Lights Out Across the Straits – Lights Out Across the Bay

  • Tuesday, July 29bridge
  • Lights Out Across the Straits; Lights Out Across the Bay ~ The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower will rain overhead this night, and the communities of St Ignace and Mackinaw, as well as Harbor Springs and Petoskey, are taking the pledge to turn off the lights in a friendly competition to see who can achieve greater darkness. Watch the lights go down and the stars come out to play!

Headlands Dark Sky Program

  • Saturday, July 26 thunder moon
  • 8:30-10:30 pm (sunset is 9:16 pm this evening)
    New Moon stargaze picnic ~ July is the month of the Thunder Moon, and as Jupiter nears the end of its sojourn in our evening skies, we will gather for mythological tales of the “Thunderer”, and telescopic views at our systems largest planet.

Nature Journaling at Three Pines Studio, Aug 2nd

August 2, 1-3pmthree pines

Three Pines Studio

Looking for a way to relax and enjoy nature?

Experience the outdoors through writing

and drawing. Absorb the summer season

through observation, description and reflectionthree pines 2

and learn simple sketching and writing

techniques inspired by professional author

and nature journalist, Claire Walker Leslie.

Local naturalist, Alison Berry, will cover

the fundamentals of basic journaling skills.

An ideal class for beginners. Please bring

your unlined spiral notebook (5×7 or 8×11

suggested) and at least two pencils (no colored

pencils), sun protection, water and portable

chairs (optional). A walk down to the Cross

Village Beach if time and weather permit.

Meet on the porch at Three Pines.

Ages: 8+ w/adult. Workshop Fee: $15

Artist /Instructor: Alison Berry

http://www.threepinesstudio.com/threepines.htm, 231-526-9447.

“Headlands by Day” with Naturologist Maureen Stine, Jul 18th

  • ‘Headlands by Day,’ with naturologist Maureen Stine
  • Friday, July 18headlands-dark-sky-park
  • Time: 2-4 pm
  • Location: Meet at Guest House Trailhead

The Headlands property boasts miles of trails, an inland lake, and acres of untouched old-growth forest that make it as rich a resource by day as its skies are overhead at night. For this daytime event, you are invited to join naturologist Maureen Stine for a fun, hands-on, multi-sensory program called, “Nature-Soup” which covers some water and land ecology studies and includes a nice easy nature walk. Well-suited for families with children ages 5-13.

Bluestem Farm Hayride, Potluck & Breathe Owl Breathe Concert, Jul 20th

  • 6:00 pm  Hayride & Potluck bluestem hayrides
  • 7:30 pm Breathe Owl Breathe Concert
  • (This replaces the hayride scheduled for July 19th)
  • Bring your friends and family out to hear the music of Breathe Owl Breathe, a “long-running Michigan trio [who've] spun their intricate sound so patiently and considerately over the course of more than a decade that they slowly transcended the folk and indie scenes they… were born from,” as described by reviewer Fred Thomas.
  • Families are most welcome. Come early and get an up-close look at the animals, vegetable gardens, woods, and fields that make Bluestem Farm an interconnected patchwork of good clean food. For the first part of the evening, just bring yourself, a dish to share, and your place-settings. Potluck and hayride are free.
  • Concert is $15 at the door, $10 in advance. Ticket sales at: http://breatheowlbreatheatbluestem.bpt.me/breathe owl breathe
  • This event, like farming, happens rain or shine, but there’s a big barn for cover if the weather’s not good. For your comfort, you might want a chair or blanket to sit on, but if you’re not too particular we’ll have an assortment of things to sit on. Event parking is on the north side of M-32, on Adams Road. No dogs or alcohol, please.
    **Please note that if you are relying on electronic navigation to get here, it will steer you wrong. The farm is at M-32 and Adams Road.

Michigan Mammals Presentation at Mackinaw Area Library, Jul 15

  • July 15th, 11:00 am
  • Mackinaw Area Public Librarydnr mammals
  • Michigan Mammals: The Michigan DNR will be presenting a hands-on program about Michigan Mammals.


Raven Hill Discovery Center – free for families Jul 12th

FREE (Families Reaching Educational Excellence) raven hill summer

  • 2nd Saturday Series: A Family Affair
  • Noon to 4
  • Free admission for families.  Please no groups or organizations.   Families can explore the hands-on museum and animals indoors and enjoy the outdoor exhibits as weather permits.
  • Questions? 231.536.3369 | 877.833.4254 | info@ravenhilldiscoverycenter.org

Children in Nature Summer Program at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

* Thorne Swift Children in Nature Programthorne swift
* Thursdays, July 10 – August 14
* 10:30 to noon
* Exciting thematic children’s program entails a captivating story session at the fire circle, an outdoor nature activity, and fun crafts.
* Dress for the weather!
* Only cost is a $5 parking fee (waived for members of Little Traverse Conservancy and West Traverse Township residents).

* Please register within one week of the event by calling 231-526-6401.

LTC and Bearcub Outfitters Kids’ Hiking Club Bird Walk

Petoskey Regional Audubon Society (PRAS), Little Traverse Conservancy and Bearcub Outfitters Kids Hiking Club are hosting a Birdbird walk
Walk on July 5.  The walk begins at 9 a.m. at Spring Lake Park, and will be led by PRAS member, Mary Trout.

This free, easy-going walk, will be along the boardwalk and bike path and will last about two hours. It is open to anyone who would like to see birds and learn about birds. Turtles,
beavers, frogs and other animals might also be seen during the walk.

Families are welcome. Loaner binoculars and field guides will be available. No smoking or pets on this walk.

No skills or prior experience necessary. If you have any questions please call Mary Trout at 231-535-2632 or email marytrout@gmail.com

Headlands Dark Sky Park

  • Friday, June 27night sky
  • 9 to 11 pm (sunset is 9:33 pm this evening)
    New Moon stargaze picnic. New Moon can be the darkest time of the month, so we will gather throughout the season to take advantage of the dark with stories of the visible constellations, starting with tonight’s program, timed also to coincide with the Bootid Meteor Shower.

Little Traverse Conservancy Adventure Naturalist Program (ages 9-12)

Ages 9-12. Registration begins June 9th, 2014 and is required. Call Sarah at 231-344-1018.


Prorams offered Thursdays 10 am – 12pm.


Adventures in the Sky – June 26

Skyline Trail, Petoskey

More than 800 acres of land and an elevation of more than 1,200 feet create dramatic views of the northern Michigan skyline. This section of North Country Trail winds up in a switchback pattern, just like climbing a mountain! A variety of wildlife calls this area home. Let’s discover just who lives here as we make our way to the scenic overlook with must-see views!


Nature Photography – July 3

Spring Lake Township Park, Petoskey

Interested in photography and love being outdoors? Grab your camera for some photo fun at beautiful Spring Lake Park! Our focus is to improve your nature photography skills and expand your creativity while providing opportunities to photograph unique and exciting subjects in nature. All abilities and cameras welcome.


Mountain Biking – July 10

Offield Family Nature Preserve, Harbor Springs

Join former professional mountain biker, Chad Wells, for this fun biking adventure through the Offield Family Nature Preserve! Chad Wells is the manager of North Country Cycle Sports in Petoskey and brings with him a wealth of mountain biking knowledge. The trail is not extreme and hill climbing is minimal. A mountain style bike is recommended for this program. Extra water, appropriate footwear, and helmets are required. Designed for children with an intermediate biking ability.


Orienteering – July 17

Ransom Nature Preserve, Charlevoix

Knowing how to use a compass is an important skill to have if you enjoy exploring in nature. Learn basic orienteering as we navigate this beautiful nature preserve. Parents are encouraged to participate, as one adult will be needed to accompany each group. Bring a sack lunch and enjoy the view from atop the hill overlooking Lake Michigan. Long pants and sturdy shoes are recommended.


Survival Skills – July 24

McCune Nature Preserve, Petoskey

This course is an introduction to the skills and mindset needed in survival situations. We’ll cover the importance of being prepared and informed before venturing out into the woods, as well as strategies for addressing a survival situation. Skills include shelter building, fire building and identifying the 10 essentials. The McCune Preserve offers a variety of maintained trails through a beautiful Michigan hardwood forest. A short hike will also accompany this program.


Adventures on the Pigeon – July 31

Andreae/Banwell Preserves, Cheboygan County

The beautiful Pigeon River meanders its way through the adjoining Andreae and Banwell Preserves in Cheboygan County. Let’s explore it! If tromping through the woods and playing in the river sounds like fun to you, than this is the program for you! Be sure to dress for possibly getting dirty or wet.

Little Traverse Conservancy Knee-High Naturalist Program (ages 3-5)

Ages 3-5. NOTE: Registration for summer programs begins June 9, 2014. Registration required. Please call Melissa at 231.344.1004

Tuesday sessions: SPRING LAKE PARK, 10-11am and 1-2pmLTC knee high

Thursday sessions: RESORT TOWNSHIP PARK EAST, 10-11am and 1-2pm

These sessions include a story, short hike or activity, and more. Take home ideas/projects will be provided.

June 24 and June 26 – Critter Camo Animals have special colors, shapes, patterns and designs to help them blend in with their habitats. Animal pelts plus several “seek and find” activities will engage young naturalists as we explore how animals use camouflage to hide themselves.

July 1 and July 3: ‘Bout Birds Birds enthrall the child in all of us with their songs, beauty, flight and nest building. We’ll explore what makes birds special, listen to their calls, mimic their flight styles and search for them up in the air, around the trees, behind the bushes and on top of the water.

July 8 and 10: Terrific Trees! Our planet’s tallest plants amaze us with their beauty, strength, and utility. We’ll explore the parts of a tree, how trees grow and how important they are to animals and people through activities and art projects.

July 15 and 17: Frog Fun From sticky tongues to webbed feet, frogs are fascinating creatures and capture the attention of preschoolers. We’ll explore the unique characteristics of frogs and how they grow, eat and survive through pictures, songs, and observation of real frogs. We’ll conclude with a search for hidden frogs in their natural habitat.

July 22 and 24: Summer Senses The scents, sights, sounds, textures and tastes of summer beckon little ones outdoors to experiment, play and discover. We’ll explore the wonders of nature in our warmest season through a variety of hands-on sensory activities, finishing with a tasty summer treat.

July 29 and July 31: Fairy Houses and Gnome Homes Young ones will engage their imaginations exploring the magical world of fairies and gnomes through story, art and play. They’ll exercise their creativity by constructing a fairy house or gnome home of their own using natural materials found or provided on site.

Little Traverse Conservancy Junior Naturalist Program (ages 6-8)

Ages 6-8. Registration begins June 9th, 2014, and is required. Please call Sarah at 231-344-1018.


Programs are offered twice on Wednesdays from 10-11:30 am and from 1-2:30 pm.


Pond Adventures – June 25

Spring Lake Township Park

Discover the wonders that are in and around a pond! During this program we will be exploring the pond habitat, the creatures that call it home, and even try to catch a few! All materials provided, but children are welcome to bring their own dipping nets. Be sure to dress for muck and mud!


Into the Wild – July 2

McCune Nature Preserve

Using all of our senses we’ll be exploring the wild and beautiful woods of the McCune Nature Preserve. We’ll wind our way through the field, ramble through the hardwoods, meander up the Minnehaha creek and search the swamp for all things wild and fascinating. Wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet or mucky.


Cool Camo – July 9

Round Lake Nature Preserve

Come out, come out wherever you are! Camouflage helps animals blend into their surroundings and avoid being someone else’s lunch. We’ll be exploring some of northern Michigan’s greatest hide-and-seekers while searching for animals in disguise. Bring your observation skills and wear your own camouflage if you’ve got it!


Art and Outdoors – July 16

East Park, Resort Township

Get creative! We will explore the natural world through a variety of arts and crafts projects inspired by nature. Dress appropriately for possibly getting a little messy. Bring an extra shirt if you want to make a wearable art project.


Incredible Insects – July 23

Offield Family Nature Preserve

Insects are the most abundant, fascinating, and diverse life form on Earth. Creep through the meadow with us while we search for these tiny friends! We’ll provide the bug nets, books and jars. You bring your sense of wonder.


Creature Camp – July 30

North Central Michigan College Natural Area

Roll over logs, dip in the pond, wade in the creek and wander through the woods! The college natural area has a wide variety of habitats and creatures who call this place home. Bring footwear you don’t mind getting dirty or wet.

Family Nature Discovery Series by Little Traverse Conservancy

All ages. Registration Required. Call Melissa at 231-344-1004

This summer, the Family Nature Discovery Series will be held at the North Point Natural Area in Charlevoix and the Wisser-Saworski Nature Preserve in Boyne Falls. These programs are for families of any size or configuration to enjoy outdoor exploration and connect to our natural world. Please come prepared with appropriate footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent and water.


Wednesday, June 25 – Creature Camo One of the most fascinating things about animals is how they use camouflage to hide from predators or prey. We’ll explore the world of animals in hiding and discover some of the colors, patterns and tricks critters use to blend in through some seek and find activities plus a scavenger hunt.

Wednesday, July 2 – Tree Time Their strength, beauty and persistence capture our eye and respect. Shade on a hot day, shelter and food for animals, and life-giving oxygen, are just a few of the many gifts, trees provide. We’ll explore tree life at North Point through observation, activities and our senses to become more familiar with the largest of plants in our neck of the woods.

Wednesday, July 9 – Creative Endeavors: Nature Arts & Crafts We’ll awaken our artistic side while exploring diverse habitats. Venturing through the woods, dunes and shoreline, exploring the designs of nature will inspire creativity for some nature-based projects. Projects will include plant pounding banners/flags, keepsake sand casts and rock mosaics.


Wednesday, July 16 – Ponderific We’ll listen and look for frogs, birds and other creatures that inhabit ponds and use nets to capture some intriguing underwater critters. Learn about their special adaptations that help them survive a watery world. All captured creatures will be released back into their pond home. Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. Dipping nets and collections jars provided or bring your own.

Wednesday, July 23 – Forest Foray Forests are dynamic ecosystems with many facets to explore. We’ll do some fun activities to become more familiar with the parts of the forest as well as the plants and animals that call it home and then complete our venture with a nature quest.

Wednesday, July 30 – Creative Endeavors: Nature Arts & Crafts Nature is a palette of color and mosaic of designs. We’ll hike the preserve with the eye of an artist. Using our observations, findings and imaginations, we’ll then create some nature art of our own. Projects will include decorating a walking stick, twiggy creations and plant pounding banners/flags.

The Outfitter’s Kids’ Paddle Camp, Jun 23 – Aug 14

Kayaking and Paddleboarding




4-Day Sessions for Ages 9-12 years Looking for a unique experience and learning opportunity for your child this summer? Kids’ Paddle Camp is a great way for youth to get out on the water while learning a lifelong skill! Our focus is on big fun and paddling skills in a positive learning environment.  Through teamwork, games and exploration, your child will: – Experience the joy of being on the water – Learn the essentials of kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding (strokes, rescues, wet exits) – Boater safety and group travel on the water
Download Kids’ Paddle Camp 2014 Info Flyer


9:30am-Noon 4-day sessions (Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs) begin June 23 and run every week through August 14. Register for one or more sessions throughout the summer. (Reduced rate offered for subsequent sessions.) Or drop-in for daily sessions that fit your schedule.

Session 1: June 23 – June 26 * Session 2: July 7 – July 10 Session 3: July 14 – July 17 Session 4: July 21 – July 24 Session 5: July 28 – July 31 Session 6: August 4 – August 7 Session 7: August 11 – August 14 * Reduced rate for Harbor Springs students

Location and Directions

Days 1,2 and 3: (Mon-Tues-Wed): Meet at Jo Ford Park on Bay Street in Harbor Springs Day 4 (Thurs): Meet at Round Lake on Powell Road off M119 Jo Ford Park: Head east on Main Street to Judd Street.  Turn right and head towards the harbor.  Turn left on Bay Street and then turn right into Jo Ford Park parking lot.  Meet at the grassy area by the water. Round Lake: Take M-119 towards Petoskey passing the airport (right side).  Just past Vernales restaurant (old Flying Dutchman), turn left on Powell Road and go for .7 miles to public boat launch on right.  If you see Mishe Mokwa Dr., you went too far.


All instruction and equipment provided (kayak, stand-up paddlbeboard, paddle, lifejacket) $120 for 4-day session; $110 for subsequent sessions; $40 for daily drop-in * $80 reduced rate for Harbor Springs students (sessions 1 and 7)

Personal Gear

For your child’s comfort and safety, you are responsible for bringing the following: water bottle, snack, swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, t-shirt, shorts, jacket/fleece, sun hat, sandals/water shoes/tennis shoes (No flip flops!)


Pre-registration required. Must register by Saturday at noon for next week’s session. Space is limited. Note: session will be cancelled if less than 4 children are registered.
To Register: Online: click on desired session/s on righthand column on this page In Person: stop in the store at 153 E Main Street By Phone: call us at 231.526.2621

Headlands Dark Sky Park

  • Saturday, June 21stsolstice

  • From 8:30-10:30 pm (sunset is 9:32 pm this evening)

  • A Day in the Life of a Dark Sky Park ~ Because we’re not your typical park, we’ve decided to dedicate this longest day of the year to understanding just what a dark sky park is. Program will include highlights of the summer season, bonfire, storytelling, telescopes, and more.


Petoskey YMCA Day Camp 2014


DAY CAMP 2014   |   JUNE 16 to AUGUST 22, 2014

Memories are made ever day at camp PET-O-SE-GA! Making new friends, learning new skills, understanding more about the natural world and each other is what Camp PET-O-SE-GA is all about. Campers will be divided into groups by ages with activities appropriate to the interests and needs of each group. Each day offers many enjoyable activities to choose from including arts & crafts, outdoor education, swimming, First Choice program, field trips and so much more!


First Choice!

The goal of the program is to promote healthy nutrition and good eating habits in children. Our camp staff will be trained by Beth Dobry, author of “Why Ronald Fell Apart”, and will be equipped with 20+ hours of nutritional programming. What’s more, all campers will have acess to fruits and vegetables through fun activities and challenges.


Age Groups

Explorers: Ages 5 to 6 *5 year olds must have completed kindergarten

Trailblazers: Ages 7 to 10

Pathfinders: Ages 11 to 14

CIT (Counselors in Training): Ages 15 to 16



The YNM hiring and training process is rigorous. All camp staff will be background checked and run through the central registry. All camp staff are required to have 28 hours of training, meeting ACA (American Camping Association) standards. Staff will be certified lifeguards and also have their CPR certifications. Our staff will strive to be positive role models and help create lasting memories.



Camp PET-O-SE-GA: Located on a 300-acre forested park on the shores of Pickerel Lake (Monday-Thursday)

Zion Lutheran Church: 500 W. Mitchell Street, Petoskey, MI 49770 (Pick Up/Drop Off, Post Camp, Friday Field Trip Days)


Camp Hours

Camp PET-O-SE-GA: 8:00 AM (Drop Off) -  4:00 PM (Pick Up)

Post Camp: 4:00 PM (Drop Off) -  6:00 PM (Pick Up)

Drop Off and Pick Up will be at the Zion Lutheran Church. Parents should drop off camper(s) between 8:00 AM – 8:15 AM. Parents should pick up camper(s) between 3:55 PM – 4:10 PM. Post Camp families should pick up their camper(s) no later than 6:00 PM. All parents are required to sign-in and sign-out camper(s) when dropping off or picking up. 

Camp Fees

Explorers/Trailblazers/Pathfinders: YMCA Members $160, Community Members $185

CIT: YMCA Members $40, Community Members $65

Post Camp: YMCA Members $30, Community Members $35

*CIT requires an interview and separate application. Please contact Christian Smith for more information.

*Week Three: Y Members $128, Community Members $148, Post Camp $25/$35 (NO CAMP JULY 4th)




  • Camp PET-O-SE-GA is a 10 week program that runs from June 16 to August 22. Campers can sign up for one or more weeks.
  • All camp fees must be paid prior to campers first day. Payment schedule is as follows:
    • Weeks 1-3: Payment due June 1st
    • Weeks 4-7: Payment due July 1st
    • Weeks 8-10: Payment due August 1st
  • A $30 non-refundable deposit is required for each week.
  • No refunds will be given after June 1st. *Medical emergencies will require a doctor’s note.
  • YMCA Youth Memberships are $50 and Family Memberships are $75. Memberships last for one full year.
  • All registration documents must be filled out to complete registration. (See documents below)


Registration Documents for Camp PET-O-SE-GA:







Please return completed applications to our office:

YMCA of Northern Michigan

343 E. Lake Street

Petoskey, MI 49770

Or submit your application electronically to Christian Smith at csmith@ymcanm.org.

Bluestem Farm Hayride & Potluck , Jun 21st

  • Saturday, June 21st
  • bluestem hayrides5:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Meet the farmers and get an up-close look at the animals, vegetable gardens, woods, and fields that make up Bluestem Farm, and share a potluck meal. Families welcome. Free. Like farming, this hayride happens rain or shine, but there’s a big barn for cover if the weather’s not good. Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes you won’t mind getting dirty. If you’d like to share the meal, please bring a dish to pass along with your own place-settings. For your comfort, you might want a chair or blanket to sit on, but if you’re not too particular we’ll have an assortment of things to sit on. Event parking is on the north side of M-32, on Adams Road. No dogs, please.  Please note that if you are relying on electronic navigation to get here, it will steer you wrong. The farm is at M-32 and Adams Road, and the driveway is off M-32.
  •  More at  www.bluestemfarm.net


Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend, Jun 7th & 8th


Summer Free Fishing Weekend graphic

Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekends: An annual tradition! Two days twice a year, families and friends can enjoy one of Michigan’s premiere outdoor activities, Michigan Fishing, for FREE!
The 2014 Free Fishing Weekends are scheduled for this winter: February 15 & 16 and this summer: June 7 & 8.

Raven Hill Discovery Center -free for families Jun 14th

FREE (Families Reaching Educational Excellence) raven hill summer

  • 2nd Saturday Series: A Family Affair
  • Noon to 4
  • Free admission for families.  Please no groups or organizations.   Families can explore the hands-on museum and animals indoors and enjoy the outdoor exhibits as weather permits.
  • Questions? 231.536.3369 | 877.833.4254 | info@ravenhilldiscoverycenter.org