This weekend: Journaling, birding, skiing

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

A variety of options await the weekend explorer in North Carolina this weekend. Take note of seasonal changes in a nature journaling class at Weymouth Woods, check out the overwintering bird population on Greensboro’s Lake Townsend, or take advantage of the recent cold snap and Ski North Carolina!


The natural world is ever-changing. While we may notice the more substantial changes from month to month, the more subtle shifts, from week to week, even day to day, often elude us.


Because we aren’t paying close attention. That’s part of the goal of the monthly Nature’s Notebook clinics at Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines. Once a month, hikers head out into this 915-acre preserve known for its stand of regal longleaf pines (but home to more than 1,000 species of plant life), with nature notebooks in hand, to observe and “collect phenological data as part of citizen science and keep a scientific nature journal throughout the year.” The program lasts 90 minutes.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 9, 3 p.m., Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Southern Pines. More info here, or call 910.692.2167.

Saturday forecast: High of 62, 70 percent chance of rain.

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Looking ahead: 8th Annual Cold Stroke Classic standup paddleboard competition, Blockade Runner at Wrightsville Beach, Jan. 22-23. More info here.

Lake Townsend (photo courtesy Greensboro Parks and Recreation Dept.
Lake Townsend (photo courtesy Greensboro Parks and Recreation Dept.


Come winter, North Carolina’s coast is generally regarded as a haven for snowbirds migrating from the north. We speak of the feathered-and-winged variety, who settle in by the tens of thousands at Pea Island, Lake Mattamuskeet, Alligator River and the other National Wildlife Refuges dotting our coast.

But not all of these seasonals go to the coast. Find out who comes inland at Sunday’s Waterfowl Birding Pontoon Tour on Greensboro’s Lake Townsend. Explore the lake for 90 minutes with a seasoned birder who explains who’s on the lake and why.

Can’t make Sunday’s session? There are five more tours scheduled through March 27.

Logistics: Sunday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m., Lake Townsend, Browns Summit. $7, reservations required as space is limited. More information here, or by calling 336.373.3741.

Sunday forecast: High of 58, mostly sunny.

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Looking ahead: Another seasonal birding opportunity: Winter Birds of the Piedmont, Saturday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m., Falls Lake State Recreation Area, Wake Forest. More info here.


Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

Finally, skiing!

The balmy weather that dominated the region for a long while has been chased by a mass of cold air that’s been perfect for snowmaking. As a result, all six of North Carolina’s ski areas will be open this weekend, with bases of up to 56 inches! And it’s not like only a slope or two are open; most had at least half of their mountain open midweek, meaning there’s a good chance they’ll be running full throttle come the weekend.

Get the latest snow reports from

Logistics: Your best bet for up-to-date reports from North Carolina’s — and the Southeast’s — ski areas is through the aforementioned

Weekend forecast: Warming, but the base will already be down.

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Looking ahead: Frostbite 5K, 10K, Feb. 21, Fletcher. More information here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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