Native American Winter Survival Techniques Feb. 1 @ 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, February 1 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.

Watch Future Olympians Soar in Salisbury’s 94th Annual JumpFest February 7,8, and 9, 2020

This will be the 94th year when ski jumpers and lovers of winter sports converge in Salisbury at Connecticut’s signature winter event, JumpFest. Ski jumping was introduced to this bucolic town in 1926 when a Norwegian farmer, Mr. Satre sailed off his barn; making ski jumping a winter tradition here ever since. This year, JumpFest is taking place on February 7, 8, and 9, 2020, at Satre Hill on Indian Cave Road in Salisbury. For updates and more information click here or info@jumpfest.org or www.jumpfest.org.

There are only a half a dozen ski jump facilities on the East Coast, with JumpFest being the southernmost location. Some of the best athletes will be here competing in an event that has launched many Olympians. As a matter of fact, three of the four men that participated in the Olympics at Sochi had something in common, they were all from the east coast, and they all participated at JumpFest.

For the Tri-State area and beyond, JumpFest offers a very special opportunity to watch these graceful athletes fly through the air — up close! The anticipation of watching competitors travel up to 200 feet through the air at more than fifty miles an hour and, guessing who is the fastest — and highest in real-time — is an unforgettable experience. It is so much fun to be part of the excitement! The crowds’ ring cowbells to cheer on their favorites and the jumpers take notice. The excitement reaches a crescendo when the slap of skis hits snow in a smooth landing with everyone hoping that this jump beats the Salisbury record, an impressive 231-foot jump.

Festival Schedule
JumpFest kicks off on Friday, February 7 at 6 p.m. with Target Jumping beginning at 7 p.m. Target Jumping is followed by the infamously fun Human Dog Sled Race, a crowd favorite that begins between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Teams of six participate, five pulling the sled and one riding. The sleds and costumes, of course, boggle the imagination! Trophies are awarded for the best in men’s women’s, mixed categories. Competitors navigate a .3-mile course through the snow. It’s all in fun, and teams can get very creative with both their costumes and sleds. Two large bonfires and warm food and beverages are available.

On Saturday, February 8, things warm up with a Junior Meet that is followed by the practice of participating jumpers from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. The Junior 20 to 30-meter competition begins at 1 p.m. It is thrilling to watch these Olympians in the making defy gravity and soar through the air with runs of 65 to 98 feet. Another tradition is the Snow Ball Dance taking place at the White Hart Inn with entertainment by the Steve Dunn Band. This is the perfect time to mingle with fellow sports lovers, bid at the silent auction, and take a chance on a raffle ticket that benefits the Salisbury Winter Sports Associations (SWSA) programs. The admission to the Snow Ball Dance is $15. The highly anticipated Eastern U.S. Ski Jumping Championships on Sunday, February 9 begins with practice at 11 a.m.; the competition begins at 1 pm. At this event, there are often Olympic hopefuls that display the tremendous coordination, skill, and grace that have what it takes to soar so far and so high with a smooth and successful landing. Make ski jumping history and be there to see if the Salisbury record is broken – perhaps a new contender for the Olympics! Even the most sedentary spectators will appreciate the extraordinary coordination and skill required to make this jump! Judging from past history, some of the competitors here will go on to the Olympics.

Details and More
Coffee, food, and hot chocolate will be available at all events. As this is an outdoor event, and it is winter, please dress warm – don’t forget your cowbell and cellphone for great photo opportunities! On Friday, February 7, the event ticket booth opens at 6 p.m. and admission is $15; on Saturday, February 8, the event opens at 10 a.m. and tickets are $15, on February 9 the event opens at 11 a.m. and tickets are $15. The Snow Ball Dance is $15 at the door. The Human Dog Sled Race entry is $25 on Friday, February 7 with the downloaded pdf.

Between events, there will be plenty of time to explore the charming town of Salisbury with its many intriguing shops and restaurants all within walking distance of Jumpfest. A highlight is an art show, The Wonders of Winter hosted by the Salisbury Association that includes art by 34 national and international artists showcasing sixty works of art in six locations including William Pitt/Sotheby’s International Realty, Sweet William’s Coffee Shop & Bakery and the White Hart Inn, all within walking distance of each other on Main Street, Salisbury. Many of the paintings are on sale with a portion of the profits going to the Salisbury Winter Sports Association youth skiing programs and ongoing facility improvement.

About Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA)

It all began in 1926, when a gentleman named John Satre (Say-tree) showed off the sport he had learned in his native Norway with the unlikely feat of jumping from the roof of a shed while wearing skis. To everyone’s surprise, instead of crashing Satre soared through the air and glided to earth. It looked like fun and by the next summer, several neighbors had gotten together to begin building a proper takeoff and ski run. A former cow pasture became the landing area. On January 29, 1927, the club, the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) held its first competition with a crowd of more than 200 spectators. This all-volunteer group has hosted several National Championships and, today continues to maintain Satre Hill, introduces young and old to the sport of ski jumping, and organizes the competitions.

It’s Raining Cats and Tamarins in Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Rainforest Building

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo continues to grow in exciting new ways as it executes its mission of conservation, education, research and recreation. The Zoo is now home to Pipoca, an almost two-year-old ocelot, and Leao, a seven-year-old Golden Lion tamarin. Both of the new arrivals have spent the past several weeks in quarantine, required for any new arrival. Managed by the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP), inter-regional transfers are arranged with careful attention to gene diversity when placing animals in their new homes.

“Pipoca and Leao are both beautiful young animals that we are sure will quickly become Zoo favorites,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “The Rainforest Building features multiple animals from tropical South America, including a black howler monkey, white-faced saki monkeys, Goeldi’s monkey, two-toed sloth, vampire bats, Yacare caimans and more. It’s a wonderful place to learn about the diversity of life found in rainforests.”

Pipoca, the Brazilian Ocelot

Pipoca was born on March 13, 2018. She can be found in the Zoo’s Rainforest Building. For a short period, the glass walls of the habitat will be fully or partially covered with paper to allow Pipoca to gradually adjust to her new surroundings in semi-privacy. As Pipoca becomes more comfortable, the paper will be removed, allowing guests to view her in a newly refurbished habitat.

Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) are medium-sized, solitary cats native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Ocelots once ranged in large numbers from Arizona to Arkansas and Louisiana, but the fur and pet trades decimated the population. In the United States, fewer than 60 ocelots remain in two small populations 20 miles apart in south Texas near the Mexican border. These largely nocturnal cats use keen sight and hearing to hunt rabbits, rodents, iguanas, fish, and frogs. They also take to the trees and stalk monkeys or birds. Unlike many cats, they do not avoid water and can swim well.

Leao, the Golden Lion Tamarin

Leao arrived several weeks ago and has been undergoing a period of adjustment to his new surroundings. He can be found in the Rainforest Building as well. Considered the most beautiful of the four tamarin species, the Golden Lion tamarin is named for the thick mane of hair around his neck, reminiscent of the great cats of Africa. Golden Lion tamarins live primarily in the trees. They sleep in hollows at night and forage by day while traveling from branch to branch. Long fingers help them stay aloft and snare insects, fruit, lizards, and birds.

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 beardsleyzoo.org.

Groundhogs, Shadows, and Light Workshop for Kids

Linking shadow and light with the lore of Marmota monax, aka Punxsutawney Phil, kids will enjoy learning about the curious history of Groundhog Day on Saturday, February 1 from 11:00 – 12:30 at the Wilton Historical Society. Museum educator Katherine Karlik will be talking about the origins of the holiday in Candleman’s Day, as well as the many amusing names associated with these large ground squirrels. The project for this Groundhogs, Shadows and Light Workshop for Kids is making a paper-punch design for a votive to cast interesting shadows. Includes snack.

Suggested for children ages 6-12. Wilton Historical Society Members $10; Non-members $15. Please register: info@wiltonhistorical.org or call 203-762-7257.

Did You Know?
“Groundhogs are also variously referred to as woodchucks, whistle-pigs, or land-beavers. The name whistle-pig comes from the fact that, when alarmed, a groundhog will emit a high-pitched whistle as a warning to the rest of his or her colony. The name woodchuck has nothing to do with wood. Or chucking. It is derived from the Algonquian name for the critters, wuchak.” – Jason G. Goldman, 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Groundhogs, Scientific American Online.

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 beardsleyzoo.org.