June 17, 2009
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center and Tivoli Bays Visitors Center
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Adirondacks - Adirondack Park Agency Visitors Interpretive Centers at Newcomb and Paul Smiths
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
Creepy and crawly, spiders are actually fascinating creatures that don't deserve that reputation. All spiders have eight legs, two body segments and no chewing mouthparts, antennae or wings, which separates them from insects. Spiders have hollow fangs which inject venom to immobilize or kill their prey. Most of their prey includes small insects or other spiders. Unable to swallow solid food, spiders use their chelicerae (pronounced ki-li-se-re) -pointed appendages- to crush their prey.
In New York's cold climate, spiders typically only live one year. Some species spend the winter as adults, while other species overwinter as eggs. DEC's website has more information about spiders in New York.
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What a Tangled Web
What is a spider web made of? All spiders produce silk-thin, incredibly strong, flexible protein strands. Sometimes the silk is sticky and used to catch prey. Most is non-sticky and used to cover egg sacs, construct parts of webs, wrap prey or make waterproof retreats. Morning is a great time to go searching for spiders webs. To get a better look at a spider orb web, find one that doesn't have a spider in it. An orb web is a wheel-shaped web with spokes radiating out from the center and used to catch flying insects. Along with an adult, spray the web lightly with hairspray three or four times, waiting for it to harden after each time. Get a piece of black construction paper and scissors. Cut the silk strands that are holding the web in place, and catch the web with the construction paper as it becomes loose. After the web is on the paper, spray it again so it sticks to the page. Now you can get an up-close and personal look at a spider web. Don't worry about the spider - it will quickly build another home.
If you are lucky enough to find a web with a spider in it, toss an insect like a grasshopper or fly into the web and watch the spider wrap up the prey with big swaths of silk!
Take a look at what is hiding in your lawn or a park near your home, right underneath your nose. Using a hula hoop or a wire hanger bent into a square, take a magnifying glass, notebook and pencil out into your yard. Throw the hula hoop or hanger into a spot on the grass. Then get down on all fours with your magnifying glass and search through the blades to find as many creatures as you can. You will probably find worms, beetles, spiders and moths. Jot down what you see in your notebook and then move on to another section of lawn. Try comparing shady grass with sunny grass to see if you find anything different.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
What's Buggin' You?
Saturday, June 20 at 10:00 AM
Insects play fascinating and important roles in our lives and in natural ecosystems. We'll use sweep nets in the meadow to find insects and take a closer look at them.
Saturday, June 27 at 10:00 AM
Learn how herbs have been used for centuries to season our food, heal our ills and more. Join us for a tour of Stony Kill's herb garden and a leisurely walk in search of wild herbs like baneberry, jewelweed and wild geranium in bloom along our forest trails.
Friday, June 19 at 7:00 PM
Flowers that bloom around the summer solstice are steeped in ancient traditions and lore. On this evening walk, we will explore some of these blooms and their history.
Home Schoolers Stream Study
Wednesday, June 24 at 2:00 PM
A stream science program designed for home schoolers. Come prepared to wade.
Wonders of Wetlands
Friday, June 26 at 7:00 PM
Experience the rich diversity of wetlands, and listen for one of the first voices of summer, the bullfrog.
Saturday, June 27 at 10:00 AM
A walk to find, catch and learn about the insects of the season. Materials fee: Friends of Five Rivers members - $1.00 per family. Non-members - $1.75 per family.
Dragons and Damsels
Saturday, June 27 at 2:00 PM
A walk to observe and identify dragonflies and damselflies using binoculars and catch and release.
Tuesday, June 30 at 7:00 PM
Help us monitor fireflies and collect valuable data on firefly activity at Five Rivers.
Thursday, June 18 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Participate in the restoration of the endangered Pine Bush landscape and "help a habitat." Call 518-456-0655 to register. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Adirondack Park Agency Newcomb Visitors Center
Birds of Prey
Saturday, June 27 at 1:00 PM
Join us for a live raptor program featuring some of our non-releasable education birds. Call 518-582-2000 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Saturday, June 20 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Kids and adults can investigate the underwater life of Heron Marsh. We will use dip nets to collect some of the organisms in the marsh. Call 518-327-3000 to register.
Evening Canoe/Kayak Ninemile Swamp
Saturday, June 20 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Dusk is the perfect time to observe animals. It is also a lovely time of day to float along the diverse Ninemile Swamp. Equipment is provided or bring your own. Call 607-674-4017 to register. Cost: $5 per paddler, due at time of registration.
Family Fishing Day
Saturday, June 27 from 10:00 AM to Noon
Spend a few hours catching and releasing fish at Rogers Center. Learn fun fish facts and observe aquatic insects.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Summer Solstice Walk
Monday, June 22 at 8:00 PM
Enjoy a walk at the time of year when warm nights and sunny days welcome summer.
Ribbit, Slither, Croak!
Saturday, June 27 at 10:30 AM
Discover our local snakes, frogs and salamanders on this guided walk.
Wednesday, July 1 at 10:00 AM
Bring your stroller or wagon and share a sensory exploration of nature with your young child.
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