2015 Interpretive Programs

We offer a series of programs and workshops starting in February through December.  These programs are free unless otherwise indicated.  For more information, or to register for a workshop, please call the Berks County Heritage Center at 610-374-8839.


 Interpretive Programs


Saturday, September 5                              
Sewing Circle                                               10:00 a.m.                              Heritage Center
Join us in our monthly gathering for an old-fashioned  sewing circle. Each person should bring a project of their own to work on, whether it’s sewing, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crocheting etc. This month’s topic is buttons.


Sunday, September 6                                       
Fish-n-Float on ‘The Kerny’                               11 am                      Kernsville Dam Recreation Area
There’s no better way to enjoy a beautiful day than a relaxing afternoon of maritime fun!  Bring a picnic lunch along with your fishing gear and your kayak or canoe for a late summer float and some fishing.  We will start just above the Kernsville Dam and will paddle a short distance up the river.  Then we will fish while we float back down to our original starting point. Water safety, history, and features of the area will be discussed before the boats are in the water.  The trip is for experienced paddlers, and ACA insurance recommended.  Remember to bring your fishing license! Call 610-374-2944 to register by August 31st.


Sunday, September 6                                 
Canals and Canal Life in the Susquehanna River Basin Region       3:00 p.m.              Heritage Center
Steve Runkle, volunteer speaker with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission will present this illustrated lecture covering many aspects of the regions canals including boats, construction, engineering, recreation and family life. Co-sponsored with Spring Township Parks & Recreation Dept


Sunday, September 6                                     
Letterboxing                                                   1-3:00 p.m.                           Antietam Lake Park
Calling all adventurers! Join us as we discover the art of letterboxing, make your own stamps, solve clues, and head-out on an adventure while exploring Antietam Parks’ beautiful trial system. We will uncover hidden treasures along the way!$5-Families with children 5+. Pre-registration required by 8/3. Call 484-509-2667.


Friday, September 11                                   
Indian Stories and Dances by the Campfire                         6:30 p.m.       Heritage Center
Dave “Big Owl” McSurdy returns to share nature stories told by the Native Americans as we sit around the campfire. We’ll learn to dance to the beat of the drum as we participate in songs. Bring chairs and blankets. Co-sponsored with Spring Township Parks & Recreation Dept


Saturday, September 12                                      
Mentored Youth Hunter Education & Demo Day               10 am to 4pm                     Blue Marsh Lake, Day Use area- Hillside pavilion
Open for girls and boys ages 10 to 16, to encourage their enjoyment and learning about hunting safety, archery and trapping.  Participants will rotate to different stations for a 75-minute program on each sport with some hands-on activities.  Staff from the PA Game Commission and Cabela’s will guide the activities and instruction, such as what gear is essential, learn how to complete a hunter’s safety course, discuss important safety concerns and identify areas to explore these types of recreational pursuits.  Program presented by the U.S.A.C.E. Blue Marsh Lake and Berks County Parks and Recreation Dept.  This event is open to the first 30 youth to register, and a boxed lunch is provided.  $10 per person due with registration by September 4th to 610-374-2944.


Sunday, September 13                          
Bald Eagles: Yesterday and Today                       2:00 p.m.                 Heritage Center
It was not too long ago that view a bald eagle in the wild was a rare experience and only occurred in some faraway place. Thanks to the PA Game Commission’s Eagle Restoration Program, seeing eagles is now a much more common event. Through an illustrated lecture, Dr. Frank Plucinsky will take us to visit where some of these eagles tend to haunt and congregate in surprisingly large numbers.
Co-sponsored with Spring Township Parks & Recreation Dept


Friday, September 18                       
History Hike                                                   6:00 p.m.                                Antietam Lake Park
Join park staff and volunteer Gary Shugar for a history hike at Antietam Lake Park. Please make sure to wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water. Moderate hiking skill level – some hills.


Saturday, September 19                                                  
Fly Fishing with Cabela’s                    12:30-3:30 pm                        Red Bridge Recreation Area
Cabela's is proud to offer this industry-leading course for people interested in learning how to fly fish. The program will begin with a two-hour Introduction to Fly Fishing course that will cover equipment, basic entomology, basic casting and knot tying. The program will conclude with a one-hour Introduction to Fly Casting course, where participants will receive hands-on training on the fundamentals of fly casting, including overhead techniques and roll casting.  Members of the Berks Fly Tyers will also be on hand to demonstrate the art of fly tying under the pavilion.  Class size is limited to 15; call 610-374-2944 to register by Sept, 11th.



Sunday, September 13                                                 
Trail O at Antietam Lake Park                          11 am                       Antietam Lake Park- Fruit Farm parking area
Orienteering is an outdoor navigation sport.  Participants use a map and compass to find check points along a mapped course.  It's a sport for any age; beginners are always welcome and we provide instruction at all events. Join members of the Delaware Valley Orienteering Association, for a day in the woods.  Beginners will get an introduction on how to read a topographical map, and find your way through unknown terrain with just a map and compass as your guide.  Then you will go out on the trail for some practical experience, on an easy ‘white’ or yellow’ course. Come on out and join us!  For all ages.  Map fee day of event.  Registration required by September 4th please call 610-374-2944.



Sunday, September 27                      
Frogs, Frogs, and More Frogs!                             2:00 p.m.                       Heritage Center
Rich Bonnett will present a slide program identifying over 20 species of frogs and toads that inhabit our East Coast from Maine to Florida, along with their mating calls.  Then we will look closely at the breeding cycle of a few species here in Berks County, and as far away as Arizona for a few oddities.  Bring the kids but leave the frogs at home!  No live frogs will be on site for this program -  just cool pictures for all ages to enjoy.


Saturday, October 3                                          
Take Your Kid Mt. Biking Day                            1 pm                  Blue Marsh Lake- Church Road Parking Area
Bring your children along for a fun filled family day of mountain biking!  You can help pass your passion for pedaling on to those that matter the most: your kids.  Take part in this internationally recognized outdoor event sponsored by the Berks Area Mountain Biking Association and enjoy all that nature has to offer.  Enjoy the early fall scenery as we mountain bike along the easier trails around Blue Marsh Lake.  Bring your mountain bike and helmet. This event is free, but pre-registration is required to 610-374-2944 by September 28th.


Saturday, October 10                                  
Geocaching- a Beginners Guide                           10 am                     Angora Fruit Farm
Learn about the basics of Geocaching and how you too can participate in this world-wide treasure hunting game. We’ll explain the basics of GPS navigation and discover special geocaches hidden around the farm grounds.  Come prepared with appropriate outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. If you do not own a handheld GPS, don’t worry; we will have some to share- (call for more information if using your own GPS).  This is a Free program that is fun for all ages!  Please register by October 5th to 610-374-2944.


Saturday, October 10                              
Sewing Circle                                                 10:00 a.m.                            Heritage Center
Join us in our monthly gathering for an old-fashioned  sewing circle. Each person should bring a project of their own to work on, whether it’s sewing, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crocheting etc. This month’s topic is quilting.


Saturday, October10                             
Preserving Your Herbal Harvest                             10:00 a.m.                     Heritage Center
So you grew them and now it’s fall and you hate to lose them! Join Pat Magala, master gardener and PA Heartland Herb Society member for this workshop where she will teach you ways to preserve the taste of your herbs for use over the cold winter. An herbal butter and vinegar will be made.Cost: $10. Registration and pre-payment required by Sept. 30th  Co-sponsored with Spring Township Parks & Recreation Dept


Sunday October 11         
Berks County Historic Places In and Around the Hopewell Big Woods                            2:00pm                            Beidler House.
Join local historians Michelle Lynch and Susan Speros as they share new findings on important historical and cultural resources in southeastern Berks County.  These important findings are the result of a study they researched and prepared for the Natural Lands Trust and Friends of Hopewell Furnace, which prioritized the historic resources in the townships and municipalities of southeastern Berks County.  This presentation will focus on the significant historical sites and structures of the “Gibraltar Neighborhood” and Robeson Township.


Saturday, October 17                        
Lantern Tours of the Gruber Wagon Works                       5-8:00 p.m.                  Heritage Center
Join us for an evening lantern tour of the Gruber Wagon Works, recognized as the finest example of rural manufacturing in the United States and a National Historic Landmark.  See the Wagon Works in a “new light” and learn about the wagon making process in this 19th century factory. Tours will leave on the half hour. Group size limited to 12. Cost: $5. Please call to register and select a tour time. 
Co-sponsored with Spring Township Parks & Recreation Dept


Wednesday, October 21                   
“Pumpkin and Pizza Party!”                         4:30-6:00 pm                 Angora Fruit Farm
All ages are welcome in this delightful evening filled with pumpkin carving, and enjoying the company of our friends over pizza.  We will be carving pumpkins that will illuminate the hiking path for our Halloween Hike and Hayride event on October 24th.  You bring a pumpkin to donate, carving tools, and a drink, and we provide the pizza!  Participants may pick their carved pumpkins up after the Halloween Hike if they like.
This event is free, but pre-registration is required because space is limited! 484-509-2667


Saturday, October 24                                    
Paws On The Path                                          10:00 a.m.                          Antietam
Dogs need to get exercise just as much as we do.  Join park staff as they lead a hike designed for you and your dogs. Hike will be about 1 hour and cover some of the easier and scenic trails at Antietam Lake Park.  Dogs must be good around other dogs, and be on a leash.  Please bring along water and a bowl for your dog as well.
Fee:  As a fee we are requesting that you bring along something from the following list as a donation to the Animal Rescue League of Berks County.  Dog  or cat food, washcloths, towels, blankets  and kitty litter.


Saturday, October 24                                
Halloween Hike and Hayride                     6:15-9:00 p.m.                              Angora
Experience the wonder of the night while hiking through the beautiful Angora Fruit Farm orchards, meeting nocturnal animals along the way.  Guides will lead families along a pumpkin- lit path where children will meet and talk with local “animals” of the night.  Families can then enjoy a hayride, or a treat while sitting by a campfire.  This program fills quickly!  Hikes leave every 15 minutes. $5 per person  -  Pre-registration required. – 484-509-26677-All ages welcome! Children may wear their costumes.


Sunday, October 25                          
Snowman Basket - Workshop                            12-4:00 p.m.                       Heritage Center
This is not the same snowman basket we made last year with Vicky Heffner, but still as festive to add to your collection. Please bring: bucket, towel, 10 spring clothes pins, screwdriver, old pair of scissors. Cost: $25. Registration and pre-payment (payable to instructor) required by October 16. Co-sponsored with Spring Township Parks & Recreation Dept


Sunday October 25  
Terror in the Tulpehocken                                2:00 pm.                 Beidler House
Historian Lynn Otto will discuss the period of time between 1755 through 1758 when the Tulpehocken Valley of Berks County was literally one of the most dangerous places to live and raise a family.  Learn why this happened, and what stopped this bloody process.


Saturday, October 31                        
Cathedral Quilt Workshop                             10 am -12:00 pm                 Heritage Center

The cathedral window technique produces a beautiful finished product.  Technically not quilting because there is no batting involved, it is a hand-stitching process.  The technique will be taught and students will make a square or two at the workshop.  We will have scraps of fabric available, but if you have remnants of your own, here is what you will need: About ½ yard of muslin or other solid cotton fabric (pre-washed). A few small scraps of cotton fabric (pre-washed).Basic sewing supplies:  needle, thread, scissors, pins, small ruler, pencil. Class size: 10 persons – Registration Required by 10/24


Saturday, December 19                                
Winter Solstice with King Winter                               5:30-7:30 p.m.           Angora Fruit Farm
Celebrate the longest night of the year with family and friends around a blazing bonfire.  Wander down our candlelit walk to the main event at our cottage in the woods.  Listen as a storyteller shares tales around the fire, meet King Winter, take a short hike on darkened trails, and warm up with snacks. Dress warmly, bring a flashlight.FREE -  Best suited for families with children ages 3-12.
 $5 per car. Pre-registration required.484-509-2667