Friday, February 29, 2008

Forget the Snow - Get Moving On Summer Camp!

It's time to get moving on your summer plans! Our members can begin signing up for day camps and other summer programs tomorrow, March 1. Registration begins promptly at 10 a.m. To make the sign-up process as smooth and efficient as possible, please bring your Membership Card and your completed forms (Registration, Health Release on the back of the Registration Form, and New Member Form if applicable.) Feel free to call ahead with any questions you might have regarding program/class openings at (440) 871-2900. Our registration staff is usually available Tuesday through Saturday during regular Center hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer 2008 Registration Schedule
Member Registration: Saturday, March 1
Non-member Registration Tuesday, March 11
Phone-in Registration Tuesday, March 18
Girl Scout Camp Registration Tuesday, April 8 (in person or over the phone)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Leapin' Creatures! Drop In & Discover on Leap Day!

This Friday - Leap Day - brings Leapin' Creatures to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's next Drop In & Discover program. Our all-new Drop In & Discover days feature guided, hands-on discovery and fun for all ages, without the need to register in advance. Just drop in during the program time window and have some fun with your child. There is a small fee to participate ($3 – $5 depending on the cost of materials).
On Friday, February 29, from 10 a.m. – Noon, celebrate the day that hops onto the calendar once every four years with live animals that leap, a story, a craft and more.

You can also Drop In & Discover on the following dates:
o March 17 - St. Patrick’s Day, 10 a.m. – Noon

o April 19 – (early) Earth Day, 10 a.m. - Noon & 1 – 3 p.m.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse With or Without Clouds Tonight

There's still a chance, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the clouds will part tonight to allow a clear view of the last total lunar eclipse until late 2010! If the weather fails to cooperate, you can still check out the eclipse at our special 7 p.m. planetarium program, where the skies are always clear and it's toasty warm to boot!
Schuele Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds previewed tonight's celestial event this morning on WTAM-1100 radio with Bill Wills, while Planetarium Specialist Suzie Dills talked with WTAM newswoman Mary Schuermann . You can hear Jay's interview and read an online article about the eclipse on the station's website. The page also includes a NASA graphic showing the phases of tonight's eclipse.
If the weather cooperates, tonight's planetarium show will be followed by a free, guided viewing party, that will include telescope viewing of other objects in the night sky. If you plan on coming, bundle up for the weather and bring binoculars if you have them. You're welcome to come to the planetarium program and then take your knowledge home to watch the eclipse from your own backyard, too.

UPDATE 2/25: Check out our gathering of moon watchers and Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds explaining the lunar eclipse (with props) on WKYC-TV. It's all in Reporter Lydia Esparra's report "Everything you need to know about last night's total lunar eclipse."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rocketry Camp Date Change

Are you longing for the sunny, fun days of summer camp? Registration for our 2008 camps is coming up soon and members should begin receiving the snail mail version of our Summer Program Guide any day.

Here's a heads up about a date change for one of our popular camps. After our Summer Program Guide went to print, a scheduling conflict forced Advanced Rocketry Camp to move from August 1 to July 18. Please make a note of the correct date on your copy. The website listing has been updated.
Thank you for understanding. Hope to see you at our Summer Camp registration soon! (March 1 - members only; March 11 - open to all!)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter Widlife Care

People sometimes ask how the animals living outside at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center cope with winter weather like we are experiencing today. In the most recent issue of WREN (Winter 2007 - Wildlife Rehabilitation Eduction Newsletter), Rehab Coordinator Megan Tadiello explained that all of the animals who live year round in our Wildlife Gardens, excluding the domestic rabbits, are native to Ohio and accustomed to our winter season. With the exception of the groundhog and the Turkey vulture, all the animals are active in Northern Ohio during the winter as well. Our groundhog goes into hibernation, which is why you'll see insulation on the front of the glass burrow in the winter. Turkey vultures from Northern Ohio migrate, but some only as far as Southern Ohio. We regularly examine all the raptors to make sure they are healthy and fit. If we believed the winter weather posed a threat to an animal's survival due to age or illness, we would move that animal indoors. We provide adequate shelter in all our enclosure designs, which allows the animal to get out of the elements, if needed. Our exhibit animals are also better fit than their wild relatives because they are well fed and free of disease, making them more physically able to handle the harsh weather conditions.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bats in Hibernation

These are just two of the five bats that we have hibernating here at the center. The one on the left is a Silver-haired bat and the pictures on the right are of a Big Brown Bat. Every year our wildlife rehabilitation program gets a couple of bats that have been disturbed during their hibernation. When a bat wakes up from hibernation, it uses all of its stored energy just to get its body going again. During the winter, there are no insects for a bat to eat; therefore, it cannot go back into hibernation because it will not be able to regain the energy from food that is needed to return to a state of hibernation. Therefore, we artificially hibernate them in a refrigerator until it is warm enough for bugs to be outside and the bats can be released. Every three weeks we wake them up to make sure they are doing okay, feed them for three days and then put them back into the refrigerator.

National City Home and Garden Show

Thanks to a whole bunch of our fantastic volunteers, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center has been able to take a variety of educational animals on the road this week to the National City Home and Garden Show at the IX Center. In addition to the hands-on animal encounters, we're also offering a fun, heart owl valentine craft at our booth. Stop by an see us in aisle 500!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

New Study: The Disconnect from Nature Is Growing

A new study that measures the decline in nature recreation (during a time when television, video game and internet use are increasing), warns that the impact on nature and conservation "could soon be profound." The study, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, evaluated data from the United States, Japan and Spain on everything from backpacking to duck hunting. Do the findings mean that people no longer care about nature? The rearachers, Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois-Chicago and Patricia Zaradic of the Environmental Leadership Program, weigh in here. This all reminds us: we love that you're connecting with us through the internet, but we do want to see you here, feeling the heartbeat of a live animal, hitting the trails around the Center, or peering into one of our telescopes at the night sky. See you around the Center soon!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Happy Groundhog's Day

The resident groundhog at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center remains fast asleep this morning. He is not providing a weather forecast on the holiday that made him famous. We help him to hibernate each winter by closing up and creating a burrow-like environment in his outdoor enclosure. It will likely be early March before he naturally wakes up. To read more about groundhogs and hibernation, read the fun fact sheet at our Kids Corner.

By the way, what's the significance of February 2? The Cornell Univerity Chronicle says "Celestially speaking, Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 is a "cross-quarter" day, about halfway between the winter solstice in December and the vernal equinox in March, and is celebrated in some cultures as the mid point of winter. It's not far from the time many groundhogs end their hibernation anyway, around the second week of February."

Of course, the holiday is purely based on folklore and fun and not on science and nature. To separate the fact from fiction, we recommend a great Canadian website called Hinterland Who's Who. It includes illustrations of a groundhog burrow, range and more. Happy Groundhog's Day!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Globe At Night

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will join thousands of families, citizen-scientists and students on a hunt for stars from February 25 through March 8, 2008. You too can take part in this international event called Globe at Night to observe the nighttime sky and learn more about light pollution around the world. For more information and hands-on learning activities for families & citizen scientists, visit Globe at Night. We'll also have printed information and activity sheets available at the Center.