Feed and Count the Birds in Dec. at Sharon Audubon

Do you enjoy watching the birds at your feeders but don’t know what types of birds they are? Do you like to feed the birds, but are not sure which types of seed to offer or what kind of bird feeder to fill? Harlan will help you to understand which types of seeds most birds prefer and why, which feeders work best for your bird feeding set up, and how to identify some of the common species visiting your feeder this winter. All bird seed and bird feeders will be on sale as part of the Mega-Nature Store Sale this day, so you can leave the Center knowledgeable, prepared and stocked up for the winter bird feeding season!

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The Audubon Sharon Nature Store Sale takes place through December 13th. During the sale, you’ll find great discounts on various types of bird feeders, bird seed (including their very own Northwest Corner Blend,) t-shirts, toys, kids’ books, field guides, knick-knacks, coffee, ornaments, bird baths and so much more! Everything in our store will be on sale during the Mega-Sale on Dec. 6th and 7th!

On December 14, the Sharon Audubon is sponsoring an all day event called Trixie Strauss Christmas Bird Count that is free and open to the public. Audubon Sharon will once again be taking part in this count and they love to have people join them!

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The count area is a 15 mile circle with its center at Hotchkiss School, and includes good birding areas in Sharon, Salisbury, Amenia and Northeast. Teams from all over the state and country take part in Christmas Bird Count. The numbers are compiled and reported to help better understand flock formation and migrations.

For more information and for store hours, contact the Audubon Center at (860) 364-0520 or www.sharon.audubon.org. For holiday event information www.litchfieldhills.com

Holidays with the Bridgeport Symphony

The Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra has an exciting holiday season planned and tickets are selling fast. Once again this year, the orchestra is returning to Saturday night concerts beginning at 8 p.m. with a special optional 7:00 PM pre-concert open to all ticket buyers. Pre-concert attendees will hear the stories and letters that have inspired the repertoire for each concert by invited narrators. Pre-concert events also allow participants closer interactions with conductors, soloists and other musicians as well as the visuals that enhance each live performance.

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On November 15 at 8 p.m. the concert called Dream of Dances will feature György Ligeti – Old Hungarian Dances, Igor Stravinsky – Suite from Pulcinella, Ludwig Beethoven – Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Opus 92. The conductor, Jacomo Rafael Bairos has been described as “expressive and passionate” [Malaysian Straits Times], and lauded by the Leipziger Volkszeitung as an “impressive conductor… who is elegantly demanding”, Mr. Bairos enjoys an emerging career as an imaginative and inclusive conductor, dedicated collaborator and educator, and ardent champion of living American composers.

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On December 6 the orchestra has planned a special holiday concert that will also begin at 8 p.m. whose theme is A Folk Christmas. This concert will feature the work of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky – Serenade, opus 48; Antonio Vivaldi – from The Four Seasons; Carols and folk songs and the conductor is Eric Jacobsen. This promises to be a night of holiday cheer!

In addition, the holiday concert will highlight a performance by the Fairfield County Children’s Choir conducted by Jon Noyes, Musical Director. The Fairfield County Children’s Choir (FCCC) is a community-based choral program made up of 300 children in grades four through twelve from communities in and around Fairfield County, Connecticut. The FCCC was founded in 1995 to provide children the opportunity to participate in a musical experience which is challenging, rewarding and enjoyable. The FCCC has performed throughout New England as well as in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Maryland, New Orleans, San Francisco, Oakland, Hawaii, Canada, England, Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic. The group has shared the stage with such artists as Renee Fleming, Charles Strouse, Stephen Schwartz, Lawrence Gilgore, Sam Waterston, Christopher Plummer, Nick Page, Ivan Rutherford, Michelle Mallardi, Henry Leck, Bob Chilcott, Jean Ashworth Bartle, Tom Chapin and Rob Hugh. We welcome FCCC back to perform a 2nd time with GBS!

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There will also be a performance by Sara Watkins who plays the fiddle and has spent nearly two decades, as singer and fiddle player for the Grammy Award–winning, bluegrass-folk hybrid Nickel Creek, a trio she’d started performing in when she was a mere eight years old. As a solo artist as the BBC put it, “Watkins’ time in the spotlight is a triumph with her agile playing and the kind of voice that gives your goose bumps the shivers.”

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The final performer is Aoife O’Donovon, best known as the founder and frontwoman of the string band Crooked Still. She is also one-third of the female trio Sometymes Why, and has appeared on the Prairie Home Companion radio program. She has collaborated with artists as varied as jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, Yo-Yo Ma’s Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile’s Goat Rodeo Sessions band, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and Olabelle, to name just a few.

All performances are at the Klein Memorial Auditorium on 910 Fairfield Ave. in Bridgeport. For ticket information call 203-576-0263 or visit http://www.gbs.org.

November Fun Naturally at White Memorial Foundation

White Memorial Foundation located just off Rte. 202 on Whites Wood Road in Litchfield has planned a fun filled November for nature lovers.

photo credit: White Memorial

photo credit: White Memorial

On November 5 take a brisk walk with Gerri Griswold then relax with a super healthy meal. The objective is to share recipes, learn how to use herbs and spices to create wonderfully delicious meals that will keep you focused on your goal and to use this beautiful property to help you become the very best you can be. As for the featured dish of the night it is a Hearty Vegetarian Chili, Mesclun Greens with Oranges, Avocado, and Toasted Almonds, and Fresh Fruit. Make sure you dress for the weather and pack a flashlight! And, don’t forget to bring your own place setting! This event starts at 6:00 P.M., at the A.B. Ceder Room, Members: $15.00 Non-members: $25.00. Limited to 20 people! Pre-registration and prepayment are required.

On November 8, stop by Point Folly on the grounds of the Foundation anytime between 9 am and 12 pm to do some birdwatching with the new Education Director Carrie Szwed and don’t forget your binoculars to spot winter migrants and arrivals at this free event.

On November 15, get your paintbrush ready for a class with world renowned botanical artist Betsy Rogers-Knox! This is a great opportunity to learn techniques of botanical illustration from a pro. The class is for all levels of experience. All supplies are included. Ages 12 and up. 1:30 P.M. – 4:00 P.M., A. B. Ceder Room, Members: $35.00 Non-members: $45.00, Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.

If you give a “Hoot” then the felting workshop with Robin McCahill should be on your calendar for November 22 from 10 am – 4 pm. This is a perfect opportunity to create a handmade gift for a loved one (or to keep yourself!). Using soft wool and a special barbed felting needle, sculpt a night time owl of your choice. This one day workshop will enable you to finish your bird in time to adorn your home for the holidays. Learn some of the nocturnal habits of the famed owls while you work. All materials included! Members: $55.00, Non-members: $65.00, Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.

On November 23, there will be an afternoon Green Man Concert with with Michael McDermott and Friends Benefit Concert Supporting The White Memorial Conservation Center. he Green Man is a mysterious, eerie figure depicted mainly in medieval European stonework, believed to represent an ancient vegetation deity. It is nearly always depicted as a “foliate head,” that is, a face made of leaves and vines. Sometimes it appears as a human face peering out from leaves, other times with animal features. This joyful afternoon with ridiculously talented purveyor of joy, Michael McDermott and his band “Cead Mile Failte” Gaelic for “A Hundred Thousand Welcomes”, will include music by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Irish singer / songwriter Luka Bloom, and many more. What a splendid way to spend the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving! 100% of the proceeds from this concert benefit the Conservation Center. 2:00 P.M., Carriage House, Members: $15.00 Non-members: $20.00, Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.

To finish the month, on November 29, take a walk with Gerri Griswold along the Cranberry Pond Trail and cap off the walk with a cup of hot coffee and a thick wedge of Crimson Pie swimming in a pool of thick ginger crème anglaise! Meet in the Museum. 2:00 P.M., We’ll drive over to the trail head together. FREE…Donations will be accepted to help defray the Conservation Center’s programming expenses.

For more information about White Memorial Foundation visit http://www.whitememorialcc.org. For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting: Paintings by Mia Brownell 2003-2013 at the Housatonic Museum of Art

Twenty-eight of Mia Brownell’s paintings will be on display at the Housatonic Museum of Art in the Burt Chernow Galleries from through November 17, 2014. Luscious and sensuous, Mia Brownell’s paintings invite us to indulge in “earthly delights” and are themselves ripe with sexual innuendo.

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What Brownell asks us to contemplate is the brevity of life. “We begin in the madness of carnal desire and the transport of voluptuousness,” wrote the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, “we end in the dissolution of all our parts and the musty stench of corpses.” Seventeenth century Dutch still life paintings of tables laden with gastronomic delights served to remind viewers that all things perish but Brownell’s fruits invite us to relish the sweetness of now.

Although Mia Brownell’s paintings “may recall classical Vanitas paintings, her food-based compositions also invoke contemporary food politics. A critic of the food industrial complex, Brownell creates a juxtaposition between the natural and artificial, modeling her opulent still-lifes after molecular structures. Her depictions of shiny apples, bead-like caviar and juicy grapes look almost too good to be edible, hence the title of her upcoming traveling solo show, Delightful, Delicious, Disgusting.

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The exhibition, which premiered at J. Cacciola Gallery in New York, is a ten-year survey of Brownell’s paintings (2003-2013) travelled to the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey, Juniata College Museum of Art in Pennsylvania and the final stop at Housatonic Museum of Art in Connecticut.”

Gallery hours: Monday- Friday from 8:30am until 5:30pm, Thursdays until 7pm, Saturday from 9am until 3pm and Sunday Noon until 4pm. Please note that the Gallery will be CLOSED Monday. October 13th. For more information visit http://www.housatonic.edu/artmuseum/index.asp

Explore your inner artist with a pro at Karen Rossi Studios

Karen Rossi Studios is sure to bring out the inner artist in you no matter what your artistic ability is. Karen is a highly regarded artist well known for her original metal sculptures. Rossi also licenses and imports her whimsical characters of hobbies and professions, known as Fanciful Flights™. A growing brand, Rossi Studios is constantly introducing many programs. The newest additions include Aviv Judaica, and puzzles by Ceaco, Stave and Ravensburger.

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In Litchfield Hills at Rossi’s newly opened studio in Torrington located on 27 East Main Street in the historic Allen Building she has organized a series of classes for the month of November that are sure to delight young and old.

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On November 1 Rossi is offering a Mermaid Fanciful Flights workshop. Participants will make their very own mermaid by painting the beauty first, and then attaching charms to tell the story of your sea creature. Materials are included, but you’re invited to bring old broken jewelry, sea glass& shells. $30.00 (Regular $40.00 per person).

Magic Mosaic Boxes are the highlight of the class on November 6 where participants will create a very special box for all their tiny keepsakes. In addition to mosaics, there are lots of mixed media in the studio to help make your piece unique. All materials supplied, but you’re invited to bring your old China plates to smash up! Making mosaics is a great way to let out stress and relax. $25.00 (Regular $40.00 per person).

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Shelf Sitters that sit on a table, shelf or desktop replete with dangling legs and shoes will be made on Nov. 8. This workshop is $50 (regular $40).

Sure to be favorites, on November 15 participants will make Christmas Dogs and Cats ($25/$40) and will personalize each one for a one of a kind keepsake. On November 22 participants will Make their own Menorah ($35/$55) and will be able to choose from one of Karen’s lasercut designs. You’ll be given a white menorah to fill with color, add beads and candle cups and you’ll be ready for Chanukah.

For more information and to sign up for one of these fun and affordable classes visit http://www.karenrossi.com. For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Howl-O- Ween — at Beardsley Zoo !

It is that spooky time of year again when the attractions are serving up plenty of chills and thrills and family fun in Fairfield County.

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The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport for example, is calling all ghosts and goblins to their “Howl-O-Ween on Oct. 24 and 25 from 6:30. Visitors will spend a truly fun and frightful evening at the Zoo featuring a “Greek Mythology” Hayride, Haunted Farmyard, Gruesome Greenhouse, and magic show by Jim Sisti. Tickets also include FREE face painting, and of course, CANDY! Don’t miss this frighteningly good time. Admission is $12 per person in advance and for Zoo members; $15 per person at the gate. Event recommended for children ages 6-12, however, some of the “scarier” activities of the evening may be better suited for children ages 8+.
On Sunday, October 26, Boo is at the Zoo… from 12 pm to 3 pm. This spooktacular afternoon that includes harvest hayrides and many other seasonal enjoyments from 12:00pm – 3:00pm. Special scarecrows are guaranteed to delight and fright all visitors to the Zoo adding a ghoulish flair. Make sure you are on hand when the winner is announced so you can congratulate the winner and have your photo taken with winning scarecrow.

The fun at Beardsley Zoo continues with Harvest Hay Rides through the month every weekend in November on at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The rides begin at W.O.L.F. Cabin and are $2 per person.
Beardsley Zoo is located on 1875 Noble Ave. in Bridgeport. For more information visit http://beardsleyzoo.org. For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Wednesday Workshops Challenge Kids’ Creativity

Every Wednesday now through December 17, the Westport Historical Society has organized a series of workshops for curious creative kids from 3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. These fun workshops will allow kids ages 6 to 12 years old to create a new project each week.

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The workshops will be a fun way to encourage kids to explore their creativity. Projects will be of interest for kids with a variety of interests. For the child fascinated by technology, there’s “Industrial Revolution Robots,” where kids will make their own bots from nuts and bolts. For the budding artist there are workshops on how to make folk art signs and decoupage treasure boxes. Workshops on making sock dolls, parchment paper, scary Halloween stuff, antique toy reproductions and holiday gifts round out the syllabus.

“Wednesday Workshops,” Wednesdays, Oct. 1-Dec. 17, 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. Ages 5-12. There is a $25 per session fee, $20 for members. For 10 sessions, the fee is $150 members, $200 non-members; includes all supplies. Reservations suggested: (203) 222-1424. For additional information visit http://westporthistory.org.