Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Drought, woodpeckers, bats, and rocks

It hasn't been a week for gardening -- we finally got some rain (half an inch last Friday) and almost 7/10 of an inch yesterday. In the drought we're in, counting every drop is important. We're worrying about the long-term forecast; my colleague sent an e-mail about hearing that the National Weather Service has projected drought through next summer. It's cool now, but any soil recharge we get is great. Here in SC, we're (at least as a public garden) thinking about whether we can water next summer -- I'm expecting that we'll have mandatory restrictions like our neighboring states of Georgia and North Carolina.

What's been fun, however, is the parade of birds through our home garden. They're definitely enjoying the water I put in the birdbath and large dishes on the ground.

In recent school programs at the botanical garden where I work, I've enjoyed pointing out woodpeckers, bat boxes (we have bats that roost in the trees, and use the boxes a bit), and all the acorns, hickory nuts, and leaves that are falling now. Today's programs focused on changes in the landscape, erosion, and geology -- my knowledge of geology is not vast (minimal, actually), but fortunately, my descriptions of erosion, soil formation, and stream banks captivate third graders, and my colleagues at the Geology Museum provide the important information about rocks and minerals that 3rd graders are supposed to learn about. I get to be about exploring the geological landscape of the Garden.

These kids, however, seemed to love being in the forested area along the Garden's creek the best. Seeing squirrels is a highlight. One of them asked me (I had told them that one of the best things about what I do was that I get to explore the Garden with kids like them), did I like to go on adventures? Well, of course, there are adventures open to us everyday, and many more to go on. But I do hope that I encourage these kids to further explore the world around them, both in their backyards and farther afield.

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