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Monday, August 17, 2015

Fall Programs and Special Events at Little River Regional Park

Here's a listing of the programs and special events hosted by Little River Regional Park & Natural Area from September through December 2015: 

The Little River Regional Park offers a variety of nature programs for all ages. Regularly scheduled programs and special events are listed below. Park staff can also arrange programs on a variety of topics for schools, scouts, or other groups.

Registration is required unless otherwise noted. For more information or to sign-up, call the park office: 919-732-5505.

*Programs made possible by donations from the Little River Trail Runs and the TrailHeads Running Club.

Special Events/Programs

Fall/Winter Nature Walks
Day/Date(s): Monday, September 7th
                     Friday, October 16th
                     Friday, November 27th
                              Friday, January 1st
Time:            9am – 11:30am
Location:      Meet at the Large Shelter
Fee:              Free; no registration required
Description:  We’ll explore the trails of Little River Park on some informal group walks. These walks led by park staff will be at a pace which allows for picture taking and enjoyment of the natural surroundings. We’ll have a few guide books and binoculars to loan.

Haunted Hike with CLAWS
Day/Date:      Friday, October 30th
Time:              7:00pm – 10:00pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free; all ages; no registration required
Description:   Ghouls and goblins of all ages are invited to experience the park after dark. Explore the ¼-mile paved trail and discover what tricks and treats await. Wildlife educators from CLAWS will be stationed along the trail with their owls, ravens and hawks. 

Stargazing at Little River
Date/Times:   October, 23rd, 7:30pm-9:30pm
                       November 6th, 6pm-8pm
                       December 13th, 8pm-10pm
Location:        Play Meadow
Fee:                Free; all ages; no registration required
Description:    The fine folks from Morehead Planetarium will bring out the high power telescopes and give us a tour of the night sky. Bring a blanket, camp chairs or your own telescope or binoculars. Be sure to call the park office after 4pm for cloud/cancellation updates: 919-732-5505. 


Suet making.
Edible Ornaments
Day/Date:      Saturday, December 19th
Time:             1:00pm – 4:00pm
Location:        Large Shelter/Park Office
Fee:               Free*; all ages; no registration required
Description:   It’s peanut butter, pinecone- craft time, folks! Find out what birds are hanging around for the winter and make a few nature-themed ornaments for them to eat.


Christmas Bird Count
Day/Date:      Sunday, December 20th
Time:              9:00am – 12:00pm
Location:        Park Office
Fee:                Free; ages 6 and up; no registration required
Description:   Come count the birds at Little River. Join staff as we tally the diverse species of birds found around the park for Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.


Tiny Trekkers (ages 2-4)
Tiny Trekkers is a series of programs designed for young children ages 2 to 4 years old accompanied by an adult. Trekkers learn about nature through stories, activities, crafts and games.

Hummingbirds
Date/Time:     Monday, September 14th, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:  Trekkers try to keep up with the hummingbirds zipping around the park. Participants will learn how they get their food and fly so fast.

Lizards
Date/Time:     Monday, October 5th, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:   Trekkers learn about lizards. We will search for anoles, fence lizards, and skinks as we learn about the special ways they protect themselves from predators.


Tree crafts.
 Trees
Date/Time:     Monday, November 2nd, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:  This month our Trekkers talk trees: some grow tall, some grow wide, but can you guess what they all hide? Stories, crafts and some tree-mendous fun!

 
Discovery Club (ages 5 and Up)
Discovery Club programs are geared toward children ages 5 & up accompanied by an adult. Programs focus on learning about nature and science through hands-on activities and exploration.  


Shark teeth and other marine fossils.
Rocks & Fossils
Day/Date:      Saturday, October 24th
Time:              2:00pm – 3:30pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:  We’ll dig into how rocks and fossils are formed and the tools archeologists use. Start your own rock collection and search for fossils from North Carolina.



Map & Compass
Day/Date:      Saturday, November 21st
Time:              2:00pm – 3:30pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:                Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:  Learn the basics of reading a map and compass. Search around the park for hidden treasure using clues and your new skills.

Species Spotlight: Eastern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)

Eastern Fence Lizard
You may know them as 'wood lizards' or 'swift lizards' but they are more readily known as Eastern Fence Lizards. Quick and agile they are commonly found on fences and open woodlands throughout its range in most of the eastern United States from New York State south to Florida and west to South Dakota. Here at the park they can easily be spotted on the fence around our butterfly garden looking for insects and spiders to nosh on. They can also be seen throughout the parks open woodlands of pines and hardwoods scampering around the ground and around stumps, rocky outcrops, brush piles and up trees. They are strictly diurnal and are often seen basking in the sun until disturbed where they will dart off quickly for cover.

Fence lizards are 4 to 7 inches in length and are generally brown, gray or bronze in color with several wavy crossbands along its body. The bellies are generally white with black flecks scattered about. If you are lucky enough to see the belly of the adult males you will be treated to patches of deep bright iridescent blue, greenish blue or bluish-black markings. The scales are pointed and overlap giving the fence lizard a rough appearance. Compared to other lizards found in the park and the state of North Carolina this rough scaly appearance makes them easily identifiable. When winter comes they can be found hibernating in logs, under rocks, stumps or other sheltered areas. On warmer winter days they will emerge to bask in the sunlight.


Male fence lizards are highly territorial and will fend off competing males (usually by displaying their blue patches through a series of ‘push-ups”) for breeding grounds and feeding locations. Fence lizards use their keen eyesight to spot prey. They will find a favorable perch and then ‘sit and wait’ for their prey to come. Fence lizards can eat their weight in insects and spiders most every day making them a friend to gardeners. These lizards can also become prey themselves to snakes, mammals and larger birds and rely on camouflage and speed to evade such predators. If captured, they can bite, feign death and or have its tail break off potentially giving the lizard a chance to escape. Like all of North Carolinas native lizards they have fractures along their vertebrae that allow the tail to break off. In time a new tail will partially regenerate.

Eastern Fence Lizards are fun little reptiles adding life and personality to Little River Regional Park. If you ever have tried to catch one before you know just how fast these little buggers can be. Eastern Fence Lizards call Little River Regional Park home and I encourage you to come out and visit the park to see if you con spot one at our garden or along one of our trails.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ladybugs and Flutter-byes Featured for Summer Programs

Little River Park Programs and Special Events - May through August 2015

We are very happy to announce that starting in July our Tiny Trekkers and Discovery Club programs will be free! Thanks to the donations recieved from the Little River Trail Runs and the TrailHeads Running Club, we are able to waive the program fees for the next fiscal year. You will still have to pre-register for these programs but can do so simply by calling the park office: 919-732-5505.

Tiny Trekkers (ages 2-4 years)
Tiny Trekkers is a series of programs designed for young children ages 2 to 4 years old accompanied by an adult. Trekkers learn about nature through stories, activities, crafts and games.

Dirty Hands, Muddy Feets
Date/Time:     Monday, May 4th, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:               $2.00 per participant
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:    Trekkers learn about plants and how they grow. We’ll dig in the dirt, spread some seeds and plant some flowers. Please dress to get messy. Please register online: https://server3.co.orange.nc.us.

Things with Wings
Date/Time:     Monday, June 8th, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:               $2.00 per participant
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:    Trekkers discover what bugs are flying around the park. In addition to a story, we’ll be releasing some live ladybugs into the garden. Please register online: https://server3.co.orange.nc.us.

Buzzy Bees
Date/Time:     Monday, July 6th, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:               Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:    The garden is a buzz this month with Trekkers and bumblebees.  Discover what the noise is about with bee stories, crafts and activities. Call the park office to sign-up for this program.

Caterpillars and Flutter-byes
Date/Time:     Monday, August 3rd, 10am-11am
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:               Free*
Min/Max:        4/12
Description:    Trekkers learn about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly as we explore the butterfly garden. We’ll have a story, some games and make some transformations of our own. Call the park office to sign-up for this program.

Discovery Club (ages 5 years and older)
Discovery Club programs are geared toward children ages 5 & older accompanied by an adult. Programs focus on learning about nature and science through hands-on activities and exploration.

Dig In!                                             
Day/Date:       Saturday, May 16th                      
Time:             10:00am – 11:30am
Location:        Park Office
Fee:               $5.00 per family
Min/Max:        3/10
Description:    Join us in the garden - digging, planting seeds, using tools, and pulling weeds. We’ll explore the soil for insects, earthworms and arthropods. Dress to get messy! Please register online: https://server3.co.orange.nc.us.

Ladybug Release
Day/Date:       Saturday, June 20th
Time:             10:00am – 11:30am
Location:        Small Shelter
Fee:               $5.00 per family/couple/individual
Min/Max:        3/10
Description:    Help us release thousands of ladybugs into the garden. Find out all about these beneficial insects and why scientists need help studying them. Make a ladybug habitat and bring a few bugs home. Please register online: https://server3.co.orange.nc.us.

Black Light Bugs
Day/Date:      Saturday, July 25th
Time:             7:30pm – 9:30pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:               Free*
Min/Max:        3/10
Description:    We’ll whip up a batch of our special moth bait and lure all types of night critters with lights set up around the play meadow. Beetles,
moths and maybe a few toads will make an appearance. Call the park office to sign-up for this program.

Lost in Space
Day/Date:      Saturday, August 22nd
Time:             8:00pm – 10:00pm
Location:        Large Shelter
Fee:               Free*
Min/Max:        3/10
Description:    Join us for an out of this world adventure as we explore outer space. We’ll take a walk to Pluto, create craters on the Moon and peer into the night sky with binoculars and telescopes. Call the park office to sign-up for this program.

Special Events/Programs
                         
C.L.A.W.S.
Date:              Saturday, May 9th             
Time:             11:00am-12:00pm
Location:        Large Shelter                     
Fee:               Free*; no registration required
Description:    Wildlife educators from CLAWS will be on hand to talk about their work, their animals and the wildlife in our area. They will also be bringing several live birds including raptors and birds of prey.

National Trails Day: Stewardship Project
Date/Time:     Saturday, June 6th, 9:00am-12:00pm
Location:        Park Office
Min/Max:        4/15
Fee:                Free; 6 years and older
Description:   Join us for National Trails Day! We’ll hit the hiking trails for some summer maintenance including pruning, tree removal and possibly some bridge building. This workday requires moderate work and the ability to use tools like shovels and pruners. Please wear sturdy footwear and
dress to get messy. Light refreshments provided. You may want to bring some extra water, your favorite gloves or pruning tools and bug spray if you like. Please call the park office to sign up or for more information: 919-732-5505.

Volunteer Workday: Mountain Bike Trails
Date/Time:     Saturday, August 15th, 9:00am-12:00pm
Location:        Park Office
Min/Max:        4/15
Fee:                Free; 6 years and older

                                                    
Description:   Help prune back the summer growth and do some other maintenance on the single track bike trails. This workday requires moderate work and the ability to use tools like pruners and hand saws. We’ll go for a ride when all our work is done so bring your mountain bike for this workday! Please wear sturdy footwear and dress to get messy. Light refreshments provided. You may want to bring some extra water, your favorite gloves or pruning tools and bug spray if you like. Please call the park office for more information.


* Free programs made possible by donations from the Little River Trail Runs and the TrailHeads Running Club.

Our programs and events can also be found using Google+: http://tinyurl.com/qdqz9s6

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year’s Day Bird Count 2015

Here are the results of the annual bird count done at Little River Park on New Year’s Day 2015:

Weather Conditions:

 
AM
PM
Sky Conditions
Partly Cloudy
Scattered Clouds
Wind Direction & Velocity
Calm
SW 10mph
Temperature
23°F
51°F

Checklist Results:

Black Vulture
7
Eastern Phoebe
1
Field Sparrow
1
Turkey Vulture
3
American Crow
1
White-throated Sparrow
6
Red-tailed Hawk
1
Carolina Chickadee
5
Dark-eyed Junco
3
Gull sp.
4
Tufted Titmouse
4
Northern Cardinal
5
Red-bellied Woodpecker
2
Golden-crowned Kinglet
19
 
 
Downy Woodpecker
3
Chipping Sparrow
1
 
 

There were 14 folks who participated in this year's count. They traveled about 6 miles along Little River's trails. A total of 16 species of birds were noted. The number of individual birds counted totaled 66. Regular attendees of the event noted that bird activity was very low for the day despite the mild winter weather.
More information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count can be found at the National Audubon Society's website: http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count.


If you'd like to take part in a bird count, the park will participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count from February 13-16, 2015, which is a great event for first-time counters or beginning birders as well as experienced birders. Call the park office for more information: 919-732-5505.

Related Reading:
"7 Surprises from the 115th Christmas Bird Count" by Becca Cudmore, Audubon magazine online, published 1/16/2015, http://www.audubonmagazine.org/articles/conservation/7-wonders-past-christmas-bird-count
 

New Online Calendar of Events

Now it's easier to find out what's going on at the park with our new online calendar!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Park Programs and Special Events for January through April 2015


Tiny Trekkers (age 2-4)

Tiny Trekkers is a series of programs designed for young children ages 2 to 4 years old accompanied by an adult. Trekkers learn about nature through stories, activities, crafts and games.

 

Getting Wild

Date/Time:     Monday, January 5th, 10am-11am

Location:        Park Office

Fee:                $2.00 per participant

Min/Max:        4/12

Description:  Trekkers explore the differences between wild and tame animals and learn about the wildlife living around us. We’ll have a story and an animal parade!

 

Fur, Feathers, Skins & Scales

Date/Time:     Monday, February 2nd, 10am-11am

Location:        Large Shelter

Fee:                $2.00 per participant

Min/Max:        4/12

Description:  Trekkers learn about the different ways animals are covered through touch and observation. There will be a story, games and an animal craft.

 

What’s the Weather?

Date/Time:     Monday, March 2nd, 10am-11am                                                            

Location:        Large Shelter

Cost:               $2.00 per participant

Min/Max:        4/12

Description:   Trekkers find out about weather as we create some clouds, make some rain, and wonder about thunder.

 

Discovery Club (ages 5 and Up)

Discovery Club programs are geared toward children ages 5 & up accompanied by an adult. Programs focus on learning about nature and science through hands-on activities and exploration.  

 

Bird Box Building

Date/Time:     Saturday, February 21st, 2:00pm –3:30pm

Location:        Large Shelter

Fee:                $5.00 per box

Min/Max:        3/10

Description:   Build a nest box for your home to help attract bluebirds, chickadees, and wrens to your own backyard.  

 

Fossil Find

Date/Time:     Saturday, March 28th, 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Location:        Large Shelter

Fee:                $5.00 per family/couple/individual

Min/Max:        3/10

Description:   Join staff on an archeological dig for North Carolina fossils. Participants will learn how fossils are formed, how scientists look for them and make their own fossils.

 

Special Events/Programs

 

New Year’s Day Bird Count

Date/Time:     Thursday, January 1, 9:00am – 12noon

Location:        Park Office

Fee:                Free; all ages; no registration required

Description:   Come count the birds at Little River! Join staff as we tally the diverse species of birds found around the park. Results will be added to the national count held by the Audubon Society from December 14 through January 5.

 

10th Annual Little River Trail Run

Date: Saturday, January 17

Description: The Park will be moving as runners converge on the trails of Little River Regional Park. Sponsored by the Trailheads, runners of every level are encouraged to participate in a fun, relaxed and enjoyable morning on the trails. Register at www.trailheads.org for the 10 mile or 7k races.

 

Volunteer Workday: Bird Trail

Date/Time:     Friday, February 13th, 10:00am-1:00pm

Location:        Park Office

Min/Max:        4/15

Fee:                Free; 6 years and older; please register

Description:   Come help us maintain and improve our bird trail and enjoy some lunch on us. This workday requires moderate work and the ability to use tools (rakes, loppers).  Please wear sturdy footwear and dress to get messy. Registration is needed to know how much pizza and refreshments to provide. Bring water, gloves, tools and bug spray if you like.  For more information please call the park office at (919) 732-5505.

 

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Date:               February 13-16

Location:        Park Office

Fee:                Free; all ages; no registration required.

Description:   Participate in this National event here at the park or in your own backyard. Pick up instructions, field guides and data sheets from the Park office. Spend as little as 15 minutes counting birds, leave checklists for us to tally or submit the information at home.

 

Star Gazing at Little River Park

Date/Time:     February 20, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

                        March 20, 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Location:        Play Meadow

Fee:                Free; all ages; no registration required.

Description:   Volunteers from Morehead Planetarium will bring out the high powered telescopes and give us a tour of the night sky. Bring a blanket, camp chairs or your own telescope or binoculars. Be sure to call the park office after 4pm for cloud/cancellation updates: (919) 732-5505. 

 

Volunteer Workday: Spring Cleaning

Date/Time:     Saturday, March 21st, 10:00am-1:00pm

Location:        Park Office

Min/Max:        4/15

Fee:                Free; 6 years and older; please register

Description:   Help us welcome in spring by working in the butterfly garden and enjoy some lunch on us. This workday requires moderate work and the ability to use tools (shovels, pruners).  Please wear sturdy footwear and dress to get messy. Registration is needed to know how much pizza and refreshments to provide. Bring water, gloves, tools and bug spray if you like.  For more information please call the park office at (919) 732-5505.

 

Statewide Star Party @ Little River

Date/Time:     Friday, April 24th, 8:30pm – 10:30pm

Location:        Play Meadow

Fee:                Free; all ages; no registration required

Description:   Join us at Little River Park for the 3rd annual Statewide Star Party. Star gazers at various locations across the state will come together to enjoy an evening under the night sky. This year we are focusing on our Solar System. Come a little early and walk our scale model of the planets. Part of the North Carolina Science Festival. Be sure to call the park office after 4pm for cloud/cancellation updates: (919) 732-5505. 

 

Environmental Education at Little River

Little River Regional Park offers a variety of nature programs for all ages. Regularly scheduled programs and special events are listed below. For more information, call the park office: (919) 732-5505 or register online: https://server3.co.orange.nc.us/.  Pre-registration is required.




Monday, October 13, 2014

Little River's Big Sweep 2014



Remnants from the old farmstead: tractor tires and metal barrels.
A huge Thank You to all this year's volunteers!
Thousands of volunteers across the nation gather each year in October to clean up litter from our waterways and public lands. As part of the nationwide Big Sweep, our volunteers scoured the park and portions of the Little River for trash and debris. One of our goals this year was to remove several large, old tires left from the days when the park property was a working tobacco farm. 



 Volunteers, including a members from area scout troops, hiked portions of the South River Loop and North River Loop trails looking for litter that may have been left behind by other visitors or washed downstream from outside the park boundaries. They also did some off trail reconnaissance for trash, pulling several large items that were visible from the trail as well as finding other long abandoned items half buried under years of fallen leaves.

Though litter along the river was hard to find, volunteers reported that a black snake and some frogs were spotted enjoying some of the last warm weather of the season. Possibly an indicator that all the previous year's Big Sweeps are paying off for the park's year-round residents.

If you'd like to participate in next year's Big Sweep or are interested in volunteering for other projects or clean-ups, contact the park office: littleriverpark@orangecountync.gov. We'd be more than happy to put you to work!