In Winter’s Depths, Focus On Nature

As the days get colder, it would seem like a good time to huddle around the fireplace, but some hardy souls brave the icy temperatures to bring a series of events that encourage participants to bundle up, move around, and breathe in that brisk, fresh air.

On Saturday, January 12, from 1 to 3 PM, The Neo-Political Cowgirls present “ZIMA!” — an interactive winter journey combining mystery, poetry, theater, and exploration, as participants seek out wild, costumed characters hidden around Montauk and try to solve a riddle. The hunt begins at the gazebo on the Montauk Village Green, and groups move through every 15 minutes, with the last group leaving at 3 PM. The walking journey takes about an hour. To pre-order tickets online, visit, or buy at the door.

The East Hampton Trails Preservation Society offers three upcoming nature hikes. On Saturday, January 12, at 10 AM, Dave Luce will lead a three-mile hike around Chatfield’s Hole, a beautiful glacial kettle hole. The walk along the Northwest Path is through an oak forest sprinkled with pitch pines and white pines, one of the town’s first open-space land acquisitions. On January 19 at 10 AM, the Ocean View Trail will be explored with Eva Moore. This moderately-paced three-mile hike will take walkers past Fresh Pond in Hither Woods along a seldom traversed, somewhat hilly trail that offers glimpses of the ocean at the highest point. January 26 at 10 PM will see Steve Murray leading a two-mile woodland trails ramble through the Duke Preserve, with beautiful water views across Three Mile Harbor. To find out more about these and other EHTPS events (including geocaching for the kiddos), visit

A lunar eclipse is coming, and the Montauk Observatory can help interested stargazers view it. On the night of January 20-21, the full moon will pass into Earth’s shadow and turn from a radiant white to an eerie red. The eclipse will begin at approximately 10:30 PM on January 20, reach totality by about 1 AM the morning of January 21, and conclude almost three hours later. Montauk Observatory astronomer William Taylor offers a free lecture a few days before, on Friday, January 18, from 7 to 9 PM, on “Celestial Shadows: The January 2019 Lunar Eclipse.” Held at the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center on Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton, the lecture will be followed by stargazing through telescopes, weather permitting. To learn more about registering for the event, visit

Shelter Island’s Mashomack Preserve also provides some outdoor offerings this month. “Winter Wildlife: Seabirds and Seals” is a truck tour with Mike Laspia on Saturday, January 12, from 10 to 11:30 AM, to search for seals and winter birds in Gardiner’s Bay. A “Full Moon Fields Walk” will be held on Sunday, January 20, from 6 to 7 PM. Bundle up and see the fields at Mashomack and enjoy a view of Shelter Island Sound under the light of the full moon before it eclipses. Call to reserve your space at 631-749-0291.

The Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons has several events in January, including, on Saturday, January 12, at 1 PM, a free workshop on “Natural Science Organics.” Steve Storch, owner of the Green Thumb in Water Mill, will explain how to make and use compost teas in home gardens at the Bridgehampton Community House. The next day, on Sunday at 2 PM, this month’s HAH lecture will feature Matt Mattus on “Botanizing in the Land of the Blue Poppy.”

Mattus will share his photos and film from a recent expedition, where he followed in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest 19th Century botanists through a fascinating horticultural area, Yunnan and the borderlands of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. This area remains of immense interest to botanists and alpine gardeners and is home to varietals of primula, rhododendron, and meconopsis: the famed blue poppy. The lecture will be followed by refreshments, an HAH seed exchange, and book signing in the John LoGerfo Library located in the Bridgehampton Community House. Admission is $10, free to HAH members. For more info about this and other goings-on, visit

Finally, the Group for the East End serves up family fun with a Shinnecock Bay Seal Cruise out of Southampton on Saturday, January 19, at 10 AM. Learn about the different species of seals that inhabit the waters around Long Island. For tickets and more information, visit That same day, at 11 AM, enjoy a family “Winter Walk Through The Woods” on the trails at the Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue, with an opportunity to explore the forest ecosystem during the winter. GFEE also has a “Full Moon Hike” for adults and children on Sunday, January 20, at 5 PM, also at the Downs Farm Preserve. Come hear why the Native Americans called the January Moon the Wolf Moon. For more information about this and other January events, and to make reservations, visit

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