What are you doing over February Vacation?

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 6:38pm

If your week of winter wandering will be based on the “Bermud a of the North” — Block Island, that is — consider joining one of the following free Ocean View Foundation programs.

Monday, February 20: Great Backyard Bird Count — a Block Island Tutorial

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a four-day annual national endeavor to record birds seen in one’s neighborhood on a very broad spectrum. This project (sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) relies on citizen scientists from throughout the United States and Canada to help build a picture of bird populations during mid-winter. To find out more about this project go to audubon.org/gbbc.

Critical to the success of this project, which runs from February 17 to 22, is that participants report their sightings online at birdcount.org. On February 20 the OVF will present a GBBC-B.I. Tutorial.

If you want to participate in the GBBC, but feel uncertain about the online reporting, or would prefer to do it with a group, then join the Ocean View Foundation’s Director, Kim Gaffett, at the Island Free Library on Monday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m. We’ll take a short walk around town, compile a bird list, and then use a computer to report our sightings. All that you will need to bring is a pair of binoculars if you have them.

Tuesday, February 21: Crazy-as-a-Coot Bird Walk

This twice-monthly bird walk invites all interested to join an early morning stroll (8 a.m.) in search of birds, wonderful views and camaraderie. Never birded before? No worries, all birding skill levels are welcome. The pace is easy; there is always a spotting scope at hand so that all can see birds. Even on the poorest day, you are guaranteed to see a robin. Call 595-7055 for location, which is based on the weather prediction.

Thursday, February 23: Off-island day-trip — Coggeshall Farm

For the first time this outing will go to the Coggeshall Farm in Bristol. A visit to this shoreline farm along Narragansett Bay will offer a glimpse of mainland coastal farm life as it might have existed in the late 1700s. It will be fun to notice how life on a mainland farm may be both similar and different from an island seaside farm. During our visit we will explore the barns, corrals, and fields containing livestock such as chickens, pigs, sheep and oxen. In addition, the group will participate in a special activity that will be based on the number of participants and their interests.

The trip is open to any Block Island School student in the fifth through twelfth grades. (Younger siblings, students or visiting relatives and friends may attend if accompanied by an adult, and on a space-available basis; contact Kim to make arrangements.)

This trip will offer an environmental and cultural education experience during the February school vacation, plus a little off-island fun. For organization and planning purposes, anyone interested in this program should call Kim (595-7055) as soon as possible to sign up. Space will be limited, but a minimum of three participants must be signed up by noon on Friday, February 17, for this program to happen.