Thursday, March 27, 2008

Honey Bee Display

There was a buzz of activity this week at the park when the Genesee Community Charter School presented an exhibit to the nature center. This year the sixth graders focused their studies on the honey bee. They visited the nature center to learn more about the insect, its biology, social structure, and impact on humans. The class decided to make an exhibit so everyone could learn more about these interesting insects.

A honey bee theater for puppet shows

I spy the predators game. Can you find them all?

The bee anatomy puzzle

Information about pollination

The life cycle of the honey bee

We would like to thank the students and staff of the Genesee Community Charter School for all their hard work creating the displays. To see them up close, visit the Hansen Nature Center!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

April Events

Don't miss these exciting events in April! Make sure to write them on your calendar and tell your friends!
Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardening

Saturday, April 12th
Learn how to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, and take home some plants and seeds to start.
$10 Supply fee, $5 for members.
Registration required, call 359-7044
Earth Day

Saturday, April 26th
10 am-3 pm
Black Bear presentation with the NYS DEC's Greg Fuerst from 10am-Noon
Pond life exploration
Tree planting
Recycling Fundraiser-bring an old ink cartridge or cell phone

Happy first day of Spring! And nothing says spring more than salamanders. But what is a salamander?

Often confused for lizards, salamanders are amphibians. This means they are closely related to frogs and the worm-like caecilians. They have sensitive, porous, often slimy skin and lack claws. They have tails which can regenerate if needed.

Of the 18 salamander species in New York state, 11 can be found right here in Monroe county! Here at the Tinker Nature Park, 3 species of salamander have been sighted:

The Red-backed salamander is the most common salamander in the area. They get their name from the bright red stripe that runs down their back and tail. Some red-backed salamanders lack this stripe, and are a grayish-black color. This is called a "lead phase". Although most salamanders spend the first part of their life in water, the red-back will spend its whole life on land. Eggs are laid in moist areas in forests, usually under rotting logs or leaves. The red-backed salamander also has no lungs! They get all of their oxygen directly through skin absorption.

The red-backed salamander is a very common forest amphibian. Photo from

Spotted salamanders are part of a larger group of salamanders called "mole salamanders". This is because they spend the majority of their lives underground in tunnels where they feed on worms, insects, slugs and other invertebrates. Although fairly common, the spotted salamander is rarely seen because of its secretive nature.

Spotted salamanders can be identified by the two rows of yellow spots that run down their back. Photo from

Blue-spotted salamanders are a species of special concern in New York state. Like the spotted salamander, they are a type of "mole salamander", spending most of their lives underground. They can hybridize with the Jefferson's salamander, making fertile hybrids that can be hard to identify. Both the spotted and blue-spotted salamanders are early breeders, and can be found mating in vernal pools around the same time spring peepers appear.
The blue-spotted salamander has bright blue flecks of color on its body. Photo from

It is no surprise that these salamanders are found in Tinker Nature Park. These 3 species are associated with woodlands and vernal pools. Vernal pools are temporary pools of water that at some point in the year dry up. Because of these dry periods, fish cannot live in the habitat. Many amphibians take advantage of the fish-free water to lay their eggs. The pools are around long enough for the eggs to hatch, and the young to develop into adults.

But all is not well in the world of amphibians. All over the world amphibians are in decline. Their sensitive, absorbent skin easily sucks in pollutants from their environments. Road casualties are another cause of decline. As amphibians go to their breeding pools, they often cross roads and are flattened by cars.

But you can help! Make sure never to dump toxic materials down drains, or worse, outdoors. When you begin to hear the sounds of frogs and toads calling, be more cautious on the roads. Spread the word about these awesome amphibians!
New Recycling Program

The Tinker Nature Park is proud to announce that we are now collecting used inkjet cartridges, cell phones, and PDA's. These can be dropped off at the Hansen Nature Center in our receptacle provided by Imagine It. Not only does this keep these items out of landfills, but all proceeds will go to the nature center.

Imagine it is a Rochester-based organization that began in 2002. Since then, local organizations have received more than $500,000 just by collecting used electronics and cartridges! Just how important is it to recycle these items? Here are some facts*:
  • Every second 3 cartridges are thrown away. This plastic NEVER decomposes

  • In 2000, 50,000,000 ink jet cartridges were sold

  • Only 3% of those cartridges were recycled

  • 2 ½ ounces of oil are used for every ink jet cartridge produced

  • 3 ½ quarts of oil are used for every laser cartridge produced

  • In 7 months, cartridge remanufacturing will save more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez in Prince Edward Sound, Alaska

  • With the United States consuming approximately 700 million gallons of oil a day, we are helping to conserve a valuable natural resource. Remember- oil is a non-renewable fossil fuel, and it cannot be remade!

  • Every year over 300 million cartridges are thrown away. In terms of weight, that is equivalent to over 30,500 African Elephants!

  • Stacked end to end, cartridges thrown away in one year would cover a distance of over 24,000 miles- enough to circle the earth.

  • In the next seven years, if the all laser and inkjet cartridges are saved from landfills, a bridge can be built from the Earth to the Moon-223,000 miles!

  • Approximately 90% of these printing cartridges are recyclable but only 20% are being recycled.

  • Excess ink and toner can filter into our water supply!

  • Imagine is an environmentally aware company that believes in preserving our natural resources. By recycling these non-biodegradable products and keep them out of our landfills.

  • Take part in protecting our natural resources by cutting down on the amount of trash in our landfills.

  • In 1998, nearly 250 million ink and laser printer cartridges were consumed and thrown away in the US, and these non-biodegradable cartridges present a sever burden to our nations landfill systems. The need to recover these cartridges is not merely ecological, but economical as well. An industry has spring up that rebuilds the empty cartridges and sells them back into the marketplace. Because many people are unaware of it, they continue to throw empty cartridges away.

  • 100 million printers in use today with 100 million more printers sold each year. Each of these printers uses 5-25 cartridges per year.

  • During 1999, over 214 million inkjet printer cartridges and 44 million laser cartridges were consumed in the United States. It is estimated that over 90% of these cartridges were thrown when empty.
    " The recovery and reuse of toner and ink jet cartridges spares our overburdened landfills millions of cubic feet of non-biodegradable material.

  • According to recent federal reports, 53.7 million homes have computers; many of those homes have printers. And families toss out, on average, three to four ink jet cartridges per year.

  • Ink jet printing is the fastest growing technology in the printing market today. Hewlett Packard and canon, the top two ink jet printer manufacturers, each sell more than 20 to 25 million units annually. That doesn't include the many other manufacturers of inkjet printers. Sales of inkjet printer units passed laser as the leading technology in printing in 1993. Comparing the most recent quarter's sales, inkjet printer sales are up 167%while laser printer sales grew 22%.

  • 1.5 million cartridges go to landfills each month

  • Stacking 105 laser toner cartridges end-to-end equals the height of the Statue of Liberty

  • Over 500 million inkjet cartridges were sold in North American last year. These non-biodegradable plastic containers retain ink residues. Where do all of these cartridges go when you throw them away? AWAY? NO! More than 2 million of these cartridges were taken to landfills within Maricopa County during the year 2000, alone; these cartridges combined, occupied 160 cubic feet of space, which is more than 27 swimming pools full! Help keep Phoenix clean and beautiful reduce the unnecessary space these cartridges toners are using in our landfills by diverting them to a recycling facility.

  • 95% of all inkjet cartridges are thrown away. That's more than 1,000,000 a day-5,000 tons of plastic and metal tossed into landfills every month.

*Facts taken from the Imagine it website. Learn more about them by visiting:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Victorian Easter

The Tinker Nature Park was full of people this year for our annual Victorian Easter event. The main event was the easter egg hunt. As time grew near, hundreds of smiling little faces waited patiently to fill their baskets up with eggs. After the hunt many visited the nature center for crafts, and the Tinker Homestead and Farm Museum for a tour of life in the 1800's.

The hunt is on!

Children under 2 search for eggs in the herb garden

Baskets full of eggs

Time for crafts in the nature center

Meeting the Easter bunny

Ember the cornsnake entertains guests

Thank you to the Henrietta Recreation staff, Rush-Henrietta Youth Asset Team, and Tinker Homestead volunteers Barb and Dorothy for all of your help!