As spring quickly approaches, the earth has begun to warm, the animals are emerging from their winter sleep, and the woods are once again bursting forth with beautiful blooms and emerald green leaves. With such abundant beauty to be seen during the lengthening days, one forgets that Bernheim Research Forest and Arboretum is magical in an entirely different, but no less stunning way after the sun has set. This month, Bernheim is offering several opportunities for night-sky enthusiasts to study the heavens in the most pristine of natural settings.
On Friday, March 16, from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., younger members of the family are invited to join volunteer naturalist Don Spain as he leads a group on a "Cardinal Points Astronomy Stroll" around Lake Nevin. Walkers will stop at the four cardinal points of the lake to view the skies from every possible angle, all the while learning about the different clusters and important stars that can be viewed by the naked eye. Fans of folklore will also be able to learn about the constellations and the myths associated with them; if you have a favorite, come ready to share with the whole group! Visitors are also invited to bring their own pairs of binoculars if they want a closer look at any of the heavenly bodies being discussed.
Later in the month, more advanced sky-watchers can register for the last of the "Winter Star Stories." These monthly programs are a partnership between Bernheim and the Louisville Astronomical Society and are hosted by knowledgeable amateur astronomers. The material of the program constantly changes to keep pace with the moving sky, and powerful telescopes are always provided for unparalleled views as your guide educates you about the twinkling planets and nebulas you are observing. The Sky Watch Nights run rain or shine, and in the event of inclement weather, a fun and informative media program will be held inside the Garden Pavilion, featuring star stories, images from the best telescopes in the world (including the Hubble!), and fascinating information about our limitless universe. Join "star captain" Don Spain on Saturday, March 24, from 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., as he and naturalist-in-training Cele Beckner unravel the wonders of the cosmos.
Both of these events are held in the Bernheim's Garden Pavilion, and admission is $10 for members of the Forest and $12 for non-members. Note that registration and payment are due by 4:00 p.m. on the day prior to the program, so plan accordingly! To register or to receive more information about these events (including cancelations due to weather), call (502)-955-8512.