Owls, ‘geodashing’ and campfire stories: Nature walks and talks in Central PA



Cooler weather and the crunch of leaves on the ground make mid and late autumn a wonderful time to get outdoors! Check out our list of walks and talks hosted by Pennsylvania state parks and environmental education centers!

Codorus State Park
Marina Drive, Hanover

Bird Songs
Saturday, November 4 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Learn how to identify a bird by its song!

Scat Chat
Sunday, November 5 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
We can learn a lot about the environment by investigating what is left behind.

Birds of Prey
Saturday, November11 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Discover how these amazing flyers manage to travel 1,000’s of miles each year.

Tree ID
Sunday, November 12 from 11 a.m.-noon
Learn how to identify the trees growing in your backyard.

Tracks & Traces Walk
Saturday, November 18 from 11 a.m.-noon
Join the park naturalist on a hunt for the animals of Codorus.

Creatures of Codorus
Saturday, November 18 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Learn some of the little known facts about the creatures of the area.

What’s Missing Walk
Sunday, November 19 from 11 a.m.-noon
Learn what has changed & disappeared in the area.

Kings Gap Environmental Education Center
500 Kings Gap Rd., Carlisle

Owls of Pennsylvania
Saturday, November 4 and 11 at 8 p.m.
In this free program for ages 6 and up, join us for an evening learning about owls found in PA. Saw-Whet Owls will be particularly featured. Weather permitting, licensed banders from the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art will monitor capture nets throughout the evening as part of a 20+ year research project. If owls are netted, the banding and data collection process will be demonstrated indoors on a live bird. For more information, contact Sarah Berg at or (717) 486-3799

Irish Gap Hike
Sunday, November 5 from 1-3 p.m.
Explore the park’s newest trail! Get to know our Irish Gap Access Area on this scenic 2 – 3 mile hike over uneven terrain. Bring sturdy shoes, water, and dress for the weather. Starts at the Irish Gap Access Area and will depart promptly at 1:00 PM. See park map for location. For questions or weather concerns before the hike contact the center: 717-486-3799. Meet at the Irish Gap Access Area!

Self-Guided Tours – Mansion Open
Sunday, November 5 from 1-5 p.m.
Sunday, November 12 from 1-5 p.m.
Join us on the top of the mountain to visit the Cameron-Masland Mansion, an historic stone villa built in 1908 as a summer home. The first floor will be open for self-guided tours. Maps and docent(s) will be available. Be sure to check out the stunning views of the Cumberland Valley from the mansion’s back porch atop South Mountain. The lovely mansion garden is also available to peruse. *Mansion availability is subject to change without notice. Call 717-486-5031 prior to the weekend you plan to visit to inquire about availability.

Benjamin Olewine III Nature Center
100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg

Full Moon Hike
November 4, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Soak up the spirit of the night with a guided walk on the North Boardwalk. Brave the moonlit path as your eyes adjust to the darkness and the rustling wind blows through the trees. Begin in the Olewine Pavilion by the nature center with a short program to discover nocturnal animals. All ages are welcome to attend this not-so-scary and easy 1.5-mile walk. Pre-registration required; call 717-221-0292. Fee: $5 per participant.

Volunteer Work Day
November 11, 2017 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Take this opportunity to work outside and help Wildwood’s continued park and habitat enhancement projects. Tools and work gloves will be provided. In an effort to reduce plastic usage, bring along a water bottle; refreshments will be available. Pre-registration is not required; please let us know if you are bringing a group of six or more. Assume the work day is cancelled if it is raining. Fee: Free

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
1700 Hawk Mountain Rd, Kempton

Eagle Day
November 4, 2017 at noon and 2 p.m.
See a Golden AND Bald Eagle courtesy of our friends at Carbon County Environmental Education Center. This is the only day you be 100% guaranteed to see these eagles up close! The hour-long programs will replace Raptors up Close. Seating is limited, so plan to arrive early or to be flexible and prepared to sit on ground or stand. Held indoors in event of rain. Trail fee applies for Non-Members. FREE for Members.
Please arrive early to allow time to purchase your admissions ticket inside the Visitor Center. Be prepared to show or be wearing your admission sticker upon entering the Amphitheater.

Fall Weekend Programs
Through November 12, 2017
FREE with trail fee. No registration required. Weekend programs are great for groups, families, or individuals, and first-time visitors are encouraged to incorporate one or more into your day’s visit.

Trapping & Tracking, near South Lookout at 11:30 a.m and 2:30 p.m.
Meet international trainees and learn from them the tools and technologies used to study long-distance migrants. This program is informative and entertaining, with lots of hands-on samples for you to look at and touch, and includes information on satellite and radio telemetry, wing-tagging, and the importance of counting migrating hawks.  Rain cancels.

Binocular Basics, near South Lookout at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Binoculars are an amazing tool for wildlife watching and study. This program offers the perfect platform for beginners of all ages to learn about the basic functions while holding a pair of optics in their hands and using them in an authentic outdoor setting.  Rain cancels.

Name That Raptor @ Laurelwood Niche at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Learn to ID Hawk Mountain’s common raptors by idenitfying key field marks to watch for in the sky. The program also covers the basic size differences, shapes and behaviors that help you key in on the correct species, as well as how to watch for the silhouette of a bird that is soaring overhead.  Rain cancels, trail fee required.

Nixon County Park
5922 Nixon Drive, York

Birds of Prey Day
Saturday, November 25 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Meet live hawks, owls, or falcons during this indoor program presented by local raptor rehabilitators. See these magnificent flying hunters up close. Learn how these birds are adapted to hunting on the wing. Two sessions available to choose from. Cameras welcome. No fee. Registration is  required by calling 717-428-1961 or in person at Nixon Park.

Lancaster County Parks Department Environmental Center
1 Nature’s Way, Lancaster

Authors and Their Environment
Ages 12 and up
Wednesday, November 1 from 3–4 p.m.
Join Naturalist Brandon Pentz for a discussion on influential Scientists and Naturalists. Followed by a visit to the Shuts Environmental Library, the discussion will focus on the backgrounds, history, and ideas of famous writers like Rachel Carson, John Muir, and Aldo Leopold. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Tuesday, October 31. Light refreshments provided. $2.00 per person.

Trash Talk! Our Remarkable System
Ages 16 and up
Thursday, November 2 from 7–8 p.m.
Come join Naturalist Ann Strauss and find out what happens to your trash when it leaves your curb. The journey taken by your bottles and cans includes several stops and procedures all designed to make the least environmental impact. This is a subject with which we should all be more familiar. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Wednesday, November 1. $2.00 per person.

Let’s Go Geodashing!
All Ages
Saturday, November 4 from 10 a.m.–noon
In geodashing, participants locate as many dashpoints or randomly generated locations as possible in the time allowed. In lieu of randomly generated dashpoints, Naturalist Mary Ann Schlegel will choose dashpoints throughout Central Park. There will be no caches to locate– participants simply report what they find at each dashpoint to score it. A limited number of GPS units are available; if borrowing a unit, please bring a valid driver’s license to secure it. Please call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Friday, November 3. $3.00 per person.

Munchkin Science
Ages 3-5 with parents
Tuesdays: 1-2 p.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m.:
November 7
November 21
Come discover the science of nature and the plants, animals and rocks we will find in the great outdoors. We will also explore liquids and solids, and the science of household products. We will make flying machines and floating machines. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by the Monday preceding each program. $3.00 per child age 3 and up and $1.00 per adult.

Fun and Fascination with the World Around Us!
Ages 6 – 10
Wednesdays: 10–11 a.m.
November 1 – Forests
November 15 – Grasslands
December 6 – Deserts
December 20 – Mountains
After an introduction to world geography, children will delve into diverse habitats including poles, oceans, forests, deserts, and grasslands. Actual activities will vary from class to class but will include crafts, games, and outdoor time. Dress for activity indoors and for the weather outside. Younger children with parents are welcome to attend if accompanying older siblings. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on the Tuesday preceding each program. $3.00 per child and $1.00 per adult.

Storytelling Around the Campfire
All Ages
Saturday, November 11 from 5:30–7 p.m.
Campsite #3
End the work week by relaxing with an evening of storytelling around a campfire. Bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the fire’s glow with family and friends. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on the day preceding each program. $2.00 per person.

Fibers from Nature
All Ages
Saturday, November 18 from 10–11:30 a.m. and noon–1 :30 p.m.
Learn to identify local fibrous plants and trees. Practice techniques of taking fibers from plants such as stinging nettle, milkweed, dogbane and yucca, and transform them into usable cordage. Participants will be taught the reverse wrap method of making rope/cordage. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Friday, November 17. $3.00 per person.

Native American Games
All Ages
Tuesday, November 21 from 10–11 a.m.
Join Naturalist Lisa J. Sanchez for a chance to experience the games Native American kids played. Try your hand at playing these games using materials you can find in nature. You will learn some skills needed to survive and have fun. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Monday, November 20. $2.00 per person.

Happy Snakesgiving!
All Ages
Tuesday, November 21 from 6–7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 22 from 1–2 p.m.
Come meet some slithery friends in an interactive exploration of how snakes move and survive, and what makes a snake, a snake. We’ll play games, study skeletons, and meet some snakes from the North Museum’s Live Animal Room. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on the day prior to each program. $3.00 per person.

Owl Prowl
All Ages
Wednesday, November 22 from 6:30–8 p.m.
Join Naturalist Lisa J. Sanchez for a night of looking and listening for owls. Become familiar with their nesting habits, special features and their sounds. We will then go outside to attract owls that live in Central Park. Please dress for the weather. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Tuesday, November 21. $2.00 per person.

Storytime and Craft – Lizards
All Ages
Sunday, November 26 from 1–2:30 p.m.
Meet live scaly, cold-blooded creatures and learn all about them during this program led by Naturalist Kelsey Frey. Participants will interact through a children’s story reading and songs, and then make a craft project to take home. Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Friday, November 24. $3 per child, $1 per adult helper.

Shopping Day Out
Ages 5 and up
Monday, November 27 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Drop your kids off with us so while you shop, they will have tons of fun. Naturalist Ann Strauss will read the kids a book, take them for a hike, catch and examine critters, and do crafts and simple experiments among other indoor and outdoor activities. This program will be held rain or shine. Kids must dress for being outside, bring their enthusiasm, lunch (no nut products, please) and a water bottle! Call (717) 295-2055 to register by noon on Friday, November 24. $6 per child.

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