Friday, September 26, 2008

Ornithology Outing with Dr. John Hnida

Ornithology and Mammalogy Class Outings

Trace Trail on a Bright Fall Morning

I will record these individual events as they occur, adding to the blog material and the slide show. You will have to forgive a bit of disorganization. Thus far, the blog records the following events that do not appear in chronological order in the following descriptions (I will try to remember, however, to use different color:

Trace Trail Birding (September 26)

Raptor Recovery Team Visit (October 3)

Trace Trail Walk from Brownville (October 17)

On Wednesday morning (September 26), I accompanied Dr. John Hnida's Ornithology and Mammalolgy class on a birding venture along the Trace Trail south of the Peru Trail Head.
As the photograph that tops the page emphasizes, we enjoy beautiful weather for our two-hour stroll.
Although he birds did not cooperate as much as we would have liked, everyone saw and heard a mass of Blue Jays and assortment of woodpeckers, including Red-bellied and Red-headed, with a few Flickers in the mix: lots of immature birds.

I began a series of photographs and will add to them over the course of the semester.

On October 3, the Raptor Recovery group will visit John's class, and I plan this term to drive to the Raptor Recovery center to learn more and to take pictures.

The center of attraction for the Trace Trail trip pictured on the above left sports a red flickering tongue instead of feathers.

As indicated previously, the Raptor Recovery folks--Nancy Hinnah and Betsy Fitch--visited on Friday, October 3, from Elmwood, home of the Raptor Recovery Team; and I added some photographs from the presentation that included a Broad-shouldered Hawk, a Mississippi Kite, a European Barn Owl, and a feisty Burrowing Owl.

In addition to the Burrowing Owl pictured below, you will find a couple photographs at the bottom of this blog and added to the photography link for Ornithology and Mammalogy.

So keep checking the pictures.

Burrowing Owl

European Barn Owl

I missed the October 10 small mammal trapping trip on which the class caught mice and voles. But my schedule allowed me to accompany the group the following Friday.

Our walk on October 17 along the Trace Trail for around 90 minutes north of Brownville left everyone very wet and more than a little muddy, for thunderstorms swept through the area. The sun, however, did make an appearance as we left the area.

We saw a few woodpeckers and heard White-breasted Nuthatches and White-throated Sparrows. And a couple members of the group, people experienced in these matters, saw a Bobcat cross the path.

As the following image indicates, the students stood up to the inclement weather; you will find a few additional photographs at the link earlier in the post.

Ornithology and Mammalogy Class at Brownville Trace Trail Head

I plan a visit in the near future to the Raptor Recovery Center in Elmwood and will add a series of photographs from my visit there.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Waschiska Audubon's Prairie Discovery Day

On September 24, I took part in Wachiska Audubon Society's Fifth Annual Prairie Discovery Day. We returned to where the event first began, five years ago.

I do not
have pictures from this first event, but at this site on the blog, you will find information about Prairie Discovery Day and links to photographs from past celebrations at Fertig Prairie, Yutan Prairie, and Wildcat Creek Prairie. I help with the gathering of insects, take photographs, and conclude the afternoon of fun with creative writing exercises about insects and birds.

This year, fifteen bright and enthusiastic third and fourth graders took part in the event. They heard an excellent presentation about family life on the Nebraska prairie for a large family of Irish immigrants.

After this part of the program, the youngsters learned a bit about insects that live in the prairie grass and then grabbed nets and flooded into the field to capture with their nets as
many critters as they could, which they then identified, from grasshoppers to impressive spiders.

We concluded the day with some creative writing. The youngsters wrote about flowers, insects, and birds and shared their work with everyone at the event.

I posted a number of photographs from Prairie Discovery Day; as usual, feel free to download any images that catch your eye. And as usual, everyone enjoyed a wonderful and sun-filled day on the prairie. We might just extend Prairie Discovery Day to twice a year to double the fun-filled education for one and all.

I also include below a brief (four minutes) video of the youngsters enjoying
themselves and the speakers. The sound of the presentation about Irish Immigrants leaves something to be desired, but I hope you can see that the enthusiastic third and fourth graders from Unadilla Elementary School enjoyed their time at the Henry Dieken Tallgrass Prairie.

You can watch the film by clicking below or by going directly to You Tube by clicking here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Constitution Day

On Wednesday, September 17, in the College Theater, Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society celebrated Constitution day.

Last year's celebration, linked here, focused on the Preamble to the Constitution; students won prizes for filling in the appropriate blanks.

This year, the club showed the complete HBO Documentary on one of the significant founding members of the country, John Adams.

To learn more about this national History Honor Society, visit the following link, which will take you to the society's web page. Pictured below are Drs. Sara Crook and Spencer Davis, society sponsors at Peru State College.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rededication of the Al Wheeler Athletic Center

As the preceding image suggests, Peru State enjoyed wonderful weather on Tuesday, September 16, for the re-dedication of the refurbished and beautiful Al Wheeler Center.

You can see a slide show of 75 images from the festivities.

You can see a series of images Angela Allgood, Becky Johnson, and Micki Willis sent me of the inside of the Al Wheeler center. And I also got a small batch of photographs of the construction on the center.

Inside the center beginning at 4:30, Peru State College's Interim President and State College Chancellor, Dr. Stan Carpenter, began the ceremonies, thanking the multitude of people who played important roles in making the idea for the new athletic center a reality.

A boisterous crowd voiced its appreciation when Al Wheeler's son joined Carpenter at the podium and offered his enthusiastic appreciation of and words praise for Peru State College's continued growth and excellence.

After the ceremony, many people took tours of the impressive facility that includes a
Sky Box that affords a splendid view of the courts below, as the picture on the right suggests.

Those interested in taking a tour of the Al Wheeler Center will have no problem finding folks willing to show off the "new" facility that hosted its first event the day of the ceremony, a PSC Volleyball Game I was not able to attend.

With festivities concluded at the center, the crowd moved to the college campus for good food and fine music supplied by the Peru State College Jazz Band--featured a few times in this blog's archives--directed by Dr. Pat Fortney.

As the next series of photographs indicates, the crowd enjoyed a grand time on the grass on a fine evening.

I posted for the interested some 75 pictures from the event at this site. If you see something that appeals to you, just download the image; the file is large enough to support a good-sized photograph.

Enjoy the pictures.

Apple Valley Reading Council

As the group did last year--see the entry here--the Apple Valley Reading Council held its Fall meeting in the Live Oak Room in the Peru State College Student Center.

And as the preceding image indicates, a stunning evening greeted the Apple Valley members.
I posted a few images from the gathering along with a few pictures of the campus in the evening sun, which creates wonderful shadows. Feel free, as usual, to download images that appeal to you.

The evening featured an entertaining and energetic presentation by Dr. Karla Wendelin, the Log Cabin Librarian. She discussed this year's selection of excellent books for youngsters .

Karla will showcase soon a web page devoted to children's books for all seasons and occasions; and you will eventually find the link here.

At the end of the program, a number of Peru State Students won in a drawing some of the excellent books the Log Cabin Librarian recommended.