Native American Winter Survival Techniques Jan. 25 @ Institute for American Indian Studies

Modern resources, gadgets, apps, and technology – we all use them to make our lives easier. But what if we didn’t have all of them to rely on? Native American communities living in Connecticut managed to live quite comfortably through the harsh New England winter. They spent the summer and fall preparing, storing, and foraging for winter by using a multitude of natural resources that are key to surviving in the winter.

on Saturday, January 25 beginning at 1 p.m. join museum educator, Griffin Kalin from the Institute for American Indian Studies to learn how to find shelter, make food, and stay warm when the weather is cold and your resources are diminished. An unusual highlight will be a demonstration of how to tan a hide in order to make leather for clothing. This program on how to survive in the Eastern Woodlands without twenty-first-century technology is fun, informative and thought-provoking. Best of all, the Winter Survival program is free with the price of a modest admission – adults $10, seniors, $8 and children $6.

Participants will learn how to start a fire in the snow, how to find food in the forest, and how to make a shelter from the natural environment. This is an immersive experience for program participants because they will actually visit the 16th century replicated Algonkian village on the grounds of the Institute that is composed of several wigwams, a longhouse, a fire circle, drying racks, and the dormant three sisters garden cultivated every summer by the museum.

It is exciting as well as an engaging experience that is suitable for all ages. The experience will make you feel as though you have stepped back in time as you explore the forest and learn the ways of the Eastern Woodland Indians.

To participate in this event be sure to dress warm and wear appropriate footwear because some of this program will be outside. In addition to this program, entrance to the museum with its fascinating exhibits and wonderful gift shop featuring locally made handcrafted Native American art, crafts, and jewelry among other items is also included.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

Pasta Making Class and Supper with Chopped champion Silvia Baldini

The Stamford Museum and Nature Center is kicking off January with several dynamic adult programs that’s all about enjoying social connection, cultural exploration and continued learning with the added benefit of flavor and fun! 

On January 30 from 7 to 9 pm, for example, there will be a pasta-making class and supper with chopped champion Silvia Baldini.

Creating the perfect handmade pasta is a combination of art and science, but it needn’t be intimidating. Dive in hands first with chef and Food Network “Chopped” Champion, Silvia Baldini, and learn simple steps to a variety of shapes, styles, and textures.

The class will be followed by a feast of our own creation. The former chef at the Ritz in London, Silvia is the founder of Strawberry & Sage, and a recent inductee to the prestigious Les Dames d’Escoffier NY.

To Register click here.

Jan. 25 Rare Amur Leopard Cubs to Celebrate First Birthday at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Two of the rarest of the big cats on earth will celebrate their first birthday at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo on Saturday, January 25. The Zoo’s two Amur leopard cubs, Orion and Kallisto (Panthera pardus orientalis), were born January 25, 2019, adding to the important species survival work being done at the AZA-accredited facility. The male Amur leopard cub, Orion, and the melanistic (an extremely rare black color variant) female, Kallisto, were hand-reared by Zoo staff.

The Zoo will celebrate with a number of special activities throughout the day:

9:00 a.m.- First 100 guests through the gate receive free Zoo calendar magnet
10:00 a.m.- Education talks begin at the leopard habitat
Noon- Birthday enrichment offered to the cubs, designed to encourage exploration and play. Free cake and hot cocoa served to Zoo guests.
1:00 p.m.- Encore presentation of Fostering Felines Part II Lecture in the Research Station: talk supported with photos and video by Leopard Cub Care Specialists Bethany Thatcher and Chris Barker.
20% discount at Zoo Gift Shop offered all-day

Amur leopards are critically endangered, which means they face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild, with approximately 80 animals remaining there. There are approximately 200 in human care worldwide, with slightly more than 100 in Russia and Europe, and slightly fewer than 100 in the U.S. With such a small population, each Amur leopard born is extremely important to the survival of the species.

“Amur leopards are on the brink of extinction, so there’s every reason to celebrate Orion and Kallisto reaching their first birthdays as healthy young cubs,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “The birth of these cubs brought two more precious Amur leopards to the population, which helps ensure the survival of these majestic animals for future generations.”

The cubs’ mother, Freya, resides in an adjacent habitat to the cubs.

About Amur leopards

A rare subspecies of leopard that has adapted to life in the temperate forests from Northeast China to the Korean peninsula and the Russian Far East, Amur leopards are often illegally hunted for their beautiful spotted fur. The Amur leopard is agile and fast, running at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. Males reach weights of 110 pounds and females up to 90 pounds.

They prey on sika, roe deer, and hare, but the Amur leopard has to compete with humans for these animals. They live for 10-15 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in human care. In the wild, Amur leopards make their home in the Amur-Heilong, a region that contains one of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world, vast steppe grasslands, and the unbroken taiga biome.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo:

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 98th anniversary this year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, Mexican and red wolves, and South American rainforest with free-flight aviary. Other highlights include the new Spider monkey habitat, the Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit with “pop-up” viewing areas, plus the Pampas Plains featuring maned wolves, Chacoan peccaries and Giant anteaters. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful, indoor carousel. For more information, visit

Art of Tin Punching Workshop for Kids @ Wilton Historical Society

On January 11 from 11 am – 12:30 pm the Wilton Historical Society is offering a special workshop for kids focusing on the art of tin punching. The tin lanterns that illuminated front porches and parlors throughout Europe can be traced to at least the early 16th century. By the Colonial era, tin punching added a bit of variety to the traditional choices of tin lanterns fitted with panes of glass or cow horn.

Lanterns with those original types of panes could still be punched, but tinsmiths might bypass panes altogether if they made enough holes to let sufficient light shine through.”
Colonial Williamsburg website

Museum Educator Katherine Karlik will talk about tin punching, and about William and Edward Pattinson, brothers who settled in Connecticut around 1740 and established the first tin shop in America.

The workshop project is making a rectangular placard that can be used as a wall hanging, featuring a simple dot and dash design.
Children will help make their own snacks. This workshop is suggested for ages two – six.

Experience the Wolf Moon Institute for American Indian Studies, January 11

A walk in the winter woods with the educators of the Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington Connecticut is an ideal way to celebrate the first full moon of 2020. This walk will begin at 7:30 p.m. on January 11 and traverse the beautifully wooded trails on the grounds of the Institute. This event is free for Museum Members and $5 for non-members.

A full moon occurs every 27 days and this particular full moon is the Wolf Moon that just happens to coincide with an eclipse, the first of six to happen this year. The shadow of this penumbral lunar eclipse (only visible in Alaska, Greenland, and parts of northern and eastern Canada) will give the moon a tea-stained color for a few hours. Astronomers estimate the moon will peak around 7:30 p.m. The winter sky is also bright with constellations, especially Orion’s belt so be sure to bring your binoculars or telescope.

Many Native American communities call the January full moon the Wolf Moon because wolves are heard more often at this time of year. It was thought that they howled because they are defending their territory and locating pack members to go hunting. Other traditional names for the January full moon include the Cold Moon, the Old Moon, and the Great Spirit Moon.

A highlight of the walk will be to learn about the phenomena that people in the Eastern Woodlands have been experiencing for thousands of years. After this walk, you will look up at the full moon with a new appreciation of it and, new knowledge that has been passed down through the centuries. The woodland walk ends at the newly restored and built 16th-century Algonkian village where a warm fire and hot chocolate will greet hikers.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies
Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the Institute For American Indian Studies preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. They have the 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

See Majestic Eagles @ Shepaug Reservoir in Southbury

An outdoor buffet in winter may not sound tempting to most of us, but to our national bird, the regal American bald eagle, it is a rare treat. When fishing grounds in their homes further north freeze over, these graceful birds make an annual journey to the Shepaug Dam on the Housatonic River in Southbury, in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills.

They favor this spot because the turbulent waters of the dam not only prevent freezing but push fish to the surface, easy pickings for eagles who can swoop down and feast on their favorite dish. Thrilling to see in full flight, the majestic bald eagle can measure 34 to 43 inches in length with a wingspan of six to seven and a half feet.

Their flight speed is between 36 to 44 miles per hour. Everyone is invited to view these fascinating winter guests at the Eagle Observation Area near the Shepaug Housatonic Hydroelectric Station. An organized eagle watch takes place every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March 12.

Admission is free but since space is limited reservations are required; group and individual reservations are accepted. In addition to eagle viewing, the CT Audubon will host birds of Prey show on Saturdays throughout the viewing season. This year for the first time reservations can be made on-line

The shelter, maintained by FirstLight Power Resources, is located 1000 feet from the river, affording safety for the eagles while providing an excellent vantage point. High powered telescopes are set up on tripods for visitors. Knowledgeable Audubon volunteers are on hand to assist in spotting and answer questions about the birds.

The volunteers maintain a helpful website, with information about eagles and recent visitor statistics. Reservations can be made on this site. Nearly 148,000 people have visited the observation area since it was opened to the public in 1986. On an average day in past years, six or seven eagles were sighted, but lucky viewers on the best days in the past have spotted as many as 15 to 21 eagles in action. Chances are best on cold clear days when the surfaces of most other rivers and ponds have frozen. Visitors are advised to dress warmly in layers and to allow plenty of time to wait for the eagle action to begin.