In this outdoor survival skills program, we will venture out onto the Ipswich River. Learn the In this outdoor survival skills program, older children will learn the basics of the ancient outdoor skill of fire-building. Participants will learn important safety steps, collect their own firewood, try different methods of fire-starting, and end with a roaring campfire and s'mores. No experience is necessary - just a willingness to learn and a respect for working with fire.
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.
There's a walk in the woods... and then there's a walk in the woods with a naturalist. Bring your friends for a pre-Thanksgiving guided walk to discover the world of nature as plants and animals prepare for winter. Sanctuary naturalists will lead small groups as they venture out to Averill's Island, to find some of the sanctuary’s oldest trees. We will stop along the way to hear stories of those who lived on the land before us and learn more about the fascinating cultural history of the sanctuary. Look for animal signs as we hike through the woodlands and marshes, taking in the beauty of the muted colors of late autumn. Walks are approximately 2 hours and 3 miles in length.
Before you settle in for the long winter ahead, bring your family to unplug, stretch your legs, and give thanks for the great outdoors and all its beauty. Journey back in time with a Mass Audubon naturalist as your guide as we look for signs from long ago of the people and wildlife who once lived here, and some who still do. You will have a chance to see and touch old tools and artifacts, learn the names and stories of the towering trees that reach overhead, and search for the wild creatures that rustle in the leaves around us in these special places. This hike is approximately 1.5 hours long, set at a leisurely pace, with stops to explore.
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. Mass Audubon's Scott Santino from Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary will explain winter birds and then lead a workshop to build bird feeders.
Stretching high overhead at this time of the year once the sun has fully set and darkness has settled in, from vantage points far removed from light-polluted city skies, is the starry river we call the Milky Way. In the indoor portion of this evening's program, we will go on a photographic tour of the celestial jewels strewn within its starry fields that are best viewed through a telescope. Such so-called deep sky objects include star clusters, stellar nurseries, supernova remnants, and more. Presented by physicist Gary Meehan
Come enjoy an early evening excursion at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield! During the autumn months, thousands of migratory waterfowl fly directly over the sanctuary as they travel from their summer breeding grounds in the north to their winter homes in the south. Each night, hundreds of ducks drop into Bunker Meadows to rest and refuel for their journey. We will hike down to Bunker Meadows and climb the observation tower to observe the magnificent spectacle of ducks coming in to roost. Learn to identify different species, use counters to keep track of numbers, hear the sounds of ducks settling in for the night, and listen for the call of a great horned owl across the marsh. This is an evening not to be missed.
Mid-October is an excellent time to take in the spectacular and stunning colors provided by the Ipswich River. The riverside silver maples will be showing off their yellow-gold, while the cattails and other marsh grasses will provide beautiful greens and browns, all set against the winding blues and blacks of the river. Have your family join us for a few hours as we explore this pristine habitat via a gentle paddle in canoes. With a little luck we might encounter a beaver, otter, or muskrat as well!
At sundown this Halloween weekend, Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary will be transformed into a magical forest with creatures that can talk! Take a guided walk along our Halloween trail, home to some interesting creatures that come out just for Halloween. Learn firsthand about the creatures of the night and some history and myths that surround this spooky holiday.
Friday, November 16
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