What’s Happening in the Wild

Above, during a downpour, northern rough-winged swallows take a break from swirling, diving and capturing airborne insects over the wetlands. If, while visiting the museum you park at the parking deck, stop and have a look at the flowers blooming along the path leading to the deck, you may see some interesting insects, including several species of butterfly. Over the past week I’ve been seeing dogbane beetles on their namesake plant along the path of the outdoor loop through ExploreRead more

July, gone but not forgotten

On its way to the ocean via the Eno River, Falls Lake and Neuse River, Ellerbe Creek runs through our 84 acre campus. Before it reaches us, it flows under an interstate highway (twice), through a golf course, through quiet neighborhoods and under and through a mall, mostly unseen by the local human population. There are a handful of preserves along its 20 mile meander through Durham but for the most part, I’d wager, most folks don’t know it exists.Read more


One could hardly miss the frass surrounding the willow oak tree next to the vending area in Catch the Wind, it was everywhere. Of course, if you don’t know what frass is then you may not have noticed it, thinking it mulch that had been blown onto the sidewalk by the wind. Well, it wasn’t mulch, it was caterpillar poop, or frass, a sure sign that there are caterpillars above. With this much frass there must be many caterpillars feedingRead more