Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gearing up for Thanksgiving

I've decided to use the majority of this post to relay the little bit of knowledge I have on the wild turkey. Before this, however, lets chat programs.

The Cub Scouts were finally able to earn their badges on Saturday. Though the weather was chilly, the precipitation held off long enough for the scouts to learn all about forestry and wildlife. We had a great time and are proud of all of the boys for coming prepared and ready to learn!

Monday, November 30th marks our last Great School Escape (GSE) of the semester. This one is already full, but we can certainly put your kiddos on the waiting list - just give us a call or shoot us an email. We will hold five, yes you heard that right, five, GSEs next semester. Registration for those will be up on our website by mid-January.

Mark your calendars for our annual Holiday Nature Crafts program taking place from 10am-2pm on Saturday, December 12. Drop your kids off while you do holiday shopping (or just drop 'em off and veg on the couch) or come and craft with your kids. We'll be creating masterpieces that are nature related and can be given as gifts. We'll also provide snacks and drinks and some extra games and activities. This program is free and is tons of fun (especially if you like glitter as much as I do)!

Okay, so now for some tidbits of information on the turkey. There are five subspecies of wild turkey in the United States. Here in Colorado the most common, and the subspecies considered to be Colorado's native turkey, is the Merriam's turkey. Evidence suggests that people have kept the Merriam's turkey for food here in Colorado since 500 AD! This turkey likes to live in forests between 6,000 and 9,000 feet in altitude - meaning you can find these guys (and gals) roaming around ponderosa pine, scrub oak, and pinion juniper covered regions. I've seen wild turkeys in two locations here on the Front Range: at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area and on the Lumpy Ridge Trail in Estes Park.

I recently learned that unlike the domestic turkey (the ones that most of us eat on Thanksgiving), the wild turkey can fly. In fact, they are quite fast. The wild turkey is an omnivore (most domestic turkeys are only fed corn and soybean meal) and they even eat salamanders! The wild turkey, out of necessity, is also much more quiet than its domestic counterpart. If wild turkeys made noise at even half the things that domestic turkeys do, they'd be prey in no time.

And that's all I know about the wild turkey. Feel free to share your knowledge!

My family and I will be spending our Thanksgiving in San Francisco with my sister. I may not be able to post next week, but will be back in December!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fathers and Daughters doing science together!

Hello everyone! Our Nature F.A.D. program that took place this past weekend was quite the success. Seven father-daughter pairs took part in the event. Each pair used GPS coordinates to locate five different female scientists stationed out on the ELC trails. Together dads and girls participated in hands-on activities related to the particular expertise of each scientist. They explored the fascinating worlds of geology, wildlife biology, hydrology, soil science, and fire ecology. A fun time was had by all and our staff members took a lot of pictures. Once we get those uploaded I will be sure to share them!

This weekend we will attempt to make up a couple of our cub scout programs that were cancelled in October due to the snowy weather. I've got my fingers crossed that the skies are clear on Saturday afternoon.

In nature news, I found the creature in the picture below roaming my house last night. It is a fact that I love all creatures, but not enough that I want to live with all of them. This sucker was named Bergita (after a hermit crab I once had for 14 days), promptly scooped up in a cup, and relocated to the alley across the street.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quick update

Here, here, I do now declare that we have entered the slow season! For ELC staff that means we'll take a breather from field work, and put our planning and research hats on. For you blog-readers that means updates on programs might be a little dry, but have no fear, when possible I will liven things up with a winter wildlife tale or two.

Fright Night on the Trail went very well and, even though their was quite a chill in the air (and a lot of snow on the ground), 7 families still made it out to celebrate Halloween and learn about critters of the night. Thanks for braving the weather and taking part in this program!

This Saturday Nature F.A.D will take place. This is a program for fathers (and father figures) and their daughters. Research shows that girls' interest and success in science and science-related careers is directly related to the support of their fathers. Participants in this program will take part in field work with women scientists in various fields. We still have room in this program, so sign up now!