Summer nights are the best, with cool breezes, bright moonlight, star-studded skies and just a peaceful easy feeling. Oh, and things that make noises in the dark that can make you jump out of your skin if you don't know what they are. Which is what the good folks at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island are counting on with a summer program of nocturnal events designed to explore, embrace and explain things that go bump in the night.
"When we venture out on the wildlife refuges at night, we seek out those mysterious noises and movements," said Audubon naturalist Kim Calcagno. "Part of each walk is simply getting used to walking in the dark. The more you learn about what you see and hear, the more comfortable you become in the darkness and the more you can enjoy the peacefulness, cool air and array of night sounds."
The evening events include:
Aug. 3, bats at Eppley Wildlife Refuge, West Kingston, a night walk through the refuge to learn about the flapping creatures of the night.
Aug. 10, family night exploration at Fisherville Brook, Exeter, where kids and their parents engage in games and activities that explain the night vision of creatures like bats, deer and coyotes, and have some s'mores later.
Aug. 29, family hike night at Fort Nature Refuge in North Smithfield, where participants (ages 8 and up only, it involves a nearly two-mile hike) listen for animal sounds and test their night vision.
Aug. 31, a full-moon kayak paddle at Hundred Acre Cove in Barrington (ages 16 and up), a quintessential salt marsh with osprey and terrapin turtle nesting sites, where great blue herons and snowy egrets are often seen, and where participants can get out and see the cages of the turtle nests.
All programs are $12 for non-members of Audubon ($6 for kids) and $8 for members ($4 for kids), except for the moonlight paddle, which is $65 for non-members and $55 for members (all equipment included). Registration is required for all programs by calling 401-949-5454 ext. 3041 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A free download of all Audubon activities is available at www.asri.org
"We want people to discover the night and find wonder and delight in what is around them," Calcagno said. "In the end, we hope to introduce and share with people the same enjoyment of the wilds at night that our naturalists possess. It's a wonderful time to explore."