Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Job At Sky Meadows State Park!

Sky and Meadowsof Sky Meadows State Park

Me in my new uniform!

I am happy to report that I am newly employed at Virginia's Sky Meadow State Park as the Volunteer and Special Event Coordinator!  I'm really excited about this position because it will allow me to use many of the talents that I have developed at the Austin Nature and Science Center and Connecticut Audubon, but it will also stretch me to learn new skills as well.  So far, my work has be mostly indoors which is okay when the temperatures stay below freezing all day.  I am busy getting up to speed on all the aspects of my new job.  Here are a few snap shots of the park from the office area and the view from by desk window.  I'm sure to have more to blog about in the coming weeks.  Some of my blog posts, may also be shared with parts of my work as I start getting the word out about up coming events.

Sky Meadows State Park is a beautiful place with over 1000 acres. The park has four interpretive themes for its programs including rest and relaxation, agriculture, history, and nature.  The relaxation and agriculture themes stem from stipulations of the original donation that the park be a place of low-impact recreation, and that the property not loose it's agricultural roots.  Historical buildings from the 1700-1800s, including Mount Bleak house, and beautiful landscapes provide ample inspiration for history and nature programs.  Starting in March through the end of the year, there are things going on every weekend at Sky Meadows.  Our own staff hosts spring hikes, wildflower walks, historic tours, roving programs, and more.  The Friends of Sky Meadows State Park lead a monthly walk and craft day.  Sky Meadows also partners with several volunteer organizations that enrich our site's program offerings.  We have bee hives maintained by Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah, Doug and Ramona.  The Farmer's Forge program is headed by George and Phil of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac.  There are astronomy night's by Northern Virginia Astronomy Club, Bird walks with Virginia Audubon, and more.  I am very excited to be working at such a beautiful and fun sight especially since rest and relaxation, agriculture, history, and of course nature are all things that I love!

Sheep and a donkey in a field on the way to work 


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Let's go for a Walk (part 2)

... continuing our walk from last week ...

Come on! We're heading into the pine groove that Ansel planted over 30 years ago.  The trees are tall, and dark with a soft, quiet, carpet of moss and a few pine needles (loads of needles help insulate tender plants during the winter months.)  A pile of feathers, and partial rodent skull mean that some predator hunts among these pines.  Watch the dogs's noses wiggle and snort at the edge of a brush pile.  The dogs wade in among the gnarled brunches in search of its occupants.  A grey loaf of bunny silently and quickly escapes to another brush pile.  The dogs unaware continue their investigation.  Let's go and give those critters a rest!

There's more to check out.  The little pond is frozen, and the dogs venture out on the water.  Cici skitters across the surface in her bounding way of running.  Silly's legs seem to move extra fast with dainty strides.  You can almost hear the cartoon, high-pitched bell sound accompany Silly across the ice, while Cici gets a snare drum and cymbal.  Antro, as always, is just interested in getting closer to those squirrels.

From the pond, we follow the Little Dry Creek (a perennial stream flowing with rains and winter snows) through bushy junipers to the property corner. You must be careful as you jump across the icy rocks, but the dogs have no problem!  The stream continues on its way to the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, but we must turn up the hill at the eastern boundary of the property. Your breath might puff just a little trying to keep up with the dogs as they scamper ahead.  The hill is home to oaks, maple and hickory whose fallen leaves make for a noisy carpet.  Crunch, crunch, crunch up the hill, and down again.  The loop leads us back to the house and the end of our walk. 


Thanks for going on a walk with us.  We'll head out again tomorrow around the same time.   The dogs and I hope to see you then.