Saturday, May 30, 2009

Erie Midges Are Back!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Widlife Director Dave Wolf helped explain the annual spring return of midges in this report that aired Friday on WKYC-TV Channel 3. Over on WEWS-TV, our good friend and and office-mate, Ohio Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Program Coordinator, Tory Gabriel, explained the spring midge phenomenon to reporter Channel 5 Joy Benedict. And in a TV trifecta, Dave also appeared on WJW Fox-8's "Thats Life" Friday to share some expertise (and live snakes) with host Robin Swoboda.

Monday, May 25, 2009

See Space Station Tonight Over NE Ohio

As long as the cloud layer doesn't thicken up much more, The International Space Station should be visible tonight. We have even better passes later this week, but the weather looks poor for those.
This week will be the LAST of the EVENING passes until EARLY JULY.
This is a time correction for ISS tonight - Please forgive the incorrect hours listed in earlier post and email:
Correct times for tonights pass are:
10:04 From the North West
10:07 ISS passes nearly directly over North Eastern Ohio 71 degrees (nearly as high as our Sun is on a hot Summer day)
10:08 Moving towards the South East
- Schuele Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Birds Leave the Nest

The baby Robins that called my backyard home have left the nest. I got these photos showing their rapid development -- from pink, featherless little blobs... to hungry young birds -- about ten days apart.

Watching nature sure is fascinating. Stop by Lake Erie Nature & Science Center to observe more than 100 live animals up close!
-Shawn Smith Salamone

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ripples On a Pond

Like ripples on a pond, the teaching and inspiration that happen at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center are carried out into the wider community. That's never been more true in the Internet age, when everyone is able to share their experiences on the web. We've recently noticed a number of bloggers passing along information from our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program staff or just posting pictures from a fun visit to our Center.

One blog post that caught our eye involved the story of a nesting goose right outside the door of the at the Cuyahoga County Public Library Parma-South Branch. Take a look at the photos and story posted by the library's Susannah Hamm, Science & Technology Specialist in what she titled, Make Way for The Goslings. Looks like our good advice resulted in a healthy goose family!

Links to other recent blog post we like:

Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Happy Trails to Larry D. Richardson

Thanks to everyone who turned out to express gratitude and best wishes to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's outgoing Executive Director Larry D. Richardson on Thursday evening. Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland was on hand with a special proclamation recognizing Larry's 21 years of service to our non-profit organization and to the entire community! As the cake said, Happy Trails Larry! We wish you well. (And, keep building that life list!)
-photo by Jay Reynolds

Monday, May 18, 2009

What Works In Northeast Ohio?

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center does! Watch WKYC-TV, Channel 3's "What Works" segment from Sunday, May 17 at this link. Don't forget that our Center "works" because of YOUR support! Thanks!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Buzz On Our New Beehive

The honeybees have arrived at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center! One of nature’s live “honey factories” is now on display in the Exhibit Hallway, thanks to a generous contribution from the Stickney family.

Wildlife Specialist Derek Skapes spearheaded our beehive effort, enlisting local Beekeeper Scott Danniger to supply workers, drones and a single queen (in the close-up photo below, she’s in the center with the shiny greenish marking on her back.) Scott and his assistant/son, Ethan, donned the familiar beekeeper’s protective headgear, calmed the bees with smoke, and then lifted the insect-covered frames into our newly constructed display.
A group of lucky Log Cabin Explorer’s got to witness the transfer process through our front door windows.

A small clear tube connects the hive to the outdoors, where the workers can gather nectar to create the honey. Honeybees are one of humans’ most valuable insects; not only for the honey and beeswax they produce but even more so for the way they pollinate our plants and crops. A large honeybee population can quadruple the growth of a field!

If you want to read and see more about these fascinating creatures before you visit the Center's new Stickney Honeybee Exhibit, the PBS program, Nova, has great honeybee information at this web address. The Stickney's gift also funded a colorful display full of fun facts right by the hive as well! Hope you'll buzz by to explore the hive soon!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Key Red Shirts To the Rescue!

Just like your backyard, the grounds around Lake Erie Nature & Science Center are greening up and giving way to warmer weather. Those outdoor areas also need spring maintenance, which can be an overwhelming task for our small non-profit staff.

However, we got a great start on a much-needed dose of spring spruce-up with the help of a group of volunteers from KeyBank. Two teams of the red-shirted helpers were here last week as part of KeyBank's Neighbors Make the Difference program. The hard-working corps got two huge projects done for us --painting the railings in places like our backyard Wildlife Gardens and weeding and mulching the front and backyard. Our jobs were just two of many projects that KeyBank volunteers tackled on May 5. In fact, beginning this year, the company has designated the entire month of May as "Key Community Month." Thanks KeyBank!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Make Way For the Wild Ducklings

Our Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Program staff is sometimes hesitant to share adorable “baby pictures,” because we know that pictures like these can convey the wrong message. So, while you ooh and aah over the baby ducklings that recently came into our rehab care, please keep in mind that it is always imperative to return babies to their mother if at all possible.
In this case, there was concrete evidence that the mother had been hit by a car and killed, so we took care of them until we could place them in a more appropriate setting to be raised and returned to the wild. In most other cases, the “rescuer” falsely assumes the baby wildlife are orphaned, when in fact mom is hiding nearby and waiting for the humans to go away!
Wild babies are everywhere around us this time of year, and in most cases, they need to stay right where they are to have a chance to grow up in nature.
This week, we transferred these ducklings to a facility that maintains other wild ducks. This will allow these babies to have a chance at growing up "wild."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Killdeer Nest Draws Unwanted Attention

Our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program staff fielded a number of phone calls recently about a possible injured bird hopping around at a busy intersection in Bay Village. The Bay Police were receiving the same calls. Turns out, the bird wasn't injured at all. It was a Killdeer, which naturally nests on the ground, often in vulnerable areas such as this one.
After conferring with the Police Department, our Wildlife staff decided to place stakes around the nest site with a sign asking passers-by not to disturb it. Since the city grooms that particular spot of grass with large mowers, there was also concern that workers might not notice the nest without a warning.
Killdeer incubate their eggs for about 25 days; then raise their young at the nest site for about a month. Although it is normally unnecessary to protect nesting birds, this nest drew so much attention, we decided to alert the passing public about the natural process that is occurring and to encourage everyone to keep a respectful distance.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baby Robins Have Arrived

Less than two weeks ago in this space, I told you I'd keep you posted about the Robin's nest within reach of my sunroom window. Well, the babies have arrived! I got these photos and a snippet of video this morning through the blinds before "mom" assertively covered the babies from prying eyes. I promptly removed the camera lens and left the nesting family in peace. I think there's still one sky blue egg that hasn't yet hatched out.

-Shawn Smith Salamone, Community Relations Coordinator

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nature In The Neighborhood

As a partner in the Dike 14 Environmental Education Collaborative, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center wants to alert you to a cool opportunity for you and your family to see one of Cleveland's hidden treasures, The Dike 14 Nature Preserve along the shores of Lake Erie. On Saturday, May 16, renowned Northeast Ohio Naturalists will lead walking tours of the Preserve at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Regional experts will also share information about the animals, plants, history and geography of the Preserve at stops along the trail. You can take a self-guided hike from noon - 3 p.m.

This "open house" event only occurs once every two years, so make plans to take advantage of the chance to see the extraordinary wildlife haven that sprung up in this 88-acre former dredge disposal site. You can download an event flyer with directions here. To find out more about Dike 14, visit (The photos we've posted here were taken duiring a special, 2008 guided visit for our Junior Naturalists and their families).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Environmental Extravaganza May 23

We have a late addition to our roster of family-friendly programs coming up later this month. Members of the Lee Burneson Middle School Environmental Club in Westlake will bring their lively “LBMS Environmental Extravaganza” to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center on Saturday, May 23 at 7 p.m.

The public performance will feature students in grades 7 and 8, who have spent the entire school year writing, rehearsing and recording music, choreographing dance and creating short plays – all with a “green theme.” The program also includes a mini fashion show featuring handmade accessories and clothing constructed from pop tabs and other recycled materials.

Students will also screen an inspiring, short video and share readings from creative student authors. The club's award-winning director, Daniel Grigson, will cap off the performances with his own captivating, live music.

You are encouraged to bring the whole family -- or at least those who will enjoy a fun 1-hour and 30-minute performance -- to see what this amazing group of young people has accomplished! The club recently received national recognition for their efforts, winning a 2009 Sea World/Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award. Mr. Grigson and a group of students went to Florida on May 1 to accept the award, which came with a $10,000 grant.

Tickets are $7 and include a reception with refreshments following the performances. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will accept walk-in or phone registration between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. Call 440-871-2900 for more information or to sign up. Seating is limited so reserve your space early! The Center is located at 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village.