Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Enjoying the Curious George Cottage

Young Curious George fans have packed the Curious George Cottage every morning this week to listen to stories about their favorite mischievous monkey and to make seasonal and Curious George themed crafts! We are enjoying the opportunity to share the Reys' former summer home with these young fans and their parents and to celebrate all things Curious George. The Rey Center is holding Curious George Story Time and Craft every weekday morning at 11:00 a.m. during the February school vacation weeks (Feb 21-25 and March 1-4). The Curious George Cottage is also open for drop-in visitors on Saturdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m. We do hope you will stop-by!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So what's up with the weather station web page?

Well, a couple of things...first, as recently reported the anemometer, which measures wind speed and direction sustained some damage over the holidays and is no longer operational. So when you visit you won't get current wind conditions. The good news is, we just placed an order for a different anemometer better suited to the harsh conditions experienced on top of the ski slopes of Mount Tecumseh. This new anemometer is ultrasonic, which means it uses the travel time of sound to calculate its measurements. It is also a heated unit, which will keep off ice and better protect it from winter conditions. The folks at the Mount Washington Observatory recommended this unit to us - thanks to their staff for their advice and support! We are all excited for its arrival in March and look forward to installing it.

You may have noticed that some times the weather station web page is "stuck." Periodically, communication between our modem at the weather station and our computer in the office breaks down. This is a problem with the weather station modem. The good news here is that we don't lose any data, we just can't upload the latest data to the website for everyone to see. Unfortunately, it took many hours on the part of staff and our weather station intern, testing all parts and chatting with all our service and parts manufacturers to figure this out! We still have some work to do to fix it but are hopeful to have it resolved within the next week or two.

So, don't give up - we are proud to operate the weather station atop the ski slopes of Mount Tecumseh and working hard to ensure it is operational year-round and that its information is accessible to everyone, all the time. We've started tracking the number of visits we get to the weather station website and were pleased to see lots of people are checking it out. Keep it up! Check that web page often to see how we are doing and thanks for your continued support.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Happenings at the Rey Center

Greetings from the Rey Center!

We are pleased to announce two new program series being launched this winter, Coffee and Birds at the Curious George Cottage, and Dark Sky Stargazing Nights. Join us Saturday mornings during the winter months from 8:00-10:00 a.m. (We are extending this program until 10:00 a.m. for those not-so-early birds!) at the Curious George Cottage to enjoy a cup of coffee, the company of neighbors and friends, and the magnificent view out the Cottage windows, while admiring the variety of birds at the bird feeders. Stay for 15 minutes or stay for two hours; come once or come every Saturday during the winter. We will be submitting our bird feeder data to National Project Feeder Watch to help track bird populations and trends. This program is sponsored by Mad River Coffee Roasters of Campton, Droll Yankees bird feeders, and Handyman Hardware of Campton, NH. Dark Sky Stargazing Nights will be held on one Saturday per month during the new moon (The new Moon phase occurs when the Moon lies between the Earth and the Sun, causing the Moon to be un-illuminated or not visible to the naked eye from Earth. During the new new Moon, the skies are especially dark and make for great stargazing!). Telescopes will be set-up and knowledgeable volunteers from the New Hampshire Astronomical Society will be your guides. Drop-by anytime between 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturdays February 5 and March 5, stay for as little or as long as you like! Bundle up and bring binoculars if you have them. We hope to see you there! For more information on both of these programs, please visit our website at

For all those artists and aspiring artists out there, we are offering several art workshops this winter. Local artist Shirley Fitzgerald will teach a four-session watercolor workshop focusing on painting landscapes and still-life on February 1, 3, 8 and 10, and Maryellen Sakura will teach “Printmaking for Beginners,” a two-session workshop on March 25 and 26. These workshops are appropriate for beginners as well as more advanced artists. Visit our website for all the details and don’t delay in calling to register as space is limited! Workshops will be held at the Curious George Cottage, a perfect place to learn to paint and print.

Lastly, we hope you will join us for our February fundraising dinner, “Broadway 101: A Musical Retrospective by Maureen Brennan and Tim Evans.” The event will be held at the home of Leslie and Kevin Saba, with a catered meal by Chef Sean Stout of the Coyote Grill. The highlight of the evening will be the performance by Tony nominated singer and actress Maureen Brennan with her accompanist Tim Evans. Visit for more information. Seating is limited, so call now to reserve your space.

Snowshoes and measuring weather!

It was the first time that Waterville Elementary School (WVES) got to use their new snowshoes! The snow was glimmering and the K-2 kids were ready to go. We grabbed some wind meters, thermometers and data sheets and headed off into the woods.
At first the students were wondering why they still sunk in so much. It was a good question as, even in snowshoes, we tend to sink in 4-8 inches. But after we passed someone not wearing snowshoes, they could see that it was much easier with our wide base to help spread our weight around so we did not sink down (as much as that guy)! The gentleman was nice enough to demonstrate how the snow went over his boots for us. Which was nice, but also made us feel good about our choice to go out in the "clown shoes" as one of the students called them.

On our trek we saw red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) tracks come across our path, under a fallen tree and out the other side. We also found 2 different types of canine scat! One from a house dog (Canis familiaris) and one from a red fox (Vulpes vulpes). The fox also left us some some really cool yellow spots in the snow. "What could it be?" I asked as the students began to form a circle around it. I bent down to get a good smell, as I wanted to make sure it wasn't gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) which has a much duller smelling urine. Nope, "definitely the skunky odor of a red fox" I said popping my head back up to see the disgusted looks on their faces. They all replied "wow....awesome..." as I had told them to do in programs past if they were about to use the less interesting term "ewww".

After that excitement we took out our equipment to measure some important factors of weather, temperature and wind speed, and determining which cloud types we had in the sky today. An interesting thing happene
d while measuring the temperature. It was a nice day, one of the 30 degree days we had last week and we were in the sun so our thermometers read about 38 degrees! Well, after we took the air temperature, we dug a hole and set the thermometers inside and waited for a few minutes. When we took them out, both thermometers read 30 degrees! This was a great demonstration of the insulating power of snow! Some of the students already had put this together before I even asked them "why this could be?" which isn't surprising based on the knowledge they receive from the great parents and teachers there! More proof of their smarts is that they got it even though the demonstration is more obvious if the air temperature is cooler than the snow. But it is true, snow has great insulating potential (which we will talk about in our public program "CREATING SNOW CAVES" coming on the 24th! Sign up!

What a great first use of the schools snowshoes. Looking forward to more adventures!