Sunday, March 29, 2009

Smiles Abound At Daddy & Me Day

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center hosted more than 150 guests this afternoon at Daddy & Me Day, a fun, free event for our wonderful members. Crafts, live animals and planetarium star shows made it a special afternoon for dads, daughters and sons.
We don't know what the moms did with their afternoon off, but we have a feeling they value this member perk as much, if not more, than the Dads! If you want to know about Center membership, visit the membership page on our website. Kudos to all the Dads who took time to spend a special afternoon with their kids!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kids Making A Difference

Hats off to the "Purple Pandas!" That's the name of a group headed up by two hard-working and generous 4th graders from the Glenview Center for Childcare and Learning in Bay Village. These girls have been combining their creativity, entrepreneurial skills and philanthropy to make and market bead jewelry, etc. to classmates.
Most of the items on the sales table that they set up in the hallway sell for just .10 or .15 cents each, and yet they've managed to raise enough to "Adopt An Animal" at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center (they selected the Leopard Gecko) and have amassed another $50 (and counting) to give to charity.
It just shows that you're never too young to make a difference! Our non-profit mission thrives because people of all ages are willing to share their energy and resources. Thanks Purple Pandas!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saw-whet Release on WKYC-TV

Here's the WKYC-TV (Channel 3) story on the Saw-whet owl release from March 26, 11 p.m. news.
video

Rehab Owl Release, Plus One!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program successfully released two rehab patients last night, with a small crowd of animal lovers and media attending. A Saw-whet Owl, which was banded this week as it completed recovery from a broken scapula, flew to a nearby stone fire ring and kept its intense eyes on the assembled admiring crowd before eventually flying up to a nearby tree.

Wildlife Specialist Amy LeMonds also released a Woodcock from rehab, which immediately took to the sky and winged its way back into the wild (see video clip below). Look for coverage in upcoming issues of both the West Shore Sun and Westlife newspapers.
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center performs wildlife rehabilitation at no cost to the public, relying on donations to fund this specialized animal care. Thanks to everyone who contributes to the program.

video

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saw-whet Owl Banded

Our Saw-whet owl rehab patient, who's almost ready for release back into the wild, will be part of a program that helps us to understand birds better. Master Bird Bander Gary Fowler put a uniquely numbered silver band around the rehab patient's leg, as Lake Erie Nature & Science Center Rehabiltation Specialist Amy LeMonds assisted today. According to the Bird Banding Laboratory website, bird banding is a technique used to study the movement, survival and behavior of birds. The North American Bird Banding Program is jointly administered by the United States Department of the Interior and the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Gary is one of only 2,000 people who hold the Master Bird Bander permit issued by the Federal Government. Saw-whets are the smallest of Ohio's owls and so small that the adults are often mistaken for babies. Based on the coloration of the primary and secondary feathers, Gary says this owl was born last year.

If you're interested in witnessing the return of this owl back into the wild following its rehabilitation here, you can join us on Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's back porch Thursday, March 26 at 5 p.m. for the scheduled release.

video

Monday, March 23, 2009

Summer Camp Scholarships Available

Did you know you can apply for a scholarship to help fund summer camp at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center? The Cleveland Clean Air Century Campaign established the Rev. Marvin J. Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund for Youth to assist young people, ages 5 to 17 years old, who wish to attend a camp, class or workshop with an emphasis on the environment. Scholarship awards vary, up to $100, and depend on the program cost.

Youth scholarship selection "is not based on financial need but on level of interest shown in environmental topics through schoolwork extracurricular activities, hobbies, or volunteer activities." The applicant is responsible for finding the program for which they want scholarship assistance. You can research a camp or class at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center on our website or download a copy of our Summer Program Guide (pdf) here.

Then, print out the Scholarship Application and Guidelines (pdf) and apply today!

Buzzards In Bay

It seems there's never a dull moment at Eagle Cliff Road in Bay Village. Our friend Stephen Watterson, who recently shared some great photos of the Bald Eagle that's been frequenting the our "neighborhood" this spring, has some new photos of some other large winged creatures hanging out along Lake Erie: Turkey Vultures. In fact, there is a whole flock of the large birds, also known as Buzzards, resting along the shore.

The resident Turkey Vulture at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is always a "hit" with kids when he appears at our Meet An Animal programs. That's because these fascinating birds exhibit a host of gross-out behaviors that are "no-no's" in the human world, including nose-picking, “bed-wetting” and vomiting. Turkey Vultures have the distinction of dining on road kill and other carrion and regurgitate the foul-smelling stuff to scare off predators.
Thanks for sharing, Stephen!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rehab Patient Becomes Animal Ambassador

One recent rehab patient at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, an Eastern Screech Owl, is unfortunately destined to become an educational animal instead of returning to the wild. This owl was brought into the Kenneth A. Scott Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program with missing metacarpals or “finger” bones in the wing. We don’t know what kind of trauma caused the amputation of the digits, but this is a permanent injury that will prevent this owl from ever flying well again.

The Eastern Screech Owl is one of the three most common owls in Ohio. This tiny owl is often mistaken for a baby because, as an adult, it's only about 9 inches tall and weighs about 6 ounces.
There are two colors of Screech Owls, red and gray. As you can see in the photo, this one is the red phase. Eastern Screech Owls nest in tree cavities like a woodpecker does. Standing dead trees are important to them not only for nesting sites but also as a food source as the dead tree becomes infested with bugs. In addition to insects, they eat small mammals, small birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Before this bird can become an animal ambassador, we need to acclimate it to being around people in a non-threatening manner. Once it’s comfortable, it’ll be ready to help us educate and inspire. Watch for it to be out with our live animal presenters. -Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Night Sky Alert! Double Feature Tonight

Skywatchers! Schuele Planetarium Director Jay Reynolds says there will be a man-made double feature in the night sky tonight! Here are his viewing instructions:
Space Shuttle (STS-119) will be visible at 9:03 p.m. tonight looking WEST, at 9:05 p.m., moving towards North North West (NNW) 25 degress off of the horizon.

Wait 9 minutes later, at 9:14 p.m. the Space Station will emerge from the WEST heading North North West (NNW) at 9:17 p.m., 25 degrees

Space Shuttle (STS-119)
9:03 p.m. WEST,
9:05 p.m., North North West (NNW) 25 degress off of the horizon.

Space Station
9:14 p.m. WEST
9:17 p.m. North North West (NNW) 25 degrees up from the horizon

Happy viewing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Uncommon Owl Recovering In Our Care

An owl that's uncommon in Ohio is in rehabilitation at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center after suffering a fractured scapula, or shoulder bone. We put the Saw-whet owl in a body wrap to stabilize the shoulder and used steroids to reduce swelling. The bones of these owls heal very quickly, so the wrap was only on for a matter of days. As is always the case with patients in the Kenneth A. Scott Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program, our goal is to release the owl back into the wild soon. The owl has already been moved into our largest flight cage and is doing well.

Saw-whet Owls are small, brown with white spots and dark streaks with intense yellow eyes and a dark beak. Although they’re not very common in Northeast Ohio, when Saw-whet Owls are found here they are almost always in evergreen trees. The name Saw-whet comes from the “skiew” sound it makes, which is thought to mimic the sound of a saw being “whetted” or sharpened. This little creature would be hard to spot in the wild since it’s entirely nocturnal, spending the day roosting in dense foliage.
-Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Amy LeMonds

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Drop In Today for St. Pat's, Buzzards & Stars

You can add some St. Patty's Day or Buzzards Day flavor to your Lake Erie Nature & Science Center visit today (3/14/09) as we present a pair of programs that require no advance registration.
First up,
Amy Leamon and Maggie Watson will have activities for all ages out in the Log Cabin for a St. Patty's Day-themed Drop In & Discover program. Stop by any time between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. but please keep in mind that space in the Log Cabin is limited and we’ll take visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a $3 fee per child.

At 3 p.m.
, with the help of “Vern,” our live Turkey Vulture, we'll explore this strange bird's behaviors, including vomiting, bed-wetting and even nose-picking. We'll reveal all the misconceptions and fascinating truths about this commonly misunderstood animal, just in time for Sunday's Buzzard Day in Hinckley. Director of Wildlife, Dave Wolf, will also explain how Turkey Vulture's suddenly changed ancestors during this FREE, family friendly, Meet An Animal program.
And, as always, we'll have a full line-up of public planetarium shows starting with Twinkle Tots at 11 a.m. up through Monthly Skyquest at 2 p.m.

Friday, March 13, 2009

T-shirt Art Finalists Announced

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is proud to announce 14 finalists in our 2009 Limited Edition T-shirt Art Design Contest. We received more than 65 wonderful and creative entries from children as young as 5 all the way up to adults. Our finalists were chosen to represent various ages, artistic experience and styles.
Now it's time for YOU to weigh with your favorites. Start by viewing the finalists in our online Kids Corner Nature Art Gallery. Then, you can vote for you favorite by leaving a comment here, using the contact form on our homepage, or by stopping by to drop a ballot in the box at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center starting Monday, March 16.
Each of our finalists will receive a pair of Walter R Schuele Planetarium passes good for any one star show, laser lights or film fest admission. The winner, who will be announced after voting ends on March 31st, will recieve $100 and a copy of the t-shirt featuring their winning design.
Thanks to everyone who entered! Good luck to all our finalists.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's Up With Bald Squirrels?

We’ve had quite a few people calling our Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Program to report that they’re seeing bald squirrels this spring. They want to know what's up? These are usually squirrels which are suffering from a condition called mange. This condition is caused by an external parasite, in this case, a type of mite. It can cause itching and hair loss on some or even most of the squirrel’s body.
The good news is that it is rarely fatal and if left alone, most all squirrels will recover from it. There is no effective treatment for a squirrel in the wild and capturing one of these squirrels will usually cause more harm than help. If the squirrel is healthy in every other way and has a cozy winter shelter to sleep in, even a hairless squirrel can survive our Ohio winters. If the animal becomes ill enough that it’s unable to run and can easily be captured, it can be brought in to us for treatment in captivity. -Dave Wolf, Director of Wildlife
(Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps, JMP Photography LLC, Michigan http://www.flickr.com/photos/mandj98/349107973/)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Red Bats Fascinate At Staff Training

Our wildlife staff knows a lot more about Red Bats, Burying Beetles, Honeybees, Smooth and Rough Green Snakes, and two colorful songbirds, the Cerulean Warbler and the Indigo Bunting thanks to a recent trip to Columbus to attend the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s “Wildlife Diversity Conference.”
Some of the most fascinating information we gleaned from the conference presentations concerned Red Bats.We learned that recent studies have shown that Red Bats, one of the 6 common Northern Ohio Bats, can hibernate in winter simply hanging from a tree branch camouflaged like a dead oak leaf. Even more surprising, some of them will hibernate buried in dead leaves on the ground, even under snow which actually helps insulate them from the frigid winter temperatures.
The Wildlife Diversity Conference offers a tremendous opportunity for us to learn the latest animal data from experts currently studying specific species. In addition to all the featured animal presentations, we also heard about the benefit of Ecotourism and how that relates to appreciation and enjoyment of Nature, even right here in Northern Ohio.
It’s amazing that there is so much humans still don’t know about Nature and abundant opportunities for us to continue to learning. The wildlife staff at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is proud to be continually increasing our knowledge to better educate and inspire all those who seek our services. - Dave Wolf, Director of Wildlife

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Lesson of 2 Baby Box Turtles

Two tiny Eastern Box Turtles in Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's rehab care are a great illustration of why you should never interfere with nature without calling an expert (like us) first. Last August, these cool little turtles that are smaller than a silver dollar, were “saved” by a well-meaning animal lover who thought they couldn’t survive outside in the Northeast Ohio winter. The problem is, they didn’t need “saving.” If they had been left in the wild, they would have gradually acclimated to the cooling temperatures. Now, after their long winter indoors in climate-controlled conditions, we need to wait until spring to let them go.
We are heading into spring baby season, when many of you may stumble upon wild animal babies. Our advice is always to call before you touch! Often these babies are not orphaned and their mothers will return if left alone. Almost all baby birds found hopping around on the ground are simply “fledgling” birds that are supposed to be out of the nest but not yet flighted. If you’d like to know more about baby wildlife, download our flier on the topic.
-Amy LeMonds, Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist

Thursday, March 5, 2009

West Shore Sun Double Feature

Our spruced up Critter Corner made the front page of today's West Shore Sun News. Reporter Alison Meaney wrote an article on the Bay Village Kiwanis Club donation that funded the purchase of new activities for our indoor play area. The story features a photo of a smiling Robby Hussey enjoying our new puppet theater, with two more photos on the jump page.
Alison also interviewed our Wildlife Director, Dave Wolf, for a second front page feature story about the increased sightings of Bald Eagles in Bay Village. As the article says, if you're not lucky enough to see one of these magnificent, resurgent creatures in the wild, you can stop by and see the former rehab patient that's a resident of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.
Update at 3:30 p.m. - Dave was interviewed for a WKYC-TV, Channel 3 news story on eagles that should be on tonight.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Summer Camp Registration Update

Our Summer Camp registration for members kicked off over the weekend and we already have some camps that are full and taking waiting lists. Not to worry! There are still many great options to choose from in our Summer Program Guide. Members-only registration continues until Tuesday, March 10 at 10 a.m. when non-members can begin signing up as well. Watch the Education/Summer Camp listings on our website for updates on wait-listed camps and classes.
The following is a list of the summer camps that are now wait listing:

  • Nature Nuts - Session I - Tuesday AM
  • Nature Nuts - Session II - Tuesday AM, Wednesday AM and Thursday AM
  • Log Cabin Kindercamp- Curious Creekers AM