The Weekend: Winter Activities for the Snow-Less

Things to do in our area this weekend that do not require snow.

One great advantage of a snow-starved winter is the ability to enjoy nature at her most exposed—uncovered, dormant, yet teeming with life. Several events this weekend focus on birding and hiking, so take advantage of the mild forecast and hike with New Jersey Audubon. Make a birdhouse at the Environmental Center, or participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count in West Orange.

For those who prefer indoor entertainment, there are concerts in our area, and lectures as well. Consider a musical or an art exhibit. Read on for details of these events and others, and feel free to add suggestions of your own in the Comments section.

Birding Hike in Essex County Hatfield Swamp

New Jersey Audubon will lead a hike geared for adults and children over 12. Hikers will spend the morning searching for birds and other animals of winter. If trails are impassable due to ice and/or snow, the hike will be cancelled. Registered participants will meet at the parking lot. $6 for NJAS members and $8 for non-members; Saturday at 8 a.m.; West Caldwell

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. No experience is required to participate.  will also host a formal talk about Mina Edison and her bird watching, and a Ranger-led walk around the Glenmont Estate each day at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. $7 (Adults), Children under 16 years are free; Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; West Orange

To commemorate National Nest Box Week, adults and children ages 10 and older (accompanied by an adult) are invited to build a birdhouse for breeding birds at the Essex County Environmental Center. Making a nesting place available at this time of year increases the chances of attracting a nesting songbird pair by spring. $6 per child and $8 per adult; Saturday at 10:30 a.m.; Roseland

Experience the stunning photographs of Fred Dammont, physicist, lecturer and nature photographer, at the Essex County Environmental Center. Dammont’s latest exhibit explores the famed Colorado Rocky Mountain Range. Free; Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Roseland

For 125 years, the has shared sacred music during services to the surrounding community. In celebration of this milestone, a concert will reunite many of the singers and musicians that have been part of the music ministry at the church over the years. Scheduled to appear are The Union Baptist Anniversary Choir under the direction of Brandon McCune, Minister of Music; Alma Micic; Gratitude; Don Corey Washington and Syreeta. Free; Friday at 7 p.m.; Montclair

History buffs will enjoy a lecture by historian Bill Gent, detailing the art of medicine as it was practiced during the Civil War era. Interestingly, program will take place at the Clark House, which was built by Dr. James Clark, whose father was a physician who examined soldiers as they returned home to New Jersey from the Civil War battlegrounds. Suggested donation is $5; Sunday at 1 p.m.; Montclair

The Newark Bears will host a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball to raise funds for an indoor batting facility and repairs.  The evening will include cocktails, performances, celebrities, food, and a chance to win a trip to next year’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Black tie is optional. $200 - General Admission; $250 - Reserved Seating; Saturday at 7 p.m.; Newark

presents On Kentucky Avenue, a dramatic musical based on the North Side of Atlantic City and its majestic Club Harlem. While the story is fiction, it is based on the actual Club Harlem, and Larry Steele's Smart Affairs and his Beautiful Showgirls. $15-$20; Saturday at 8 p.m.; Bloomfield

The 2012 Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series celebrates 32 years of commemorating Black History Month with a conference focusing on the centrality of health in the history of black Americans. Taking Good Care: A History of Health and Wellness in the Black Community, will examine the intersection of health and race in American life.  Featured speakers include: Dr. Jocelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the United States; Dr. William Owen, president, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey; Dr. Sharla Fett, associate professor of History, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA; and more.  Free; Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Newark

Holiday Hike – Essex County South Mountain Reservation

Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to get outdoors while school is closed, and learn about wildlife in our local parks with New Jersey Audubon.  There is no specific agenda, so prepare for fun and varied habitats along the hiking trails of South Mountain Reservation. The registered participants will meet in the Tulip Springs parking area off of Cherry Lane. $5 for NJAS members and $7 for non-members; Monday at 9:30 a.m; West Orange


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