Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Calling All Photographers!

Are you a nature photographer looking for some great subjects?

Sylvan Heights is pleased to offer a new membership package just for photographers. When you buy a Photographer’s Membership, you’ll receive free admission to Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park for one year, as well as free admission to the North Carolina Zoo, all three NC Aquariums and the WNC Nature Center. In addition, you’ll receive a subscription to our newsletter, View from the Heights, and get a 10% discount in the Sylvan Heights Gift Shop.

All these great benefits are available with any Individual Membership, but what makes our Photographer’s Membership so special, is that members can call in advance and make arrangements to visit the park an hour before it opens to the public and/or stay an hour after park closing! This special benefit provides photographers like you with quiet, quality photography time uninterrupted by park visitors! And you can also take advantage of great morning and evening lighting in which to capture your subjects.

(And it’s also the perfect opportunity to take some great pictures that you can enter in this year’s photography contest here at the park. Keep this site bookmarked for upcoming information about the park’s contest.)

Another bonus is that your Photography Membership can be upgraded to include a guest or family, so your spouse and children can come enjoy the park as well.

For more information, please contact our membership department here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ground Breaking

This past Friday at 1 pm, we broke ground for the second phase of development here at the park. This exciting new phase will include the first public, wheelchair-accessible tree house in the state of North Carolina. The tree house is part of a five-acre expansion and wetland restoration project that will allow our visitors to experience first-hand the sights and sounds of a forested wetland habitat and its wildlife. Park board members and visitors trekked a short distance to the site of our future tree house to listen to our park’s Executive Director, Mike Lubbock, and other dignitaries, including Scotland Neck Mayor James Mills and Halifax Department of Tourism Executive Director Lori Medlin who described some of the unique features of Phase Two and thanked everyone for supporting Sylvan Heights.

We must express our sincere appreciation to The N.C. Departments of Justice, The Rural Center, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, The Cannon Foundation and The Conservation Fund for contributing more than $320,000 to support our expansion and wetland education programs. The park's expansion would not be possible without your generosity.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. To learn more about how you can sponsor one of the areas in our next phase of development, please contact Sylvan Heights at (252) 826-3186. Construction has already begun, so visitors will see a lot of activity and progress being made over the next few months. A grand opening is scheduled for this summer and we hope you will all join us for it.

Posted by: Monica Hazelton

Monday, March 2, 2009

Are You Flamingo Savvy?

One of Sylvan Height’s most popular attractions is the Flamingo Exhibit. Located in the center of the park, our flock is a mix of lesser and Chilean flamingos. Visitors can enter the exhibit to view these colorful birds from a viewing deck located on the edge of the flamingo’s pool.

To celebrate the popularity of these birds, we’re excited to bring you the first installment of our "Think Pink" series, which will bring to you interesting information about flamingos once a month. We’ll try to cover a little bit of everything, from their biology to their history in captivity. And we’ll also include facts about the flamingo flock here at Sylvan Heights. So if you’re an avid flamingo afficionado, or your children have a research project that they need help with, or you're simply a fan of anything related to Sylvan Heights, hopefully you’ll find some useful information here.

How many flamingos are there?
One of the most distinct birds in the world, flamingos are instantly recognizable. To most people, flamingos are those tall, pink birds with the long legs and neck. And that’s absolutely correct. But did you know that there are six different kinds of flamingos? In Europe and Africa, you can find the greater and the lesser flamingos. In the Americas, there are the Caribbean flamingo, the Chilean flamingo, the Andean flamingo, and the James’s flamingo. And believe it or not, they can all be distinguished from each other. There are small differences, such as the size of their bodies, shape of their beaks, and the color of their beaks, eyes, feathers or even legs!

Take a look at these pictures of both flamingo species at Sylvan Heights. You’ll see a lesser flamingo on the left and a Chilean on the right. Can you see the differences in eye, beak and feather color? What about the shape of the head? The Chilean’s is slightly longer, less compact. They also tend to be larger birds with longer legs that are more of a pale pink compared to the lesser’s dark pink ones.

Next time you visit the park, take a little trip down to the Flamingo Exhibit and see if you can pick out the Chilean from the lesser flamingos. Then come back here and leave us a comment letting us know how you did!
We'll post more information about flamingos in our Think Pink installment next month. Until then, we'll be bringing you updates about the park, including events, membership opportunities, animal adoption kits and, of course, introducing you to more of the beautiful animals living at Sylvan Heights.