Friday, May 1, 2009

Seasons at the Pond

Back in January of this year, I started volunteering as a naturalist aide at Brookside Nature Center in Wheaton Regional Park. While almost everyone in the DC area knows and is fond of Brookside Gardens, which features such attractions as an annual orchid show and the Wings of Fancy butterfly display, the nature center--located right smack next to the gardens--frequently gets overlooked.  However, in my opinion, BNC's miles of wooded trails, observation boardwalks, excellent birdwatching opportunities, and diverse programs make it a far more interesting destination! Many of the programs offered are aimed at kids, but there are plenty of adult trips and activities as well.  I fell in love with the place at first sight, and find working there to be a far more rewarding experience than any paid job I've ever had. 

A month or so after I started, the volunteer coordinator (a wonderful naturalist named Jenny Aley; I highly recommend anyone with even a passing interest in volunteering contact her!) suggested that I help develop some brochures depicting the nature center's pond. Each was intended to illustrate what types of flora and fauna can be found there in different seasons.  So far, winter and spring have been finished (with the next two obviously forthcoming.) Take a look!  (The back side of each pamphlet features information about featured animals and plants.)


Depicted here are (left to right): Alder catkins (close-up); red fox pair and kits; American robin on nest (close-up of eggs); whitetail deer and fawn; mourning cloak butterflies (close-up); Canada goose pair on nest; green frog with eggs (top half of circle); American toad with eggs (bottom half of circle); bluegill; common snapping turtle; mallard duck family; brown bullhead catfish pair with eggs. 


And here we have (left to right): whitetail deer buck; male pileated woodpecker (close-up); Canada geese; red fox; whitetail deer and red fox tracks (close-up); male mallard duck; Eastern chipmunk; bluegill; common snapping turtle; brown bullhead catfish; green frog (close-up). 

Swing by Brookside Nature Center and pick up a free copy! :) 

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