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Celebrating a job well done during Earth Month.

In celebration of Earth month, Earth Share North Carolina gathered organizations from all around the city for Charlotte’s first Corporate Challenge. Under the guidance of the North Carolina Audubon and Mecklenburg Audubon, volunteers from Carolinas HealthCare System and Recover worked at Charlotte Nature Museum to improve native bird habitats by removing invasive plants. Their work will help encourage native plants to grow to benefit local and migratory birds.

This project supports the Audubon Bird-Friendly Communities initiative that urges citizens in cities and towns to plant with birds i… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Despite its small size, this young gray squirrel is ready to be on its own. Most mammals have a very short childhood.

Spring is the season of new life. Around Charlotte, there are lots of new babies arriving every day. Many animals start the next generation in this season of plentiful resources.

While a baby might look too young to be on its own, many animals — especially mammals — have a relatively short childhood. It’s important to leave these youngsters where they belong so they can establish territories and grow into adults.

What animal babies can we expect to encounter in Charlotte? How can we tell if they’re safe to be out on their own? The answer varies by species.

Grey squirrels (Sciurus caro… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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While bees gather nectar, they also pick up pollen. As they move from flower to flower, they spread the necessary cells that the plants need to reproduce and create their own offspring, encapsulated in seeds within fruits.

Queen Charlotte isn't the only one looking forward to spring! This season is an exciting time for humans and animals alike.

The change of seasons brings warmer temperatures and more sunlight for longer periods. This difference from the winter season of cold and short days triggers physical and behavioral changes in many living things.

The increase in temperature causes many plants to grow much more quickly, creating more food for most animals.

Many flowering plants switch into high gear in response to increased sunlight conditions, growing their reproductive systems, flowers. These fl… Keep reading.

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Resident groundhog Queen Charlotte did not see her shadow today, predicting an early spring for the Charlotte area.

The recent mild weather is just a sign of warmer days to come.

Resident groundhog Queen Charlotte did not see her shadow today, predicting an early spring for the Charlotte area.

Our preeminent prognosticator made her royal proclamation in a special Groundhog Day celebration at Charlotte Nature Museum.

She also weighed in on Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup, foretelling a Carolina Panthers victory over the Denver Broncos.

As Queen Charlotte’s first public prediction since ascending to the throne in 2015, the ceremony took place in the Great Hall for her safety and comfort. She was escor… Keep reading.

Filed Under: In the Museum
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Chipmunks and ground squirrels are among the few animals that truly hibernate.

As the weather turns cold, many animals have gone into hibernation to get through the winter.

But hibernation isn't the only type of dormancy an animal can experience, and winter isn't the only time of year animals might go to sleep or reduce their activity to survive.

The environment that an animal lives in affects their dormancy behavior greatly.

Animals might go through hibernation, brumation or estivation (aestivation). These terms can be confusing because there are similarities between them all, but there are distinct details that make each process different.

Most people are f… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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Opossums are known for their strong sense of smell. As an enrichment activity, Museum naturalists might hide the opossum's food in a box so she can smell her meal and scavenge for it just like she would in the wild.

Have you ever walked through Creature Cavern and wondered about the interesting objects in the animal enclosures?

Sometimes you might see large cardboard boxes, branches, snake sheds or hanging toys where our animal residents live.

It may look like these objects do not belong in there, but in fact they do! The other Naturalists and I put these objects in with the animals to give them enrichment. 

Enrichment is a way to keep animals active, thinking and exploring, just like they do in nature. It is important that our animals continue to use their natural instincts and behaviors, even t… Keep reading.

Filed Under: Ask a Naturalist
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