In this outdoor survival skills program, older children will learn the basics of the ancient outdoor skill of shelter building. We will look at real examples of animal homes for inspiration, learn some different shelter types and their pros and cons, discuss shelter safety, and make our own full-size shelters on the sanctuary. If there is snow we will make cozy quinzhee huts and if there is no snow we will make leafy lean-to huts. No experience necessary--just a desire to survive and thrive in the wild!
Local Native American tribes call the June full moon the Strawberry Moon because it heralds the time of year to pick wild strawberries. Spend an evening walking in the warm air, listen to the dusk bird songs turn to choruses of spring peepers, and try to catch a glimpse of our resident wildlife as spring ripens into summer. We'll enjoy some strawberries and chocolate as a sweet treat to end the night.
First Day Hikes take place at nearby State Parks nationwide on New Year's Day. The annual hike originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation at state parks. On the North Shore, there will be First Day hikes at Bradley Palmer State Park and Breakheart Reservation.
Drop in at Joppa Flats for an up-close winter wildlife experience! On select weekend and school vacation days, Joppa Flats volunteer Deb La Roy presents demonstrations on bird research and banding. After capturing wild birds in the Joppa backyard, Deb brings them inside to measure, weigh, examine, and then release them. The unique band that Deb places carefully on each bird’s leg connects other bird researchers with the data she’s collected. You’ll learn about your own backyard birds and why they’re here while watching scientific research in action.
Brighten up your yard this winter with a bird feeder handmade by you and your child. Each family will receive a kit containing all the necessary parts to build a feeder that will attract chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, cardinals, and many other birds to your yard. A short slide presentation will highlight the birds that commonly come to feeders. We'll also observe the sanctuary feeders to see which birds are looking for food. Instructors will circulate to provide assistance.
Throughout time, people have come together to celebrate the shortest day of the year and welcome the lengthening days ahead. Sanctuary staff and volunteers invite you to join us for this beautiful candlelit event. Lantern making begins at 4:00 pm, followed by some solstice stories and folklore. With lanterns in hand, we will stroll the trails to light up the night. We will serve hot cider and cocoa at the bonfire on our return.
The Geminid meteor shower is one of the most prolific of the annual meteor showers, rivaling in strength the better-known Perseid meteor shower of mid-August. This year, the Geminids reach maximum activity on the night of December 13, when as many as 120 shooting stars might be seen each hour under clear skies far removed from city lights and completely free of light pollution. We'll meet several days ahead of the peak activity to discuss the general nature of meteor showers, their origins, and the best ways to observe them. Weather permitting, we'll step outside afterward in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the Geminid shower in its early stages. There will also be viewing of the night sky through a large reflector telescope.
Come be a winter wildlife detective and learn the tracks and signs of local animals. During the introduction you will make your own wildlife tracks ID guide and get to look at and touch real wildlife clues. Then we will head out on the trails to follow tracks and signs left by wildlife such as deer, rabbits, coyotes, beavers, and more.
Using teamwork and problem solving, we will explore the woodlands of the sanctuary and imagine that we are explorers stranded in the wilderness. In order to survive, we will need to build shelters, collect firewood, and find food and a water source. We will end by roasting marshmallows over a fire and trying out some pine needle tea.
Find out why Native Americans call the November moon the Beaver Moon. Spend an evening walking in the crisp autumn air searching for fishers and racccoons and scanning the barren treetops for the silhouettes of owls. Smell the wood smoke and hear the crunch of leaves underfoot, reminding us that winter is just around the corner. We'll stop in the wetlands to observe beavers making their final winter preparations. What a perfect way to spend a quiet evening with your family before the rush of the holidays begins.
Tuesday, January 22
Wednesday, January 23
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