When the days are short and cold, and we’re snug in our homes with a hot cup of tea, nature is teeming with life outdoors in the ice and snow. The Rock Island County Soil & Water Conservation District Quad Cities Natural Area Guardians invite you to join them for the Sixth Annual 2011 Winter Ecology Series. This event will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesdays, Feb. 1, 8 and 15 at Black Hawk State Historic Site, Watch Tower Lodge, 1510 46th Ave. in Rock Island, Ill.
Explore how our native wildlife survives and even thrives during the winter months! You will also learn about intriguing winter weather phenomena and unique climatological events. The three sessions are scheduled as follows:
Winter Sky—Tuesday, Feb. 1
Session 1: Winter Weather Forecasts. Local weather expert Anthony Peoples, meteorologist at WQAD, will explain what it takes to get weather reports on the air and focus also on folklore, how it applies to the forecast, and how accurate it was predicting this winter’s weather.
Session 2: Extreme Winter Weather: An Exploration of Ice Ages & Climate Patterns. Glacial geologist Dr. Jeffrey Strasser, professor of geology at Augustana College, will discuss cycles of warming and cooling during the great North American ice ages and provide insight into evidence for abrupt climate change events.
Winter Ecology—Tuesday, Feb. 8
Session 1: Where Do the Animals Go When It’s 10 Below? Speaker is Sherri Friedman of Niabi Zoo. Discover many animals that are active through the winter in our area and the fascinating ways they have adapted to survive the cold and snow. Children’s activities will be included in this session.
Session 2: Bugs On Ice! Speaker will be Dr. Karthik Ramaswamy, fellowship instructor of biology at Augustana College. Learn how creepy crawlies make it through our Illinois winters!
Winter Wings—Tuesday, Feb. 15
Session 1: Bats! Speaker will be Vera Blevins, bat rehabilitator and director of Bat World Heartland. Enjoy stories and interesting facts about bats, including why they like our attics and why we rarely see them in the winter.
Session 2: Snowy Owls & Other Winter Hoots. Speaker will be Deb Kutsunis, wildlife rehabilitator and QC Natural Area Guardians member. Learn to identify owls of the Quad Cities by sight and sound.
General public fees are $8 per class or $20 to attend all three sessions. Early registration for the three sessions is $15 if payment is received by Jan. 21. Students and children 17 and younger are free. Members of RICSWCD QC Natural Area Guardians, Illinois Master Naturalists, and Citizens to Preserve Black Hawk Park Foundation will be admitted for half-price ($4 per class or $10 for all three). Pre-registration deadline is Jan. 28. Walk-ins are always welcome.
Simple snacks will be provided. The scheduled alternate date, should a class be postponed because of inclement weather, is Tuesday, March 1. Call Marilyn Andress at (309) 292-0690 with any questions.
For more information about the 2011 Winter Ecology Series, call the Rock Island County Soil and Water Conservation District office at (309) 292-0690. To register by mail, send a check with your name, complete address (including e-mail), phone number, and which session(s) you wish to attend, to: QCNAGs 2011 Winter Ecology Series, RICSWCD, 3020 E. First Ave., Milan, IL 61264.