The Monarch Messenger - Ballard Nature Center


The Monarch Messenger - Ballard Nature Center
The Monarch Messenger
Newsletter of Ballard Nature Center
Winter 2015-2016
New Nature Play Area!
With the use of funds
from the Kobolt Charitable Trust, we recently
added a great new feature - a kids’ nature play
area. The center had
been contemplating and
researching this idea for
some time and we now
announce with great
zeal, “It is ready and
waiting to be enjoyed by
kids of all ages!”
Much research has been
done on these types of
play areas, and over and
over the findings have
proven that kids need
unstructured time in nature for healthy mental
and physical development. These play areas
provide a safe place for
parents to expose children to this type of play.
Children with attention
deficit disorder and
autism have been
shown to benefit
greatly from time
spent in nature play.
Our nature play
area features balancing logs, tree slices
stepping stones, a
sand area, a teepee, a
rustic bridge, and
more. The bridge,
constructed by volunteer Mike Clagg, is
really something to
behold. Although the
play area has only
been installed for a
few months, we are
already getting great
response. It is pleasing to watch the kids
enjoying it. While
they are balancing on
the logs and jumping
from tree slice to tree
slice, I imagine that in
their minds they are
avoiding the lava or
alligators that lurk
below. We hope you
can come check it out
soon. It is located just
to the west of the
large pavilion.
Enjoy the mammal
trivia found throughout the newsletter.
1. Which mammal is
sometimes called a
whistle pig?
2. How many species
of bats can be found
in Illinois?
Answers on back page
An Exciting Year Filled with Programs and Events!
Field Trips chool Children
Over 2,000
Toddler Trots
n We
s Co
Kids’ Progr
l Programs
Outdoor Day
What a fantastic day it was!
We have so many wonderful people
to thank for the success of the event!
Trish Purcell & the 4-H Llama Leaders
Heidanes Hidden Timbers
National Road Reading Council
Whitetails Unlimited
Clarence Funneman
Bill Brackney
Brandon Helm
Gene & Kris Logue
Cathy Emerich
Our board members & their
Page 2
The Monarch Messenger
Upcoming Events
February 16 - Toddler Trot
10am, Ages 2-5
May include games, stories, trail walk, craft
January 16 - Winter Boredom Buster
Noon-3pm, Ages 5 and up, $2 fee
Movie & popcorn, bird watching, and crafts
February 19 - Hoot & Howl Hike & Campfire
6pm, family program
Owls & Coyotes will be the focus this evening
January 19 - Toddler Trot
10am, Ages 2-5, White Animals
May include games, stories, trail walk, craft
February 27 - Family Science Day
2pm, family program, we welcome scout groups
Full of hands-on activities
February 2 - Valentines from the Heart
Card making class, Ages 6 and up, $3 fee
February 13 - Luminary Love Trail
Adults, come walk our luminary lit trail
Wood if inclement weather
We are planning some new spring programs and
we will have lots of great summer events, including our 3-day day camps. Stang Arts will be
presenting two kids’ painting classes this year!
Registration required for the above
programs, except for Toddler Trots
and the Luminary Trail.
3. What is the largest
wild mammal in IL?
Beat cabin fever with
a hike on the trails.
Table decora
by Mike & D ons made
ebbie Clagg
Annual Fundraiser
A fun, festive and successful night!
During the liquor pull, the sound of
popping balloons and yelping participants filled the room. Later, we were
on the edge of our seats to see who
would win the bid on the Margaritaville
patio set. If you supported the banquet
in anyway (donated items, attended,
helped setup, baked cookies, etc), we
extend a very hearty thank you.
The success of the banquet ensures that
we will be continuing our mission for
another year. What a great community
we serve!
Winter 2015-2016
y our v
made b
Splashing in the puddles
Page 3
Cold Facts
Raise the Roof Project Update
We are thrilled to announce that we
have reached our goal for this project!!!
We offer many thanks to all of you who
donated to this!!!
The logs on the back of the visitor center
were deteriorating due to weather exposure. We will be installing a roof to protect them. This roof addition will also
provide a sheltered area in the back that
will be used during programs & events.
Around 12% of the Earth’s land surface is covered in
permanent ice and snow.
In 1899 it was so cold that the Mississippi River
froze over its entire length.
Snow falling at 2-4 mph will take 1 hour to reach
the ground.
The largest snowfall recorded in one year was on
Mt. Rainer, WA, where 1,224 inches fell between
Feb. 1971 and Feb. 1972
All snowflake have six sides.
Each year an average of 105 snow-producing storms
affect the continental United States.
Things Needed
Upright vacuum with attachments
4. What mammal in
IL has venom in its
Dissecting microscope
Trail cam
Kiefer jugs
Battery operated chainsaw
36-cup coffee pot
Used canning jar lid flaps
5. The only
marsupial in the
United States.
Matchbox cars
Hurray for Volunteers!
Mike Clagg
Juanita Cornwell
Marlene Feuerborn
Paul Field
Ted & Karen Forcum
Dick & Joanne Francis
Mel & Brenda Geiselman
Larry & Jane Giertz
Janice Heiden
Judy Jansen
Tony & Jill Kreke
Page 4
Gene & Kris Logue
Jerry & Debra Maddox
Betty Mahnke
Ellie Maroon
Joe & Terry Martin
Brian Poelker
Dave & Becky Ragan
Dave & Deb Scholes
Dolores Stafford
Carla Stewart
Marylynne Toliver
Lana Woodward
Our volunteers are so very special
and we value them greatly!
Our thanks to them for all they
did in 2015!
If you or someone you know may
be interested in becoming a volunteer, please give us a call.
The Monarch Messenger
Creature Feature—Southern Flying Squirrel
Did you know that
flying squirrels are
common in this area?
These furry frisbees
scurry about in the
night in wooded areas
throughout the state.
They see very well with
their large eyes, and
these eyes give them
such an endearing look.
Due to their nocturnal
nature, many people
never get a chance to
observe them. During
the day they sleep in
holes in trees, often old
woodpecker holes.
Sometimes a fierce battle will ensue when a
squirrel tries to steal a
hole being used by the
Like other squirrels,
flying squirrels eat nuts,
seeds, buds, berries and
fungi. In addition, they
will also eat moths and
beetles. They are very
swift in their movements,
which helps them evade
predators. Owls, house
cats, weasels, and raccoons are just a few creatures that will eat them.
Not true fliers, they
are gliders. Flying squirrels do not like to spend
much time on the ground,
just visiting the terrestrial world to gather food.
To glide, they launch from
a branch or tree trunk
and spread out their legs.
Flaps of loose skin catch
air in a controlled fall.
The Groundhog’s Close Call
by Marlene Feuerborn
Their flattened tails act as a
rudder. Although they can
glide up to 150 ft, they usually
take much shorter strides.
If you have bird feeders
filled with sunflower seed, you
may have flying squirrels raiding them in the night. Listen
for their high-pitched squeaks.
Flip on a light or shine a flashlight and maybe you will get
the chance to enjoy these
fascinating creatures.
This cantankerous
mammal can dig
faster than a man
with a shovel.
Just doing what he does in early February
This innocent groundhog all unwary,
Does not pause to look behind his back
To see the approaching wolfish pack!
Onward they creep with a lupine grin,
This little groundhog’s future looks grim.
Suddenly a gray jay gives him a warning
Cawing out loudly on this chill morning.
So dashes he quick to his bolt hole
Knocking over chipmunk and fiend mole!
Now he needs chamomile, nature’s Zantac,
To soothe his tummy from the near attack.
Winter 2015-2016
Page 5
Answers to mammal quiz:
White-tailed Deer
Short-tailed Shrew
Virginia Opossum
American Badger
We wish all of you the best in
the new year, and we hope to see
you often at the nature center!
Ballard Nature Center
5253 E. US Hwy 40
Altamont, IL 62411
[email protected]
Join us on Facebook for the latest
updates and photos of the center.