Category Archives: children’s activities (recycled materials)

Fowler’s Toad Found In MD Yard

Fowler’s Toads (Bufo fowleri) are difficult to tell apart from Eastern American Toads (both can be found in Maryland). One difference is that a Fowler’s toad never has a spotted belly. Its ventral surface (belly) is usually whitish and without spots aside from the dark spot in the throat area.

Also, Fowler’s Toads have three or more warts in each of the largest dark spots.

This Fowler’s toad was another species I recorded for the Maryland Amphibians and Reptiles Atlas (MARA) for 2011.

Male Eastern Box Turtle in MD

I spotted this Eastern box turtle (Terrapene Carolina) near my blueberry bushes this past summer. I presume he was looking for some of the fallen fruit to eat.

I know it is a male because of the depression in his bottom shell (called a plastron). This depression is not present on all box turtle males however. (But if you see this depression, it is a male.)

This box turtle was another species I recorded for the Maryland Amphibians and Reptiles Atlas (MARA).

I hope you too continue to learn about Maryland reptiles and amphibians!

Decorative Swags Made With The Sweet Little Pinecones Of Hemlock Trees

Finding and gathering the pine cones is half the fun of this project.

This is what a Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) plant looks like. It is native to some parts of Maryland, as well as, much of New England.

I collected these during a visit to NH.

These are simple to make. Tie the pinecones to a string one at a time; working your way along the string.

I don’t think I captured just how cute these swags are but I think you get the idea.

Osage-orange Ball Craft

Have fun making moody osage-orange guys. Collect natural materials such as cherry stems, beans, acorns and other seeds… Mix and match to create amusing characters.

An osage-orange (Maclura pomifera)  is a tree not native to Maryland but can be found growing here. My husband remembers having wars with his friends; they would throw them at each other. Boys!

I call this one the Grinch.

I call this one Oscar the Grouch.

I call this one Dude.

Rough Green Snake Opheodrys aestivus in Maryland

Here is a rough green snake we found near our house in Southern Maryland. The Kids and I enjoyed holding this beautiful snake.

The smooth green snake Opheodrys vernalis looks very similar to the rough green snake but if you look closely, the rough green snake Opheodrys aestivus has keeled scales on top. Note the line running down the middle of the scales in the picture.

Our property is near a marsh and has plenty of bushes and trees so it is a great place for this snake.

It is a good climber as you can see in this photo.

The rough green snake is a fun snake for kids to hold because they are so docile. Teach children to be gentle when handling because even the nicest animal will try to bit if it is being hurt.

You can guess what this is. To deter possible predators, snakes will release a foul-smelling substance. Skunks aren’t the only ones to use smell as a deterrent.

Yes, it did stink on us.