Kids Almanac: Make merry on mountaintop, sketch like George, BioBlitz at Preserve & stream walk at Earthfest

Streamwalk at Rosendale Earthfest (Photo by Dion Ogust).

Portland, Maine native Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this about the month of June:

Mine is the Month of Roses; yes, and mine

The Month of Marriages! All pleasant sights

And scents, the fragrance of the blossoming vine,

The foliage of the valleys and the heights.

Mine are the longest days, the loveliest nights;

The mower’s scythe makes music to my ear;

I am the mother of all dear delights;

I am the fairest daughter of the year.

For an afternoon of dear delights for the whole family, head over to Woodstock this weekend for “Music & Merriment” at the Mountaintop School. There will be Maypole dancing, the Star Penny Puppetry show, storytelling, crafts, refreshments and raffles, and you will hear some great music. Rebecca Martin, described by Alm@nac columnist John Burdick as a “lauded jazz vocalist, songwriter and local activist,” will perform with special guests. A fellow Mainer like Longfellow, Martin also holds the title of executive director of the Kingston Land Trust, as well as Mom to her son Charlie. In addition to Martin’s performance, the T. McCann Band’s terrific Irish tunes are sure to please.

“Music & Merriment” takes place on Saturday, June 2 from 1 to 5 p.m. This event is open to the public, and admission is by donation to benefit Family of Woodstock. The Mountaintop School is located at 339 Ohayo Mountain Road in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 389-7322 or visit To learn more about Rebecca Martin, visit And to find out more about Family’s network of community services, visit


Washington’s HQ in Newburgh hosts “Sketching Day” this Saturday


I find it interesting that a 270-year-old sketch by “Geo. Washington” could actually be something drawn by the George Washington when he was just 10 years old. It’s a picture of a two-masted sailboat dated March 12, 1742. Do I have to save all of my kids’ artwork now, in case they become president? And how did Mary Ball Washington do her part to ensure the preservation of her son’s sketch for so long, anyway? I mean, she didn’t even have a Container Store to go to.

You can combine history and art with your family during “Sketching Day” at Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh on Saturday, June 2. “After a guided tour of the historic Hasbrouck House, used by General Washington during the last months of the Revolutionary War, maybe you’ll be spurred on to create a work of art of your own. Enjoy artmaking activities inspired by your whole experience of visiting a house, so rich in historic significance.”

Tours run from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., every half-hour. The sketching program is free with admission: $4 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and free for children age 12 and under. Washington’s Headquarters is located at 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 562-1195 or visit


Jay Mankita performs at Kingston Library this Saturday

You may already be familiar with Jay Mankita’s upbeat, enjoyable music: Have your kids heard his catchy tune “Eat like A Rainbow” on Putumayo’s Picnic Playground album? Come experience this fun veggie-diesel-van-driving, guitar-playing singer/songwriter for yourself at “The Day the Library Went Wild.” Songs from the show feature rainforests, recycling, dolphins, hibernating, frogs, snakes, mountains, lakes and the “wild” human being in all of us.

“The Day the Library Went Wild” takes place on Saturday, June 2 at 10:30 a.m. as part of the Kingston Library’s Super Saturday Series. The program is free and open to all ages. The Kingston Library is located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-0507 or visit To learn more about the performer, visit


Learn all about bread at Adriance Library this Saturday

Bread has been around pretty much since people have been hungry. Archaeologists have found evidence of yeast for both baking and brewing dating back to 4,000 BCE. In 1925, Wonder Bread became America’s first sliced bread. In The Hunger Games, Katniss mentions “the bread that gave me hope.” Even our language reflects our collective fondness for bread: The word “companion” comes from the Latin com-, meaning “together,” and panis, “bread.”

This weekend, you and your family can learn about, taste and make bread from different cultures at the “Our Daily Bread” program. Featured breads include challah and other Jewish breads, Chinese steamed buns, Ukrainian korovai, chapati and other Indian breads. There will be dough-making stations for some hands-on experience, as well as ongoing screening of Baking Bread, a 28-minute documentary about communal bread ovens.

“Our Daily Bread” is free and open to the public and takes place on Saturday, June 2 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Adriance Memorial Library. The Library is located at 93 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 454-3222 or visit



Join BioBlitz at the Mohonk Preserve this Saturday


National Geographic defines a BioBlitz as “an event in which people find and identify as many local species as possible.” The Mohonk Preserve and the John Burroughs Natural History Society are teaming up for a BioBlitz at the Testimonial Gateway property of the Preserve on Saturday, June 2, and you and your family are encouraged to participate. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but you are welcome to come for however long you and your young naturalists would like. The species tally will be announced at the end of the day.

Here’s what one mom said after attending a BioBlitz in her area: “If I had attended an event like this when I was his age,” pointing to her young son who was busily sorting moths in one of the entomologist’s pans, “I probably would have become a scientist. I just never knew that anything like this existed.”

Wear clothing and footwear suitable for off-trail exploring and possibly wet conditions, and bring water, lunch and a snack, depending on how long you plan to stay. This program is free and open to the public, and reservations are required. Ages 5 and up, accompanied by an adult, are welcome. For reservations or for more information, call (845) 255-0919 or visit


Rosendale Rec Center hosts Earthfest & Expo this Sunday


My friend Martha Cheo has helped me become better acquainted with the Hudson Valley’s trails and streams since our sons were babies years ago. She’s an environmental educator, and when I heard that she was doing a stream walk as part of the Rosendale Earthfest & Expo, I asked her more about it. “We’ll be searching for critters that inhabit the stream bottom, looking under rocks, logs et cetera for things like crayfish, insect larvae and salamanders,” said Cheo. “We’ll have some nets and magnifiers for collecting and investigating. Everything goes back into the stream when we’re done. These critters can tell you about the health of a stream, because they vary in their tolerances to pollution.”

Want to join in on some of this watery exploration? Cheo says to bring shoes that can get wet and your own net, if you have one. In addition to the stream walk, the Earthfest & Expo has other all-ages activities, such as stream table play, which is a model stream with flowing water that kids can explore and play in; build your own bat house project; plant and take home a vegetable garden; a performance by Brian Robinson with live raptors and reptiles; music by Big Sky Ensemble; recycling games; Fairydale, a kids’ construction project using materials found in nature; face-painting; a 4-H petting zoo and more.

Hosted by the Rosendale Environmental Commission, this event ties in with its yearlong theme of Food for Thought: “to build public awareness of the health, environmental and economic benefits of locally produced food and to promote sustainable land use practices and energy conservation.” This event will also have programs and exhibits showcasing the work of local food producers, green energy and green building professionals and environmental and food aid organizations.

The Rosendale Earthfest & Expo takes place on Sunday, June 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rosendale Recreation Center. Admission is free/by donation. The Rec Center is located at 1055 Route 32 in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-8967 or e-mail [email protected]


Practice your archery at Wittenberg Sportsmen’s Club in Woodstock


My astrological sign Sagittarius is the archer, so maybe that explains my interest in archery. I’m no Hawkeye by any means, but I have been known to hit a few haybales. Our son really enjoys using his bow to shoot targets, so I’ve been looking around for other opportunities for him to develop his skills.

The 3D Archery Shoots hosted by the Wittenberg Sportsmen’s Club fit the bill. The shoots are trail walks through the woods, with life-sized animal targets scattered throughout the course. I asked 3D Shoot coordinator Alyn Warren about the idea of youth attending this event. He said, “Absolutely. All ages are welcome, including first-timers. The youth have a great time doing this.”

Registration for the 3D Shoot takes place from 8 a.m. to 12 noon on Sunday, June 3, and participants must bring their own archery equipment. Completing the course can take anywhere from one to three hours or more, depending on how many shooters are participating, but there’s no obligation to finish it. Refreshments are available for sale at the shoot, and there are outhouses on-site. The cost for the shoot is $12 for adults, $5 for youth ages 13 to 16 and free for children under 13. The 3D Shoot takes place at 95 Montoma Lane in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 706-8645 or visit



Youth fishing derby this Sunday at Saugerties Reservoir


If you only fish on days that end in “Y,” Sunday is your lucky day. The Saugerties Fish & Game Club is hosting a youth fishing derby in the Blue Mountain Reservoir (also known as the Saugerties Reservoir) on Sunday, June 3.

“This is a unique opportunity for the children to fish in an area normally closed to the public. Rumor has it there are some ‘lunkers’ in the Reservoir. I hope to see the kids have a great day and catch some really big fish,” Bill Schirmer, president of the Club, told me. “I’d also like to extend a big thank-you to Mike Hopf of the Village Water Department and the Village Board for making this possible,” he said appreciatively.

What types of fish are we talking? In Robert Ford’s piece about the derby in our Saugerties Times, he wrote that there could be trout, bluegills, perch and maybe some bass; it’s anyone’s guess.

The fishing derby will be open to children age 15 and under, who must be accompanied by an adult. There is no registration fee, and free hot dogs and water will be available for the participants. There are three age categories: 7 and under, 8 to 11 and 12 to 15, with prizes awarded in each age group. Participants need to bring their own fishing gear and bait; any bait permitted and suitable for use upstream of the Reservoir is acceptable.

Registration for the derby begins at 8 a.m., and the fishing runs from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The Blue Mountain Reservoir is located at the intersection of Carrelis Road and Van Vlierden Road in Saugerties, not far from the Grant D. Morse School. For more information, call (845) 246-3263 or visit



Kingston waterfront hosts Maritime Cup Regatta & fireboat this weekend

Two special events are calling your family to the Kingston waterfront this weekend. One is the Kingston Sailing Club’s 2012 Maritime Cup Regatta event. First signals are at 11 a.m., with at least two races on Saturday, June 2 and one race at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 3. Bring a picnic to Kingston Point Park and enjoy the view of the sailboats racing on the river.

The other highlight is the fireboat John J. Harvey, docked at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. We can be proud to know that “She was the largest and most powerful fireboat in the world when built. More importantly, she was the model of modern fireboat engineering, and set the pattern for all subsequent fireboats to follow.” If your family loves history, firefighting power or just exploring boats that stay put on the dock, the John J. Harvey is worth a visit. The John J. Harvey is open for free public deck tours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3. Built in 1931, she is one of the most powerful fireboats that ever served, and she is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She was even called out of retirement to help during the 9/11 tragedy in New York City.

Kingston Point Park is located at 51 Delaware Avenue in Kingston. The Hudson River Maritime Museum is located at 50 Rondout Landing in Kingston. For more information about the Regatta, call (845) 331-1264 or visit To learn more about the John J. Harvey fireboat, call (845) 338-0071 or visit or



Parenting book discussion this Tuesday at Half Moon Books in Kingston


My friend Nora Snyder designed the “Spring Book Trio,” a series of three book discussions related to parenting, and she teamed up with our friend Jessica Iaia, owner of Half Moon Books in Kingston, to host these gatherings. The last book in our series is called No More Meltdowns by Jed Baker, PhD.

I asked Nora what inspired her to read the book: “I was already using Jed Baker’s Social Skills Picture Book, which I really liked and found useful. I heard him speak at a conference and he referred to this title a few times during his talk.” And what does she like about No More Meltdowns? “I like a lot of the particular messages in the book that I feel get overlooked in behavior and disabilities.” She quoted from the book: “When children’s problem behavior persists despite rules and consequences, it often means that they do not have the skills to cope with challenging situations. We must either change those situations or teach better coping skills.” Nora added her own perspective: “This book shares common sense that gets forgotten in behavior issues and how they trigger us.”

In No More Meltdowns, Baker sets out to provide tools to help the reader: Accept and appreciate our children so that we can maintain a positive relationship with them; know how to calm our children so we won’t feel helpless when their behavior is escalating out of control; and create prevention plans for repeat problems so we can avert future meltdowns. I think this book is an incredible read, and it’s only 150 pages! I especially love the Quick Reference Guides throughout the second half of the book and the way that they outline how to guide us through various behavior issues, all while honoring the child and your relationship with that child.

The No More Meltdowns book discussion takes place on Tuesday, June 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Half Moon Books in Kingston, where it is also available for purchase. Half Moon Books is located at 35 North Front Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-5439, visit Half Moon Books on Facebook or stop by the store. To learn more about No More Meltdowns, visit



Catch the Transit of Venus this Tuesday at SUNY-New Paltz


This sight…is by far the noblest astronomy affords.

– Edmond Halley


If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then what is the Transit of Venus? Here’s some of what I learned about this amazing astronomical event: First, a little background about Venus. I discovered that the Romans named this planet after the goddess of love and beauty because it’s the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, due to its constant cloud covering trapping the solar heat. Unlike Earth, Venus rotates clockwise, which is also the opposite direction of its rotation around the Sun.

Venus passes between Earth and the Sun every 1.6 years, so what makes this passing so special? It’s all about perspective. Normally, the transit is invisible due to the Sun’s glare, because Venus appears either just above or just below the Sun. The Transit of Venus means that we can actually see Venus as a small dot gliding across the Sun, simply due to the relationship of our orbital planes. Historically, the Transit of Venus has yielded data and measurements that have helped us to determine the Earth’s relative distance from the Sun and the size of our solar system.

Renowned astronomer and Alm@nac columnist Bob Berman says in his May 15 edition of Night Sky, “Our sister planet will visibly cross the Sun’s face, and all you need is proper eye protection.” If you watch the transit with your family on your own, Bob recommends eclipse glasses or welders’ goggles shade #12: “Around here, the best places to purchase #12 are in Kingston at Cryo Weld, (845) 336-8680, and Noble Gas solutions, (845) 338-5061. You only need the replacement filter. But the entire goggle isn’t expensive, and then you can keep it on your head and not have to hold it.”

Or you and your family can attend the Transit of Venus program at SUNY-New Paltz that evening, June 5, where you won’t need to bring your own eye protection. Dr. Amy Forestell will begin with a talk about the transit from 5 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a viewing of the Sun and the transit with solar telescopes until sunset. There will also be live Internet streaming of the transit from the Mauna Kea Observatories in Hawaii from 6 to 9 p.m., and a viewing of the stars and Saturn after dusk. The next transit takes place on December 11, 2117.

The Transit of Venus program takes place in the Lecture Center at SUNY-New Paltz and is free and open to the public. SUNY-New Paltz is located at 1 Hawk Drive in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 257-3750 or visit or



Erica Chase-Salerno lives, loves and laughs in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at [email protected]









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