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Monday, October 6, 2014

Welcoming Fall

It has been a busy start to the 2014 fall season here at TLC. This is a great time of year for outdoor nature programs and community events. It is also the mid-point of the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program! We would like to update you on programs & events you may have missed, and what's coming up this fall and winter.

It is the time of year where Monarch Butterflies begin their journey south to Mexico for the winter months. Historically during this occurrence monarchs can be seen flying overhead by the hundreds, however, in recent years the population of monarchs is declining. Many factors, some of which include weather extremes (temperature fluctuations & drought) and loss of resources due to new agricultural practices & deforestation, are attributed to the decline in population over the past decade.

Monarch Butterfly
This unsettling decline prompted TLC to hold a Monarch Butterfly Walk led by environmental educator, Holly Merker, to highlight these issues and ways that individuals can help their numbers.
Some of the ways individuals can help include planting milkweed and other plants that flower during fall migration and avoiding the use of pesticides. Communities can also play a large role by being cognizant of mowing during migration, avoiding mass use of pesticides and by building community awareness. Thanks to all of the participants who attended in order to learn more about this wondrous insect and ways to make an impact on their population! Here is a great website to learn more on your own (reference):

Edible Plant Forage
TLC also finished up the third & final part to our annual Wild Foraging Series on edible plants at Bucktoe Creek Preserve with Lee Peterson, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants. Several species were identified, characterized and collected such as lamb's quarters, chicory, garlic mustard and more. The walk ended with an evening of delicious edibles, the favorite being garlic mustard pesto prepared by Lee before the walk. Our Wild Foraging Series will begin again in the spring of 2015 -- stay tuned for details!

The Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program has finished botany and entered into the wildlife studies segment of the 10-week course. Trainees received a plant identification field trip with botanist, Janet Ebert, then searched through rocks and mud for amphibians and reptiles with herpetologist, Kyle Loucks. They also explored the life cycle of honeybees and their importance in pollination with TLC beekeeper, Dan Borkosi of Sun Bear Apiary and Chester County Beekeepers Association.

2014 Master Naturalist Trainees
TLC also hosted an activity for Unionville Elementary students in 1st and 5th grade at the Unionville Fair this past Friday! Fifth grade students learned about pollination and the importance of plant diversity, while the first graders learned about predator & prey dynamics -- both while playing fun activities!

This fall TLC has a line up of environmental programs for families and adults. Come out to our Living History Hike on Saturday, October 11th from 10AM - 12PM to learn about the historical ruins at Bucktoe Creek Preserve while we highlight the issues surrounding the important Chandler Mill Bridge. Families, prospective beekeepers or anyone who has donated to the apiary crowd-sourcing or fundraising campaigns this past year are invited to the final Open Hive Day of 2014 on Saturday, October 18th with Dan Borkoski, where he will discuss techniques for closing the hive and we'll also look at the new additions to the apiary. Click here to see a full list of programs going on this fall and winter!

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