An Oakmoss Summer

Our program line-up for the Summer of 2015 includes two field outings and a hands-on workshop in East Aurora, NY as we continue our mission to share the lessons of Nature to benefit the planet and all its inhabitants. Details and registration information available on our website. Please join us!

Twilight Trek
Saturday, July 11 – 7:00 to 9:00pm at West Falls Park. Enjoy an interpretive stroll through the woods and along the creek at dusk, one of the most active times of day as diurnal creatures wind down and nocturnal critters begin to rouse.

Field Flutterers
Saturday, July 25 – 9:00am to 11:30am at Knox Farm State Park. We’ll be seeking out the flighted creatures of the open field, be they insect or avian. From butterflies to birds, there are many species that fill the morning with activity.

Introduction to Herbal Concoctions
Saturday, August 1 – 1:00pm to 3:30pm at the Roycroft Campus Power House. A hands-on workshop in which students will become acquainted with incorporating common herbs into simple preparations for body care and overall general health.

An Avian Tribute to Mom

I learned during childhood that my Mom was afraid of birds. This fear was rooted in an incident from her own youth. You see, she often stayed with her Grandmother who ran a subsistence farm. On one of those visits, a chicken had just been “dispatched” the old fashioned way with an axe which resulted in the bird performing a “post-beheading” dance across the barnyard directly into my mother.

As I was growing up, we lived next door to an older couple and Mom and the neighbor lady (who we called “Aunt Peg”) were quite close. Aunt Peg took great pride in her flower gardens and was an avid bird watcher, having a number of feeder stations in her back yard.  So you can imagine the air space around our house was busy with fluttering wings and this tended to keep Mom from spending time outdoors in the yard. On one occasion, a bird got into our house which caused my mother quite a panic.

Flash forward 50 years to 2012 and Mom was diagnosed with advance stage colon cancer. Surgery was successful in removing a softball-sized tumor but the disease weakened her to a state that put her just over the line for assisted living, requiring her to have long-term care. Outside the window of Mom’s room in the nursing facility are several bird feeders and during her early, mostly bed-ridden days there, she passed time watching the avian callers. On nearly every visit, Mom would describe a bird she’d seen and ask if I could identify the species.  Her daily inquiries led me to purchase her Stan Tekiela’s “Birds of New York” field guide so she could enjoy her bird watching more completely and keep a checklist.

Once the weather warmed and Mom regained much of her previous strength, her bird watching moved to the outdoors to a bench near the feeders where she enjoyed their company as they flew to and fro. Imagine the joy I felt now that the fear of birds Mom carried all those years had disappeared allowing us to share one of my greatest passions.

My Mom

My beautiful mother.

Mom passed over a few days ago and while my heart is very heavy, I am elated that she had discovered the joy, beauty and wonder of the bird world before leaving this reality. Fly with your new friends,  Mom – one day we will again enjoy the feathered world together. Much love…