SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek Field Station invites the public and members of the campus community to a host of free environmental education programs this winter. Highlighting the winter events calendar is the fourth-annual Celebrate Snow winter festival on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (with a severe weather date of Feb. 18).

This year's festival includes indoor and outdoor activities related to snow and winter, with options for both kids and adults. An exciting addition to the 2024 festival is the opportunity to learn about and observe the sport of skijoring –- skiing with the assistance of dogs. Visitors can meet local author and former competitive skijor athlete Betsy Waterman and her friendly dogs, obtain a signed copy of her book "Running Silently," and see a skijoring demonstration.

Additional outdoor activities will include snowshoeing (youth and adult sizes available), trying out a fat bike with Murdock’s Bicycles and Sports, and enjoying a winter-themed Story Time by the campfire with Oswego Public Library Children’s Librarian Cathryn McVearry. Visitors can also warm up with hot cocoa and s’mores by the campfire, join a guided animal track walk and observe snowflakes while learning about the science of snow. Certain outdoor activities are weather-dependent.

Indoors, a plethora of activities await, including a play and learn station hosted by the Children’s Museum of Oswego, a mammal track-making table, watercolor and 3-D snowflake activities, STEAM activities and a sensory table. Activities suitable for various age levels are available.

Adults will enjoy learning more about Oswego’s weather with SUNY Oswego’s Meteorology Club and professor Katelyn Barber, animal adaptations to winter with SUNY Oswego’s Zoology Club and how to identify winter backyard birds.

Additional event details are available at For questions about the event or how to be involved as a participating organization or volunteer, please email or call 315.312.6677.

Other nature programs

During other Saturdays this winter season, the public is invited to Rice Creek for guided snowshoe nature walks on Saturdays (except the first Saturday of the month) at 11 a.m. These same Saturdays, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., visitors can also enjoy an indoor program, “Birdwatching: For Science and Fun,” open to both children and adults. Beginners will learn birding basics, while more advanced birders will help us count birds for citizen science.

On the first Saturday of each month at 10 am and 1 pm, young nature lovers and their families are invited to Rice Creek’s Junior Naturalist Program, where they can explore seasonal topics with environmental educators and eventually earn a patch.

The Rice Creek Observatory will be open toward the end of the winter season, with Telescope Observation Sessions during the evenings of March 15 to 17 from 8 to 10 p.m. Visitors will have the chance to gaze through the observatory's large 16-inch wide telescope inside the rotating dome to view celestial objects like the moon, the bright planets, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.

Since clear weather is needed for observing the night sky, interested participants should call (315) 312-6620 after 6 p.m. on the evening of each event to hear a recorded message announcing whether or not the observation session will take place that evening. Prior to the evening of the event, this same number can be dialed to access a pre-recorded detailed description of the upcoming session.

Additional information for all events and programs, as well as a link to sign up for Rice Creek’s monthly email, are available at

Located on nearly 400 acres of mixed terrain accessible from Thompson Road, Rice Creek Field Station has served as a living and working laboratory and educational facility for more than 50 years. In 2013, the facility opened a 7,700-square-foot, state-of-the-art visitor center. Rice Creek’s five miles of hiking trails are open daily from dawn until dusk. Building hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.