Faithful readers of our day-by-day event listings are no doubt familiar with the category called “outdoor action.” We run them week by week, year round, from the hottest days of summer to the cold of winter.
Maybe for that reason we were intrigued by the letter below from Mercer County’s naturalist, who organizes many of those events. Read on and you may find yourself someday moving from behind the desk to the head of a trail.
#b#To the Editor: At Summer’s End, A Nature Update#/b#
Thank you to everyone for their continued support and participation in Mercer County’s nature programs.
The response to our summer programs this year was amazing. Nearly every one of the county’s kayak tours and pontoon boat nature tours of Mercer Lake were filled to capacity. Kayak tours were a new addition to our summer programming and were so successful that they will resume in 2014.
A bald eagle, much to my pleasure, has made an appearance on several of the more recent Pontoon Boat Nature Tours and sometimes sat on a high tension tower, allowing participants a long look at the bird.
The county’s summer nature camps expanded in 2013, with three sessions of camp at Baldpate Mountain and two weeks of Aquatic Adventure Camp. Even with the increase in camp weeks, there was a wait list for all three Baldpate Nature Camp sessions. In coming years, we hope to reduce the size of the wait list by slowly increasing our camp offerings.
Many insects made their way into the camp lodge this summer, but the most memorable was the dobsonfly — a nocturnal insect with impressive mandibles that is the same length as my pointer finger. It spends the majority of its life in a stream, but emerges from the water to pupate into an adult, which then breeds and dies. This summer, a total of three dobsonflies appeared, either brought in by enthusiastic campers or found at the park, which was monumental to a local naturalist who had seen a total of only two or three adult dobsonflies in her entire life.
The Mercer County Park Commission has released its autumn nature program schedule. Interested individuals can find the nature program schedule on the Park Commission website: www.mercercountyparks.org. (Click on the Environment tab to find the fall newsletter.)
This season there are programs intended for all interest levels, starting with pontoon boat nature tours and children’s programs on the weekend, culminating with a duck and fall migrant walk at Roebling Park. There is also a small listing of co-sponsored programs, including the Master Gardeners of Mercer County Insect Festival and the inaugural trail walk at Hollystone Preserve in Titusville.