For several years we always hiked Reinstein Woods (https://reinsteinwoods.org/) when visiting family. For the past few years, weather (record heat one year, torrential rain another, a mix another year) during our visit put Reinstein Woods on the back burner. The perfect weather this visit prompted a quick visit, which turned into an entire morning of hiking, observing, and photographing.
Upon arrival, I noticed again the absolute beauty and peace of the place in spite of the suburbs and development which surround it. The 292 acre complex contains five interpretive trails of less than one mile each, and three other trails also under one mile, totaling 2.8 miles. They make picking your level of activity easy. The trails meander through forests and wetlands, and around ponds.
We started along the Lily Pond Loop, always my favorite. Purple/dark pink lily pads cover the pond. According to the history we heard, originally several different colors shared the pond, but eventually the purple took over. I heard and saw several Gray Catbirds, one of my favorite winter birds at home, enjoying their summer residence before heading back to us. The buck (photo last week) sat for a while watching us until slowly rising and casually wandering off. Several White-breasted Nuthatches played around the trees, a treat for me since the range of this bird does not extent to Florida. Painted Turtles basked on the logs, and frogs jumped into the water, often before we saw them. We did not see a beaver, but saw footprints and definite signs of building.
Before leaving we visited the Education Center. An education program was in progress, so we browsed the compact main room, full of information. The Friends of Reinstein Woods sell t-shirts and other items, all profits going to the center, so Karl and I both left with new t-shirts. I picked up a pamphlet on their volunteer program to peruse on the drive home. It is impressive! In addition to the usual positions of greeter, nature guide, special events, etc. they run several citizen science projects and train Research Stewards to work on them. During our hike, a man pointed out several monarch butterflies and told us where to find a caterpillar, so perhaps he worked on the Monarch Watch! We have little going on near us with citizen science anymore. If I lived in that area, I would be volunteering there frequently.