Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Bit 'O the Green

 Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Here is a nice sign of spring approaching even though we had a dusting of snow yesterday.  The moss is brightening along the woodland pools, swamps, and ponds in the Sanctuary.  It is very pronounced amongst the background of the still dank and dark leaves of winter.
Fortunately (in my opinion) St. Patrick did not live here, so we have a variety of snake species on the Sanctuary.  All of them are beneficial, including this beauty.  Garter snakes have always lived in the gardens here and we welcome them.  They help control damaging insects and rodents.  We do sometimes scare each other as I am walking by and they slither away in the dry leaf mulch.   I jump, startled at the sound and movement in the corner of my eye.

You may have guessed that St. Patrick did not really charm all those snakes into the ocean.  Does anyone know the real reason snakes disappeared from Ireland long before St. Patrick arrived?
-Steve Ricker, Resident Director

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time for Change

Spring is the time for change.  Every day we see a new sign--dripping sap, rushing streams, a brighter shade of moss, and the extraterrestrial-like flower of the skunk cabbage.

There are other changes at Westmoreland as well.  A new Executive Director (ok, that's me!)  New programs (see our website for our Nature Classes!)  New animal enclosures and Discovery Lab.  And lot's more.  So if you are in the area, come check out our Nature Center and enjoy spring in the preserve.

-Michele A. Miller, Executive Director

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Remember when it felt like March instead of February?  When the sun was shining warm and the wind was calm?  It was only a couple days ago!

Check out the maple tree's reaction to early spring sunshine.  We're hoping to see these conditions return for this weekend.

SugarFest is taking place at Westmoreland Sanctuary on March 9 and 10.  Reservations for breakfast on both days are full, but there's plenty of room to join one of our maple sugaring demonstrations at 10am and 12pm on Saturday and Sunday!

And there's plenty of room to stretch your legs on our trail system too!  Explore the early spring forest, search for signs of spring like emerging skunk cabbage, listen to birds like the Tufted Titmouse and Black-capped Chickadees practicing their territorial spring songs.  Grab a trail map at the kiosk near the parking lot or download and print one from here.

We hope to see you this weekend!

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

Friday, March 1, 2013

Ice feathers

Moisture and cold overnight temperatures combined to create a beautiful glaze of ice all over my car this morning. The photo doesn't do the intricate feather-like pattern full justice, but I hope it will suffice.

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist