With opportunities to get outdoors for guided hikes, learn a new craft, or enjoy a fun family event, the Damariscotta River Association has winter activities for everyone. In addition to those listed below, there are a number of programs for children, including monthly homeschool and preschool programs. A full calendar of events can be found at damariscottariver.org/events.
Animal Tracks and Signs Hike — Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, 2-4 p.m., at NORGAL Preserve; fee is $5 (DRA members free): Learn to tell the difference between the tracks of a domestic dog and a coyote or fox. Join DRA Education Director Sarah Gladu to look for signs of coyote, fox, snowshoe hare, turkeys, and a variety of rodents. Learn about the winter habits of these animals through firsthand observation. Dogs are usually welcome at NORGAL Preserve, but the DRA asks that attendees please leave them home for this guided hike. Help the DRA with program planning by registering by Saturday, Jan. 7.
Full Moon Owl Walk — Thursday, Jan. 12, 5-7 p.m., at Dodge Point; fee is $5 (members free): Participants can enjoy the magic of a moonlit walk in the woods while looking for owls and other night creatures. Guiding this walk will be Midcoast Audubon Board Member Dennis McKenna and DRA Education Director Sarah Gladu. Nonskid treads are recommended. Help the DRA with program planning by registering by Wednesday, Jan. 11.
Trees to Tools: Three woodworking workshops with Maine Coast Craft School: A new class offering a unique opportunity to learn the basics of knife safety and foundational skills needed for many traditional crafts and woodworking projects. See full details about the classes and instructor Kenneth Kortemeier at damariscottariver.org/events. Knives will be available to borrow or to purchase from the instructor for $23. For those who wish to purchase their tool ahead of time, a recommendation regarding which carving knife to purchase will be sent to all registered students. For safety reasons, class sizes are limited to five students per class, and registration is required.
1. Chopstick Carving Workshop — Thursday, Jan. 19, 6-9 p.m., at the DRA’s Great Salt Bay Heritage Center, 110 Belvedere Road, Damariscotta; free: This class will focus on safe knife handling and the foundations of Swedish-style carving. Students will be carving riven straight-grained hardwood into chopsticks. All tools and materials will be provided.
2. Coperthwaite-Style Walking Stick Carving Workshop — Thursday, Jan. 26, 6-9 p.m. at the DRA’s Great Salt Bay Heritage Center; fee is $30 for materials: An evening of carving walking sticks under the tutelage of instructor Kortemeier. The walking stick one takes home can be used on the trails or, with an addition of a sharp metal point, as support on icy surfaces. Participants will learn to safely use a Swedish-style “sloyd” carving knife to shape both ends of their straight-grained hardwood walking stick. All tools and materials will be provided.
3. Woodcarving Workshop Series — Thursdays, Feb. 2, 9, and 16, 6-9 p.m., at the DRA’s Great Salt Bay Heritage Center; fee is $80 (knife not included): Learn to carve with traditional Scandinavian tools and techniques. Each night features a new project that builds upon previously learned skills while introducing new techniques. The first class will be an introduction to knife safety when participants will carve custom chopsticks to take home; in the second class, participants will carve Japanese Shinto-inspired fox-head sculptures; and the third class will be an introduction to sculptural ax work during which participants will carve Swedish-style butter spreaders.
Winter Fest – Sunday, Feb. 5, noon-3 p.m., at the DRA’s Round Top Farm, 3 Round Top Lane, Damariscotta; free: Bring the family for an afternoon of sledding, skating, an animal-tracks craft, free hot chocolate, a sled-dog demonstration, hot dogs for $1, and a campfire with marshmallows for roasting. The warming hut will be open, and there are skates of all sizes available to borrow. Rain or no-snow date: Sunday, Feb. 12.
The Damariscotta River Association is a nonprofit, membership-supported, and nationally accredited land-trust and conservation organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the Damariscotta region, centered on the Damariscotta River.
The DRA has active programs in the areas of land conservation, stewardship, community education, water-quality monitoring, marine conservation, and cultural preservation.
Visitors are welcome at the Great Salt Bay Heritage Center in Damariscotta as well as at the many other DRA properties throughout the region. For more information call 563-1393, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to damariscottariver.org.