First of all, don’t forget that this weekend, Feb. 12-14, is the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, with a variety of outdoor events being hosted throughout Maine. If you dare to brave the snow and cold predicted for this weekend, consider attending one of these fun gatherings, which are listed on greatmaineoutdoorweekend.org. On the website, you can search events by region of the state, time, cost and activity type. Events include a winter bird walk in Grand Lake Stream, an intro Ice Fishing Day in Standish, the Maine Audubon Winter Carnival in Falmouth, a snowshoe race in Norway, “Winterpaloozah” in Rangeley, ice skating at Mount Blue State Park, a guided snowshoe adventure in Bangor and much, much more.
But if you can’t attend an Great Maine Outdoor Weekend event this weekend, have no fear — there are tons of other outdoorsy events planned throughout Maine this February. Here are just a few that caught my interest:
-The annual Cabin Fever Reliever at the “World Famous” Brewer Auditorium is scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28, and I’m mentioning this event first because I’ll be at the event with BDN Outdoors Editor John Holyoke at the BDN Outdoors booth, and I’d love for you to come and chat with me. Really, it’d make my day. I love meeting people, and I always have a good time at this little show. Plus, there are always some spectacular door prizes. And… it’s free admission!
-Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden has two big events coming up: “Uncovering the Mystery of Snowy Owls,” a presentation by Maine Audubon’s Doug Hitchcox and Bangor wildlife photographer Sharon Fiedler on snowy owls traveling from the Arctic to Maine, will be 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23. And renowned biologist and author Bernd Heinrich will present “The Nexus of Science and Art” 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at the center. Heinrich is the author of some popular books you might know of: “Why We Run,” the series “Ravens in the Winter,” and “The Snoring Bird.” For more Maine Audubon events, visit maineaudubon.org/events/.
-Don’t forget the annual Penobscot Ski Bash scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28 from noon to 4 p.m. at Bangor Municipal Golf Course. This free event is anyone interested in cross-country skiing, from beginners to experienced skiers, and will include fun activities, lessons, games, a bonfire and healthy snacks. And for those just getting into the sport, there will be equipment available for people to use for free.
-If you ever wanted to learn about wildlife tracking and research, there’s a slideshow presentation called “Owls are easy, otters are easier: year round animal tracking on Vinalhaven” by Maine Coast Heritage Trust naturalist Kirk Gentalen scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Camden Public Library, 55 Main Street in Camden. For the past eleven year, Gentalen has been learning about Vinalhaven Island’s robust owl and river otter populations through tracking, photography and observation. For information, call 236-3440.
-For families with children, the “Winter Family Day of Play” at Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, and it will include snowshoe rentals, a story walk, a scavenger hunt, sledding, indoor arts & crafts and refreshments. It’s just $7 for nonmembers, and children under 2 are free. Members are free. This is an event I’d like to bring my niece to if I get the time. Field’s Pond is a great place to bring kids to learn about nature year round.
-If you’re interested in beautiful birds, you may consider attending the presentation “Project Snowstorm” on snowy owls by raptor specialist Erynn Call of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which is scheduled for 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Old Town Public Library, 46 Middle Street in Old Town. This event is being put on by Friend of Sunkhaze Meadow National Wildlife Refuge.
-There’s nothing quite like walking through a winter landscape by the light of a full moon. On Monday, Feb. 22, Maine Coast Heritage Trust will host a moonlit cross-country ski and snowshoe at Aldermere Farm in Rockport. The event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and at the end of the trail, there will be a bonfire and hot chocolate. Couldn’t really ask for more. For information, call 207-236-2739 or visit aldermere.org/
-This last event — The 78th Annual Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show — is actually in March, not February, but I’ve decided to plug it in here because I wanted to give you a heads up that I’ll be giving a talk at this years show! This year, the show is scheduled for Friday, March 11-Sunday, March 13, and will be held at the University of Maine Field House in Orono, as usual. I’ll be there at the BDN Outdoors booth much of the time, hoping to chat with some of you guys, and I’ll be giving a presentation called “Hiking Lessons Learned the Hard Way” in a classroom at noon on Sunday. To learn more about the show, visit conservationassociation.org.