Saturday Snow Days at Hidden Valley Nature Center

Every Saturday is a Snow Day ay Midcoast Conservancy’s Hidden Valley Nature Center this winter! For the rest of January and through February 22nd, from 12-4 pm, Midcoast Conservancy’s gear library of cross-country skis, snowshoes and fat tire bikes are available to rent for only $5 an hour. This is a great opportunity to try out a winter sport for the first time, or shake the rust off a familiar one. No previous experience is necessary. Outdoor Adventure AmeriCorps members from Midcoast Conservancy will be on hand to help fit participants with the right gear, do a demo if needed, and recommend trails appropriate to the user’s skill level. HVNC, in Jefferson, has nearly 30 miles of trails that offer a wide range of terrain; most are groomed after a snowfall and as needed.

Also in February, two Family Days at HVNC will give people a chance to ski or take some the fat tire bikes out on the trails. Staff will be on hand to offer basic instruction and advice on trails to explore. Monday, February 17th, families are encouraged to come ski HVNC; skis, boots and poles will be available. Tuesday, February 18th, the fat bike fleet will be ready for riders; helmets will be provided to those who don’t have their own. Registration is suggested for both events to ensure that equipment is available; go to https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/explore/events/ to sign up.

After all that practice, everyone is encouraged to put their ski, snowshoe or fat bike skills to the test at the annual winter Biathlon at HVNC on Saturday, February 29th, from 8:30 am to 2 pm.  All ages and abilities can have fun in the snow, taking laps around the 1k course between turns on the paintball rifle range. Rifle safety instruction is provided for all racers, four-person teams are welcome, and creative costumes could garner an award at the end of the racing day! Fire pits will be blazing, and chili and cocoa will be available to warm people up from the inside. Register at https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/events/midcoast-conservancy-biathlon-3/

Midcoast Conservancy is delighted to welcome Shri Verrill as its new Watershed Restoration Manager. The Watershed Restoration Manager provides leadership for eco-system based restoration in Midcoast Conservancy’s service area at the watershed scale, from the headwaters to the estuary. Verrill is currently overseeing fish passage projects in the Sheepscot River including the newly completed Head Tide and Coopers Mills dams, and is planning fish passage restoration at Branch Pond and Clary Lake dams. As a restoration ecologist and wetland scientist with a technical project management experience ranging from native plant horticulture and restoration in Maui, Hawai’I and rare plant monitoring, natural communities assessment, wetland delineation, stream habitat improvement, dam removal, fish passage, salt marsh and tidal restoration in Maine, Verrill will help incorporate restoration in the Midcoast Conservancy service area with the goal of increasing resiliency to sea-level rise and other Climate Change impacts.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge that ecological restoration at any level is taking place on indigenous land, in this case in Wabanaki, eastern Abenaki territory”, says Verrill. “While I do have a professional, scientific, and academic background that informs my approach, perhaps even more important is the sense of reciprocity and really belonging to the lands, waters, and all the plants, animals, hills and water bodies as relatives. When we expand our sense of self and community to include all beings, then in truth we can say, ‘Yes, together we ARE a force of nature!’”.

To reach  Verrill, email her at Shri@midcoastconservancy or call her at (207) 389-5177.