Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Drop In & Discover Adds Date and Time

Our new Drop In & Discover program is adding a date for walk-in Groundhog family fun. You and your kids can drop in Friday, February 1 anytime from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, for a small fee ($3 for this one), participate in a fun groundhog craft and learn a little more about this hibernating creature with its own holiday. Did you know that groundhogs fall into such a deep sleep during hibernation that they only breathe once every six minutes? Get more Fun Facts about groundhogs and test your knowledge at the Kids Corner activity page on Lake Erie & Nature & Science Center's website.

Captivating Kids Nature Photography

The combination of kids, cameras and nature produced some stunning results in the Velvet/ World Wildlife Federation Young Nature Photographers contest in the U.K. A beautiful shot of a frog was the grand prize winner. Britain's Telegraph newspaper has more of the finalists posted online. Details on Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's animal-inspired Art Contest can be found on our website.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Smart, Sneaky Squirrels

A scientific study widely published in Europe purports to show that squirrels are a lot smarter than we thought. The creatures appear to attempt to fake out would-be thieves to prevent them from stealing the stash of nuts that gets a squirrel through winter.
Experts watched the squirrels pretend to bury food into pits in the ground, and cover them over with soil and leaves. The researchers said the squirrels put on a show of hiding non-existent nuts more often when they were being watched by the human observers. The animal experts say their research shows that squirrels understand what stealing is and take action to prevent it. That knowledge doesn't seem to stop the squirrels from swiping the food you intended for the birds, though!
Our wildlife rehab staff fields many calls about squirrel behavior throughout the year. One of the most common questions concerns the surprising behavior of baby squirrels. Find out more in our Wildlife FAQ's.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Drop In & Discover A Hoot

The first Drop In & Discover proved to be "hoot" for about 120 people who joined us thoughout the day for owl themed crafts and live owl encounters. We offered this first Drop In & Discover program for free. Future events will carry small fee ($2 or $3), but NO pre-registration is required. You just pop in with your kids and discover a optional craft or activity. Check out the four dates in February on the Special Events page of our website.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Family Fun Fest Planners Need YOU!

A duck race down Porter Creek, live animal and planetarium shows, bounce houses and games, nature hikes and crafts, food and Radio Disney all make Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's annual Family Fun Fest an event not to be missed! Planning for the June 1, 2008 edition of Fun Fest gets underway with our first committee meeting this Friday (January 25) at 9:45 a.m. in the Center's Grand River room. We have a fantastic core of moms in place who plan crafts, games, activities, food, publicity and more. Kids are welcome at the planning meetings. So, grab a friend and join the great group of parents who are spearheading this event that also serves as a Center fundraiser.
If you can't make Friday's meeting, email or call Volunteer Coordinator Julie Mistur (440) 871- 2900 X215, or Community Relations and Fundraising Specialist Barb Caskey at (440) 871- 2900 X207, to offer your help. We’ll get you on the email list for the future schedule of planning meetings and updates. Photos here are from last year's Fun Fest.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Subscribe To The Chirp & Chatter Post Feed

Click the orange icon above the the Archives list on the right and subscribe to the Chirp & Chatter post feed. Thank to the one-size-fits-all approach of FeedBurner you should be able to add us to your favorite desktop feed reader/news aggregator, from Google to Yahoo and more.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Calling All Artists - Design Our 2008 T-shirt!

Are you artistic? Create the design for our 2008 Limited Edition Lake Erie Nature & Science Center T-Shirt. Anyone can enter our 2nd annual design contest. The winning artist takes home a $100 prize and a free T-shirt featuring his or her own artwork.
Our guidelines require your design to be:
~original artwork that includes at least three of the resident animals at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

~colorful and kid friendly

~no larger than 8” X 10” on blank paper (no T-shirt outline)

Pick up an entry form at the Center’s front desk or download a printable pdf form. Photocopies of the entry form and multiple entries per person will be accepted. Entry deadline is February 29, 2008. The winner will be notified by March 31, 2008.
Top entries will be on display at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center and on our website in the Nature Art Gallery by mid March. We invite you to tell us which design is your favorite, although Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will make the final decision on the winning art. To register your opinion, comment here on our blog, stop by the Center or email feedback on your favorites to

Last year's winning entry is pictured above. We look forward to receiving your new and creative entries!

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Source for Anwers to Wildlife Rehab FAQ's

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Wildlife Rehabilitation staff handles about 4,000 phone inquiries about injured, ill or orphaned wild animals every year. The Center has 24-hour voice-mail and all calls are returned as quickly as possible. Now, however, you can get immediate answers (even after hours) to some of the most common questions fielded by our staff. We've posted an online database of Wildlife FAQ's that addresses situations involving persistent woodpeckers, nesting ducks, and baby squirrels that appear "tame." FAQ's also tackle what to do if a bird repeatedly flies into your window or a wild animal takes up residence under your porch or deck. You'll also find general guidelines if you come across an injured animal or baby wildlife. Wildlife Director Dave Wolf says "We get these same questions each and every year, but, to some extent, each situation is different." Dave recommends you take the FAQ information and adapt it to your individual situation. As always, you can still call the Wildlife Staff for more specific advice (440) 871-2900 ext 204.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Great Outdoors Calls Even In Winter

It's easy to use the cold weather as an excuse to hibernate this time of year... and there are definitely days that are meant to be spent exclusively in front of the fireplace with a good book. Winter also offers seasonal magic beyond your doorstep, if you bundle up and venture out. For a fun way to get your kids off the couch this winter, try printing the Winter Nature Detective Challenge posted in the Games and Activities on our Kids Corner page or head over to the Planetarium main page to download January's Scoping Out the Night Sky guide, that includes starry trail maps of the current Northeast Ohio night sky. Even on a wintry day, you can help yourself to a dose of the great outdoors and a heapin' helpin' of the wonder that nature always inspires!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More Boy Scout Projects Benefit Center

We are again fortunate to have Boy Scout projects enhancing the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center experience! Jason Wissman (left) created a wonderful outdoor and indoor vegetable garden (complete with manual) for the animals. We have more than 100 live animals on exhibit and in our outreach & education collection.
Philip Koch (at right) created beautiful identification signs for the plants along the path in our backyard. In addition to identifying pictures, each marker includes a fun fact about the plant. There's also an opportunity for little ones to practice their ABC's with the first letter of the name of the plant on each sign.

These projects are in addition to the recent addition of new benches. Thanks to all three Boy Scouts for benefiting the Center with their creativity and hard work!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

No Stellar Stars Tomorrow!

The Schuele Planetarium's Stellar Stars program for Wednesday, January 9 has been cancelled. The planetarium staff hopes to see you next Wednesday, at the regularly scheduled day and time!
Head on over to our Planetarium page and download Suzie's Starry Trails Map to guide your own backyard night sky hike during the month of January! Scroll down below the word "discover."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Eagle Scout Project Benefits Center

The Center can thank an industrious Boy Scout for a new set of benches that families can enjoy in the "Critter Corner" play area of our exhibit hall. Charles Cartier (pictured left) constructed the two benches as his Eagle Scout project. He used a wood-burning tool to create animal-themed game boards on the seating surface. There's also built-in storage for the Tic Tac Toe game pieces (painted rocks.) Children and parents took right to the new furnishings, playing an inaugural game of tic tac toe before the second bench was carried into place!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Quadrantid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

You'll need to bundle up and take along some hot cocoa to stay warm in the wee hours tonight... but our Schuele Planetarium staff says the Quadrantid meteor shower could provide an interesting sky show for intrepid astronomy buffs. The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks at 1:40 a.m. January 4. Planetarium Specialist Suzie Dills says the shower is brief but intense... 100 meteors per hour under ideal conditions! Keep your fingers crossed for good visibility and look northeast after dark.