Earth Spirit Expands Programming with Area Recreation Departments
Following a meeting in the Fall of 2014 with area Recreation Department Directors, Earth Spirit has confirmed a series of contracts with the towns of Orchard Park, Aurora , Hamburg and Amherst. The programs that have been scheduled are focused upon both public events for families and ecology camps for students and are available for registration through the aforementioned Town Recreation Departments. Click here for a listing of these programs.
Program Partnership with Erie 2 BOCES
Schools looking to take advantage of the science-based programming offered by Earth Spirit now have the opportunity to do so much more affordably. A new partnership with Erie 2 BOCES allows us to increase our programming while decreasing the school's realized cost per program. Click here for more information.
Environmental Education Teaches Many Skills
Earth Spirit educators share many lessons in their work. Most of these relate to the science and systems that control the workings of Planet Earth. However, many skills that can be applied to all areas of life are passed along through our work. Channel 2's Terry Belke speaks of these important lessons in a 2 the Outdoors piece featuring Earth Spirit teachers and students participating in a recent Winter Camp sponsored by the Orchard Park Recreation Department.
Earth Spirit's Wild Foraging Programs are Making News
Our reputation for excellent instruction in sustainable foraging of wild medicinal and culinary plants has resulted in a cover story for the alumni publication of New York's largest research university. Click here to read this wonderful article that features the work of our Co-Director, Sandy Geffner.
Maple Sugaring Season Delayed
Winter has been relentless in the Northeast this season. And here in Western New York, February has officially gone down as the coldest in recorded history with many stating it's the first Winter they've experienced that lacked a January thaw.
These extreme conditions have delayed the collecting of Sugar Maple sap for area commercial and private producers. While reduced daylight signals deciduous trees to begin Winter dormancy, it is primarly temperature that wakes them up as Spring approaches. For sap collectors, repeated movement of sap up and down the tree trunk is needed to produce an adequate supply. These "runs" are created when air temps rise above 40F during the day (sap flows up) and fall below freezing at night (sap flows down).
Generally this temperature fluctuation begins to occur in mid to late February. However, no temperature above 32F was officially recorded during the month of February in this region. In fact, many days had temps well below 20F.
Whether this extreme cold shortens sap collection time and subsequent maple product availability will depend on how quickly temps warm as we approach the Vernal Equinox. If March proves cooler than normal, sap runs may still be successful. However, if air temps warm rapidly, it could cut the season short leaving us with reduced maple products at higher prices.
This type of Winter gives us an opportunity to understand how we all are subject to the power of Nature. Time will tell how this weather may play out in terms of wildlife survival and the upcoming growing season, in addition to satisfying our desire for the sweet gift of the Maple.