Nature & Environment

Westlake Garden Club gets busy gardening

The Westlake Garden Club has gotten a great start on the gardening season for 2021.

The morning of May 22 found several members at the club’s Hilliard Boulevard flower box getting the plants in the ground. Cathy Garlitz and Marsha McEntee selected and transported the plants and planted them, along with Lavinia Cozmin, Marge Emblom and Anne Engel. Later that day, a group of members met on member Carolyn Steigman’s patio for the annual plant exchange where they brought divisions and whole plants from their own gardens to exchange for something different. There were also some house plants finding new homes.

The garden club again provided a wreath for the Memorial Day Ceremony at Clague Park. Carolyn Steigman put together the beautiful wreath this year.

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Volume 13, Issue 12, Posted 9:59 AM, 06.15.2021

Beautiful blooms

Judy Brody of Bay Village captured the simple beauty of roses in bloom at the Cahoon Memorial Park Rose Garden on Memorial Day.

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Volume 13, Issue 12, Posted 10:00 AM, 06.15.2021

Metroparks unveils enhanced Huntington Reservation

Visitors to the Huntington Reservation in Bay Village have long appreciated the sandy beach, cliffside walking path and unique water tower landmark. But there were a few things missing, namely: pleasant restrooms, walleye sandwiches and craft beer.

Last year, the Cleveland Metroparks began an enhancement project to bring more amenities to the lakefront park. With $1.6 million from individual and family donors and the Emerald Necklace Endowment Fund, the Metroparks was able to build brand new restrooms and a picnic area, expand the concession area and restore the historic Huntington water tower.

Metroparks officials unveiled the newly updated Huntington Reservation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 27.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 11:50 AM, 06.02.2021

What to look for in the sky this May

As the weather gets warmer and days grow longer, springtime continues to bring change in the Northern Hemisphere. Planetarium Specialist Katy Downing of the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center shares the visible planets and constellations to observe in May.

Jupiter and Saturn

Before sunrise, look for Jupiter and Saturn shining brightly in the east. Jupiter will be toward the eastern sky and appear brighter than Saturn. Though not as bright, Saturn – the most distant planet in our solar system to be seen with the naked eye – will be brighter than the surrounding stars in the southeastern sky.

Tip: By May 31, the sun is rising at 5:55 a.m. Wake up early to gaze at these two planets before they disappear in the morning light.


This month, look west during sunset to observe Mars. The Red Planet will be due west, high above the horizon. As its nickname suggests, Mars will be red in color and stand out among the surrounding stars.

After you spot Mars, remind yourself of Perseverance, the new robotic mission that landed in February to look for signs of past microbial life, cache rock and soil samples, and prepare for future human exploration.

Tip: Stars twinkle; planets usually don’t.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 10:13 AM, 05.18.2021

Westlake Garden Club awarded grant for pollinator garden

A couple of local gardeners are spearheading a vision of pollinator gardens throughout our city. The Westlake Garden Club is sponsoring this initiative. This vision was enhanced on April 27 by the recent award of the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) Conservation Action Grant & Scholarship Fund.

Susan Baker and Deb Dougherty, both Westlake residents, started planning the project in late 2019 and early 2020. They decided to approach the City of Westlake to test the level of support.

Susan Baker’s affiliation with the City of Westlake began with her involvement with the annual Westlake in Bloom event. Her contacts with the City’s Planning and Economic Development and Public Service Departments helped introduce the concept on the City level. Susan commented that the City of Westlake and particularly Jim Bedell and Chris Stuhm are amazing advocates for improving our community.

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Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 10:01 AM, 05.04.2021

Answering your springtime wildlife questions

Spring is a time when everything is growing and bursting into life. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing and baby animals are starting to be seen.

As the weather warms and people spend more time outdoors, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is here to answer your wildlife questions and concerns. Below, the Center’s wildlife experts answer some of the most common wildlife questions they receive from the public each spring.

I noticed a fawn alone in the grass. Is it abandoned?

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature. Mothers will often leave their young unattended for hours for a variety of reasons.

For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators. If a fawn is walking around and making noise, it may be abandoned and in need of assistance.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.06.2021

V is for Vulture

The Ides of March – March 15 – is best known as the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Roman Senate. But it is also the day the swallows famously come back to Capistrano and, less famously, the buzzards return to Northeast Ohio. The buzzards – or rather turkey vultures – have been gone since last fall. Did you miss them? They are migratory, leaving NE Ohio in the fall for warmer climes and returning in early spring for breeding.

For years the Cleveland Metroparks Hinckley Reservation celebrated the turkey vultures' return to Whipp’s Ledges in mid-March. There won’t be a Buzzard Day celebration there this year due to Covid-19. But you can celebrate Buzzard Day on your own by going out and spotting for them. And you don’t have to wait for the Ides. Start looking now, you might spot a few early arrivals.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:47 AM, 03.02.2021

Tri-Cís Westshore Campus earns second LEED certification for green building

Cuyahoga Community College earned a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the new Liberal Arts and Technology building at Westshore Campus. 

LEED certification is a nationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. This is the College’s seventh building with a LEED designation. 

Westshore’s Health Careers and Sciences building previously earned a LEED Gold designation after opening a decade ago. Development of the campus along Clemens Road in Westlake coincided with the College’s creation of a sustainability plan.

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Volume 13, Issue 4, Posted 11:09 AM, 02.16.2021

Lake Erie: Love It, Don't Trash It

This February help the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District "Love Lake Erie" by picking up litter with us! If we each pick up a few pieces we will easily surpass our challenge goal to remove at least 500 pieces of litter from the county watersheds.

American Rivers sponsors all of our cleanups and they have introduced us to an App called Litterati. If you have a smartphone and you hate litter, we would love for you to join our Litterati challenge to pick up and track litter.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:14 AM, 02.02.2021

Cuyahoga SWCD offers conservation grants and scholarships

Cuyahoga SWCD has long promoted the installation of conservation projects such as tree planting, rain gardens, rain barrels, native plant gardens, cover crops and more to improve the health of Cuyahoga County's soil & water resources. In addition to educating the public about these practices, we have striven to reduce the barriers that may exist that prevent residents and other landowners from adopting these practices: through rain barrel workshops where we supply all the materials necessary to construct and install a barrel, to our native plant kit sale, and our soil test kit distributions.

We are now taking this commitment to reducing barriers to the adoption of conservation practices one step further with the introduction of our Conservation Action Grant & Scholarship Fund.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:01 AM, 01.19.2021

The Westlake Garden Club survives 2020

This year has been one of challenges and frustrations for the Westlake Garden Club. Our club year begins in March so, as a group, we have not met at all this year. The board met in March before the shut-down, had an in-person socially distanced meeting in the president’s driveway, and had a Zoom meeting. 

We have tried to stay connected with members through a monthly newsletter and phone calls, and the new board has been elected for 2021. Sharing the presidency are Cathy Garlitz and Jean Smith; treasurer, Marie McCarthy; recording secretary, Anne Engel and Marsha McEntee; and program chair, Deb Dougherty.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:51 AM, 12.15.2020

December Landscaping: Plant for the birds!

Native berry-bearing and evergreen plant species provide important habitat and food for overwintering bird species. Additionally, many animal species depend on winter cover to protect their young. These plants can also provide a pop of color to brighten up winters’ dreariest days! 

Some native species that provide winter cover and food include American holly (Ilex opaca), Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Inkberry (Ilex glabra), Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and White pine (Pinus strobus).

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.15.2020

6 ways for children and families to enjoy nature this winter

Winter is on the horizon, but your outdoor fun doesn’t need to come to an end. There is a beautiful winter world awaiting for those who seek refreshment and energy from the outdoors. Below are six ways you and your family can enjoy nature this winter, despite the chilly temperatures.

Go stargazing

Winter skies can be the clearest of the year and the richest in stars. In addition to winter constellations such as Orion, Canis Major and the bright star Sirius, Canis Minor and Gemini the Twins, this season you can observe The Great Conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter.

Go outside and look toward the south/southwest, where you will see two objects shining brighter than any surrounding stars. The brighter one is Jupiter and the dimmer one is Saturn.

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.01.2020

Help birds while you drink coffee

Birds connect us to people in distant lands. The migratory birds that arrive every spring in the United States are the same birds that you would see in South America during our winter. We could talk to a farmer in Nicaragua about the rose-breasted grosbeak and he would see in his mind's-eye what we see. The sorrow we feel as the bird populations dwindle here is the same sorrow felt by birders in South America as losses of forests in Central and South America mirror the habitat loss in the U.S.

It's easy to feel helpless but here is something that you can do to help – and it's as simple as pouring yourself a cup-a-joe and kicking back to watch the birds.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.20.2020

General admission resumes at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

To continue serving children and families in the community, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is pleased to be offering free general admission for the first time since March.

General admission, at no charge, allows visitors to enjoy live animal exhibits indoors and outdoors, and displays about natural history and space science. Registration for general admission is required at or 440-871-2900. Preregistered visits will help the Center to ensure capacity and distancing protocols are in place and allow time for cleaning of the facility.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:33 AM, 09.01.2020

Sea Scouts take first place in STEM contest

A team of Sea Scouts from Bay Village has won first place in the STEM Lesson Plan Contest sponsored by Dominion Energy’s Project Plant It! program to teach youth about the benefits of trees to the environment. The three ninth-grade girls – Maeve Kilroy, Maeve Galla and Amy Burgy – with supervision by their skipper, Richard Gash, created a science lesson plan based on a project to plant redbud tree seedlings on the slope of Cahoon Creek in order to prevent soil erosion and runoff into the creek.

The idea for a STEM lesson plan about how trees can help prevent soil erosion germinated from their Sea Scout activities. The girls often put their sailboats in the water in the area of Cahoon Creek that had been cleared to build the new Lake Road bridge, leaving the area vulnerable for runoff of pollutants into the creek. In the course of their research on how to protect the creek, the girls learned about the free redbud tree seedlings offered by Project Plant It!, and they registered to get the seedlings to plant along the slope in April. The COVID-19 crisis has delayed planting until the fall. In the meantime, the team received a $200 Walmart gift card from Dominion Energy to purchase supplies for scout projects.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:05 AM, 07.07.2020

How old is your tree?

Denise Pattyn of Bay Village used the formula printed in the June 16 issue to determine that a pin oak tree in her Wolf Road yard is 106 years old.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:02 AM, 07.07.2020

What bird is this?

We printed this photo of a “mystery bird” at Bay Village feeder in the June 16 issue of the Observer and asked for readers’ help in identifying it. The myriad responses that came in only heightened the mystery – it’s an immature rose-breasted grosbeak! It’s a purple finch! It’s a juvenile red-winged blackbird! It’s a female grosbeak! We turned to our local gem, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, for a definitive answer.

“This is an adult female red-winged blackbird,” wrote Tim Jasinski, wildlife rehabilitation specialist at the Center. “Sometimes older females will show deeper colors than normal or more male-like colors resulting from increased testosterone later in life. It could also sometimes just be the photograph, the lighting or other factors but this is definitely a red-winged blackbird!”

Out of the many responses from our amateur bird-watching readers, only one – Chuck Collings – matched the expert in correctly identifying the bird.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:38 AM, 07.07.2020

The blue stripe on the Bay Boat Club dock

We came together in the fall of 2019 as strangers from four different schools. We formed Team Zebra, and are now the sixth-grade Ohio State Champion and a Regional Finalist for the eCyberMission STEM competition. Our project involved finding a solution to the zebra mussel and algae growth problem on the dock at Bay Boat Club.

In the summer with the high Lake Erie water levels, the boat dock is underwater and covered with algae and zebra mussels, making it slippery and dangerous. One interesting fact that we learned while researching for this project is that zebra mussels are contributing to the growth of algae in Lake Erie by filtering the water. They are improving water clarity, which then allows the sun to penetrate deeper and support algae growth.

The algae on the dock are a breeding ground for zebra mussels; one female zebra mussel can produce over one million free-floating eggs in a year. Algae act as an incubator for the eggs, which, when hatched, are known as veligers until they grow into adults.

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Volume 12, Issue 12, Posted 9:49 AM, 06.16.2020

Westlake in Bloom brings out families and friends for planting day

Dense fog gave way to sunny skies on May 16 as individuals, families and community groups from across Westlake came out on a Saturday morning to plant the flower boxes along Hilliard Boulevard.

The 224 boxes lining the median from City Hall to the Rocky River line are part of the Westlake in Bloom community beautification program.

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 11:34 AM, 05.19.2020

Backyard Astronomy: May 2020

Astronomy is a great way to reduce stress. Step outside, unplug and look up at the sky – you never know what you will see!

Planetarium specialist Katy Downing of the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center shares the visible planets and constellations to observe in the morning and evening skies.

Morning Sky

Before sunrise, look for Jupiter, Saturn and Mars shining brightly in the east. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and is mostly composed of two elements: hydrogen and helium. The “gas giant” is fairly close to Earth, and will appear the brightest of the three planets in the morning sky, followed by Mars, then Saturn – the most distant planet in our solar system to be seen with the naked eye.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 9:41 AM, 05.05.2020

4 myths about baby wildlife

Spring is here and soon you will see baby animals in your neighborhood. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is here to debunk four of the most common myths related to baby wildlife.

MYTH: “Mothers often abandon baby wildlife in nature.”

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature. Mothers will often leave their young unattended for hours for a variety of reasons.

For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators. Raccoons and squirrels will frequently retrieve their babies when they end up out of the nest too early. They often maintain more than one nest or den site and will move their babies as needed.

MYTH: “Baby wildlife must be protected from natural dangers.”

Eastern cottontail rabbits often build their nests in yards and open spaces. If you stumble across one, do not move the baby bunnies because their mother will be unable to find them. She will return at dusk and dawn to feed and groom her babies.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:43 AM, 04.07.2020

5 things you didnít know about Great Horned Owls

Owls are mysterious birds that have captured the attention and curiosity of people all throughout the world. There are over 200 species of owls that come in all shapes and sizes. The most common owl of the Americas is the Great Horned Owl. Great Horned Owls can be found across the continental U.S. in a broad range of habitats, most typically in woods interspersed with open land.

With its earlike tufts, intense yellow-eyed gaze and deep hooting call, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. Here are some Great Horned Owl facts that may surprise you:

Their eyes are not true “eyeballs”

Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark and retinas that contain many rod cells for excellent night vision and depth perception. Many are surprised to learn that the eyes of all owl species are actually tube-shaped and immobile in their sockets. Fortunately, owls can rotate their heads up to 270 degrees to look in any direction.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.04.2020

Tri-C program puts focus on Lake Erieís plastic pollution

The impact of plastic pollution on Lake Erie and the rest of the Great Lakes will be examined during an upcoming program at the Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College. This topic is the focus of the latest “Learning for Life” lecture series program at the campus. The free program takes place Wednesday, Jan. 29.

The discussion will be led by Jill Bartolotta, extension educator with Ohio Sea Grant. The group works with organizations and communities to solve the lake’s most pressing environmental and economic issues.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 9:56 AM, 01.21.2020

How do honey bees survive winter?

“Where did the honey bees go?”

This is one of the questions most frequently asked by Lake Erie Nature & Science Center visitors during the winter months. Despite freezing temperatures and lack of flowers, honey bees survive the winter due to their amazing array of survival mechanisms.

Simply put, honey bees must create their own heat source and maintain a food supply inside the hive in order to make it to spring.

“Once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, honey bees keep the inside of their hive a warm 97 degrees in order to keep the colony alive,” explains Christine Barnett, wildlife program specialist at the Center. “Honey bees must produce over 90 pounds of honey throughout summer in order to survive the winter.”

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 10:35 AM, 01.07.2020

Chimney swifts: our aerial acrobats

If you have ever attended the Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation event called "A Swift's Night Out," you would have been treated to a free show of breath-taking aerial acrobatics as chimney swifts caught bugs and prepared to enter their roost for a well deserved night's rest.

Chimney swifts are unique birds. They cannot stand or perch but are uniquely adapted to grasping the inside of old hollow trees and masonry chimneys, which they adapted to using as settlers cut down the forests. Their Latin name is Chaetura pelagica, referring to a tail which has spiny ends. Their specialized toes and this pointy tail help them cling to vertical surfaces.

Chimney swifts are aerial insectivores, which means they catch all their food while in flight. They can eat one-third their body weight in mosquito-sized insects daily – more if they are feeding a nest of hungry hatchlings. Not only do these birds catch all food while flying, they do just about everything "on-the-wing," including bathing by skimming the surface of ponds or lakes.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.03.2019

Power your house with 100% renewable electricity today

Did you know that the Cleveland-Akron-Canton metro area is ranked as one of the top 10 U.S. cities most polluted by year-round particle pollution? The American Lung Association’s "State of the Air 2019" report indicates that particle pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma, as well as interfere in the growth and general functioning of the lungs. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Ohio is the third-largest coal-consuming state in the nation after Texas and Indiana, and nearly 90% of the coal consumed in Ohio is used for electric power generation. Fossil fuel-burning power plants, like NRG Energy's Avon Lake power plant several miles west of us, are contributors to the particle pollution problem. 

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Volume 11, Issue 19, Posted 9:11 AM, 10.01.2019

Tri-C Westshore program dives into critical issues facing Lake Erie

An upcoming program at the Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College will examine efforts to restore and rejuvenate Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. The topic is the focus of the latest “Learning for Life” lecture series program at the campus. The free program takes place Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The discussion will be led by members of Ohio Sea Grant, which works with coastal groups and communities to solve the lake’s most pressing environmental and economic issues. The conversation will address issues such as harmful algal blooms, the threat of invasive marine species and the impact of climate change – all critical to the long-term health of Lake Erie. Speakers will include Ohio Sea Grant’s director, Christopher Winslow, and extension educator Sarah Orlando.

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Volume 11, Issue 18, Posted 9:14 AM, 09.17.2019

Backyard Astronomy: September 2019

Summer is coming to a close, but on the bright side – there will be more time to look up each night and enjoy the night sky. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's planetarium specialist Katy Downing shares some of the astronomical events, visible planets and constellations to watch out for this month.

Autumnal Equinox

An equinox is the moment when Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres receive approximately equal amounts of sunlight – this year on Monday, Sept. 23, at approximately 3:50 a.m. EDT. Equinoxes occur twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is tilted neither away from nor toward the sun.

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Volume 11, Issue 18, Posted 9:11 AM, 09.17.2019

Westlake Garden Club fall speaker series

Founded in 1963, the Westlake Garden Club is dedicated to fostering beauty in the garden and home, and promoting horticultural education, civic beauty and community conservation. Regular Garden Club meetings are held at Westlake Porter Public Library on the third Wednesday of the month at 11:30 a.m. (March through December).

As the growing season begins to wind down, the Garden Club will host an evening series of presentations, open to the public, beginning with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. at Westlake Porter Public Library. Vice President and Director of Thriving Communities, Jim Rokakis, will discuss the efforts of the WRLC in our region to support working farms and preserve vibrant natural resources alongside healthy, thriving cities.

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Volume 11, Issue 17, Posted 9:51 AM, 09.04.2019

Bay Maritime Explorer Club receives prestigious Army Values Award

Congratulations to the Microfiber Fighters, who were chosen as the eCyberMission National Finalists along with 20 other finalist teams in the 2019 U.S. Army-sponsored competition. We were selected from 5,097 teams to attend a week-long National Judging and Educational Event (NJEE) in Washington, D.C. 

Activities included hands-on STEM workshops led by Army scientists and engineers, a special session hosted by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, a visit to Capitol Hill and Congressional Library, and a tour of the National Mall. In our visit to Congress we met with Senator Rob Portman’s legislative correspondent, Sam Hattrup, who stated: “The health and well-being of Lake Erie is one of Senator Portman’s top priorities; the senator would be interested in the research of Microfiber Fighters.”

After a ride on the Senate train to the other side of Congress we met with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty who was also very interested to hear of our project to prevent microfibers entering out into lakes from washing machines.

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Volume 11, Issue 13, Posted 9:52 AM, 07.02.2019

Kick off summer at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

The summer solstice on Friday, June 21, marks the start of summer and the longest day of the year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost points in the sky. The word “solstice” comes from Latin solstitium – from sol (sun) and stitium (standing), reflecting the fact that on the solstice, the sun appears to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northernmost point.

Celebrate the solstice by joining Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for its first Telescope Night of the season on Saturday, June 22, at 8:30 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 12, Posted 9:43 AM, 06.18.2019

Does baby wildlife need our help?

As we spring into summer, it’s easy to notice the highly active wildlife in your neighborhood. Baby animals are out and about, and Lake Erie Nature & Science Center is answering some of the most common questions they receive from concerned callers during their busiest season of the year.

I noticed a fawn alone in the grass. Is it abandoned?

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature and mothers will often leave their young unattended for hours. For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators. If a fawn seems to be in a “dangerous” location, do not move it or the mother will have trouble finding her baby.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:24 AM, 06.04.2019

Rain, rain, go away Ė it's time to plant

Grow where you're planted is literally what the Bay Village Garden Club (BVGC) is all about. Whether you're a gardener or someone who cares about a beautiful civic environment, the club provides an abundance of programs, field trips, tips for green living, and opportunities to help others right in your own backyard!

We are busy planting blooms at our "Welcome to Bay Village" planters seen all around town, as well as colorful flowers at City Hall, and in the handsome planters by Thyme Table restaurant. Our members maintain, and even weed, several areas including the Gazebo at Cahoon Park.

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Volume 11, Issue 11, Posted 10:26 AM, 06.04.2019

Congratulations Project Wildlife class of 2019!

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center congratulates the Project Wildlife Class of 2019 including Robert Amsdell of Lake Ridge Academy, Paige Burns of Westlake High School, Mia Centuori of Rocky River High School, Sarah Krofta of Olmsted Falls High School, Sofia Motelka of St. Joseph Academy, Isabella Teter of Lorain High School, Will Triplett of Rocky River High School and Alyssa Veverka of Olmsted Falls High School.

The Center is the only organization in Northeast Ohio for teenagers to gain hands-on experience in the fields of wildlife and animal care. Project Wildlife serves as a valuable career experience and introduces students to the wide variety of opportunities available in the field. The majority of this year’s graduating seniors plan to continue their education by pursuing degrees in the areas of biology, environmental science, veterinary medicine or related studies.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 10:26 AM, 05.21.2019

Westlake Garden Club celebrates Arbor Day

Rain and windchill didn’t stop the Westlake Garden Club Members and officials from the City of Westlake from celebrating Arbor Day 2019 on Friday, April 26. Arbor Day was proposed in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska. It was first observed by planting more than a million trees in Nebraska. Today, we celebrate this Day throughout the nation and the world.

The Westlake Garden Club co-Presidents, Sally Knurek and Shirley Lutts, were present for the planting of a Katsura tree at the Rec Center Playground. The Katsura tree leaves emerge in March-April with reddish purple leaves, that turn orange-gold in the fall with a fragrance of cinnamon, ripe apples and burnt sugar. Tiny flowers, either red or green, depending on the gender of the tree, appear in the early spring. The tree can reach a height of 40 feet to 60 feet in cultivation. It is known for its beautiful shape.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:30 PM, 05.06.2019

Washing machines polluting our lake

Last year we, the Microfiber Fighters, learned a startling fact: Our washing machines are sending billions of microplastics into Lake Erie. The less than 1 mm particles come from all the synthetic materials that go into our clothes, such as fleeces and yoga pants.

As a team we decided to experiment and see if by using common household items we could capture the particles prior to them being discharged into our wastewater system, then into Lake Erie, and then into our drinking water and even into the walleye and perch we eat.

We tried Velcro dots inside a wiffle ball, then we tried hair rollers inside a dog toy, looking for an even better solution. Thinking that maybe we were not getting enough water flow through the ball we thought the dog toy, with its larger holes, would be the solution but that was not the answer either.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 05.06.2019

Summer adventures await at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

From the shores of Lake Erie to the launching pad of a rocket, summer adventures in the great outdoors await at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center!

Summer camps at the Center offer preschoolers and students the opportunity to explore and connect with the outdoors, meet new friends, encounter local wildlife and discover the sky above in Schuele Planetarium. Experienced teachers engage campers in hands-on, nature-based activities that integrate science, math, literacy and the arts.

Three-day Nature Nuts and Log Cabin camps are offered weekly beginning June 11 through Aug. 8 for preschoolers through Grade 2. Children will explore Huntington Reservation, meet live animals, play games, make crafts, conduct experiments and more.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:14 PM, 05.06.2019

Celebrate Earth Day at the YMCA with free 'Silent Spring' learning program

Concerned about our planet? You should be.

The Earth's sustainable resources are no longer in limitless supply and behind the scenes the fragile ecosystem is weakening at an alarming rate.

Consider this: As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. Bees contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to co-exist.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.16.2019

Baby wildlife do's and don'ts

Spring is here and soon you will see baby animals in your neighborhood. As Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s wildlife staff prepares for their busiest season of the year, here are some of their do’s and don’ts for helping baby wildlife.

DO: Allow baby wildlife to grow up in their natural environment

Baby animals are vulnerable, yet resilient. Pets, predators and automobiles are all a natural part of their urban and suburban environments. Baby wildlife must grow up among these circumstances in order to learn how to successfully co-exist with them.

DON’T: Assume baby wildlife is abandoned

Baby wildlife is rarely abandoned in nature and mothers often leave their young unattended for hours. For instance, a fawn lying quietly by itself with no mother in sight is perfectly normal. Deer do this to protect their young, as the presence of an adult would attract the attention of predators.

Certain baby animals are not supposed to be left alone, including ducklings and goslings. If you are unsure if an animal needs help, always call Lake Erie Nature & Science Center at 440-471-8357 before intervening.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 9:45 AM, 04.02.2019