Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mountain Lake Teacher Workshop

The Mountain Lake Conservancy recently held a Teacher Workshop for Giles County Science teachers on July 23-24, 2008. This 2 day workshop was funded by the Mary Moody Northen Endowment and focused on inquiry-based learning in the classroom and in the schoolyard. The goal of this workshop training was to assist teachers in improving students' understanding of science. We had a total of 9 teachers attend this workshop from Narrows High School, Narrows Elementary & Middle, and home school parents from the surrounding area. The workshop instructor, Nancy Schultz, did a fabulous job planning and teaching this workshop and we felt it was a great success. Thanks to all who attended and worked hard to make this happen!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hemlock Adoption

A special thanks to Linda Fountain and Frank Paxton for adopting Hemlock #153 near the Blueberry Ridge Cottages. Your contribution will help fund the treatments against the Wooly Adelgid.

For more information on the Wooly Adelgid, please visit click on the Research tab- Forests.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don't Tread On Me

This morning while beginning our Mountain Bike Skills class and riding out the Fitness Trail we were lucky enough to see my first Timber Rattlesnake of the year. She was stretched out along the edge of the trail as we rode along toward the stables. We had just passed a young doe 15 yards earlier grazing along the bank.

As we turned back to view the snake again she assumed a defensive posture - we did not get close enough to encourage her to rattle - snapped a couple pix with the cell phone and went on our way.
Beautiful snake and a neat experience for our guests.

In over 15 years of mountain biking, this was the second rattlesnake I have seen. Pretty amazing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Adopt A Hemlock

A special thanks to Ted and Joy Reinhart from Williamsburg, Virginia. They recently adopted Hemlock number #594 along the Indian Trail. Their donation will help support the research and treatments of the 'woolly adelgid' that has ravaged the Eastern Hemlocks in the Appalachian Mountains. For more information on the woolly adelgid, please visit our website at and click on the 'Forests' link under the 'Research tab.

Natural History Elderhostel

We recently finished up our Elderhostel program, "The Natural History of Mountain Lake" from June 22-27, 2008. We had 13 participants here for the week from all over the country. They enjoyed over 11 miles of hiking to Bald Knob, Pond Drain, Wind Rock and to the Cascades waterfall. Throughout the week they learned about stream water ecology, geology, wildflowers, forests and other interesting aspects of Mountain Lake.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

MLC in the news and wildlife sightings

Roanoke Times did a nice article in this Sunday's edition of the New River Current...
... our recreation staff really shines, I am very proud of their accomplishments this summer.

The past week was a rich one for me from a wild life encounter standpoint. Wednesday evening while returning across the ridge near the end of an out and back mountain bike ride I heard a loud and heavy sound above me - as I looked up I saw a large black bear in a white oak tree sliding down and shredding the bark and small branches as she came down. Only 30' away and in a real hurry, she hit the ground and charged off down over the side of the mountain. Very exciting!

Friday a large rattlesnake was found by my rec staff taking a nap across the width of Indian Trail - I am awaiting pix of this one. First rattler spotted this year that I know of - glad I didn't see it!

Saturday I had some trees to clear on Bald Knob Trail and as I climbed the steep and rugged trail I paused to strap on my kevlar chaps and heard the sounds of a turkey hen somewhere close. I looked up the trail and only 20 yards away I could see through the veiling fog a mother hen and her flock moving through the ferns. I stayed very still and watched them for about fifteen minutes before they eased on out of sight.

This morning we saw twin fawns as they awoke from a nap and spent the rest of the early afternoon watching three humming birds challenge for space at the feeder. Great stuff, I love summer in Virginia.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Current lake level - UPdate!

As you probably know if you have been keeping up with things here on the mountain, our lake has suffered from the drought experienced in our region over the past few years. Tom McAvoy of the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech has been keeping track of our lake levels and has just sent us the following update:

Lake is 45' below full:

Date Feet below full pond % Full
10/1/2005 0 100
12/19/2007 -36 69
1/21/2008 -36 69
3/5/2008 -40 66
3/18/2008 -40 66
4/8/2008 -41 65
6/26/2008 -45 62

In other news...

We will be celebrating July 4th with fireworks on Friday night - be sure to come!