Rice Creek Field Station slates winter activities

winter sceneNature hikes, winter bird watching, lessons on tracking, storytelling sessions and an environmental workshop highlight upcoming activities through Rice Creek Field Station.

A series of naturalist-led Rice Creek Rambles—walks that introduce participants to the birds, buds, blooms and creatures of the station—will start at 11 a.m. on five Saturdays: Jan. 21, Feb. 4 and 18, and March 4 and 18. Attendees are asked to call on the morning of the hike to check on trail conditions. A limited number of snowshoes, which will fit most people 10 years of age or older, are available for borrowing on a first-come, first-served basis. An adult must accompany children for this admission-free program.

Four Saturday installments of “Nature’s Story Hour” will share tales of animals, their wild ways and how they relate to humans. While the admission-free sessions—starting at 1 p.m. Feb. 11 and 25 and March 11 and 25—are designed for children in elementary school, all ages are welcome. An adult must accompany children under 7 years of age.

Participants can learn about evidence of wildlife activity through “Tracks and Traces” from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. The session will include an outdoor hike showing how animals’ tracks and trails indicate their winter activities. An adult must accompany children under 7. A limited number of snowshoes will be available. Program fee is $5, with registration required before Jan. 20.

A van tour of Central and Northern New York will showcase wintering birds during “Hawks, Owls and Eagles,” 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. Ornithologist Gerry Smith will lead this trek with lessons on the identification, behavior and ecology of both winged arctic visitors and local birds. Participants should dress for cold weather and pack a lunch and may want to bring binoculars. A fee of $45 includes transportation, with registration required before Jan. 30.

A hands-on educational “Science and Civics” workshop will help teachers and youth leaders learn how to introduce children to environmental lessons. The session, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, will feature outdoor activities if weather permits. Participants will receive a “Science and Civics” activity guide and other environmental education materials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Teachers attending the workshop are encouraged to check with their districts about receiving in-service credit. There is no admission fee for participants, but pre-registration is required before March 20.

Program size is limited for most workshops. For additional information on any program or to make reservations, call 312-7961.

Rice Creek Field Station includes the 26-acre Rice Pond surrounded by 400 acres of land ranging from open fields to forests. The research building, which features exhibits and an indoor viewing gallery, is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trails are open every day for hiking and biking from dawn to dusk.

The field station accommodates the general public and serves as a center for college courses and research. It is located on Thompson Road, a quarter-mile south of Route 104, just west of the main SUNY Oswego entrance.

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CONTACT: Diann Jackson, 312-7961

(Posted: Dec 14, 2005)