Tag Archives: radio telemetry

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.

trojan

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.

 

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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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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…

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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

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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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Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks Field Report for October – November 2014

28 Dec

This field report  covers a two month time span between early October and mid November 2014.  In this report I locate all four reptiles currently being followed in the Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks projects at our Earthshine study site, I replace the radio transmitter on Jimmy Irwin the male box turtle,  locate Catherine and Jimmy nearing and then in their dens,  find both rattlesnakes very close together and then later in their dens, listen to coyotes singing in the distance, install den cameras watching Utsanati, the male snakes’, den entrance in the hopes of getting video of him moving into his den and more.

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Current Status: presently both turtles and both snakes are sleeping the winter away safely in their overwintering dens.  In fact, they are all in the same overwintering locations they have used repeatedly over previous winters.  Catherine and Jimmy the box turtles are only inches away from where they spent the last three winters in a row and they are both within the boundary of what I call their overwintering zones.  These zones are areas contained within a 40 foot radius of the most frequently used overwintering locations.

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The Timber rattlesnakes are also using overwintering sites they have repeatedly used in the past.  Zoe, the female snake, overwintered on the other side of the ridge last year but this year has returned to the exact den site she had used over the winters of 2011-12 and 2012-13.  Utsanati, the male snake, is in the same hibernation zone as in all years previous however, this year he is resting in a new underground location about 25 feet from the den entrance.

It is remarkable to me that these reptiles have the ability to zero in on these same small locations at the same time each year.  The fact that these animals use these same locations each year without much variation also suggests that these habitat locations may be imperative to their very survival.

Although most animals do have differing levels of ability to adapt to changing habitat conditions, I believe that if important habitat sites such as these overwintering zones were to be destroyed or drastically altered, limiting or removing the ability of overwintering by these reptiles, that these animals may in fact adapt in the short run, especially if it was a warm winter.  However, the stresses imposed on them to find and overwinter in a new location in subsequent years and over colder winters may lower their fat reserves, weaken their immune system, and possibly be highly detrimental to their very existence.

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Many studies have shown that habitat disruption or alteration is beneficial in some ways for many species of wildlife.  For example, with these turtle and snakes it seems that during their active months, and for the turtles the winter months, they frequent the edge habitat created by a wide power line access-way that cuts through the middle of all of their habitats.  This forest opening provides many areas of dense cover for the reptiles to shelter in while resting or foraging.  All four of the reptiles most frequented areas–including the box turtles overwintering locations–fall within or adjacent to the access way’s sunny openings which provide great thermoregulation opportunities as well as a greater biodiversity than the surrounding forests or fields.  This edge habitat in turn supports many different species of plants and animals, many of which are excellent food sources for both the turtles and the snakes.   However, even with the enhanced habitat and resulting good feeding, thermoregulation and overwintering opportunities provided by the edge effect created by the man made power-line access-way, it remains unclear what would happen to these reptiles should their overwintering zones be damaged or destroyed.  In this case I believe the best option for protection and conservation of these reptiles and their habitat is the continued benign neglect of their habitats.  In other words–leave these animals and their overwintering sites alone (except for some occasional non invasive status and population monitoring), and leave nature alone, and it will take care of itself and everyone will be happy.

As in the past I have produced a video documentary of my field work with these reptiles over the later part of 2014.  It is a special extended length 2 part documentary of Turtle and Snake Tracks.  Please join me as I follow the movements of the snakes and turtles as they move closer, and finally into, their winter dens over a two month span of time.

See the videos below for all the details.

Part 1

Part 2

If the videos will not play please try following the links below:

Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JScFv_sVylM

Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VWZQ_OlWtc

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About the Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks wildlife conservation projects.

The reptiles in this wildlife conservation education project are wild animals that live free in the remote forests and surrounding human maintained fields and subdivisions surrounding Earthshine Discovery Center in Lake Toxaway, NC.

The purpose of this study is to learn as much as possible about the natural movements and habitat usage of wild Timber rattlesnakes and Eastern box turtles that live wild yet in and around areas used and manipulated by humans. Results from this study will be used to help conserve and protect these species and their habitats from harm through better land use and management practices, via these Youtube documentaries and blog postings, and through outreach programming in the Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, and upstate South Carolina areas.

Through the magic of modern technology and many hours often taxing volunteer work by a wildlife conservationist and his small crew of volunteers and students, glimpse into the lives of wild reptiles in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the ENP website: http://www.earthshinenature.com

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

About Earthshine Nature Programs (ENP)

ENP is a 501c3 non profit wildlife conservation and outreach organization that operates as a separate entity from Earthshine Discovery Center. We do we pay ourselves 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 and greatly misunderstood animals and hopefully, to impart to you their beauty, uniqueness and intrinsic value to a healthy Earth, healthy wildlife and healthy humans.  Please contact us if you are interested in having Earthshine Nature Programs speak to your class, camp, group, festival, or special event.

THANK YOU to all of you who have donated time, supplies, and funds, 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, reptile 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 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 www.steepcanyon.com used with written permission.

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ENP is not responsible for ads that may appear below this line.
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Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks for early August 2014

19 Aug

Today I locate all four reptiles currently being followed in the Snake Tracks project at our Earthshine Discovery Center study site.

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What I found today

Utsanati: had recently fed and had a very full stomach and was only a few yards from Jimmy Irwin the box turtle!

Jimmy Irwin: was in form bedded down for the night.

Catherine: was also in form bedded down for the night.

Zoe: unknown–I was unable to visually locate her due to thick, thorny vegetation.

See the video below for all the details.

 

 

If the video will not play try following the link below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDmRJrkBa-g

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Turtle Tracks and Snake Tracks are reptile conservation, research and public wildlife conservation and education projects 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, glimpse into the lives of two wild Eastern box turtles, two wild Timber rattlesnakes and one wild ratsnake in their natural habitats. For more detailed info on the project please take a look at the website at: http://www.earthshinenature.com

and

Follow us on our nature blog at: www.earthshinenature.wordpress.com

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

ENP is a 501c3 non profit charity. We are not paid nor do we collect a salary to operate ENP or to conduct our 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

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 all inclusive mountain top retreat!

Music by The Steep Canyon Rangers www.steepcanyon.com used with written permission.

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ENP is not responsible for ads that may appear below this line.
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TURTLE TRACKS: Jimmy’s Tracks for June/July 2014

4 Aug

This is a video field update for Jimmy Irwin for mid summer 2014.

If you visited Earthshine during June or July of 2014, and you went turtle tracking with me–then this video is for you–enjoy!

 

 

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 501c3 nonprofit charity.  We are 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

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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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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.

———————————————————————————————————–

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 May 05, 2014

5 May


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

After almost six months underground in their hibernaculums (dens) both Zoe and Utsanati the Timber rattlesnakes have made their way out into the forests surrounding Earthshine.   Zoe was first to egress about two to three weeks ago and since then she has moved down to an area below the waterfall.  This is an area where I had found Zoe on two other locate days in the spring of 2012.  The area is characterized by overgrown farm fields, massive wild rose and Blackberry thickets with great solar exposure and plenty of clean water from several small springs, a small mountain bog remnant and a strong flowing creek.  My hypothesis is that Zoe uses this area to feed heavily due to the obvious abundance of rodents living in association with the shelter and food laden bramble thickets.  I was unable to visually locate Zoe on 05-04-14 due to the fact that she was sheltering within a dense area of wild rose and blackberry.

Utsanati is a different story.  He departed hibernation on 04-21-14 at exactly 11:16 am and the temperature was 59F. You may be wondering how I know this detailed information?  The answer is several weeks of persistence and hard work that finally paid off with the photograph you see below.

utsanatiegress14

I was able to acquire this photograph using one of two trail cameras that I set up to monitor the several holes in the area above Utsanati’s den.  I set up the cameras several weeks ago and returned weekly to change the batteries and check the memory cards for any evidence of snake activity.  As I always do I documented all of my activities in order to bring my reptilian research activities to you, my supporters.  If you are interested in watching the full story of the Trail Cameras, all of the related videos can be found below.

Video 1:   3/21/14 Installation of the Trail Cameras.

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUTcQKQX36Y

 

Video 2: 3/31/14  A visit with the hibernating turtles and a snake camera check.

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIPuV38UovY

 

Video 3:  4/7/14 Another camera check and a reptilian surprise!

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

 

Video 4: 4/30/14  The big discovery–Utsanati’s egress from his den!

If the video does not play try following this link to watch the video on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14LTLHuGnd8

 

This trail camera project has revealed some incredible data on the life of the Timber rattlesnake in the hardwood forests of western North Carolina.

What have we learned?

1. We now have some quality location/time/date data for this one snake’s egress from his hibernaculum.

2. Utsanati may use this large hole as the primary entrance/exit to/from his hibernaculum.  He may use the other holes in the area as well.

3. Utsanati did not appear to re-enter or remain near the den in the camera monitored area.

4. Utsanati may be the only Timber rattlesnake using this den unless there were other snakes that exited the den after I removed the cameras ten days after his emergence.

5. Utsanati may share his den with at least one Eastern garter snake and several salamanders.

6. Utsanati is not alone in the forest–from snakes and salamanders on the prowl, to birds, Raccoons, Opossums and deer on important business–the area above Utsanati’s den is alive with wildlife!  Note: Photos of all of these animals that share Utsanati’s habitat–and your back yards if you live nearby–can be found in the above videos 🙂

7. Persistence and hard work pays off although we still have so much to learn.

8. Above all,  this amazing project would not have been 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…

—————————————————————————

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.

———————————————————————————————————–

Earthshine Nature Running in the 2014 Mad Mountain Mud Run!

7 Apr

Yes, Earthshine Nature Programs Executive Director Steve O’Neil and Team Earthshine Nature Nerds will be running again this year in the Mad Mountain Mud Run 5K in Hendersonville, NC on Saturday May 31st, 2014!

The Nature Nerds are (left to right);

Steve O’Neil (captain),

Will Thomas,

Jason Alfrey,

Steve Atkins

(Hog not included and no animals will be harmed during the mud run)

mudrunpromo14

For 2014 the Nature Nerds will be sharing the muddy trail with The Trails Turbo Turtles!  The Turbo Turtles consist of several students and staff of The Academy at Trails Carolina and Trails Carolina!  Captain Steve will be overall captain of both the Nature Nerds and the Turbo Turtles.

Many of the Turbo Turtles are experienced runners, hikers, Mtn. bikers and climbers so do not let the name fool you–the Turbo Turtles are a force of nature and may just take overall best time in the Mud Run!

Our nerdy nature goal is to run representing Earthshine Nature Programs as our 2014 primary fundraiser.  To do this we need sponsors that are willing to support Earthshine Nature Programs with a pledge.  Your pledge will provide direct and 100% support to our environmental science education and wildlife rehabilitation and conservation programs and projects.

Our muddy community goal is to run in support of the Hands On A Child’s Gallery based in Hendersonville, NC and Trails Carolina/The Academy at Trails Carolina with our afternoon of challenging obstacles and muddy fun!

As I write this we are working with the coordinators of the Mud Run to plan and construct one of the obstacles that will be used in the race!  More on this later!

Take a look at the course map from last year for a taste of what we may have in store for us this year!  It should be a muddy fun challenge!

Mud-Run-Course-2013

Sponsor Awards

Those who sponsor ENP with $50 or more will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race, and a custom designed ENP Medici Lighted writing Pen from Myron.com.

Those who sponsor us for $100 or more or more will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race and two custom designed ENP Medici Lighted writing Pens from Myron.com.

Those who sponsor us for $500 or more will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race, four custom designed ENP Medici Lighted writing Pens from Myron.com, your own custom mud run t-shirt,  and one “Honored Supporter” custom made (by Steve) award which includes a certificate of appreciation and small glass vial filled with a small amount of the actual mud from the race course that we will run through on May 31st!

Those who sponsor us for $1000 or more will receive will receive your business logo or name and weblink* on the ENP supporters website,  in a posting in this blog (to be updated after the race), on the back of our custom mud run t-shirt that we will proudly wear during the race, six custom designed ENP Medici Lighted writing Pens from Myron.com,  your own custom mud run t-shirt,  and one “Honored Supporter” custom made (by Steve) award which includes a certificate of appreciation and small glass vial filled with a small amount of the actual mud from the race course that we will run through on May 31st! On top of all that Steve and his animals will come to you and present a private Misunderstand Wildlife animal show with live animals and a didgeridoo concert at your birthday party, school or other gathering!

*You can opt-out of having your personal/company information publicized on our shirts/websites if you choose.

A great muddy moment from the 2013 Mud Run!

mmmr13

The nitty gritty muddy dirt of the sponsorship (rules)

After the Earthshine Nature Nerds/Trails Turbo Turtles team completes the race–all sponsored pledges will be collected from the sponsors by June 15th, 2013.  Supporter awards will be awarded within 60 days following the race.

If the Earthshine Nature Nerds/Trails Turbo turtles does not complete the race–no donations will be collected unless you choose to support us despite the fact.

If the race is cancelled due to weather or other circumstances beyond our control you may choose to honor your sponsorship agreement or not.  100% of all donations will be used to provide direct support to our environmental science and wildlife rehabilitation/conservation projects and programs.

You may earmark your donations to the following projects:

Project A: Turtle Tracks Eastern Box Turtle radio telemetry project: currently radio tracking four wild Eastern box turtles at Earthshine Discovery Center and The Academy at Trails Carolina. Two of these turtles are part of the ongoing (since 2008) Turtle Tracks project at Earthshine Discovery Center in Lake Toxaway, NC.  The other two turtles are part of a hands-on wildlife science class led by Steve for the Academy at Trails Carolina and Trails Wilderness students.

Project B: Snake Tracks Timber Rattlesnake radio telemetry project: currently radio tracking two wild Timber rattlesnakes near Earthshine Discovery Center.

Project C: Ratsnake Tracks is a radio telemetry project that will begin tracking one ratsnake at The Academy at Trails Carolina in April of 2014.  This will be part of a hands-on wildlife science class led by Steve for the Academy at Trails Carolina and Trails Wilderness students.

Projects A-C are most important wildlife science and conservation projects seeking to learn as much as possible about the natural movements of some of nature’s most misunderstood creatures.  Data collected during these projects will directly benefit the greater understanding and conservation of not only box turtles and rattlesnakes but all reptiles for many years to come.  These projects also directly benefit the continuing hands-on education of middle and high school age youth–the future of all wildlife conservation.

Project D: Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation: ongoing support of our wildlife rescue and rehabilitation activities that works primarily with the Eastern box turtle and Opossum.

Project E: General program support.  Examples include–animal care, habitat construction and project support: this covers all costs that are not directly part of or that cross over between all of the above listed programs.  Example: radio telemetry equipment,  foods, housing, vitamins, and medications for our resident and rehab animals,  rechargeable batteries, camera equipment etc.

If you do not earmark your donation it will be used where it is most needed in one or more of the above programs.

If you would like to sponsor our team please contact me and we will make arrangements or feel free to donate now via the Earthshine Nature Pay Pal account.

You may sponsor us with either monetary pledges or supplies.  If you would like to pledge supplies please contact us for a list of our current needs.

No matter if you choose to support us or not,  please do come out to Berkley Park and watch all of the mud runners get muddy and have fun for a couple of great causes–the education of children and conservation of wildlife and nature!

mmmr2

If you know anyone who may like to support ENP with a sponsorship or donation please forward this post on to them–THANK YOU!

After last years Mud Run we were all smiles–it was great fun!

muddynerds8

NOTE: The Nature Nerds will video/photograph their perspective of the race using the latest technology including an HD GoPro camera and several volunteer friends with cameras stationed around the race course so that this years nerdy muddy experience will be able to be shared by all!  A few weeks following the race look for the video to be posted here on the ENP Nature Blog!

Take a look at last years race video below!

 

goprosteve712.23571139_large

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

That’s all for now…I need to go train!

Steve O’Neil, ENP Executive Director and Mad Mountain Mud Runner

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Earthshine Nature Programs is not responsible for or affiliated with ads that may

appear below this line.

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