If you haven't been to Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Discovery Day is a great opportunity to bring the family and explore various facets of the natural world. If you have been to the preserve, you can always learn something new in this ever-changing arena of plants and insects. The event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Activities will be held at the stone Pavilion at the entrance to the Preserve.
"Discovery Day is one of our favorite events because we have a chance to really engage families and teach them about the aspects of nature that we know and love," said Amy Hoffmann, the Preserve's education coordinator. "Holding the event in the summer allows us to showcase our meadow and the wealth of insects and other critters that call it home."
What will you see at the preserve this time of year? Beautiful native perennials in bloom, butterflies, insects, and more. You can buy native plants during the event, as well as books on gardening with natives, field guides, T-shirts and hats.
This free event offers guided meadow walks, an insect hunt, a puppet show, nature crafts, educational exhibits and a self-guided treasure hunt. Live bluegrass music will be provided by Jericho Grass from 1 to 4 p.m.
Jennifer Bryson, a Mercer County Master Gardener, returns with two new puppet shows: Pollinator Pals and Soil Adventure (shows will be at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.). Mary Ellen Noonan of the Bucks County Conservation District will show you how stormwater affects our water quality with a hands-on watershed model.
"The Insect Safari is my favorite part of Discovery Day," said Pam Newitt, naturalist and long-time volunteer at Bowman's. "I love seeing the kids with the nets catching an incredible array of insects then bringing them back to the table to discover what they are called and how they fit into the ecology of the meadow. Discovery Day gives families an opportunity to learn together while enjoying time outdoors. Bring a picnic and plan on spending the day!"
If you miss Discovery Day, there are other opportunities to enjoy the meadow landscape. The Preserve will be holding meadow walks on Wednesday mornings from July 18 through Sept. 12.
Other July events include a butterfly count and "Insects of the Night" program both on Saturday, July 21. The butterfly count is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Preserve. This free event offers a great opportunity to spend the day counting butterflies. You'll learn to identify the different types of butterflies and the native plants that they use at the Preserve. Make sure to bring binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens, and a field guide if you have one. You can spend all day or part of the day. If you are a novice, don't worry. Everyone is welcome to attend.
"The annual count is held throughout North America and provides a tremendous amount of information to scientists about the distribution and population size of each species counted," Hoffmann said. "The data we collect this year will become part of this continent-wide effort. Our count will be led by Mary Anne Borge, who has been informally monitoring butterflies at [Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve] for about the past five or six years."
"We’re looking forward to not only counting the various species of butterflies that visit the Preserve but using the count as an opportunity to teach people about the import role that native plants play in the life cycle of a butterfly," Hoffmann added. "Caterpillars depend on native plants for food and as adults, butterflies rely on plants as a source of nectar."
Experience the Preserve at night for a unique opportunity! During the "Insects of the Night" program from 7:30 to 9 p.m., visitors will take a leisurely walk through woodland trails and meadow in search of night flying insects. You'll hear crickets and katydids, and possibly see some large silkworm moths. Bring a flashlight! There will be another Saturday evening night walk on September 22. Pre-registration is required for these events.
For more information on Discovery Day and upcoming events, click here or call the Preserve at 215-862-2924. Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve is located at 1635 River Rd., in New Hope.