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Summer comes to Mashomack: Saturday sessions in the midst of nature

With a picnic on Sunday, May 26, the team at Mashomack Preserve kicked off the season, welcoming nearly 200 guests with music from the Peconic County Ramblers, cold drinks from Top Hops Half Pint Truck, Tuck Shop flying saucers and homemade sweets from Mashomack’s volunteers.

Visitors learned about the importance of choosing “alter-NATIVE” plants for their home gardens and got to take home local seedlings of bee balm and hyssop in freshly decorated pots.

For the next few weeks, a number of events are planned to help Islanders and other visitors get close to nature in Mashomack’s beautifully accessible surroundings.

In honor of World Oceans Day, Saturday, June 8, adults are welcome to explore the preserve while paddling kayaks along the coastline. Kayaks, paddles and safety gear will be provided for the event, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Celebrate the bluebird, the brilliant blue New York State bird, on Saturday, June 15, from 9 to 11 a.m. Bring a portable chair and binoculars and take a truck ride to Mashomack’s meadows to watch an active nest. Space is limited.

(Credit: Don Bindler)

Enjoy a light breakfast — blueberry muffins, of course — and learn about this charismatic “harbinger of happiness.”

A five-egg bluebird nest in Mashomack. (Credit: Sandy Baxter)

If you are one of those people who find dragonflies fascinatingly beautiful, you will want to sign up for the Dragonfly Exploration on Saturday, June 22, from 10:30

a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dragonfly expert Kevin Munroe will lead this exploration at Mashomack’s Bass Creek and Sanctuary Pond. Come search for dragonflies and use hand nets to get rare, closeup looks at these colorful, beneficial and amazing insects. You’ll even get a chance to hold them briefly before they’re released.

Leading Shelter Island wildlife photographers Don Bindler and Jim Colligan will conduct an event on Bird Photography in the Mashomack Meadows on Saturday, June 29, from 8 to 10 a.m.

The mulberry trees in these meadows are a magnet for birds in late June. Bring your camera and join the group to get tips on how to capture the perfect image.

These events are free. Advance registration is required for most programs. Email [email protected] to reserve a spot.