What a fantastic Earth Week we had at Caraway this past week! Kids and teachers all donning crazy sunglasses, far-out socks and shoes, super-creative hats made of trash and recycling, and green shirts for our spectacular Green Ribbon theme week designed to celebrate this wonderful planet we call Earth. But that’s not all — classes have been doing making fabulous posters to talk about recycling, caring for the Earth, and more. Check out some of the scenes around school, and stay tuned for pics of some of our super-green kids!
Archive for April, 2011
Thank you to all the many scouts who have been busy picking up trash, weeding, preparing new stepping stones, and working on a path for the wildflower meadow. Caraway is looking wonderful and is so lucky to have such hard-working students and parents beautifying our grounds and helping the Earth at the same time.
We have Purple Martin eggs in two gourds now — a total of 9! It’s rather interesting — one parent couple keeps their eggs uncovered, while the other parent couple carefully covers their eggs with oak leaves. If you stop by to observe the Purple Martins, you might get to see them swoop about collecting insects over the retention pond. It’s really fun to watch! Even when they are high in the sky, they are very much paying attention to what’s going on at the gourds. They are good parents!
We’ve eagerly been awaiting (and crossing our fingers for) the arrival of Purple Martins to our new gourds, and happily we’ve seen our very first ones this past week. But the best news of all is that there are eggs in one nest, too!
Purple Martins are members of the Swallow family, and they eat flying insects high in the sky. They are known for their dark feathers that have a purple sheen to them. This coloration is most obvious in the adult males.
Purple Martins spend the winter in Brazil and migrate back up to Texas and other area for their breeding season. They’ll head back to Brazil in July or so.
We’ve only opened up a few gourds so far, because we wanted to encourage the first few Purple Martins to arrive while discouraging invasive species like English House Sparrows and European Starlings. English House Sparrows are little and brownish, while European Starlings are iridescent black with bright yellow beaks and orange legs (Purple Martins have dark beaks and legs). Both are non-native “pest” birds that will attack and destroy the nests, eggs, and babies of our native Purple Martins, so we’re trying to keep them from establishing a home in our gourds, and we do this by pulling out their nest material as they put it in. If you see us removing a nest from a gourd, rest assured it’s the nest of a non-native and not-very-nice bird, and not one of our wonderful Purple Martins!
We have an adult pair of Purple Martins that have already laid their eggs. There are five white eggs in the nest. The mama bird laid one egg per day until she laid the fifth and final egg on April 16. It will take about 16 days for the young to hatch.
We expect the babies to hatch around the first week of May. We will keep you updated with pictures!
By the way, have you ever listened to Purple Martins sing? They have a beautiful voice!
Happy Earth Week! All week long we are having a special Green celebration at Caraway!
Monday, April 18: Wear sunglasses or crazy sunglasses: be on the lookout for ways to go green!
Tuesday, April 19: Wear crazy socks or shoes to kick out waste!
Wednesday, April 20: Wear a hat made of recycled materials. “Hats off to recycling” – we’re having a parade of hats!
Thursday, April 21: Wear a green shirt, and bike or walk to school if you can!
Friday, April 22: NO SCHOOL, but it’s Earth Day! Do something special for the environment with your family!
We’ll have our special Green OWL shirts on sale all week long in the morning near the main door. $10 each – child and adult sizes are available!
Thank you to all our classes participating in the HEB paper bag decorating for Earth Day. Your artwork and messages about protecting our planet are wonderful! And a big thanks to all of Girl Scout Troop 116 for organizing and running this activity! Here are a few of the many excellent bags given back to HEB for them to share with their customers.
All those caterpillars we’ve been seeing around lately? Guess who likes to eat them! This American Robin and its mate were recently seen searching for caterpillars and other yummy creatures on the Caraway grounds.
American Robins winter in Texas but travel north to breed. Have a safe trip, Mr. and Mrs. Robin!