Sunday, May 8, 2022

Student gets lesson in nature at Greystone | News, Sports, Jobs – Evening Observer

Tanner Clark is shown placing bird boxes at Greystone, which is in the town of Portland.

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The feeling of spring has officially arrived at Greystone Nature Preserve. Bill Moran and Diane Clark, who run the preserve are two earth loving individuals who hold numerous events throughout the summer for the public to attend. As a senior business student at the State University of New York at Fredonia, I have been interning at Greystone this past winter and spring and it has been a great experience working with a non-profit organization.

Most recently, I helped Bill and Diane get Greystone ready to open, which involved driving around the 75-acre land tending to bluebird nesting boxes on a beautiful April day, which is when bluebirds are usually set to nest.

This involved repairs to the bird boxes as well as clearing of the nests.

Throughout the excursion, Clark educated me on the characteristics of these boxes and how she was able to identify the birds that nested there. In most of the nests, we were greeted with some warm bluebird eggs that were a very pleasant sight. She then described to me why she arranges the bird boxes the way she does, having three of them close together. She said this is for when bluebirds occupy two houses it will retract invasive birds like the house sparrow from occupying one of the houses.

Their cup-shaped nests consist mainly of fine grasses and occasionally some pine needles when available. Some of the nests were occupied by house sparrows, an invasive bird, with large canopy type nests made of coarse grasses, feathers and even loose trash it was able to find.

Getting educated on your environment is a major goal of Greystone and they want their guests to leave feeling as if they learned something. Throughout our excursion, we came across what we believed was a purple martin, a rare bird to be in Greystone, but always welcomed and applauded by the couple and was a perfect friend to join us as we tended to the houses. The bluebirds are beautiful visitors of Greystone and quite a sight for experienced outdoor people as well as people who are just in need of nature.

This month, the reserve will open, and is going to be a perfect getaway residents to escape everyday stress and work to appreciate the views and sounds of Greystone. The first event being held on site at Greystone is a “Springtime Edible & Medicinal Plant Walk” on May 10. The walk will be guided by Sarah Sorci, a community herbalist and owner of “Sweet Flag Herbs,” who will educate guests throughout the walk as well as be open for any questions people may have.

Getting guided through a walk by Sorci will be a great experience, guests will learn about medicinals and edibles that are early risers in Western New York. She will also teach tips for safe identification and use which is an important safety skill to have for avid outdoorsmen. This event will take place at Greystone Nature Preserve at 6 p.m. at 8531 Bear Lake Road, Fredonia, and will be a great introduction to what Greystone has in the future for 2022.

For further information regarding the event, e-mail trclark9716@fredonia.edu.

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