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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!!



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