Programs & Events

Click to Download a Copy of Our Winter 2016 Calendar of Events



NATURE’S CHILD: A Tree for Wildlife – Fri. Dec. 2, 10 am
Make some simple pinecone bird feeders, then take a short hike to visit our “giving tree.” Children will learn about our local evergreen trees and how they make great shelter for wildlife in the winter. TUITION: $7.00 per child ($5.00 for family-level FANCI members and Ansonia residents). Please register in advance for this class for preschoolers and their adults.

Celebrate winter and the festive season as you create a wreath from fresh locally grown greens, then decorate your masterpiece with natural trimmings. Enjoy some warm mulled cider and a cookie too! Wreath frames and wire will be provided. Please bring your own hand clippers. Pre-registration required. MATERIALS FEE: $15.

BACK TO BASICS: Needle Felting – Sat. Dec. 3, 1 pm
Bring a dose of your own unique creativity for this class based on an ancient craft. Dawn Sotir, needlecraft wizard, will inspire you with her beautiful and practical items made from natural fibers. Create a 3D animal of your choice; it’s easier than you might think! Pre-registration only for this popular program. FEE: $10.

Sat. Dec. 17, 12:30 pmThis annual survey provides important data to assess the increase or decline of avian populations worldwide. After an early morning start, the New Haven Bird Club will stop at the Nature Center for their lunch at 12:30. Be ready to join members of the club to look and listen along the park’s trails. For adults. FREE.

DRUM IN THE WINTER – Sat. Dec. 17, 5 pm
True winter begins on December 21! On that day we’ll have a full fifteen hours of darkness! Since June, the days have been getting shorter, but from now on, the reverse will be true. We’ll stoke the fire pit, so bring your drum and other percussion instruments, and warm yourself with good fellowship. Ranger Dawn will lead us. FREE, but bring a canned food item for our local homeless shelter.

Tues.–Thurs., Dec. 27–29, 10 am–2 pm
For children who love the outdoors and wildlife. These popular educational classes are designed for children 5 to 10 years old. We’ll have a chance to explore the park’s 150 acres and visit a variety of habitats. Come join new and old friends, play games, create beautiful and useful items using natural objects, and even go for a sled ride if we have snow. TUITION: $30/day ($90 for all 3 days) for priority students (Ansonia residents and current family-level FANCI members); $35/day ($105 for all 3 days) all others.  Please come in to register in advance by December 16.


NEW YEAR’S DAY HIKE – Sun. Jan 1, 10 am
Bring a healthy start to your new year at the Nature Center. Our ranger will conduct this brisk walk while you learn a little natural history trivia along the way. FREE, but please register in advance. Inclement weather cancels.

PET LOSS GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP – Tuesdays, Jan. 10, Feb. 14, Mar. 14, 1 pm
Losing a beloved animal can be tragic and a very emotional time for humans. There are numerous resources to turn to for the loss of a human loved one; however, there are limited options for when we lose an animal. Susan Wilson has created this support group for those who have lost an animal or have one in the process of moving on. While these sessions are free, donations are accepted.

KARATE CLUB – Tuesdays, Jan. 10 – Feb. 7, 5:00–5:45 pm
In this dynamic and energetic after-school program at the Nature Center for children in grades K-6, students will engage in various martial arts techniques and activities while learning important skills such as discipline, focus, self-control, and confidence. They will have the opportunity to earn higher-ranking belts as their participation continues. TUITION: $45 per 5-week session (cash or check payable to AMAA), which includes a Karate Club T-shirt and white belt. For more information please call Chief Instructor Adam Rylski at (203) 671-6903 or (203) 931-1979, or the Ansonia Nature Center at (203) 736-1053.

Our seasoned Hatha Yoga instructor and practitioner, Pam Mellitz, will lead us into a healthier lifestyle through stretching, breath control and gentle exercise. The full 1.5 hour classes require a mat or thick towel; dress for easy movement. Class is limited to 12 students. $7 per class. Please call Pam to register at 203-888-4124.

Join the Nature Center at the Yale Peabody Museum, 170 Whitney Avenue, New Haven. The Peabody will once again offer world-class performances and educational activities for visitors of all ages, in honor of Dr. King and his efforts to ensure justice for all people.

BACK TO BASICS: Natural Lip Balms – Sat. Jan. 21, 1:30 pm
Soothe your lips with your own homemade lip balm! Join Ranger Dawn and learn how to make lip balm with natural ingredients such as beeswax and essential oils in this easy and fun workshop. Take home a sample! MATERIALS FEE: $10 per person.  Please register in advance, as space is limited.

GRANDMOTHER TURTLE: An Iroquois Tale – Sun. Jan. 22, 2 pm
Storyteller Leslie Elias will tell us the Iroquois creation myth, a story of sky people and water animals and how the earth came to rest on Grandmother Turtle’s back. During this workshop, children will create a mask and perform the creation myth for their families. MATERIALS FEE: $10 per person.

FIELD TRIP: Behind the Scenes at the Peabody Museum – Tues. Jan. 24, 3:30 – 4:30 pm (meet at the museum at 2:45 pm)
From Anthropology to Zoology, the 13 million objects and specimens in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History’s collections represent a world-class record of the history of the Earth and its cultures. Less than one percent is on display in the public galleries! In this tour a guide will take you to visit two different curatorial divisions; you’ll learn how the collections are stored and organized, and have the opportunity to glimpse some hidden treasures that rarely see the light of day! Tours are not open to children under 12. Register in advance; space is limited. $15 per person. All participants will meet at the museum at 2:45 pm.

A true story from the Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center, told by Ranger Amie Ziner. Come hear the adventure of Playground Mouse, who was found at our beloved old playground. This is the fun story of a local mouse growing, meeting some friends, and his release back into the great outdoors. We will create a Playground Mouse of your own to take home and care for. Donate $10 and you will receive a copy of the adventures of Playground Mouse. All donations will help feed the animals at the Nature Center.


EAGLE WATCHING AT THE SHEPAUG DAM – Sat. date to be determined, 9 am
Alison Rubelmann will join you on this field trip to the Shepaug Dam to view the bald eagles that are wintering on the Housatonic River. Very cold, clear weather is best for finding eagles at the dam, which is on a hill and tends to be colder than most other Connecticut locations, and we plan on spending an hour or more there, so dress in several layers of clothing and wear more layers than you may think you need. Group size is limited and pre-registration is required. FEE: $3 per person.

NATURE’S EXPLORERS – Tuesdays, Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28, 10–11:30 am
Join Wendy for our new preschool/toddler program. This 4-week session is for children ages 2–5 years old with an adult. These outdoor classes will be fun exploring and learning through play. We will learn about nature and science through activities such as hiking, singing, games, reading, and making crafts. Every class is outside!!!! Please register in advance. TUITION: $40 per 4-week session (cash or check payable to Ansonia Nature Center).

SNOWSHOE SATURDAY: Getting Ready for Bluebirds – Sat. Feb. 11, 1:30 pm
Need to get out? Enjoy the winter with this guided hike through our woodlands and fields. Join Ranger Dan and snowshoe around the Nature Center grounds to clean out the bluebird boxes. Bluebirds will start nesting again in March and April. Great exercise and fun for adults and older children. We have snowshoes to borrow! FREE, but pre-registration is required.

Losing a beloved animal can be tragic and a very emotional time for humans. There are numerous resources to turn to for the loss of a human loved one; however, there are limited options for when we lose an animal. Susan Wilson has created this support group for those who have lost an animal or have one in the process of moving on. While these sessions are free, donations are accepted.

SKULLS AND SCATS – Sat. Feb. 18, 1:30 pm
Hey, what was for lunch? From herbivores to carnivores, explore the levels of the food chain of Connecticut’s mammals. Come see our collection of skulls and learn how to identify them by looking at their teeth. We will also teach you the basics in scatology while exploring the Nature Center’s property for clues. Please register for this family event. FREE.

OUR HIDDEN LANDSCAPES: Stone Cultural Features & Ceremonial Sites – Sun. Feb. 19, 2 pm
Hikes in the woods can reveal a variety of stone cultural features to archaeologists and historians. While many of these are the remains of abandoned farmsteads and industrial mill sites, others represent Native American ceremonial sites. State regulations support preservation of sacred Native American sites, so it is important for land trusts and conservation organizations to recognize these sites within their properties and inform the CT State Historic Preservation Office and Office of State Archaeology of their presence. Join Dr. Lucianne Lavin, Director of Research and Collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT, for a PowerPoint presentation on European-American and indigenous stone structures found in our state. Please pre-register for this FREE program.

PRESIDENTS’ DAY OWLING – Mon. Feb. 20, 1 pm
Join us for a stealthy foray into the forested parklands to seek the haunts of our most silent nocturnal predators. This program is for all ages, but keeping quiet is the key to our success. Upon our return we will warm up in the Nature Center to learn about owl adaptations while meeting two of our resident owls. Dissection of an owl pellet or two will help us discover what our feathered friends eat. FREE; please register.

PUPPET WORKSHOP – Sun. Feb. 26, 2 pm
Dive into the recycling bin with puppetry artist Linda Wingerter of The Stringpullers Puppet Company! Puppets can be made from anything, and we’ll explore how to imitate animal movements with easy-to-find discarded materials. Then we’ll create characters based on the residents of the Nature Center to take home for your own puppet show. Materials and tools will be provided; just bring your curiosity! MATERIALS FEE: $10. Recommended for ages 7-12.

MARCH 2017

MAPLE FESTIVAL – Sat. Mar. 4, 10 am – 3 pm
Have you been cooped up in the house this winter? Join us for a fun filled day outside to learn the history, science and techniques of maple sugaring. Our Maple Festival will celebrate everything maple, including history talks, tree tapping demonstrations, local exhibitors, and of course a taste of real maple syrup. Maple crafts for children, live animal shows, a bake sale and a raffle will be inside our visitor center all day. All proceeds and donations to help build a new sugar shack at the Nature Center.

WINTER ASTRONOMY: Lunar Sketching – Fri.  Mar. 10, 7 pm
Come to Ansonia’s darkest location for some fun viewing the moon with Bob Carruthers and the New Haven Astronomical Society. Get a chance to see the waxing gibbous moon’s surface through Bob’s TV camera and learn to sketch its craters. Bring a clipboard and pencil. Class size is limited to 12, so please register in advance. FREE.

Losing a beloved animal can be tragic and a very emotional time for humans. There are numerous resources to turn to for the loss of a human loved one; however, there are limited options for when we lose an animal. Susan Wilson has created this support group for those who have lost an animal or have one in the process of moving on. While these sessions are free, donations are accepted.

JOSEPH FIRECROW: Native American Flute Player – Sun. Mar. 12, 2 pm
“The natural beauty of the flute evokes very powerful emotions. The traditional flute is social, not ceremonial, in nature, and should always be treated with that in mind and spirit.” Joseph FireCrow, a Grammy Award winner and renowned Native American flutist, inspires such emotions with his beautiful music. Together we will enjoy this Sunday afternoon relaxing and listening in the beauty of the Nature Center’s natural surroundings. FEE: $5 per person. Please call to register.

Let’s wake up the earth gently as we make music together by the fire. Dress for the outdoors. Adults and children are welcome. Bring your own drum or borrow one from us. FREE, but bring a canned good for Spooner House. Please call to register.

Follow the signs and tracks and become an animal detective. On our hike discover the clues of the animals that inhabit our forest and fields. We will teach you how to put together these clues to tell their story. Make a plaster cast for your own collection. FEE: $7. Please register in advance.



Sundays: Guided Hikes, 1 pm

Thursdays: Yoga for a Healthy Mind and Body, 6:30 pm—call Pam, 203-888-4124

Saturdays: Creature Features, 12 noon

***THINGS TO COME (Spring 2017)***  Hidden Landscapes Celebration • Family Organic Garden • Nature Explorers  • Spring Junior Rangers

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