Fall Wild Things: Early Friday

This Fall, spend Friday mornings enjoying the outdoors with your Wild Thing in a fun and structured setting.

We start our time together with a good story, a short lesson and a craft, which guide our learning as we venture outside to play games and explore the natural world around us. Topics include seasons, local critters and habitats that can be found in our park and maybe your own backyard!
This 6-Class Session of Wild Things meets for one hour every-other Friday at 9:30 am on the following dates:

  • September 21
  • October 5
  • October 19
  • November 2
  • November 16
  • November 30

Purchase tickets and register your preschooler(s) below!

  • Receive a discount when you register more than one preschooler using coupon code KIDS
  • Bringing children outside the 2-5 yr age range? Great! See ticket options below to help us accommodate your little- or big- kid.
  • A member discount of 20% will be applied automatically for all logged-in members. Not a member? Learn more.
  • Pay online or at the Nature Center when you arrive.

This day or time doesn’t work for you? See other options here.

Reach out to Holly, the program coordinator, with any questions at learn@charlottesquest.org

Fall Wild Things: Mid-morning Tuesday

This Fall, spend Tuesday mid-mornings enjoying the outdoors with your Wild Thing in a fun and structured setting.

We start our time together with a good story, a short lesson and a craft, which guide our learning as we venture outside to play games and explore the natural world around us. Topics include seasons, local critters and habitats that can be found in our park and maybe your own backyard!
This 6-Class Session of Wild Things meets for one hour every-other Tuesday at 11:00 am on the following dates:

  • September 11
  • September 25
  • October 9
  • October 23
  • November 6
  • November 20

Purchase tickets and register your preschooler(s) below!

  • Receive a discount when you register more than one preschooler using coupon code KIDS
  • Bringing children outside the 2-5 yr age range? Great! See ticket options below to help us accommodate your little- or big- kid.
  • A member discount of 20% will be applied automatically for all logged-in members. Not a member? Learn more.
  • Pay online or at the Nature Center when you arrive.

This day or time doesn’t work for you? See other options here.

Reach out to Holly, the program coordinator, with any questions at learn@charlottesquest.org

Fall Wild Things: Early Tuesday

This Fall, spend Tuesday mornings enjoying the outdoors with your Wild Thing in a fun and structured setting.

We start our time together with a good story, a short lesson and a craft, which guide our learning as we venture outside to play games and explore the natural world around us. Topics include seasons, local critters and habitats that can be found in our park and maybe your own backyard!
This 6-Class Session of Wild Things meets for one hour every-other Tuesday at 9:30 am on the following dates:

  • September 11
  • September 25
  • October 9
  • October 23
  • November 6
  • November 20

Purchase tickets and register your preschooler(s) below!

  • Receive a discount when you register more than one preschooler using coupon code KIDS
  • Bringing children outside the 2-5 yr age range? Great! See ticket options below to help us accommodate your little- or big- kid.
  • A member discount of 20% will be applied automatically for all logged-in members. Not a member? Learn more.
  • Pay online or at the Nature Center when you arrive.

This day or time doesn’t work for you? See other options here.

Reach out to Holly, the program coordinator, with any questions at learn@charlottesquest.org

Campfire and Critter Search

Bring the family (ages 4 and up) for an evening of fun, adventure, and s’mores!

After a campfire chat focused on bat conservation, we will focus our search for new critters around the various water sources near Charlotte’s Quest.

Charlotte’s Quest is continuing an initiative to learn all of the flora and fauna that inhabit our park, and we need YOUR HELP to grow our list! Let’s see which types of animals visit the pond and streams as the sun is setting!

Kids (adults too!) will feel like real Citizen Scientists as we break out the insect nets, binoculars, and magnifying glasses. This program will be led by Ryan Davis from Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and our own Ms. Holly. $3 per person.

BioBlitz

Join us for a 24-Hour BioBlitz at Pine Valley Park.

Welcome to our Park:

Pine Valley is an 80 acre park owned by the Town of Manchester. Though relatively small in area, this Northern Carroll County park boasts a large variety of microhabitats including:

  • mixed hardwood and pine forests
  • meadows
  • large and small streams
  • a pond
  • natural springs and seepage zones
  • mowed fields

This area has never been biologically surveyed; we need you to share your expertise and help us catalogue our flora and
fauna!

BioBlitz Details:

  • The event begins Friday, August 10th at 5:00 pm and continues until 5:00 pm Saturday, August 11th.
  • Tent camping and other accommodations available for those specialists who require an overnight stay.
  • Volunteers and naturalists will host nature walks, open to the public, Saturday afternoon between roughly 12:00pm and 4:00pm.
  • We plan to close our event with a public celebration to begin at 5:00 pm Saturday, which you are welcome to join.

We require all participants to register. This allows us to plan accordingly and communicate relevant and timely event information to be sure we are all prepared for a successful BioBlitz. You can find the link to register below.

Charlotte’s Quest looks forward to a successful BioBlitz. Please contact Holly at learn@charlottesquest.org with any questions.

 

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Weekly Weed Series: The Japanese Barberry

Coming straight from the Carroll County Forestry Board by way of Bethany Slaughter, here are some great tips on how to identify and control Japanese Barberry in Maryland, as well as the ways in which it threatens our local ecology.

 

Barberry is native to China and Japan, then was introduced as an ornamental plant. The seeds are eaten by mammals and birds, spreading it throughout the eastern U.S. The berries of this plant are also edible with a bitter taste and a hint of sweetness. You could try using them with other fruits in pies or jelly preserves to add a tart flavor.

 

How to Identify the Japanese Barberry:

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The Ecological Threat:

Japanese Barberry produces a large number of seeds as well as rhizomes to form new plants that shade out and displace native species. The thorns and dense foliage also provide refuge for small mammals that host the deer tick, the carrier of Lyme and other diseases. That makes this species a human health hazard.

Likely Habitat:

Japanese Barberry can tolerate a range of conditions but grows best in sunny, fertile, moist, and well-drained soil. It spreads from gardens to natural areas that are suitable for its growth and establishment.

How to Control:

Do not plant or encourage the planting of this species. Some garden supply dealers and landscapers have agreed to stop selling Japanese Barberry. When removing this species, pull out the entire plant including the roots to prevent regrowth.

 

Join us next week when we explore Oriental Bittersweet.

Brook Trout Walkabout

We are pleased to be partnering with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to bring this Ecology Treks series to Charlotte’s Quest. Chesapeake Forests Program Manager for the Alliance, Ryan Davis, will be leading this four-part series, sharing his expertise and passion for wildlife to allow participants the chance to dive deeper into the ecology of our beautiful park.

Topics will include animal and plant ID as well as regional conservation issues related to forests and watershed health.

Our third Ecology Trek takes us streamside to discuss Eastern Brook Trout ecology and conservation.  These stunning native trout species live in the cool, clean headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but populations are far below what they were historically. Learn how forest preservation and restoration can help support these charismatic and economically important fish.  This program will start with a presentation in the nature center, followed by a hike that will take participants to our stream – South Branch of the Gunpowder Falls.

Please note: The conversation will be at an adult level; children are welcome to attend these events, but please be sure that your children are ready for serious learning and adult-paced hiking.

Charlotte’s Quest is thrilled to be able to offer these events at no cost to members and $3 per person for non-members. Not a member? Learn more and become a member.

 

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Weekly Weed Series; What You Should Know About Invasive Plants

At our recent Community Plant Swap, the Master Gardeners supported native plant selections and discouraged attendees from picking up those few “invasive” plants that were found in circulation. Valid advice though it is, why should we choose native, non-invasive plants for planting and avoid exotic invasives? Even further, what should we do when we find ourselves dealing with a garden (or yard!) take-over? Read on for expert information regarding invasive exotic species, how to identify them and what the best way to control their growth.

What is an invasive exotic species?

Invasive exotic plants are ones that have been introduced by people from other continents or ecosystems, whose introduction causes economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health.

How did they get here?

Many were brought here intentionally for ornamental use, erosion control, or wildlife habitat. Others were brought accidentally or as byproducts of human industry; in transporting goods in the hulls of ships, by carried seeds.

How do invasive exotic species take over?

They have a lack of natural enemies to control their populations, because when they are brought to a new ecosystem, their predators don’t come along. They can also be spread by prolific seeding, which is when they are dispersed inadvertently by animals and humans. Some invasive species can even spread by stolons or rhizomes underground, making the roots hard to remove. Most of them green out early, which shades out native plants and improves their own chance of survival. Deer also play a role in the spread of invasive species by only browsing on native plants, preventing them from growing.

 

 

Why do we care?

After the loss of habitat through development, the encroachment of invasive exotic plants causes the most harm to our native species. Development is something we are always going to be doing, while the spread of invasives is something we can prevent. These invasive weeds crowd out native plants that are important to the ecosystem. Our native animals suffer when the native plants they depend on are no longer around. Getting rid of these non native plants will improve forest quality by allowing the native plants to grow, which provide food and shelter for wildlife. Healthy ecosystems also help provide clean air and water for people, as well as filter the soil. A forest may look healthy with lots of older native trees, but invasives in the understory will eventually affect the overstory by preventing new trees from growing.

What can we do?

Learn how to identify and remove invasive species by reading the Weekly Weed articles and becoming a Weed Warrior! Most counties have one of these programs to do invasive species control and keep their forests healthy. The Carroll County Weed Warrior program was initiated by a Master Gardener, Carolyn Puckett, in 2010. Anyone can be a Weed Warrior! There are currently over 400 volunteers in our database who have removed over 40 acres of invasive plants. We work mainly at Bear Branch and Piney Run Park, but are always looking for new places to work and new groups to network with. You can help change the forest from being covered with invasives, to providing food and shelter for wildlife! Contact ccforestryboard@gmail.com for more information.