Programs & Events
DRUM IN THE WINTER SOLSTICE – Sat. Dec. 19, 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; please register.
HOLIDAY NATURE DAYS – Tues.–Thurs., Dec. 29–31, 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 meet new friends, play games, create beautiful and useful items using natural objects and recycled materials, and much more. TUITION: $30/day ($90 all 3 days) for priority students (Ansonia residents and current family-level FANCI members); $35/day ($105 all 3 days) all others. Please call for more information. Advance registration by December 11 required. Click to Download a Copy of our Nature Days Registration Form
NEW YEAR DAY’S HIKE – Fri. Jan. 1, 9 am
Join a Nature Center naturalist, who will ring in the New Year by leading an invigorating hike along our woodland trails. If we have snow cover, we may even break out the snowshoes! FREE. Please pre-register.
FIBER ARTS GROUP – Tuesdays starting Jan. 5, 5:30–7:30 pm
Get together with others to work on your fiber arts projects! Bring any kind of fiber work—knitting, felting, crocheting, etc. A great way to dedicate time to your handiwork and socialize too. FREE.
YOGA FOR A HEALTHY MIND AND BODY –Classes begin Thurs. Jan. 7, 6:30 pm
Set the stage for a healthy new year with Pam Mellitz, our seasoned Hatha Yoga instructor and practitioner. 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.
NATURE’S CHILD: Winterizing for Wildlife – Fri. Jan. 8, 10 am Help to make life easier for our native wild animals this winter by making feeders for the wildlife in your backyards and in our nature preserve. The Nature Center will provide all you need. TUITION: $6 per child ($4 for family-level FANCI members and Ansonia residents). Adults come for free. Pre-register for this class for preschoolers and their adults.
ILLUSTRATE AESOP’S FABLES –Sat. Jan. 9 & 23; Feb. 6 & 20; Mar. 12 & 26, 2 pm
Did the fox get the grapes? Make a big book of Aesop’s Fables, and find out! Children’s book illustrator, ANC Ranger Amie Ziner, will guide you through illustrating a series of 6 stories, using the Nature Center’s real animal specimens. Easy step-by-step instruction will help you create 6 acrylic paintings, featuring animals, nature, and a lesson in each story! Attend all 6 classes to complete the book, or just one class for a single fable. Appropriate for people with some painting experience, ages 10 to adult, who are able to follow the instruction with some supervision. At the end of each 2-hour class you will have a page for your book, including the text of the story. The story for Week 1 is “The Fox and the Grapes.” MATERIALS FEE: Individual lessons $20 each; all 6 lessons $100 (save $20!). The fee includes: acrylic paint, an acrylic painting board, 2 brushes, a water container, paper towels, and a pencil.
PET LOSS GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP –Sundays, Jan. 10, Feb. 14, Mar. 13, 11 am
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. Join us for these FREE sessions.
HEATHER’S KORNER SEWING CLASSES: Sewing a String Bag (Class 1) – Sun. Jan. 10, 2 pm
These sewing classes are for children 7–10 years old accompanied by an adult. In today’s class, each child will sew a string bag. In future classes, each student will sew a fox pillow (Feb. 7) and an owl pincushion (Mar. 6). FEE: $15 per class. Materials are included. Please pre-register, as space is limited.
THE NAUGATUCK RIVER: THE MOVIE – Fri. Jan. 15, 7 pm
This Naugatuck River Revival Group (NRRG) movie shows our river like never before. You will see it from its beginning in Torrington to its tide waters, where it meets the Housatonic River, and view what it is like in, over and under the river. The Naugatuck River, suitable for both children and adults, is a glimpse into a planned documentary called The Last Refuge and features the wildlife and people who use the river. You will see songbirds bathing and get close to eagles, owls, and salmon. You will meet two ancient creatures: lamprey and elvers (baby eels). Trapped at the Kinneytown Dam in Seymour, these elvers traveled thousands of miles from the Sargasso Sea to grow to lengths of over 3 feet. If they survive they will stay in the Naugatuck for the next 20-30 years before returning to the Sargasso to breed. Come close to one of the oldest predators on Earth: the peregrine falcon. Watch volunteers struggle to clean the river. See unique views of the new 6.4 million dollar Tingue Dam Bypass. “We want to bring the river to the community,” Sondra Harman, Executive Director of the NRRG, said. “We want to show people that the river is beautiful.”
CREATURE FEATURES: How Animals Move –Sat. Jan. 16, 12 noon
Join Ranger Jess to learn how rabbits hop, snakes slither, and birds fly. Enjoy our weekly Creature Feature with the added silliness of mimicry. FREE.
20TH ANNUAL DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.’S LEGACY OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE –Sun. Jan. 17, 12 noon–4 pm; Mon. Jan. 18, 10 am–4 pm
Join the Nature Center at the Yale Peabody Museum, 170 Whitney Ave., 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. This year the Peabody will also be holding a food drive to benefit the New Haven Community Soup Kitchen and Christian Community Action.
ILLUSTRATE AESOP’S FABLES – Sat. Jan. 23, 2 pm
See Jan. 9 listing for program description. The story for Week 2 is “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
BACK TO BASICS: Natural Lip Balms – Sun. Jan. 24, 1 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 several samples! MATERIALS FEE: $10. Please register; space is limited.
DEEP ICE FISHING – Wed. Jan. 27, 6:30 pm
The Nature Center is offering a free ice fishing class, taught by certified instructors from the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) CT Aquatic Resources Education (C.A.R.E.). These experienced fishermen volunteer to share their experience and expertise with anyone wanting to learn. The classroom instruction covers the basics of equipment, safety, dress, rules and regulations, and species identification. Participants will then have two opportunities to practice what they learned in class: First, a state-wide ice fishing derby held in Coventry, CT on Saturday, Jan. 30, in which all equipment, bait, and instruction are provided free of charge; second, a “No Child Left Inside” fishing event at Burr Pond State Park in Torrington on the following Saturday, Feb. 6.
STITCHING MITTENS – Sun. Jan. 31, 2 pm
Create a pair of mittens, and keep your phalanges from freezing this winter! Join Ranger Dan in making good use of scrap wool, and stitch yourself a pair of winter mittens.MATERIALS FEE: $5. Pre-registration required. Children must be accompanied by an adult who can assist in the construction.
NATURE’S CHILD: Groundhogs – Fri. Feb. 5, 10 am
If groundhogs in Connecticut could talk, they’d ask why people are waking up their relative in Pennsylvania! Learn about their sleeping habits and hear a short story, make a craft, and walk to their den site. TUITION: $6 per child ($4 for family-level FANCI members and Ansonia residents). Adults come for free. Please pre-register for this class for preschoolers and their adults.
ILLUSTRATE AESOP’S FABLES – Sat. Feb. 6, 2 pm
See Jan. 9 listing for program description. The story for Week 3 is “Belling the Cat.”
SNOWSHOE SUNDAY: Animal Tracking – Sun. Feb. 7, 1 pm
Become an animal detective! Learn to look for clues in nature and uncover some fascinating signs that our local wildlife left behind. Dress for cold weather and bring your snowshoes too. FREE; please register.
HEATHER’S KORNER SEWING CLASSES: Sewing a Fox Pillow (Class 2) – Sun. Feb. 7, 2 pm
These sewing classes are for children 7–10 years old accompanied by an adult. In today’s class, each child will sew a fox pillow. FEE: $15. Materials are included. Please pre-register, as space is limited.
TALKING FEATHER WORKSHOP – Sat. Feb. 13, 2 pm
In American Indian culture, the Talking Feather was and is still used. During a ceremony, or a gathering of two or more people for a discussion, its use ensures the utmost respect. The feather is passed from one person to the next, allowing the person who holds it the privilege of speaking. Join Ranger Dan in constructing this item that can be incorporated into your family’s tradition. MATERIALS FEE: $5. Children must be accompanied by an adult who can assist in the construction. Please pre-register.
PET LOSS GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP – Sun. Feb. 14, 11 am
See Jan. 10 listing for description.
ECO-ART VALENTINE WORKSHOP – Sun. Feb. 14, 12 noon
Create gifts for your loved ones out of recycled magazines. Transform your old magazines into new valentine storage baskets. This will be a fun day to share with your family and friends! Call to register for this FREE program. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
PRESIDENTS’ DAY CREATURE FEATURE –Mon. Feb. 15, 12 noon
Looking for a fun activity for the children this Presidents’ Day? Come and learn about the Nature Center’s resident animals. The staff will talk about the different types of mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds we have on display. We will also teach the children how to touch and handle some of these soft, scaly and feathered friends. FREE.Please pre-register.
FUN IN THE SNOW – Tues. Feb. 16, 11 am
What a great place to enjoy winter! The Nature Center has awesome hills for sled riding, as well as plenty of space for making a snow animal and even building a snow fort or two. Enjoy hot cocoa around our outdoor fireplace too! Dress for the weather—hats, gloves, and snow pants and boots are a must. Pre-register for this FREEprogram.
ILLUSTRATE AESOP’S FABLES – Sat. Feb. 20, 2 pm
See Jan. 9 listing for program description. The story for Week 4 is “The Ant and the Dove.”
THE NAUGATUCK RIVER: THE MOVIE – Sun. Feb. 21, 2 pm
See Jan. 15 listing for details.
CREATE A VISION BOARD – Sat. Feb. 27, 10 am
A vision board is a powerful tool that can shape an ideal future through the power of intention and visualization. Create a vision board and retrain your brain to start believing that you can achieve all your goals and dreams. Then, the universe will work its magic!
This FREE class is for ages 12 and up. Supplies will be provided, but please feel free to bring magazines of things that interest you.
ANNUAL MAPLE FESTIVAL – Sat. Mar. 5, 8 to 3 pm
Start with a delicious pancake breakfast with real maple syrup, sausages, juice, coffee, and tea from 8–10 am. We’ll also have a maple bake sale, crafts, live animals, tree-tapping demos, and more! All proceeds benefit our critter care. Call 203-736-1053 for more information.
HEATHER’S KORNER SEWING CLASSES: Sewing an Owl Pincushion (Class 3) – Sun. Mar. 6, 2 pm
This class is for children 7–10 years old accompanied by an adult. Each child will sew an owl pincushion. FEE: $15. Materials are included. Please pre-register, as space is limited.
NATURE’S CHILD: Maple Sugaring – Fri. Mar. 11, 10 am
Do you know that trees make sugar? Join a Nature Center naturalist to learn how they make it and how we can make it into maple syrup. Sample real Nature Center syrup on ice cream. TUITION: $6 per child ($4 for family-level FANCI members and Ansonia residents). Adults come for free. Please pre-register for this class for preschoolers and their adults.
ILLUSTRATE AESOP’S FABLES – Sat. Mar. 12, 2 pm
See Jan. 9 listing for program description. The story for Week 5 is “The Fox and the Stork.”
PET LOSS GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP – Sun. Mar. 13, 11 am
See Jan. 10 listing for description.
A PLACE CALLED HOPE: Live Raptors – Sun. Mar. 13, 2 pm
Join A Place Called Hope, a raptor rehabilitation and education center, as they share four birds of prey for an all-ages presentation. This will be an up-close and personal encounter with a hawk, a falcon, and two owls. Learn ways that you can actually help lessen conflicts wildlife may encounter in your own backyards. This interactive presentation will last 1 hour. Cameras are encouraged. FREE, but donations will be accepted. Please pre-register.
OWL PROWL – Fri. Mar. 18, 6 pm
“Whoooo” wants to join us for this night hike? Learn about owls’ amazing adaptations while we stroll through our woodland trails listening for the Nature Center’s nocturnal inhabitants. Quiet is the key, so this program is geared for 8 year olds and up. The hike will be 1.5 miles on uneven terrain. Please wear appropriate clothing and foot gear, and call to register, as space is limited. FREE.
BLUEBIRDS IN THE FIELD – Sat. Mar. 19, 2 pm
The Nature Center is proud to be a refuge for many native and migratory bird species. Located on our property are a number of boxes that we build to ensure these birds have a safe and comfortable place to call home. Join Ranger Dan in the construction and placement of three bluebird boxes for one of our wetland fields. FREE.
SPRING EQUINOX DRUMMING – Sat. Mar. 19, 6 pm
Let’s wake up the earth gently as we make music together by the fire. Bring your own drums and musical instruments. Dress for the outdoors. Adults and supervised children are welcome. FREE: Admission is a canned good for Spooner House. Please pre-register.
ANSONIA COMMUNITY ORGANIC GARDEN PLOT –Sun. Mar. 20, 11 am
Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but don’t have enough property or sun for your own garden? No worries—the Nature Center has plenty of fertile spots in full sun just for you. Sign up for your own garden plot with ACOG President Pat Evans. We will meet at the Nature Center’s visitor center and walk to the organic gardens.
ILLUSTRATE AESOP’S FABLES – Sat. Mar. 26, 2 pm
See Jan. 9 listing for program description. The story for Week 6 is “The Lion and the Mouse.”
…AND LOOKING FORWARD TO APRIL
ART PAINTING PARTY FUNDRAISER – Sat. Apr. 2, 3–5 pm
FANCI will host an art class fundraiser for “The Playground Fund 2016.” Join us for an afternoon of wine, music, and painting. All materials, wine, and snacks provided; just bring your enthusiasm and thirst! FEE: $40. Adults 21+ only. Leave with a wild painting and a warm feeling. Offsite; location TBA. Must RSVP by Mar. 6.
SPRING TERM JUNIOR RANGERS – Open registration; program begins Thurs. Apr. 14, at 3:30–5 pm.
Calling all kids 11 to 14 years old who love nature! Has your child wanted to work with animals, garden, help maintain our trails, and help with special events? This is the opportunity to help the Nature Center in our 8-week after-school program. Parental permission is required. Class size is limited; this class fills up fast! FREE.
***ONGOING PROGRAMS*** Sundays: Guided Hikes, 1 pm • Thursdays: Yoga for Your Health, 6:30 pm—call Pam, 203-888-4124 • Saturdays: Creature Features, 12 noon
***THINGS TO COME (Spring 2016)*** Spring Break Nature Days • Annual Earth Day Celebration • Build Your Own Terrarium • Herbal Workshop
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