Nature & Environment

Solar Eclipses: What to expect and how to safely observe them

Northeast Ohio will be treated to not one, but two solar eclipse events over the next year: a partial solar eclipse on Oct. 14, 2023 and a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

What is a solar eclipse? Well, the moon orbits Earth approximately every 27 days. A solar eclipse is the cosmic coincidence when the moon passes exactly between the Earth and the sun, thereby casting a shadow onto Earth and blocking our view of the sun.

For the partial annular eclipse this October, we will see about 33% of the sun covered by the moon. In April 2024, the path of totality will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In Northeast Ohio, we will see the moon completely cover the sun, revealing the Sun’s outer atmosphere otherwise known as the solar corona.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 9:52 AM, 05.16.2023

'Arbor Day in Bay' event to celebrate trees

In observance of Arbor Day 2023, the city of Bay Village is celebrating 25 years of its designation as a Tree City USA, which has been awarded to the city continuously since 1998.

To qualify as a Tree City USA community, a city must meet standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. In addition to the Tree City USA designation, Bay Village has also received four Tree City USA Growth Awards (in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021) and is on track to receive another award for 2023. The Tree City USA Growth Award is presented by the Arbor Day Foundation to participating Tree City USA communities that demonstrate higher levels of tree care and community engagement.

The Arbor Day in Bay event will take place on Saturday, April 29, at Bradley Road Park from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Rain or shine. A Bay Village city official will deliver an Arbor Day proclamation. Tree planting demonstrations are scheduled at 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. Food will be available for purchase (cash or credit) from the Smokin’ Rock n’ Roll food truck from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 8:16 AM, 04.18.2023

How to help our local nesting birds

Spring has sprung and the baby birds are about to as well. This is the season for most of the birds in Ohio to start nesting and growing their family. Here in Cuyahoga County, we have several types of nesting birds. Common ones include cavity nesters, ground/scrape nesters and cup nesters. So, what can you do to help? Read below to see how each type of nester can use your help.

Cavity-nesting birds are birds that use a hole or cavity to build and shelter their nests. We have both primary and secondary cavity nesters here in Ohio. A primary cavity-nester, such as a woodpecker, is one who excavates their own cavity by digging or drilling into a tree or river bank. Leaving up dead trees in your yard is a big help for these birds, as it is easier to make holes in.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 9:23 AM, 04.04.2023

The doís and doníts of baby wildlife

Spring is here, which means baby season for our local wildlife. As wildlife rehabilitators prepare for their busiest time of the year, here are some do’s and don’ts for helping baby wildlife.

DO: Allow wildlife to grow up in their natural environment

Baby animals are vulnerable, but resilient. Predators and other threats are a natural part of their environment. While it can be tempting to take and care for babies to try to protect them from danger, they cannot learn necessary survival skills in captivity. The only way to prepare baby animals for life in the wild is to let them grow up there.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 10:17 AM, 03.21.2023

Canals into the Great Lakes

There are two canals in the Great Lakes system.

The Welland Canal is an important waterway in the Great Lakes region. It is a man-made canal that connects Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, allowing ships to bypass Niagara Falls. The canal is an important part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which is a system of locks, canals, and channels that connect the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Welland Canal helps to improve shipping in the Great Lakes region by giving ships to access to valuable cargo in the Midwest. However, the major canal is in the St. Lawrence Seaway that is managed by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) that was established in 1959 as a joint venture between the governments of Canada and the United States. The system supports thousands of jobs and generates billions of dollars in economic activity. This cargo includes iron ore, coal, grain, limestone, cement, salt, sand, steel, petroleum products, and other commodities.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 10:13 AM, 03.21.2023

Planting seeds of promise

It's been a long winter and now it's finally time to enjoy the promise of warmer weather and pack away that shovel and winter coat. For many folks, starting seeds indoors is an annual ritual that signals spring has arrived.

The Westlake Garden Club is waking up from its winter slumber and starting the year with a special program on starting seeds indoors. The speaker for the event is a certified master gardener and even experienced gardeners may learn a new trick or two. The Wednesday, March 15, event starts with a club meeting at 10:30 a.m. at the Westlake Community Center at 28975 Hilliard Road. It's in the same development as the Westlake Recreation Center. The talk will begin at 11 a.m.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 9:54 AM, 03.07.2023

Feeling small in the universe

If you had the opportunity in late February and early March to view two of our solar system’s planets in close conjunction, it was a special astronomical event. 

A conjunction is when two astronomical objects appear close to each other in the sky, as seen from our view on Earth. 

Venus and Jupiter could be seen together after sunset above the west-southwest horizon from Feb. 20 to March 3, with the closest approach of about the width of a pinky finger on March 1.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 4:51 PM, 03.07.2023

Looking and listening for owls in Northeast Ohio

Owls are some of the most fascinating creatures in Ohio. Their mysterious nature, charismatic expressions and recognizable calls have sparked interest for centuries. Many people will claim to have never seen an owl in the wild, but chances are they have been near one without knowing it.

Eight owl species reside in Northeast Ohio throughout the year. Three of the most common include the Great Horned Owl, the Barred Owl and the Eastern Screech-Owl.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 8:57 AM, 02.21.2023

Sea Scouts fight toxic algae blooms

The coast of Lake Erie is an idyllic place to live. We are fortunate to have an abundance of drinking water and a plethora of leisure activities that the lake affords us. We use the lake for swimming, boating, fishing, and a host of other activities. It's also a beautiful view.

Unfortunately, those activities and even our drinking water can sometimes be shut down or interrupted because of pollution or harmful algal blooms. In August 2014, the city of Toledo had to stop providing drinking water for three days because of a harmful algal bloom on Lake Erie. Every summer, there are water quality alerts for dangerous bacteria levels at Huntington Beach.

What's causing this, and is there anything that we can do about it so that we can enjoy the lake more? These are some of the questions that a group of seventh-grade Bay Sea Scouts hopes to answer with research and a scientific experiment.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 8:57 AM, 02.21.2023

Nature has a friend in 5-year-old boy

Wade is the son of Jeff and Jenny Battershell. Wade is also the grandson of Jill and Phil Battershell, residents of Bay Village for over 40 years. Fortunate to live on Porter Creek for over 30 of those years, Jill and Phil recently moved to the Bay Creek Development along Cahoon Creek. This is where this story begins.

Wade is soon to be 6 years old. He is an avid outdoors young man. Wade enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, boating, biking, swimming and literally any activity that takes him outside. He is also in the Cub Scouts and enjoys playing soccer. 

Since Wade could walk, he enjoyed his “creek walks” with his family at his grandparents' home along Porter Creek. At age 4, he had the change of scenery to Cahoon Creek where upon his first hike with his granddad in December 2021, he realized and remarked that there was a fair amount of trash behind their home and along the creek. 

With this observation, Wade suggested to his granddad that they should begin picking up and removing the trash they find.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:52 AM, 01.17.2023

Our drinking water

Our team, the Flocculators, did our STEM project this year on the chemistry of our drinking water. Studies have shown that Lake Erie microplastics, those tiny pieces of broken-up plastic debris, absorb pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and metals on their surface.

Fortunately, our source of drinking water from Lake Erie is far out in the lake and at a depth such that very few micro or nano plastics reach us.

To quote Scott Moegling, the Chief Water Quality Manager at Cleveland Water, “There is not much in the raw; very, very little in the finished water we drink. In fact, we have fewer microplastics than bottled water does.”

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:52 AM, 01.17.2023

Where do animals go in the winter?

Many types of birds (including retiree snowbirds!) migrate south for the winter. While most of us would prefer to spend the cold months in a tropical climate, many Ohio residents, human and animal, ride out the snowy season at home.

Non-migratory animals have developed numerous adaptations to survive through chilly weather. Some, like deer and eastern cottontail rabbits, continue their business as usual, grazing for food but growing thicker coats and finding sheltered places to stay warm. Many of the animals you see during the summer, such as snakes, chipmunks and woodchucks, are conspicuously absent in winter. Where do they go, if they are not heading for warmer climates?

Snakes
Since snakes are cold-blooded, their body temperature depends on the temperature of their environment – which means bad news for snakes when the snow starts falling. To stay warm, snakes hunker down in dens called hibernacula. Snakes create hibernacula in holes in the ground, burrows of other animals or even a warm niche in your garage or basement.

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Volume 14, Issue 24, Posted 11:24 AM, 12.20.2022

Backyard visitor

A mature white-tailed deer enjoys a day of napping and snacking in a Bay Village backyard.

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Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 10:51 AM, 10.18.2022

Bay scouts work to protect migrating monarchs

As the fall migration of monarch butterflies comes to a close you may have heard that monarch butterflies have been placed on the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Union has placed it on their Red List of Threatened Species as they found the population of the monarchs east of the Rockies shrunk by 84% between 1996 and 2014 and continues to decline.

“It is difficult to watch monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration teeter on the edge of collapse,” said Anna Walker, Species Survival Officer at the New Mexico BioPark Society, who led the monarch butterfly assessment. The Greater Cleveland area is a crucial point in the monarchs' migration path from Canada to Mexico in late summer. After traveling close to 30 miles over the open waters of Lake Erie, our community is the first chance the monarchs get to rest, recuperate, mate, and lay eggs.

We are a team of sixth-graders who are planning strategies to impact monarch conservation locally. First, we educated ourselves on the monarch's lifecycle and care by raising 25 butterflies from eggs, testing them for disease, and releasing them.

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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 11:25 AM, 10.04.2022

Drivers be alert, deer breeding season is here

Deer breeding season occurs from mid-October through December. Below, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center shares information about deer mating habits and tips for drivers this fall.

Male deer (or bucks) travel together in “bachelor groups” during late winter, spring and summer. In early fall they begin marking their territory by scraping the ground or rubbing their antlers on trees. They will playfully fight with each other, known as sparring. Eventually, increased testosterone and aggressiveness will force the bucks to separate and begin chasing does (female deer).

White-tailed deer are active around the clock, most often at dawn and dusk. Their unpredictable behavior during breeding season can prove hazardous to humans and result in serious accidents.

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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 11:25 AM, 10.04.2022

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Women's Board presents 'Fly Me to the Moon' on Oct. 9

The Women’s Board of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will host "Fly Me to the Moon," a benefit event, on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 2 p.m. in Schuele Planetarium (28728 Wolf Road).

Planetarium and Program Coordinator Katy Downing will present a timely program honoring the past and future of human space flight. Learn about NASA’s 21st-century Artemis program as the next step in our mission of exploring the universe. Following the program, the Women’s Board will host a social with refreshments.

Tickets cost $25 per person. For information about purchasing tickets, please call 440-871-2900. Proceeds will benefit the astronomy internship program at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

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Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 9:30 AM, 09.20.2022

Keep migratory birds safe this fall

Every spring and fall, millions of birds migrate through Ohio on their way between their breeding and overwintering grounds. During migration birds can travel hundreds of miles in one night, even hummingbirds weighing an average of 3.5 grams. Most birds migrating to Central America will fly the 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico nonstop, leaving at dusk, which takes between 18 and 22 hours.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is the only wildlife rehabilitation facility in Cuyahoga County and commonly treats songbird injuries during migration. “A large percentage of the bird species we treat each year are due to window collisions,” says Tim Jasinski, Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator at the Center. “As an Ohio Lights Out partner, we aim to reduce collision-related deaths through wildlife education and rehabilitation.”

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 9:52 AM, 08.16.2022

Observe the Perseid Meteor Shower at its peak, Aug. 11-12

The Perseid Meteor Shower, typically one of the most popular and impressive meteor showers of the year, will reach its peak Aug. 11 and 12. For this event, which is visible throughout Northeast Ohio, Planetarium Specialist Bill Reed of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center explains what a meteor shower is and provide tips for seeing “shooting stars” this summer.

What is a meteor shower and what causes them to occur?

Meteor showers are caused by comets. Comets are large, icy objects which orbit the sun on regular, although eccentric orbits. As a comet approached the inner solar system and passes closer to the sun, its ice warms and begins to release particles of dust and rock into space, which can result in a glowing trail of vapor we see as a “tail.”

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:07 AM, 08.02.2022

Youíre the bee's knees

On a whim, my husband and I bought a mason bee house that was on sale at a big box store. I am so glad we did! The more I read up on mason bees, the more fascinated I become. They’re some of the world’s best pollinators. 

There are over 200 mason bee species globally and 140 species throughout North America. Mason bees are related to honeybees, but do not produce honey or live in colonies. Mason bees acquired their name from their habit of building their nests out of mud that looks like bricks. They are solitary bees, which means that they don’t have workers or queens either. These ladies are small but mighty and completely independent! Female mason bees are responsible for building their own nests, scouting and foraging for their own food and defending themselves.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:49 AM, 05.17.2022

The Biggest Week in American Birding

Spring has finally sprung. And it brings not only warmer weather and flowering trees but migrating songbirds.

In fact, The Biggest Week in American Birding is coming up May 6-15. It's a birding festival held every year during peak songbird migration at Magee Marsh, a 2,202-acre marshland managed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife about 90 miles west on the shore of Lake Erie. The festival features guided birding fieldtrips, talks on birding and bird identification, and fun activities like the birder’s marketplace, bird tattoo contest and birder prom. Visit biggestweekinamericanbirding.com to learn more.

But the big draw is the birds! Spring migrations bring thousands of brightly colored, gregarious songbirds to the terminal woodlands along the shore of Lake Erie, where they rest and feed up before making the long flight across the lake. The big spring songbird prize is warblers, and Magee Marsh is known as the warbler capital of the world. It has a 1.2-mile-long handicap accessible boardwalk to which birders from all over the world come during the biggest week. It can be crowded and sound a bit like the United Nations during the biggest week. But there are other excellent birding sites nearby, such as the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Metzger Marsh and Howard Marsh Metropark, if you want to avoid the crowds.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 10:45 AM, 05.03.2022

Your springtime guide to baby wildlife

As the weather warms and people spend more time outdoors, you may notice young animals that seem to be alone or in distress.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is the only wildlife rehabilitation facility in Cuyahoga County and offers free wildlife education and rehabilitation services seven days a week. Especially in spring, the Center receives several calls each day from concerned community members about birds, rabbits, squirrels, fawns and other wild babies.

“Sadly, well-meaning individuals sometimes assume wild babies are abandoned and, as a result, take them from their parents,” says wildlife rehabilitation specialist Tim Jasinski. “We encourage the community to call us before intervening, as baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature.”

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:38 AM, 03.15.2022

BAYarts sculpture has a story

This is the story of how an abandoned tree trunk turned into the awe-inspiring sculpture installed on the BAYarts campus.

Once upon a time, Bay High art instructor Tom Schemrich, who would pass through the campus with his students to draw, noted that a particular campus garden was in need of a sculpture. The garden in question sits in front of the iconic red caboose in a circular lavender bed sponsored by Bay residents Ralph and Ginny Cascarilla. Now, anyone who knows "Mr. Schemrich" knows he took this as a serious creative challenge, a challenge his students would have an integral part in: conceiving, creating, installing and maintaining the work.

Under his direction, the students submitted several ideas to BAYarts in the form of small clay models. After selecting the design of winding hands reaching upward, the students got to work.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.01.2022

Great Backyard Bird Count

Looking for something to do during the February doldrums? Consider joining in the 25th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, coming up on Friday, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 21.

What is the Great Backyard Bird Count? It’s citizen science. A few days when ordinary people around the world come together to watch and count birds and report their observations to the greater birding community. The bird counts made by these citizen scientists are entered into eBird, one of the world’s largest nature databases. And used by the Audubon Society, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Birds Canada to learn about bird populations and determine how best to protect birds and their habitats, like the beaches and woodlands along the shore of Lake Erie here in Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:57 AM, 02.15.2022

Nature thrives at Concord Reserve

A sprawling tomato plant lives in the Concord Reserve greenhouse. Its spread dominates one entire wall. Imagine Audrey from “Little Shop of Horrors” – only this plant doesn’t eat people, it feeds them.  Here’s the backstory for the extraordinary plant that Concord Reserve resident Bob Thompson decided to name Cecile.

When Bob and his wife, Della, moved to Concord Reserve Independent Living back in 2020, it didn’t take Bob long to spot the greenhouse. With a little attention and some new shelves, the greenhouse was opened for residents to house and protect their delicate plants over the winter.

Working on this success, Bob, along with the help of Events & Programs Coordinator Karen, came up with another plan for the greenhouse. A committee was formed to attempt fundraising for the Concord Reserve Foundation by raising and selling seedlings from scratch.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:14 AM, 01.18.2022

Greyhound of the air

The Northern Pintail Duck is an elegant traveler that visits Ohio between its breeding grounds in Canada and the upper plains states and its wintering grounds in our southern states. It is a fast and swift flyer that well deserves the nickname "greyhound of the air."

The male "drake" is easily recognizable by its white breast, long neck and distinctive long pintail. Pintail ducks can sometimes be found mixed in with other ducks on local ponds and lakes such as this one spotted at the Clague Park duck pond in Westlake on Jan. 10.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:13 AM, 01.18.2022

Protect Lake Erie this winter!

Just beyond our backyards lies one of the world's greatest resources, Lake Erie! With such an abundance of fresh water in Northeast Ohio we sometimes take our rivers and Great Lake for granted. But don’t forget, everything we do on the land affects our waterways. This winter here are some tips to protect your local streams and our Great Lake!

  1. Don’t dump leaves and yard debris near the lake, a stream, natural area, or storm drain.
  2. Leaves and yard debris should be composted or mulched into smaller pieces to decompose over the winter. This adds organic material to your lawn and gardens.
  3. If you use salt on your driveway/sidewalks, salt sensibly! One coffee cup of salt is enough for 10 sidewalk squares.
  4. Purchase deicer products that are lower in ammonia. Check the ingredients!

Take the Sensible Salting pledge to learn more here: www.bit.ly/SaltPledge. Remember: Only rain down the drain!

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:14 AM, 01.18.2022

Donít need snow to see 'snowies'

"Snowies" – snowy owls, that is – are snow white owls like Hedwig of Harry Potter fame. Their stark white color is good camouflage in the region north of the Arctic Circle they call home. But that, along with their large size (up to 27 inches tall with a 49- to 51-inch wingspan), makes them easy to see here in Northeast Ohio, especially if there is no snow on the ground.

Snowy owls move south from their arctic breeding grounds in winter. But they rarely venture as far south as the United States and then only into the most northern reaches along the U.S.-Canada border, including Northeast Ohio. This year is one of those years, called an irruption, when snowy owls are moving south and have been seen in our area.

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:49 AM, 12.21.2021

What to look for in the night sky this winter

As we near the shortest day of the year, many of us reminisce about the long summer days with plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors after school or work.

But despite chillier temperatures, there are several ways to enjoy nature during the winter months. And that includes nighttime sky viewing. Below are a few favorite objects to look up for this season.

Orion
One of the biggest and brightest constellations in the night sky is Orion the Hunter. First, look southeast for three equally bright stars in a straight line that form “Orion’s belt.” Serving as his right shoulder is the supergiant star Betelgeuse, which shines brightly with a reddish tint.

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:49 AM, 12.21.2021

Frogs & Polliwogs registration begins Nov. 9

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will offer online registration for spring sessions of its parent and toddler program, Frogs & Polliwogs, on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 9:00 a.m.

Frogs & Polliwogs introduces children to the wonders of nature through hands-on activities, crafts, music, games, stories, live animal encounters and planetarium shows. The program is recommended for toddlers ages 18-36 months accompanied by a parent or grandparent. 

The cost is $330/child for weekly classes beginning Jan, 25, 2022 through May 13, 2022. Masks will be worn by Center staff and are required for adults and children ages 2 and above.

Learn more at www.lensc.org/preschool-programs.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:24 AM, 11.02.2021

Dangers of improperly discarded fishing line

Discarded fishing line poses a danger to humans, machinery, pets and wildlife.

Results can be deadly if your dog or cat happens to eat an animal that is tangled in fishing line or has ingested it, particularly if a hook is still attached. Humans can step on hooks, requiring surgical removal. Weed-wackers can require unnecessary maintenance if the line tangles the rotor and boats can suffer damage if old fishing line is caught between the propellers.

Wildlife, however, bears the brunt of fishing line that has been irresponsibly discarded. According to Coastal Breeze News, fishing line filaments, with or without hooks, that have been discarded along our beaches and waterways are the leading cause of wildlife entanglement. Furthermore, Audubon estimates that one million shorebirds die every year as a result of marine debris with over 300,000 of those deaths attributed to discarded fishing lines and hooks.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:21 AM, 10.19.2021

New exhibit features tree-dwelling master of camouflage

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center has a new species of animal on exhibit. A nimble, lime-green predator with beady eyes that likes to slink about in trees and bushes. Yet, despite the exotic sounding description, this is not a creature of the tropical jungle, but a native Ohio reptile known as the Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus). 

Tim Jasinski, Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, explains that this snake species is normally found in southern Ohio while the related and visually similar Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis) is more often found in northern Ohio. However, Rough Green Snakes were chosen for this exhibit because of their active climbing habit which is perfect for the tall exhibit space.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.19.2021

Autumn in a nutshell

The crackle beneath your feet, a sudden thump on the ground nearby. These familiar autumn sounds of forest and backyard indicate that summer has come to a close and many species of trees have begun to disperse their large crop of seeds and nuts. Great quantities of these are gobbled up by native wildlife as a seasonal, nutrient-rich food source that is especially useful to animals preparing for energy consuming survival strategies like migration and hibernation.

Squirrels famously store large collections of nuts in hidden caches for the winter to come. This is useful for the trees as well since not every buried seed is recovered before it sprouts into a young tree. It might be a long time before an acorn produces a large harvest of its own though – it can take 50 years or more for some oak tree species to produce an abundant harvest!

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 10:00 AM, 10.05.2021

Fruit lovers and wine drinkers beware!

On Sept. 21, 2021, a population of the invasive spotted lanternfly (SLF) was discovered in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, on the east side of Cuyahoga County. This is a deceptively beautiful "hopper" that likely hitched a ride on railroad cars to arrive here from Pennsylvania where the economic impact could total in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of jobs, for those in the grapes, apple, hops, and hardwood industries.

From there, the SLF has traveled to a few other states, and now has three locations in Ohio, having arrived via river boat to Cincinnati, and presumed train to our home. No, they cannot drive, but they also do not fly; they hop from one area to the next, and lay their eggs on any flat hard surface where the eggs become traveling larvae and eventually adults, feeding on fruit and sap of many types of trees and plants.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:12 AM, 09.21.2021

Celebrating the fall harvest

The days are getting shorter as daylight continues to wane for another two months until winter equinox, the shortest day of the year.

The little garden patch in the northwest corner of the Knickerbocker Apartments is still producing tomatoes and herbs and peppers and lovely flowers. Cucumbers on vines rooted in pots climb the fence and reach out to Clematis. Some leaves are turning yellow and let go as the gentle autumn wind takes them for a journey. The trees from a neighboring lot give welcome shade in the summer but in fall and winter the more sun the better.

Mint has been harvested and used in Tzatziki, a cold cucumber and yogurt dish. While other herbs are harvested, squirrels gather acorns and Canada Geese fly in formation to their winter homes.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:21 AM, 09.21.2021

Fall migrations are underway

From birds to butterflies, wildlife is on the move. Ohio’s geography of forests, grasslands and coasts, along with two large water sources – Lake Erie and the Ohio River – attracts a wide array of wildlife during fall migration. Here are Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s top migrations to observe this season.

Monarch Butterflies

One of the most fascinating creatures in North America is the monarch butterfly. Each fall, millions of monarchs leave their summer breeding grounds in the northeastern United States and Canada to travel upwards of 3,000 miles to reach their overwintering grounds in southwestern Mexico.

To spot these winged migrants, look in lakefront woodlots or areas with plants still in flower such as asters or goldenrod.

Bats

Depending on the species, some Ohio bats such as the eastern red bat, hoary Bat and silver-haired bat migrate south in the cooler months when food sources become scarce. The best time to see them is around sunset or sunrise when it is warm and dry. While some bats fly relatively high, others are found closer to the ground and tree line.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:13 AM, 09.21.2021

Gardening at the Knickerbocker

As August came to a close I went to our little community garden at the Knickerbocker Apartments to take morning pictures when the sun highlights the loveliness of our meager efforts. One gardener, however, has spent many hours tending the garden and has given advice and watered when needed. Robert is from Lebanon and brings old world wisdom, even his mother's advice not to waste a thing, and shares it along with recipes for tabbouleh and his hot peppers, which he grows in abundance.

The Knickerbocker has kindly provided eight raised beds that are waist high, built on stilts so older people don't have to kneel to garden which would prevent many like myself from gardening at all. They also provided potting soil to fill the boxes, sometimes mixing in the clay-like native dirt that is not fit for growing anything. I am surprised any grass grows at all.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:44 AM, 09.08.2021

Observe the Perseid Meteor Shower at its peak, Aug. 11-13

Look up! The Perseid Meteor Shower, one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, will peak Aug. 11 through Aug. 13. In preparation for this cosmic event, Planetarium Specialist Bill Reed of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center explains what a meteor shower is and provides tips for seeing “shooting stars” this month.

What is a meteor shower?

Comets are large, icy solar system bodies. As a comet passes closer to the sun, its ice warms and begins to release particles of dust and rock into the atmosphere, which can result in a glowing trail of vapor.

Meteor showers occur when meteoroids -- the rocks and debris left behind by a comet -- enter the Earth's atmosphere. Meteoroids are almost always small enough to quickly burn up in our atmosphere, so there is little chance they will strike Earth's surface.

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Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 9:58 AM, 08.03.2021

Local high school student is aspiring wildlife photographer

At the beginning of the pandemic with most of the country locked down indoors, Westside Christian Academy junior Nathaniel Shackelford took to the great outdoors. There he discovered a fascinating world of nature, quite literally in his own backyard. With his father’s camera a Canon EOS 70D, Nathaniel photographed an aerial battle between a red-tailed hawk and a crow. Sharing the picture from this encounter with his high school classmates elicited favorable comments and encouraged him to continue photographing birds.

Realizing that he needed a technological upgrade, Nathaniel used all his available cash to purchase the Sigma 150-600mm lens. With this new equipment, he has photographed over 100 species of birds, most in his Bay Village backyard. Other locations where he’s taken photos include the Rocky River Reservation, Sandy Ridge Reservation in North Ridgeville and Magee Marsh along Lake Erie near Oak Harbor.

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Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 9:59 AM, 08.03.2021

6 ways to enjoy nature with your preschooler

It’s officially summer! The sun is shining, the weather is warm, animals are out and about, and families are exploring the outdoors.

Below are Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s activity ideas for you to enjoy nature with your preschooler this season.

Embark on a nature scavenger hunt
Summer is the perfect time to hike with preschoolers. Bring along a nature scavenger hunt for your child to discover new things in the forest – or even in your own back yard (printable scavenger hunts are available at lensc.org/visit/virtual-learning).

For the littlest of hikers, we recommend gathering a box of crayons or paint samples so that they can match them with colorful things in nature.

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:31 AM, 07.06.2021