Sam Ducharme presents "Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail." COURTESY PHOTO
Sam Ducharme presents "Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail." COURTESY PHOTO

LEOMINSTER -- Sam Ducharme presents "Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail" on Wednesday, March 6, starting at 7 p.m., at Leominster Public Library, 30 West St.

Those who attend the program will be treated to a modern-day adventure spanning 14 states and 2,180 miles. With Ducharme leading the way, you'll feel like you're on the Appalachian Trail, backpacking from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. During his six-month journey, Ducharme documented the rugged beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, the wildlife, the hardships he encountered on the trail, as well as people, culture and humanity at its finest. Join him as he takes the audience through the trail towns, over the mountaintops and through the backcountry. The breathtaking images and stories -- both funny and poignant -- will leave you with a renewed awe of the beauty of the country and its people.

It is the first of four "Trek Talks," scheduled for Wednesday evenings in March as part of the library's focus on travel during the month of February and its yearlong "Leominster Library University" slate of educational programs.

You will see Ducharme's gear, hear how he cooked and find out firsthand what it is like sleeping in a hammock for six months through three seasons. His enthusiasm for sharing his adventures will keep you glued to your seat and inspired to go on an adventure of your own. Ducharme will also tell the story of his return to the trail the following year, connecting with aspiring "thru hikers," paying it forward, and his return to the summit of Katahdin.

For more information, call 978-534-7522.


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Acclaimed writer Dacia Maraini at FSU on March 5

FITCHBURG -- Acclaimed novelist, playwright, poet and journalist Dacia Maraini will discuss her work Tuesday, March 5, starting at 5 p.m., at Fitchburg State University in the Falcon Hub at Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St. Admission is free and open to the public.

The daughter of a Sicilian princess and a Florentine ethnologist, Maraini was interned in a Japanese concentration camp with her family for refusing to recognize Mussolini's Republic of Salò. She went on to become one of the clearest voices for social justice of her generation.

During a life of world travel, she has written novels, short stories, plays, several investigative studies, and collections of poetry and essays, and her works have been translated into more than 30 languages and adapted for award-winning films.

She has won major Italian literary prizes and was a nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.

Maraini's visit is sponsored by the Center for Italian Culture and the university's Division of Arts & Sciences.

Lots going on in March at Bigelow Library

CLINTON -- Along with spring, the March calendar will bring a diverse selection of events to the Bigelow Free Public Library, 54 Walnut St.

The library will host a documentary film, "Alice's Ordinary People," about Alice Tregay and how she rallied ordinary folks during the civil-rights movement in Chicago on Wednesday, March 6, starting at 6:30 p.m. After the screening, the film's director, Craig Dudnick, will speak with the audience about the film and about Alice's role in the civil-rights movement.

Nikki and Mike Connery will present "A Scenic Tour of Beautiful Ireland" on Thursday, March 7, starting at 6:30 p.m. Their scenic tour is captured with Nikki's captivating photos and Mike's informative descriptions of all aspects of Ireland after visiting more than a dozen times.

On March 13, starting at 6:30 p.m., the library will host Sam Ducharme, who will speak about hiking the Appalachian Trail. With no prior backpacking experience, he learned on the trail. Gear, trail nutrition, enduring the elements, and the logistics involved in a long-distance backpacking trip were hard lessons.

"Music in the Stacks" returns Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m., with an Irish performance by Kate Chadbourne, harpist and bard.

For information or to register for events, call the library at 978-365-4160, or visit www.bigelowlibrary.org

Load up on corned beef at Emanuel Lutheran

FITCHBURG -- Emanuel Lutheran Church will host its annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner on Saturday, March 9, starting at 5:30 p.m., at 1200 John Fitch Highway.

The Men's Group will serve a traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage. Other offerings include beverages, bread and butter, and dessert with coffee.

The cost of the dinner is $12 per adult, $5 per child under 12. Purchase tickets at least a week in advance to allow for sufficient food. Tickets are available through the church office during the week by calling 978-345-1200 to reserve tickets. Takeout is also available upon request.

A slide show, "New England Synod Trip to the Holy Land," will be presented at 7 p.m., for those who wish to stay. The trip journeys to Israel, Palestine and Jordan, and is sponsored by the New England Synod of the ELCA.

Shutterbugs: Take photos of waterfalls

LEOMINSTER -- The New England Shutterbugs Camera Club holds meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the Veterans Memorial Center, 100 West St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7.

A member's competition, with the assigned subject "waterfalls," will be held Tuesday, March 12.

On March 26, there will be a landscape workshop presented by Paul Nguyen.

Guests and new members are always welcome. There is a $5 non-member fee. Refreshments will be served. For more information, visit their website at www.neshutterbugs.com, or call Beverly Fratoni at 978-534-6638.