Aliens, Steps, Stones, Stew, Owls, Rivers, Sky & More!

Nine of the 35 towns in The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor shine this week during Spring Outdoors! Learn about aliens and amphibians in Hampton, hike in Pomfret, meet notables in Norwich, enjoy stew and stories in Franklin, mess around in Woodstock, seek salamanders in Oxford, visit owls in Ashford, hop along the Hop River in Coventry, and plunge into Pluto facts in Killingly.

Friends of Goodwin have great choices this week at the Goodwin Forest in Hampton, starting with “Alien Invaders; Invasive Species of Connecticut,” featuring both a talk and a walk to see how all forms of invasive species impact us on Saturday, April 8th at 10 am. Later the same day, “Vernal Pools” is the topic at 8 pm – yes, 8 pm. Learn why vernal pools are important, then visit to see what kinds of creatures you might find! The “Senior Walks (not just for Seniors)” are offered throughout the year at Goodwin, and this week you have 2 choices: Wednesday, April 12th at 12 pm and Thursday, April 13th at 10 am. Immerse yourself in nature during “The Art of thee Sit Spot” on Friday, April 14th at 10 am. See how this method can help you observe and also calm your body and mind.

The Hale YMCA Youth & Family Center sets out for a “Families on Foot; Family Hike at Mashamoquet Brook State Park” on Saturday, April 8th at 10 am. Pre-registration is needed for this one, so be sure to email Melanie.Sartori@ghymca.org or call 860-315-9622 to take advantage of this guided hike. The family dog is also welcome but must be leashed.

The Norwich Historical Society rolls out its Second Saturday walks on Saturday, April 8th with two cemetery walks, connecting you to some notables and compelling stories of the past. “Civil War History of Yantic Cemetery” kicks off at 10:30 am and features some of the 1,300 Norwich men that marched off to fight in the Civil War 150 years ago. 383 are buried in the Yantic Cemetery. Later the same day at 1 pm, “Notables of the Yantic Cemetery” celebrates millionaires, politicians, painters and abolitionists. Victorian era funerary practices are also discussed. See how times have changed!

Blue Slope Country Museum in Franklin is a magical place, and antique and tool lovers might not be able to pull themselves away. Enjoy “Stew & Stories” on Saturday, April 8th from 1 – 3 pm with “I remember” stories about inventions that were instrumental to farming and some yummy stew! Please pre-register so Blue Slope makes enough stew to go around. Call 860-642-6413. This program is best for ages 12+. A $5 donation is recommended.

Border Woods Preserve in Woodstock, a New Roxbury Land Trust preserve, welcomes you to visit on Sunday, April 9th at 2 pm for “Messing About in a Vernal Pool.” Join Jorie & Jean, who will joyfully lead you in search of lively amphibian, crustacean and insect denizens! Interested children are welcome, but dogs need to stay home for this one.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Rangers can’t wait for the “Hodges Village Dam Full Monn Vernal Pool Walk” on Sunday, April 9th from 7 – 8:30 pm. This will be a quiet walk looking for critters, so no dogs please. This is the perfect time to spot a salamander. Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather.

Joshua’s Trust and Horizon Wings team up to entertain the kids during school vacation with “Owl Visit & Iron Mine Walk” on Thursday, April 13th at 10 am. After the owl program at Horizon Wings, walk and see the owls’ natural habitat and springtime habits.

“Where is Hop River” is a Walktober favorite, so hop on over to Coventry on Friday, April 14th at 11 am to walk to old rails and learn about Hop River Village, once an important mill village. Bring your imagination so you can look back in time!

The Last Green Valley’s (TLGV) new Ranger Geoff is always star-gazing and offers “Get the Scoop on Pluto” on Friday, April 14th at 7 pm in TLGV’s headquarters in Killingly. Learn about this bizarre little planet that defies all preconceptions. Space is limited to the first 50 to pre-register to register@mcleanresearch.com.

To get all the Spring Outdoor choices, visit www.thelastgreenvalley.org or TLGV’s Facebook page. New adventures are being added all the time, so be sure to check in often!

The Last Green Valley is a National Heritage Corridor – the last stretch of dark night sky in the coastal sprawl between Boston and Washington, D.C.  The Last Green Valley works for you in the National Heritage Corridor. Together we can care for it, enjoy it and pass it on!