Nature & Environment

Foam: Natural causes or pollution in our waters?

If the Cahoon Creek has a "clean bill of health," as reported by the Sea Scouts in the March 21 issue of the Observer, why is there foam in the creek? Is it from pollution? This question was posed by a reader of the Observer who lives by the creek. Two members of the Marine Environment Explorer Club 360, Norah Hamil and Jennie Koomar, set out to answer this question. Research suggested that a close examination of the foam would point to its source.

Foam is generated when there is a change in water surface tension and air is introduced. Surface tension is that force on a water/air interface that forms a slight film on the surface of water. Surface tension is what forms beads of water on a newly waxed car and also allows certain insects and spiders to walk on water. When certain chemicals, called surface active agents or surfactants, are introduced to the water the surface tension is reduced and then as air is introduced by turbulence, foam is formed.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:59 AM, 04.18.2017

Birds of Lake Erie Day: For the beginning birder to the expert conservationist!

Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for its second annual Birds of Lake Erie Day on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Get ready to learn all about our local feathered friends, Lake Erie birding and much more with programs and activities for all ages, including:

  • Presentations by the Center’s expert wildlife staff on rehabilitating bird species
  • A bird hike throughout Huntington Reservation to the shores of Lake Erie led by Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Tim Jasinski
  • Appearances from the Center’s ambassador animals and presentations by Project Wildlife students
  • Planetarium programs discussing the effects of light pollution on wildlife
  • Fun family activities
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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:22 AM, 04.18.2017

Spend Spring Break at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center over spring break for a special selection of star shows and animal encounters to engage the whole family! Meet the Center's resident animals at Critter Encounters and travel to space in a wide variety of planetarium shows. Don't forget to browse the indoor and outdoor exhibits! Programs will be offered April 17-21 and are $2-$5 per person. Information about all of the programs is available at

The Center is open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and offers free admission to the public. The Center will be closed on Sunday, April 16, for Easter.

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 9:19 AM, 04.04.2017

Cahoon Creek gets clean bill of health

This past winter the Sea Scouts, along with the middle school Marine Environment Explorer Club 360, conducted a study to determine the effects of runoff and storm water on the Cahoon Creek. We set out to determine if the creek was being affected by anthropogenic pollution. The study included analysis of the soil, water, over cover density and macroinvertebrate at the source of the stream (the Metroparks, Bradley Woods Reservation), at the mid-point, and at the mouth (Bay Boat Club).

The soils ranged from sandy to silt/loam to clay at the mouth. This difference helped explain the higher level of phosphorus at the source. A clay soil has great phosphorus ion holding capabilities whereas a sandy soil would allow phosphorus to easily flow into the stream. The over cover density or amount of tree growth along the stream, studied by looking at Google Satellite views on the web, averaged above the 100 feet width recommended by the experts. Other anomalies such as an acidic pH level of 6.0 and a low level of macroinvertebrate at the mouth could be explained by sampling later in the day with an overcast sky and limited sample size.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:08 AM, 03.21.2017

Backyard astronomy guide to visible planets

Keep an eye out for visible planets in March and April’s evening skies with the help of Katy Accetta, astrophysicist at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.


Mercury, the smallest and innermost planet in the Solar System, is never too far from the sun in our skies. Mercury orbits the sun in 88 days, the shortest orbital period in the solar system, and spends most of its time behind the sun, in front of the sun or right next to the sun. When Mercury’s position and the sunset coincide, it becomes possible for us to see the often-hidden planet. Now is the best time of the year for ambitious sky watchers to catch Mercury as the planet will be set low in the western sky now through April 1. An especially great evening to catch Mercury, Mars and a crescent moon all in the western sky is March 30, where Mercury will resemble a bright star next to the setting sun.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:15 AM, 03.21.2017

Westlake Rain and Garden Show helps celebrate, protect environment

The City of Westlake’s Engineering Department and the Westlake Watershed Group are sponsoring the 6th Annual Rain and Garden Show to bring together experts to help individuals, families and businesses take simple steps to help our environment stay healthy for generations to come and learn how to save money at the same time.

As part of the City’s “Go Green” Program, the Rain and Garden Show will be held on Saturday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise awareness on storm water quality and promote eco-friendly products and healthy living. Attendees can also enter a free raffle for a special prize.

The event is free and open to the public. After five years at the Westlake Recreation Center, this year’s show will be at the new Market Square at Crocker Park, located at the end of Market Street, west of Trader Joe's. Free parking is available nearby.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:30 AM, 03.07.2017

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center offering wildlife internships

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is seeking two interns to join their Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff and take part in a unique educational opportunity this upcoming summer. Interns will gain hands-on experience working side-by-side with staff by assisting with animal care, wildlife rehabilitation and public education.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with the cleaning, feeding and additional daily care of resident animals
  • Assisting with the care of animals admitted to the wildlife rehabilitation program
  • Assisting with the Center’s public education and programming
  • Department administrative and organizational duties
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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:31 AM, 03.07.2017

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center unveils new NASA exhibit

NASA ViewSpace is your direct line to everything NASA, and it is now ready for visitors to enjoy at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center!

Located in the Center’s redesigned "Space Corner,” ViewSpace displays the latest images, movies, animations and news from NASA observatories. This astronomy exhibit never goes out of date as it showcases a variety of topics including astronomy photos of the day, updates on the Hubble Space Telescope, discoveries made on the Mars Exploration Rover and more. ViewSpace will provide visitors with 5-10 minute segments presented in an easy-to-read format. Its captivating music and stunning images are not to be missed!

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:49 AM, 02.21.2017

Sea Scouts and Club 360 visit the source of Cahoon Creek

The Sea Scouts and Explorer Club 360 went on a field trip to Bradley Woods Reservation on Jan. 13 in search of the source of Cahoon Creek. We were accompanied by Cleveland Metroparks naturalist, Martin Calabrese. The Sea Scouts and Explorer Club 360 are working on eCybermission projects, a STEM competition offered by the Army Educational Outreach Program; the Scouts and Explorers are investigating the effect of pollution in Cahoon Creek on plant growth and testing soil and water samples from the source, middle, and mouth of the creek.

During our research for the project, the course of Cahoon Creek was traced upstream through Bay Village, Westlake and North Olmsted to its primary source in the Bradley Woods Reservation. Mr. Calabrese led a hike through Bradley Woods which is the ONLY swamp forest on the Metroparks property, to find the exact source of Cahoon Creek. While we hiked Mr. Calabrese showed us how to use a densitometer, which is used to see how dense the land around you is. It has a mirror with grid lines on it and you look at the mirror facing up and count how many squares out of 24 have tree branches, trees or leaves. 

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.07.2017

5 ways you can help endangered pollinator populations

It may be difficult to look at a black and yellow insect with a stinger and not think, “Yikes! Get that stinging thing away from me!” However, the fuzzy variety of yellow and black insects, the honeybee and bumblebee, are not likely to cause you any harm.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service recently designated the Rusty Patched Bumblebee an endangered species, a first for bee species in the United States. Their status will go into effect on Feb. 10, as will their new federal protections and recovery plan.  

The bumblebee population has struggled in recent years, mainly due to habitat loss caused by the mowing and development of grasslands and prairies. In order to prevent the increase of bee and other pollinator species on the endangered species list, we must be proactive. 

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:40 AM, 01.24.2017

Students launch Cahoon Creek ecology study

To answer the question, “Is the Cahoon Creek polluted with urban runoff and storm sewer drainage?”, a seventh-grade team from the Explorer Club 360, and a ninth-grade team from the Sea Scouts, are collecting bed stream soil and water samples along the course of the creek. Explorer Club 360 will plant seeds in the collected soil and water them with the samples taken from Cahoon Creek. The ninth-graders will do a soil classification study and chemical analysis of the water and soil samples.

After tracing the course of Cahoon Creek on a large scale topographical map, the two crews determined that the creek runs from its mouth at Bay Boat Club through the city of Westlake to the origin or primary headwater in the Metroparks' Bradley Road Reservation of North Olmsted. The students gathered at the mouth of the creek where it flows into Lake Erie for a discussion with Lt. Col. Paul Moody, an associate professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:09 AM, 01.10.2017

Cure your family’s cabin fever at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

Feeling cooped up after the holidays? Cold weather and continuous snowfall is the perfect recipe for cabin fever, especially in Cleveland. The best way to combat cabin fever in the upcoming months is to get moving and find engaging activities in your community for the entire family.

If you’re not up for hiking the wintry trails of Huntington Reservation quite yet, don’t worry. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center offers a variety of engaging, indoor and outdoor activities for all ages throughout the winter months! Providing free admission seven days a week, the Center offers quality nature, environmental and science experiences through native wildlife exhibits, daily planetarium shows and more. Special family programs are offered each month, for just $4 to $7 a person.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:11 AM, 01.10.2017

Holiday gifts that give back

The holiday season is a special time of the year. A time when families and friends come together to celebrate, enjoy each others' company and exchange gifts. Whether you are looking for the perfect gift or a fun stocking stuffer for family and friends, the nonprofit Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is a great place to find gifts that give back.

Becoming a Wild Pal at the Center is a wonderful way to show your support for native wildlife and give something meaningful to the animal lovers on your list. This symbolic animal adoption program features 18 native animals and provides you with the opportunity to contribute to the medical care, food and maintenance of the animal of your choice.

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Volume 8, Issue 24, Posted 10:05 AM, 12.13.2016

How local wildlife prepares for winter

As humans, we prepare for winter in a variety of ways. We turn on the heat in our homes, bring our winter coats and snow boots out of storage, winterize our automobiles and more. Animals also prepare for winter, but in their own unique way. Throughout the next few months you will likely notice reduced activity in local wildlife, as animals prepare for the harsh conditions of the winter months.

According to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's expert wildlife staff, there are four common strategies local wildlife use in preparing for winter – migrating, hibernating, undergoing dormancy or simply dealing with it.

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Volume 8, Issue 24, Posted 10:11 AM, 12.13.2016

Marine Environment Explorer Club starts for middle school students

Bay Sea Scouts is sponsoring an Explorer Club whose focus will be on maritime activities. The club is co-ed, and open to all students in sixth through eighth grade interested in learning boating skills and environmental exploration of our Great Lakes. Winter meetings will take place at Bay Presbyterian Church on Tuesdays, Nov. 15 and 29, and Dec. 13 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Activities during the colder months will be STEM based and could include field trips to the William G. Mather ore boat, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Ohio State Stone Labs on Gibraltar Island. Summer activities will be on the water, and will include instruction in sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding with certified instructors. The Sea Scouts will provide leadership to move the club forward and, as high schoolers, act as mentors.

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Volume 8, Issue 22, Posted 9:45 AM, 11.15.2016

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center admits rare Yellow Rail

Last month, the Wildlife Rehabilitation team at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center admitted a Yellow Rail, a rare bird in Ohio. 

Although Yellow Rails often move through the Northeast Ohio area during migration, they are unlikely to be seen due to their extremely secretive behavior. As the second smallest rail in North America, the Yellow Rail breeds in sedge marshes and winters in both marshes and hay fields.

This particular bird was found near Industrial Parkway in Cleveland. The initial exam conducted by Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s expert wildlife staff did not show any physical injuries, but the bird was weak and stressed – likely due to a long flight across the Great Lakes.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:08 AM, 11.01.2016

Green teams have many colors

Representatives from many west side sustainability groups discovered that they have as many differences as commonalities during an Oct. 26 gathering at Rocky River Unitarian Universalist Church. One local green team was formed because of a concern that pesticides were being sprayed on the grass in public parks where children play. Another was formed in response to Pope Francis’ plea for the earth and, on the feast of St. Francis, 50 attendees learned many simple ways to reduce their carbon footprints.

The focus and efforts of green teams and community environmental groups are indeed diverse, from an interest in educating their community on rain barrels and composting, to community gardening, to reducing energy usage by large companies. Speakers mentioned coloring contests among school children to heighten environmental awareness, planning for solar panels, and cleanup actions for area streams. Those present heard about composting ordinances, large tree protection and community supported agriculture.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:02 AM, 11.01.2016

Explore the Earth's moon on Nov. 10

For centuries, humans have been fascinated by the Earth's moon, the largest and brightest object in our sky. Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. for SkyQuest: Night of the Beaver Moon, as astrophysicist Nick Anderson explains the meaning behind our nearest neighbor's many nicknames.

Native American tribes created distinctive names for full moons throughout the year as a method to keep track of the seasons. Super Moon, Blood Moon and Blue Moon are all names used to describe various astronomical events. With the use of the Walter R. Schuele Planetarium's digital projector, you will have the chance to travel to the moon and explore the lunar landscape in extraordinary detail. The program will conclude with a star talk, making use of both the Center's planetarium projectors.

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Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:05 AM, 11.01.2016

Dry summer doesn’t take the bloom off Westlake contest

Westlake held its annual celebration of all things green – and pink, purple and yellow – with the Westlake in Bloom awards reception at LaCentre on Aug. 10. The special evening offers appreciation to those residents and businesses who help beautify the city by enhancing their properties with flowers and landscape features.

The top three winners in each of the 15 categories were recognized at the ceremony with a plaque and a handshake from Mayor Dennis Clough. A slideshow of photos taken by Jim Bedell, Westlake’s planning director and the evening’s emcee, demonstrated the difficult task faced by the contest’s judges. Window boxes, patios, yards and commercial properties burst with color and creativity.

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.16.2016

Northeast Ohio is going to the birds

Most of us can tell the difference between a cardinal and a blue jay, but do you know your tufted titmouse from your white-breasted nuthatch? Your hermit thrush from your brown thrasher?

Jen Brumfield, naturalist with the Cleveland Metroparks, knows a little something about spotting birds. In 2011, Jen identified a record-setting 240 bird species in Cuyahoga County as part of the American Birding Association’s Big Year competition. Jen broke her own record in 2012, recording a phenomenal 270 species.

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 9:51 AM, 08.16.2016

House Wren Watching

Our house wrens are gone, and we are bereft, anxiously scanning ours and the neighbors’ back yards for any sign of the family that won our hearts this summer. It’s hard to believe that my husband and I are nostalgic for a time when two very aggressive, territorial little birds barely larger than hummingbirds took over our yard, scolding us with their strident cries even when we walked past the windows inside our house. And yet we are.

Let me explain. I believe we were there when the moment of conception occurred, resulting in the little nest of cheeping baby house wrens. One evening in early July we sat in the back yard as the sun was setting and marveled as the two little birds chased each other incessantly, without rest for what seemed like hours. Suddenly the two birds, conjoined, fell to the ground. They’re dead, we thought.

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Volume 8, Issue 16, Posted 9:39 AM, 08.16.2016

BHS senior to plant butterfly garden in Walker Road Park

In recent years the monarch butterfly population has rapidly declined. To help with this pressing issue, Laura Curry, an incoming senior at Bay High School, is planting a butterfly garden at Walker Road Park this September. The garden will be 20 feet by 10 feet and near the pond at Walker Park. Laura will be planting many milkweed and nectar plants to aide monarch butterflies on their migration to Canada. The milkweed plants are for the butterflies to lay their eggs on and the nectar plants provide nourishment for the butterflies.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 9:34 AM, 06.21.2016

Westlake hosts Tree City USA awards banquet

The City of Westlake, along with the Westlake Tree Commission, hosted the 2016 Tree City USA Awards banquet at LaCentre on Tuesday, May 10. Northern Ohio Tree Cities from as close as Bay Village and as far away as Sandusky, Youngstown and Wadsworth attended the event. All in all, over 240 participants, the largest gathering ever for this event, enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and lunch and many outstanding speakers. Exhibitors from many nurseries, lawn care companies, The Holden Arboretum and Forest City Tree Preservation took time to display their products to those in attendance and many local businesses provided gifts and door prizes.

Westlake's Service Director Paul Quinn emceed the program, which opened with a greeting and welcome by Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough, followed by remarks from Alan Siewert, a regional urban forester from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Beth Buchanan was there to promote the Tree Fund which finances research into tree development.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:05 AM, 05.17.2016

Celebrate National Garden Week

The National Garden Clubs Inc. designates a week in June every year as National Garden Week. They ask local garden clubs to celebrate with activities that involve the community to learn more about gardening and making good choices.

This year the Westlake Garden Club will celebrate National Garden Week with the following activities:

  • Monday, June 6, 10:30 a.m. – Come to Dean’s Greenhouse, 3984 Porter Road, to learn how to plant a vegetable garden in a container and what vegetables work best. Bring a container to plant or purchase one there. A good selection of plants will be available.
  • Wednesday, June 8, 10:30 a.m. – It is never too early to get children involved in gardening. Bring your children to Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, to pick up a kit with everything needed to grow a plant from seed.
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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:40 AM, 05.17.2016

The importance of Arbor Day

Trees are such a big part of our lives that sometimes we tend not to notice them, to take them for granted. Then once a year on the last Friday in April, we see articles written and programs taking place to celebrate Arbor Day.

The first official Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1874, in Nebraska. Soon other states passed legislation to observe Arbor Day and it became a nationwide tradition by 1882. It was estimated that more than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day.

All of this came about because of the efforts of a pioneer by the name of J. Sterling Morton, a journalist and editor who became secretary of the Nebraska Territory. Morton and his wife loved nature and came to realize the importance of trees to the landscape and environment. Besides the visual beauty and shade to protect us from the sun, trees are functionally significant in controlling storm water and soil erosion, conserving energy, and removing pollutants from the air and water. Trees also provide nesting sites for birds, food for birds and other animals, and nuts, seeds and fruit for our own diets.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:43 AM, 05.03.2016

Bay Middle School students learn about conservation

Bay High School’s Project Earth club members contributed to the celebration of Arbor Day by spreading environmental awareness to young students at Bay Middle School on April 29. The Arbor Day Ambassadors designed activities to help seventh-grade students understand the importance of renewable resources. With help from the Bay Village city arborist Mike Polinski and the donation of 200 red oak trees the students were able to learn and plant, then take home their own renewable resource!

Members of Project Earth discussed the importance of conservation and how we can all protect the environment. Students learned about the impact of healthy trees within our community and the importance of cleaning our local waterways.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:43 AM, 05.03.2016

Dover Intermediate students celebrate trees with planting, poster contest

In celebration of Arbor Day, the Westlake City Tree Commission sponsored a poster and essay contest for Dover Intermediate School's fifth-grade students. Essays included information about the importance of trees for the city and its residents. The students' posters were colorful illustrations of the area's trees and the theme “Why Trees are Important to ME”. The posters showed methods of preserving and protecting trees as well as encouraging the planting of new trees for shade, erosion control, animal habitats, wind shelters and beauty.

Posters were judged by the Westlake City Tree Commission members Mary Beth Schneidler, Margie Rossander, John Walz, Diane Morris, Justin Parks, Westlake Urban Forestry Manager Stan Barnard and Westlake City Service Director Paul Quinn.

The poster contest and tree planting are components of Westlake's status as a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Being a Tree City USA requires the city to meet criteria to ensure the preservation and protection of trees as well as observing Arbor Day celebrations for the community. This is Westlake's 25th year earning this designation and was the fourth year for the poster contest. All of the fifth-graders who submitted a poster for the contest were invited to the April 29 ceremony and tree planting.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:47 AM, 05.03.2016

A most peculiar place to nest

If you have driven around the community this spring, you may have noticed that Canada geese are nesting in the most peculiar places. Two examples of this are nests located by the entrance of the water treatment plant on Clague Road (right next to the sidewalk!) and near Hooley House on Sperry Road (in a landscaping island, right in the parking lot!)

Why do the geese select such odd places to built their nests? The answer is because they have protection. According to Amy LeMonds, wildlife specialist at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, the guardians of these nests are the geese’s mates, the ganders. The females feel safe because their mates are always nearby to protect them, as this photographer found out while photographing the nest on Clague Road. As I was approaching the nest,  I kept inching closer to get the best shot. Suddenly, I heard a honk.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:07 AM, 04.19.2016

‘Birds of Lake Erie’ event introduced for all levels of birding experience

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center recognizes the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty with the introduction of the event, Birds of Lake Erie Day, on Saturday, April 30. The treaty was initially signed in 1916 as an international effort to protect, conserve and manage migratory bird populations and their habitats.

Birds are a mechanism for many important environmental functions such as seed dispersal, waste management, and pest control. Observing bird populations can provide valuable insight into what is occurring in our natural world.

“We wanted to both celebrate the past 100 years of progress and to promote conservation and education moving forward,” says Director of Wildlife Amy LeMonds.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:50 AM, 04.19.2016

Families adventure to space at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

With the introduction of Family Adventures in Space, the offerings for families at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s planetarium continue to grow. Introduced in March, this program provides another opportunity for audiences of all ages to explore outer space together.

Each weekend, families at the Bay Village institution will travel through space, visit different objects in the Solar System, explore constellations in the night sky and learn about NASA’s missions. The program runs Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. in the planetarium which was transformed in 2014. Tickets are just $3 per person and guests are invited to explore the rest of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at which admission and parking are always free.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:06 AM, 03.15.2016

Controlling geese in an urban environment

Maybe you've noticed the increasing number of Canada geese on your property, in nearby parks, at schools, hospitals, roadways and parking lots. With ever-increasing numbers these geese have become a health hazard and nuisance in our urban environment.

You have probably waded through the mine field of goose droppings on your way into work. Possibly you've fed these geese leftover bread at a local lake. Probably you were unaware of the damage done to both the geese and the environment by interfering with "normal" migratory patterns of Canada geese.

At the March 16 meeting of the Westlake Garden Club, geese management experts from Ohio Geese Control will be speaking about these topics and other aspects of geese control. Join us at Westlake Porter Public Library at 1 p.m. for this interesting and educational program.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 9:32 AM, 03.01.2016

Sustainability forum series continues in March

Representatives from three local Green Teams – Bay Village, Fairview Park and Rocky River – gathered on Feb. 16 for a sustainability forum on the topic of single-use plastic bags. The speaker was Cuyahoga Councilwoman Sunny Simon, who addressed the logistics of implementing a plastic bag fee in Cuyahoga County. Studies show such a fee results in a 50-79 percent reduction in single-use bags. This process, not likely to move forward until 2017, would follow in the footsteps of cities across America and the world who have used economics to incentive environmental stewardship. Simon identified the efforts of Montgomery County, Maryland, as a community to model. Thank you to Councilwoman Simon for her time and candor and to Lisa McMonagle, Fairview Park Green Team volunteer, for coordinating the forum.

Building on the success of the February forum, the Fairview Park Green Team will host a second sustainability forum on Tuesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. in the Dunson Community Room at Fairview Park City Hall, 20777 Lorain Road. This forum – “Simple Steps to Natural Lawn Care & Stormwater Drainage Solutions” – will showcase ways homeowners can act to improve water quality in the Rocky River and Lake Erie watersheds.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 9:37 AM, 03.01.2016

Winter offers new view of nature

Walking through Huntington Reservation this time of the year allows one to see what's beyond the leaf-covered trees of spring. A new view to a beautiful walk in the woods is just waiting to be discovered!

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.16.2016

Small, simple actions can have large impact

Everyone can take part in a beach clean-up every single day. A single human can have a huge impact on the health of our beautiful Lake Erie by picking up litter anywhere, anytime. Litter on our streets, in our yards, and in our parks easily ends up in the lake by getting into the storm sewer grates on the street, or getting blown directly into the lake or a tributary river or stream. 

In 2012, Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason, a professor at SUNY Fredonia, led the first ever Great Lakes plastic pollution survey. What she found was that Lake Erie contained twice the amount of plastic pollution than was previously found in the most contaminated ocean sample. Lake Erie was also found to have 56 times more plastic pollution than any other Great Lake! There are a few theories on why this is, including the fact that Erie has the most populated shoreline of the Great Lakes and that three Great Lakes (Superior, Huron and Michigan) all flow into Erie, contributing more plastic pollution.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.02.2016

Sustainability forum to focus on single-use plastics

The Fairview Park Green Team is pleased to announce it will host Cuyahoga Councilwoman Sunny Simon and the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Hyle Lowry in an upcoming sustainability forum on single-use plastic bags. These bags create unnecessary waste, pollution in our waterways and on land, deplete our natural resources, harm wildlife, and jeopardize human health and food supplies.

Sunny Simon has served on Cuyahoga County Council since 2011. As Chair of the Education, Environment and Sustainability Committee, Ms. Simon is working toward making the Cuyahoga County government a leader in promoting environmentally sustainable practices for the long-term growth of the region. During the forum, Councilwoman Simon will speak about how the imposition of a fee on single-use plastic and paper bags countywide will impact the environment, consumers and retail businesses.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:52 AM, 02.02.2016

Bay Village dropped from Buckeye recycling route

The recycling collection bins located outside Dwyer Senior Center and the Village Bicycle Cooperative will be removed on Jan. 12. Buckeye Industries, a nonprofit organization that recycles plastics, cardboard and Styrofoam while training and employees individuals with disabilities, has discontinued their Bay Village route. Citing a depressed recycling market and economic concerns, Buckeye representative Carmen Siciliano said the organization’s final pick-up from the bins will be Jan. 11.

The Buckeye bins had been the only local option for residents looking to recycling Styrofoam, as well as certain plastics.

After Jan. 11, packaging (not food waste) Styrofoam may be bagged and taken to Buckeye’s westside Cleveland location, off West 130th Street near I-480. Visit for directions. Plastic film and bags can be dropped off for recycling at area retailers, including many Giant Eagle, Target and Lowe’s stores.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 9:52 AM, 01.05.2016

Wild Pals program provides education and support

The new Wild Pals animal adoption program at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center provides a refreshed offering of the previous adopt-an-animal program, focusing on native wildlife and providing increased educational content for supporters. Through the generous support of donors, this progam helps to offset the costs of medical care, food and maintenance for the animals on exhibit and used in educational programming.

Eighteen native species such as bald eagle, great horned owl, eastern fox snake and waterfowl are available for adoption for varying periods of time, allowing donors to customize their support. All Wild Pals adopters receive a certificate and photograph of the animal. They also receive a fact sheet full of valuable information on the animal they've chosen to support.

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Volume 7, Issue 24, Posted 9:43 AM, 12.15.2015

Eyes to the sky for Geminid Meteor Shower

Turn your eyes to the sky to be a part of the Geminid Meteor Shower. In the dark evening sky of Dec. 13, viewers should be able to witness many “shooting stars,” breathtaking streaks of light.

The Geminid Meteor Shower will be most visible Sunday evening, Dec. 13. No telescopes, binoculars or special equipment are needed. Katy Accetta, planetarium specialist at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, suggests midnight as the ideal time for viewing but says the spectacle should be visible as early as 10 p.m. Meteors will be visible as streaks of light through the air and should be observable throughout the sky, although she suggests looking east. A crescent moon will help by providing a dark night sky.

Meteors are composed of tiny bits of dust and rock left behind by soaring comets. When the Earth passes through this debris, these bits of comet litter penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere and begin to plummet towards the planet. They reach such incredible speeds that they ignite and catch fire.

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Volume 7, Issue 23, Posted 9:54 AM, 12.01.2015

Bay Village Green Team takes 1 step back, 3 steps forward

The community of Bay Village lost one of its most active environmental champions recently when longtime resident Brenda O’Reilly moved out of the city. An inaugural member of the Bay Village Green Team, which Mayor Debbie Sutherland assembled in 2007, Brenda helped lead the group of volunteers during her tenure with the team.

She served as co-chair for several years, later joining the board of trustees, and spearheaded a number of sustainability initiatives and partnerships including zero-waste events, Habitat for Humanity collections, administration of county recycling grants and educational workshops. Among her many other activities, Brenda helped launch the community garden and was part of the working group that drafted the city’s sustainability master plan in 2012. Observer readers may also remember Brenda for her column on “green” topics or the many articles extolling her environmental activism.

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Volume 7, Issue 22, Posted 10:31 AM, 11.17.2015

Trip to recycling center and landfill

Behind-the-scenes tour offers look at what happens to our waste

On Oct. 21, the Bay Village Green Team and Rocky River Green Team, along with students from Rocky River High School, visited Republic Services’ Resource Recovery Complex and landfill in Oberlin. A tour of the recycling center and landfill was provided to 31 attendees in order to gain an understanding of where our waste ends up. 

The Resource Recovery Complex is the place where all of our recycling goes. It is a single-stream recycling facility which means that customers are able to mix all of their recyclables together in one container, making it easier to recycle at home or work. At the Resource Recovery Complex, recycling is identified, sifted and sorted using high tech equipment such as magnets, optical scanners, and hand-sorting.

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Volume 7, Issue 21, Posted 10:12 AM, 11.03.2015