Nature in the New Year: January Programming

by Dec 27, 2020News0 comments

With the new year comes new hope for all. Connect with us AND nature this month.

Join us this January for returning favorites and new adventures. There is something for everyone, from family-friendly nature walks, book and film discussions, and habitat garden planning. You won’t be disappointed!


Feeling frustrated about the decline of wildlife?
Empower yourself to make a difference by reading this month’s Bylane Book Club selection, Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas W. Tallamy. Garden Director Mathew McDowell will join Melanie Brocklehurst for the discussion of this book, which has awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives.
     In this new book, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy—you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard.
     This book is available to borrow from the Westchester Library System or is available to purchase across a variety of platforms in print, electronically and on audio.
Monday, January 4, 7:00pm. Registration required by emailing Susan at or by calling 914-302-9713. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants on January 4th prior to the virtual meeting which you can use to join the discussion. We look forward to seeing you!

Birds as architects? You bet!
Explore the amazing variety of bird nests through a Virtual Multimedia Presentation from Anne Swaim, Executive Director, Saw Mill River Audubon. From the massive nests of eagles to walnut-sized hummingbird nests, from cavity-nesters inside trees to ground-nesters to birds that weave intricately woven baskets that hang from branches, birds are master builders! Find out about how different birds develop from eggs to nestlings to fledglings and what to do if you find a nest or young birds in need of help.
Wednesday, January 13, 7:00pm. Registration required by CLICKING HERE. You will receive a link to the event in a confirmation email after you register and in a reminder email before the event starts. 

Let the cold invigorate while birding at a locale justly celebrated for its bird life!
It might be cold, but you’re sure to enjoy our popular Field Trip to Greenwich Point Park with Naturalist Tait Johansson. Greenwich Point is an IBA (Important Bird Area). Its peninsular geography boasts a readily-available habitat and is an important migrant stopover for as many as 266 species of birds, some on the state and global endangered list. In the past, we’ve seen owls, Brant, Long-tailed Ducks, scoters, goldeneyes, loons, and other waterbirds, some interesting songbirds, and more!
Saturday, January 9, 8:00am-12:00pm. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Depart Bylane at 7:00am to caravan or meet in the lot on the right after the gatehouse at 8:00am. Registration is limited and required by emailing Susan at or calling 914-302-9713.

Are you dreaming of springtime gardening?
If you’re feeling stuck inside and can’t wait until warmer weather arrives, spring into action with Garden Director Mathew McDowell’s Virtual Workshop: Planning and Sourcing a Native Garden. With the new year beginning, now’s the perfect time to start figuring out your planting plans and sourcing natives for greener days ahead. But what to plant and where to get it? We’ll go over how to perform a site assessment to help you figure out which plants are likely to do well in your local conditions. From there we’ll be talking about where to buy and what to look for, with a particular focus on making sure your plants are ethically sourced and ecologically responsible.
Saturday, January 16, 12:00pm. Registration required by emailing Susan at or by calling 914-302-9713. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants on prior to the workshop. 

Hark! Who goes there?
Discover the secretive world of wildlife in winter with our two-part Virtual Workshop and Walk: Who Was Here? Signs and Tracks in Winter. Winter is upon us and though it may seem the woods and yards have become a barren landscape there is still many wonders to behold. Board member and naturalist Steve Ricker will help you discover the signs and tracks of our winter wildlife with the snow acting like a detective’s dusting powder.  All the clues that our animal neighbors leave behind will be explored: footprints, holes, food leavings, scat, etc.  Similar to birdwatching, Steve will also explain the more advanced aspect of tracking – interpreting animal behavior.  It can be thrilling to retrace an animal’s footprints to tell the story of what they were up to from the signs and tracks you discover.
Wednesday, January 20, 7:00pm Part 1 – Virtual Workshop; Saturday, January 23, 2:00pm Part 2 – Guided Walk at Westmoreland Sanctuary. Cost: Free. Registration required by emailing Susan at or by calling 914-302-9713. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants on prior to the workshop.

Jump start your morning with some fresh air and friendly people.
Pop over to Tait Johansson’s popular Third Thursday’s Bird Walk on Maple Avenue in Katonah to see what’s hanging around! There are no guarantees, but there’s sure to be something to make your day!
Thursday, January 21, 7:30-9:30am. Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Easy. Registration is limited and required by emailing Susan at or calling 914-302-9713.

Did you know that houseplants can be good for you?
It’s true! After all, they do the opposite of what people do by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Studies have shown that houseplants can boost moods, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants. Sign up for Jennifer Cipriani’s Virtual Lecture: Tried and True Housplants to learn how to incorporate houseplants into your home and how to keep them thriving. Jenn will talk about types of plants that are the least fussy and basic ways to keep them well maintained. The lecture will be followed by a short Q&A to address any specific questions you may have.
About Jenn Cipriani: The Cipriani family owns and operates Copia, a garden center located in South Salem. Jenn is a graduate of Cornell’s horticultural program and loves to share her knowledge with visitors to her garden center and through programs like this.
Wednesday, January 27, 5:30pm.
Cost: Free. Registration is required by emailing Susan at or calling 914-302-9713. A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants prior to the virtual lecture.

Take birding to new level…
In birding, a Big Year is seeing or hearing as many different species of birds as possible in a calendar year. If that sounds too daunting, be a spectator with us! Join us for a first-time program: Film Discussion of The Big Year starring Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson. In this fun movie, two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition. Watch the movie on your own, and then get together to talk about and relive some of our favorite moments. This is the perfect way to spend a cold, winter evening.
Thursday, January 28, 7:00pm. Registration required by emailing Susan at or by calling 914-302-9713. A Zoom link will be emailed to participants on January 4th prior to the virtual meeting which you can use to join the discussion. 

Don’t judge a tree by its leaves!
There are lots of ways to identify trees, and you can learn all about them by joining Naturalist Tait Johansson on a Nature Walk: Winter Tree Identification at Bylane Farm. Tait will explain how to use a tree’s structure, bark, and other clues to ID it even after the leaves have fallen. Family friendly, but all children must be accompanied by an adult. This is a popular walk so register early to secure your spot!
Saturday, January 30, 10:00am-12:00pm. Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy. Dress warmly. Please register with Susan at or 914-302-9713.

Photo Credit: Bald Eagle (Pixabay)





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January means it’s time for Eaglewatch! Naturalist Tait Johansson and his team from Bedford Audubon and Saw Mill River Audubon will monitor roosting Bald Eagles within the Lower Hudson Valley Important Bird Area (IBA). The data is shared with Audubon New York to monitor and advocate for Important Bird Areas, and with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to supplement their eagle monitoring efforts and to facilitate decision-making that impacts this Important Bird Area.

Starting January 14 – Thursdays in January + February, 1.5 hours before sunset. If you’re interested in this citizen science project, call 914-232-1999 or email Tait.