Kids must be accompanied by an adult for all programs.
Try It Tuesday Activities1:00-3:30 PM
@ Raupp Museum
6/16- Churn Butter
6/23- Make a Kite
6/30- Make Candles
7/7- Soap Boat
7/14- Button Buzz Toy
7/21- Ball and Jacks
8/4- Cord Bracelet
8/11- Felt Flowers
Wild Wednesday Nature Walks10:00 -11:00 AM Nature Classroom @ Rylko Park
(Buffalo Grove Rd entrance)
7/22-Fruit and flowers
8/5- Will it bite?
8/12-Is it poisonous?
Museum in the Park 10 AM-12 PM
6/18- Mill Creek Park
7/2- Cherbourg Park
7/16- Canterbury Park
7/30- Apple Hill Park
Image courtesy of The Huffington Post, photographed by Brandon Wetherbee
Hands down, the annual presidential turkey pardoning is my favorite White House event. There’s something charming about the tradition and it’s hilarious watching people participate and report on the story (like this guy in the photo who looks like he gave a speech to the turkeys).
Only since 1989 have turkeys received official ceremonial pardons starting with President Bush. That first gobbler was sent to live out its days at a farm ironically called “Frying Pan” in Northern Virginia. All pardoned birds retired there until 2004. From 2005-2010, birds went to a farm in Florida and served as grand marshals in holiday Disney World parades.
Although President Bush grated the first official pardon, many prior presidents granted informal reprieves from the oven. The first was alleged to have been President Lincoln. The story goes that his son begged him to pardon a bird designated for the table and Lincoln gave in to the plea. In modern administrations, the National Turkey Federation started sending birds for the White House table in 1947. Most were eaten, but President Kennedy sent his back to the farm it came from saying, “We’ll just let this one grow.” After holding the traditional receiving ceremonies and having photos taken, President Nixon also sent his turkeys to a petting farm near Washington.
This year’s pardoning candidates, Cobbler and Gobbler spent a few days relaxing at the W Hotel before their big day. Although, only Cobbler will be officially pardoned this year, both he and the runner up will go to live at Washington’s Mount Vernon and be prominently featured in the estate’s Christmas festivities. After the holidays, the pair will be moved to the livestock facility not open to the public for a quiet retirement. They’re lucky since historically, most Presidents just ate their birds.
A family of three foxes has taken residence under the bushes at the front of the museum. They were first spied last week during a Wildflowers Girl Scout program enjoying the sunshine on the stone wall next to the building. The smallest has even been seen exploring the parking lot and inspecting cars for brake failure. We hope they will stay with us for a while; so next time you are here, be on the lookout for our new fox friends!
Okay, so let’s get to the main reason for starting this blog today. Allow me to fill you in. A few weeks ago, we learned that arsenic was commonly used as a preservation agent in taxidermy from the 18th century until recent times. Naturally, this concerned us because we have a fine collection of stuffed birds so we ordered a test kit.
This afternoon, I found a smart little package on my desk. The arsenic test kit arrived! Such an exciting event just begged to be documented.
The kit looked like a high school chemistry experiment in a box (where are my safety goggles?) with four bottles of arsenic powder stuff, a reaction jar, a needle and some test strips. I plucked out a couple loose feathers from the bird’s leg and put them in the glass jar with some water and the powders. Then slid a test strip under the lid and waited. It was like waiting for a pregnancy test. Was it or wasn’t it full of arsenic?
Thirty minutes elapsed and the strip turned dark brown. The colors on the test strip bottle indicate that the stuffed bird is indeed full of arsenic. Now, all I have to do is figure out how to safely dispose of the test liquid and what to do with our bird. For now, they both sit on my desk waiting for a decision.