Sunday, April 28, 2013

Arbor Day at Elkhart Environmental Center

We stopped by the Elkhart Environmental Center in Elkhart for the Arbor Day Celebration. There was a nice presentation about how the demise of the Ash Tree is being used as a positive at times, such as making the nice platform pictured and other applications of the very usable wood. The mayor of Elkhart used ceremonial scissors (aka HUGE scissors) to cut the ribbon after he read the Arbor Day proclamation and talked about the general importance of trees. The city forester and others who work at the EEC worked hard to pull this all together.

It was nice and all, but this is REALLY what my kids and niece were doing . . . yep, digging in the dirt!

And I was bouncing a hungry baby to keep him quiet during the presentation. Just in case you thought we lived a perfect life, I thought I'd let you know how we really live some days.

I liked the message on the platform.

I was just being nosy when I snapped this picture. Sounds like he's the artist of these trio of trees! Pretty cool. I'd like to learn more about them.

They were giving away trees and you could mark on the map where it would be planted. 

Kids found places to climb . . .

It was a beautiful day and a great time to explore the grounds of the Elkhart Environmental Center. My husband had never been here. It really is a great demonstration and teaching place as there are numerous elements that can be used for learning about the environment, such as the cabin. It has a water catchment system and other green features.

Various types of compost bins are on display.

A spiral herb garden is also fun to see.

There was free food provided by Olive Garden. My nephew decided to do a wild edible guessing game with my husband. Not sure the hubster was too into! It's neat to see them recognizing wild edibles.

Elevated spaces are always nice!

The kids found a toad and practiced their toad identification skills from the previous night. It seems like it's easier to meet new friends when chasing amphibians!

A portable saw mill was cutting the ash into planks.

The toad kept these guys busy for quite some time.

We looked at the exit holes and marks inside the bark of the ash tree up close. These gentlemen were from Chicago as part of a woodworker's design group.

They have found good solutions to the excess ash wood by creating various furniture and other items.

We checked out the EEC. Puppets were a hit!

The Pollution Solution game was fun as well.

Arborcare was available to answer our tree questions. We have a couple of trees with significant woodpecker activity--it's probably time to give these guys a call!

The Purdue Extension Office also had a display about the Emerald Ash Borer. The kids saw the critter and its effects up close and personal.

This map shows the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. It's quite interesting to see the areas of concentration and how it was moved, often in firewood.

We walked around a small pond and found several treasures, like this robin's egg.

There was also a Canada Goose nesting.

The trunk of this tree was quite interesting!

A turtle was catching some rays.

We found a couple of cocoons. We really had a great opportunity to interact with wildlife at the Arbor Day festival! While it wasn't part of our "agenda" we certainly took advantage of the great weather and exploration time.