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Discover winter through Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm Teacher Naturalist Eleanor shares information on tapping maple trees with visitors during a nature walk about maple sugaring in New England.

Drumlin Farm Staff

Drumlin Farm Teacher Naturalist Eleanor shares information on tapping maple trees with visitors during a nature walk about maple sugaring in New England.

The world is a place to be explored — no matter the time of year.

Winter, as with each of the other seasons, provides its own distinctive gems and treasures that, through its wide variety of programs, the Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln strives to help visitors of all ages discover.

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“Obviously the world looks a lot different now than it did back in September, or back in May, and that’s what we’re exploring,” said the Massachusetts Audubon Society property’s education manager, Kris Scopinich.

One such program that fosters this for teenagers is “Weekend Adventures Club: Exploring the Woods on Skis,” to be held Jan. 18 at Weston Ski Track. Participants will have the opportunity to cross-country ski for four hours — either with their own equipment or rentals from the facility — and analyze different landscapes swathed in white.

Similar adventurous programs for children and families include “Winter Explorers,” for ages 4 to 6 and running six weeks starting Jan. 23, and “Winter Explorations,” beginning Jan. 24, also running six weeks, and geared for the whole family.

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Essentially, all examine what happens in various outdoor habitats in the colder months. “What do wetlands look like in the winter, what do forests look like, what do trees look like?” Scopinich said.

Another essential aspect, particularly after a batch of freshly fallen snow, is searching for animal tracks and other telltale signs of wildlife.

As Scopinich noted, “People are often surprised just how active wildlife is in the cold winter months.”

Equally important is what’s not around. For example, turtles hibernate underwater or in debris nearby; frogs and salamanders nestle underground; and many songbirds have migrated to warmer climates.

“Some animals are able to stick around, and have adapted to get through these cold winters,” Scopinich said, “others slow down their metabolisms, while others head south — and we’ll look forward to their return in the springtime.”

For adults, there are many classes and workshops at Drumlin on birding, digital photography, tree identification, and even making cheese.

“Generally, our programs are focused on what’s happening out in the natural world,” Scopinich said of the 206-acre property on South Great Road. “We’re just following the seasons.”

But the farm animals — sheep, chickens, goats, cows, pigs, and a pony, Midnight — require care, food, water, and space to roam year-round. Families can learn more about this process in such programs as “Caretaker for a Day,” for ages 10 to 14, on Jan. 20; “Winter Farm Family,” a six-week series starting Jan. 22; and the playful “Pigs and Blankets” on Jan. 24.

With each, both parents and children can see what’s going on in the barns, help out with chores, and learn about root cellars and sheep shearing.

Scopinich said it is important to get outside in the winter, not just to stay physically active, but to maintain emotional well-being. (And also get your daily dose of Vitamin D.)

“Definitely take the time to get outside and stay active and enjoy the natural world during this special time of year,” she urged.

For more details on programs, and to register, visit www.massaudubon.org.

Taryn Plumb can be reached at tarynplumb1@gmail.com.
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