Get out your pith helmet and machete and prepare for a journey through the jungles of Africa. Err, on second thought, why not save the money and forego the passport hassles (as well as those airport security guard scowls when you brandish that machete). Its time to vacation close to homeget out your Tevas and a sturdy paddle and explore one of Vermonts most fascinating natural waterwaysthe Winooski River. The Winooski River Sojourn, June 3-8, is a multi-day canoe and kayak trip on the Winooski River aimed at inspiring individual connections to the River and among the communities and users of the resource. Daily river-side programs, which are free and open to the public, will inform participants about the river's history, ecology and the challenges facing this precious resource. "We are very excited about the enthusiasm the Sojourn has received and look forward to seeing this become a very popular annual event," states Ann Smith, Friends of the Winooski River executive director. "This is a great opportunity for paddlers and the general public to get a closer look at the river and to better understand what this resource means to our state." This years programs include: Aquatic ecology, water quality monitoring, stream geomorphology, hydropower, nonpoint source pollution, floodplain restoration, sustainable agriculture and fly fishing and paddling demonstrations. A full schedule of the programs can be found at the Friends of the Winooski River web site at www.winooskiriver.org. The Friends of the Winooski River is a volunteer group dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Winooski River, its tributaries and watershed.