NewsPhoto by Chris Miner
Kingston Field Naturalists Teens Learn About Mammals at Elbow Lake
A special overnight visit to ELEEC introduced a group of KFN Teens to the large diversity of mammals that can be found at Elbow Lake. While Eastern Chipmunk, Beaver, White-tailed Deer and Eastern Cottontail are frequently seen on the property, other mammals are most often heard (Eastern Coyote) or detected through scat (Black Bear, Deer Mouse), feeding evidence (Muskrat, Porcupine) or tracks (Fisher). Some mammals, such as shrews and voles, are secretive and require greater effort to be discovered. Read the Teens' field trip report on page 116 of the KFN journal The Blue Bill at www.kingstonfieldnaturalists.org/bluebill/bb-dec13.pdf (December 2013, Volume 60, No. 4). More information on the Kingston Youth Naturalists, which includes Junior and Teen groups, can be found at www.kingstonfieldnaturalists.org/youth/index.php.
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to Fund an Interpretive Trail App Project
There are about eight kilometers of hiking trail on the Elbow Lake property, traversing a variety of habitats: lakeshore, forest, wetland and rock barren. While the trained eye may recognize some of the Frontenac Arch's significant species, even the most common and abundant species have a story to tell about their ecological role.
Thanks to generous funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, visitors will soon be able to learn more about the ecosystem dynamics around them as we develop smartphone apps for biodiversity and conservation education. The objective of this project is to transform our trails into interactive educational tools that provide learning opportunities in combination with an enjoyable outdoor activity for all ages of users. The TD FEF funds will cover staff salary for app development and trail maintenance, as well as interpretive signage and construction materials for a new boardwalk on our main loop (Red) trail. While these apps will initially be geared toward supporting the learning objectives of intermediate and high school science curricula, eventually we hope to expand this program to provide apps geared at adults and other casual day use visitors seeking self-use educational activities at ELEEC.
Summer 2014 will be an exciting one at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre! As trail management and app development moves ahead, check our website frequently for updates -- and schedule in a visit to learn about the local ecology of this biodiversity hotspot.
Our Pavilion is a Project FeederWatch Count Site!
Since the 1970's, volunteers across North America have been counting winter birds at their feeders and reporting back to Bird Studies Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This information helps ornithologists (scientists who study birds) learn about changes in the distribution and abundance of bird populations.
At the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre, several different feeders are attracting birds to the patio outside the Pavilion. A special thank you to Wild Birds Unlimited in Ottawa for their donation of a squirrel-proof feeder! This sunflower-filled feeder, along with peanut, sued, and nyjer seed feeders, is visited regularly by chickadees, nuthatches, Blue Jays and woodpeckers. Thank you to Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute (KCVI) for donating bird seed!
The Pavilion was recently registered as a Project FeederWatch count site. From November to April, ELEEC staff will be documenting the number of birds and the different species that are attracted to the food offered. Who knows what we will see, and what changes in bird populations Elbow Lake might experience over the short and long term?
More information about Project FeederWatch can be found in the link below.Read More
KCVI Grade 9 Science Students Explore the Flyers, Swimmers and Crawlers of ELEEC.
Story and photos by Matt Saunders and Aiste MicKute
Critters of all types were up for inspection when 74 Grade 9 Science students from Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute arrived at Elbow Lake. The leaves were leaving and the temperature was headed south, but it didn't put a damper on our expectations or on our experience. The day proved ideal for three rotating outdoor sessions that focussed on flyers (birds), swimmers (aquatic organisms) and crawlers & burrowers (soil invertebrates) -- with a cameo by a lovely Smooth Green Snake.
The bird session tested foraging strategies of autumn birds by presenting them with a variety of offerings such as food type, type of feeder, height of feeder above the ground and different distances from feeder to shelter. The Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos and woodpeckers did not disappoint!
At the aquatics session, students found themselves in chest waders for the first time -- a truly amazing feeling -- and working together to rig a seine net to trap unsuspecting critters in the waters offshore. Over the day, a variety of fish (bass, sunfish, perch) were captured, as well as several Giant Water Bugs who proved that one doesn't need a backbone to be King of the Deep!
Berlese Funnel Traps were assembled at the invertebrates session, and filled with soil and leaf litter from three different habitats, allowing students the chance to view some of the most overlooked movers & shakers in virtually any ecosystem using binocular microscopes.
A quick, garbage-free lunch, some time to compare their findings and a 15-minute quiet time to commune with nature made for an event-filled day and an incredible opportunity to do some hands-on field ecology with guidance from ELEEC staff. Any chance to get outside with our students is a good one... this trip was well worth the effort! Many thanks, Elbow Lake. We'll be back!Read More
ELEEC Volunteer Work Bee - Success!
Our 2013 Fall Volunteer Work Bee was a success! A hard-working team of 14 volunteers helped accomplish a variety of end-of-season tasks: together we sealed gaps in the walls of the log Nature Centre cabin, weeded among the patio stones outside the Pavilion, trimmed the base of Cabin 9 with tin to discourage grazing porcupines, raked leaves and cut grass on the campsites and tidied up the lawns, applied another coat of protective stain on the outdoor furniture, and we gave Cabin 7 and Cabin 8 each a thorough cleaning. Many, many thanks to everyone who came to help, traveling from Kingston, Yarker and Ottawa to lend a hand -- your participation in this event was much appreciated by Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre staff.Read More
Work bee at Elbow Lake
There is an upcoming work bee at Elbow Lake on October 5th, 2013.
In its third year, the EcoAdventure Camp was a rousing success with over 180 campers, a leader in training program and a new family night where campers and their families spent the night in one of our cabins listening to whip poor wills and loons.
Elbow Lake Centre Open House
The Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre annual Open House, together with the EcoAdventure Camp showcase, was a great success with many visitors from nearby and from Kingston and nearby communities.
Elbow Lake Centre Open House on June 1st, 2013
Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre will be holding its annual Open House this coming Saturday, June 1st. Join our staff for a full day of swimming, canoeing, guided hikes, and guest speakers (featuring Dr. Shelley Arnott) at the beautiful Elbow Lake facility. 11am-3pm, Saturday June 1st. Families, naturalists, biology enthusiasts and everyone in between welcome. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regiopolis Students Explore Biodiversity at Elbow Lake
This spring the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre has been hosting groups of high school students. Below Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School students visit the Centre with teacher Maria Kerby and explore local diversity and learn about various methods to survey different taxa.Read More