Whether young or young at heart, everyone can find something at Damariscotta River Association this winter. Programs include a scientific drawing workshop with David Wheeler, guided hikes, the Winter Fest at Round Top Farms, and a winter gear show-and-tell with Maine Sport Outfitters.
Many programs are free. For all those with a fee, scholarships are available. Programs meet at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm at 110 Belvedere Road in Damariscotta unless otherwise noted. Call DRA at 563-1393 to register except where online registration is required.
Programs for all ages
Winter Walks and Talks with a Naturalist: This winter walk series with DRA Education Director Sarah Gladu is open to all and free of charge. Snowshoes or ice cleats may be appropriate, depending on conditions. Register by 3 p.m. the day before the walk so DRA can contact registrants to reschedule if the weather is not safe for driving. Directions to walk locations can be found at damariscottariver.org/events. Walk times, topics, and locations are as follows:
Saturday, Jan. 6 from 1-3 p.m. at DRA’s Great Salt Bay Farm, 110 Belvedere Road in Damariscotta – “Wildlife in Winter”
• Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Walpole Woods, Route 129 in South Bristol – “Forests through Time”
• Saturday, Feb. 3 from 1-3 p.m. at Dodge Point, River Road in Newcastle – “Trees in Winter”
• Wednesday, Feb. 14 from 9:30-11 a.m. at Marsh River Bog, Route 1 in Newcastle – “Birds in Winter”
• Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 9:30-11 a.m. at NORGAL Preserve, Austin Road in Bristol – “Animal Tracks”
Scientific Drawing with David Wheeler of Learning Lab, Harpswell — Saturday, Jan. 6, 3:30-6:30 p.m.:
David Wheeler offers instructional sessions in close observation drawing – with tools, techniques, instruments, microscopic analysis, and precision measuring. Open to ages 12 and up, this workshop is for beginners, student, and practicing professionals alike. For more about Learning Lab, go to oceancoastsciencedrawing.com. To help with planning, register by end of day on Wednesday, Jan. 3. The fee is $30, or $20 for DRA members.
How to Enjoy Winter Camping, in partnership with Maine Sport Outfitters of Rockport – Saturday, January 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
Do you know how to safely use snow as insulation, or when to invert your water bottle? Are you familiar with the multitude of sleeping pad options and other gear choices? Join DRA Naturalist Sarah Gladu and a representative from Maine Sport Outfitters for a winter gear show-and-tell, hike, and hands-on campsite set-up and cooking class. Come prepared to be outside most of the day. To help with planning, register by Tuesday, Jan. 16. The fee for this program is $25, or $20 for DRA members. Bring lunch and personal water bottles.
Edible Native Plants with Russ Cohen – Saturday, Jan. 27, 4-6 p.m.:
Join Russ Cohen, expert forager and author of “Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten,” for a slide show on edible native wild plants found in the Damariscotta region. Cohen will focus on species that participants can grow on their own property. A follow-up wild-edibles field trip with Cohen will take place in June. To learn more about Cohen, go to users.rcn.com/eatwild/bio.htm. To help with planning, register by Wednesday, Jan. 31. The course is free of charge.
‘Smog of the Sea’ film and panel discussion at Lincoln Theater, Damariscotta – Tuesday, Jan. 30, 6-8 p.m.:
The stunning cinematography of “The Smog of the Sea” chronicles a 1-week journey through the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea with marine scientist Marcus Eriksen, renowned surfers Keith and Dan Malloy, musician Jack Johnson, spearfisher-woman Kimi Werner, and bodysurfer Mark Cunningham. Their mission: evaluate the presence of plastics in the world’s oceans. Tickets are free but required, and available at damariscottariver.org.
Hiking and Camping with Kids – Eliminate the Whine! Saturday, Feb. 17, 4-5:30 p.m.:
This workshop is for parents. Get ready for a summer of hiking and camping with the kids – without the whine. With 25 years of experience taking kids outdoors, DRA Education Director Sarah Gladu can help minimize complaints from the kids with preparation tips, on-the-trail games, gear ideas, and some natural history to enrich the experience for the whole family. Registration is required by Friday, Feb. 16. Free program.
Special program: Winter Fest – Sunday, Feb. 18 from noon-3:00 p.m.:
Sledding, skating, an animal-tracks craft, a sled dog demonstration, and roasting marshmallows by the campfire. The warming hut will be open, with hot dogs available for a suggested $1 donation, and free hot cocoa. Rain or no-snow date: Sunday, Feb. 25. Check the DRA Facebook page for weather cancelations. Free.
Programs for children
Junior naturalist after-school program – for kids ages 6-11:
This program takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:15-5 p.m., for one-month sessions. Explore the woods, fields, and wetlands with a naturalist. Play games inspired by natural themes. Art, nature journaling, and other activities are incorporated into each program. DRA Great Salt Bay Farm is on bus routes from local elementary schools and close to Route 1. Registration for this program can only be done online at damariscottariver.org.
January’s theme is “Wildlife in Winter”: search for animal dens, build shelters, and learn about animal signs. For February’s “Winter Wonderland” session, go snowshoeing, do some dog-sledding, and explore a winter wonderland. In March, the theme is “Terrific Trees.” Kids will tap maple trees and try the sap, explore the forest, and do art projects. The monthly fee is $55, or $50 for members at the Mussel level or above.
Frogs and Pollywogs: For preschoolers ages 2-5 and their parents/guardians. These classes take place from 10-11 a.m. on the third Friday of each month. A hike is always included. Prepay for five classes and get a sixth class free.
On Jan. 19, learn all about animals’ tracks and signs. The Feb. 16 class will be a “Winter Wonderland” with dog-sledding and snow-shelter building. On March 16, kids will tap a tree, taste some sap, learn about trees and eat pancakes. The fee for each class is $3 per preschool-age child. Call DRA to register.
Wild Encounters: A regular program for home-school families and groups ages 5 and up (younger kids may come). Classes are held from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Monday of each month. A hike and nature journaling are included in every class. Prepay for five classes and get a sixth class free.
On Jan. 22, learn about beavers and muskrats. Explore the wetlands in winter and learn about these big rodents. The Feb. 26 class, “Winter Wonderland,” will include dog-sledding and snow-shelter building. The fee for each class is $5 per eligible child. Call DRA to register.
Winter vacation and mini day camps (ages 6-11):
Learn all about Maine’s wildlife in winter, play games, explore forests and fields, go sledding, and more. Registration for these mini camps is online only at damariscottariver.org.
Feb. 20 – 23 (Tuesday-Friday – AOS 93 schools closed), 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — “Winter Wonderland”: With dog-sledding, quinzhee (winter shelter) building, and animal tracks. Fee: $180, or $160 for DRA members at Mussel level and above.
March 16 (Friday – AOS 93 schools closed), 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – “Swing into Spring”: Tap a tree, make maple sugar, and explore the woods. Fee: $45, or $40 for DRA members at Mussel level and above.
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.
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 the many other DRA properties throughout the region. For more information, call 563-1393, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to damariscottariver.org.