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Friends of Taconic State Park invites elementary and middle school aged children and their parents to get their hands on some “Skins and Skulls” on Saturday, February 18th from 1pm to 3pm at Park headquarters, 253 State Route 344, Copake Falls. The event is the first of four children’s nature and history programs offered by the group this year, thanks to a legislative grant secured for the Friends by Assembly member Didi Barrett.

Led by educators from the Taconic Outdoor Education Center, the program will focus on mammals that are common in Taconic State Park. Children will have the opportunity to identify animals by handling their skins and skulls. They will learn how animals adapt for survival in the winter, and will look for tracks and other signs of their presence.

Future programs made possible by the grant from Assembly member Barrett include an Earth Day celebration on April 22nd where children can learn ways to have a positive impact on the environment. On Saturday, May 27th, master storyteller Tom Lee will host “Family Fun at the Furnace,” a re-enactment of the life of a 19th century iron worker at the Copake Iron Works. A hands-on demonstration of sand casting and an opportunity to watch a blacksmith at work will round out that day’s program. The fourth and final program, date to be determined in late June or early July, will be a night walk in the park to discover the sounds, smells and sights in the forest after the sun sets.

All programs are free of charge.

Friends of Taconic State Park was established in 2008 to support cultural, recreational and educational activities within the park with the preservation of the historic Copake Iron Works site its priority. The group is implementing a 20-year plan, approved by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to create a pre-eminent site of historic iron-making and a national destination for tourists in Copake Falls. The Copake Iron Works is a National Heritage Area Site in the Hudson Valley and listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

For more information about the children’s program on February 18th, call 518-966-2730. To learn more email info@friendsoftsp.org.