Monthly Archives: April 2013

Make Every Day Earth Day

Delaware Nature Society will be celebrating Earth Day rain or shine on Saturday, April 20th from 11am – 3pm at the DuPont Environmental Education Center located at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge. This year’s festival will be full of fun – canoeing and kayaking trips down the Christina River…

These Earth Day Festival attendees are loving their canoe trip through the marsh at DEEC. Photo by Jill Constantine.

…guided nature walks in the marsh, spotting ospreys on their nesting platform, catching fish and aquatic insects…

Dip netting is a favorite activity for all ages at Earth Day! Photo by Eric Robertson.

…live music, story telling, face painting…

Face painting, another Earth Day Festival tradition. Photo by Ken Francis.

…craft demonstrations, the chance to meet green living exhibitors, and more! Come celebrate with us!

 

So why in the world do we have Earth Day?

Before the Clean Air and Clean Water Act of 1970 and 1972 respectively, pollution in the United States was largely unregulated. After a massive oil spill off the coast of California, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson  raised awareness of air and water pollution.

Gross!

As a result of Senator Nelson’s work, on April 22, 1970 over 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate their support for a healthy and sustainable environment. This widespread demonstration was the push that the U.S. government needed to take action. It was the first Earth Day!!  This national celebration led to a number of different changes in U.S. legislation. In December 1970, a new governmental agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was formed to tackle national environmental issues. In the following few years, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act (1973), which were all ground-breaking pieces of legislation that remain influential today. Earth Day joined a lot of different people together as one united front pursuing a healthy and sustainable environment, and this is something we still celebrate today!

 

Have you ever walked barefoot on the beach and made footprints in the sand? It’s pretty neat to see that you can leave an impression in the sand even after you’ve walked away. You also leave an impression on the planet called your ecological footprint, which measures the demand you place on the Earth according to your lifestyle. Earth Day brought awareness to us about how the choices we make have an impact on the environment and we want to live in a way that minimizes that impact. Wonder what your ecological footprint is? Google search “ecological footprint calculator” to take a quiz to find out how many planets it takes  to support your current lifestyle.

The Delaware Nature Society seeks to reduce their impact and wants to encourage you to do the same by “Living Green, Being Green, and Saving Green!” Here are a few ways you can reduce your ecological footprint:

– Bring your own reusable bags to the supermarket. You and your family can even create your own bags. You can buy plain canvas bags and some puffy paint and decorate them any way you’d like!

Anna takes her reusable bags with her when she goes food shopping.

– Unplug electrical devices and power strips when not in use.

– Run your dishwasher and clothes washer/dryer only when you have a full load. Full loads use the same amount of hot water and energy and partial loads.  Use cold water when you can.  It takes a lot of energy to heat that stuff up!

I fill my washer up all the way before I run a load!

– If you are going to be gone from a room for more than 5 seconds, turn off the lights when you leave, and you will help save the planet. This one is so simple, but many of us forget to do it!

(Interested in some more eco-friendly tips and tricks? Check out previous blog posts ‘Water’ You Going to Do? from March and Have Yourself an Environmentally Friendly Season! from this past December.)

 

I’m excited to celebrate Earth Day with others who share my passion for taking care of our planet. What would you like to celebrate? What is something you have done to help the Earth? One thing I’ve done is pledge to not drink bottled water; I carry a Nalgene (or two!) with tap water around with me everywhere I go.

I decorate my Nalgenes with a lot of stickers, it makes them much more fun and colorful!

I want to hear your answers to these questions too, comment below to share your response. I hope you see you at our Earth Day festival on Saturday!

For more information about the Delaware Nature Society Earth Day Festival, call (302) 656-1490 or visit www.delawarenaturesociety.org

Young Naturalists Jump Into Spring

The Young Naturalists are wasting no time springing into the warm weather exploring Ashland in search of animal activity. Our Young Naturalists leader and favorite guest author, Kristen, wrote about what they saw. Check it out!

The Young Naturalists Club met on Saturday evening, March 23rd to explore Ashland at night!  We had our hopes set high that we would find a lot of spring amphibians and bats, but the cool weather kept most of them in hiding.

The Young Naturalists exploring the marsh at Ashland Nature Center. Photo by Kristen Sensabaugh.

As we waited for the sun to go down and for the amphibians to come out, we hiked along the trails at Ashland in search for crepuscular animals like White-tailed deer, rabbits and foxes, who are active around dawn and dusk.  We spotted 6 White-tailed deer eating in the floodplain.  As we hiked to the top of Sledding Hill, the sun was setting and we turned our eyes to the dark sky to look for stars. We saw Orion and his dog Canis Major with the bright star Sirius ablaze.  We also spotted Jupiter which was in the constellation Taurus. (Not sure what these stars look like? Check out the “How ‘Sirius’ Are You About Astronomy?” post from January to see some pictures!)

As we made our way down Sledding Hill towards the marsh we tried to call in Eastern screech owls.  We were able to hear two calling from the pine forest and as we listened carefully, we thought one was coming close…but we didn’t get to spot it!

When we made it to the marsh, we were lucky enough to find some Wood frog eggs and hear a few Spring peepers in a rousing chorus. The most exciting part of the night at the marsh was catching 3 Red-spotted newts!

This Young Naturalist shows off one of the Red-spotted newts the group found in the marsh. Photo by Kristen Sensabaugh.

We rounded out our fun evening by building a campfire in the Nature Center and roasting some delicious s’mores!

 

Thanks for sharing Kristen, that’s awesome you found 3 Red-spotted newts! The Young Naturalists have many more fun adventures planned for this spring, check it out!

Sunday, April 28th from 1-4 pm –  Head off-site to look for cool rocks and minerals! Location is to be determined, most likely the location will be Iron Hill or Woodlawn Trustees Preserve. [Note: Time and date change from original schedule.]

Sunday, May 19th, 1-4pm – It’s time to go fishing at Coverdale Farm Preserve! Directions will be provided before the outing.

If you’re interested in joining the Young Naturalists Club on their adventures, sign up now! Members can register online at www.delawarenaturesociety.org or you may call us at (302) 239 – 2334.