Tag Archives: black ratsnake

Why I Save Snakes (and turtles, and Opossums…)

8 Jan

In a recent article I read about two women who save rattlesnakes from being killed on roads.  These women are heroes to me and their journey has inspired me to put my thoughts down on “paper” and share them with all of you.

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Photo by Tim Peacock from the article by W.R.Shaw 

Like these amazing women I too have been saving snakes – Rattlesnakes included – and all others as well as turtles, salamanders and Opossums for as long as I have been driving.

With most incidents I quickly move the animal to to the side of the road it is moving toward and then move on without incident.  Below are a few videos of some of my rescues when I was toting a video camera.

Box turtles (and all others) need our help across the road

And just last year I rescued one Timber rattlesnake from a garden and then another as I drove home from the first rescue – two in one night!

On another occasion several people worked together to get one small box turtle back to her home in the remote forest.

A copperhead rescue…

Most of the times when I am rescuing wildlife from the road the other drivers will slow down and wait for me to rescue the animal and sometimes even thank me out the window as they pass.  I believe most people are really good and helpful and may only hit small creatures crossing the roads on accident.

Other, thankfully more rare times, I have had drivers swerve their vehicles toward me and speed up in the attempt to hit the animal before I get to it.

Once this happened as a friend and I had just pulled over and were jogging toward an Eastern box turtle that was attempting to cross a curvy 2 lane road in the mountains near Boone, NC.  As we were approaching the turtle a huge jacked up “redneck” truck with nasty diesel smoke belching from over-sized “hey look at me” loud exhaust pipes swerved past us, accelerated and aimed for the animal.  We could only watch as the helpless reptile died in a cartwheel of blood and gore under the giant tires of the infantile drivers weapon of death. As the truck hit the turtle with a very audible “pop” we could hear the hoots and catcalls from the driver and passenger as they celebrated their murder of an innocent and helpless creature. I am normally a calm, easy going person but at that moment I was so mad and disgusted with humanity that if that driver had turned around I do not know what I would have done but it would not have been nice.

Many years ago I witnessed the aftermath of a similar incident that I recorded in the below video.

In the following video a scientist conducts an experiment to explore the connections between the species of the animal and how many drivers target them.

In another incident, as I was driving home one warm summer night when I noticed a medium sized Copperhead warming its belly on a remote road.  I saw the snake in the last instant and was forced to straddle it with my car to avoid hitting it and then I quickly pulled off the road and jumped out to move it before the approaching vehicle could hit it.  Unfortunately the driver was only a few car lengths behind and probably did not see it as they came into the dark curve and hit the snake which quickly died…and so did the 9 babies gestating in its belly.

Yet another time I watched as a driver on a cellphone driving on a busy Florida highway mowed down an adult Gopher tortoise as it tried to cross the road – yet another cartwheel of blood and gore from a protected keystone species. The driver never even tapped her brakes but from my vantage point I have no idea how she did not see the animal.

Other times I have stopped to move road-killed animals off the road in order to not cause the deaths of the scavengers that come to feed on them. When I have moved rattlesnakes they almost always have a missing rattle (see the video below in which I find just that).  – This is evidence that the murderer took the snake’s rattle as a trophy of their conquest of the “fearsome deadly beast” they now probably brag about to their friends to boost their machismo at the expense of another creatures life – now you see how I feel about trophy hunting.

Then there’s the type of people that swerve in the attempt to maybe intimidate me into;

A. Dropping the animal and running so they can kill it with their rolling death machine.

B. Assisting with their deadly plans by throwing it under their wheels so they can kill it with their rolling death machine.

C. Possibly kill us both with their rolling death machine because they are holding onto some misplaced ancient dogma that insists that snakes are “evil” and anyone who associates with them must also be “evil” so it would be appropriate to kill both of the “evil” creatures at the same time. Really? Yes, there are misguided people like that still out there walking and driving the earth – some of them are even toting guns – yikes!

It is truly sad that in this day of scientific breakthroughs leading to technological achievements that allow us to drive great distances in machines of science (cars, planes, trains, ships, rockets etc..), connect with others at the speed of light using devices of science (smartphones, internet, satellites, computers,…), and the fact that many of us owe our very lives to the findings of science by way of medications derived from snake venom such as snake bite antivenin and some cancer and pain treatments and more and even more). Watch the video below for more on this.

Crofab antivenin is used in treating the bite of pitvipers.  The video below shows how venom is extracted from Rattlesnakes before used to produce lifesaving antivenin.

Here is a another good, but a bit over dramatized, video of how Crofab is used to treat the bite of Pitvipers.

Then there is the simple fact that through thousands of years of direct observation and the findings of science, that we now know for absolute fact that snakes eat lots of rodents (mice, rats, voles etc…) and that these rodents, if not kept in check by snakes and other predators, would overpopulate destroying our crops and spreading deadly disease–watch an example in the following video.

Rodents directly and indirectly carry or play a part in the vectoring diseases that sicken and kill humans the world over in huge numbers (Bubonic plague, Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted FeverHantavirus and Hantavirus Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, Lassa Fever,  Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis, Rat Bite Fever, Salmonella, Arenaviridae, Tularemia need I go on…), so logic and reason would dictate that we should never ever choose to willingly harm a snake and we should in fact honor and protect them if only for the rodent removal service they provide our homes, farms, forests and fields thereby keeping us fed and healthy.

Many, like the women in the article I noted at the start of this posting, and others like John Sealy, Alan Cameron, William H. Martin,  Bruce Means, and organizations like The Orianne Society, The Center for Snake Conservation, The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Davidson River Herpetology Lab, and many bloggers like the Wandering Herpetologist and Living Alongside Wildlife and myself are working to share the facts, truths and benefits of snakes and other reptiles with you, our readers.

Sadly it seems that there remain many good and bad people, or should I say “Sheeple,” who choose to live their lives blindly following ancient or ignorant beliefs rather than truth, reason, logic, and the findings of science.
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I feel sorry for these people.
I feel sorry for them because they are so closed to the facts that their actions of killing snakes and other wildlife end up make this thing called life harder for us all – from the snake crossing the road to the rest of us just trying to make a living.
Yes, I rescue snakes and other wildlife from roads, homes, and wherever else they are in need. I rescue them because they need rescuing from the bullying humans who are BY FAR more dangerous and deadly than the snakes they target with their cars, hoes, shovels and fear driven ancient beliefs and venom spitting narrow-minded hatreds.  I also choose to make a difference by teaching the scientific truths — based on reason, knowledge and experimentation as well as thousands of years of collective observation by countless scientists, naturalists, animal lovers and farmers all over the planet — to anyone and everyone who will listen.  I do this through my science classes, my small nonprofit education and outreach organization Earthshine Nature Programs, my YouTube Channel and this blog.
Please, do not be a sheeple. Before you decide to harm or kill a snake, do some simple research and learn more about the creature who’s life you are preparing to end.
BTW, yes I have been bitten by a Rattlesnake and no, I did not kill it in vengeance – in fact, I let it go so it could eat more rodents. Oh and thank you science for saving the finger that I am using to type these words with antivenin derived from snake venom and the findings of science.
I leave you with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi – “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated. “

Earthshine Nature Programs Fall Benefit Events

25 Sep

BENEFIT EVENT #1

Date: October 01, 2016

Time: 1-4pm

  Location: SANCTUARY BREWING COMPANY Hendersonville, NC

BENEFIT EVENT #2

Date: October 03, 2016

Time: 5-8pm

Location: OSKAR BLUES BREWERY

Brevard, NC

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Come to one or both events, bring the family and friends and join us as Sanctuary and Oskar Blues as both wonderful establishments will be donating a portion of taproom sales during the events to 

Earthshine Nature Programs! 

Learn all about our wildlife education, rehabilitation, conservation, outreach, science and renewable energy programming. 

Meet many of our education animals including Rex and Rosie the Tortoises, Scar and Slip the Rat snakes, and Ashley the Boa Constrictor and more!

Help us raise funds for our newest project at our science, nature and wildlife rehabilitation and conservation center – a 5.3 kW solar energy system that will help us power most of the heating, lighting, and habitat life support systems for our education and rehabilitation animals as well as and the lighting, audio visual and computing systems for our classroom…and charge our all electric Nissan Leaf outreach vehicle with 100% renewably generated power from the sun!

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*Learn more about our solar energy project in the detailed description at the bottom of this blog post*

Meet special guest Pierce Curren of TV’s Scaly Adventures and hear all about his adventures with his family sharing his love of reptiles and nature with everyone he meets! 

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Local artists will be on hand offering their unique wildlife and nature themed art, photography, and jewelry with a portion of the proceeds directly supporting our work. 

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Steve and friends will start off the event with a one of a kind music jam with indigenous instruments such as the didgeridoo, flute and drum.  If you play, please bring an instrument and join in on the fun!

At the Oskar Blues event we will also have an Electric Vehicle car show where you can learn all about and maybe even take a ride in an electric car!  Members of the Blue Ridge Electric Vehicle Club will have several sleek EVs on display including possibly the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3 on display!

Come learn how you can go electric and kick gas! 

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All donations to our 501c3 are tax deductible.

Receive updates from our programs on Facebook at Earthshine Nature Programs and on the Earthshine Nature Blog at www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

If you are unable to make it to one of our fundraisers and would still like to support us, please feel free to visit our Amazon wishlist or the donate page on our website where you will find a Paypal donate link.

THANK YOU

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Earthshine Nature Programs is a 501c3 nonprofit wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, nature and science education organization, and is a separate business entity from Earthshine Discovery Center.


Please support our

Solar Energy Project

Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) and Trails Science is working to develop an environmental education classroom and wildlife rehabilitation facility that is powered by the sun!  Our goal with this project is to drastically reduce our carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels by taking advantage of the most renewable energy source – our nearest star.

This 5.3 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array will not only supply our classroom with renewably generated power but it will be a bold teaching tool for the students of Trails Carolina, The Academy at Trails Carolina, and our visitors. It will offer our students a myriad of learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, environmental education, and conservation courses. It will also provide web interface technologies that will allow the system to be monitored in real-time by students in class or from anywhere on the planet!

Once online, this solar farm will not only provide much of the power used by the science classroom but it will also provide enough solar generated electricity to power our nonprofit outreach vehicle, an all-electric Nissan Leaf.

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Our students and visitors will benefit greatly from the applied use of renewable energy technologies in class by experiencing the first hand functioning of real world, renewable energy applications such as solar-electric power, and electric vehicles.  In our unique solar powered science classroom they will bust through the negative myths often associated with these technologies by assisting with the maintenance of, and studying of the most up-to-date systems in class and on class field trips to local renewable energy installations and events.  After leaving Trails our graduates will be more up to date, connected, and ready to accept the reality of, and make use of, sustainable clean energy power and transportation systems to power their lives and their futures.

To make this grand vision a reality we have partnered with Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute (BBSI) in Towensend, Tennessee with the goal to install a state of the art off-grid solar array that will allow the Trails Science and Nature Center to one day become fully self-powered by the sun!

The students and I have already begun site preparations and will begin installing the solar array in the early fall of 2016 and depending on granting/donation support we hope to have the system online by mid-November if not before.

The following outline shows what components we have already received and the yet to be sourced components.  Two of the three primary components needed to make this project a reality have already been donated – they include;

1.The Solar Modules (Panels). 22 240watt solar modules – Donated by Frank Marshall of FLS Energy, a local utility scale solar installation company in Asheville, NC.  Approximate value: $10,000

2.The charge controllers.  Two (2) Morningstar 600 Volt charge controllers with DC disconnects – Donated by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Towensend Tennessee. Value: $3,600. These devices will monitor the output of the solar modules and the needs of the batteries and regulate the power as the batteries need it.  They are “smart” devices so we will be able to monitor their status from anywhere with an internet connection.

3.Electrical Panels, Wiring and Conduit for Solar Control System. Donated by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Towensend Tennessee. Value: $600.00

4.Aluminum Racking for solar panels. Donated by Bob Harris of Black Bear Solar Institute in Towensend Tennessee. Value: $3,922

Our remaining needs to make this classroom solar project a reality

  1. The battery storageyet to be acquired. This project will rely on 24 Trojan T145 EHPT 6 Volt golf cart batteries to store power for use at night and on cloudy days.

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Need: 24 Trojan T145 EHPT 6 volt batteries. Estimated cost: $5256.  Donate via our wish list on Amazon or special ordered locally from Batteries+Bulbs in Asheville to save on shipping costs.

2. The power inverteryet to be acquired.

The remaining primary component for this system to work as planned is the power inverter.  This device ties everything together, converts DC to AC power, and is the “brains” of the system keeping everything that needs power running smoothly and efficiently.

inverter

Need: 1 Aims 6000 Watt 48V Pure Sine Power Inverter / Grid Charger / Transfer Switch PICOGLF60W48V

Cost: $1392.00 via: http://invertersrus.com/product/aims-picoglf60w48v120v/

You may also donate this unit using our wishlist on Amazon.com

 

3. AIMS Power Remote Switch with LCD Monitoring Screen

This device will allow the students and I to monitor the solar power system remotely from the classroom.

remote

Cost $139.00

Donate via our Amazon wish list.

 

  1. Hidden Costs: $2,500 – These are the unseen costs that will inevitably come up during construction and upgrades to the ENP/Trails Science and Nature Center. Should this not be needed immediately, it will be deposited into the ENP account and used for future needs.

Primary Supporters of Our Solar Project

Black Bear Solar Institute

Bob Harris – Executive Director

www.blackbearsolarinstitute.org

Bob Harris:bob.harris@blackbearsolarinstitute.org

Bob understands the value solar holds to the future and has generously donated many of the components needed to construct this system as well as new, energy efficient computers for the classroom and is providing pro bono guidance, technical expertise, and installation assistance to see this project to fruition.

FLS Energy

www.flsenergy.com

Frank Marshall: frank@flsenergy.com

Frank has graciously taken my students and I on guided tours of local grid scale solar installations that his company has installed for Duke Energy.  He also sees the value in supporting solar energy education for our students and has generously donated 20 new 240 watt solar modules to our classroom’s solar project.

Jim Hardy

Jim is a master carpenter, passionate educator, Sierra Club member and founder of Charge Transylvania County.  Jim is also a wildlife advocate and drives a fully electric vehicle.  Jim will also be providing pro bono guidance, construction technical expertise, and installation assistance to see this project to fruition.

Email: jh3@citcom.net

 Trails Carolina

Supports the project and its great value to the students and the organization.

 The Academy at Trails Carolina

Supports the project and its great value to the students and the organization.

Jewell Mimms donated $1000 – THANK YOU!!

DONATION PERKS

Option 1: Donate to our project and be part of something amazing that will truly make a difference in the education of countless students, campers, and visitors to our science and nature center over the lifetime of the project!

In our great and humble thanks to those that have and will assist us with this grand education and conservation undertaking, the students and I will create a one of a kind informational plaque that outlines the benefits of the project, all the student groups that worked together to construct the project, and lists all of the primary supporters* of the project.  The large version of this plaque will forever be proudly displayed on the solar array for all future students and visitors to see.  A smaller version of the plaque will also be permanently mounted in the classroom alongside the solar array’s information and monitoring station.

SUPPORTER DONATION LEVELS

Level 1. Up to $100  Charged Particle

Level 1. $100 – $200  Shiny Soldier*

Level 2. $200 – $500   Captain Photon*

Level 3. $500 – $1000   Ray of Hope*

Level 4. $1000 – $5000  Enlightened Provider*

Level 5. $5000 and up!     Lord of Light and Wonder*

As stated above all primary supporters* (unless you choose to opt out) will have their names listed on the solar array commemorative plaques as well as having your names listed on our website and a spacial blog posting.

Option 2 – BONUS PERK: Those that donate $500 or more will receive your choice of either beautiful custom made locally crafted jewelry and/or artwork made with fragments of actual solar cells similar to the ones used in the construction of our solar array.  These solar cell fragments are the remains of a very successful classroom solar pilot project that the students and I conducted over two years ago. This project created two student built small solar panels that are still online and providing clean power to one of our animal habitats to this day.  This small array will be coupled with the large array to provide even more power to our systems when all is complete.

These one of a kind items will take the form of either;

-Earrings

-Tie/Lapel pin

-Paperweight

-Mixed media artwork

-A combination of the above listed perks

-Or you may submit your own custom suggestion

NOTE: Perks to be granted to supporters after the project officially goes online.

 

________________________________________________________________

 

A note from ENP Executive Director Steve O’Neil 

I am passionate about sharing my love, curiosity, fascination, and respect for nature, wildlife and wild places with everyone I meet – especially my classroom and outreach programming students and participants.  It is the students and children of today that will make the big wildlife, nature, science, and energy decisions of the future.  It is my goal to give them the best possible unbiased, science supported, exposure to the best ethics and best practices of these most important disciplines so they will be better informed and ready to change the world for the better as they mature.   

I feel that by demonstrating what is possible, and working together toward the common goal of creating and maintaining a better world for all living things today and into the future by using clean technologies that are readily available to us, we will be able to make all of our dreams come true for the betterment and health of us all and in support of the planet that supports us.  

I am working very hard to complete all of these upgrades and enhancements under my very small wildlife, nature and science conservation, education, and outreach organization Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3) (Tax ID 27-3465594) which is supported primarily through monetary, resource, and time donations from concerned individuals just like you. To cover the remaining costs I am working on acquiring donations from any and all sources that would like to support us. 

Please consider supporting us in any way you are able.  If you are unable to support us at this time please, if you know of any possible monetary or component donation sources and/or granting options please do share this document with them.   

Every little bit helps us get closer to our grand goals that will serve to upgrade our education animal habitats, classroom equipment, power our education facility and outreach vehicle via the endless energy from the sun, and most importantly – educate and inspire middle and high school aged children on the proper respect and understanding of wildlife and wild places and the wise and responsible application of clean energy resources that we can all use to provide for, and empower our shared futures together on spaceship earth. 

Sincerely,

Steve O’Neil

Executive Director of Earthshine Nature Programs (501c3)

and

Naturalist with Trails Carolina and The Academy at Trails Carolina

www.earthshinenature.com

(828) 606-8939

134 E. Dogwood Lane

Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

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The ENP Summer 2015 Fundraiser was a great success!

22 Jul

The Summer 2015 Earthshine Nature Programs benefit event at Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard, North Carolina was a wonderful success!

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THANK YOU to OSKAR BLUES for hosting us for Making a Difference Monday!

THANK YOU to everyone who came out on a scorching hot Monday evening to meet the animals, learn, laugh, take rides in electric vehicles, eat tacos and tamales and drink a few cold ones in support of our wildlife and nature conservation and education projects and programs!

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THANK YOU to all of our wonderful volunteers including but not limited to Marian, Jim Hardy , Alice and Rachel, Timmie Hoffman , Kellie Burgess, Mark Allison, Dave Ward, Christina A. Ramsey Robert Zieber, Patricia Bass, Robert Bass, William Bruce, Joe Baum, Robert Schultz, and any others that I have failed to mention that worked with us to make this happen.

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THANK YOU to our loyal supporters, friends from Brevard and Hendersonville and co-workers from Earthshine Discovery Center and Trails Carolina Therapeutic Wilderness Program and The Academy at Trails Carolina who came out in droves and even mailed in donations to us so we can continue our most important mission into the future.

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THANK YOU to local artists Christina Ramsey, Kathy Hardy, Steve Atkins of Fox Cove Photography and Jenny Geer-Hardwick who donated their beautiful creations to our nature store to help us raise much needed funds (there are still a few items available for purchase so email me for a list and photos of the amazing items we have yet to find homes for and I will send you photos and descriptions of everything that remains in our nature store.)

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THANK YOU, ALL OF YOU for working with me to make a difference on this Monday evening! You are all AWESOME and I am honored and privileged to know you and call you my friends.

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Look for another Making a Difference Monday in support of Earthshine Nature Programs in 2016!

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You can still support Earthshine Nature Programs with a donation through pay pal at this link.

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View the entire photo album on Facebook by following this link:

Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks winter field report and a snakey surprise!

19 Mar

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This is a late winter video report on the status of all the reptiles in the Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks reptile conservation and education projects currently being conducted by Earthshine Nature Programs.

 

 

In the following video the students and I encounter the unexpected when we find Splinter the Rat snake out of his den basking in the late winter sunshine!

 

 

Wasn’t that amazing!!!

We are gearing up for a great year so please continue following in our Turtle and Snake Tracks by following this blog and better yet, consider a donation to Earthshine Nature Programs today – THANK YOU!

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Thank you all for making the Snake Tracks and Turtle Tracks wildlife conservation projects possible.  Thank you for continuing to support Earthshine Nature Programs over the last seven years.  If the turtles and snakes could speak they would thank you even more than I because due to your support they will in turn be supported through the efforts of science being put to use in the areas of wildlife and habitat conservation.  Thank you also to the land owners in the community where these animals live.  Thank you for taking care of these highly misunderstood but yet oh so important parts of a healthy ecosystem.

The story continues…

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What is Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks?

Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks are reptile conservation and research projects occurring at two separate study sites near Lake Toxaway and Dupont Forest in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and a lot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers and students, glimpse into the lives of four wild Eastern box turtles, two Rat snakes and two Timber rattlesnakes in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at our website at:

http://www.earthshinenature.com

Follow us on our blog here at www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at Earthshine Nature Programs to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

What is Earthshine Nature Programs?

Earthshine Nature Programs is a separate entity from Earthshine Discovery Center and Trails Carolina/Academy.  We are a grass-roots, 501c3 non profit and a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you, this important reptile conservation and public education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit our friends at the Earthshine Discovery Center and learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers used with written permission.

www.steepcanyon.com

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Earthshine Nature Programs is in no way affiliated or responsible for ads that may appear below this line.

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Rat snake Tracks Field Report for late 2014.

28 Dec

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This is an overdue update on ENP’s newest reptile conservation and research project Snake Tracks: Ratsnake Tracks.  This project is being conducted at The Academy at Trails Carolina by naturalist Steve O’Neil and his natural resource and conservation management and wilderness therapy students as part of Steve’s ongoing reptile focused wildlife conservation citizen science projects.

In Rat snake Tracks we follow in the tracks and trails of two wild adult male Rat snake’s known affectionately as Master Splinter and Apollo.

The first snake in the study is Splinter.  We found him just outside the nature center in the fall of 2013.  Shortly thereafter he was fitted with a radio transmitter, treated for internal parasites, fed lots of yummy mice, and then overwintered in the nature center to await his release in the spring.

In early May of 2014 Splinter was released and radio tracking commenced.

Over the summer Splinter spent most of his time in large, old Oak trees and in and around the buildings on campus.  He frequented attics and crawlspaces of unused and used buildings as well as large, hollow habitat trees.  We believe he is using these areas as foraging, thermoregulating and sheltering sites.

For more on Splinter’s story read my previous blog post.

In mid summer, Steve and his students encountered another large, male Rat snake just outside the nature center.  This snake was named Apollo in honor of the Apollo moon missions, and it was decided that this snake would join Splinter in a multi-year radio telemetry study of their natural movements in the forests surrounding the nature center.

A photo from the day we found Apollo

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In late August Apollo was given a radio transmitter and later released at his capture location.  View Apollo’s transmitter implantation and release in the video below.

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjvVB5EmNdQ

Later in the summer we produced an extended length documentary video following both Splinter and Apollo over the remainder of their active seasons. In this video follow my students and I over several months as we search for and find the snakes high in Oak trees, on the ground, in buildings and bushes, and finally, in hibernation.  Please view the video below for all the details of this fascinating new reptile conservation and citizen science project. 


If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSoSTeEP3Yw

Where will Splinter and Apollo go next?

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Follow this blog to stay up to date with the adventures of Master Splinter and Apollo the Rat snakes.

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THANK YOU ALL!

Thank you all for making the Snake Tracks and Turtle Tracks wildlife conservation projects possible.  Thank you for continuing to support Earthshine Nature Programs over the last seven years.  If the turtles and snakes could speak they would thank you even more than I because due to your support they will in turn be supported through the efforts of science being put to use in the areas of wildlife and habitat conservation.  Thank you also to the land owners in the community where these animals live.  Thank you for taking care of these highly misunderstood but yet oh so important parts of a healthy ecosystem.

The story continues…

—————————————————————————

What is Rat snake Tracks?

Rat snake Tracks is a reptile conservation and research project occurring near Dupont Forest in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and allot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers and students, glimpse into the lives of two wild Ratsnakes in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at our website at:

http://www.earthshinenature.com

Follow us on our blog here at www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

What is Earthshine Nature Programs?

Earthshine Nature Programs is a separate entity from Earthshine Discovery Center and is a 501c3 non profit. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers used with written permission.

www.steepcanyon.com

ENPLOGOsm.34263214_std

Earthshine Nature Programs is in no way affiliated or responsible for ads that may appear below this line.

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Ratsnake Tracks Field Report Days 1-4

9 Jun

This is an update on ENP’s newest reptile conservation and research project Snake Tracks: Ratsnake Tracks.  This project is being conducted at The Academy at Trails Carolina by Steve O’Neil and his natural resource and conservation management and wilderness therapy students as part of Steve’s ongoing reptile focused wildlife conservation citizen science projects.

In Snake Tracks: Splinter’s Tracks we follow in the tracks and trails of a wild adult Ratsnake known affectionately as Master Splinter.  Splinter was found by Steve just outside the nature center in the fall of 2013.  Shortly thereafter Splinter was fitted with a radio transmitter, treated for internal parasites, fed lots of mice and then overwintered in the nature center to await his release in the spring.

In early May Splinter was released and radio tracking has commenced.

Watch all the field report videos from Splinter’s Tracks below.

Video Field Report Day 1:  Discovery and transmitter implantation surgery

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMDNL8zpGj0

 

Video Field Report Day 2: The release and first day of tracking

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrXEIjUTkMU

 

Video Field Report Days 3 and 4: Forest trek

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQN5J_BAQqY

 

Follow this blog to stay up to date with the adventures of Master Splinter the ratsnake.

 

THANK YOU ALL!

Thank you all for making the Snake Tracks and Turtle Tracks wildlife conservation projects possible.  Thank you for continuing to support Earthshine Nature Programs over the last seven years.  If the turtles and snakes could speak they would thank you even more than I because due to your support they will in turn be supported through the efforts of science being put to use in the areas of wildlife and habitat conservation.  Thank you also to the land owners in the community where these turtles and snakes live.  Thank you for taking care of these highly misunderstood but yet oh so important parts of a healthy ecosystem.

The story continues…

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Snake Tracks is a reptile conservation and research project occurring near Earthshine Discovery Center and Dupont Forest in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and allot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers and students, glimpse into the lives of two wild Timber rattlesnakes and one Ratsnake in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the website at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

Follow us on our blog here at http://www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

We are not paid to operate ENP or to conduct wildlife conservation activities. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

http://www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit http://www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers used with written permission.

www.steepcanyon.com

ENPLOGOsm.34263214_std

Earthshine Nature Programs is in no way affiliated or responsible for ads that may appear below this line.

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Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks Field Update for May 21, 2014

21 May

This is an update on the Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks reptile conservation and education projects being conducted by Earthshine Nature Programs.

Turtle Tracks Update: All four turtles are out of hibernation and on the move about the mountains.  Catherine and Jimmy the box turtles were not far from their overwintering locations.  Paula Journeys and Shelly Echo, the two box turtles we are tracking at our Sky Valley study site, are also on the move although as with the Earthshine turtles they are also not far from their overwintering locations.

Utsanati and Zoe have moved a good distance away from their dens and while Utsanati was visible resting on the surface I was unable to locate Zoe as she was sheltering deep inside a thorny thicket or in a rotting log on both locate days.

Watch the video reports from the the last few locate days below:

Video 1: Turtle and Snake Tracks Field Report for May 08, 2014

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT7UvBwVVyw

 

Video 2: Snake Tracks Field Report for May 18, 2014

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxC0D65k4tY

 

Ratsnake Tracks

Splinter, the large black ratsnake we are tracking at the Sky valley site, was released a few days ago and is on the move in the forest and it seems like he wants to get as far away as possible from the nature center!  Take a look at the video below for the details from his release day!

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrXEIjUTkMU

These amazing reptile conservation and education projects would not be possible without your support–

THANK YOU ALL!

Thank you all for making the Snake Tracks and Turtle Tracks wildlife conservation projects possible.  Thank you for continuing to support Earthshine Nature Programs over the last seven years.  If the turtles and snakes could speak they would thank you even more than I because due to your support they will in turn be supported through the efforts of science being put to use in the areas of wildlife and habitat conservation.  Thank you also to the land owners in the community where these turtles and snakes live.  Thank you for taking care of these highly misunderstood but yet oh so important parts of a healthy ecosystem.

I leave you with a photo of Utsanati that I took on April 30, 2014

utsanati4.30.14

The story continues…

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Follow us on our blog here at http://www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

We are not paid to operate ENP or to conduct wildlife conservation activities. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

http://www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit http://www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers used with written permission.

www.steepcanyon.com

ENPLOGOsm.34263214_std

Earthshine Nature Programs is in no way affiliated or responsible for ads that may appear below this line.

———————————————————————————————————–

Snake Tracks Field Update for November 28, 2013

2 Dec

This is an update on the Snake tracks reptile conservation and education project being conducted by Earthshine Nature Programs.

Zoe remains in the small valley but she has moved around 200 feet to the north of her last location and is sheltering under a rotting stump a few feet above a spring head.

Utsanati remains in hibernation in the same den he has used for the last three winters.

Today I also discovered some unusual large tracks in the melting snow–possibly from a passing hiker or hunter.  They were not far from where Utsanati is overwintering and were hard to make out due to the melting snow. They were about 3-4 inches longer than my size 11 boots and looked surprisingly like “Sasquatch” tracks.

Take a look at Zoe, Utsanati and the strange tracks in today’s video below.

If the video does not play try following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j959vhDmMLA

to watch the video on Youtube.

I would also like to introduce the first episode of Earthshine Nature’s new series: Ratsnake Tracks!

In Ratsnake Tracks we will follow in the tracks of “Splinter”–an adult Black Ratsnake that lives just outside Earthshine Nature Programs’ primary base of operations on the campus of The Academy at Trails Carolina.

In this first video I meet Splinter for the first time then, a short time later, I am joined by Jim and Margaret as we visit Dr. Bolt at Sweeten Creek Animal Hospital to assist with the implantation of Splinter’s new micro radio transmitter.

If the video does not play try following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMDNL8zpGj0
to watch the video on Youtube.com

After Splinter recovers he will over-winter in the nature center only ~10′ from where he was found just outside the back door. He will be released in the spring and the students and I will track him for several years with the goal of learning all that we can about the natural movements and habitat use of a wild ratsnake in and around an area highly used by humans.

Snake Tracks is a reptile conservation and research project occurring near Earthshine Discovery Center and Dupont Forest in the mountains of western North Carolina, USA. Through the magic of modern technology and allot of hard volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers and students, glimpse into the lives of two wild Timber rattlesnakes and one Ratsnake in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the website at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

Follow us on our blog here at http://www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

It is our goal at ENP to promote wildlife conservation through our unique, exciting, citizen science based, hands-on education, out-reach programs, and online with our nature videos, blog and website.

We are not paid to operate ENP or to conduct wildlife conservation activities. ENP is a 100% volunteer operated and donation funded organization. It is our mission to educate you about these beautiful but greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated to ENP over the years!! Without you this important reptile conservation and education work would not happen. If you would like to support Earthshine Nature Programs please feel free to donate by visiting

http://www.earthshinenature.com/donate

You may also donate supplies such as animal foods, medical supplies, vitamins and habitat supplies just contact us for more information on what supplies we are in need of and how to donate.

Visit http://www.earthshinediscovery.com to learn how you and your family, school, scout, corporate or camp group, can visit the Earthshine Discovery Center and have a wonderful fun and educational retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers used with written permission.

www.steepcanyon.com

ENPLOGOsm.34263214_std

Earthshine Nature Programs is in no way affiliated or responsible for ads that may appear below this line.

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