Friday, November 30, 2007

Black Widow Now On Display

The venomous black widow spider that hitched a ride on a metal spool shipment from Tennessee to Westlake is now on display at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. Details of the stowaway spider's surprise arrival at a Westlake manufacturing company were detailed yesterday by various media outlets, including television stations WJW, WKYC and WOIO, along with WTAM radio. The Associated Press even picked up the story and sent it statewide! Follow the links to check out some of that coverage.
Here's a tip if you want to view the spider in our Invertebrates Exhibit... she seems to prefer hanging to the underside of the lid to her habitat, so you may have to kneel down and look up to view the distinctive red hourglass that makes the black widow unique. Thanks to Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds for the capturing the macro photo of her.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Black Widow Shipping Stowaway Going On Display

A local company received a venomous stowaway in an out of state shipment today. A Westlake manufacturing company discovered a black widow spider in a shipment from Tennessee. Westlake's Animal Control Officer brought the spider to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center where our wildlife staff confirmed it is a black widow. The venomous species is recognizable for its dark coloration and red hourglass marking on its abdomen. Black widows earned their name because the female occasionally eats the male after mating. They have the most potent venom of any spider in North America and a bite can be fatal (rarely) to humans. Black widows are found in Ohio, but seldom north of Columbus.
Our wildlife staff is planning to move the spider to a secure display case later today, near our scorpion, tarantula and walking stick. Come check it out!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Double Your Money Year-End Match

A non-profit organization like Lake Erie Nature & Science Center relies solely on the generosity of supporters to keep our mission moving forward. As we wrap up another successful year caring for wildlife and teaching about the fascinating natural world around us, we are fortunate to have an extra incentive to encourage your support for our annual year-end fundraising appeal. The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation has pledged to match new or increased gifts (up to $500). What a great opportunity for new donors to the Annual Appeal to double their gifts! Increases will also be matched, meaning an Annual Appeal gift that's $100 above last year's giving level will produce $200 for the Center! Thanks to our community of supporters who provide the fuel that keeps our programs humming.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Southern Flying Squirrel

These are Southern Flying Squirrels. The one on the log is an adult female. She came in on November 5, 2007 and was found in Avon Lake in the middle of the road. She suffers from neurological damage, most likely because she was hit by a car. We treated the injury, however, I believe she has permanent damage. Two days later two young flying squirrels (picture of young one in wooden house) were brought in from Lakewood. They were found on the ground, severely dehydrated and lethargic. They have since recovered and are living in the same cage with the adult. All three squirrels will be over-wintered and will be evaluated for release in the spring.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Here is a picture of the owl in flight, along with a smaller inset picture. In this smaller picture you can see the damage to it's left eye.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Owl update

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is in a large flight cage where we can offer live mice to see if it can hunt. It has been doing good so far. Once we are positive it is hunting live prey for about 3 weeks we will then evaluate a release.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Kids Eye View of Why We Do What We Do!

One of our wonderful Wildlife Volunteers, Christa Sandy, shared the following "eco-story" that her son wrote as an optional assignment for his Kindergarten class in Rocky River. Even at age 6, John demonstrates an awesome care and respect for animals and nature. We snapped pictures of Christa and John in action, representing Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at the Crocker Park tree lighting, Friday night in Westlake.

I help wild animals by feeding birds in our backyard. They eat seeds and suet. Hummingbird eats sugar water. We make it. We feed the squirrels too. They eat corn. We plant Rose of Sharon and red flowers, and the hummingbird sits on them. He gets nectar from the flowers.

I also help wildlife by taking birds, mammals, and reptiles from Lake Erie Nature and Science Center to animal programs. I help Mama hold the animals and talk about them. They can fly, slither, and walk. My favorite is kestrel, hawk, and barred owl. Kestrel says "klee, klee, klee" and barred owl clicks his beak. Hawk says "mmm, mmm." I like to listen. The silliest one is kestrel. Skunk is not stinky and helps people to learn not to run away and to walk right past them. People at animal programs feel happy when I am there. They clap and say "yea!", and they learn about animals. They get excited about helping them. Snake looks like he has ghosts on
him. Sometimes people feel scared of him, but he is not scarey. There is a chinchilla there, and he runs fast, fast. I hope you don't wear jackets out of chinchillas.

When I help animals, I help our environment!

John Sandy
Goldwood School- Kindergarten

Thanks to the entire Sandy family for sharing John's story. (Dad, sister and grandmother were at Crocker Park too!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Holiday Wish List

Who puts corn cob bedding, latex gloves or mealworms on a holiday shopping list? You!... if you're willing to shop for the animals at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. Throughout the month of December, the Center will be collecting Holiday gifts for the animals and for the preschool classes. Both provide us with unique opportunities to teach about the amazing wildlife in our very own backyards! While you’re out making your other Holiday purchases, won’t you please pick up a small gift to share with your friends at the Nature Center? You can drop off your gifts under the tabletop tree in our lobby. As always, your support is crucial to our non-profit mission. Head to our website to find our updated wish list! If you're unable to shop, you can give a monetary donation and we'll pick up the supplies for you. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thank You Center Volunteers!

This week, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is pausing to salute our hard-working and caring corps of volunteers. We've declared this week our very own Volunteer Appreciation Week with kudos and treats for the people who give their time supporting our non-profit mission. We have volunteers of all ages who care for and work with our animals, who help out in our classrooms, who plan and put on great special events, who raise funds and lend leadership and expertise. Their contributions to our success are too numerous to list, but we appreciate each and every one of them! Volunteer Coordinator Julie Mistur is heading up this week's appreciation activities. The banner hanging in the main hallway says it all! Thank you volunteers!! We couldn't do it without you! Want to join our volunteer ranks? Find out more and sign up on our website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rehabbed Red-tailed Hawk Flies Free Again!

A beautiful Red-tailed Hawk, whose broken wing healed with the help of wildlife rehab staff at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, was returned to the wild this afternoon, released in the blustery winds at the edge of Lake Erie. The hawk was set free in the very same Lorain backyard where it was picked up with a broken wing in September. Michael Bolmeyer, the man who rescued the injured bird, was there to witness the successful conclusion of the Red-tail’s rehabilitation.
Bolmeyer brought the injured hawk into the Center on September 17. Staff wrapped the fractured left wing for 2 – 3 weeks and placed the hawk on pain medicine. Once the bones healed, the bird underwent 2 weeks of physical therapy and was then moved into a flight cage. The hawk completed the final stages of flight conditioning at the Lake County Metroparks Penitentiary Glen wildlife rehab facility.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds transported the bird from Lake County to Lorain for today’s release. After LeMonds gently tossed the hawk up into the wind, it quickly soared into a nearby tree, with no signs of the previous injury. LeMonds told the assembled news photographers and Bolmeyer's family that seeing the majestic hawk flying free was worth the effort that went into rehab. “This is the moment we work for.”
Bolmeyer says he was uncertain about what to do with the large, injured predator he found in his backyard. Center Rehab staff told him exactly how to safely pick up the injured hawk and transport it to the Center. “They walked me through everything I needed to know right over the telephone.”
Photographers from WestLife and the Elyria Chronicle Telegram snapped the release and WOIO-TV aired the event on the 4 and 11 p.m. newscasts. See WKYC-TV Videographer Shane Snider's story on the Channel 3 website. Visit the Center's Wildlife Rehabiliation pages here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Christmas Carousel Success

The hardworking, all volunteer Women's Board pulled off another successful Christmas Carousel Holiday Festival on Saturday. Nearly 600 people stopped in at Bay High School to browse and buy from a wonderful variety crafts and gifts and to snap up the delicious bake sale goods. Women's Board donates the proceeds from this event to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. Find out more about the board and their activities on our website.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Northern Saw-whet Owl

This Northern Saw-whet Owl was brought to us on October 23, 2007. It has blood and internal trauma of the left eye. We started the owl on steroids and the eye is already looking much better. We will soon transfer it into a flight cage where we can introduce live mice to see if it can still hunt. Saw-whet Owls only reside in Ohio during the winter months. The owl is very small, about the size of a robin.You can find out more about Wildlife Rehabilation on our website.

Twinkle Tots Time Change!

Twinkle Tots, the popular Lake Erie Nature & Science Center planetarium program designed for toddlers and their families, is moving to a new start time. Beginning Thursday, November 8, the program will begin at 11:45 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. The permanent schedule change is aimed at relieving a parking crunch that occurred during overlapping programs at the Center. The time change only affects Twinkle Tots weekday program. Saturday Twinkle Tots remains at 11 a.m. For more information about Schuele Planetarium programs call 440-871-2900 or visit the planetarium pages on our website