***IMPORTANT: CHANGED START TIME TO 1 P.M. TO TRY TO MISS RAIN***
FLYING SQUIRREL FRENZY AND FLOWERS? Best "two-fer" ever -- especially in the frigid winter!
First, we'll hike roughly 6 miles in Wheaton Regional Park. We'll start at Brookside Nature Center and hike at a moderate pace (about 3 mph) on dirt and paved trails through and outside the park and through Brookside Gardens' outdoor gardens. Most trails are flat but there are several hills. We'll stop from time to time for photos. Then we'll wind up at Brookside Gardens' indoor glass conservatory, where we'll dawdle for a while to enjoy the flowers and the tropical heat! Tropical flowers bloom indoors -- but surprisingly flowers even bloom outdoors in January. They might include winter-blooming orange/yellow witch hazels, pink hellebore flowers, and white snow-drops. We'll also be bombarded by other colors, such as the bright red berries of nandina plants. After the conservancy, we'll return to the Brookside Nature Center, where we'll eat our picnic dinner outdoors on the deck. (Dress very warmly!) Finally, around dusk, nocturnal southern flying squirrels will blast down from the tall treetops to nosh on their dinners -- or breakfasts. They eat raw, unshelled sunflower seeds that Brookside provides. If we're lucky, we'll squeal like little kids when about a dozen of these palm-sized critters with big doe-like eyes dash from tree to tree and huddle together on the feeders. Wildlife, however, is totally unpredictable. If it's too windy or an owl is hanging out, the little critters may not come.
COST: Brookside charges $6 per person for the PRIVATE flying squirrel program they are doing for us. (Sierra Club Potomac Region Outings or SCPRO). SCPRO also requests a $2 voluntary fee to help support our volunteer-lead activities. To make it easier and faster for everyone, PLEASE BRING EIGHT $1 bills. Thanks!
BRING/WEAR: Dinner or snack, water. Optional: camera. Wear hiking clothes and shoes suitable for dirt and mud. Also, you might want to bring EXTRA WARM CLOTHES for sitting around outdoors eating dinner and watching the squirrels. (Hat, gloves, scarf, insulated shoes, wool socks, hand/toe warmers, super warm coat, etc.)
MISCELLANEOUS: Adults only. No pets. Questions? Please post them to Meetup or email Barb22030 AT yahoo DOT com. The hike and the squirrel program last from 1 pm to roughly 6:30 p.m. We might finish hiking early, but since we may linger by the flowers for photos, we are allowing extra time for that and to rest and eat before the night program. Can't attend? Brookside runs public flying squirrel programs on most Fridays.
MEET: ****NOTE CHANGE: 1 PM ****** Brookside Nature Center's parking lot, 1400 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton, MD. Copy these GPS coordinates into Google Maps:[masked], [masked] (Note: the nature center's entrance is a small driveway just PAST Brookside Gardens' two more elaborate, gated entrances. If the nature center's lot is full, you can park by the glass conservatory and walk over. Then just move your car to the nature center before the squirrel event.)
REGISTER: Registration on Meetup is required. https://www.meetup.com/sierrapotomac/events/267368336/
WAIVER REQUIRED: Every participant of a Sierra Club event needs to sign a liability waiver with her/his full name and needs to provide emergency contacts. If you use a different screen name on the Meetup, you need to sign the waiver with your real name. Please read the "Sierra Club Participation Agreement" (liability waiver) here: https://bit.ly/2Q8sAiZ
WEATHER: BAD WEATHER CANCELS. Weather forecast will be posted here on 1/24. Sunset is 5:20 p.m.
METRO/CARPOOLS: Please arrange your own carpools on Meetup. The Red Line's Glenmont Metro Station is about 1.5 miles away.