Outdoors Briefs

Take a hike with regional club

The Otzinachson Regional Group of the Sierra Club and the Edward Abbey Hiking Society will hold a number of hikes throughout the region. They are open to the public, but hikers should contact the hike leader prior to the event. Participants are advised to bring lunch and water on every hike.

Hikes will be held:

Today – Zindel Park, Clinton County. Explore 7 strenuous miles of mostly unmarked trails and several overlooks where you can see the Lock Haven watershed and surrounding mountains and valleys. Meet at 10 a.m. at McDonalds off Route 220 at the McElhattan exit, one exit north of Lock Haven. Bring a camera, lunch and sufficient water for about four hours of hiking. Contact Joanne Heimer at jheimer@comcast.net or 570-295-1431.

Saturday – Tiadaghton State Forest, Lycoming County. This 12.3-mile hike incorporates parts of the Golden Eagle Trail and the Pine Creek Rail Trail and features seven excellent vistas but is considered very strenuous. Meet at 7:45 a.m. at the parking lot of the Comfort Inn in New Columbia, just off Route 15 south of Interstate 80, or at 9 a.m. at the parking area along Route 414, off of Slate Run Road. Register with Tony Robbins at tony.robbins@excellservices.com.

Next Sunday – R.B. Winter State Park and Bald Eagle State Forest, Union County. Hike a variety of strenuous trails to make a 12-mile loop. Meet at the parking lot at the breast of the dam along Route 192 at 8:30 a.m. Register with Joe Rebar at 570-259-0134.

April 5 – Loyalsock Trail, Sullivan County. Hike 6 1/2 miles from Sones Pond to the end of the trail on Route 220 via the Haystacks in an easy to moderate expedition. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the McDonald’s in Hughesville. Register with Roy Fontaine at 570-220-4707.

50th anniversary recognition dinner announced

Monday is the last day to make a reservation to attend the 50th anniversary of the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited. A special reception and dinner to celebrate the chapter’s founding and chartering will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. April 5 at the 33 East Restaurant, 33 E. Third St.

Ken Hunter, artist, writer and sportsman, will present the after-dinner program. There also will be a silent auction of art work and fishing gear, and proceeds will benefit the chapter’s stream conservation work.

The chapter and its members have been instrumental in public education and projects to protect and enhance streams in the area.

The cost of the dinner is $35 per person, and the public is invited to attend.

For details and tickets, call Dave Craig at 570-971-4744.

View a film about rivers

LEWISBURG – The Campus Theatre, 413 Market St., will show “Lost Rivers” at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The film is a historical look at rivers and streams that have been channeled to run under cities, unbeknownst to most residents.

A $2 admission applies.

The screening is sponsored by the Bucknell University Environmental Center as part of its green Screens series.

Forestry crew test planned

EMPORIUM – March 26 is the last day to register for a pair of classes offered by the state Bureau of Forestry-Elk State Forest.

The annual specialized crew refresher training will be held April 8 and 12 at the district office, while the annual work capacity test will be administered April 15 and 19.

For more information, call Greg Burkhouse at 814-486-2432 or stop by the district office, 258 Sizerville Road, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Reptile program slated

TIOGA – Canyon Country Reptiles, of Wellsboro, will hold a free presentation on reptiles at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ives Run Recreation area’s visitors center, south of here along Route 287. It is sponsored by the Mill Cove Environmental Education Center.

Native and exotic reptiles such as Burmese python, American alligator, black and white spitting cobra, tarantula and other snakes and lizards will be shown by Jack Witmer, who has 22 years of experience handling these animals.

He will answer questions and attendees will get a chance to touch a few animals.

For more information, call 570-724-3488.

Learn how to identify sparrow species

At the Lycoming Audubon Society’s meeting on Wednesday, guest speaker Alex Lamoreaux will discuss strategies to identify the 17 common sparrow species of central Pennsylvania. The keen observer should learn and concentrate on a few key field marks and use the process of elimination to assist in identification. Grouping the birds into sparrow families using their size, shape, behavior and probability of occurrence provides useful clues.

Lamoreaux is studying wildlife biology at Penn State University and is a traveling field ornithologist, most recently working for the Center for Conservation Biology. An avid birder since he was 8, Lamoreaux has traveled across most of the U.S. and to Central America and Southern Africa in search of birds. He is active with “eBird,” a real-time, online checklist program that has revolutionized the way that the birding community reports and accesses information.

The chapter meeting begins at 6 p.m., with the free public program a half-hour later. It will be held at the James V. Brown Library’s Lowry Room, on the third floor of the Welch Wing, 19 E. Fourth St.

See wings over water at Montour Preserve

WASHINGTONVILLE – Spring is in the air and so are waterfowl, and the public can get a free peek at them from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at PPL’s Montour Environmental Preserve.

Ducks, geese and swans are pushing northward, making a brief stop at local bodies of water. Attendees could see a variety of dabbling and diving ducks, as well as geese and possibly other surprises. Dress for the weather and bring binoculars, a spotting scope and a field guide if you have them.

Meet at the Environmental Education Center. For directions, visit www.pplpreserves.com, select Montour and then click on Contacts and Directions. For more information, contact the preserve at 570-437-3131 or jdbeam@pplweb.com.

Alpine Club sets annual dinner, meeting

The Alpine Club of Williamsport will hold its annual tureen dinner and club meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 30. Call Helen at 570-326-5644 for details and location.

Hunter education course offered

ANTES FORT – A hunter-trapper education course will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. March 31 and April 1 at the Northcentral Office of the state Game Commission, 1566 Route 44.

Students must attend both days and pass the course test to receive a certification card.

Register on the Game Commission website under “Hunter-Trapper Education.” Students should study Chapters 1, 4, 5 and 9 from the online manual prior to the class.

For more information, call Max Farley at 570-337-8750.

Groups organize Earth Month Celebration

The “Caring for Communities” series, sponsored by the Merrill W. Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy and the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance, will kickoff in April.

The annual series of family friendly events engages people in learning about and gaining appreciation for the local natural environment.

Events in wetland explorations, owl prowls, star gazing, canoeing/kayaking, bicycle rides, wildflower walks and more are planned.

Everyone is welcome and most events are free.

For complete schedule of events, visit www.LinnConservancy.org.

Mineralogical society plans day for kids

PLEASANT GAP – The Nittany Mineralogical Society will hold its annual Minerals Junior Education Day on April 5 a the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, 540 N. Harrison Road, in Centre County.

Registration is required in advance by emailing nittanymineral.org@gmail.com or calling 814-234-4532. Parents should indicate their desired starting time slot and the names and addresses of the children in grades one through eight who will attend.

Starting time slots are 9:30, 9:45, 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. as well as noon, 12:30 and 1 p.m. Registration is limited.

The event will give students a chance to learn about minerals, crystals, gems and fossils and to take home several samples. Stations will be set up on the following topics: gold panning, gemstone identification, invertebrate fossils (shells), vertebrate fossils (bones), bedrock geology of Pennsylvania and fluorescence (glow in the dark).

The cost is $5 per child. Parents may attend for free.

Indoor fishing derby scheduled

JERSEY SHORE – Independent Hose Co. No. 1, 130 S. Pennsylvania Ave., will hold its fifth annual Indoor Fishing Derby at 11 a.m. April 5. Fishing starts at noon and ends at 4 p.m.

Age groups are infant to 6-year-olds and 7- to 12-year-olds.

Fishing equipment and bait will be supplied. A $10 donation enables anglers to fish all day.

Anglers can keep what they catch or put them back into the tank. Those who catch tagged fish will win a gift bag.

Games and food will be available all day.

For more information, call 570-398-0531.

Learn about native Pennsylvania plants

EBENSBURG – The Allegheny Mountain Woodland Association hold a public program titled “Native Pennsylvania Plants for Every Garden & Every Season” from 9 a.m. to noon April 5 at the Ebensburg Borough Building, 300 W. High St.

Dr. Eric Burkhart will offer a few of his top plant choices for Pennsylvania gardeners interested in integrating native plants into the landscape. For each plant, identification, cultivars, cultural requirements, ecological value and propagation methods will be reviewed. He also will present tips and ideas, drawing from his own home landscape experiments, on how to convert landscapes into native plant gardens.

Burkhart is the plant science program director for Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and teaches courses for the Penn State Ecosystem Science and Management Department.

A fee of $10 for association members and $15 for nonmembers applies. Advance registration reserves a spot but is not required.

To register or for more details, call 814-472-8560 or visit www.amwa.treesofpa.com.

Seven Mountains Audubon plans free field trip

LEWISBURG – The Seven Mountains Audubon will hold a free field trip at 7:30 a.m. April 5. Attendees should meet at the CVS side parking lot on Route 192, just west of Route 15. Everyone is welcome.

The group goes somewhere different each month, with a different leader each month. They do not decide where they are going until a day or two before because the decision is made on local sightings.

In March, the group went to a farm near Washingtonville and saw a snowy owl.

For more information, call 570-837-3377.

Alpine Club announces trail care hikes

The Alpine Club of Williamsport seeks volunteers to help clear the Loyalsock Trail’s footpath, trim limbs and check blazes. The club will hold trail care hikes on the following dates:

April 6 – Little Bear Road to Painter Run area and side trails

April 27 – Painter Run area to Shingle Run area plus distance to work on trail

May 4 – High Knob area

May 18 – Rain date

Volunteers should bring lunch, water, gloves, loppers, bow or folding saws and hammers. Some equipment will be provided.

Call Ruth Rode at 570-322-5878 to sign up or if you have questions or want to work on the trail at your convenience.

Boating safety course planned

HUGHESVILLE – The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Williamsport, Flotilla 15-01, will offer a boating safety course from 5 to 9 p.m. April and 10 at the Hughesville Area Public Library, 146 S. Fifth St.

A fee will cover the cost of materials.

Participants will receive a boating certificate from the auxiliary if they attend both sessions and will qualify for the state boating certificate upon successful completion of the course.

People who want to operate a personal watercraft (jet ski) or who were born after Jan. 1, 1982, and want to operate a boat with a 25 horsepower or larger motor are required by law to have successfully completed a recognized boating course.

For more information or to enroll, call Flotilla Commander Robert Brown at 570-368-1884 or email him at psp50l@aol.com.

Hunter-trapper education classes set

MUNCY VALLEY – Free hunter-trapper education classes will be held at the North Mountain Sportsmen’s Association Club on the following dates:

6 to 9:30 p.m. April 11 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12

6 to 9:30 p.m. July 11 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 12

6 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 15 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 16

Independent study classes from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.

Individuals who are at least 11 years old may register on the state Game Commission website for any of these classes. Attendance at the entire program is required to receive certification card.

For more information, call Rick Smith at 570-924-3072 or email rss49@epix.net.

Elk alliance chapter plans banquet

MILL HALL – The Clinton County Chapter of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance will hold its third annual fundraising banquet on April 12 at Haywoods on the Green.

Raffles, games and auctions will be held throughout the evening and prizes include firearms, jewelry, wildlife art, home furnishings, accessories, outdoor recreation items and cash.

Tickets may be purchased by contacting Lisa Lindsey at 570-249-0411 or boomoon8@yahoo.com.

The Keystone Elk Country Alliance has enhanced 1,400 acres of wildlife habitat in the elk range, educated more than 12,000 school children and welcomed more than 850,000 people to the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, teaching them about elk, wildlife and natural resources.

Last year, it brought back the annual Elk Expo and celebrated the 100th anniversary of the elk reintroduction into the state. This year, construction on an outdoor education pavilion at the visitor center will begin.

Tour wetlands in Montandon

MONTANDON – The Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy is organizing a walk at the Montandon wetlands at 10 a.m. April 12.

Led by Bucknell University professors and Tony Markunas III, of Central Builders Supply, the walk will extend on trails deep into the marsh area; rubber boots are advised.

Meet at the Central Builders’ sand plant off Route 45, 0.3 miles east of Route 405 and the Lewisburg bridge.

See the countryside via bicycle

LEWISBURG – A Caring for Communities bicycle ride will be held at 1 p.m. April 13 along the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail in Union County.

It will be led by biking enthusiast Tom Gibson. Routes will be available for two levels of experience – 15 miles and 30 miles.

Park at the lot adjacent to the Dale/Engle/Walker House and meet for departure at the Dale’s Ridge Trail parking lot. The Dale/Engle/Walker property is at 1471 Strawbridge Road, off Route 192, 1.7 miles west of Lewisburg.

The ride is sponsored by the Merrill Linn Conservancy as part of its celebration of Caring for Communities Earth Month.

Stroll under the full moon

LEWISBURG – The Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority is organizing a moon walk on April 15 on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. An instructor from Bucknell or Bloomsburg universities may be on hand to shed some light on what attendees are, or aren’t, seeing.

For details, call 570-524-4774.

Discover owls and stars

LEWISBURG – The Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy is organizing an owl prowl and astronomy night on April 19.

The owl walk, led by Joe Southerton, a Mifflinburg teacher, begins at 7:30 p.m. and is followed by astronomy observing at 8:30, led by Bucknell University astronomers.

Meet at the Dale’s Ridge Trail parking lot for the owl prowl and at the Dale/Engle/Walker House for the stargazing.

Learn about trees

LEWISBURG – The Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy will hold a tree walk at 6 p.m. April 25.

Attendees will learn about notable trees in downtown Lewisburg. Meet at Hufnagle Park.