Thursday, 19 September 2013 10:07

New, familiar programs to welcome fall at Rice Creek

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     SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek Field Station will launch fall programming in September with a new Sharing Science series, followed by naturalist-led walks, a hands-on sustainable art series, tours of the new headquarters building and winter bird study.

     Three sessions of Sharing Science at 1 p.m. on selected Saturdays will feature scientists, ecologists and other experts communicating for children and adults the how and why of ecological projects.

     On Sept. 28, those attending will meet at the stone house at Fallbrook Recreation Center for "Rice Creek Restored and Running Free," an opportunity to learn about the removal of the Fallbrook dam on the creek that gives the field station its name. The group will walk a short distance to Rice Creek just west of the Fallbrook barn, learning about how the project is changing habitats above and below the former dam.

     The Oct. 19 program, "Wonderful World of Wood Ducks," will feature a presentation by SUNY Oswego biological sciences faculty member Michael Schummer's class in waterfowl ecology. Attendees will learn about water birds common to Rice Creek and how to help conserve wetlands. Visitors can bring a flat and a Phillips head screwdriver and a hammer to participate in making wood-duck boxes for Rice Creek, and take home a set of plans for building their own.

     On Nov. 16, Noelle Rayman of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will present "Bat Ecology and Conservation," sharing facts and revealing myths about these flying mammals. Rayman will talk about how scientists study bats, and the latest on the White Nose Syndrome affecting bat populations, as well as about monitoring, conservation and management.

     Since program size is limited, Sharing Science is not able to accommodate groups. An adult needs to accompany children. All programs will start at the renewed Rice Creek Field Station, unless planned to meet somewhere else. Call 315-312-6677 for more information.

Rambles return

     With the rustle of leaves and smell of fall in the air, naturalist-led Rice Creek Rambles will resume at 11 a.m. on the following Saturdays:

     Oct. 5: "Nature's Banquet" will examine what Rice Creek's creatures eat this time of year.
     Oct. 19: "Reports from the Field" will hear from SUNY Oswego students and faculty studying plants and animals in Rice Creek's nearly 400 acres of varied terrain.

     Oct. 26: "Tucking in for Winter" will unveil how flora and fauna prepare for the cold and snow.

     Nov. 2: "Changing Seasons" will explore altered appearance among inhabitants of Rice Creek.

     Dec. 14: "Early Winter Wonders" attendees will hike the trails with snowshoes, if conditions are suitable. Rice Creek's snowshoes will fit most children ages 9 and older, and participants are welcome to bring their own.

     Those planning to attend are asked to call 315-312-6677 on the morning of the hike to check trail conditions. Since program size is limited, Rice Creek cannot accommodate groups. An adult needs to accompany children.

Adventures in art

     The family-centered Sustainable Art series, inspired by the natural setting at Rice Creek, will take place at 11 a.m. on three Saturdays this fall:

     Nov. 9 (preregister by Oct. 30): During "Animal Totems," participants will utilize natural objects and clay to create totems in the traditions of Native Americans and learn what the lore says their birth totem means.

     Nov. 23 (preregister by Nov. 13): "Hidden Treasures" will explore reusing and recycling household materials to make fun and unique gifts.

     Dec. 7 (preregister by Nov.  27): Using pods, cones, feathers and dried grasses, participants in "Nature-Inspired Holiday Creations" will invent whimsical and festive creatures. If time permits, those attending will create a sleigh for them as well.

     Beginning in December, the field station will welcome visitors as citizen scientists to assist with counts of birds at Rice Creek feeders from indoors most Fridays and Saturdays.

     Rice Creek also will host an open house with tours, displays and student poster presentations from noon to 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 30, as well as a celebration of the main building's reopening at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.

For more information about Rice Creek's fall programs, visit

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