Winter fun at Mine Kill

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North Blenheim — Join the Friends of Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State parks in kicking off the second annual Snow Fest at the NYPA Visitor Center on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sign up to be a contestant in the chili contest sponsored by the Friends Group – entry is free but spaces are limited to 15 contestants, so please call the Mine Kill office to enter. There is a $2 fee for sampling/judging the chilies, with prizes going to the top three contestants based on taste, heat and overall presentation.

If chili doesn’t interest you, other refreshments will be available.
There will also be a silent auction with prizes. All proceeds from the chili contest and auction will go to the Friends of Mine Kill and Max V. Shaul State parks to promote future environmental education and recreation programs at the parks.

Children and families will have the opportunity to make their own bird feeders with Peebles Island State Park. Learn the many different types of animal tracks in the snow with a workshop brought to you by Grafton Lakes State Park. Join the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership at 11 a.m. to conduct a survey of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Mine Kill State Park, an invasive bug that is threatening hemlock trees around the country. Or get outside and join the Friends Group on a guided snowshoe hike around Mine Kill - meet outside the NYPA building at 2 p.m. Otherwise, snowshoes will be available to rent throughout the day.

Wander inside the NYPA center to warm up and catch one of the hourly presentations held in the downstairs theater, beginning with biologist Erin Brady of the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation at 10 a.m. Erin will be presenting on two other bugs causing trouble in the Catskill Region, the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorn Beetle. At 11 a.m., learn about the life and times of famous local poet and naturalist John Burroughs, brought to you by Diane Galusha of the John Burroughs Memorial Historic Site. Head back in time several centuries when Mike Tarbell of the Iroquois Indian Museum presents on Iroquois Culture at noon. Then at 1 p.m., experience what the surrounding area looked like thousands of years ago when Dr. Robert Titus of Hartwick College presents his new book, “The Hudson Valley in the Ice Age.” Interested in saving money on heating bills this winter? Then check out NYSERDA’s Energy $mart presentation at 2 p.m. conducted by Eric Dahl. All presentations are free of charge for Snow Fest participants.

There will be many other workshops held throughout the day at Snow Fest 2013, including NYSDEC Forest Ranger Bill Henry hosting a search and rescue clinic. Looking for a fun outdoor physical activity near you? Pick up some information from the Creating Healthy Places booth. Become a member of the Long Path North Hiking Club or learn why a local resident plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer (the highest mountain in Africa). At 4 p.m., why not stick around and experience the annual Friends of Mine Kill/Max V. Shaul meeting in the NYPA theater?
For more information call the park office at 518 827-6111.