Carleton invites the public to take a Night Hike in the Arb

April 18, 2017

Fans of Carleton’s Cowling Arboretum are invited to join director Nancy Braker and astronomy professor Joel Weisberg for a special “Night Hike in the Arb” on Sunday, April 23 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The evening will begin with watching the sunset and an orientation to nighttime in the Arboretum. Then, as the skies darken, Weisberg will share his knowledge, observations, and stories of planets, stars, and spacecraft visible in the night sky.

Participants will learn about what is heard at night in the Arboretum during the spring season, including frogs and toads, owls and other birds. Participants will visit several locations in the Arb, listening for these animal sounds and looking up at the beautiful spring stars, specifically Mars and Jupiter, while Professor Weisberg shares versions of ancient constellation stories. While the event is scheduled until 10 p.m., participants are free to depart earlier if they wish.

Arboretum director Nancy Braker is a conservation biologist. She has 20 years of experience working for The Nature Conservancy in land management, conservation planning, and monitoring of rare species populations, specializing in management of fire adapted natural communities. Braker oversees all aspects of management of the Cowling Arboretum and McKnight Prairie, and works with faculty, students, and outside users on research and use of the properties.

Joel Weisberg is the Herman and Gertrude Mosier Stark Professor of Physics and Astronomy and the Natural Sciences at Carleton College. Weisberg is a radio astronomer who studies pulsars, gravity waves, and the interstellar medium at the Arecibo, Green Bank, and Very Large Array radio telescopes. He also has strong interests in science policy, and frequently teaches in the College’s Environmental and Technology Studies Program.

This event is free and open to the public. Participants are asked to register in advance

Participants should plan to meet at the Arboretum Kiosk in front of the Carleton Recreation Center (accessible via Highway 19 in Northfield) promptly at 7:30 p.m. Dress warmly (coats, hats, gloves) as the group expects to be outdoors for several hours, some of them motionless on the ground. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as the tour will cover about two miles. It is also suggested to bring a sleeping bag or a blanket in order to view the night sky laying on your back. In order to preserve night vision, flashlights will not be used during the walk. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars for stargazing, and a flashlight to help to guide back to the Recreation Center after the walk. For those who wish to return early, guides will be returning at regular intervals.

In the event of cloudy skies or inclement weather, the Night Hike in the Arb will be rescheduled. This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum; for more information, contact Nancy Braker at (507) 222-4345.