Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Damp Saturday for a Spring Walk in Davey Woods

This past Saturday was the last event of the Hot or Cold in Champaign County series - a walk in Davey Woods. And it was a day with showers and a lot of damp conditions but no rain during the two hour walk around the 0.6 mile trail. Good thing it was a short hike because it took us the whole two hours to make it. Local forester Steve McGinnis was great - telling us the history of Davey Woods, identifying trees, reporting on the habitat of the trees and explaining how we manage our forests in Ohio for timber production - although not in Davey Woods.

Several of the folks on the trip were also identifying wild flowers that were popping out as we walked.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hot or Cold in Champaign County Tuesday, April 12 – A Full Day of Programs

Special Guests: Dr. Amy Seidl and Dr. Jerry Hatfield will be in Champaign County to speak and discuss their observations on climate change. From the viewpoint of the backyard to Corn Belt crop fields.

Dr. Amy Seidl, author of Early Spring, is an ecologist with a doctorate in biology and master’s in entomology. In her book, Dr. Seidl shares her twenty years experience as ecologist, research biologist and teacher to illustrate the historical significance and everyday implications of global warming.

Dr. Jerry Hatfield is an agronomist, currently the leader of USDA’s climatology lab at Iowa State University. He speaks nationwide educating agriculture professionals on the effects of climate change on crop production.

Lunch, 12 noon, Urbana University Student Center: Brown bag lunch with speakers. Bring your lunch. Open to public.

4pm, Conversation at the Urbana University Library with Amy Seidl and Jerry Hatfield. Open to public.

7pm, Urbana University Student Center, Presentation with Amy Seidl and Jerry Hatfield, hosted by Randall Reeder as “Will Rogers Today”. Public invited.

Spring Wildflower walk in western Champaign County

Several of us had a nice wildflower walk in Fry woods off North Elm Tree Road yesterday. With temperatures of 83 degrees by late afternoon, flowers were popping up everywhere - almost too hard to walk in order to miss them all. Janet Ward and Maureen Fry said we might not see much as we headed down the drive, from their survey of the woods on Saturday, but with warmer temperatures many flowers were out on Sunday. Maureen said last year's spring flowers were about a week ahead of this year.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

After the forsythia blooms

I've started counting --- After Harold saw the forsythia in bloom, I think we have had 2 snows. So, will there be one more? Have Icounted correctly? Don't forget -- Tuesday, April 12, is the BIG DAY. A day long program with Amy Seidl and Jerry Hatfield looking at the issues of climate change. There are many opportunities to talk with these experts. Their backgrounds are rich and varied, and this will be a program that looks beyond the political rhetoric to see what may be ahead for our community. Amy's book, Early Spring, is an interesting combination of science and personal reflection; her prose is poetic. Jerry's expertise is agriculture and the effect of temperature on our basic field crops. HOPE YOU WILL COME.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So Much is Happening

So much is happening now that the temperatures have warmed and spring rain can soak into the ground. For me, part of the charm of spring is anticipating the arrival of birds, the emergence of flowers, the leafing out of trees.

The Kiser Lake Wetlands Walk was so interesting. Led by Michelle Comer of ODNR, we learned alot about wetlands and the history of the Kiser Lake area. The preserved wetlands are a very very small part of the extensive wetlands that used to be the landscape of this area. We appreciated Michelle's expertise and skill in interpreting what we saw.

The colors of the birds are so exquisite now. Junco and chickadee black, gray and white pristine; cardinal red shining. Female cardinals are carrying around nesting materials.

Phoebes have arrived. We had a phoebe nest on our house last year and hope they will build again. Last year's nest fell off the house during the winter.

We finally heard towhees. Usually they come around the feeders in the winter, but this year we didn't see any. Glad they are back.

I saw a kingfisher and heard its rattling call yesterday. There are gravelly banks nearby where kingfishers sometimes excavate their nest holes.

Spring peepers were singing on Sunday at Kiser Lake and last Tuesday in a vernal pool close to Urbana Local School. Those calls have to be some of the loudest signs of spring.

A migrant song-bird I,
Out of the blue, between the sea and the sky,
Landward blown on bright, untiring wings;
Out of the South I fly...
Some irresistible impulse bears me on,
Through starry dusks and rosy mists of dawn,
And flames of noon and purple films of rain;
And the strain
Of mighty winds hruled roaring back and forth,
Between the caverns of the reeling earth,
Cannot bewilder me,
I know that I shall see
Just at the appointed time, the dogwood blow
And hear the willow rustle and the mill-stream flow.

Maurice Thompson, "Out of the South"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Walk at Kiser Lake wetlands

Skunk cabbage - that should be the name of a rock band. But we have plenty of this plant in Champaign County. Turns out it grows well in fens - and the southeast corner of Kiser Lake State Park is a fen.

Our scheduled Spring Walk drew 40-45 people, we had a great time with Michelle Comer local expert from the Ohio Department of Natural Areas. After the walk, Michelle passed out posters to the attendees. Enjoy the first full day of spring!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring equinox! Winter over?

The first day of spring actually is tomorrow but at 7PM or so today we will be at the equinox. A full "super moon" last night, didn't that look great just at moon rise? Yesterday I saw my first Forsythia bloom. And we'll do a Spring Hike at Kiser Lake State Park later this afternoon - I'll try to post some pictures if we don't get rained on.

And the weatherman says snow is in the 10-day forecast - of course we anticipate three snows after the Forsythia bloom.