Calendar of Events, November - December 2016
Thursday  Nov.  3   Butterfly Garden Work Days
Saturday  Nov.  5   Wild Neighbors of the Red Hills
Saturday  Nov.  12  Bear Creek Educational Forest Hike
Saturday  Nov.  19  Special Fall Plant Sale: Blueberries!
Saturday  Nov.  26  Thanksgiving Saturday Super Walk

Thursday  Dec.  1   Butterfly Garden Work Days
Saturday  Dec.  3   Take a Child Outside For the Holidays!
Saturday  Dec.  10  Winter Sunset Trail Ride
Saturday  Dec.  17  Annual Meeting of the Members, and
                     Winter Solstice Celebration
Friday    Dec.  23  Birdsong will be closed from 
                     December 23 through January 3

Wednesday Jan.  4   Birdsong reopens
~ Program Descriptions ~

Thursdays, November 3 and December 1
9:30AM to Noon

Please join our Butterfly Garden volunteers on the first Thursday of the month to tend our beautiful Butterfly Garden! Bring gardening gloves, knee pads, clippers, and lunch if you wish to stay afterwards. For more information call Donna Legare at (850)386-1148 or Birdsong at (229)377-4408.

Saturday, November 5,
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Live, native hawks and owls, a turtle and a snake — St. Francis Wildlife Association’s wildlife ambassadors — will help education director Sandy Beck explain the unique adaptations that enable each to hunt and survive, the important roles they play in our Red Hills ecosystem, and what we can all do to help them. Your heart will be touched by their personal stories and inspired by their unique power and beauty. This 1 1/2 hour program includes hands-on teaching tools such as feathers, talons, skins and shells and interactive questioning and is suitable for families with school-aged children.

RESERVATIONS PLEASE: we ask that you register by phone or email by Friday noon on November 4 . Dress for the weather. Bring a picnic if you would like to stay for lunch and explore Birdsong $4 member adults, $8 non-members, children half-price.

*Please note that this program is ideally suited for families with school age children. The beautiful wild creatures Sandy is bringing with her need the surroundings to be fairly quiet and calm, so we will need to be still and attentive for an extended period of time

Sunday, November 13,
8 a.m. - Noon

Join expert birder Marvin Collins on a nature hike at beautiful Bear Creek Educational Forest south of Quincy, Florida. This area’s natural features include steephead ravines, upland pinewoods and wetlands adjacent to Bear Creek. This is an excellent place to look for migrating and wintering birds and it is full of interesting native plants. If you have not been here before, please join us – you’ll really enjoy it!

Please come prepared to walk. We will be out for about 3 hours hiking two separate trails. The walking will be of moderate difficulty; the terrain is steep in some places. Please bring binoculars and dress appropriately: wear sturdy walking shoes and long pants. Bring water and a sandwich or snack. There are no restrooms out on the trails.

$5 Friends, $8 nonmembers, children half-price.

RESERVATIONS, PLEASE. Call by Friday, November 11 at 4PM. Meet at 8AM at the Steinmart/Applebee’s parking lot in front of Newk’s in the Cross Creek shopping plaza on Thomasville Road across from Wells Fargo and Books-aMillion, or meet us at Bear Creek at 8:30AM. Please google www.fl-dof/bearcreekeducationalforest for directions and more information.

Saturday, November 19,
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Vaccinium ashei, Rabbiteye Blueberry -- If you only have room for one kind of edible fruit-bearing plant in your yard, this should be it. Blueberries are native to our area and easy to care for. They prefer our naturally well-drained, acid soil (pH 4.0 -- 5.5). Just a few bushes will produce quarts of delicious fruit in early summer. No chemical sprays or fertilizers are necessary. In addition the plants are showy in all seasons. They have glowing red leaves in fall, an attractive winter silhouette, and white bell-shaped flowers in spring. They can be used as ornamental specimen plants or planted close together (4 feet) to form a hedge. (At least two plants are necessary for pollination.)

Several years ago May Nursery donated dozens of small Rabbiteye Blueberry plants in 4-inch pots to Birdsong. A valued plant sale volunteer repotted the plants, repotted them again as they grew, and kept them watered. They are now well-grown, fruit-producing plants. We sold a few of them at the March 2016 Old-Timey Plant Sale, but spring is not the ideal planting time for blueberries because of the stress of miserable heat and drought in the months ahead when they are putting down roots. Late fall through early winter is perfect with several months of cool temperatures and regular rains to come. For this reason we have decided to offer these blueberry plants at a special fall sale. They will be at Birdsong for you to see and purchase near the pump house on the way to the Barn. This is a "First come first served" "While they last" sale of about 15 to 20 Rabbiteye Blueberry bushes. We will have printed planting and cultivation instructions and bags of the perfect soil amendment also available for purchase to mix in the planting hole to get them off to a great start. All proceeds go to Birdsong Nature Center.

Saturday, November 26,
9 a.m. - Noon

Join Birdsong volunteer Beth Grant and retrace the route our late friend mathematician Don Hill developed for a marvelous nature walk he used to lead annually. His description still applies:

“Too much turkey? Got cabin fever? Want your visitors to experience the Red Hills of North Florida/South Georgia? We will leisurely explore several miles of Birdsong’s lesstraveled trails. Spring Pond, Frog Pond, Big Bay Pond, Big Bay Swamp, Upper Pond and Farm Pond will be waypoints as we experience Birdsong’s rich and varied habitats with all they have to offer. Our path will be the loop that maximizes the enclosed area.” Beth Grant has led this walk now for a number of years and has made it her own. You will enjoy her observations and interesting additions to the route! $5 Friends, $8 nonmembers, children half-price.

Saturday, December 17,
5 p.m.

All members of Birdsong Nature Center are invited to attend an Annual Meeting of the Members at the start of this year’s Winter Solstice Celebration. This brief meeting will include an introduction of Board members and the annual election. We invite you to stay and enjoy the Solstice Celebration, our final event in our 30th Anniversary year. The main item on the Annual Meeting agenda is the election of the Board of Directors for 2016-2017. The Nominating Committee is pleased to present this year’s slate: new nominees Ellery Sedgwick and Mike Brezin, both of Tallahassee. Other current members serving are President Joe Peresich, Treasurer Bill Preston, Secretary Margie McInnes, Brenda Coy, Woody Search, Jim Antista, and Joe Newborn. We offer our sincere appreciation for their years of dedication and commitment to Birdsong. We invite you to meet your Board of Directors and fellow Birdsong members, vote at the corporate meeting, and stay for the Winter Solstice Celebration. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, December 17,
5:15 p.m.

To wrap up Birdsong’s 30th Anniversary this year, we will gather once again for the Winter Solstice Celebration! We have not held this event for a few years, but it is remembered fondly and was one of cofounder Betty Komarek’s favorite gatherings. Traditionally we used to prepare a meal and hot drinks, which were included in the cost. To simplify this event and make it easier on our volunteers at this busy time of year, we will forego including a meal and drinks, and invite you to bring your own refreshments and a picnic supper. The rest of the event will remain the same. The cost has been cut in half. Here is our schedule of events:

4 to 5pm Arrive early, bring your own hot or cold drinks, a picnic supper, lawn chairs or blanket, and settle in to enjoy the evening.

5pm Welcome and Annual Meeting of the Members.

5:15pm Listen to the music and angelic voice of Velma Frye.

6:00pm Lighting of the bonfire, accompanied by Bradley White and Didja Vu on their didgeridoos.

Once the bonfire is going strong, we will “throw the bamboo”. Each person will be given a bamboo stick to throw in the fire where it will explode and create good intentions for the coming year. Around 6:30 We will walk out to the Star Pasture for a guided observation of the night sky on the actual day of the Winter Solstice. Dress for the weather, bring a blanket to lie on to observe the stars, and bring your binoculars or scope for viewing and a flashlight. Rest of the evening: Contemplate the Universe with your family and friends, warm up around the bonfire, and enjoy more didgeridoo music.

It is our hope that this evening will give you a moment to connect with nature, to be with your friends, to consider what really matters to you at this time of year, and experience some peace and quiet under the night sky before heading back to a busy holiday season.

PLEASE NOTE: This is an all-outdoor event. At this time of year there is always a chance of rain, so please pay attention to the weather and call before you come if you have questions. You can also check our website and Facebook page. If it rains several days in advance it can soak the ground where we’ll be sitting, and the bonfire, which won’t have time to dry out before the event.

Dress for the weather and remember to bring: your favorite drinks, a picnic supper (no food will be available), blanket, lawn chairs, flashlight, and binoculars.

The events calendar and program descriptions can also be found in the Birdsong Newsletter, and on our Events section on Facebook (login to Facebook is not required).

Please call 229-377-4408 or email for more information.