Take Part in the Winter Wildlife Festival!
January 25-27, 2013 | Princess Anne Recreation Center
The 2013 Winter Wildlife Festival
is almost here, and while our trips may be filling (or filled) up, there are still many ways for you to participate. Registration ends tomorrow for all of our excursions. If you are not yet registered, visit any recreation center to complete registration in person and secure your space.
Check out the Exhibit Hall at Princess Anne Recreation Center
on Saturday, January 26 from 10 am to 4 pm. There will be several exhibitors from local environmental and wildlife agencies and businesses, as well as nature photographers, decoy carvers, live animals and raffle prizes. Dominic's will be on-site throughout the day and will have hot meals and beverages available for purchase. Concurrent children's activities will take place next door at Princess Anne Library
and will include story times, crafts and a visit from a live owl!
You can also drop into to one of our Walk-Up Workshops. Lead by local scientists and historians, these workshops give you a chance to learn more about wildlife conservation in our community. See below for sessions; pre-registration not required.
10:30 - 11:30 am | The Story of the Canebrake Rattlesnake led by Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist, J.D. Kleopfer
12:00 - 1:00 pm | The Turtle with a Smile; Diamond Terrapins in VA led by Diane Tulipani of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences
1:30 - 2:30 pm | Wildfowling: A Local Tradition lead by Al Henley of the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum
And there are still spots available to hear our kick-off speaker, nationally known writer and wildlife illustrator, Julie Zickefoose
. She will be speaking about her newest book, The Blue Bird Effect
. This event will take place at 7 pm, Friday, January 25, at the Kempsville Recreation Center
. Call 385-0426 to register.
Needle Leaves: A Means of Survival
The holidays have come and gone, the decorations are put away and the house is back in order. However, if you had a live Christmas tree, you may find some remnants left behind; little needle-like leaves strewn about the house.
Ever wonder why some trees have needles and not flat leaves? Three key features make the needles desirable: a thick outer coating, a thick layer of protective wax, and less surface area compared to a flat leaf. With a thicker skin, more wax, and less surface area, the needles allow less water to evaporate from the tree. Conservation of water is crucial to the survival of a tree, especially in arid climates or through the cold winter months. In other words, trees with needle-like leaves can grow in areas where other trees can't due to their ability to better conserve water.
Needles also benefit the tree's immediate environment. By interlocking as they fall to the ground, they create a natural mat that prevents soil erosion; controls weed growth, helps absorb water, and also provides nutrients through decomposition. So, the needles are a means of survival in more ways than one. Just a little food for thought as you clean up those little remnants from Christmas.
Learn How to Get Started Animal Tracking
The wet conditions we've been experiencing lately have led to alot of muddy areas. And what is mud good for? Animal tracking! Mud, sand and snow (though a rarity here in VB) allow us to see the signs of what has passed through an area. The first step to animal tracking is knowing what to look for.
So where do you begin? Study a guide book for the area before heading out. Knowing the tracks that might be present will be very helpful. The tracks won't always look perfect, but you should be able to compare them to your field guide.
How to identify a print: First look at how many toes the print has. Then identify the track pattern.
Canines and Felines: Four toes on the front and hind feet. Cats will not have claw marks, while canines such as foxes, wolves, and coyotes will.
Rodents: The front feet will have four toes while the hind feet have five. Make sure to check out how far apart the tracks lie. This will give you an idea of how big the rodent is and help you figure out which one it might be.
Weasel Family: They have five toes on both the front and hind feet. Some examples are raccoons, beavers, bears and opossums.
Remember, you won't always find footprints, but there are many other ways to see what animals are around. You might find some tree bark that has been rubbed off by a dear, or some vegetation that has been eaten. You can also find scat (feces), which can help you identify what animal has been there.
Keep your eyes open and see what's around you. You can try animal tracking anywhere from your backyard to local parks and natural areas.