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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thank you!

TLC is so grateful for all of our supporters who helped to make 2013 a wonderful year as we preserved land, preserved historic sites, educated tomorrows conservationists, restored habitat, helped to implement best management practices, improved the quality of life in southern Chester County, and had a lot of fun.
  
We look forward to seeing you in 2014!! Thank you for supporting our mission!
Learn more about 2014 with TLC

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Northern Harrier spotted at Stateline Woods Preserve

One of our winter raptor residents was spotted at Stateline Woods Preserve over the weekend.  Keep your eyes peeled if you have found yourself with a few days off and are going to be out hiking.  The Northern Harrier is one of my favorite winter raptors (maybe because it was one that I first learned to identify) The white stripe at the base of the tail and the unique hunting pattern of soaring low along the fields are its easily identifying features.  

Sadly, I was only armed with my cell phone, so I only managed this
shot of the hay field--if you find yourself with a better photo of the Northern Harrier at one of TLC's Preserves, please send it our way!

Happy Holidays to all from TLC! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Solstice Celebration

The Winter Solstice is the one day of the year we have the least amount of daylight and the longest amount of darkness. There are about 9hrs:19min:57s of daylight, compared to the summer solstice (save the date for 6/21/14) which has around 15 hours of daylight!
This change in day length is due to the direction of the Earth's tilt relative to its rotation around the sun. During the winter solstice the Earth's tilt is directed away from the sun, and during the summer solstice the tilt is pointed towards the sun. 

This occurrence is celebrated in all corners of the world on December 21st. From this date on, the days become longer until we reach the summer solstice. Celebrations are centered around light and warmth to symbolize the coming of the light. 

TLC has celebrated the Winter Solstice for four years by offering people the chance to gather and enjoy time together atop of our Crossfield Hill - a special spot on our Stateline Woods Preserve that would have been a road leading to a 32 house development if not for our conservation efforts.

Our 2013 Winter Solstice Celebration took place this past Saturday (December 21st) and included a winter time story-teller, Dagmar Holl, who told Lenni Lenape stories of the origin of light and the evergreen tree. Food, drinks and conversation was enjoyed by all. The children especially enjoyed lighting and decorating the evergreen tree atop Crossfield Hill. 

Stay tuned for details on our solstice events in 2014



Project SNOWstorm

Though temperatures are to dip back below freezing over the next 24 hours, the balmy 60 degrees F when I headed to work this morning, has me picturing bathing suits and swimming, not snow pants and sledding!

I know we have been mentioning Snowy Owls quite frequently (perhaps our staff is a little caught up in the craze) but can you blame us?? Beautiful, exotic, and unusual birds getting more people interested in birding which hopefully translates to more interest in conservation.   Project SNOWstorm was announced as a way to learn more about these beautiful creatures that have captured the hearts of the Northeast.   If you are interested, this is an interesting article talking not only about Snowy Owls and the science behind them: http://mdcoastalbays.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/the-snowball-effect-of-project-snowstorm/

Keep your eyes peeled for a flash of white over the holidays and be sure to let us know if you find a snowy owl in southern Chester County!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Woodpeckers and Emerald Ash Borer

We have not discussed too many non-native, invasive species of late but shortly you'll get your 2014 winter "to-do" list for invasives.  In previous posts, the Emerald Ash Borer was mentioned as a non-native, invasive insect who has severely damaged the ash population throughout the northeast
.  This insect is moving across the states, and has been found in PA.  It has not yet been found in Chester County, but with positive identifications in neighboring counties, it is only a matter of time. 

It is not all dismal news, a new study shows that woodpeckers may consume as much as 85% of an EAB infestation on any given tree.  It won't stop them, nor save the tree, but it looks like woodpeckers may significantly slow their spread.  Click HERE to view the entire story. 
Emerald Ash Borer and damage by larva

If you are wondering how you can identify an ash tree at this time of the year, it is one of the few native trees with opposite branching--the others are: Maple & Dogwood.  Learn more about other ways to identify trees in the winter at TLC's Winter Tree Identification program on January 5th at Bucktoe Creek Preserve.  Registration and more information can be found HERE.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blank Spaces on the Map

If you are a conservationist you may recognize the Aldo Leopold quote: "To those devoid of imagination a blank space on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part."  **you may also recognize this quote from TLC's annual mailing--we hope you'll consider becoming a member to help support TLC's mission!

One of the interesting things about Chester County is that many pilots call this area the "black out". When flying overhead, the work of conservation organizations such as TLC is apparent by the lack of lights seen across the countryside.  The lack of light pollution is helpful for night time sky watching and star gazing!!

We could not coordinate with the powers that be to postpone the rocket launch slated for this evening so that we could all view it together this Saturday night.  However, the rocket will be viewable from the Carolinas to Massachusetts this evening at approximately 9:19 pm EST.  The rocket will be launching from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, VA.  The Cygnus CRS Orb-1 is the first official resupply mission to the space station launched by Orbital Sciences.  Make sure to take advantage of the dark skies to catch a glimpse of the rocket as it soars above our heads into space!! Then join us at Stateline Woods Preserve on Saturday night for more star gazing during the Winter Solstice Celebration

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Warmth for Birds

For those of you who are not familiar with Wild Birds Unlimited in Hockessin, they are a great store that is worth getting to know AND if you are TLC member, you can receive a 10% discount in their store by showing your membership cardClick HERE to read a full list of participating retailers.  Wild Birds sends out monthly e-newsletters and I thought this recent blurb was worth sharing with our blog readers especially when I woke up this morning to the thermometer reading 8 degrees Fahrenheit!!   


From Our Backyard
Help keep our yard birds warm this winter!
      When the night wind blows and the mercury drops your birds can face hardship just trying to survive. Add to that mix snow and ice, and the poor birds become stressed and hungry. As we all noticed back in September and October birds rely on natural food sources a lot. Most natural seed can be found at or near the ground. A heavy or lingering snow cover like what's outside your window now can reduce a bird's access to seed heads buried beneath the frozen blanket. Birds will expend more physical energy trying to stay warm. Most birds will shiver for short term adjustments to the cold. Shivering converts muscular energy into heat for the short term, but the energy must be replenished shortly thereafter. Sometime you see a bird perching on one foot. What they're doing is pulling the foot closer to their breast for warmth. You might also notice birds appearing fatter or 'puffed up' during cold weather. What they're actually doing is fluffing up their feathers in order to create air pockets for insulation. With the reduction in food sources birds will also have to travel greater distances to find foods. Again more physical activity. Each action requires energy that in turn is fueled by food. Food, be it natural or the bird food you supply, is the most essential element in providing birds with the energy, stamina and nutrition they need. Your bird feeders and the types of food you place out can be an important and vital source for your birds. High calorie foods like black oil sunflower, safflower, peanuts and suet are critical to a bird's survival. We have not experienced these extreme conditions in several years and neither have your birds. When you look out your window at the cold clear sky and the thermometer reads 15 degrees outside think about where your birds are tonight. When morning comes fill your feeders for now they need you more than ever.
Happy Birding, Charles

Monday, December 9, 2013

"When a Snowy Meets the Locals"

This unexpected winter storm may have you sitting in your house today, looking out at the winter wonderland, and I thought this was an apt post worth sharing.  This blogger was fortunate enough to encounter a once in a lifetime opportunity as he watched a Peregrine Falcon defending its hunting territory from an "invading" Snowy Owl.   Just for reference, a Peregrine Falcon diving speed can reach up to 200mph--a feat in itself!!

The pictures themselves are completely amazing and worth reading:  http://www.nabirding.com/2012/02/16/when-a-snowy-met-the-locals/

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mobbing of Crows

You should always be alert when you come across a rowdy bunch of crows!  Chances are high that they are harassing some poor unsuspecting raptor or mammal.  Sometimes it is with good reason, but I do not think that they will ever tell us the whole story.  I happened to be out in the woods when I heard the racket of a bunch of crows.  I glanced quickly through the tree tops to see if I could spot the hawk or owl, but did not see anything.  Just as we started to move off, my friend noted movement, and saw an owl sitting there seemingly irritated by all of the noise.  We were able to get a great look at him/her from afar and the photos are a bit blurry.   Can you pick out the owl??   Though my viewing window was limited, I *think* it was a Long Eared Owl.  It seemed too small for a Great Horned and too large for a Screech Owl.  The other native owls that are typically found in our area: Saw-Whet, Barred, and Short - Eared Owls all lack the ear tufts that were definitely present.  It was most definitely NOT a Barn Owl. 

Interested in learning more about owls?  REGISTER NOW for our Winter Solstice Celebration at Stateline Woods on December 21st ( The Great Horned Owls have been making quite a racket at SWP) or REGISTER NOW for our Full Moon Owl Prowl on January 16th at Bucktoe Creek Preserve.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Keep Sending Your Pictures!

One of our great volunteers sent me this wonderful photo of what he believed was an immature Red Tailed Hawk in his backyard.   I concur with his identification, but will be corrected if we've misidentified the culprit. 


Thanks to Josh Bevan for the wonderful photos!! 

In case you  haven't yet heard--it is looking like another invasion of Snowy Owls!! There have been FIVE different owls reported at Presque Isle State Park in Erie and a pair of Snowy Owls near the Indian River inlet in DE, another Snowy Owl was reported near Port Penn in New Castle County.  Here's to hoping for a Chester County Snowy Owl this winter!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Black Friday in Nature



What did you do this Black Friday? Hopefully the valuable holiday time was spent with family, friends and doing something you enjoy. For those who enjoy the outdoors, TLC offered a special Black Friday Celebration program at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve. Our group took off for a morning hike through the meadows and woodlands collecting pine cones, twigs, small vines, milkweed pods and anything else that could be molded into a natural decoration.

There were beautiful creations such as, stars made out of sticks, wreaths made from a pine needles and a collection of other materials (pictured below), mantel pieces and sparkling pine cones. TLC sends a big thank you to all of the participants who enjoyed the beautiful morning on the preserve.

TLC will be decorating our evergreen with these ornaments atop Crossfield Hill at our Stateline Woods Preserve for the Winter Solstice Celebration on Saturday, December 21st from 5:00pm - 7:00pm. Refreshments and a bonfire will provide a warm atmosphere to gather with friends and family to listen of winter time stories with our special guest. Please click here to register!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving


All of us at TLC would like to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving &
a special Thanks(FOR)giving to all of TLC's Volunteers, Donors, Community Partners, and Sponsors throughout 2013 who helped us to continue to grow and achieve our mission.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cache In Trash Out



If you have been reading this blog, you know by now that I am not the most technologically savvy person that has ever graced the screen of a blog, so I had quite an eventful day on Saturday as I met some "Geocachers" who came out for a Cache In Trash Out or (CITO) event at New Leaf Eco Center on Saturday.  The temperatures were a little chilly for me, and I got harassed about my layering techniques, but my crew was extremely hard working, and we had a lot more fun than maybe you should while installing a fence.


This group of volunteers helped us to install a fence around our shed and water tower at New Leaf Eco Center, and install our instructional signs for the bioswales, edible gardens, and compost demonstration site.  We had interesting conversations about my lack of technology, the impressive immune systems of turkey vultures, and much more....

TLC sincerely thanks the geocaching community at large for their commitment to giving back to outdoor resources that are an important part of their sport!   Unbeknownst to me, there is a geo cache at New Leaf Eco Center.   Please contact us: stewardship@tlcforscc.org if you are interested in coordinating a Cache In, Trash Out event at one of our nature preserves. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Queen Bee anyone?

If you do not already have plans for the weekend consider joining TLC at our Volunteer Day at New Leaf Eco Center.  We will be meeting at 9am for the Beautification of New Leaf Eco Center. If you are unable to attend, please contact us for other volunteer opportunities: stewardship@tlcforscc.org. 

There will be a lot of exciting changes at New Leaf with your help over the next year!!  TLC's new campaign will take you Inside The Hive as we raise money to build an educational pavilion and observational bee hive at New Leaf Eco Center.   All donations are welcome to help us to reach our goal of $3,000.  We have ONE month left and hope that you will join us in support.  To sweeten the deal, every donor will be invited to a special Donor Appreciation Party in Spring 2014 as we unveil the new educational pavilion. Donors will also have their name inscribed into a wooden plaque alongside the observational hive.  Click here to contribute to the campaign.

Help us reach further with our crowd sourcing effort and "share" your donation with friends and family via social media.   Spread the word using #TLCInsideTheHive

Giving will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 3 as part of a national campaign: #GivingTuesday  If you are interested in participating, view THIS link for ways that you can help to support local conservation efforts and help TLC keep blank spaces on our county map!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rare Visitor to Bartrams Gardens

The birding listserve has been alive this week with emails about a Scissor Tailed Flycatcher at Bartram's Gardens just outside of Philadelphia.  You probably think I'm a broken record when I talk about keeping your eyes to the sky, but during migration season there are so many birds who end up where they are not expected to be.  This Scissor Tailed Flycatcher is a bird that is normally seen in the summers in the central part of the United States.  They then migrate to Mexico and Central America.  This wayward bird found its way to our neck of the woods and has been thrilling birders with its fairly social behavior all week.  

Here are some great shots from a birder who was able to view it earlier this week: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_paramaniac/with/10968336536/

There's still time to view birds migrating at Bucktoe Creek Preserves by stopping in during Hawk Watch from 9am until 3pm on November 23, November 24th or for the finale party on Saturday, November 3oth.  Click on the programs link at www.tlcforscc.org for more information

Monday, November 18, 2013

Graduates!

This past Saturday the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program held the graduation ceremony for the 2012 Master Naturalist trainees. After receiving their certificate and name badge, they are now known as official 2013 Pennsylvania Master Naturalist!

Lucy Karlsson receiving a special award for her project,
a Field Guide to the Bucktoe Arboretum
This transition between a trainee and an official master naturalist requires hard work, dedication and training. TLC hosted the first training program in Chester County in the fall of 2012 at the Stroud Water Research Center. The 55-hour training program is the first of three requirements to become an official PA Master Naturalist. The training course covers topics such as, geology, botany, environmental interpretation and more. After completion of the 55-hour training program, trainees are now prepared to conduct their 30-hour service projects with a partnering organization. The third requirement is to fulfill 12 hours of advanced training by attending local workshops, education programs, lectures, etc.

Food and socializing after the ceremony. 
Five trainees conducted service projects this year which included; a Field Guide to Bucktoe Creek Preserve's Tree Arboretum, a bat population survey and bat-related education programming, Guide to Common Plants at Bucktoe Creek Preserve, and two service projects on invasive species removal. These projects have been an enormous contribution to TLC's efforts to promote environmental education and being stewards of preserved open spaces.

The 2013 master naturalist trainees just finished the 55-hour training course this November and will be conducting their service projects with local organizations. Projects for Bucktoe Creek Preserve in the coming year are in the making!

If you are interested in partaking in this unique experience of becoming a Pennsylvania Master Naturalist, please visit www.pamasternaturalist.org or contact TLC at 610-347-0347 ext 104 or education@tlcforscc.org.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Blooming in the Woods

I was pleasantly surprised to find Hamamelis virginiana (American Witch Hazel) blooming the other day.  This may sound strange but the late fall/early winter bloom of this plant, makes it a desirable addition to any landscape.  This shrub is very hardy, and can tolerate almost any condition though it prefers partial shade. 


Because of the late blooming of the plant, it holds the monopoly in the forest with the wintertime pollinators and is a very important food source for cold tolerant insects.  

American Witch Hazel seeds are a favorite among Wild Turkey, Bobwhite Quail, and the Ruffed Grouse. 

Keep your eyes open to see if you can spot American Witch Hazel blooming in your woods. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

Hummingbird Feeders...

I have not yet caught the culprit, but my hummingbird feeder is slowly going down even on these cold days that we have been having.   I had decided to keep out my feeder late this year to see if I could catch a glimpse of one of the rare western migrants that makes their way across the states.   Even though I have not yet viewed my visitor, something is definitely drinking the feeder, so it is only a matter of time before I find out who it is (or the colder weather pushes them south without me ever knowing who it is).   In addition to my hummingbird feeder, I leave all of my plants standing tall throughout the winter months so that they may provide habitat and a food source for the winter residents and migrants.  If you want to learn more about plant ideas for a winter garden, TLC is happy to discuss native plantings that will provide food source through the winter months through our Landscape Visionaries sessions

The birding list serve has also been alive with chatter recently about hummingbirds still in the area--here is a great photograph of a hummingbird amidst snow flurries, and an excellent blog post about the 2nd PA State Record of the Black Chinned Hummingbird: Read MORE here.   Keep your eyes on your hummingbird feeders throughout the month of November, and have your cameras ready.  You may be able to play host to another state rarity or record!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Show at Stateline Woods

I happened to find myself at Stateline Woods the other evening as the sun was setting.  It was a beautiful clear evening, and before the light even left the sky two Great Horned Owls started to serenade me from the property.  I sadly, never was able to take that Astronomy class at college and have no clue as to what is actually in the sky but I noticed a really bright object just beneath the moon before the sun had officially set.   I eventually realized that I had downloaded the Night Sky app on my phone (yup there really is an app for that!) and found out that I was looking at Venus--which apparently is going to be really bright just after sunset for the next few nights.

A little more research and I found out that it is prudent to keep your eyes to the skies for the next month because of comets, meteor showers, and very visible planets.  A word to the wise is that all of TLC's preserves are open from dawn until dusk, SO join us for our Winter Solstice celebration (and the shortest day OR longest night of the year!) on December 21st to enjoy the nighttime wonders of Stateline Woods.  That will be a prime opportunity to listen for the vocal Great Horned Owls and maybe a few of our Screech Owl residents, while enjoying the stars atop Crossfield Hill.  You can register for this fun family evening HERE.   The kids will be able to help decorate our holiday tree with edible treats for the birds!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Last Weekend of Sun?

I may be reading it incorrectly (and I really hope I am) but the 10 day weather forecast in Kennett Square shows a chance of snow next Wednesday into Thursday!! I don't know about you, but I am definitely NOT ready for winter to come. I still have a long list of to-do's that I would like to accomplish outside before the cold has me in by the fire.  Just in case you are way ahead of the game, and already are prepared to hibernate through the window, I thought I would make sure you can take advantage of the beautiful weekend with this fall invasive species removal--the removal of Elaeagnus sp. (Russian and Autumn Olive)  
 
I.D. Tips
Not all plants have berries, but this gives you a good look at their silvery leaves.
·       Leaves are oval shape with a smooth edge; the tops of the leaves are a greenish color and the bottom of the leaves has a distinct silvery hue
·       small, fragrant, light-yellow flowers bloom along the twigs
·       fruits are ~½ inch in diameter; those of Autumn olive are deep red to pink and Russian olive: yellow or orange.


Typically Bark and Branching Structure of Olive
Once you can I.D. it, then comes the removal process.  The recommended method for removing Elaeagnus sp. is to cut the shrub at ground level with a pair of lopers, folding saw, or chain saw, and then paint the stump with a non-dilute glyphosate solution.  A effective technique is to first PROPERLY LABEL then fill an old mustard bottle with a non-dilute solution of glyphosate (herbicide with common trade name Round-Up) and squeeze it on the stump immediately after it is cut.  This method is effective at any time throughout the year, but because this is a plant that likes to grow in hedgerows and other over-grown areas it is typically easiest to access after leaves have started to fall.  If the plant has not produced seeds, or does not currently have seeds, cutting it and leaving it to decompose is a perfectly acceptable option.  Once the largest of the olive has been removed, it will be easier to note what still needs to be controlled and should take away a majority of the seed source. 

Interested in learning more about invasive management techniques on your property?? TLC's Landscape Visionaries session is for you!! We'll come out to your property and answer all of those questions you've been wondering.  It also makes a great holiday gift for a loved one!! View our options HERE



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Timbuktu

The area once known as Timbuku, now known as the Bucktoe Cemetery, is a small, yet important piece of Chester County's history. Found around 1824, the Bucktoe Cemetery was a common gathering location for folks from Wilmington, West Chester and Kennett Square to worship together at the UAME Memorial Church. The church was burned down in the late 1800's and relocated in 1904 to Linden Street in Kennett Square where it remains today.

Together, The Land Conservancy, The New Garden Memorial UAME Church and Heritage Guild Works have collaborated on restoring the cemetery and bringing historic education to life. Over this past weekend, twenty girl scouts completed their historic restoration badges at the Bucktoe Cemetery. The girls conducted their own headstone rubbing in order to interpret the tarnished writing, and drew the 1800's landscape and layout of the cemetery from their perspective. Another task was assisting with maintenance of the cemetery; cleaning up leaves, sticks, fallen nuts from walnut trees, and trash in preparation for the Bucktoe Cemetery Chronicles Day this Saturday, November 9th!

Chronicles Day 2013 is open and free to the public from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Stop by to learn about the ongoing restoration, history and goals of the Bucktoe Cemetery project. Join us with historic restorationist, Eugene Hough, in an archaeological dig of the original church grounds to discover artifacts left behind when the church burned down. Cider and apple cider donuts will be available to munch on throughout the day! Please RSVP to education@tlcforscc.org or 610-347-0347 ext 104.

If your scout group is interested in participating in a badge fulfillment day, please contact education@tlcforscc.org or 610-347-0347 ext 104.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hawk Watch Continues

If you still have not made it out to Bucktoe Creek Preserve for the 2013 Hawk Watch, I suggest you spend an upcoming Saturday or Sunday with birder extraordinaire, Larry Lewis, as he scans the skies for raptors (and whatever other birds may show themselves).   Two Golden Eagles were spotted during Saturday's Hawk Watch, and most migration counts across the flyway are starting to see higher numbers of these magnificent birds. 

Golden Eagles migrate through our area in the winter months, and while they are not nationally an uncommon bird, they do not frequent Chester County except during the winter months. Golden Eagles are larger than their also awe-inspiring cousin, the Bald Eagle.  An immature Bald Eagle looks fairly similar to a Golden Eagle in coloration, one of the best ways to distinguish the two species is that our Bald Eagles have much larger heads and a more massive beak.  As a Bald Eagle nears maturity its beak turns a bright yellow whereas a mature Golden Eagle will have a smaller more grayish beak.  Mature Golden Eagles feature a golden nape, and an overall brown mottled color with little white.  The Juvenile Golden Eagle will have white patches under the wings, and at the base of the tail.  Spotting either eagle makes for an exciting day at Hawk Watch, and spotting both is something to write home about! 


Immature Bald Eagle
Golden Eagle
Notice the difference in eye color between the two photographs--and the size of the head and beak.  These are probably the most distinguishing features between the two birds.  

In addition to seeing some great birds, you will also get great identification tips.  Pack a lunch and stay for the day, or show up any Saturday or Sunday between 9 and 3pm to watch the skies.  More information is available at: www.bucktoecreekpreserve.org



Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend of Volunteering

The first full weekend in November was a busy one for TLC.  We ended our PA Master Naturalist Training for the Fall of 2013.  Congratulations to everyone who completed the PA Master Naturalist program.  Here is our group on the last day of class--stay tuned for more on the final field trip!

The Unionville Presbyterian Youth Group came out on Saturday afternoon for a volunteer day.  This group of kids helped us to clear cages planted along a Riparian buffer and cut invasive vines.   After some S'More making for their hard work, we went on an owl prowl where the great eyes of the Youth Group leader spotted an Eastern Screech Owl perched above our heads. Everyone in the group had a great view of our furry friend.

Sunday was much more blustery than Saturday, but we hosted the Kennett High School Earth Club for a morning of invasive vine clearing, trash pick up, and cage maintenance.  The trash find of the day was a pair of discarded stereo speakers! 

Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped us to accomplish many tasks throughout the last few days.  Please feel free to contact us by phone: 610-347-0347 ext. 101 or admin@tlcforscc.org  if you are part of a group who would be interested in team building by volunteering on one of our nature preserves.  We would not be able to accomplish as many things as we do without the help of our volunteers!



Saturday, November 2, 2013

Assasin Bugs

These folks were hanging out at TLC's Apiary the other day.  They may look innocent enough, but they are in the "Assassin Bug" family, and have a bite that is worse than their bark.  This is NOT the bug to pick up and bring inside your house to get a better look  at.  The Wheel Bug or Arilus cristatus attacks its prey by stabbing them with the fangs on the front of its head.  If you happen to disturb this insect--you will get to experience the stabbing for yourself.  Hopefully these two were busy enough with other encounters that they decided not to bother attacking any of the hard working bees in our hive. 

**Since we were at the apiary, I thought that I would mention that TLC has introduced a new campaign to help us create an educational pavilion and open hive at the TLC apiary.  Check out Inside The Hive and help us to reach our goal.  Spread the word to all of your friends.  Every little bit counts!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

ING Community Partners at Work!!

Thank you to ING Community Partners for all of their hard work yesterday at Stateline Woods Preserve.  The weather was extremely foggy, but we didn't get wet and accomplished more than I could have imagined.


We planted 125 native trees and shrubs at Stateline Woods Preserve, cut invasive species, and cleared vines around many of the tree cages.  The crew then headed over the New Leaf Eco Center where we planted 30 more native trees and shrubs in our Edible plants garden and along our new trail.

I think that all of our volunteers enjoyed the unseasonably warm weather and a day out of their office.  The big topic of conversation was about the World Series Champs, the Boston Red Sox, and the surprising Philadelphia 76ers win over the Miami Heat--I mean Philly sports fans have to be excited about something....

We had one avid birder amongst the group who tried to teach me a few new bird songs (hopefully I will retain the knowledge) and counted 22 species of birds during the day. 

A light sprinkling of rain started just as the day wrapped up.  



Corporate Volunteer Days are a great way to build relationships within your company.  Please contact Jessica Provinski at stewardship@tlcforscc.org or 610-347-0347 ext. 103 if you are interested in learning about the volunteer opportunities that we have available. 

 Thank you again to the ING employees that came out to help us accomplish some of our goals!! You are welcome to come back at any time!!



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It Takes a Village...



Thank you to Nourish Juice Bar & Cafe for inviting TLC to be the beneficiary of their recent event on Friday, October 26th.  A great time was had by all as we sampled the seasonal brewing of Victory Village Beer and an array of foods that were prepared by Nourish Juice Bar & Cafe.  Attendees were also able to enjoy the live music from Jason Ager.  All proceeds benefit the mission of TLC. 

** Photos by Claire Murray

Francine Covelli (Nourish Juice Bar & Cafe)
and Steve Hackman (One Village Coffee)




Monday, October 28, 2013

A Beautiful Day

It is a beautiful Monday for a hike at one of TLC's Nature Preserves.  Visit our website to view the interactive trail maps created by TLC intern extraordinaire: Chad Hudson. 

Fall is the season of volunteers--we have a busy week ahead of us--and some fun to fill you in from our Friday night event at Nourish Juice Bar & Cafe.  Stay tuned to learn where we were and where we are going this week!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kettling Vultures

Have you ever seen a group of birds swirling about high in the sky?? This is referred to in birding circles as "kettling".  The birds are riding on the thermal updrafts in the sky and take on the appearance of water boiling in a pot hence the "kettle".  I can not say that I am reminded of water boiling in a pot, but I still think it is a neat sight.  Always make sure to observe all of the birds carefully, sometimes there is an unsuspecting bald eagle enjoying the ride on the thermal with various other bird species.  This previous blog post can help you to differentiate between the flight of the bald eagle and vultures.

While we were out monitoring conservation easements this past week we came across the kettling black vultures seen in this photograph. Notice the white tips-- black vultures have light feathers under their primaries that are referred to as "stars".  They have a terrible sense of smell, and typically will associate with their cousins, turkey vultures to lead them to carcasses.  Turkey vultures have a very highly developed sense of smell.  Eating carrion may not seem like your idea of fun but vultures and their food chain are an important part of our ecosystem!! Enjoy watching the birds ride the thermals...

Remember NOW IS THE BEST TIME IN HISTORY TO EASE YOUR LAND! If you are interested in permanently protecting your land, and taking advantage of all of the benefits associated with a conservation easement  please contact Gwen Lacy, Executive Director of TLC at director@tlcforscc.org or call 610-347-0347 ext 102. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Seed Pods!

The blurry brown stalk in the
foreground is what caused
my excitement! (ignore the Garlic
Mustard in the background)
It seems like a strange use of an exclamation point, but I had to express how excited I was by this discovery.   While walking on the trails at Stateline Woods Preserve with some graduate students from the University of West Chester, I suddenly shrieked and dropped to the ground.  I can only imagine the look that they were giving each other until I explained while I was so excited (I'm sure they still did not quite get it, but sometimes it is the little things in life).  My excitement was caused by a lonely stalk jutting up from a nondescript leaf.  Sounds exciting right??


The leaf is the most striking feature of the plant.
Even though I missed the blooming of the  Aplectrum hyemale (Putty Root Orchid) it happened this year. The remaining stalk and seed pods were proof of the bloom.  This  persnickety native orchid does not have the most showy flower, in fact, you may miss it when it is blooming--I have never caught a Putty Root Orchid blooming (EVER!).  Typically the most distinguishing feature of the plant are the leaves which are present through the fall and winter months.  Slowly the leaves fade away, and the orchids that bloom will exhibit a flower in late spring to early summer.  Now that I have proof that at least one of the orchids in the population is blooming, I'm going to spend some time in the late spring/early summer of 2014 trying to capture that ever elusive bloom.  If you find it before me, please let me know!







Tuesday, October 22, 2013

TLC's Weekend on the Trails

This past Sunday, TLC led another invasive species clinic with an interested Home-Owners-Association. The focus of our clinic this month was Celastrus orbiculatus or Oriental Bittersweet.  We had a great turnout of kids and adults, all ready to help save some of the trees throughout their open space that were being inundated with vines. 

We cut the vines at chest height and again at ground level.  We chose to cut these vines in the fall when the leaves have turned yellow.  Cutting the vines when the leaves are yellow allows you to avoid the re-sprouting of the stump. This is the most efficient method of control for Oriental Bittersweet but if fall cutting does not fall into your schedule, there are other methods that exist.

If your Home-Owners-Association is interested in a hands-on invasive species clinic, please contact our Landscape Visionaries coordinator today: stewardship@tlcforscc.org or 610-347-0347 ext. 103 to set up your appointment.  

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