JEFFERSON

Hidden Valley fills today with open house activities

An open house at Hidden Valley Nature Center on Egypt Road begins at 10 a.m. today with a bird walk led by birding experts and a talk on feeding birds in winter (suggested donation $5).

All-day activities include self-guided tours of the extensive trails, games for kids, a timber frame assembly, hot cider at the yurt and the nature center’s version of geocaching. There will also be displays by local land trusts and environmental education organizations.

There will be two sustainable forestry demonstrations and walks, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. At noon and 2 p.m., there will be backcountry cooking, food dehydration and winter camping skills discussions.

The grand finale at 3 p.m. is the drumming event at the yurt led by Judy Nielsen, original member of Inana, Sisters of Rhythm. Bring your lunch, kids, dogs and enjoy the day.

For more information, visit www.hvnc.org or call 586-6752.

NEWRY

Wife Carrying competitors returning to Sunday River

Sunday River will host the 11th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship at 11 a.m. Saturday as part of its Fall Festival Weekend.

The prize list includes the wife’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. This event, which brings people from around the U.S., marks couples’ last chance to qualify for the World Wife Carrying Championship in Finland in July 2011.

Teams must be comprised of a male and a female, both at least 21 years old. Couples do not need to be married and can choose which teammate is carried.

Held outside of the South Ridge Base Lodge, the 278-yard course includes uphill running, log hurdles and a 10-meter water obstacle.

Cost is $45 per team. For more information or to register, visit www.sundayriver.com. Registration also is available on race day.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY

Fly-fishing, Sugarloaf films being shown at Homecoming

Sugarloaf will kick off its annual Homecoming Weekend at 8 p.m. Friday with a presentation of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, two hours of short films from around the world. The films will be shown outdoors on the Beach.

This year’s films include footage from 25 waterways in nine countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States. Each has its own blend of comedy, storytelling and impressive fish.

The weekend also will feature the world premiere of Sugarloaf’s new film, “Big Mountain. Big Love.” at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Featuring skiing and snowboarding action shot at Sugarloaf during the 2009-10 season, the film showcases Sugarloaf’s history and celebrates the unique personalities who helped to shape the resort.

Admission is free and open to all ages. Refreshments will be available for purchase during both films.

For more information, go to www.sugarloaf.com.

ALBANY, N.H.

Mountain lion expert to talk about their status in region

Are there mountain lions roaming the North Country? Many credible observers believe they have spotted a mountain lion in New Hampshire, yet most biologists say the animal has not been in the state since the early 1800s.

This powerful predator is also known as a puma, cougar and catamount. It preys on deer, coyotes, porcupines, raccoons and smaller animals.

Bill Betty, a member of the Eastern Puma Research Netowrk, will discuss the behavior of mountain lions in a program from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, 1245 Bald Hill Road in Albany. He will also discuss theories about increasing mountain lion populations in the Northeast.

Tin Mountain nature programs are sponsored by L.L. Bean and the Evenor Armington Fund. Donations of $3/person and $5/family are appreciated; members are admitted free. For reservations, call 603-447-6991. 

Center offers trip to see raptors from prime spot

Tin Mountain Conservation Center and RAVEN Interpretive Programs are offering a birding trip Oct. 28 through Oct. 31 to one of the most significant migration areas in North America, Pennsylvania’s Hawk Mountain.

Participants are likely to see hundreds of migrating raptors, including the northern goshawk, golden eagle, red tail hawk and northern harrier. There also will be field study at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the world’s first refuge for birds of prey.

The trip also will include a less-known but excellent hawk-watching spot, Bake Oven Knob. Leader Chris Lewey is known for his informative natural history tours.

Cost is $510, which includes lodging, breakfasts, box lunches, sanctuary fees, naturalist guided field study and round-trip van transportation between Conway, N.H., and Pennsylvania. A deposit of $100 is required to hold a spot, and registrations should be made by Oct. 12.

For information or to reserve, call 603-447-6991. To learn more about Tin Mountain visit www.tinmountain.org.

BIDDEFORD

Turtle Trek races will aid sanctuary, trails and park

Turtle Trek at the Blandings Park Wildlife Sanctuary on Oct. 16 will be a day of outdoor fun to raise funds to support conservation, education, recreation and research.

Events on Marblehead Lane in Biddeford will include the Adventure race at 8:30 a.m., featuring canoe/ingkayaking, running, biking and geocaching ($25); and a Challenge race at 8:45 a.m., including running, biking and geocaching ($20). The Hunt at 10 a.m. will feature geocaching only, in Blandings Park ($10).

All proceeds will benefit the sanctuary, Saco Bay Trails and the new Biddeford Dog Park at Rotary Park.

For more information or to register, go online to www.turtletrek.me or call 590-3347.

WINTHROP, VASSALBORO

Kennebec Land Trust raising funds to buy two properties

The Kennebec Land Trust has organized two fundraising campaigns to purchase lands adjacent to the Mount Pisgah Conservation Area in Winthrop and the Vassalboro Wildlife Habitat on Webber Pond Road in Vassalboro.

The Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, includes a network of trails and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and hunting.

Kennebec Land Trust must raise $30,000 to purchase an 8.35-acre parcel next to the Mount Pisgah fire tower parcel, with a closing deadline in December.

The 285-acre Vassalboro Wildlife Habitat includes undeveloped shoreline on Webber Pond. The trust is raising $55,000 to purchase 43 acres that will connect two forested sections of wildlife habitat. An anonymous donor has already donated $25,000 to the campaign.

Some of the funds raised will be dedicated to the stewardship of these conservation lands.

To learn more about these campaigns and the properties, visit www.tklt.org or call 377-2848. 

BRUNSWICK

Hand in Hand for the Land features locally grown feast

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust is celebrating 25 years of local land conservation with events that bring attention to the importance of open land, protected waterways and local farm preservation. The culminating event, Hand in Hand for the Land, from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Frontier Cafe, will be a feast of locally grown food prepared by local chefs.

Chefs and farmers will work side by side, serving food and sharing stories about their work to bring local food to the table. There also will be bluegrass music, children’s activities and a cash bar for wine and beer.

Tickets cost $25, or $40 for two, and are available at the Crystal Spring Farmers Market as well as through the land trust at 729-7694. Children are admitted free.

Since 1985, the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust has preserved more than 1,100 acres.

GRAND LAKE STREAM

Ruffed grouse hunting event set for northern lodge

Weatherby’s Resort, one of the oldest sporting lodges in the country, will host this year’s Ruffed Grouse Society Northeast Upland Bird Hunt Oct. 27-30.

Weatherby’s sits on the edge of more than 1 million acres of forestland, with hundreds of miles of gravel roads allowing access to some of the best grouse coverts in the East.

There will be guided and non-guided grouse and woodcock hunts over dogs on Thursday and Friday, and a banquet, featuring live and silent auctions, games, drawings and door prizes.

Several all-inclusive guided packages are available for the three nights and two days, ranging from $1,600 for individuals. For those who prefer hunting with their own dog(s), non-guided packages begin at $1,000. For more information and/or reservations contact Alison Kelley at 412-262-4044, or by e-mail at [email protected]

FREEPORT

Wild bird supply store supporting local groups

Freeport Wild Bird Supply is helping to raise funds for local conservation and environmental organizations with its new “Independence Is for the Birds!” program.

One weekend each month, the store at 541 Route 1, will donating 4.5 percent of revenue generated from most sales at the retail store to a nonprofit organization.

The upcoming featured group is York County Audubon Society on Oct. 9 and 10.

To learn more, go online to www.freeportwildbirdsupply.com.

SOUTH PORTLAND

Dr. Newton’s to help protect Jewell Falls in sanctuary

Dr. Newton’s Naturals, Maine’s largest direct to consumer vitamin company, has agreed to sponsor Jewell Falls in the Fore River Sanctuary. Partnering with Portland Trails, Dr. Newton’s Naturals will help maintain and protect the only waterfall in the Portland area.

The Fore River Sanctuary is an 85-acre nature preserve located less than 2 miles from Dr. Newton’s headquarters.

Portland Trails is approaching its 20th anniversary of building a network of multi-use trails in Greater Portland. Dr. Newton’s joins it in ensuring local gems like Jewell Falls will be enjoyed for years to come.