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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.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Camp Out at Bucktoe

Several families gathered together at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve this past Saturday for an October overnight camp out with The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and the Delaware Nature Society. Tents, sleeping bags and s'mores were in an unlimited supply!

During the evening walk we were lucky to hear three Eastern Screech Owls and spot at least two of them! At times throughout the night we had a few glimpses of the bright moon, however, the clouds covered up our light source for most of the night so we relied on headlamps to guide us through the dark trails. With little sight involved our hearing senses sure became heightened as wildlife sounds filled the air.

Everyone warmed up and ate delicious s'mores by the bonfire until the drops of rain began to fall, which luckily coincided with bedtime. As our group discussed in the morning, it was rather nice falling asleep to the sound of rain hitting the roof of the tents. It subsided soon after, so we woke up to beautiful dry morning with the smell of cooked oatmeal and tea by the fire.

The event concluded with a hike along the southern side of the preserve checking out the historic sites, unknown animal dens and tracks, common trees and their beautifully changing colors and then leaving off with two red tailed hawks flying overhead.

There is nothing quite as refreshing as falling asleep and waking up to the sounds and smells of the wild natural world around you.

If you are interested in attending another event at Bucktoe Creek Preserve, check the calendar page or contact education@tlcforscc.org.

Friday, October 18, 2013

TLC's Friday Adventures

Today, TLC staff was lucky enough to be invited to take a tour of the Dansko office buildings, and the Dansko warehouse out in Jennersville.   We thought that our blog readers would be interested in learning about this wonderful business that is in our back yard.

When you first pull up to the office buildings, you'll see beautiful gardens around the parking lots.  They are not only pretty but functional in filtering all of the runoff from the buildings and parking lot into various systems that get reused throughout the property.  Only in very large storms--Hurricane Sandy size, does Dansko have runoff leave their property.  There is an amazing array of local artists who have sculptures throughout the parking lot and paintings and sculptures also line the walls of the interior.

When we entered the office building, the first thing that you see is the green wall.  Not only does it offer a spectacular diversity of plants, but was also the largest in the United States when it was built--Longwood Gardens drew their inspiration from Dansko's living wall.  The lobby also has a floor that is made of completely recycled and reused glass--this theme of re-purposed materials and supporting local efforts is a large part of Dansko's culture.  The offices were constructed in a way that used many recycled and local materials, and is highly energy efficient. 

They do all of their work in-house: Marketing, Design, Photo Shoots, Accounts Payable, IT work--including programming--if it is a function of Dansko's business--someone in our community is employed to handle it.  Everywhere you look throughout the building you see hints at how generous the business is throughout the community.  If you are familiar with TLC, you know how much Dansko supports our organization, but they give support to so many organizations in the county.  Above and beyond, they also care about their small and local retailers, in fact, the reason that you can't walk into a Dansko store anywhere in the United States (with the exception of the outlet in Jennersville) is because they want to help support local entrepreneurs and smaller stores throughout the country.  In addition to being so amazing and supportive both philanthropically and also among the local community--they just built an amazing warehouse!

The second leg of our tour involved the warehouse where we saw the robot operated system which helps to ease the shipping and handling process.  The machines help to bring shoes to the front of the warehouse


where they are packed, processed, and shipped by the Dansko employees.  In this case, technology has definitely not taken away jobs, but has helped to make the jobs of the employees much more efficient. 

After the tour, we did a little shopping--make sure to come out to one of our upcoming events to check out our new Dansko kicks. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Migration is to birds....

like a road trip is to humans.  So perhaps my question is not going to be featured in the grammar section of an upcoming SAT exam, but I thought that the analogy from this quite well written article touting great native plants with many berries was excellent: http://backyardsfornature.org/  This birder has a great take on the virtues of native plants.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Enjoy the Outdoors

We hope you are enjoying views like these on one of our nature preserves!! Get outside and watch the spectacular fall sunsets at one of TLC's preserves.  All are open Dawn until Dusk, 7 days a week to the public!

Visit the Preserves section of our website for directions and to view the great maps which were courtesy of TLC's summer intern: Chad Hudson. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A new Firefly Species was discovered

Last summer, TLC celebrated the Summer Solstice with a Firefly Hike.  Attendees learned many
fun Firefly Facts:
  •  Fireflies are only rarely found west of Kansas
  • Fireflies are not actually FLIES—they are Beetles!! “Flies” only have one pair of wings.
  • Each species of firefly has a unique flashing pattern.
  • Fireflies light up to:
    o  
    Attract Mates
    o  
    Avoid Predation 
  •  Species within the Photuris genus mimic other species to attract dinner.   
  • The females are carnivorous and will eat the males of other firefly species!

At one point during the hike at Stateline Woods Preserve, everyone stopped to observe the hundreds of fireflies as they lit up the sky to see how many different lighting patterns (and species they could count).  I think the grand total was 10!!  A big discussion was how difficult it must be to actually distinguish the various species by their lighting patterns.  Well--a new discovery was recently made by a Delaware professor about a new firefly species.  Read the interesting story HERE and be sure to join us for our Winter Solstice--Fireflies will be out of season, but we'll have something up our sleeve for a fun celebration!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Name This Plant Game

The plant pictured here in this blog post is one that I have been asked about numerous times.  I am starting to see it more and more in the wild landscape, so I thought I would identify it so that all of you at home know what you are looking at.  While the blue flowers may be pretty--this Asiatic Dayflower or Commelina communis is yet another one of our non-native species. Though I do not believe it has actually reached "invasive" status yet it is certainly aggressive, and should be removed.  The good news is that it is really easy to hand pull--and it does not bite back like many of our other invasive plants.  The other bonus is that it is an annual, so keep it from setting seed, and it will be removed from your property!!

Interested in more tips about invasive/non-native species management??? Schedule your Landscape Visionaries session today to have a TLC staff person come out to your property and discuss your "plant problems"   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Foliage

In the last 24 hours,  I have noticed heightened fall color.   I am not sure how long it is going to last or how much color we are actually going to get but I thought that it was worth mentioning the fall color process, and how the "brilliance" of the leaf color can be predicted to some extent throughout southern Chester County. 

First during the summer months, green chlorophyll is produced. Basically chlorophyll and sunlight combine to create sugars and glucose--which provide the food and energy for plants. Chlorophyll itself is green and absorbs all the other colors except green--giving the leaves of our trees that green hue in the summer months.  The orange, yellow, and brown pigments that work with chlorophyll to create energy from sunlight are all camouflaged by the intense green color of chlorophyll throughout summer.  As September arrives, a combination of the shortening in the length of daylight and the cooler air sends signals to the trees to begin over wintering.  As the leaf receives the signal to begin dying, it is unable to replace its chlorophyll but the other pigments are less resistant to sunlight and remain bright in the leaf as the green fades.  The remaining chlorophyll produces large amounts of sugar that go unused in the leaf.  This produces another pigment which enhances the red color in the leaves. The sunny, dry, and cold weather produces more red pigmentation in the leaves. 

If you did not leave me through that explanation, you are probably wondering--what type of color am I, a Chester County resident, going to experience this fall.  The answer is that we can still hold out hope, but it may not be all that brilliant.  The warmer fall that we have been having is delaying the peak coloration and keeping the chlorophyll more active. 

A heavy frost will help us to get fall color--but a deep freeze, or heavy rains (re. today's weather) will only accelerate leaf drop and lose the views.  However, in my opinion, fall color or not--we still have some of the most beautiful views in the world (and a lot of them are protected thanks to conservation organizations such as TLC!).   Come out and enjoy the views this Saturday at our Origami Dragonfly workshop at Bucktoe Creek Preserve.  Click HERE to find out more information. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

October Already!

TLC staff has been out and about so much over the last two weeks, that we have not had the opportunity to catch up those in the virtual world on our day to day adventures. 

Some quick highlights over the last two weeks:

PA Master Naturalist classes are in full swing on Tuesday evenings and every other Saturdays
The second to last Open Hive Day was a great success--register now for the last one on October 19th.
The September owl prowl had many species of owls participating--stay tuned for dates for the next owl prowl by visiting our Upcoming Programs link. 
Our booth at Plantation Field was visited throughout the weekend of September 20--22 as we introduced new people to our organization.
and our Hootenanny Hoedown on September 28th was quite successful from the trail race in the morning to the evening Wild West Saloon.  If you missed the event, pictures are being posted on our website as they become available.

This weekend finds TLC at the Unionville Fair--if you have a student in the 4th grade in the Chadds Ford/Unionville Area School District--expect your child to spend some time with TLC tomorrow as we play Predators vs. Prey and our Pollination game.  

Happy October--Enjoy the Beautiful Weather! Tips about Fall plants are soon to follow!!

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