APRIL 2015 Vol. 4, Issue 1 R GERS CENTER Newsletter [ EXCITE | INSPIRE | MOTIVATE ] ” E S I “RA OWN R U O Y ! S K C I CH ent m i r e p x Fun einside... « INSIDE THIS ISSUE: • Director’s Message New growth of spring • Ask Friends of Rogers “Going Nuts” over squirrels • Earth Fest Give ‘Mother Nature’ a big hug • Easy Experiment Seasonal treat with a twist • Calendar of Events www.FriendsofRogers.org 2 www.FriendsOfRogers.org ROGERS CENTER NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE New growth of spring W elcome to the inaugural issue of our redesigned newsletter! In an effort to better inform our community about the exciting programs we offer, Friends of Rogers is launching this new monthly epublication. We hope that more frequent communication from us allows you to take full advantage of our programs. Friends of Rogers offer a wide range of educational and recreational programs for the nature enthusiast during every season. Our staff dedicate themselves to our mission in providing Central New Yorker’s with outstanding educational opportunities that excite and inspire people of all ages to appreciate and protect our natural environment. We fulfill this mission by hosting roundtable discussions on important environmental topics, facilitating classroom program lectures with local area schools, and by partnering with our local area resources to offer community members opportu- nities they may not otherwise have within arm’s reach. This past winter was one for the record books indeed with February being one of the coldest on record, not to mention the amount of snowpack we’ve experienced so late into March. Our calendar says spring is here, has anyone seen it? If it’s been awhile since you visited us, please don’t let the weather get you down! We still have snowshoes and cross-country skis available to rent if you would like to explore our more than 600 acres of property. The Cush Hill trail network is sure to have endless amounts of snow, especially the Conifer & Hillside Trails - you may even get a glimpse of one of our bald eagle or red-tailed hawk feathered friends. Treat yourself to a springtime bluebird day and stop by the Center to inquire further about the endless possibilities to become one with nature. Join us in saying ‘Hello’ to spring at Rogers Center! See you soon, Simon M. Solomon Executive Director Friends of Rogers Friends of Rogers Environmental Education Center, Inc. Board of Directors President: Sharon Pelosi Vice President: Adam Schoonmaker, Ph.D. Secretary: T. J. Moorehead Treasurer: Rose Cole Frank Busce Marsha Guzewich Paula Howard Thurston Packer John Pumilio Chris Rossi Bruce Selleck Carol Smith Laurie Trotta Fred von Mechow Staff Simon Solomon, Executive Director Sarah Freedman, Environmental Educator Jessica Moquin, Fundraising & Marketing Coordinator Brandon Episcopo, Spring Naturalist Intern Valerie Mitchell, Spring Naturalist Intern Friends of Rogers, Inc. P.O. Box 932 2721 State Route 80 Sherburne, NY 13460 607-674-4733 www.FriendsofRogers.org Email: [email protected] Friends of Rogers (F.O.R) is a non-profit organization composed of dedicated supporters of the Rogers Environmental Education Center located in Sherburne, NY. ROGERS CENTER NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 www.FriendsOfRogers.org 3 Ask Friends of Rogers Dear Friends of Rogers, Sometimes I see a squirrel eat half an acorn and then discard the rest. Why don’t they eat all of it? Also, how do they find acorns after they’ve buried them? Sincerely, Going Nuts Dear Going Nuts, As simple minded as they may seem, squirrels are actually quite intelligent when it comes to their food. To begin with, there are two main groups of oak trees that acorns fall from-- white oaks and red oaks. While their acorns may look strikingly similar to us, squirrels are able to tell the difference. It’s important to know which acorn is which, because their chemical makeup allows them to be stored for different periods of time. As squirrels build up food reserves for the winter, they want to make sure the acorns they are storing will last all season without germinating. Red acorns are full of a compound called tannins, which slow down and delay the process of germination. A seed full of tannins allows the acorn to germinate later on when conditions are more favorable, rather than soon after it hits the ground. The large amount of tannins present in red acorns makes them an ideal food source to store during winter because they won’t germinate into a seedling. In addition to delaying germination, tannins also make the acorn slightly bitter. Squirrels prefer sweet acorns over bitter ones, but bitter acorns last throughout the winter. In order to get a better tasting acorn, squirrels will often eat the top half of a red acorn then discard the rest. The top half is much sweeter than the bottom half, which contains the tannins. By doing this, the squirrel is able to have a sweet treat all winter long. White acorns, on the other hand, have a very low concentration of tannins. This not only makes the acorns much sweeter, but also means that it will germinate soon after falling from the tree. For these reasons, squirrels eat white acorns shortly after finding them. A group of researchers conducted an experiment with squirrels and found that 85% of white acorns were eaten immediately, whereas 60% of red acorns found were stored for winter. This group also found the distribution of white and red acorns varied from one another. By inserting a small piece of metal into thousands of acorns and using a metal detector, these researchers were able to locate both white and red acorns after they’d been hidden by squirrels. They found that red acorns tended to be more widely distributed across a larger area, while white acorns were stored fairly close to the tree they fell from. This has strong implications for the successional growth of forests -researchers believe that because red acorns are distributed more widely, they would likely begin colonizing new forests before white oaks. Generally, squirrels like to scatter acorns in an area up to roughly seven acres. This technique helps oaks to distribute seed, but more importantly, it helps squirrels prevent other animals from finding food reserves. Additionally, squirrels will dig false holes to confuse other animals about where they may have actually hidden their food. Squirrels also relocate hidden food reserves every couple of days. This helps them better keep track of food and reduces their chances of forgetting where an acorn is hidden because they are constantly going back to find it. Sincerely, Friends of Rogers This “Ask Friends of Rogers” was written by Amanda Philips, former Naturalist Intern for Friends of Rogers. If you any questions, please direct them to Friends of Rogers. Your inquiry may be answered in next month’s issue! Sources for this article include: Baffling the Bandits Researchers Tackle The Nutty Truth On Acorns And Squirrels Red vs white oak groups: more tree identification tips, courtesy of the squirrels ROGERS CENTER NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 Easy Experiment Growing Chicks S pring is the time when birds return from their southern vacations to build nests and raise their young. It is also the season that marshmallow chicks return to grocery stores. Using marshmallows and a microwave, this experiment allows you to “grow” your own chicks! Marshmallows consist of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin... and air! The fluffy texture of marshmallow chicks is partly caused by the air mixed into the marshmallow. The microwave oven provides energy to heat the water in the corn syrup, expanding the air in the marshmallow to make the chicks grow. How to grow a marshmallow chick: 1.) Place one marshmallow chick on a paper plate. 2.) Put the plate and chick into the microwave oven. 3.) Start the microwave and watch the chick carefully. Within 15 to 20 seconds the chick will become huge. 4.) Quickly turn off the oven. The chick will slowly deflate. After microwaving, the chick can be eaten once it cools down. Otherwise, the heat that caused the chick to grow could burn you. www.FriendsOfRogers.org 4 BECOME A MEMBER TODAY! MEMBER BENEFITS Member benefits vary by level, but all members will: Pay a special member rate for program fees Receive a 10% discount on all purchases at the bookstore Attend special member-only events Receive Rogers’ monthly e-newsletter Students and Seniors (65+)... $15 All of the above benefits Individual... $25 All of the above benefits Family... $35 All of the above, plus two free snowshoe rentals Affiliate... $50 All of the above, plus a FOR t-shirt Contributor... $100 All of the above, plus a FOR 18 oz. BPA-free water bottle Organizations... $100 One free guided walk for organization members Name Address Phone Email Thanks to TJ Moorehead for sharing this experiment! Approaching Coffee Deadline Orders for Friends of Roger’s quarterly coffee fundraiser are due Tuesday, May 5. Place your order today! Additional Donation Total Amount Enclosed Send to: Friends of Rogers, Inc. PO Box 932 Sherburne, NY 13460 Check made payable to Friends of Rogers, Inc. Cash Credit Card # Card Type Signature Amount Credit Card Expiration 5 www.FriendsOfRogers.org ROGERS CENTER NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 T here are many items and services that will allow us to continue fulfilling our mission. If you have access to any of the following items and are willing to donate, we would be extremely grateful! Batteries, large 6 Volt and D for flashlights HP Ink cartridges - 56 & 57 Large paint brushes for big projects Postage Stamps Printer paper, both white and other colors Small paint brushes for kids programs Spade shovel In Kind Services Saws & hedge clipper sharpening Any of these items can be dropped off during regular Visitor Center hours. To make special arrangements, please contact Friends of Rogers via email at [email protected] FriendsofRogers.org 6 www.FriendsOfRogers.org ROGERS CENTER NEWSLETTER APRIL 2015 CALENDAR OF EVENTS SATURDAY, April 4 • 10:30 a.m. Family Fun Program: SATURDAY, April 18 • 10:30 a.m. Family Fun Program: Egg-cellent Camouflage! Decomposers and Compost Why are some eggs covered in speckles? How do mother birds protect their eggs when they aren’t guarding them? Join Friends of Rogers in an exciting program about how birds, such as quail, use camouflage to hide their multi-colored eggs. Try your hand at disguising your own egg to mimic your surroundings. (Free, all ages) Plants need nutrient rich soil in order to grow. Learn how to incorporate food scraps and garden waste into nutrient rich compost to help your garden flourish! We will explore how to start and maintain your own compost bin, as well as the important role our wiggly worm friends play in helping renew the soil. (Free, ages 5+) April 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 • 10 a.m. April 19-25 Storytime & Hike National Environmental Education Week Every Wednesday, Jenni Larchar leads young children and caregivers in songs, stories and a walk on the trails. Storytime & Hike takes place rain or shine; participants should wear appropriate clothing and footwear. On Sunday, April 19, join Friend of Rogers to “kick-off” National Environmental Education Week. Help us prepare for another busy summer season as we spruce up our six miles of trails across 600 acres. Annual Property Clean Up For more information about upcoming events, visit www.FriendsofRogers.org or call (607) 674-4733.
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