Monthly Archives: January 2013

Summer Lovin’

The groundhog may be hibernating, but we sure are not! We are ready for the  Delaware Nature Society’s Summer Camps to begin!

Groundhog is ready for Summer Camp

Even the groundhog is excited about Summer Camp!

 

If you like hiking, catching frogs or butterflies, canoeing and kayaking, crafts, birding…

It's a bird...

It’s a bird…it’s a raptor…it’s Summer Camp 2013!

…cooking,  fishing, geology, building forts, archery, or just the general thrill of being outside in nature, don’t wait to sign up!

 

Tell your parents to mark their calendars, because Summer Camp registration starts this Friday!

February 1-14: DNS members with Household Plus level or higher

February 15-28: All other current DNS members with a Household membership.

March 1: Non-Member registration begins

 

Be sure to check out our website www.delawarenaturesociety.org to see our awesome list of Summer Camp programs!

We're...

We’re ready to get our Summer Camp on, are you!?

How “Sirius” Are You About Astronomy?

Have you taken a look at our beautiful winter sky lately? There is so much to see, and January is a great time to see stars! So what are you waiting for? Grab your coat, your binoculars (and your parents!) and get outside to look at the sky!

I think looking at the night sky is like a big “Where’s Waldo?” kind of game, but instead of only finding Waldo, you get to find much, much more! Try picking one planet, star, or constellation (a group of stars that scientists have named) that are visible during the time you’re outside and try to find as many as you can! I always start with the moon because that’s the easiest to find in the sky. The moon is really cool because the moon’s shape doesn’t look exactly the same all the time; it cycles throughout each month. My favorite shape is the crescent moon when the moon looks like a thin letter “C”, I like to think it looks like a thumbnail!

The beautiful crescent moon sitting above the Earth's horizon.

The beautiful crescent moon sitting above the Earth’s horizon. I told you it looks like a thumbnail!

 

One of the easiest star groups to find is the Big Dipper. It looks like a big ladle or drinking gourd stretched across the sky!

Can you connect the dots to see the "drinking gourd" shape of the Big Dipper?

Can you connect the dots to see the “drinking gourd” shape of the Big Dipper?

You can then use the Big Dipper to find the North Star, one of the most important stars in the sky. The two stars on the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper are called “pointers”, because they point right to the North Star. Even though this star is not very bright, don’t be fooled! The North Star is the most important star in the sky besides the sun! That’s because it’s the only star that doesn’t appear to move. All other stars look like they are traveling in a circle around the North Star, isn’t that neat?

 

After you find the Big Dipper, turn around to face the south and try to find the mythological hunter, Orion.  In January, Orion is really bright! You can easily find Orion’s belt within the constellation; there are three stars that are very close to one another. Orion has a blurry “sword” hanging from his belt, a dim curve of stars that make up his “shield” (made of lion skin), and a raised arm with a “club” in his hand. Also, see if you can find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky! Look below and to the left of Orion’s left foot. Sirius is known as the “dog star”, because it’s part of the constellation Canis Major (the Big Dog). It looks like a dog trying to leap up at Orion’s leg!

Can you find Orion’s belt and Sirius in this picture?

 

Right now, the bright planet Jupiter is located right above the reddish star Aldebaran, which is part of the constellation Taurus.  In the upper right corner of the photo below is another part of Taurus: the pretty star cluster Pleiades, also known as the “Seven Sisters”.

Do you see...?

Do you see Aldebaran? This picture is a great map of the winter night sky! Can you find the other constellations I mentioned in this picture?

 

Join the Delaware Nature Society at Buena Vista this Friday, January 18th from 7:30 – 9:30pm to check out what is in the January skies. We will have telescopes and binoculars available for use as we look at Orion, Jupiter, and other brilliant constellations of winter. We will finish the evening with a warm cup of cider and some delicious gingersnaps!

If you’re interested in attending this program, please email dnsinfo@delawarenaturesociety.org or call (302) 239-2334 and provide your name, phone number, and number of people attending.

A Snowy Ashland Morning

Hey kids! Did you enjoy waking up Sunday morning to the blanket of snow as much as I did? Christy Belardo, Delaware Nature Society’s Volunteer Coordinator, and I had a sleepover at the intern house the night before; it was a wonderful surprise for both of us to wake up to snow! We quickly shoved our feet in our boots and threw on our coats to go take pictures of the snow covered Ashland Nature Center. The glistening white snow looked beautiful in the morning sun!

The snow covered driveway leading up to the intern house. Do you see the tracks in the bottom of the picture? Can you guess what animal those tracks belong to? (Keep reading to find out...) Photo by Christy Belardo.

The snow covered driveway leading up to the intern house. Do you see the tracks in the bottom of the picture? Can you guess what animal those tracks belong to? (Take the quiz below to see if your guess is correct!) Photo by Christy Belardo.

The  marsh looks quite different when it’s blanketed in snow! Photo by Christy Belardo.

The marsh looks quite different when it’s blanketed in snow! Photo by Christy Belardo.

After we got our fill of taking pictures, we headed back inside. There is a bird feeder that sits right outside the dining room bay window, and I often bird as I’m eating my breakfast in the mornings. Christy and I did the same, and she caught this Carolina Chickadee in action at the feeder. We saw Tufted Titmice and a White-breasted Nuthatch who also came to the feeder to eat breakfast with us.

Carolina Chickadee at the bird feeder next to the intern house!

Carolina Chickadee at the bird feeder next to the intern house! Photo by Christy Belardo.

 

Christy and I also got to see some tracks that were in the driveway. Take a good look at the tracks in these pictures; Photo 1 and Photo 2. Then, scroll down to take the quiz below to see if you can identify the animal that made the tracks!

Photo 1: What animal made these tracks? Answer below!

Photo 1: What animal made these tracks? Take the quiz below!

Photo 2: What animal made these tracks? Answer below!

Photo 2: What animal made these tracks? Take the quiz below!

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

If you enjoying exploring in winter like Christy and me, and you’re looking for something to do on a day you have no school, look no further than the Delaware Nature Society’s Day Camps! When school is out, nature is in! The first day camp is Monday, January 21st 8:30am – 3:30pm for kids ages 5-12.  We will be exploring the winter wonderland of Ashland looking for signs of animals and tracks, as well as playing games and making our own bird feeders. Dress for the weather and pack a lunch. Snacks will be provided.

Save the dates for our other day camps as well!
Monday, February 18th 8:30am – 3:30pm
No School? Ashland Unplugged – Experience your favorite video games come to life! Try shooting an arrow or a slingshot, and complete an obstacle course to save the “princess”! Dress for the weather and pack a lunch. Snacks will be provided.

Wednesday, April 3rd 8:30am – 3:30pm
No School? Caring for Animals – Spend time with Ashland’s animal collection and exploring the grounds for some animal’s favorite food! Build a toad abode or “enrichment” for one of the animals at Ashland Nature Center or at home. Dress for the weather and pack a lunch. Snacks will be provided.

Don’t miss out just because your parents have to work when you have no school! Before-care and after-care are available for all our day camps.

If you are interested in registering for our day camps or would like more information, please visit us at www.delawarenaturesociety.org or call us at (302) 239-2334.