Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kids meet the animals of Mentor Marsh

Cheyenne touches the soft fur of an opossum.

The pelts of an opossum, skunk, beaver, raccoon, rabbit, gray fox, and two red foxes—both a summer and thicker winter coat—covered the floor of the Mentor Headlands Library Branch on Saturday afternoon.

The kids sat in a semicircle around them and took turns looking at the beak of a great horned owl and a pair of turkey feathers.

None of them realized just how much wildlife lived so nearby.
Zach looks at the different types of feathers that grow on a turkey.
Naturalist Becky Donaldson from the Mentor Marsh visited the library to tell the kids about the unique habitat that's just a few miles from their home.

The marsh is unlike any other park in the region. More than 200 kinds of birds (including a pair of bald eagles) nest in its mixed oak swamp some time during the year.

During a walk, you can see staghorn sumac and Northern shovelers, rose hips and heron, gadwalls and wild raspberry.

And it's free to visit and open from dawn to dusk every day. Its nature center is also open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Raven and Lucius check out the pelt of a red fox. In the winter, the fox's fur grows thicker.
The marsh also offers hikes from 2 to 3:30 p.m. each Sunday.

On Oct. 19, a naturalist will lead a fall foliage hike through the marsh. On Oct. 26, there will be a spooky scavenger hunt that busts some common myths about local wildlife. Then, on Nov. 2, nature lovers can learn about white-tailed deer and even practice their tracking skills by looking for signs of deer along the marsh's trails.

You can register for any of these hikes by calling the Mentor Marsh Nature Center at 440-257-0777 or by emailing rdonalds@cmnh.org.
Naturalist Becky Donaldson explains that while opossum do have prehensile tails, they don't hang upside down to sleep.
Becky Donaldson will return to our Headlands Branch in April to talk about bald eagles. It's a little too soon to register for the program but never too soon to get excited.

You can visit our Facebook page for more fun photos from library programs. You can also check out Mentor Marsh's Facebook page for some beautiful snapshots, if you'd like

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