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Archive for October, 2008

Mariton – Stewardship Retreat

STEW.01 For several years, the Stewardship Staff of Natural Lands Trust has "retreated" to one of the preserves for a day in the fall.  There are about two dozen Stewardship Staff.  We are spread over a large geographical area, and we have diverse responsibilities and talents.  But we share a love for working and playing outdoors.  We also share a fierce pride about our work and preserves.  The retreat at the end of a busy summer season is a great time for us to let off steam, and connect to each other as staff and friends.  (Photo by Bob Johnson.)

Copy of PA240001 This year, Mariton hosted the Retreat.  Like I said, we love to play (re-create in the truest sense of the word) outdoors, so we took the kayaks on a section of the Delaware River to give the staff a front row view of Mariton.  Jim Thompson and I shortened the route to give guys more time to explore and play in the boats. 

STEW.02 When it comes to on the ground land management, these people are the best in the field, and I am proud to be part of the team.  (Photo by Bob Johnson.)

Crow’s Nest: A visitor’s blog

Mike Roush visited Crow's Nest this weekend and wrote about it on his blog, Berks Awhile, that also has great photographs of nature at various local sites.

Mariton – Nature walk cancelled due to Snow!

This morning's walk was cancelled due mostly to heavy rain and winds.  But it was snowing, and at times the snow was falling quite heavily (although not accumulating).  We received 1.52" of rain/snow at 8:30 a.m. and it was still raining heavily.  This was the last of a series of Fall Nature Walks.  During October, we saw some good birds, wonderful fall colors and talked about tree identification. 

Mariton – Four One-Hundredths

October's leaves have begun to fall, but only 0.04" of rain fell at Mariton.  The month's average is over 5 inches, but the lowest has been less than one third of an inch.  Precipitation is above average for the year, and a wet system is headed our way for Saturday.  But right now it is dry.

Crow’s Nest: We can use old milk jugs

Running

For our kids' programs this winter we will be playing with houses made of natural materials—both the ones that animals make and the ones people can live in. We'll look at a log cabin and a beaver lodge, bat houses and tree cavities. We'll look at Malcolm Wells' books on underground homes and ones on straw bale building and cordwood houses. The kids will construct a few temporary shelters.

Inside the barn we would like to build an igloo out of milk jugs (if it snows a lot we will build one outside). So if you have clean, one gallon translucent plastic milk, iced tea, etc. jugs—with lids—in your recycle bin please drop them off here. We'll recycle them when we're finished.

Crow’s Nest: St. Peter’s Village

StpetersOn Sunday Denise, Owen and I attended the Octoberfest at St. Peter’s Village, and snapped this shot of the old quarry above the Inn that has been transformed from abandoned eyesore to beautiful focal point. The festival was filled with food, arts and crafts, and games. We’re happy to have a walkable community within… walking distance. The permanent stores there include a bakery, restaurant, candy shop, vintage pinball arcade, antique shops, art gallery, and more are coming soon. Located on the falls of French Creek, the village was once a granite mining town and has been a tourist destination for over a century. Now undergoing a revival it makes a good stop after a visit to Crow’s Nest Preserve.

Crow’s Nest: First Frost

Frost08Last night was our first hard frost. We’ve had spots over the last few nights, even some a few weeks ago in exposed fields, 36 and 38 degrees. But last night was 32 and everything is coated in white.

Mariton – Fall Walks

The Tuesday Morning walks have exceeded my expectations (both in attendance and sightings).  Last week, we sighted Black-throated Green Warblers and Black Vultures among other things.

Fall_color_101408_002 Fall_color_101408_003This week, I thought the fog (which eventually lifted) would dampen things.  I was wrong.  The leaves were gorgeous.  I am amazed how much the color has changed since last week.  We are nearing the peak, and it is a time of subtle changes every day.  Like warbler migration and wildflowers in the spring; it is worthwhile to get outside every day to take in all the beauty.  It will be over before we know it, so don’t procrastinate.

Someone said they had seen Witch Hazel in bloom while walking on Sunday.  I thought it was too early, so we made a side trip and found lots of blossoms on the first tree that we came to.  (I think of them as blooming when the woods are bare, but not so this year.)  I am glad we took the side trip because we also found Hermit Thrushes. 

That caused us to slip from color watching to bird watching.  We found more Hermit Thrushes feeding on Virginia Creeper berries.  There were two Bluebirds that were as blue as the Creeper was red.  We also found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Yellow-rumped Warblers.  High above, a Sharp-shinned Hawk antagonized a Coopers Hawk as they both rode a thermal.  There was also a Red-tailed Hawk and Turkey Vulture.  So, it turned out to be a wonderful morning for a walk, and we even saw a Monarch Butterfly.

Crow’s Nest camp reunion

Nighthike08Saturday’s camp reunion—a night hike, hayride, and potluck dessert—was a grand success. We timed it for a nearly full moon so the hiking was easy in the dark. The kids agree the preserve looks different after dark, though they could still recognize the places they visit at camp. After the hayride the desserts families brought were delicious.

Crow’s Nest: WebWalkers, Spiderlings, WebWigglers

KidscompostThe fall season of kids’ programs has started. The theme this fall is “No Waste”—how in nature everything has a use for something else. We’ll observe earthworms consuming dead leaves, vultures at the preserve, and in the photo above are using compost to amend soil for starting seedlings. We’ll also press leaves for crafts and go on hikes and play in the woods.

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