The South Fork Natural History Museum
(SOFO) organizes events year round showcasing the true beauty and wonder of the Hamptons. Here's a list of the nature walks and workshops throughout the winter. SOFO provides in-the-field nature experiences through its program of walks and field trips. Each foray to study local flora, fauna or landscape is led by an expert naturalist. Time is devoted to answer your questions about what you see or observe. For more information, reservations, and directions to meeting places, please call: Natureline (631) 537-9735. Walks are free to SOFO members. Non-members are charged $3 an individual and $5 per family.
Saturday, January 21 - Winter Waterfowl Count
Dawn to Dusk
Amagansett to Shinnecock
Field Count Leader: Jim Ash
• At one time a great variety of waterfowl wintered on Long Island. Now, due to habitat loss, food scarcity, and the introduction of non-native species of water birds, our wintering population of waterfowl species is slowly diminishing. To assess this situation and record the number of over wintering waterfowl, the Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, the State's ornithological society, sponsors waterfowl counts. These counts take place throughout New York State. Experienced or otherwise, sign on as a member of this year's Amagansett to Shinnecock count-team. Call us at (631) 537-9735 for further information.
Saturday, January 28 - Introduction to Local Shells
Workshop Leader: Sandra Hunter
• Shelling on Long Island is a fascinating pursuit due to the availability of both bay and ocean beaches. At this indoor workshop Sandra will introduce you to some of the South Fork's more common shells and teach you the fine points of successful beachcombing. Each participant will receive a copy of SOFO's Checklist, South Fork Shells.
Saturday, February 4 - An Introduction to the Long Island Pine Barrens
Lecturer: John Turner
, Director of the Division of Environmental Protection for the Town of Brookhaven and a co-founder and current board member of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society
• John Turner will present a slide lecture covering the plant and animal species, natural communities and landscapes that make up the Long Island Pine Barrens and the two and a half decade effort to preserve them. Learn about plants that eat animals, tigers that roam in the night and oaks that get no respect.
Saturday, February 11 - Observing Live Animals and Creating them in Clay
Workshop Leader: Carol Crasson
• A unique opportunity for children, from first to third grades, to make clay animals based on the live salamanders, frogs and turtles that make their homes at the Museum. This workshop will focus on observational skills and fun. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Small charge for supplies.
Saturday, February 18 - Geology Overview
Walk Leader: Jim Ash
• This overview of our local geology will teach you how the glaciers created and shaped the South Fork. Learn about slump blocks, sag ponds, kettle holes and glacial erratics, all geological components of the land on which we live.
Saturday, February 25 - Salamander Breeding Grounds -- The Ephemeral Vernal Pond
Program Leader: Crystal Possehl
• A vernal pond or pool is an ephemeral wetland that holds water for just a few months. When it is full it teems with life and provides breeding grounds for salamanders, frogs and insects. This slide program will look at the life of the vernal pond and its creatures, and will lay the groundwork for the upcoming late winter night forays into the woods
to see the mating and egg laying of three of our most interesting salamanders - the Spotted, the Tiger and the Blue-spotted Salamander -- whose lives depend on these fleeting pools of water.
Saturday, March 4 - Eastern Tiger Salamander Walk
Walk Leader: Andy Sabin
• On this nighttime walk we'll observe the Eastern Tiger Salamander, an endangered species in New York State, and the largest of our mole salamanders.
Saturday, March 11 - Blue-spotted Salamander Walk
Walk Leader: Andy Sabin
• Now we're off to Montauk to see the Blue-spotted Salamander, the only place in the United States where this salamander can be found in its purebred form.
Saturday, March 18 - Eastern Bluebird Walk
Walk Leader: Joe Giunta
• This popular walk with Joe will take you out into the field to observe the Eastern Bluebird, a cavity nesting bird which prefers open sunny habitats such as meadows, farm fields, lawns and pastures in which to breed. This walk is for adults. Children over 12 years of age may attend.
Saturday, March 25 - Spotted Salamander Walk
Walk Leader: Andy Sabin
• On the third of this season's salamander walks we'll visit another breeding site to observe the Spotted Salamander.