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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Update from TLC

The summer months are flying by here at TLC! We are approaching August, which is filled with several programs for adults, children and families alike. This year, our summer educational programs are made possible in part by a generous grant from CCRES.

As you may have read in our last blog post, we visited the Library & Archives Department at Longwood Gardens. Click here to read more about our private tour. The final tour of Longwood's new meadow garden will be held on September 6th from 2-4pm. If you are a TLC member, you can register  by clicking here. If you are not a member, become one today! Now is a great time to join because we are currently having a Summer of Love raffle: any new members between now and September 1st are entered to win a gift certificate to Foxy Loxy. Yummm!

Sifting through the soil near the Church foundation.
You cannot separate the land from its history. Over the month of July, the Bucktoe Cemetery collaboration (TLC, New Garden UAME Church & Heritage Guild Works) held a five-week history program for students of the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The group met once per week; two of the dates included classroom sessions tying together the Bucktoe Cemetery and historical events taught in the curriculum. Students were even able to connect the cemetery to historical events in their country of origin, which included parts of Mexico and other Central & South American countries.

Sneaking up on frogs at the retention pond.
The other two dates included a field trip to the Bucktoe Cemetery. The thirty or so students uncovered parts of the foundation of the old church and even stumbled across a buried headstone with a name partially engraved. Interesting artifacts such as nails, brick and possibly some pieces of pottery were also discovered by the students. This hands on experience was unique for these students and truly brought history to life. If your class or group is interested in discovering the local history of Chester County through hands-on experience, please contact Paige at education@tlcforscc.org or call 610-347-0347 x 104.

First timer on the spotting scope.
Just across the line from the Bucktoe Cemetery is the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, where two summer programs were held last week. Tick Tock Early Learning Center joined us on Wednesday to explore natural habitats with their students ages 5 - 13 years-old. Students investigated life in the Red Clay Creek and found a variety of different macroinvertebrates. A crayfish and salamander were among the unqiue discoveries! Another group was exploring two ponds on the preserve for frogs, dragonflies and other pond life. The frogs were quick, but kids were equipped with nets, patience and good reflexes! Just upland from the wetland habitats was the birding group. Environmental educator, Holly Merker, led the group through meadows and woodlands of Bucktoe Creek Preserve listening, calling and spotting different species of sparrows, hawks and other birds. Afterwards, we enjoyed lunch underneath a brand new pavilion recently built on the property, which provides perfect shade for a hot, sunny day. The Bucktoe Creek Preserve provided a great location for Tick Tock students to see the change in habitats from upland to wetland. If your class, organization or group is interested in coming to BCP for a day of exploration, please contact Paige at education@tlcforscc.org or 610-347-0347 x 104.

Starting up the bonfire after dinner for a s'mores snack.
The second program was a collaborative effort between The Land Conservancy and the Delaware Nature Society on an overnight in nature campout Saturday night into Sunday morning. Six families joined us at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve for the camping experience. Saturday night we hiked the preserve to familiarize the group to common plants (good and bad ones!) and wildlife species found on the preserve. After roasting marshmallows and enjoying one too many s'mores, we walked down to the woodlands to call for owls. A timid eastern screech owl called back for a few minutes. Luckily he/she was loud enough to hear over the sound of several green frogs croaking in the adjacent pond. The next morning after breakfast was served, we finished up with a hike to the Red Clay Creek checking out life in the creek. We spotted a great blue heron, which was not alarmed by our group of 20 or so. Thanks to all of the participants for a great weekend evening together and we hope to have you join us for another  campout next summer!

So back to the upcoming programs for this August! If you are interested in registering or learning more about these events, please visit our website by clicking here. This is a snapshot of what's going on:

  • Sharing Nature with Children - Saturday, Aug. 2nd from 10am - 11am @ Bucktoe
  • Free Time Adventures in Nature - Tues, Aug. 5th, 12th & 19th AND Thurs, Aug. 7th, 14th & 21st from 10:00am - 2:00pm @ Bucktoe
  • Wild Mushroom Foraging Event - Saturday, Aug. 9th from 9am - 1:30pm. Starting at Bucktoe and ending at the Woodlands at Phillips. Spots limited.
  • Open Hive Day - Saturday, Aug. 16th from 9:00am - 10:30am @ New Leaf Eco Center.
  • Sky Tour - Saturday, Aug. 20th from 8pm - 9:30pm @ Bucktoe. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Look Behind the Scenes at Longwood Gardens--Part 2

Saturday July 12th was the second installment of TLC's members-only program How Things Work: Longwood Gardens. Last time, the group took a tour of Longwood's solar field and composting fields, to get a look at their sustainability efforts. This time, we took a tour of the library and historic archives, for a better understanding of the legacy of Longwood.

A brief pause to check out the waterlily display

A unique book with wood-cut illustrations
The group was led by Maureen McCadden, Longwood's Digital Resource Specialist, and Judy Stevenson, Archivist. We were led through the Conservatory, stopping to take a look at the beautiful waterlily display currently in bloom. In the library, we got to look through an extensive collection of historic and rare books on horticulture and botany, some of which came from Pierre S. du Pont's own private collection. We had the chance to look through the same books that most likely inspired the design of the gardens when Mr. du Pont first began cultivating them in the early 1900s.

Part of Longwood's network of underground tunnels
After checking out the library, which many students use each day, we moved on to Longwood's archives. On the way, we passed part of the network of tunnels that run underneath the gardens, designed by Mr. du Pont for more effective maintenance and watering. Once in the archives, we got a look at some of the hundreds of thousands of images in Longwood's possession, which are currently being added to a digital database. We even got to travel through the vault, which houses rare books from Mr. du Pont's collection, blueprints, property maps, recordings, and over 300,000 slides.

TLC's tour highlighted Longwood's immense value as a historic and educational resource, as well as the innovative methods used to manage their unique and expansive collections. After the tour, participants took advantage of the beautiful weather to explore the gardens, now with a new perspective and appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes.

If you missed Part 2 of How Things Work: Longwood Gardens, don't fear! There is still time to become a member and register for Part 3, which will explore the new Meadow Garden. The final installment will take place on September 6th from 2pm-4pm, and we hope to see you there. Click here to register!

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