MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137
HOWELL FARM: (609) 737-3299

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. - A new series will debut at Howell Living History Farm on Friday, Feb. 10, when Mercer County Naturalist Jenn Rogers and Wildlife Center Director Diane Nickerson present “An Evening of Owls,” a program about some of New Jersey’s most important raptors, specifically the barn owl.

Held inside a barn like the ones where owls can be found, the family-oriented event will introduce visitors to one of farmers’ best friends through a talk, an encounter with live owls, and opportunities to identify actual owl sounds and calls.

The presentation will take place inside the farm’s heated 19th century barn from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and will include a short excursion into a nearby pasture where the group will try to call in a screech owl from the farm’s fields.

The program is the first of the “Naturally Friends” series offered in 2012, which features the owls, swallows, bats and beneficial insects that farmers have relied upon for centuries to maintain essential balances in their barns, crop fields and pastures. Barn owls are notorious for their exceptional hunting and ability to control rodent populations. However, the bird has become a species of special concern in New Jersey because of the loss of nesting sites.

During part of the program, youngsters can participate in a “kids only” segment where they read an owl-themed book, explore owl pellets and learn to sing like a screech owl. At the close of the evening, children and adults will come together for a live owl show by the Mercer County Wildlife Center.

“An Evening of Owls” also features a sneak preview of the Howell Farm 2012 corn maze, whose pathways form the image of a barn owl. At the end of the evening, all children ages 5-12 who can identify the sound of a barn owl will receive a free pass to the maze and a chance to win a barn owl birthday party at the farm or maze.

Howell Farm is maintained and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission. Winter hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking and admission are free, but a $3 donation is suggested for Friday evening programs.

The farm is located on Valley Road, just off Route 29, two miles south of Lambertville. The GPS destination for the Visitor Center and barn is 70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530.

For more information about the farm, call (609) 737-3299 or visit www.howellfarm.org. For complete information about the Mercer County Park Commission and its facilities, visit www.mercercounty.org.