Starfish in the Desert!

starfish cactus bud resizedThis starfish cactus is getting ready to bloom in the arid room at the Miller Nature Preserve. The plant doesn’t look much like a starfish now – but wait until it blooms.  These blooms have another trick that is not quite as pretty.  The flowers are pollinated by flies – so to attract the flies, they stink!  The other name for the flower is “carrion flower”.  There are lots of buds on the plant, so even though each flower only lasts a few days, you will have several chances to see the bloom.  This plant is native to South Africa.

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Raptors 101

Teachers, what better way to start off the school year than to surprise your students with the special opportunity, for them as a class, to adopt one of our raptors! Participating in our Adopt-A-Raptor program is a fun & engaging way for you and your students to learn about raptors and what goes into the care of our nine Raptor Center residents, as well as to experience what it feels like to contribute to the welfare of our raptors.

The Carlisle Visitor Center Naturalists also teach a variety of onsite raptor-related public programs throughout the year (advertised in our Arrowhead program guide and on our website). In addition, as part of our Traveling Nature Encounters “requested” programs, we can come to your school to teach our ‘Predators of the Sky’ program that can supplement your students’ learning about these amazing birds. Please refer to our Group Educational Opportunities brochure on our website for more information on how to schedule Traveling Nature Encounters as well as other requested programs. Be sure to call well in advance of your potential program date, as these opportunities fill up quickly!  ~CVC Naturalist, Miss Jenn


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Enjoy Fall With Us!

As summer winds down and you begin creating your ‘Fun Fall Activities To Do’ list, be sure to add our Horse-drawn Fall Hay Wagon Rides and Corn Maze to it, both of which begin this weekend! Take along our “new this year” Scavenger Hunt on your hay wagon ride, and see which & how many of the items you can spot along the beautiful, 30 minute-long route. Test your navigation skills in our six-acre corn maze as you answer nature trivia along the way. Both activities are located at Carlisle Reservation’s Equestrian Center (13630 Diagonal Road, LaGrange), are $1 each (children 3 and under are free), and will be held Saturdays & Sundays (September 20th-October 26th: Noon-3:30pm). The concession stand(where you purchase tickets) will also be selling refreshments. Both of Fall Haywagon Rides and Corn Maze 2012 photos 017these outdoor activities are weather dependent, therefore please call ahead (440-458-5121) the day of program in case of inclement weather or high wind advisories.


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“OH IO!”

001While on our recent “OH IO! Hike” here at Carlisle Reservation, we saw the State Tree (buckeye; pictured LEFT), Native Fruit (pawpaw), Bird (cardinal), and Frog (bullfrog)!  We also found tracks left behind by our State Mammal(white-tailed deer). Do you know what the State Amphibian, Reptile, and Insect are? If you guessed, Spotted Salamander, Black Racer Snake, and Ladybug, you are right! Please refer to our Arrowhead for more upcoming fun & festive hikes this Fall! ~CVC Naturalist, Miss Jenn


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Papaya Fruit

papaya croped for blogThe Papaya tree at the Conservatory at Miller Nature Preserve has bloomed and produced a fruit.  The fruit can grow to between 6 and 17 inches long and is ripe when the skin has become amber to orange in color.

The tree is originally from Southern Mexico, but is now grown in many tropical countries.  Since it is not frost tolerant, it is only grown in the U.S. in Southern Florida and a few places in California.

Stop by the Conservatory in Avon  and watch its growth.  There are several other blooms that can be seen, so there will be different stages of development to see.  It is always interesting to see how our food grows.

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September Color at Schoepfle Garden

Lots of current and new color at the garden as we roll into September. Cannas are blooming nicely, if you have them at home deadhead old flower stalks to encourage new blooms. Also in the border are asters, Joe Pye Weed, flowering tobacco, Angel’s trumpet, Rose of Sharon ‘Diana’, goldenrod, hosta, phlox. Modern roses looking as good as ever. Also new this week are the autumn crocus, not a true crocus but a nice fall copy cat that emerges from nowhere about this time. Learn about these and more on Saturday 9/6 – Breakfast and Blooms – 9am – continental breakfast -$1 donation – and 9:30 tour (no charge for tour).

Autumn Crocus

Autumn Crocus

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Corn Maze Craze

077With summer winding down, we here at Carlisle Reservation are busily and excitedly getting ready for our annual Fall events. A few weeks ago, we cut our six-acre corn maze (see pictures). As with each year, we create a new design and provide nature trivia throughout the maze. In addition, see if you can find(& hear!) our new addition to the corn maze! Please refer to our website ( and September/October Arrowhead program guide for dates, times, and program fees. ~CVC Naturalist, Miss Jenn


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