On behalf of the Clayton County Conservation Board and animals at the Osborne Nature Center, we welcome you to our new innovative blog. On this site you can find information regarding the facilities of Osborne and a Google Calendar showing the public events being held here. Videos and slideshows are also located on the bottom of the page. Subscribe to our blog or check back often to view new happenings at Osborne and within Clayton County Conservation. We hope you find this blog to be enjoyable and informative-Remember to play outside.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Snowshoeing in May

Snowshoeing in May?

30 pairs of snowshoes were recently purchased by Clayton County Conservation  for educational use in schools and for field trips at Osborne Nature Center.  The snowshoes should arrive by the end of summer and be ready to use this winter.  The staff is currently discussing the possibilty of renting the snowshoes to the general public to use on Osborne's trails this winter.   If your interested in renting snowshoes from the Osborne Nature Center, be sure to leave a comment of support.

Osborne Nature Center Garden

If you are in the Elkader area, make sure to stop by to check out the flower/plant garden at Osborne Nature Center.  They are in full bloom right now with several different aromas and colors to touch the senses. The gardens at Osborne are kept up by a group of dedicated volunteers who each collectively manage their own plots. I would run out and take a picture quick, but that would spoil the beauty of  enjoying the garden firsthand!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Naturalist Poetry

This poem is based upon the initial completion of my bluebird boxes. I placed five boxes on my property; currently three of them are being used by nesting bluebirds. Yesterday, one of the boxes was blown upside down by the strong winds, causing three of the eggs to break. This has been one of the greatest avoidable heartbreaks of my life. Hopefully, we all may gain critical insight on our actions and open our hearts to the beauty of supporting suistainable life. Remember to monitor your bluebird boxes..

I’m a giver of life; an honest transmitter of the natural world allowing native spirits to flow through my soul. My Coyote eyes are keen observers on the radiant beauty and harmony found in nature. My Owl ears interpret the subtlest composers of nature’s free musical choir. I open my human heart to the ephemeral innocence of children playing in nature. I choose to forgive the misinformed and unaware. Choose to be a steward of the land, give something back to the land which sustains my body and refreshes my spirit. Like the charming bluebird, I live life simply, yet colorfully. Connecting people to nature through inspirational and passionate experiences is my inherent responsibility. But after seeing the bluebirds die today, I recognize I have much to learn in so little time; there is so much I can take, yet I feel I give so little back. Thankfully, the bluebirds are resilient to my humanly mistake and will have another brood this summer. For now, I will be a more knowledgeable and caring student: become a better teacher by sharing this transcending story about the everyday choices we make and the enduring hope for sustaining Nature.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Morel Mushrooms

In the past couple of days, several adults at Osborne Nature Center have asked me if the “yellows” are out. The “yellows” are morel mushrooms, a type of edible fungi found in Iowa’s woodlands and forest edges. Before the yellows fruit, the smaller grey morel mushrooms often sprout first. Both greys and yellows are edible and can be cooked with either butter, crackers, or flour. Typically morels can be found from the end of April till the middle of May when temperatures are in the 60’s to 70’s during the day and 50’s at night. Early in the season search south facing hills and as temperatures warm, direct your search towards north facing hill sides. Most morels can often be found underneath a dead elm tree, especially if the tree has bark peeling from its branches. The window for prime morel hunting is quickly closing, as morels can dry up in a matter of days so take the family on a treasure hunt for dinner!