Exploring Northampton
Patches of Wildness: A Preliminary Inventory of the Overlooked Plants in and around Downtown Northampton
A Walking Tour with Co-director & Naturalist Laurie Sanders

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 | 9 - 11 am
In the midst of an otherwise built-up landscape, cracks in the sidewalk, roadside edges, and other "neglected" patches are places where a variety of plants--grasses, wildflowers and trees--have taken hold. Most of these so-called "weeds" are species that arrived in North America during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries; some were introduced intentionally; others arrived accidentally.
On this outing, we'll begin to identify and inventory some of the most common "weeds" in downtown Northampton, learning more about their fascinating life histories and the variety of butterflies, bees, ants, and other insects that take advantage of these untended urban greenspaces.

Registration is required.
Each walk is limited to 15 participants.
Sliding scale admission: $10-20.

Architectural Geology: Building Stones of Northampton
A Walking Tour with Geologist John Brady

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 | 9:30 - 11:30 am
Thursday, May 19, 2022 | 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Geologist John Brady will lead a walk on Main Street and describe the geologic origins of the building stones used to construct some of downtown Northampton's most iconic structures--from the Court House and First Churches to City Hall and beyond. This walk will expand your view of Northampton's architecture and give you a new appreciation for some of the 400 million years of earth's history that the building stones reveal.

Registration is required.
Each walk is limited to 15 participants.
Sliding scale admission: $15-25.

Image: Photograph of the Hampshire County Courthouse by Rob Weir.
A Hike to the Ruins of the Williamsburg Dam
A Walking Tour with Co-director Elizabeth M. Sharpe

Friday, May 20, 2022 | 10 am
Saturday, May 21, 2022 | 10 am
Join co-director Elizabeth Sharpe on a hike to the ruins of the Williamsburg reservoir dam in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. On May 16, 1874, the 42-foot tall earthen dam suddenly burst, unleashing one hundred acres of water onto the valley below. Within an hour, the flood devastated the villages of Williamsburg, Skinnerville, Haydenville, and Leeds; 139 persons were dead. It was the first major dam disaster in US history.

Dr. Sharpe will discuss the dam's siting, construction, the flood itself, and the inquiry into who was responsible. She is the author of In the Shadow of the Dam: The Aftermath of the Mill River Flood of 1874 (Free Press, 2004).

The trail is approximately 1.5 miles total, of moderate difficulty, with some steep, slippery and rugged portions.

Registration is required. Each hike is limited to 20 participants.
Donation: $10-25.
Contributions will be split with the Williamsburg Woodland Trails.

Exploring Parsons Brook
A Walking Tour with Co-director & Naturalist Laurie Sanders

Sunday, May 22, 2022 | 1:30 - 3:30 pm
During the last twenty years, the City of Northampton has protected more than 100 acres in the Parsons Brook Greenway. This landscape is underlain by outwash plains that were deposited 16,000-13,000 years ago, when braided glacial streams, choked with sands and sediments, flowed into Glacial Lake Hitchcock. Today, this area includes a mix of habitats, nearly all of which have been highly manipulated by people during the last fifty years.
Join co-director and naturalist Laurie Sanders on a two-hour loop in a portion of the conservation area, through abandoned gravel pits and oak and pine woods, past ponds and marshes, and beside a stretch of Parsons Brook that reveals exposures of 200-million year old sandstone.

Registration is required.
Each walk is limited to 15 participants.
Sliding scale admission: $10-20.