Crawford Park District 2401 SR 598 Crestline, Oh 44827 419-683-9000
Lowe-Volk Nature Center Hours: Mon-Sat: 8:00-4:00 Sun: Closed
Nature Camp Intern Jobs @ the CPD
The Crawford Park District is seeking to fill two Nature Camp Intern positions for the summer of 2017. We are looking for someone who is interested and excited about nature, but most importantly, sharing that interest and excitement with kids! For more information on the positions, follow this link, or hover over the "About the CPD" tab and follow the "Employment" drop-down link.
Look What's Happening at the CPD!!!
Rock n’ Fossil Day Saturday, January 21 11-2 Lowe-Volk Park The Nature Center will be rockin’! Stop by to see various rock, mineral, and gem displays from local collectors and members of the Richland Lithic and Lapidary Society. The CPD is also partnering with the Ohio History Connection. OHC is providing a display of Ice Age Mammal remains, including bones/casts of mastodons, stag moose, and more. The Ice Age Mammal exhibit will remain on display at the Nature Center through February 10. Bring your rocks and gems for identification and prepare to have a rockin’ good time. Come and Meet Jack Monday, January 23 6pm Lowe-Volk Park Frost is nature’s winter artistry, but what effects does it have on plants and animals? With enjoyable hands-on activities and a craft, participants will have fun with Joy Etter-Link learning about Jack Frost. For kids up to grade 5. National Seed Swap Day Saturday, January 28 8am-4pm Lowe-Volk Park Stop by the Nature Center to pick up a few native plant seeds for National Seed Swap Day! Examples of what will be available are Common Milkweed, Blazing Star, Joe-Pye Weed, and Mountain Mint. You do not need to bring seeds to trade, but we will gladly accept a smile, a kind word, or a bird seed donation for the swap.
Lowe-Volk Astronomy Club Saturday, January 28 6:00pm Lowe-Volk Park Targets for the Winter Meeting Dates: The Andromeda Galaxy, located 2.5 million light years away! The Bok Clouds which are huge clouds of molecular gas and dust, blocking the star light behind them. Come and join us to view the wonders of our universe! If we have cloudy skies, we will meet inside and watch astronomy videos.
Magical Monarchs: Gotta Go! Gotta Go! Gotta Go to Mexico!
Many people find joy in observing butterflies dancing from flower to flower or floating across the sky. Probably the most easily identified is the Monarch butterfly. With its bold orange and black wings, this Lepidopteran is a real beauty. If you stopped by the Nature Center this past August, September, or October, you may have noticed a large butterfly terrarium set up inside. Housed within the terrarium were Monarchs in the various stages of their complete metamorphosis life cycle: eggs, larvae (caterpillars), pupae (chrysalises), and adults (butterflies). At our highest count, we had 43 Monarchs at one time.
Some may wonder why we collected Monarchs to bring inside instead of leaving them out in nature. We had a few reasons. First, we love to educate about nature! Seeing animals up close generates an extra connection between humans and nature. A second reason was to assist with the survival of these insects. The tiny eggs and caterpillars can be preyed upon by other animals, in particular the Tachinid Fly. These flies lay eggs on a caterpillar, after which the "maggot" hatches and burrows inside to parasitize its host. A third reason was for research. The CPD participated in Monarch Watch which is "a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the Monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration." The recent decline in the population is most likely due to habitat loss. This could be caused by the planting of herbicide tolerant crops, intensive farming, and the ethanol mandate. This isn’t only affecting Monarchs; other pollinators are impacted, too. Something that we can do to assist them would be to plant a butterfly garden with Milkweed, the host plant for the caterpillar, and also plants with a high nectar content so the adults have nourishment. As of this summer, there have been over 14,400 habitats that have been registered as a Monarch Waystation.
Our contribution to Monarch Watch was to raise the Monarchs to an adult. Once the butterflies were ready to be released, we recorded on a data sheet the butterfly’s individual tag code, date, gender, release location, and whether the butterfly was reared in captivity or wild caught. A tag was applied to the hind wing of each butterfly. Printed on each tag is Monarch Watch, an email address, a phone number, and the individual identification number. Once the data is recorded and the butterfly tagged, the Monarch is taken outside and released to start its 2000+ mile trip to Mexico. During several of our outreach programs, we took butterflies into the schools to have the students help with the project. Then each class took their butterfly outside and cheered it on. "Gotta Go! Gotta Go! Gotta Go to Mexico!" We were able to raise and release a total of 37 butterflies! A few teachers found their own Monarchs to raise with their students. They had a total of 27 that were tagged. We will submit the data for all 64 butterflies to Monarch Watch. The only way we will know if our butterflies made the journey is if someone finds the butterfly and reports the information to Monarch Watch. Fingers crossed that we will hear if someone found our butterflies!
CPD Partners with Wildlife Haven
Wildlife Haven is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1990 by Jane Schnelker. This is a place where orphaned injured wildlife can be brought to receive the best care possible for their recovery so they may hopefully be rehabilitated and then released back into the wild. Some of the animals that are brought into the facility have permanent damage that makes it impossible for them to survive in the wild. So, what happens to the animals that can’t be released? Unfortunately, not all the animals can be saved. Many are too injured to survive, even in captivity. Euthanasia is sometimes the only way to help them. But occasionally, one is suited to a life in captivity. Following the proper permitting, they can become an educational ambassador at Wildlife Haven or another facility. The animals that are the permanent residents include a bobcat, foxes, owls, hawks, and other birds.
Josh and I are fortunate that the CPD is able to partner with Wildlife Haven to work with 2 of the owls so that we may use them for programs. The first owl that we met was an Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) named Freya. She was brought to Wildlife Haven in March of 2012 after being attacked by a cat. This left her with permanent damage to her wing and eye. The next owl we met was Oliver or "Ollie" the Barred Owl (Strix varia). Ollie was brought to the facility in April of 2010 after being hit by a car. The hit caused an irreparable wing fracture that resulted in a partial wing amputation. Since the birds are wild animals, they are not comfortable with human contact. It would not be humane to start using the owls immediately for programming. It takes time for the owls to become comfortable and trusting of us and us comfortable working with them. We would visit twice a week to work with the birds. After about a month of training it was time for both owls to make their debut appearance at our recent Saw-Whet Owl Banding program in November. They met about 60 people that night and did great! We look forward to continue building that trust and relationship with them and using them to inspire and educate others in the future.
Creature Feature: Bobcat
Bobcats are a very secretive animal and one of the very few true carnivores in the state, feeding mainly on rabbits and small rodents. While these are their major food items, other prey includes insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. One may envision a predatory Bobcat stalking and chasing down prey as their principal means of food acquisition. Bobcats actually lend themselves to the "lazy cat" assumption: sitting patiently until prey comes to them, with chases rarely exceeding 60 feet. Other life history tidbits include: can breed throughout the year, but typically Dec-May; 1-6 litter size, with 2+ be-ing the average; prefers woodland habitats, but can adapt to other ecosystems; home ranges may overlap, with females being more territorial and aggressive in warding off intruders.
Prior to settlement, Bobcat populations were concentrated mostly in two areas of the state: the Appalachian foothills in the southeast and the large swampy areas in the northwest. Due to habitat degradation and persecution from humans, Bobcats were extirpated from Ohio by 1850. Although unverified reports of Bobcat sightings were reported for the next 100 years, a reestablished population was not verified until the 1970’s. Since 1970, well over 1,000 verified sightings have been reported with over 95% occurring since 2000! The large increase in these sightings has since led to Bobcats being removed from the Ohio Endangered and Threatened Species list. Because much is yet to be learned about Ohio’s Bobcats, they are still protected and the Ohio Division of Wildlife monitors their population and distribution.