Kids: Discover Worms

We've had a worm composting bin in our office for more years than I can remember. It is an excellent way to teach children about the life cycles, decomposition, comparing body parts, and to learn about the benefits for plants. Kids learn that by composting they care for their communities and the natural environment. They are relatively simple animals to keep alive, and provide the added benefit of producing compost. We have a youtube video showing some of the ideas below. Two Ways To Teach With Worms You can collect worms from your yard and so some quick comparison discoveries before you release them again. Or, if you keep a worm bin, you can study so much more. You can do longer term studi

Invasive Spotlight: Curly Leaf Pondweed

What is it? Curly-leaf pondweed is a non native, invasive species. Growing up through the water column, it can grow in depths up to 10 feet deep. By out competing other native species it creates a thick mat of vegetation preventing recreation and reducing habitat for fish and other native plants. How do you identify it? Curly leaf pondweed is identified by its semi-transparent leaves, wavy leaf edges, and semi serrated texture. Leaf arrangement on the stem is alternating, with two opposite leaves never arriving from the same growth point. Like many invasives it is the first weed to start growing in the pond, though its growing season typically extinguishes in mid summer. How does it spre

Invasive Spotlight: Garlic Mustard

An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—a plant, insect, fish, fungus or bacteria—that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm. -National Wildlife Federation Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is also known as Poor Man’s Mustard, Hedge Garlic, Garlic Root and Jack-by-the-Hedge. It is called garlic mustard because the leaves have a garlic smell when they are crushed. Why is garlic mustard bad? Classed as a non-native invasive plant, this species is a serious concern. It has spread throughout much of the United States over the past 150 years, becoming one of the worst invaders of forests in the American Northeast and Midwest. While it is usually found in the undergrowth o

Mayapples & Box Turtles

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is one of the most easily recognizable Spring wildflowers. It is so unique, it is the only species within this genus found naturally outside of Asia. This wildflower has very distinctive foliage. In early to mid-April, when it first emerges from the soil, the unopened, leaves resemble a fat green umbrella ready to open. As it opens, you will be able to tell whether or not it will flower this season. Single-leafed stems will not flower, forked stems with two leaves will. You can’t miss the leaves, as they can grow each grow up to a foot across. Look carefully under the double leaves in late April- early May, you should see the waxy flowers begin to open. The

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