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Summer 2018 has started out much different from 2017. For starters we have a beach! Last year’s high water has actually helped the beach situation having deposited a great deal of sand on the beach. So now, even with the water still a bit above long term average, the beach is high and dry and a big hit with visitors. Unfortunately the Piping Plovers did not return this year. Our female from 2016 did nest at Darlington and paid a brief visit to her old neighbourhood here at Presqu’ile from July 8th to the 13th before moving on.
This year is Ontario Parks' 125th anniversary and the NHE team has a number of special events planned. By the time you read this the July 1st David Archibald Concert, July 20th Healthy Park Healthy People Day, July 21st Mammal Day and July 24th Wakami Wailers Concert will probably be in the books. August will still have Species at Risk Day on Aug 18th with special guests Sciensational Sssnakes and of course our annual History Weekend, Aug. 4-5th and Monarchs and Monarchs Weekend, Sept. 1st-2nd are still on. The History Weekend will be looking at the various ways the park has changed in the last 125 years. And if early indications hold true there should be lots of monarchs around come the end of the summer.
There are 11 staff in the NHE team this year. Veterans Allyson Parker and Laura McClintock are back for their 10th and 7th year respectively and have the summer program planned and running smoothly. Friends’ employee and Nature Centre Coordinator, Kristen Osborne, is back again running the Nature Centre. The Centre itself, with its live animals is always very popular. New this year in the centre is our ability to access WiFi for our in-centre educational programs. This thanks to the Friends that not only organized and paid for the installation, but ran the line and installed the rotor! This will be a closed system for use of the staff only and we will use this feature on our new tablets to look up bird songs, flower ID, directions or just about anything for our visitors.
The Monarch tank in the Nature Centre is very busy this year with lots of caterpillars and we will start tagging new butterflies in August. Back for a second year and partially supported by the Friends are Mara Van Meer and Robert Ormston. You can catch them at the “Day in the Life of a Snake” evening program every second week. Local bird enthusiast Baxter Naday is also back for his second year and will be working “What’s that Sound” a night walk every second Monday.
New this year are Bella Derry, Ben Hewitt, Clarissa Duthie and Alicia Zoldy. The latter two are also on Friends’ contracts with Alicia pulling double duty, working for NHE and in the Friends’ Store on Mondays and Tuesdays. All staff will be participating in the numerous summer programs we have planned. There will be star viewing, bat explorations, scientific scavenger hunts, bird banding and so much more. A weekly schedule is posted on Thursdays on our Facebook and Twitter accounts and on the Friends’ website. Also feel free to drop into the Nature Centre or Lighthouse Centre and say hi to all the staff, both old and new, they are waiting to hear from you.