Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Look up! It's Meteor Time!

A new moon in Northeast Ohio should pave the way for excellent viewing of the Perseid Meteor Shower during our August 11 viewing party (as long as the clouds cooperate!) Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds says the moonless sky will mean less light to wash out the so-called "shooting stars." Throughout August, programs in our Schuele Planetarium explore the science of meteors and their much larger (and scarier!) cousins, the asteroids. The highlight of the month will be Perseids Night on August 11, which starts with a 7 p.m. planetarium show and then moves outside for telescope viewing (weather permitting.) There will be live animals and refreshments as well. Grab a blanket, some binoculars and join us!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Skunk Helps Us Teach on TV

Most of us steer clear of skunks for the obvious reason. Even natural predators like foxes and wolves often won't hunt skunks, fearing an eyeful of their powerfully stinky spray. The Great Horned Owl, however, loves to catch a skunk for dinner. Why? Like most birds, the Great Horned Owl has little or no sense of smell, negating a skunk's best defense against predators.
With our educational skunk in hand, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Wildlife Director, Dave Wolf, passed along that bit of wild widsom and more during an appearance on WOIO-TV's Sunday morning news earlier this month. To check out the video, head to 19 Action News' Wild Weekend Visitors and click on "Say Hello to Our Stinky Friend" in the list on the left.
Dave's next scheduled appearance on Cleveland's CBS affiliate is Sunday, July 29 in the 8:30 a.m. half hour. Tune in or set your DVR.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Science Disguised as Fun

Aspiring wizards gathered this week at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center to mix up potions, divine the future and witness some magic during the Science of Wizardry Camp. While the camp took its inspiration from the fictional Harry Potter, the teaching was firmly rooted in science, as Education Director Darci Sanders told WTAM-Radio in an interview this week. Our class in "Potions" taught chemistry, with a little goop thrown in for fun! "Divination" explored the stars in our world-class planetarium while "Care of Magical Creatures" featured a lesson in zoology using the Center’s live animal collection. Finally, "Herbology" focused on plant sciences with hikes in the mysterious and beautiful natural setting surrounding our “wizardry school.” Campers "graduate" just in time for the big book release this weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Gone Fishin'

For many of our young Wet & Wild campers, last week brought them their very first experience holding a rod & reel. Two full days at the beach, under a gorgeous blue sky, provided plenty of time for fishing instruction, led by Ohio Sea Grant's Kelly Riesen (who's based at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.) Kelly, along with our wonderful education staff, dedicated volunteers and junior counselors baited hooks, untangled lines, encouraged patience and applauded each catch (before releasing the fish back into Lake Erie.) Of course, Camp Wet & Wild isn't just about fishing. The week was packed with our unique mix of hands-on science & nature lessons, crafts, games, picnics and hikes.