Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Haunted Keelboat! October 25 and 26, 3 to 7 PM, Terrace of the New Center

We're haunting our Keelboat for the first time ever!  Our 55 ft. replica keelboat has moved to its new home, and some ghosts have come with it.  There are thirteen ghost animals that Lewis & Clark encountered on the Expedition:  condor, bear, prairie dog, passenger pigeon, magpie, ox, horse, rattlesnake, buffalo, monarch butterfly, beaver, salmon, and dog.  And there are the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark.  Sergeant Floyd is also inhabiting the cabin where he died of appendicitis...but not in his old form.

Appropriate for young children, groups leave every twenty minutes to hear about the animals and to board the Keelboat.  Admission $5.  Children under three years old are free.

We also have some room for a few animal performers!  Email lewisandclark@lewisandclarkvirginia.org if you are interested.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Home Front Chapter Meeting October 19th

The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center is invited to a historical talk in October. The Home Front Chapter --a Chapter of the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation-- is having a meeting on Sunday, October 19th at 3 PM at the Senior Center (1180 Pepsi Place) in Charlottesville.  Dr. Ken Wallenborn will be speaking on "Thomas Jefferson vs. Bonaparte: the Crisis that Forces the Purchase of the Louisiana Territory."  Refreshments will be served.  Attendance is free; membership in the Chapter is $10 a year.  I have enjoyed Dr. Wallenborn's presentations in the past, and I'm sure there's a lot to learn.

Monday, September 8, 2014

October 4 Lewis & Clark Butterfly Festival

Inspired by the Monarch butterfly, we're holding the Lewis & Clark Butterfly Festival 10 AM-3 PM on Saturday, October 4th.  We'll have free and low cost activities for children and adults, including making butterflies out of paper, words, and fabric; constructing a flag out of small butterfly paintings, going for a hike looking for butterflies and their special plants; and building a caterpillar out of egg cartons.  We'll also have our wooden boats on our special beach for people to take rides in.  

Where: the Outdoor Terrace of the new Center in Darden Towe Park.  (Take a left when you enter Darden Towe, and follow the road up the hill.  We're on the left at the very end). 

You can call for more information--  434-996-7282  or email us at lewisandclark@lewisandclarkvirginia.org

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wooden Boat Party Event Postponed

Hi Everyone,

Unfortunately, the rains were so heavy last night that the river is still moving logs down in a very fast current.  We're postponing the event and will let you know what date we choose!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Wooden Boat Party Saturday August 23

We're showing off our kid-made wooden pirogues from 10 AM to 2 PM, Saturday, August 23rd at the Darden Towe Boat Ramp.  Rides will be available (one or two in a boat) on a very calm part of the Rivanna River where you can enjoy yourself with a brief paddle up and down.  We'll also have a display of our photos of boat building this year and in previous years, as well as a chance to help us paint our newest boat, made by City of Charlottesville campers this year.

For over ten years, the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center has been making wooden boats with kids.  This design is the smallest boat we make, and it is based on a Louisiana design found in a half-century old Boys' Life Magazine (the magazine of the Boy Scouts).  Lewis and Clark have everything to do with the Louisiana Purchase, and they used two larger pirogues for their own Expedition.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Art Supply Saturday August 2

The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center is accepting art donations on the terrace of our new building in Darden Towe Park this coming Saturday, August 2, 9 AM to 12 PM.  If there's any art clutter in your house, bring it on over!  Canvasses, paint, paper, glitter, art wood building sets, blocks:  we'll welcome it all.  We're having a Fall Butterfly Festival where these supplies will be needed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Boat Launch Today

Join us today in Darden Towe Park as we finish up our boat building workshops with City of Charlottesville campers. We'll be putting the last touches on the boat and then launching it into the Rivanna River. Floating expected though not assumed! Rain or shine, but if there's thunder we'll do it another day. From 10 to 11 we'll be at the Keelboat Barn in Darden Towe Park, and around 11 we'll bring the new wooden boat to the Darden Towe Park Boat Launch. To get to the Keelboat Barn, take a right when you get into the park, and continue on until you pass the soccer fields and picnic shelter. To get to the Boat Launch, take a left when you get into the park. Curve around and after the curve you'll see a parking lot to your left that's adjacent to the Boat Launch.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

First Grade Field Trip

Today we had thirty first graders from the Covenant School.  We boarded the Keelboat, toured the new building and its murals, and planted seeds for butterfly habitat. Then we walked to the Classroom Quarry, learning about the geology of the area.  Here are some photos of our morning:

We learned about the monarch butterfly and how it needs milkweed for its eggs.  Then we planted milkweed in the field.

Patrick plants some milkweed for the butterflies.  

Here are some descendants of the Lewis and Clark families:  with the red hair on the far left, Clark's descendant (Clark also had red hair).  The girl on the far right is also related to William Clark.  The boy in the middle is related to the Lewis family. 

Distributing seeds

Entering the Classroom Quarry

Monday, May 5, 2014

New Handicapped Access Trail and Kayak Shed

The University of Virginia's APO service fraternity made the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center one of their major projects this spring, putting in a handicapped access trail from our new building to an existing trail overlooking the river.  In the midst of finals, leaders Michael McGrath and Thomas Carter Foulds came over this past Sunday to finish up.  They were both happy that the recent rains hadn't washed away the layers of the trail already put in.

Vice President Sally Thomas and I were enlisted to help.  Until weeks past, I had watched APO make the trail while I was nearby teaching children nature activities.  After working on the trail Sunday, I have a new appreciation for their gift to us of our trail and for trails in general.  It was a great opportunity to learn.

I started by hosing down the existing trail as Michael raked it.  Then I shoveled stone into a wheelbarrow so we could add it to the trail.

Here I am in the truck.  I'm proud of this picture!  I've never been in a truck before shoveling stone.  It was hard getting up there.  I climbed on one of the tires.

The action shot version.

Here's Michael working on the trail.

First, we dumped stone.

And then we raked the stone into the existing layer.  The stone had to be dampened with water from a hose, and then Michael came by with the compacting roller.  If there were grooves, we raked again.  

I tried  the above.  It was as heavy as it looks.

Here is Thomas at the kayak shed.  I like the Bridge over the River Kwai T-shirt, though when you're building something it's interesting to wear a short about something that was blown up.

Here is Sally coming to help, complete with a car-full of gloves, sunscreen, and other useful items.  

After Sunday, I'm more grateful than ever for all of APO's hard work!

Monday, April 28, 2014

May Day Plant Walk 6 PM

Come join us on May 1 at 6 PM for a fun and free activity: walking to the greenstone quarry, and learning about plants and birds along the way.  Here's more from Board member Sally Thomas:

"A pleasant way to spend the evening of May Day!  There will be an informal wildflower/birding walk in the evening of Thursday, May 1.  Meet at 6 pm at the old barn in Darden Towe Park where Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center's keelboat is perched.  The walk will go to an old quarry at the edge of the Rivanna River, about a one-mile distance.  All along the way, Robert Jennings of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will answer questions and describe interesting plants and birds.
An easy walk but wear long pants, proper footwear and bring insect repellent if you wish.
Sponsored by the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation."
Robert C. Jennings
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Grassroots Field Specialist
Blue Ridge, Piedmont, and Valley Region of Virginia
cell phone  484 888 2966

More Photos from the Dogwood Parade

President Fran Lawrence lets visitors on the Red Pirogue before the parade.

As the Red Pirogue launched, we passed a group of Clydesdales

Like all good explorers, Hermi had brought a snack along for the ride.

A bumblebee stayed on my hand as I waved to the crowds.  At one point, it clutched to my finger as if its legs had suction cups on them.

Fran Lawrence, Chauncy Hutter and Chauncey's eleven-year-old granddaughter Hermi

John Conover's three-year-old granddaughter brought along a plastic explorer's knife and wore a hat with feathers.

My godson could be seen in the Charlottesville marching band.

We make the uphill climb thank to Digs Inc.!

Nat Bryant, Hermi, and I stood at the front of the boat waving.

A backward look at the crew...

Cotton candy for sale.

We make the turn towards High Street.

As we complete our journey, the Clydesdales are right there with us.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Crew: The Dogwood Parade 2014

Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, Dede Smith, sees us off in the Red Pirogue

Chauncey Hutter and his granddaughter Hermione arrive in their roadster

Lewis & Clark President Fran Lawrence in front of our Float Your Boat Float

Executive Director Alexandria Searls in one of Chauncey Hutter's river hats

Hermi, Chauncey, and Fran, all in river boat hats.  Chauncey used to be captain of a James River batteau

Nat Bryant, Winx and Fran Lawrence

Board member John Conover boards with his granddaughter

Friday, April 25, 2014

We're in the Dogwood Parade Tomorrow!

The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center is Number 47 in the Dogwood Parade line-up tomorrow!  We're taking the Red Pirogue on a ride!  (Thank you, Anne Tufts, for the beautiful trailer.)  So look for us in the big red boat going up Market Street...  The parade starts at 10:50, so 11:30 is probably a safe bet for when we'll be on the hill.  Visitors welcome pre-parade alongside the County Office Building.

Our new banner graces the side of the boat

At Darden Towe Park, waiting to be pulled out by Digs and Co

Last year's Dogwood Parade participant, Captain Lewie, descendant of Seaman the Newfoundland, Meriwether Lewis's dog

Monday, April 21, 2014

Boots, Critters, and Maps! The Photos

We had a wonderful time this past Saturday testing the water in the Rivanna River and in Trevillian Creek. Mary Loose DeViney, Grace Wilkinson, and Kyle Emery led the way.  Mary Loose is a Rivanna Riverkeeper, part of the Rivanna Conservation Society's efforts towards keeping the river healthy through the efforts of dedicated volunteers.  Grace and Kyle are graduate students in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, and both have a strong background in river monitoring.

Here we have Kyle dipping into Trevillian Creek to test the turbidity.

 In this photograph, Mary is identifying the shade of the symbol to assess turbidity.

The water is definitely tinged with the orange of Virginia clay.

 Increased turbidity makes it harder for underwater plants to receive light for photosynthesis.

Above, Mary is comparing a water sample to various  colors to determine its pH.  The pH is close to neutral, which is good news for the river.

Here Grace approaches with a water sample from the vernal pool.

A crawfish that has seen better days...  (Or should I say "Crayfish"?)