Join CommuniTyler and Help Clean Up Fountain Rock Park

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CommuniTyler is a volunteer service group that helps communities around the country through service projects on synchronized days. The group is named in memory of Tyler Lorenzi, an outdoor recreation enthusiast who passed in 2011.

For the past three years, volunteers from CommuniTyler have completed stewardship projects in Fountain Rock Park, including planting native perennials, maintaining trails, and removing invasive weeds. It’s a great way to make friends and make a difference.

This year, CommuniTyler will volunteer at Fountain Rock Park on Saturday, May 21st from 9am to 1pm. The public is welcome to participate. To learn more and to register, please visit CommuniTyler.org.

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Join Us for a Youth Fly Fishing Camp!

Programs - Fishing - Trout PondThe Trout Pond at Fountain Rock Park.
Saturday, April 30th 2016

9am – 4pm

Taught by members of the Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, Antietam Fly Anglers, and master fly tier Art Overcash, the class invites students of all skill levels, especially beginners, to learn the art and basic technique of fly fishing, including stream ecology, insect identification, hands-on fly tying, and fly casting. Students will have ample opportunities to catch some of our 300 newly stocked rainbow trout.

This FREE program is intended for participants ages 12 – 16, with all equipment and a lunch provided.

Space is limited to just 12 participants and is expected to fill up quickly. Call Wayne “Doc” Leadbetter to enroll: 301.980.8106, or the Fountain Rock Park office: 301.600.4460.

 

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The Buzz is for Spring! Update on Fountain Rock’s Bees

Take a stroll during this late-winter warm weather and you may notice signs the natural world is already flirting with spring. The spring peepers are calling, the bats are flying, and the daffodils are blooming. Here at the Nature Center, the bees have been very busy collecting pollen this week. This means it’s time for an important seasonal ritual – spring cleaning.

Dave Maloney, member of the Frederick County Beekeeping Association, maintains the observation hive located within the nature center, a favorite of visitors young and old. He stopped by last week to clean out the hive and help the bees prepare for spring.

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First Dave and Jackie, a part-time naturalist at the park, brought the hive outside. Rags were carefully stuck inside the entrances to the hive to prevent bees from escaping into the nature center during the move.

Dave: This hive has three levels. The top level has two frames of comb and one frame (the closest) with only a starter strip in the frame. The bees have started to draw comb on that starter strip and are calmly clustering on it now.

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Dave: We found all frames of comb completely empty of stores. No honey. No nectar. No pollen. This did not surprise us since we have been monitoring it closely and knew it was out of stores. But we had to wait to for a nice day to fix that deficiency. So, we wanted to clean out all the dead bees as well as add some frames of stores.

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Dave used a smoker through the ventilation holes to gently calm the bees. Then we delicately opened the hive, placing a burlap sack over the opening to protect young and still developing bees from the elements.

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Dave then brushed out the dead bees lying on the bottom of the hive. To have these dead bees is completely normal this time of year. Unlike other insects, honey bees do not die off or hibernate in the fall – instead, they remain active all winter. The queen breeds a special type of “winter bee” late in the summer. These bees are different than their summer counterparts. They have fatter bodies, which they rely on for nourishment during colder months when they cannot forage for food. They also live four to six months, whereas summer bees only live about forty-five days. A winter bee’s sole job is to make sure the colony survives until spring, clustering around the queen and vibrating to keep her warm.

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Dave: Here is the hive after we cleaned out the bees and also replaced a couple of the frames of comb (which were empty and dry as a bone) with frames packed with honey as well as pollen.

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The observation hive is once again installed in the Nature Center. You can visit the bees during our normal weekend hours, when you can watch foraging bees fly in with sacs of pollen. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the queen (she’s the large bee with the blue dot on her back)!

Thanks to Dave Maloney for his attentive care of our hive, and for taking these great photos!

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