Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year & Decade In Nature & Science

As we close out 2009 and march into a new year (and decade!), it's always fun to look back to where we've been. Here are some links to retrospectives on the year and decade in nature & science:
For our part, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center winds up the year truly grateful for all the wonderful supporters, volunteers, members, donors, class participants and visitors who fueled our non-profit mission through a tough economy in 2009. We're excited about what 2010 holds for our 60-year-old organization! Happy New Year!

Once In a Blue Moon Tonight!

Watch for Schuele Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds on WKYC-Channel 3, explaining tonight's "blue moon"... the first time a blue moon has fallen on New Year's Eve in nearly 20 years! NASA also has a nice post explaining our New Year's Eve blue moon.

In a nutshell, the moon won't actually appear blue in color! Instead, it's a calendar thing... 2nd full moon of the month is considered a "blue moon." (By the way, Jay says the moon can appear blue when volcanic ash changes the light, but that's not in play tonight, in spite of the pretty photo we posted here!) And, there is another seasonal definition of blue moon as well.

Happy New Year and be careful out there!

Still Time to Take Our Survey & Register to Win a Free Summer Camp!

Time is running out for you to weigh in with your summer camp ideas. Share your opinions about the ideal nature and science camp and your child's camp could be FREE! Complete our brief Summer Camp Survey by January 8, 2010 to be entered in a drawing for a FREE 2010 summer day camp! Your feedback can help make our next summer camp season our best ever! Follow this link to get started now!
One survey per household, please. You'll be redirected to our homepage if someone on your computer has already completed the survey.We'll contact the free camp winner prior to our March Summer Camp registration.
Thanks for your help and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jingle Bells Herald Gifts for the Animals

The sound of jingle bells heralded this week's arrival of gifts for the animals from the Frogs and Polliwogs classes (which, for the uninitiated, is a popular parent & tot program.) Many of our school-year classes collect items from our "Wish List" as a class holiday project.
Frogs & Polliwogs Instructor Andrea Schwartz and her students rang (take-home) bells and pulled a red wagon stuffed with gifts through the Center to the tree by our fireplace. The children unloaded their presents and placed them under the tree, with visions of chirps and hoots of delight from the animals that will benefit from them!
In-kind donations like the animal care products generously donated by these kids and parents will help feed and care for our wonderful exhibit and traveling educational animals, plus the ill and injured animals that treated in Wildlife Rehabilitation. In-kind donations make a huge difference to our non-profit work and we appreciate their support!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Animal & Nature Lovers Gift-giving Guide

Stumped on what to get the animal or nature lover on your gift list? Here are four ideas you can pick up right here at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center (some, you can order online or over the phone (at 440-871-2900) from the comfort of your easy chair!) Best of all, you'll feel great knowing your gift dollars are making a difference in your community!

Choose a "Go Wild" Animal Adoption and get a great adoption certificate, put your gift recipient's name on the exhibit and/or add a limited-edition "Go Wild" gift pack! Adopt-an-Animal online or stop in if you want to add a gift pack.

Give all the benefits of a Membership to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, plus through the end of the year, get a free t-shirt! Join online.

Stuff their stockings with logo pencils or super-cool Smencils! These and other affordable logo items are available at the front desk every day 10 a.m. to 5 .m. and through 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Make a donation in your loved one's name. It's a pure, green form of giving that pays dividends in your backyard! Plus, if your gift is new or increased over your 2008 contribution, our "Go Wild" match will double your donation! Donate online now and choose the radio button for "Tribute Gift," fill in your recipient's name and address and we'll send both of you an acknowledgment of your gift.

Thank you for supporting the non-profit Lake Erie Nature & Science Center with your gifts and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Three Weeks Left To Double Your Donation

We're in the final 3 weeks to “Go Wild” and double your money for Lake Erie Nature & Science Center! The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust is matching all new or increased gifts to our year-end “Go Wild” campaign, up to $500 per donor and there's still time to have your gift matched!

Donations from people like you allow us to provide FREE admission and FREE wildlife rehab services 7 days a week. Please help us reach our year-end goal. If you and four friends each give a new gift of $10 and it's multiplied through our matching grant, that will =$100! What a difference that will make!

The chance to double your donation is only good until December 31, 2009, so please don't wait!
Use our online donation form (select the Annual Fundraising Appeal radio button)
• Donate (and invite friends to support us) through our Facebook Causes page
• Mail a gift to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village Ohio 44140
• Make a credit card contribution by phone at 440-871-2900

Your gift is fully tax deductible, too! Rally your friends for our non-profit cause today! Watch this "Go Wild" video link and pass it on!

All of us at your Lake Erie Nature & Science Center thank you for your support!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Hours & Programs

A reminder that Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is closed on Thanksgiving Day and will close early at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25. On all other days throughout the weekend, we will be open normal hours from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Catch a free, family-friendly Meet An Animal program all about Squeezers (Boas and Pythons) on Friday at 3 p.m.... and check out the Schuele Planetarium star show line-up for Saturday. There's something for all ages!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Two Birds Released From Rehab

A Herring Gull straight-jacketed by three tri-hooks connected to a fishing lure is back in the wild! Wildlife Specialist Amy LeMonds, assisted by Rehab volunter Christa Sandy, was able to work all of the hooks out and after a short course of antibiotics the bird was ready for release. Today's release took place at Huntington Beach. Here's hoping the bird's next meal doesn't involve hooks! More of the gull's rehab "back story" is posted in an earlier blog entry.
Amy also sent a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk winging its way into the trees near Lake Erie Nature & Science Center today following its recovery from moderate lacerations. In addition to the photo here, we captured a video clip of that release and posted it on our Facebook page.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Legacy Reunion Features Surprise Guest

We welcomed many special guests to our "Legacy Reunion" on Saturday, from the sons of our founder, Elberta Fleming, to former and staff a volunteers from all eras of our vibrant 60-year history. Guests also got a glimpse of our future as they were able to meet the woman who's just been named the next Executive Director of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

Catherine J. Timko officially puts her passion for non-profits and nature to work for our Center starting on January 4. Catherine (pictured left with David and Alex Fleming, sons of founder, Bert Fleming) has devoted her entire career to non-profit work, most recently as the Ohio-based Division Development Director at the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national land conservation organization. Prior to TPL, Catherine served in development roles at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Opera.
Read more about Catherine's appointment in this pdf News Release posted in our online newsroom and view more photos from Saturday's Legacy Event on our Facebook page.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Herring Gull Un-Hooked

A Herring Gull with fishing hooks lodged in both wings and through the beak is being treated in our Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Program. The bird was apparently hooked and injured when “dinner” turned out to be a fake fish with three treble hooks attached.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds, assisted by Rehab Volunteer Christa Sandy, worked to free the bird from the hooks which penetrated both wings and the beak, with the shiny orange fish lure pinned across the body. Using wire cutters, a dremel and pliers, Amy was able to work the hooks free.

Amy and Christa consider it a healthy sign that once free, the gull thanked them with a strong bite to the glove! They quickly put the gull in a shallow bath for hydration and the bird was eager to drink. The rehab staff will start a course of antibiotics with the hope of full recovery and release back into the wild. We have a bunch of photos documenting the procedure over on our Facebook page.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that you should always work to avoid cutting your fishing line and leaving lures and hooks like these behind in the water after a fishing trip. You will reduce the risk of injuring wildlife, if the hooks always go back in your tackle box!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Get In On the Next Two Seasons Of Fun!

From Log Cabin Holidays and Animals A La Mode in December to Eggstravaganza and Rain Barrel Workshop in April, our great Center Members get first crack at our Winter AND Spring programs as Member Registration gets underway at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, November 7).

Both Winter and Spring Session classes and programs will be open for registration, with one notable exception: you may not enroll in Spring Session-only for Frogs and Polliwogs, Nature Nuts, Log Cabin Explorers Club or After School Adventures Club. You may sign up for Winter-only or lock in your spot for the rest of the year by reigstering for BOTH Winter and Spring Sessions in these ongoing school year programs. Any remaining spots in these popular classes will be open during Spring Registration dates. Review our Winter-Spring Program Guide here.
Winter-Spring 2009-10 Registration Schedule
Member Registration: Saturday, November 7
Non-member Registration: Tuesday, November 17
Phone-in: Tuesday, November 24

Registration begins promptly at 10 a.m. Please bring your Membership Card and your completed forms (Registration, Health Release - on the back of the Registration Form, new Member Forms) to make registration efficient. Call ahead with any questions about program/class openings at 440-871-2900. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas Carousel Holiday Festival

Get a jump on your holiday shopping and support our non-profit at the annual Christmas Carousel Holiday Festival this Saturday at Bay High School from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The festival features over 30 local artists, craftspeople and quality vendors, a great raffle with fabulous prizes and the oh-so enticing Carousel CafĂ© featuring home baked goods, lunch and refreshments.

This event is sponsored by Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s Women’s Board and benefits our non-profit Center. The entry donation of $3 includes one free raffle ticket.
This event is held at Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road) to allow for plenty of vendor space and parking. There's also an easy access drop-off entrance. Hope to see you on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Go Wild & Double Your Impact!

“Go Wild” and double your money for Lake Erie Nature & Science Center! If you haven't already heard, we have a great a foundation challenge grant this year that give you the opportunity to have your gift to our non-profit matched dollar for dollar! The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust has pledged to match all new or increased gifts to our year-end “Go Wild” campaign up to $500 per donor – meaning your donation can pack an extra punch for our cause!

Support from folks like YOU allows us to provide FREE admission and FREE wildlife rehab services 7 days a week! Your gift can supply food and medical care for our animal ambassadors, help release wildlife rehab patients back to their natural homes or bring students here on a “wild” educational field trip.
The chance to double your donation is only good until December 31, 2009, so don't wait!

• Use our online donation form (select the Annual Fundraising Appeal radio button)
• Donate (and invite friends to support us) through our Facebook Causes page
• Mail a gift to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village Ohio 44140
• Make a credit card contribution by phone at 440-871-2900

Because we’re a non-profit organization, your gift is fully tax deductible, too!

Please rally your friends for the cause! All of us at your Lake Erie Nature & Science Center – human and animal – are truly grateful for your support!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good Eats For a Great Cause!

Giving has never been easier ... or more delicious! On Tuesday, October 20,  the Max & Erma's restaurant at 30105 Detroit Road in Westlake will be donating 20% of all lunch and dinner proceeds to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center! You MUST print and present this special flyer to your server in order to benefit our non-profit Center. Please print as many copies as you like and pass along to friends, but keep in mind that it's against the rules to hand out the flyer on site.
Some of us are already craving hot bowl of that cheesy tortilla soup! See you there. Don't forget to take your flyer!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Brought Second Wave of Babies

A pair of 7 to 8-week-old Red Squirrels are among of the latest babies to come through intake at our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. Although we usually think “spring” is when we encounter baby wildlife, many animals produce a second wave of offspring in the late summer or early fall.

Like the little Red Squirrels pictured here, whenever a wild baby is healthy and active, we advise that the best course of action for the animal is to return them back to the wild. Better yet, we hope you'll call us before you interfere (440-871.2900 ext. 204!)
It’s actually not uncommon for young squirrels to show a lack of fear of humans. Even if they run right up to you, this doesn’t mean they need your help! Let them continue learning to be wild. You can help them learn a necessary and healthy fear of humans by clapping or making other loud noises to send them on their way. In fact, “What to do about friendly baby squirrels?” is Number 5 on our Frequently Asked Wildlife Rehab Questions list.

If a squirrel’s eyes are not open yet, you can return them right where you found them, or if you believe they are in imminent danger on the ground, make an artificial nest with a milk carton and hang it from a nearby tree for the wild parents to find.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It’s NOT too late... take advantage of the BEST savings of the entire year on our preschool programs! Tell your friends and family... You have two more days (until Friday, October 2) to purchase a Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Family Membership ($50) and get the following great savings:

  • Save $75 on ALL 3 SEASONS- 30 WEEKS- of Nature Nuts!
  • Save $75 on ALL 3 SEASONS- 30 WEEKS- of Log Cabin Explorers Club!
  • Save $30 on ALL 3 SEASONS- 30 WEEKS- of Frogs & Polliwogs!

Your tuition will also be prorated for the Fall Session. Even if you've already signed up for the fall session only, you can still take advantage of our special school year savings by extending your child’s registration before October 2.

Don’t forget all the other benefits of that Family Membership either! You’ll receive our seasonal Program Guides, 2 planetarium tickets, discounts AND advanced registration on many more of our programs and classes for all ages — including our Friday Hayride Nights, our brand new Animals a la Mode family program and our Easter Eggstravaganza, free admission to more than 80 other nature centers around the country, plus the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a valued community resource!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is the best investment you can make for your child, your family, and your planet this year! Give us a call at 440-871-2900. We can register you right over the telephone.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hayrides, Lasers and Autumn Fun

The chill in the air and the calendar approaching October has us really looking forward to one of the most popular autumn activities at the Center – Fall Family Hayride Nights. There's still time to get in on the fun but you’ll need to pre-register soon!

The first of two Fall Family Hayride Nights takes place on Friday, October 9 and begins with a full pizza dinner. The evening also includes hay wagon rides around Huntington Reservation, kid-friendly seasonal crafts, planetarium star shows and live animals.

Children are encouraged to wear their costumes to the second Family Hayride event on Friday, October 30 when a trick or treat trail through the Center’s backyard Wildlife Gardens provides additional fun. Both of these all-inclusive hayride nights run from 6 – 9 p.m. and require advance registration. Fees are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

By the way, the second Hayride night will also include laser lights because it coincides with a two weekend run of Halloween Laser Light Shows in the planetarium. The animated Skylase laser lights and music take on a Halloween theme during full-dome shows on October 24, 25 and 31 and November 1. Six shows each day begin at 11:30 a.m. with seatings at half past the hour every hour through 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 per person.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Common Night Hawk Feeding

A Common Night Hawk in the care of our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation staff is making progress recovering from trauma to it's left eye. The bird arrived emaciated and we’re working hard to get its weight up through hand feeding.

This is one of the difficult challenges of wildlife rehab because in the wild, these birds “eat on the wing,” meaning they dine on insects while flying. Because the birds won’t pick up food from the ground, we literally open their beaks by hand to get them to swallow a meal of insects. A hand-feeding is what is pictured in the photo here.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Monday, September 14, 2009

Discover Annual Benefit

Organizers of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's 2009 Annual Benefit pulled off a great party on Saturday night, with backyard ambiance and down home fun inviting everyone to "Discover the Universe in Your Backyard!" Guests drank beverages from signature Mason Jar mugs, enjoyed great barbecue, live music, bonfire, live and silent auctions, a Continental Airlines airfare raffle and much more.
Hundreds of twinkle lights provided starlight overhead, while red-checked table runners and vases of daisies dressed down the white linens on the tables inside the Center and out under the patio tent. Live animals, cornhole and the OSU-USC game on the planetarium dome provided additional entertainment.

Pictured here (L-R) are Decorations Committee Chair Amanda DiBenedetto, Event Co-chair Marianna Orro, Auction Chair Corryn Firis, Event Co-chair Alison Muth and Underwriting Chair Chris Herbruck who all worked closely with Center staff, including Julie Gordon to pull off a wonderful evening for more than 300 guests.

The event aimed to raised $50,000 in support for the Center's non-profit mission to inspire appreciation for the natural world. A lot more photos are posted in an album on our Facebook page and coming soon to our online newsroom media center.
Save the date! The September 11, 2010 Annual Benefit will invite you to Discover the Cosmos!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Discover Party Ready to Roll

The weather looks great for tomorrow night (clouds and sun with a high of 70 degrees!) The auction donations have rolled in with incredible new items and more packages than ever before. The decorations committee will be transforming the Center into a backyard oasis later today. If you still want to come, get your reservations in today because it will cost you $15 more per person at the door. Get late details on our Discover Annual Benefit here. See you tomorrow night!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Schedule

It will be a busy weekend in Bay Village with soccer players from all over the region in town for a tournament. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will welcome visitors on our usual schedule, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but please note that we will be closed Monday, September 7 for the Labor Day holiday.

We have a full day of slate of public star shows in the Walter R. Schuele Planetarium on Saturday, including a new topic for our Monthly Skyquest,"There's a Lot to See in September!" The planetarium staff will answer a ton of questions about the late summer night sky over Northeast Ohio: Why can't we see Saturn anymore? Where are its rings? Is that Jupiter? Can you really see Neptune? What does all of this have to do with a triangle of summer?

This is a time of transition in the night sky, with a great deal to see with our eyes, binoculars and telescope. If the weather cooperates, we'll have telescopes out in meadow for free, guided viewing after the 7 p.m. Skyquest Show. Please note that this marks the first night that the evening Skyquest shows will return to the 7 p.m. start time after moving to 8 p.m. for the summer.
Stop by and see us and enjoy the long weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Leave No Fishing Line Behind!

We were able to release a Canada Goose that made a good recovery after suffering a deep wound from fishing line. If you like to fish, you may not realize how dangerous line left in the water can be for birds that frequent the water. This goose came into our Wildlife Education & Rehabiliation Program recently with fishing line wrapped around the right leg, cutting all the way to the bone. After removing the line and treating with a week of antibiotics, the swelling and inflammation were reduced and the goose began using the leg again.

The lesson this patient teaches? When you go fishing, try not to leave any lines in the water. It’s all too easy for wildlife to get tangled up in the line and the more they struggle, the tighter the vice of line can become. In this case, we're able to report a happy ending and this goose was returned to a local pond. - Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Specialist

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rehab Treating Baby Owl's Eye

The intense and beautiful eyes of an owl are captivating, but a juvenile Great Horned Owl in our care is battling a significant eye injury. Our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program staff is working to promote healing in this “baby” owl’s wounded right eye with a course of antibiotics and eye ointment. It is also receiving treatment for parasites. The young owl is also scheduled to have an eye exam from our volunteer veterinary ophthalmologist at Animal Clinic Northview.

We don’t know what kind of trauma caused the injury, but it’s often a collision with something like a wire, pole, or vehicle. Read more about Great Horned Owls on the International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council website. There's even a quiz on the so-called, "night tiger." We also like the photos and information at the National Geographic site.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome Our Newest Exhibit Animal

A former rehab patient has joined the animals in our outdoor waterfowl exhibit. This ring-billed gull's poorly healed broken wing permanently prevents its release back into the wild.

Our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program staff worked on the gull’s fractured radius and ulna bones for a few weeks before determining that the bird will never be able to fly well again and so, is unreleasable. You can see the drooping effect of the wing injury in the close-up rehab photo as well as the picture of the outdoor waterfowl exhibit.
Because we have both the space and an educational purpose for this bird, we went through the process of making the gull a permanent resident. That process involved seeking approval from the government agencies that regulate and grant us the permits to perform wildlife rehab and to permanently exhibit wild animals.
We hope you’ll stop by and visit our backyard pond to greet our newest resident.
-Dave Wolf, Director of Wildlife

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rocket Camp Rocks!

The Walter R. Schuele Planetarium staff always has a ball leading our Rocket Camps and this summer has been no exeception. Families are invited to the launch and it's always fun to see the efforts of the kids pay off with a successful lift off!
We posted a few more photos over on our Facebook page.

If your child missed out, there's alway next summer! And, there's more space science fun on the fall planetarium schedule, including Laser Halloween!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Awesome Autumn Nature Experiences Await!

An all-new interactive live animal show for the whole family, topped with a scoop of ice cream, is one of the new programs being offered this autumn season at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. “Animals A La Mode” will feature members of the audience in a fun show centered around our amazing wild animal ambassadors. Ice cream for everyone caps off the September 17 event, which requires pre-registration at $5 per person.

Registration for the Fall Session is now open to members and non-members alike and many programs still have openings, including the popular Frogs & Polliwogs parent and tot classes, Nature Nuts preschool and Log Cabin Explorer’s Club for children in Kindergarten and Pre-K that begin the week the September 14.

We've also added a new “Wild Things!” parent & child (age 1 - 5) program on Friday or Saturday mornings this fall, while After School Adventures Club and Junior Naturalist classes are ready to engage school-age kids in nature and science exploration. Family Workshops to build a rain barrel (September 9) or composting barrel and frame (October 14) are also on our autumn agenda, long with the always-popular Fall Family Hayride nights in October.

For more information on all these classes and programs, head on over to our online education listings, call 440-871-2900 or stop by and see us at 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shooting Star Show Tonight

The weather forecast looks decent, so head on over to the Perseids party tonight at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. Bring the entire family to learn about the annual Perseids Meteor Shower at an 8 p.m. planetarium program. Then, walk across the street, spread out a blanket, look through a telescope and enjoy nature's show in the sky! Tickets for the program in the Walter R. Schuele planetarium are $3/person and the gathering to watch the shooting stars is free!
Speaking of sky shows, did you get a chance to see the great orange moonrise several days last week? This photo was snapped Saturday west of Sandusky.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shredding Results

The results from Lake Erie Nature and Science Center's summer Shredding Day show how little efforts joined together can make a difference. More than 200 area residents particpated, bringing boxes and bags of old paper for shredding and recycling in Shredding Network's state-of-the-art mobile truck.

In three hours time, we collected and prepared 5.2 tons of material for recycling. Repurposing that 5.2 tons of material resulted in the following impact:

  • Saved 88.4 trees

  • Prevented 15.6 cubic yards of landfill

  • Kept 312 pounds of air pollutants out of the air we breath
  • Saved 104 gallons of water

On top of the environmental impact, participants gave more than $1,000 in donations. Thanks to Shredding Network, which donated the use of their truck, 100% of the proceeds go directly to fund our non-profit mission.

We hope you'll keep recycling!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

One of NE Ohio’s Late Nesters In Rehab

Just about the time many birds are done nesting, along comes a flurry of activity as the late-nesting American Goldfinch become active in these parts. With that activity on the rise, it’s not surprising that an injured Goldfinch was recently brought in to our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. Treatment involves stabilizing the area of wing trauma with tape, with the aim of release back into the wild. (The tape is visible in the second photo below.)

Our patient is an adult, but the late-nesting habit of these birds means you can look for young Goldfinches to be fledging this month. These small, bright yellow (and black) songbirds are year-round residents of NE Ohio, although in winter, the showy yellow color fades to shades of tan and olive.

If you have thistle flower in your yard, you may see these birds enjoying the seed from your plants. In fact, the Goldfinch nesting season arrives late because they wait for the thistle seed to mature. Read more at the Ohio Division of Wildlife website.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Young Cooper’s Hawk On the Mend

A feisty juvenile Cooper’s Hawk is now in our rehab care; brought in on July 26 with a fractured radius (broken wing bone.) We’re keeping that red-colored wing wrap on for about a week to stabilize the bone and promote proper healing.
This bird is eating well and maintaining a healthy wariness of the human caretakers in our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. We keep our rehab cages covered to minimize the wild animal's visual interaction with us so they maintain a chance to return to nature with wild instincts intact. You can read more about the Cooper’s Hawk on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Monday, July 27, 2009

Backyard Baby Cottontail Experience

The discovery of a baby cottontail rabbit in our backyard over the weekend turned me into a rehab "client" instead of an employee of Lake Erie Nature & Science. As Community Relations Coordinator for the Center, I have basic backyard wildlife knowledge, but not enough to know exactly what to do when one of our Golden Retrievers presented us with a tiny baby bunny, eyes still closed. We placed the little animal on some yard greens in a bowl, resisted the urge to rush the creature right to rehab and went inside to do what we advise anyone in this situation to do-- call first!

Since there was barely a scratch on the bunny, I was pretty sure Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds would encourage me to try to put the baby back in its nest, but I wasn't sure what to look for. Amy advised us that cottontails nest right on the ground, covering a divot with dried grass and gray rabbit chest hair, often along a shrub line. A quick check of the shrubs and hosta where my dogs had been sniffing turned up the nest, with no siblings around. Amy also advised that the mother only returns to her nest at dusk and dawn to quickly feed the babies. During the day, Amy suggested we place a laundry basket over the nest and weight it down (with bricks, etc.) to keep the dogs from disturbing the baby's home again.

So, our fingers are crossed for the lone baby bunny whose mom unwittingly picked Golden Retriever territory for a nest. We resisted the urge to believe that we might offer it a better chance by attempting to hand raise it. In fact, baby cottontails are NOT like domestic rabbits and they have a poor survival rate in captivity. We also understand that in Nature, wild cottontails produce many young because they are so vulnerable in the nest, but our family now feels partly responsible for this little one and we're hoping for the best!

If you have questions about wildlife babies or adults in your backyard, you, too can call the experts at our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program 440-871-2900 ext. 204.
-Shawn Smith Salamone, Community Relations Coordinator

Friday, July 24, 2009

Grab Discounts for the Full School Year!

Our full School Year Registration for members gets underway tomorrow, Saturday, July 25 at 10 a.m.

This special, discounted registration for Members-only is available for all three sessions (Fall-Winter-Spring) of Frogs and Polliwogs parent & tot classes, Nature Nuts preschool, Log Cabin Explorers Club for 5 and 6 year olds and After School Adventures Club for grades 1 - 2 and 3 - 4.

If you know a little one who deserves all the magical, natural fun that takes place at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, sign up for the full school year and save! You'll also lock in your child's spot in our popular and often wait-listed classes!

By the way, here's how the math works out for Nature Nuts or Log Cabin Explorers:

  • Good Value - Regular Price for each 10-week session:
    $300 x 3 sessions = $900 for the school year
  • Better Value - Members Price for each 10-week session:
    $250 x 3 sessions = $750 for the school year
  • Best Value - Members advance full School Year registration:
    All 3 sessions = $675 for the school year

Get program details in our Fall 2009 Program Guide (pdf). Download and print a Fall 2009 Registration Form (pdf) here and find Online Membership Information & Registratio at this link.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Get the Inside Scoop on Orion-Ares I

If you enjoy keeping up with NASA's plans for future space exploration, you'll want to join us for a very special night in the Schuele Planetarium. The 8 p.m. Saturday, July 18 Monthly Skyquest program will feature Deputy Director Joe Baumeister of NASA Glenn who will provide the latest information about NASA’s replacement for the Space Shuttle, Orion – Ares I, including the test flight set for later this year.

Free tickets for this event are on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the presentation at 8 p.m. Although we love welcoming the little ones to planetarium programs like Twinkle Tots and Stellar Stars, this program is not suitable for small children. There will also be free telescope viewing at 9 p.m., weather permitting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Survival of the Weirdest In PD Lens

Smiling kids and critters from one of our cool summer camps were featured in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. Look on page D2 for the Out&About photo feature. Talented photographer Bob Migra took the beautiful full color shots during our recent "Survival of the Weirdest" Kindercamp for 5 and 6 year olds. The collection of pictures can also be viewed on at this link. (Scroll down to find the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center slide show).

The photo of instructor Maggie Watson and two of her campers featured below was also snapped by Migra, who really captured the joy of a Log Cabin Kindercamp! We have a few openings in some of our remaining camps and you can check out the options on our website.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Campers Arrive - You Can Join Us!

Summer camp season is in full swing at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center! Among the campers we've already welcomed this summer, 160 terrific Girl Scouts, featured in the photos posted here. The crafts, puppetry and picnic pictured here are just a small sampling of the creative, fun activities enjoyed at Back to Nature Camp.

We still have a few openings in upcoming camps, including next week's (July 14 - 17) "Wonders of Water" which will include Lake Erie beachcombing, fishing and a whole lot of natural H2O fun! Perfect for the heat of mid-summer!

Camp listings online show what camps are still available. Make sure you scroll past the Kindercamps to find Wonders of Water and Moon Camp.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bat Family In Rehab

A “family” of three bats recently arrived at our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. A mom and two baby Eastern Pipistrelle bats were found down on the ground in Bay Village.

These bats rarely are found in buildings and prefer roosting in trees. In the winter they often hibernate in caves, mines and rock crevices. Nursing bat pups will cling to their mothers until they are too big to carry. (In the photo above, you can see the baby clinging to the mother in the gloved hand of Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist, Amy LeMonds.)
In spite of the Halloween fiction surrounding them, bats are not aggressive and in fact, quite beneficial to have around. A single bat can catch more than 1,000 mosquitoes in just one hour! Populations of Eastern Pipistrelles are said to be stable in the United States, but these bats are highly susceptible to pesticide poisoning and habitat destruction.
Surprising "Bat Facts" from the US Humane Society & other sources:
  • Bats are the only mammals capable of flight.

  • Bats may resemble rodents, but scientists believe they are more closely related to primates.

  • The world's smallest bat, the bumblebee bat, weighs less than a penny. One of the world's largest bats, Lyle's flying fox, has a wingspan of nearly six feet.

  • North America's common little brown bat has the longest lifespan for a mammal of its size, sometimes living more than 32 years.

  • Bats have been known to “adopt” orphan bats.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mink Almost Ready for Release

An elusive and beautiful furbearing creature is progressing well in our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program. A young mink was brought suffering from the effects of ringworm. (In the photo below you can still see the circle marks under the fur that are a hallmark of this fungal disease, even though the ringworm is now greatly improved.)

You can also see that the mink looks a lot like the Weasel that we briefly had in rehab intake last week. Mink are excellent swimmers and are found near still and running water in all parts of Ohio. For the wildlife lover, they can be hard to spot in nature since they prefer solitude and are active mostly at night.

The typical diet of this little carnivore includes small mammals, with the muskrat a favorite, as well as birds, frogs, eggs, fish and crayfish. The video below shows our mink "patient" enjoying a fishy meal this morning.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Find more fun facts about the mink from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and at this link to Enchanted Learning where you can download a mink coloring sheet.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Old Cartridges, iPods & Cell Phones Add Up

Did you know that our non-profit organization can benefit from your old cell phones, PDAs, laptops, iPods and depleted HP and Dell printer cartridges? You can drop these items off at our front desk and we'll not only send them off for recycling/reuse, but we'll convert them into merchandise credits or cash donations for Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. Printer cartridges must be HP or Dell brand.

We'll also be collecting printer cartridges, mobile phones, iPods and laptops at our July 25 Shredding Day. Thanks for recycling and rethinking how easy it is to make a difference to a worthy cause!

Food for thought: more than 1.1 billion inkjet cartridges are used annually around the world - laid end to end this would be 129 times as long as the Great Wall of China!