Fall 2013: What’s Happening at the Nature Center
As the summer season draws to a close, we say good bye to many of our summer staff members and visitors. It has been a great summer, full of guided hikes, Voyageur Canoe trips, nature programs, and more.
Preparations are underway for the 35th Annual Autumn Fest on Saturday, October 12. There will be a combination of perpetual favorites and exciting new exhibits. Volunteers are needed. Call 315-482-2479 for more information.
The Schongalla family donated a perch to the Nature Center. With the family’s consent the Nature Center gave the perch to Rick West for his Birds of Prey programs. Many thanks to the family for their generous donation!
Last year the Friends of the Nature Center purchased two chainsaws and a wood chipper for use at the Nature Center. This year our maintenance staff put them to good use. Pictured at left is Russ Ruttan on one of the corduroy walkways that he built this summer with the help of other staff members.
Goodbye to Wellesley by Rob Barker
After a 40 year career in the Resource Management Field; 30 years at Maryland Forest, Park, and Wildlife Service, 8 years at Wellesley Island State Park Nature Center, and 2 years as a private consultant, I have decided to retire after this year’s Autumn Festival. I shall miss this place, but time and agendas change… So it’s time to step aside.
I’ll miss the people: Kim, Ben, Lynn, Nancy, the Friends, and Volunteers. The Summer Naturalists are too numerous to mention. Some have returned for several years, some have moved on. Let us not forget the visitors. Our cottage patrons that visited season after season became like friends (some of them, anyway). The teachers and all were appreciated.
The fall I worked on a Friends contract will probably be my favorite memory. The oaks along Eel Bay Trail were different shades of red and yellow, Sand Cove was beginning to ice up, snow was in the air. And the ducks… We hiked to the pond that afternoon. It was covered with more Diving Ducks (Bufflehead & Goldeneye) than I have ever seen. Memories that last forever….
Working at the Nature Center has allowed me to learn. After we got our tractor, a guy named Russ came along, I learned more about using equipment than I thought was possible. Thanks Russ!
What’s next? If all goes as planned, I will be relocating to Pennsylvania. This is a beautiful area, but the mountains are calling.
Good luck to all, keep me posted, it’s been real
Spring 2013: What’s Happening at the Nature Center
Skiing and Snowshoeing
Even with the temperature swings and January thaws, we have had a fairly busy ski and snowshoe season. When there is snow on the ground, people are on the trails. It is wonderful to see so many people outside and enjoying the beauty of a Thousand Islands winter! This winter we received a donation of two sets of children’s skies. Thank you to our anonymous donor!
Stoney Point Band
On January 19th, the Stoney Point Band entertained approximately 45 people at the Nature Center with their bluegrass music. Band members are Dave Peters, guitar/ vocals; Kathy Wiley, bass; Lea Call, fiddle; John Goloski, banjo; and Joe Cullen, guitar. The band enjoyed themselves so much that they have already asked to come back. Details of their next performance will be announced as soon as they become available.
We love having school groups visit us! May and June are already filling up with spring field trips and a few brave groups are visiting us this winter. We consider it one of our most important and exciting tasks to share our love and knowledge of the natural world with the next generation. From October to May, it is free for school groups to visit the Nature Center. From May to October, schools are required to pay $35.00 per bus to enter Wellesley Island State Park and access the Nature Center. Because we feel so strongly that every child should have an opportunity interact with nature, the Friends of the Nature Center, Inc. has decided to pay the bus fee for schools that would otherwise be unable to visit because of the cost. If you would like to contribute to the Field Trip Fund, you may send donations marked “Field Trip Fund” to:
Friends of the Nature Center, Inc.
Wellesley Island State Park
44927 Cross Island Road
Fineview, NY 13640
Planning for Spring and Summer
Spring and Summer will be here before we know it. We are already making plans for upcoming programs, events, and activities. Favorites like Spider’s Fishing Clinics and Rick West’s Birds of Prey have already been scheduled. We are making plans for several arts and crafts, guided hikes, and programs. If you are interested in volunteering at the Nature Center, we would love to have you. If you are part of a group or organization that would like to hold an event or program at the Nature Center, we would love to discuss it with you. Call us at 315-482-2479 for more information.
Eagle and Osprey Display
The St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Raptor Working Group and the Nature Center are working together to build a display at the Nature Center detailing the decline and resurgence of Osprey and Bald Eagles in the Thousand Islands Region. If you have pictures of Osprey or Eagles in the area and would like to contribute them to the display, please contact the Nature Center for more information.
December 12, 2012
It snowed this morning at the Nature Center. It was just enough to turn everything white for a bit, just enough for the animal tracks show up on the lawn. I’m sure it will melt away before we get more, but maybe it’s a sign that we’re in for a good ski and snowshoe season. Here are the guidelines for skiing and snowshoeing at the Nature Center. It is recommended that you call us first to check on conditions (315-482-2479) before you come over to ski or snowshoe.
Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Skiing and snowshoeing originated at least 5,000 years ago in northern Europe and Asia. Skis and snowshoes were originally developed to make traveling in deep snow easier. They work by distributing body weight over a larger surface area. This allows skiers or snowshoers to travel over the surface of the snow rather than sinking into it. Come to the Nature Center to try out this ancient mode of transportation. Have some fun taking in the sights and sounds of winter at the Nature Center!
Free Cross-Country Ski Lessons will be available every Saturday at 1 p.m. Please call ahead to make an appointment. Ski conditions must be favorable.
Skis: $7 for 4 hours or less; $10 for more than four hours (all day)
Snowshoes: $3 to enjoy as much snowshoeing as you like
All skis and snowshoes must be returned to the museum by 3:45pm. There will be no rentals after 3:00pm.
We need a minimum of 7 inches of snow to pack the trails and set the track. We strongly recommend calling the Nature Center before heading to the island to ski. Weather and snow conditions can be quite different than areas to the south. Wind off the river can increase the effect of wind chill and remove snow from sections of the trails. Please remember to dress appropriately.
Autumn 2012: What’s Happening at the Nature Center
Another busy summer is drawing to a close at the Nature Center. This summer we have enjoyed many programs, activities, guided hikes, arts and crafts, and Voyageur Canoe trips. Many thanks go to our Nature Center staff and volunteers, to those who came to the Nature Center to conduct programs, lectures, and activities, and to our many visitors! We hope to see you all again. Please remember the Nature Center is open all year. Each season is different; we invite you to experience the beauty of nature all year long!
This summer the Nature Center met Keith Savage. Keith is a local taxidermist who lives in Plessis. Keith felt that he could use his skills to benefit the Nature Center. He has donated two fish mounts, a fox blanket, and refinished the Nature Center’s largemouth bass. Keith has also loaned us his award winning fox. Thank you Keith! Savage Taxidermy- 315- 955- 4418 email: Keiths1831@aol.com
As you hike the North Field Loop, you might notice two Asian Longhorned Beetle traps hanging in sugar maple trees. The Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is an invasive insect that is a serious threat to hardwood trees in the United States. The purpose of the traps is to determine whether the Asian Longhorned Beetles are present in this part of New York. You can do your part to fight this invasive insect by educating yourself, reporting any possible infestations, and allowing officials access to your property to preform surveys. Do not move firewood! Infested firewood can spread invasive insects to areas where they are not yet present. Visit the DEC website or the USDA website for more information about the Asian Longhorned Beetle.