The tree houses are such a hit at Tyler Arboretum, it only seems fitting that there be an annual festival to celebrate – well, tree houses! When you first heard about the Tree House Festival, maybe you were like me. I originally thought to myself, “I’ve already seen the tree houses – what could possibly be different this time? Why should I go?” Well, if you did not make the trip out to Tyler today, be sure to mark your calendar to attend next year – there is something for everyone, things that you do not get to see at Tyler every day!
For the kids, there was a wealth of educational and fun activities. It was fun to see kids engage with the multiple stations for hands-on arts and crafts. I wish I was half as creative as these Tyler volunteers that were leading the crafting tables! And I appreciate how environmentally-friendly the craft activities were – one of the tables had a copy of the book The Lorax (he speaks for the trees, you know! There is even a website to learn more about The Lorax Project). If kids weren’t making crafts, they were getting locked in to ropes and harnesses to climb one of Tyler’s trees (under the watchful eyes and guidance of Oakwood Tree Care Professionals, of course). It looked like SO much fun, I wish I could have climbed! But my eye was caught by a crowd gathering behind the barn, so I went to investigate.
As I walked closer to the group of onlookers, I could finally see what all of the gathering excitement was about – it was a collection of hawks and falcons on display! Rarely do I get the opportunity to get so close to these beautiful birds, and the “keepers” of the creatures were there to share facts and figures and to answer any questions from the group. Kids wanted to know why some feathers were shorter on the tail than other feathers, while adults were asking if the species were native to Pennsylvania. I could have stood for over an hour just at this spot to watch the movements and hear the “screeching” of the birds, and to listen to all of the information shared with my fellow onlookers. Meet two of my favorite new bird friends (the Gyrfalcon and European Eagle Owl) below!
This is a Gyrfalcon, a bird typically found in northern North America, but it does come down to Pennsylvania in the winter to search for food.
Meet Owlexander! This is a European Eagle Owl (also referred to as a Eurasian Eagle Owl), one of the largest owl species in the world. He is only a few months old but fully grown – and has claws that you do not want to get close to! This creature is not native to Pennsylvania.
After getting saturated with facts about the raptors (and taking many, many photos!), I decided to take the time to walk the newly-dedicated Scenic Loop path. I wasn’t brave enough to walk on the day of the dedication, which happened to be the hottest day of the year. But since today there was a break in the heatwave we have been experiencing (only 88 degrees today!), I wanted to give the Loop a try. What a really enjoyable walk! Even on a hot and sunny day like today, there are enough trees along the pathway providing periodic shade as a break from the sun. Today was a fun and educational day – looking forward to more of these kinds of days at Tyler!