“These first days of summer are like the pail of blueberries that we poured out together into the iron sink in the basement – a brightness unleashed and spilling over”
– from Summer Surprised Us by Edward Hirsch
It’s officially “summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime,” and the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum wants to celebrate with you. During its “Celebrate Summer” program this Friday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you and your crew can enjoy arts, crafts, ice cream, tie-dye and more. At 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. you can sing and dance along with the fantastic Dog on Fleas band.
Admission to “Celebrate Summer” is $6 per person, and discounted Museum entry is an additional $6 per person. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information or advance tickets, call (845) 471-0589 or visit www.mhcm.org. To learn more about the musicians, visit www.dogonfleas.com.
Kids’ musician Laurie Berkner plays the Bardavon this Saturday morning
Sometimes just one word from a song recalls a specific moment in time. For me, “Mahalo” by musician Laurie Berkner helps me remember how my now-baseball-batting, karate-kicking, chess-playing, nature-hiking, Minecrafting son and I used to watch the young children’s network Noggin together, back before it was Nick Jr. He would shout out responses to Moose and Zee’s queries, and he liked using an imaginary remote to control Shane and David’s movements on the Upside Down Show.
Noggin is also where we discovered Laurie Berkner’s music, like “Mahalo.” I like the ease of the song’s rhythms and its sentiment, offering thanks to the world around me. Experience the positive messages and wide appeal of her music for yourself at her performance at the Bardavon on Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m. Berkner will perform old favorites as well as songs from her newest DVD, Party Day! Kids can bring a favorite stuffed animal (those in the know will put them on their heads for “Pig on Her Head”) and wear their party clothes and dancing shoes. Ticket prices are $100 for VIP tickets plus perks; $35 for regular tickets; and free tickets are available on the day of the show for lap babies aged 1 and under.
The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 473-2072 or visit www.bardavon.org. To learn more about Laurie Berkner, visit www.twotomatoes.com.
Upcoming nature outings around the region
Recently, I heard a familiar birdcall that sounded exactly like the one I grew up with upstate. Suddenly, I found myself on an intensive mission to identify it. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what it is. It wasn’t any of the 250 birdcalls in my electronic bird book, so I turned to other animals out of desperation. It wasn’t even any of the 65 sounds on my friend’s bug identification CD either. I know it when I hear it, but coming up with an accurate impression for birder friends (and friends of friends – really, anyone who would listen) is a bit daunting.
Even famed local naturalist John Burroughs struggled with this gap. He wrote, “We think we have looked at a thing sharply until we are asked for its specific features. I thought I knew exactly the form of the leaf of the tulip-tree, until one day a lady asked me to draw the outline of one. A good observer is quick to take a hint and to follow it up. Most of the facts of nature, especially in the life of the birds and animals, are well screened. We do not see the play because we do not look intently enough.”
I love participating in and sharing information about local nature programs because they help me “see the play” by looking more intently. Check out these workshops about birds, butterflies and bees being offered over the next few days.
Introductory bird walk at Kingston’s Hasbrouck Park
I love how John Burroughs tells this story: “One season, to protect my early cherries I placed a large stuffed owl amid the branches of the tree. Such a racket as there instantly began about my grounds is not pleasant to think upon! The orioles and robins fairly ‘shrieked out their affright.’ The news instantly spread in every direction, and apparently every bird in town came to see that owl in the cherry-tree, and every bird took a cherry, so that I lost more fruit than if I had left the owl in-doors. With craning necks and horrified looks the birds alighted upon the branches, and between their screams would snatch off a cherry, as if the act was some relief to their outraged feelings.”
Want to learn more about the chirps and shrieks happening around your backyard? Bring your family to Forsyth Nature Center’s “Introduction to Birds” at Hasbrouck Park in Kingston. This session is free and open to the public for beginners and anyone wanting to learn more about backyard birding. Topics include attracting birds, binoculars, bird identification and bird behavior. The program begins at the Hasbrouck Park Stone Building and continues with a bird walk in the field and forest. Bring binoculars if you have them.
“Introduction to Birds” takes place on Tuesday, June 26 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Hasbrouck Park is located on Delaware Avenue near John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 481-7336 or visit www.forsythnaturecenter.org.
Guided nature walk at Esopus Bend in Saugerties this Saturday
On Saturday, June 23, the Esopus Creek Conservancy and John Burroughs Natural History Society are co-sponsoring a guided nature walk to observe summer-breeding birds and butterflies. This is a chance to identify birds by sight and sound and to see how many types of butterflies can be seen in the Esopus Bend Nature Preserve’s woodlands, wetlands and meadow. This event is free and open to the public, and children are welcome. Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars, insect repellent and field guides if you have them. Pets are not permitted.
The walk begins at 8 a.m. in the Saugerties Village Beach parking lot at the end of Partition Street in Saugerties. Preregistration is recommended. For more information or to register, e-mail Steve Chorvas at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.esopuscreekconservancy.org.
Butterfly hunt at Minnewaska this Saturday
As George Carlin remarked, “It isn’t fair: The caterpillar does all the work, and the butterfly gets all the glory.” On Saturday, June 23 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Minnewaska State Park Preserve gives you a chance to learn all about the work and the glory through the life cycle of these enchanting creatures, from caterpillar to butterfly. Participants will look for signs of activity such as eggs, caterpillars, leaf-chewing and actual butterflies along the trails near the Nature Center. Each child will leave with a nectar flower to plant at home to attract his or her own butterflies. This workshop is recommended for children between 6 and 10 years of age, accompanied by an adult over age 18.
Animal track workshop at Minnewaska this Sunday
Then on Sunday, June 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, Minnewaska hosts a “Make Your Own Animal Track” workshop. What can I say? Humans are complicated. We clean our children’s fingerprints from the walls and windows, but we keep plaster molds of their handprints and footprints for posterity. Here’s your chance to add an animal footprint to your collection. You and your family can make your own plaster animal track to bring home. The group will also take a one-mile walk to look for signs of animal activity.
This program is designed for children from 7 to 10 years of age, accompanied by an adult over age 18. Both programs take place at the Preserve’s Nature Center and are free and open to the public, and preregistration is required. There is a daily park entrance fee of $8 per car, waived for current Empire Pass holders. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Gardiner. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit http://nysparks.com.
Collect bee data at Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall this Saturday
Summertime means that it’s sunflower time, and the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum wants you to join in on the Great Sunflower Project. Since 2008, the Great Sunflower Project has been collecting bee data, amassing information about how changes in the bee population affect pollination. On Saturday, June 23 at 10 a.m., environmental educator Pam Golben will share information about this citizen science project for the whole family. Participants will learn how to record and report backyard bee visitors to an international database, and they each get a sunflower plant to take home.
This program is recommended for children ages 5 and up, as well as adults. Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, and Museum members pay $2 less. The Great Sunflower Project! takes place at the Outdoor Discovery Center, on Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road in Cornwall. For information, call (845) 534-5506, extension 204, or visit www.hhnaturemuseum.org. To learn more about the project, visit www.greatsunflower.org.
June 23 and 24 are Free Fishing Days in New York State
Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dalí. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish.
– Steven Wright
If you’ve been meaning to go fishing with your crew once summer started, then round up your reels and bundle up your bait, because June 23 and 24 are Free Fishing Days in New York State. “Free Fishing Days” means that no fishing license is required for anyone fishing any New York State waters this weekend, both residents and non-residents.
Since 1991, New York State has offered Free Fishing Days during the last full weekend in June. We have lots of fishing spots here in the Hudson Valley, including the Wallkill River and Onteora Lake in Ulster County, and Morgan Lake and Stissing Pond in Dutchess County. For a complete list by county along with descriptions, visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7940.html. One tip one of my friends shared with me: If your child prefers the thrill of catching without fish, try sprinkling a few plain popped popcorn kernels on the water for your youngster to catch with a net. To learn more about Free Fishing Days in New York State or about other fishing-related information, call (518) 402-8013 or visit www.dec.ny.gov.
Children’s Play Day at Clermont this Saturday
If there were a local tour bus in the 1700s like those in Hollywood that point out celebrity homes, our historic bus definitely would have stopped by the Clermont House. Members of the Livingston family were total rock stars – or maybe more like Baroque stars – who played such an important role in US history. One of the Livingstons helped to draft the Declaration of Independence and another negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.
Help your children make a direct connection with this special historic site at Children’s Play Day on June 23. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., learn about the lives of children who lived, laughed and played 200 years ago by trying out their clothes and games. This program is recommended for children ages 6 to 12 years and is free and open to the public. Clermont House is located at 1 Clermont Avenue in Germantown. For more information, call (518) 537-4240 or visit www.nysparks.com.
Bicycle Safety Rodeo at Dietz Stadium this Sunday
As parents, we put bike helmets on their heads, we pack a water bottle and away we go for a bike ride. But just because we’re riding near our children doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re learning bike safety. That’s where the Hudson Health Plan Bicycle Safety Rodeo comes in.
On Sunday, June 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Dietz Stadium and Forsyth Nature Center, help equip your family for fun by learning how to ride safely. They offer free bike inspections and instruction in proper helmet-fitting, hand signals and traffic signs. Then the child can ride through the bicycle course, which includes prompts to practice what was learned. We attended this program before and our son loved it. I think that he went through the course over a dozen times.
The Bicycle Safety Rodeo takes place on the same day as the Tour de Kingston, an annual bicycle event riding through Kingston, ranging from shorter family-friendly routes to rides of up to 50 miles. Dietz Stadium is located at 170 North Front Street in Kingston. To learn more about the Bicycle Safety Rodeo, call (914) 372-2082 or visit www.hudsonhealthplan.org. Visit http://tourdeulster.com to learn more about the Tour de Kingston.
Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind hudsonvalleyparents.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.