Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Camp 2010

Summer Nature Camp is in full swing at the Conservancy. Campers have been investigating soil science, exploring the streams and woodlands. They have been learning about the Chesapeake Watershed, insects, trees and plants. They have been enjoying daily hikes, feeding the animals, working in the garden, games, activities and crafts. Miss Katie's group above is pictured with the boats they build and raced!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Barred Owl!

The Conservancy welcomes a barred owl! On Friday, January 15th Laura Seiple(the Land Manager) & Tabby Fique(Education Director) drove down to Falls Church to the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia and picked up a non-releasable barred owl. This owl broke its metacarpals (basically its finger tips) at the end of one of its wings. The bones died after the break and cannot heal as a result. Not fully flighted, the owl can fly short distances. The Conservancy will be using the owl in education programs for elementary schoolers, summer campers and the general public.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Welcome to Winter

The snow is piled pretty high at the Conservancy on this first day of Winter!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pileated Woodpecker Sighting

Last Monday, Chris Garbart (the Conservancy's Program Assistant) noticed a pair of pileated woodpeckers visiting the Conservancy's bird feeder. We took a few photos before both male and female flew off. The Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus plieatus, is the largest woodpecker in North American standing approximately 17" tall. With a prominent red crest and a black and white striped neck, males have a red mustache and females have a black mustache. The female pileated woodpecker is what we captured in these pictures. These birds live in forests and border lands, and are typically shy and not easily observed. Pileated woodpeckers stay together in their territory all year long, and prefer to make their nests in large trees. This pair was interested in our suet cake feeder, but they normally feed on carpenter ants and wood boring beetles.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Conservancy Blacksmith Shop at work

From a local stream eyesore to a hand forged garden hook.
On April 4, 2009, Guilford parent Ricardo Whitaker brought community parents and
children together in support of the Patuxent River Keepers annual stream clean up effort.
The Guilford “Raising the Bar” event collected over 15 large garbage bags of debris and
dumped items from the Oakland Mills stream. During the stream clean up, Howard
County Board of Education member, Allen Dyer, retrieved a long, rusty steel rod.
On April 16, 2009, during a Howard County Board of Education meeting, Allen reported
on the Guilford “Raising the Bar” stream clean up and displayed the rusty rod retrieved
from the stream. Fellow board member Ellen Giles suggested the metal rod be recycled
into a plant hanger or garden accessory.
On October 3, 2009, during a blacksmith demonstration at the Fall Festival for the
Howard County Conservancy, Allen hand forged a portion of the rusty rod from the
Oakland Mills stream into a hook for use around the yard or in the garden.
On October 16, 2009, at the Long Reach High School Conexiones Night, Allen donated
the hand forged garden hook to the silent auction for the benefit of the awards program.
Hand Forged Garden Hook: Creation and Care.
This garden hook was hand forged at the Howard County Conservancy blacksmith shop
using traditional blacksmith tools and a coal fired forge.
First, a hardy cutoff tool was used to cut a length from the discarded and heavily corroded
steel rod that had been retrieved from the Oakland Mills stream. Second, the end of the
heated rod was squared off, drawn out and scrolled into a square ribbon tip. Third, the
horn of the anvil was used to shape the hook curve. Fourth, a section of the rod just
above the hook curve was heated, squared and then twisted between the post vise and a
wrench. Fifth, the top end of hook was heated, drawn out and spread. Sixth, a punch was
used to punch a hole in the top of the hook. After the demonstration at the Conservancy,
the hook was wire brushed to remove scale, touchmarked with “DYER 2009", and given
a mineral oil finish.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pygmy Goats

The Conservancy has welcomed 2 baby pygmy goats! The male pygmy goat is black and white and weighs about 15 pounds. The female is party colors (white, grey, brown) and weighs about 12 pounds. After their arrival in April, we put jars out in our nature center and asked visitors to come up with name ideas for the goats. During School's Out this spring, students pulled names out of the jars. Results: the little girl is name lily and the boy is Rocky. Thank you to everyone that participated! Rocky and Lily have made themselve right at home and they love visitors! If you have not already had a chance, stop by the goat pen and to meet them.