Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bird Conservation Day

This Saturday Tinker Nature Park held its first "Bird Conservation Day" at the park. Highlights included a presentation by Ron Walker's 'Friends with Feathers', pinecone bird feeder making with 'The Bird House', and Owl Pellet dissections.

The Friends with Feathers presentation this year featured an Eastern Screech Owl, Barn Owl, American Kestrel, and Turkey Vulture. People of all ages gathered to hear all about these amazing birds.
Ron Walker holds up a gray morph of the Eastern Screech Owl

Turkey Vultures can be seen soaring high in the air, rarely flapping their wings

Owl pellet dissections were popular- many rodent skulls were found!

Giant pine cones, crisco, and bird seed were donated by the Bird House on Monroe Avenue for a pine cone bird feeder activity. Pine cones were smothered with crisco...

and rolled in seed.

Thank you to the Friends of Tinker, Friends with Feathers, the Bird House, and all the volunteers who made this event possible!
Catching a Swarm

Last week bee activity in the park was extremely high. Two separate swarms of honey bees were captured right outside the nature center.

Swarming is a means of reproduction for honey bee colonies. Swarming happens when a hive gets too crowded. A swarm consists of a queen bee and many workers. The swarm will leave their old hive and collect in a location close by. From this location the workers will ball up around the queen while scout bees look for a new hive.

In our case the swarm came from one of the hives in our apiary. The swarm flew from its hive box towards the trees outside the Hansen Nature Center. Soon bees filled the air. It only took a few minutes for the bees to ball up on a tree branch.

A tree outside the nature center containing the swarm

From there the bees were shook from the branch into a new hive box. Once the workers had checked the place out and the queen was inside, the box was moved over to the apiary. The workers could then be seen fanning the scent of the queen into the air to attract any stragglers from the swarm. Bees cover their new hive box

The new hive is moved to the apiary

Worker bees fanning the scent of their queen into the air

Thank you to volunteer bee keeper Damon Lincourt for his help in catching the swarms.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oyster Mushroom Gardening and Walk with the Rochester Area Mycological Association

On Saturday, June 7th the Rochester Area Mycological Association came to the nature center to teach an "Oyster Mushroom Gardening" class and also to do a mushroom identification walk. You may be asking yourself, "what is mycology?"

Mycology is the study of fungi. More closely related to animals than plants, fungi are found in every environment on earth from deserts to underwater habitats. There are over 70,000 species known so far, but the actual number of species may be much greater. Fungi are major decomposers and play a huge role in ecosystems.

Some of the species that were found on the walk were:
False Turkey tail
Violet Toothed Polypore
Japanese Umbrella Inky
Jelly Crep
Autumn Skullcap
Fawn Mushroom
Gem-studded Puffball

The Autumn Skullcap mushroom found on the walk is deadly poisonous

While many species of fungi are harmless, some can be deadly and should not be handled. As a reminder, Tinker Nature Park does not allow collecting, so all fungi and other organisms found inside it are not allowed to be picked or taken.

Thank you to the Rochester Area Mycological Association for hosting their event at the Tinker Nature Park. If you are interested in Mushrooms and Fungi, come out to the park on October 4th for the Natural Dyeing with Mushrooms class, and Mushroom identification walk.
Orienteering Course at Tinker!

Here at Tinker Nature Park we have been wanting an orienteering course for a long time. Now, thanks to Eagle Scout Pat Staub we have one! Patrick spent hours upon hours looking for places to set up markers, map checking, and making an orienteering map. His Eagle Scout project resulted in a beautiful course, an orienteering map, and a brochure about orienteering for beginners. The map can be downloaded here and also on the Hansen Nature Center website. Maps and brochures are also available in the Hansen Nature Center.

Here is some more information about Orienteering taken from the US Orienteering Federation's website:

Orienteering is the sport of navigation with map and compass. It's easy to learn, but always challenging. The object is to run, walk, ski, or mountain bike to a series of points shown on the map, choosing routes—both on and off trail—that will help you find all the points and get back to the finish in the shortest amount of time. The points on the course are marked with orange and white flags and punches, so you can prove you've been there. Each “control” marker is located on a distinct feature, such as a stream junction or the top of a knoll.

Orienteering is often called the “thinking sport” because it involves map reading and decision-making in addition to a great workout. Any kind of map may be used for orienteering (even a street map), but the best ones are detailed five-color topographic maps developed especially for the sport. O'maps show boulders, cliffs, ditches, and fences, in addition to elevation, vegetation, and trails.

Orienteering is a sport for everyone, regardless of age or experience. The competitive athlete can experience the exhilaration of moving through the woods at top speed, while the non-competitive orienteer can enjoy the forest at a more leisurely pace. Most events provide courses for all levels—from beginner to advanced—and the sport has been adapted for small children and people in wheelchairs.

For more information about orienteering visit the US Orienteering Federation website and the Rochester Orienteering Club website.
One of the course markers- can you find it in the park?
Rush-Henrietta's Life Skills Volunteer Program visits the Nature Park

We were pleased to have Rush Henrietta Senior High School's Life Skills Volunteer Program come to the nature center to help out with miscellaneous gardening projects around the park. They helped weed the pond and gardens around the nature center, and also planted flowers around the Tinker Homestead sign on Calkins Road. Overall they volunteered more than 30 hours! Thank you to teacher Laura Robinson, Teacher's Aide Janice Jones and students Chutney Gibson-Foster, Matthew Lane, Precious Payne and Katie Sorber for all of their help! The gardens and pond look beautiful.

The homestead sign before it was weeded and planted

The volunteers planting flowers around the sign

The completed project

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Upcoming Events at Tinker Nature Park

Oyster Mushroom Gardening and Guided Mushroom Identification Walk
Saturday, June 7th
$5 Supply fee and registration required to make mushroom garden

Walk is free

Call 359-7044 to register
Space is limited

Bird Conservation DaySaturday, June 21st

Live bird presentations with Ron Walker's 'Friends with Feathers' at 10 am and 1 pm

Owl Pellet Dissections
Make a bird feeder with 'The Bird House'

Digital Photography Workshop with Bob Hodge

This year our photo class focused on digital photography. Wildlife photographer and Friend of Tinker Nature Park member Bob Hodge showed participants how to get the most out of their digital cameras. This class was in two parts with the first class focusing on instruction, and the second class a photo critique of pictures taken by participants. A large collection of Mr. Hodge's wildlife photography can be found in the Hansen Nature Center.

Bob is at home behind and in front of the camera

Bob shows participants how to use their settings correctly

A small collection of Bob's nature photos