Are There Good Caterpillars?

Are There Good Caterpillars?
by Jeff Tome

I have a distinct memory from when I was a kid of finding a HUGE green caterpillar in the yard.  It had a spike on one end and was wandering through the grass.  For some reason, it sparked a huge debate over whether it was a good caterpillar or a bad caterpillar.  I think I remember it because I didn’t know what a caterpillar did to be bad.

Promethea Moth Caterpillars

This Promethea Moth caterpillar is shedding its skin as it grows larger. There are fifty on display at Audubon this summer.

Somehow the caterpillar was found wanting and left as a green smear in the lawn.  To this day, I am not sure why it was found wanting.

Some caterpillars DO get into the garden.   Black Swallowtails, one of our largest butterflies, lay their eggs on carrots and dill and fennel.  Their stripey caterpillars blend in as they munch on the leaves.  Every year, I hear a story about some gardener who found “worms” eating their dill or carrots that had to be destroyed and I feel bad for the poor caterpillars that were left in the garden.

Somehow, that sympathy does not transfer to the Cabbage White butterflies.  These white butterflies are everywhere and love to lay eggs on plants in the cabbage family.  The one, and only, time that broccoli grew in my yard, there were over 20 Cabbage White caterpillars on each head.

Surprise Camp!

This Black Swallowtail caterpillar is scared and pushing out bright orange tentacles called osmetrium to ward off predators.

Cabbage Whites were introduced from Europe in the 1860’s.  They are now found all over the world, where they can be a major pest in gardens.

My world has recently become consumed with caterpillars.  Fifty Promethea Moth caterpillars brought in by a volunteer are devouring Tulip Poplar leaves in the lobby.  They are now dining on full branches of leaves in a screen house and will grow to the size of a sausage before summer ends.  Several Cecropia Moth caterpillars are dining on Serviceberry and Maple leaves in plastic tubs.  Our interns have named the largest one “Spike” and care for it as part of their day camp.

Dirt Camp 2012

Caterpillars are fascinating to kids of all ages. This girl is watching it crawl across her name tag at last year’s day camp.

Over a dozen tubs filled with Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, eggs and chrysalises are piled on one cabinet in the office.  These super-fussy caterpillars only eat milkweed, which has to be supplied in abundance as the caterpillars grow to be sixty times larger than their egg in the course of a couple of weeks.

These are caterpillars with a destiny.  Not only do Monarch Butterflies migrate to Mexico, but these butterflies are also part of a breeding program to increase the local Monarch Butterfly population.  Last year, the monarch population crashed to historically low levels.  Audubon is working to help boost the local population, which already seems larger than last years.

Some of these Monarchs may also take part in our end of summer Monarch Celebration, with a family oriented Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 30th and the more adult-oriented “Monarchs and Margaritas” the night before.

cecropia moth

Small caterpillars may grow into huge moths. This summer’s Cecropia Moth caterpillars will not come out until next summer.

Naturalists, volunteers, interns and even day camp groups have taken to scouring the milkweed patches in search of monarch eggs and caterpillars.  Without help, most of these become food for ants, snails, and other insects.  By raising them indoors, more of the caterpillars grow up to be adults.

If you would like to see some of these caterpillars in person, stop in at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary at 1600 Riverside Road, near Jamestown New York.  The building is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00am-4:30pm.  Check out the website at www.jamestownaudubon.org for more information on hours and programs.

Posted in Article, Jeff Tome

Sponsorship Opportunities for Monarch Butterfly Festival

Sponsor Opportunity for Audubon Butterfly Festival

Jamestown, NY – The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is inviting additional sponsors for its Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 30, 2014.

Monarch Butterfly Festival 2012

: The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is inviting additional sponsors for its Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 30, 2014. Pictured here are hundreds of visitors to a previous festival who gathered at the close to watch the release of the butterflies as they begin their journey to Mexico for the winter. Proceeds from the annual event support Audubon’s environmental education programs.

This event gives visitors a hands-on experience with live Monarch Butterflies flying around an indoor garden created just for this day. The day is full of great activities, from holding a caterpillar to catching a butterfly outside or eating Mexican food in honor of the Monarch Butterflies’ migration to Mexico each winter. Visitors will also learn how they can help a butterfly whose population is at record lows.

“We’re delighted to have a number of sponsors already on board,” said Audubon Senior Naturalist Jeff Tome. “We’re looking for others to join the Frewsburger Pizza Shop, Heritage Senior Living, Lena’s Pizza, Phoenix Metal, King’s Heating and Sheet Metal, Matt’s Nuisance Animal Control, Mike’s Nursery and Native Roots Landscaping.”

Tome noted that the hundreds of visitors who come to the festival each year enjoy the many activities offered and are especially fascinated by the butterflies themselves. “There’s something about seeing real live creatures from the tiniest eggs through all sizes of caterpillars, chrysalises, and into beautiful butterflies that is just delightful – and the indoor wildflower garden setting makes it truly spectacular!” He said that there are activities for every age, and folks are reminded to bring their cameras.

Tome added that sponsorships also help Audubon’s inaugural “Monarchs and Margaritas,” a sneak preview the night before the Festival that includes refreshments and adult beverages.

Sponsors receive various recognitions, depending on their level of support. Acknowledgments include complimentary program ads, listing on Audubon’s web site and newsletter and in the posters and publicity for the festival, and free tickets to the Festival.

For sponsorship information, contact the Center at (716) 569-2345 or visit http://www.monarchbutterflyfestival.wordpress.com/sponsors.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania. The building, with its collection of live animals, interactive exhibits and the Blue Heron Gift Shop, is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4:30 p.m. Sundays. The grounds, including trails, gardens, picnic tables, arboretum, and Liberty, the Bald Eagle, are open from dawn until dusk daily.

To learn more, call (716) 569-2345 or visit http://www.jamestownaudubon.org.

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Posted in Conservation, Event, Fundraiser, News Release

On Fishing

On Fishing
by Sarah Hatfield

Checking the radar, there were more little storms cells appearing in various shades of green and yellow with the occasional orange blip. Getting a coat of primer on the house wasn’t happening, again. Rain soaked everything. It looked like a day of cleaning… until a friend said “We might have to go fishing.” Yes.

Fishing the creek

Fishing the Creek

I don’t fish. But I like fish, I think they are beautiful. I love to watch them. The colors fascinate me. Each one, no matter how bland on first glance, contains a rainbow of shimmers and hues. Pulled from the water into the sunlight, a fish gives you a glimpse of an existence we can never really know. Refreshing, cool, glittering light and lurking shadows. The constant caress of the hemlock cooled waters, the dull roar of the creek as it winds through silty beaver meadows, glacial gravel, and deep woodland earth.

I don’t fish, but fishing means a meditative afternoon strolling on the terrestrial banks. It means the xylophonic melody of rain dripping and cascading through the trees. It means red efts crossing my path, birds singing to lure the sun, and rich, earthy aromas filling the mist-heavy air. Flip a rock, balance across a fallen log… Yes! Let’s go fishing.

snail

Snail

My old hiking boots sink into the saturated forest floor, ferns cling to wet leather. Wisps of storm fog rise through the canopy, fingers of water not yet ready to be earthbound. A land snail. A deer track. The heavy pattering of raindrops as the wind shakes them loose from their bower. Breathe. Slow down. Forget that the house needs to be cleaned and painted. Forget that the garden is a weedy jungle. Forget, and just breathe.

Creek rocks stacked unnaturally, in a wall, cast iron remnants half buried by decades of leaf litter. Likely an old sawmill. How different was the forest then? What was it like? An empty snail shell is tucked between rocks. Did it get stuck? Die of old age? Did a squirrel put it there? I run my finger around the perfect spiral and drop it in my backpack. Downstream.

eft

Red Eft

It rained too hard, the creek is too muddy to fish right now. Rolling water tumbles and runs over long established routes scoured into the hillside. Cloudy with silt, the color of coffee with one creamer, the creek adds its gurgle and burble to the Sunday forest symphony. Breathe and listen. Absorb.

The filtered sunlight gives way to open sky approaching the beaver meadow. Long abandoned dams harbor Blue Vervain, Elderberry, Joe Pye Weed, a million crickets, one giant water snake and rushes and sedges and reeds galore. Sticking my head in the old lodge, the air is dry and cool wafting out. Snacks and rock collecting on the gravel bar, backpack as a pillow, the open air lulling me into peace. I can feel the world and its worries finally slipping away. It has been too long since my mind has been restful, since I felt that deep relaxation that comes only from spending hours in the woods.

The water now is perfect. A hint of stormy blue-green, just opaque enough. Following the creek the brookies start biting. Pretty little fish, reds and yellows and creamy whites, metallic blue shimmer and dusky browns and tans. The sky is lightening as the water clears, sneaking through tree tops to illuminate a sparkling world below.

Then suddenly, there it is, at a bend in the creek. The sounds and stillness and light all combine and create the internal calm. The reset button. The moment when the only things that exist are what I can see, hear, smell, and touch. I smile. A day lamented at its dawning becomes one of the best in a long time. The green and yellow blips on the radar became the subtly, magnificently colored brookies. There is a lesson there. Yes. Let’s go fishing.

While you can’t fish at Audubon, there are over five miles of trails to walk, meander, and relax on. We are located at 1600 Riverside Road, just off Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. The trails are open from dawn to dusk. The Center is open from 10:00am until 4:30pm daily except Sundays when we open at 1:00pm. Visit http://jamestownaudubon.org or call (716) 569-2345 for more information.

Sarah Hatfield is a naturalist at Audubon.

Posted in Article, Sarah Hatfield

Learn to Make Great Photos with your iPhone – Aug 2, 2014

Learn to Make Fabulous iPhone Photographs at Audubon

Jamestown, NY – If you wonder if your iPhone can give you better, more interesting photographs than you’ve been taking, the answer is “Yes!”

Cathy Panebianco - Dragonfly

You can learn how to make artistic photographs with your iPhone at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s iPhoneography workshop on Saturday afternoon, August 2, 2014. Instructor Cathy Panebianco took this stunning Dragonfly photo with an iPhone.

On Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s iPhoneography workshop you can learn from photographer Cathy Panebianco how to make artistic photographs with your iPhone.

During the 1-3 p.m. class, you will learn to use your iPhone to take, and create, more imaginative photographs. You will learn tips and tricks, new apps, and creative ways to use your iPhone photographs.

Bring your fully charged iPhone (4 or higher). Make sure you have an Apple iTunes account so that you can purchase a couple inexpensive apps. While not required, students may want to download the following before class: Camera Plus (camera replacement app), Snapseed (editing app), and Hipstamatic.

Cathy Panebianco is a pet photographer who loves to take fun, personality-filled portraits. She also makes images, both pet and personal work, that are shown in galleries, magazines and books. You can learn more about her and her work by visiting her website at http://www.panebiancophotography.com.

Cost of the class is $39, or $33 for Friends of the Nature Center.

Class size is limited to 15, and paid reservations are required by Monday, July 28. To register, call (716) 569-2345, stop in, or click on “iPhoneography” at http://www.jamestownaudubon.org.

Audubon education programs are funded with support from the Carnahan Jackson Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Holmberg Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Johnson Foundation, and Lenna Foundation.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania. Hours for the Nature Center and Blue Heron Gift Shop are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sundays 1-4:30 p.m. Audubon’s arboretum, gardens, trails, picnic tables, and exhibit of Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, are open dawn to dusk daily.

Enjoying the outdoors is part of a healthy lifestyle. Audubon is partnering with the Chautauqua County Health Department to recommend the use of DEET or lemon eucalyptus based insect repellents to avoid bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects whenever you are outside.

For more information on this and all Audubon programs, call (716) 569-2345 or visit http://www.jamestownaudubon.org.

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Posted in Class, News Release

Make a Nature-Themed Bracelet on August 2

Create a Beautiful Beaded Bracelet at Audubon

Jamestown, NY – Imagine creating a beautiful bracelet with colorful glass beads and a special nature charm.

Memory Wire Bracelet

At the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s “Charming” Memory Wire Bracelet workshop, beadwork artist Anne Jackson will teach you how to make this beautiful bracelet with colorful glass beads and a special nature charm. No experience is needed for the Saturday morning, August 2, class.

You can do just that on Saturday, August 2, 2014, at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s “Charming” Memory Wire Bracelet workshop.

At the 10 a.m.-noon class, you will have fun choosing different sizes of colorful glass beads to place on a three-round spiral of memory wire. You will choose a special nature charm to attach to your bracelet and then finish with a tiny loop at each end.

No beading experience is needed – just a desire to have fun and meet new people.

Beadwork artist and teacher Anne Jackson will instruct you in making this lovely piece of jewelry that you will be proud to wear or give as a special gift. A member of the Chautauqua County Society of Artists, Jackson teaches beading privately and also at Imagine in Bemus Point, New York.

Remember to bring your glasses if you need them for close-up work.

Cost of the class is $40, $34 for Friends of the Nature Center, and includes all supplies.

Workshop size is limited to 15, and paid reservations are required by Monday, July 28. To register, call (716) 569-2345, stop in, or click on “‘Charming’ Memory Wire Bracelet” at http://www.jamestownaudubon.org.

Audubon education programs are funded with support from the Carnahan Jackson Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Holmberg Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Johnson Foundation, and Lenna Foundation.

The Audubon Center & Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania. Hours for the Nature Center and Blue Heron Gift Shop are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sundays 1-4:30 p.m. Audubon’s arboretum, gardens, trails, picnic tables, and exhibit of Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, are open dawn to dusk daily.

Enjoying the outdoors is part of a healthy lifestyle. Audubon is partnering with the Chautauqua County Health Department to recommend the use of DEET or lemon eucalyptus based insect repellents to avoid bites from ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects whenever you are outside.

For more information on this and all Audubon programs, call (716) 569-2345 or visit http://jamestownaudubon.org.

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Posted in Class, News Release

Raising Monarchs – July 24

Learn to Raise Monarch Butterflies at Audubon

Jamestown, NY – You can learn how to successfully raise Monarch Butterfly caterpillars and help restore a population of butterflies that is quickly disappearing from our landscape.

Monarch Cateripllar

“Raising Monarchs: How You Can Help a Species in Decline” is the subject of the Audubon Center & Sanctuary’s workshop on Thursday evening, July 24, 2014. Participants may be able to raise a butterfly for Audubon’s popular Monarch Butterfly Festival in late August. Pictured is a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar.

From 7-9 p.m. on Thursday evening, July 24, 2014, the Audubon Center & Sanctuary is presenting a workshop on “Raising Monarchs: How You Can Help a Species in Decline.”

Monarch Butterflies virtually disappeared from this region last summer. Habitat destruction in the Midwest combined with droughts decimated the population, which has dropped 97% from what it was a decade ago.

Monarch Butterfly eggs and caterpillars are eaten by many things in the wild, from ants to bugs to spiders. Only about six out of every 100 eggs laid in the wild survive to be butterflies. Carefully raising some eggs inside can help increase the Monarch Butterfly population.

This class will show you how and where to find Monarch Butterfly eggs and caterpillars, as well as how to raise them to adulthood. Depending on the local Monarch Butterfly population and the success of Audubon’s breeding program, you may be able to take a caterpillar home to care for.

The workshop will be led by Audubon Senior Naturalist Jeff Tome. Tome has been raising and caring for Monarch Caterpillars for the last 10 years. An organizer of Audubon’s Monarch Butterfly Festival, he puts a lot of time into Monarch Butterfly raising through the summer months, hoping that successfully rearing Monarch Butterflies will help restore their population.

The workshop will be at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary, 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania.

Class size is limited. While geared to adults and older children, the program is available to all ages.

Cost for the class is $16, $12 for Friends of the Nature Center and children 3-12, free for children 2 and under.

Paid reservations are required by Monday, July 21, 2014, and can be made by calling (716) 569-2345 or clicking through “Raising Monarchs” at http://www.jamestownaudubon.org.

Audubon education programs are funded with support from the Carnahan Jackson Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Holmberg Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Johnson Foundation, and Lenna Foundation.

For more information on this and other Audubon opportunities, call (716) 569-2345 or visit http://www.jamestownaudubon.org.

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Posted in Class, News Release

Audubon’s Wild 5K

Audubon’s Wild 5K
by Crin Fredrickson

Watching Liberty

A Girl Scout group watches Liberty with delight.

She sits serenely, gazing down with intent eyes on the school-aged children searching the enclosure for her. The collective gasp when they finally spot her on her high perch is enough to pull the youthful wonder out of anyone. “This is Liberty,” explains an Audubon naturalist, “she is an American Bald Eagle who came to us in 2002, all the way from Washington State”. Everyone listens intently as Liberty’s story is told, perhaps even she likes to hear the tale—she pipes up with a few notes of her own, perhaps correcting a detail or two, much to the delight of her observers.

In the spring and summer months, this scene is a daily occurrence as hundreds of classes, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, come to the Audubon Center & Sanctuary for Discovery Walks. Then of course, in the summer, kids who attend Day Camps get to meet her. In the fall and winter, she is still there, astonishing passersby by braving all sorts of weather without showing much concern.

Liberty Headshot

Liberty – a non-releasable Bald Eagle

Liberty is considered non-releasable because of an injury to her left wing. This old wound, despite attempts at rehabilitation, prevents her from flying well enough to hunt in the wild. She will spend the rest of her life here at Audubon, the charge of a handful of very dedicated volunteers. Liberty has long been a favorite at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary. People of all ages have visited her, donated fish to feed her, sponsored her, and even signed up to help fund her care for a year. You have yet another opportunity to help support Audubon and, this year, our feathered celebrity—and it’s just what the doctor ordered, some fresh air and exercise! The Audubon Center & Sanctuary will host the Wild 5K on July 26th. Back by popular demand, this trail run/walk has historically attracted out-door enthusiasts of all ages and levels of running experience. You may remember when the race was called the “Run for Liberty”.

Start of Race

The race starts at Audubon’s driveway, but quickly takes you into the woods.

The course hasn’t changed. The race still winds through a beautiful wetland sanctuary. Over bridges and through fields, you will find yourself enjoying a variety of settings—cool, forested trails; bright, cricket-filled meadows; cattail-adorned pond edges; even a garden path. Audubon’s well-maintained trails offer a unique racing atmosphere that will both challenge and inspire.

Of course, if running isn’t your forte, there are other ways to be a part of this exciting event. While we will certainly accept runners’ registrations up through 9:45am on race day, we are also currently looking for walkers, volunteers, and sponsors. We want to involve as many people as possible in Liberty’s success story. We had over 130 runners and walkers participate in this event in the past and we will need the help of more than 50 volunteers to make the race run smoothly on Saturday. No matter what you are most comfortable with, your help will make our Wild 5K successful! Audubon is even teaming up with Distinguished Young Women candidates to offer free, nature-themed events for children age 10 and under during the hours of the race.

Learning about Liberty

Learn more about Liberty by reading the signs outside her enclosure.

A small race committee has been working hard since February to make sure that everyone involved has a memorable experience. Audubon staff has joined forces with local individuals including Jeff Rupp, David Hedberg, and Ellen Paquette. Rupp, owner of Sideline Sports in Jamestown, NY, has generously donated prizes for the overall finishers in the running category as well as copious amounts of time advertising and co-coordinating the event. Hedberg, also of Jamestown, was recently named co-recipient of the State Association’s Official of the Year award (Southwestern Chapter) and has kindly agreed to map the course and coordinate the finish line. Paquette, of Warren, PA, is a renowned local artist who serves on the Jamestown Audubon’s Board of Directors; she has also graciously contributed her time and creative expertise to the coordination process.

But it’s not too late to get involved! Liberty’s care costs approximately $7,500 per year, supporting us in our Wild 5K is a great way to help us offset that total and it will allow Liberty to continue to thrill the children (and adults) that visit her here regularly. Please consider investing in Liberty’s future with us this year as we look forward to this unique race! Let’s go Wild!

All Wild 5K associated activities will be held on the trails at the Audubon Center & Sanctuary on July 26, 2014. Check-in and same-day registration will be from 8:00am until 9:45am. The race will start at 10:00am. Registration forms, sponsorship forms, and volunteer opportunities can be found online at http://wild5k.wordpress.com/ . If you have any questions, call the Audubon Center at (716) 569-2345. Please consider coming out to support Liberty!

Audubon is located at 1600 Riverside Road, just off Route 62 between Warren and Jamestown. The trails and Liberty viewing are available from dawn to dusk, and the Center is open daily from 10:00am-4:30pm except Sundays when we open at 1:00pm. For more information call the Center or visit http://jamestownaudubon.org.

Posted in Article, Crin Fredrickson, Event, Fundraiser