WINTER HARBOR — One never knows when tracking an animal, camping in the snow or building one’s own igloo might come in handy.
With that thought in mind, the Schoodic Institute is holding its first Winter Festival Feb. 19, 20 and 21, with classes and events for adults and children.
The festival will include science, art and outdoor classes and activities on the institute’s campus in the heart of Acadia National Park on the Schoodic Peninsula.
Mary Berry, executive director of the institute, said the festival fits in with the nonprofit organization’s mission of connecting people to nature every month of the year.
“Winter is a slower season, so what we have done is gather a pretty wide range of activities that we hope will attract people to enjoy the outdoors,” Berry said.
He said the only activities that could be derailed for lack of snow — although that seems unlikely with this week’s blizzard — are construction of the snow shelter and tracking.
“Most of the rest can go forward without snow,” Berry said. “Schoodic Point in the winter has much to offer, whether it is what birds are around, the trees or what is happening on the ocean.”
Among the offerings during the festival are building, lighting and photographing ice sculptures or learning about camping in the winter using snowshoes and toboggans.
Garrett Conover will offer a four-hour writing workshop, “Tracking the Muse,” with an introductory talk followed by a slide show and a discussion before writing.
The class on building a Quinzhee snow shelter, also four hours, will be taught by outdoors educator Chuck Whitney.
“As long as there is snow on the ground, a secure warm shelter can be constructed to coddle even thin-skinned modern humans through the night,” according to the program description.
A class called “Packing for Survival” taught by Alexandra Conover Bennett will cover topics such as cold weather clothing, weather signs, ice safety, tracking clues, how to light a fire on snow, quick shelters, simple knots for cold hands, high calorie snack food and how to make water from snow.
Those who sign up for the animal tracking class will hike up Schoodic Head road and explore side trails looking for coyote, fox, snowshoe hare, bobcat, bird, rodent and other creatures tracks in the snow.
The class will cover several miles and will require snowshoes if conditions warrant.
For the more sedentary there will be “Baking Bannock Bread on a Fire” with Alexandra Conover Bennett.
“It is loaded with calories and easy for both children and adults to make and will give you plenty of energy needed for outdoor winter fun,” according to the class description.
Participants will make a variety of bannock breads over the open fire and in frypans on the tent wood stove.
Also available will be classes on making snowflakes and felting “critters.”
Evening talks will include learning about winter birds and birding on the Schoodic Peninsula in winter, a lecture on how animals survive in Maine’s coldest months, a talk on snowshoe trips in the Maine woods and films, including several on ice harvesting.
Schoodic Institute Winter Festival Feb. 19, 20 and 21
Three days of classes and activities including lunch and dinner: $190 for adults and $95 for children. One day of classes and activities, including lunch, is $55 for adults and $30 for children. Half days are $40 for adults and $20 for children. Evening programs are offered free of charge with no registration required. Limited amount lodging available at $72 for adults and $36 for children with private bedroom and shared bath. Higher and lower rates are available for alternate arrangements. Deadline for registration is Feb. 4 by 5 p.m. Call 288-1310 to register.