Greater Lovell Land Trust winter events to kick off with hike on Jan. 3

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LOVELL — Winter hikes for the Greater Lovell Land Trust have been planned. The first will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 3, at the Heald and Bradley Pond Reserve. Meet at the Fairburn parking lot on Slab City Road.

The topic will be “Tree Bark and Evidence of Insects.” What makes tree identification in winter so difficult is the absence of leaves on most hardwoods. The major exceptions are oaks and beeches, which retain enough leaves to provide useful clues. Hikers will look at hardwoods and softwoods and learn some clues to identify them. And where trees have lost their bark, they will look at the patterns on the wood left by insects.

“The Night Sky”: Friday, Jan. 16, at 6:40 p.m.; clear sky backup date, Friday, Jan. 23. Meet in the library parking lot to caravan.

Winter is the prime time for star gazing. The darkness of night reveals celestial sights when man-made glow is reduced. Learn how to easily locate markers in the sky to navigate the constellations. Be prepared to spend at least 45 minutes outside and dress appropriately. Head lamps or flashlights are important and snowshoes may be useful if deep snow is present.

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“Animal Tracking/Winter Adaptations”: Saturday, Feb. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon; meet in the library parking lot to caravan.

Become nature detectives, searching for animal tracks, scat and other signs of wildlife. Wild animals must find food and avoid being eaten to survive. Body shapes, patterns and colors are natural camouflage adaptations they use to help them blend into their surroundings. Learn where hibernating animals might sleep and find signs of those who stay awake.

“Barred Owls”: Thursday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., at Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library.

The mnemonic translation of the barred owl’s call asks all who hear it “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you alllllll?” This call is often followed by a series of cackles, chirps and laughter that sound nothing like the hoots commonly associated with owls. In the talk, Bonny Boatman will describe the life history of the barred owl, so named for the striped pattern on its breast and one of just a few resident owls in Maine.

“An Evening with Owls”: Friday, Feb. 20, at 6:45 p.m.; meet at the GLLT office for a brief introduction.

Listen for the “Who cooks for you?” call of the barred owl or maybe even the seven-noted hoot of the great horned owl on this nighttime owl prowl. Under the night sky, call out to owls in an attempt to receive a vocal response. Be prepared to spend at least 45 minutes in the woods and dress appropriately. Head lamps or flashlights are important for the short hike and snowshoes may be useful if deep snow is present.

“Fungi in Winter”: Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to noon, Heald and Bradley Pond Reserve; meet at the Flat Hill Parking Lot on Heald Pond Road.

A walk in the winter woods brings surprises including the shapes, textures and colors of fungi. Looking for mushrooms in the winter can be like going on a scavenger hunt. Hikes will walk along Perky’s Path looking more closely for the subtle beauty of winter fungi. This is not a foraging activity.

The guided snowshoe hikes are a fun way to learn more about the wildlife, ecology and features of Lovell’s winter landscape. Dress in layers, bring snowshoes, hats, gloves, water and a light snack. Like the Greater Lovell Land Trust on Facebook.

For more information, call 925-1056 or email info@glltr.org.

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