Talking to a naturalist can be a weird thing. We have a calendar in our head of what is happening outside that is slightly off. This odd little calendar sends messages directly to the brain about where to go and what to do to see things happening outside.
On the first warm, rainy night of spring, many nature people migrate outside to watch the salamanders migrate to their breeding pools. On Memorial Day weekend, or thereabouts, nature people sneak off into the woods to where orchids bloom like pink slippers in the forest. These places are often closely guarded secrets that are visited with quiet reverence.
How do you know when and where to go to find these things? It takes years of experience and exploration to get a general sense of what is happening outside. Even that is filled with the unknown, since there is far more happening outside that any one person can learn.
Explore Audubon as soon as the sun comes up. Trails are open from dawn through dusk.
Photo by Jeff Tome
That is why Audubon is releasing their 2013 Natural History Calendar. This calendar is filled with great natural facts, things to look for every month and things that you can do to help scientists get a better understanding of the world. The calendar features photos by Audubon's naturalists: Jennifer Schlick, Jeff Tome, Katie Finch and Sarah Hatfield as well as many local photographers and nature buffs, including Dave Cooney, Terry Lebaron, Jeremy Martin, Sandra Rothenburg, Tom Leblanc, Skip Park, Terry Lorenc, Rex Everett and others.
Each photographer has spent lots of time outside, some for science, some for pleasure, some as part of their jobs. On their travels, they have found owls and otters, flowers, moths, ferns, and more. Each find was carefully captured on camera and generously donated to Audubon for this calendar.
The calendar costs $18 or $16 for Friends of the Nature Center. The calendar must be pre-purchased and paid for by Dec.1. Calendars can be picked up at the center after Dec. 15 and make excellent gifts for the nature enthusiast. An additional fee of $4 to cover shipping and handling will have the calendars mailed to your doorstep.
The money raised by the calendar helps to fund the educational mission of Audubon. Audubon has an extensive outreach program visiting local schools to help children learn how nature works.
Last year, this program made contact with more than 11,000 students to teach them the nuts and bolts of nature. Programs vary from learning where food comes from to understanding the life cycles of animals to discovering how food chains function and how people affect the environment that they are a part of.
In addition, more than 4,000 children went outside with naturalists to discover more about the world through hands-on experience. Combine those numbers with the thousands of people who visit the trails to go for a walk, tour through the exhibits in the building, or come to a festival over the course of a year, and there are more than 30,000 people who are touched by Audubon programs each year.
Calendars can be ordered by visiting Audubon at 1600 Riverside Road near Jamestown or by calling 569-2345. Calendars can also be ordered online by visiting jamestownaudubon.org. The trails are open from dawn until dusk daily and the center is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily except Sundays when we open at 1:30 p.m.
Jeff Tome is senior naturalist at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary. He often wanders off into the woods at various times of year to find anything from the first snakes emerging in spring to spring peepers finding a place to spend the winter.