeders to attract some feathered friends. This program is geared towards grades 2 to 5, but everyone is welcome.

∎ Friday, Dec. 27, center closed.

∎ Saturday, Dec. 28, center closed.

Northfield Mountain

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

■ “Winter World.” Project WILD and Aquatic WILD are national award winning environmental education programs that explore both aquatic and terrestrial life and habitats. This professional development workshop focuses on wildlife in winter and takes place at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center, on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Teachers, scout leaders, camp counselors and other educators will benefit from this introduction to the Project WILD and Aquatic WILD curriculum materials, activities and strategies, say organizers. Through hands on lessons, educators will gain experience needed to work with elementary and middle school students and integrate the materials into their teaching. The cost of the program includes both comprehensive guides which focus on wildlife and habitats and integrates science, language arts, math, social studies and art. Co-sponsored with Massachusetts Audubon and taught by Arcadia’s Patti Steinman and Northfield Mountain’s Kim Noyes, the workshop will be held both indoors and outside, so please dress for the weather. Participants will receive 7 hours towards PDPs. The fee is $30 and includes two activity guides. Please register by calling Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center at 800-859-2960 or email

■ Highlights of Archaeology. We drive by forests and fields every day that may have once held farms, taverns, or Native American villages, all of which could now be prime archaeological sites. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., University of Massachusetts archaeologist and lecturer in anthropology Eric Johnson will share images and tales of archaeological finds from across Massachusetts, including indigenous people’s rock shelters and villages, colonial backyards and taverns, even the maintenance garage for an early mass-transit company. While the stories shared are from other parts of the Commonwealth, many of the same land uses occurred in Franklin County, so artifacts shown and lessons learned throughout more than 10,000 years of archaeological history could easily be applied in our local area. Participants may bring artifacts for possible identification by Johnson. Johnson has worked in the field of archaeology for 30 years, including excavating sites, working in a laboratory and leading field schools for the University of Massachusetts. Sites shared in this lecture relate to publications he created for the MA Historical Commission website interpreting a variety of archeological sites.

This free event is appropriate for ages 10 and older. Register by calling Northfield Mountain at 1-800-859-2960.

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