September 23, 2009
- More Photos of Beaver
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education 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
The beaver, New York's official mammal, earns its reputation as an industrious and hard-working critter. The largest member of the rodent family, an adult beaver averages 3 to 3 ½ feet long and weighs 30-60 pounds. The characteristic broad, flat tail of the beaver serves as a rudder when swimming, a prop when felling trees, a noisemaker to signal danger and a propeller when a little extra speed is needed in the water. Beaver have four, large, bright orange teeth that they use to gnaw at tree trunks until the trees fall. Their back feet are webbed to propel them through the water, and their thick fur helps them stay dry and warm.
Beavers are most active at night, when they spend their time cutting down trees to construct a dam across an area of flowing water like a stream. They drag the wood, tree by tree, to the water and use mud and rocks to hold the wood in place. They pack more mud, leaves and debris from the bottom of the stream to hold back the water. Why all this hard work? Beavers build dams to create a pond of deep water where they can build a lodge and safely dive underwater to escape predators. In addition, the trapped water floods the woods, allowing easier access to trees which they use for food as well as construction.
DEC's website has more information about beaver (pdf - 204Kb).
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A beaver lodge can measure 12 to 14 feet at the base, with 5 or 6 feet above the water. It is made from a pile of logs, sticks, rocks and mud. Lodges have two levels-a feeding and drying area separate from the bedding area. Finely shredded wood fibers line the bed portion of the lodge.
You can make a miniature version of a beaver lodge with some twigs, mud and leaves. Get a bucket of dirt and another empty bucket. Gather some leaves, broken twigs and moss. Mix some dirt and water together in the empty bucket, adding the leaves, twigs and moss. Scoop out the mixture and build some walls. Once the walls harden, have an adult cut some pine boughs for you and lay them across the top of the walls as a ceiling.
It is hard to imagine all the work that a beaver goes through to build a lodge. For those of you who don't live near a wooded area or forest, try creating a twig sculpture instead. Gather some long, thin twigs (willow is perfect) or some vines. Soak them in water overnight to make them easier to bend. Find some smaller branches to use for support. Decide whether you want to make an animal sculpture, a nest or a twig ball. If you can find them, use long grasses or ivy as string to bind the twigs together to form your basic sculpture. Use the twigs or vines you gathered to weave around the base of your sculpture to give it shape. Place your sculpture in a natural area for others to discover and enjoy.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Nature Discovery After-School Programs
4:00 to 5:00 PM each Thursday from September 3 through November 19
Attention kids of all ages! Bring a parent or other adult, and discover the outdoors at Stony Kill together.
Saturday Morning Guided Walks
10:00 AM each Saturday during September
Join a Stony Kill naturalist as we take an easy, leisurely stroll along the Woodland Trail.
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Saturday during September and October
Come meet the livestock-cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens and turkeys-up close.
Hudson River Ramble Hike - Sierra Trail Saunter
Saturday, September 26 at 2:00 PM
Explore this moderate 2.25-mile look hike through a hardwood forest, evergreen woods, wetlands and open meadow.
Saturday, October 3 from Noon to 5:00 PM
Our 31st annual Harvest Festival will include an afternoon of nature activities, environmental exhibits, demonstrations, live music, food, hayrides and barn tours.
Annual Fall Festival
Saturday, September 26 from Noon to 4:00 PM
Join us for our annual Fall Festival. The afternoon includes a multitude of activities, hands-on games, and nature explorations.
I Went to the Meadow
Saturday, October 3 at 10:00 AM
This program is limited to Daisy Girl Scouts. We will explore different habitats and create a craft that helps the environment. Register for this program through (www.gsneny.org) Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. Fee for materials.
Discover the Pine Bush for Families
Sunday, September 27 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Come join us on a fun journey to discover the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, the best example of an inland pine barrens. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free. Call 518-456-0655 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Newcomb Visitors Center
Discover Nature Field Walk for Families
Saturday, September 26 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Celebrate National Take a Child Outside Week with us. We'll be leading a walk geared toward helping families discover the joys of being outside. Call 518-582-2000 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Fall Wagon Ride
Saturday, October 3 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Paul Smiths College Draft Horse Club will offer wagon rides to view the changing leaves. Call 518-327-3000 to schedule a time. Cost: $5/adult, $2/child, $3/Adirondack Park Institute members.
Saturday, September 26 at 11:00 AM
Leaves are beginning to change color and drop to the ground. Learn about trees in fall and make art from fallen leaves. For children ages 4-12. Call 607-674-4017 to register.
Saturday, October 3 at 10:00 AM
Enjoy a fall walk in the forest and learn about fascinating fungi as we look for mushrooms at Adams Farm. Meet in the Rogers Center main parking lot to carpool. Call 607-674-4017 to register.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Saturday, September 26 at 10:30 AM
Explore the world of dragonflies and damselflies on this guided walk. For adults and children age 8 and older.
Morning Bird Walk
Sunday, September 27 at 9:00 AM
Search for migrating and resident birds along the trails. Bring binoculars if you have them. For adults and children age 8 and older.
Sunday, September 27 at 2:00 PM
Who are the critters in our "neighborhood"? Learn about our resident wildlife-what they eat and where they live. For children under age 12.
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