January and February are undoubtedly the coldest months out on the East End. For some, that’s all the more reason to head outside. What is a seemingly dead environment to many comes alive to others. Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island and Group For The East End both offer free outdoor programming — a chance to walk, listen, and learn with other likeminded individuals. Search for wildlife, plant spring seeds, or just come to make new friends in the area.
Mashomack Preserve covers a third of Shelter Island, with a total of 2039 acres and 11 miles. On Saturday, January 11, from 7 to 8:30 PM there will be a Full Moon Fields Walk. The following Saturday, January 18, from 2 to 3 PM, will be Fun at the Feeder, a chance to learn how to identify common birds of the winter season, cameras encouraged.
The Mashomack Birding Club meets on the first Saturday of each month to search for the birds of the area. This casual meetup meets next on Saturday, February 1, from 10 to 11:30 AM, coffee provided. Beyond the birds, on Saturday, February 15, from 10 to 12 PM, meet up with the group to search for other “signs of life in winter” while searching for tracks and learn about how animals survive in the arctic months.
Saturday, February 22, from 1 to 4 PM, partake in Mashomack Point’s only guided walk of the year with a tour of the Katharine Ordway Wildlife Refuge, all of it culminating with a view of Northwest Harbor. Need to get off your feet and into a car? Join a truck tour and short hike with the Nicoll Legacy family history in Mashomack’s meadows. There will be a visit to the cemetery. Find the foundations of buildings in Miss Annie Nicoll’s “Big House” and learn all about the Nicoll’s family impacts on the land today. To register for any of the above, email [email protected].
Group For The East End, located in Cutchogue, has upcoming outdoor outings as well. On Friday, January 10, from 6 to 7:30 PM, join the group in a walk to celebrate the first full moon of the decade, the Wolf Moon, named such by the Algonquin tribes. It will be a guided one-mile walk at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue. Participants are encouraged to bring a flashlight or headlamp. Register by emailing [email protected].
Think about the spring months ahead in a seed exchange at Hallock State Park in Riverhead on Sunday, January 19, from 12 to 2 PM. The program will focus on native plants and all participants are encouraged to bring a clean, plastic, one-gallon container, seeds to share, and $5 fee due at time of arrival. Email [email protected].
Sunday, January 26, from 11 AM to 12:30 PM, at the Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue will be a winter walk through the woods for an identification of the common plants of the preserve. Email [email protected].