Matthews State Forest Go Green

For the third year in a row, BRDC has contributed to the annual Go Green event at the Matthews State Forest outside of Galax, VA.  This year's theme is expressed in the heading to their flyer:

Do you wonder how to lead a lifestyle that reduces your impact on our land and
water resources? Learn from the experts at “Go Green” at the Matthew State Forest
on Saturday, March 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Eric Harrold and Scott Jackson-Ricketts brought Avian Adventures to this year's activities, including a guided bird walk, owl pellet dissection, and a comparison of natural history illustration from Audubon to Sibley and Crossley (
The day proved to be unpredictably warm and sunny, lowering the expected attendance of kids especially, yet we managed to successfully entertain several groups of eager youngsters with our ever popular owl pellet dissection component.  We provide charts of bones so the kids can identify not only the bundled animal, but in picking the pellet apart with tweezers and toothpicks, the associated bones.  Starting with skulls, which clue us in to what critter the barn owl ate, it becomes much easier to follow the chart below the identified skull to sort out the other bones.  One young fellow was most meticulous in his dissection, examining every detail under a microscope to the point of realizing that some were tail and finger bones. 

The interest in natural history illustration came mostly from adults, who remarked upon their understanding of Audubon's collecting strategy of killing his specimens, and comparing that with the age of the digital camera.  Much has changed, yet much remains the same. 

Once again, we wish to thank the Matthews Foundation for their generous support, as well as the Matthews State Forest.

Scott J-R