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"?)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boots, Critters, and Maps! Saturday, April 19 10 AM to 12 PM

Is the water in the Rivanna River clean enough?  What sort of creatures live in the water?  Come join the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center at Darden Towe Park to answer these questions from 10 AM to 12 PM.  All ages welcome!  You'll scoop up macroinvertibrate creatures, test the water in the Rivanna River and its tributary, Trevillian Creek, and troop around in the mud with our nets and boots.  Afterwards you can make your own river map to remember what you've discovered.  Mapping is a Lewis and Clark skill for everyone to learn!

Meet us at 10 am on the lower terrace of the new Lewis and Clark building, or come after 10 and follow our signs down to the river.  To get to the building, take a left within Darden Towe Park, and follow the road up the hill and down to our new building.  We'll have signs to guide you at the park entrance too.  See you on the river!  You can call 434-996-7282 if you need more directions.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Get Ready for Butterflies!

Monticello's Tufton Farm just donated to the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center enough seeds for 10,000 or more plants that will help monarch butterflies in their long migration.  We'll be giving some of them away this coming Saturday from 10-2 as part of the Outdoor Adventure Day at Darden Towe Park.

Come join us outside our new building for butterfly art projects, plant specimens, and seed plantings!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Outdoor Adventure Day April 12

The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center is taking part in the Green Adventure Project's Outdoor Adventure Day Saturday, April 12th at Darden Towe Park, from 10-2.  We are inviting visitors of all ages to come do special activities related to the Monarch butterfly: art projects to increase awareness of the butterfly, and a milkweed planting project to increase habitat and make the Center a Monarch Waystation.  The event is free, and there will be other fun activities hosted by other groups.

You can start your visit at the Green Adventure headquarters, the shelter next to the soccer fields, and then walk your way down to us on the terrace of our new building.  We'll have an array of Monarch butterfly children's books to draw inspiration from, and we'll be handing out milkweed seeds for you to plant at the Center and for you to take home. There will also be original art related to monarchs available for viewing.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Photo Assignment: The Heart

Photos can be related to the science of the heart...or what you love.  It can be about what other people love as well.  Some ideas:  what you love most in nature, paintings of the heart, historical Valentine's Day cards, or what you appreciate most in the Lewis and Clark story.  If you have an Instagram account, use the tag #heartlcec    Or post to our Facebook page.

From the 1971 World Book article on the heart

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Expedition Journals and Our Own New Instagram Account

Happy New Year!  Here in Charlottesville we got some snow yesterday and in the early hours.  We got to thinking about the weather, and we reread some journal entries from the Expedition, particularly ones about how the weather impacted journal writing.  Since Jefferson wanted journal entries, the condition of the ink brought along was very important.  It froze at the Mandan Villages, making for difficult journal writing...and then it evaporated fast in the hot summers of the Plains.

Nowadays, our modern equivalent is when the electricity goes out and we can't get to our blogs and social networking.  Luckily, that didn't happen yesterday, and we actually started an Instagram account:  @lewisandclarkcville    Please follow us.  Also notice that we're following a lot of wonderful museums all over the country, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

We posted our first of monthly photo assignments on Instagram:

Just take a photo and post it with the hashtag #lcecweather.  We'll be on the look out for it!  If you don't have Instagram, also feel free to post it to our Facebook page.  We're excited about encouraging new looks at what's around us.   Here is an example below, of an ice sculpture by local Montessori teacher Patrick McCafferty.  (If your ink freezes, use the ice.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paint Selection for the New Building

We're taking votes on our paint selection for the exterior metal of our building.  You can Like us on Facebook to see photos of the selection and to give us your thoughts (use Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, with the ampersand)...or take a look below and email us at

One:  light gray

Two: Darker Gray

Three: Charcoal

Four: Black

The columns will all be painted...and the idea that the architects have is to differentiate materials...that the metal not look like the concrete, etc.

Poll closing soon!