This week we began having school groups again, so most of our time was spend in preparation for providing those educational programs. We have schools scheduling through October 28, so needless to say that will consume much of our time and energy! The kids so far have been great and excited about learning about the natural world and what Wahkeena has to offer.
We also just completed the first stage of bank repairs that were necessitated by the largest North American rodent- Mr. Beaver. After truck lots of fill dirt and rip rap ( large rocks), the damaged bank area has now been restored. Futures plans include armoring other bank areas including the entire length of the dam to discourage future intrusions by the beavers.
Poison Ivy has joined the Virginia Creeper as a colorful vine on many of the trees.
Poison Ivy can be seen in a variety of colors - red, orange, yellow, and purplish hues.
The Poison Ivy vines are loaded with berries this time of year. Sixty one different species of song birds are known to feed on the berries, an important energy source during the winter months.
The Monarch butterflies that Nora the Explora has been raising are now rapidly emerging from their chrysalises. The butterflies are being quickly released on flowers near the nature center. A video has been posted on the Wahkeena Facebook page.
The sunny areas now abound with a variety of goldenrods. Contrary to popular believe goldenrod is not the main reason for people's allergies. Goldenrods are insect pollinated plants that have sticky pollen to aid in the transfer of pollen from plant to insect. Ragweeds, which are wind pollinated plants, have non-sticky pollen that is easily transported on the wind and therefore to not have showy flowers.(You do not have to be pretty is attract the wind!) But when people look around to see what might be causing their allergies all they may see is all of the goldenrod.
Goldenrods are an important late season source of energy for an amazing variety of bees, wasps, beetles and other insects.