Friday, July 10, 2009
After all the preparations of the park were finished it was time to get ourselves personally ready for the celebration!
The celebration, which was held from 10:00 – 4:00, included speeches by founder Sergei Smirenski, Park director Marina Kalodina, and Jim Harris of the International Crane Foundation as well as songs and dances from several local musicians and artists.
The warm, damp conditions have also favored the growth of fungus and we have seen an explosion of different mushroom species in all habitats of the park.
The swallows that were constructing their nest near the entrance of the house have finished and have begun to incubate their eggs.
We celebrated the beginning of the month by giving a tour through the wetlands to several of our volunteers. The hike provided our volunteers with an opportunity to get good views of some the resident wildlife such as the white-naped cranes, oriental storks, and roe deer.
Although the wetlands look inviting from the terrace of the headquarters, once you enter into them you are immediately greeted by millions of ravenous mosquitoes, which will quickly find and attack and exposed piece of skin!!
However, for those brave enough to enter the wetlands at this time of year will find four new blooming orchids awaiting them.
Our small mammal traps keep yielding little fury surprises. To date, we have captured and collected information on nearly forty individuals encompassing nine different species, ranging from the Siberian chipmunk to the black-striped field mouse.
We have also converted the un-used space on the top floor of the nature center into what is now called the discovery zone. Here we have brought up some living examples of the smaller creatures found around the park to show and educate our visitors.
The beginning of July was also when the park held its annual summer camp. This year we had nearly fifty students ranging in age from 11-15 years old. The students spent seven days at the park and were given a hands on learning experience about the parks geology, weather, plants and animals. This years theme was the effects of global climate change on these different aspects of the ecosystem. In addition to the lesson plans, other traditional aspects of summer camp were incorporated such as games and competitions as well as evening songs and discussions around the campfire.