Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Haiku & Limericks

Your challenge: write a haiku or limerick featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: fish, Monterrey Aquarium, limits or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Have at it!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There are only so many fish in the sea

The Monterey Bay Aquarium does more than offer a great place to visit sea creatures--their website has a message for you: there’s a limit, people.  There’s a limit to how many “incidental” animals should die in pursuit of those that people find particularly tasty, there’s a limit to how many of a specific species should be taken--in short, there’s only so many fish in the sea.    

But while the site points out what’s going wrong in the briny depths, it also freely hands out the tools to help people make informed decisions about the seafood we eat. These include the best choices for your region of the country; best sushi decisions; fish to eat that is both good for your health and good for the health of the oceans.  You can even do a search on specific kinds of seafood to see how healthy its numbers are.
And while you’re there, you can check out the cute little baby otter that the Aquarium rescued in August.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

Oh, yes, I went to the white man's schools. I learned to read from school books, newspapers, and the Bible. But in time I found that these were not enough. Civilized people depend too much on man-made printed pages. I turn to the Great Spirit's book which is the whole of his creation. You can read a big part of that book if you study nature. 

You know, if you take all your books, lay them out under the sun, and let the snow and rain and insects work on them for a while, there will be nothing left. But the Great Spirit has provided you and me with an opportunity for study in nature's university, the forests, the rivers, the mountains, and the animals which include us.

--Tatanga Mani, a Stoney Indian



Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend Haiku & Limericks

The people have spoken and they have said, "Add limericks to the haiku." Well, your wish is my command.

Your haiku and/or limerick challenge this week: feature one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days, including crows, police, tickets, teenagers, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Haiku--or limerick--away!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A very expensive crow

Photo by Patrick Wilken 
The police officer who pulled me over last week because I'd turned left at a light with a clearly-marked NO LEFT TURN sign didn't really want to hear my explanation that a crow was to blame. 


Y'see, sir, it was eating something on the road and my daughter was admonishing me to slow down so as not to run it over and I was opining that crows are so smart they know to get out of the way of cars, while squirrels, for example, well, you'd best slow down and give a squirrel time to dither--and so we paid more attention to the crow's well-timed lift-off than to that sign. (I also would have liked to mention in my defense that my daughter is usually quite prompt to point out any error I might even be considering. There is, perhaps, no one outside of a driving instructor who is more willing to correct your vehicular transgressions than a teenager in the passenger seat.)


But back to the crows. They are the hooligans of neighborhood birds. They're brash, they talk too loud, and they swagger when they walk. They're not your typical songbirds--but songbirds they are. Crows use over twenty calls to relay information to one another. A crow who discovers an intact dead animal too large to break into on its own, for example, may summon reinforcements to help open up the carcass. 


And each crow appears to have its own personal call that distinguishes it among its family. Incredibly, a bird separated from its mate may mimic the other's unique sounds, as if calling it home by "name." 


These birds are so smart, in fact, that you'll never see a crow getting a $490 ticket for turning left in a no-turn lane. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.  
--Alan Watts

Friday, September 16, 2011

Haiku Friday

Your challenge: write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: reusable bags, daddy longlegs, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.


Challenge your brain cells: post a haiku (or two)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The bags, they are a changing


Images-6Were you one of those people who, years ago, brought your own bag into stores?  Typically these bags were made out of canvas or some other collapsable material, and cashiers loathed them...and you, for having brought the dang thing through their line. 
If you were ahead of your time, the current bag-friendly climate feels like sweet vindication. Finally you’re encouraged--sometimes even financially rewarded--for eschewing both paper and plastic. 
It might seem like a small change, but when we are reminded that the US uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags, that over 100,000 marine animals die every year from ingesting or becoming entangled in the bags, and that these bags contribute to the infamous Pacific Ocean gyre (and the lesser-known Atlantic gyre)-- then every time you carry your own bag, you carry a little bit of hope and change. 

Do you take your own bags to the store? If not, why not?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daddy Longlegs--they might surprise you

Photo bbradthedesigner 
The one thing you may think you know about daddy longlegs is not true. They are not spiders. Daddy longlegs and spiders are both arachnids, but they differ from each other in several ways. Spiders have eight eyes and two distinct body parts, while daddy longlegs have only two eyes and an oval body in which the two sections are fused.  Spiders are also able to generate silk, with which to spin webs, and poison, used to paralyze their prey; daddy longlegs can generate neither.
A bigger surprise than learning that longlegs are not spiders might be finding out that the males have penises. Unlike other arachnids, longlegs have organs that allow direct copulation. They mate frequently, indiscriminately, and without much ceremony, though they may touch one another with their legs.

The female lays her eggs by extending an impressively long tube called an ovipositor into a moist substrate like moss, rotten wood, or damp soil under a stone. The eggs number in the hundreds, and she'll lay several broods in her yearlong lifetime. Once the eggs are laid, the ovipositor telescopes back into her body and her motherly duties are done.

So ... did daddy longlegs surprise you?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Nature Quote

What wondrous stories a water molecule could tell, of wild peaks visited on stormy nights, of quiet rivulets and raging rivers traveled, of the seething protoplasmic retorts of living cells--a zillion places visited since the earth's beginning.


--Ernest Braun and David Cavagnaro in Living Water

Friday, September 9, 2011

Haiku Friday

Your challenge: write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: shout-out to the U.K., alders or park visitor questions, Rachel Carson or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

Have at it, and post 'em in the comments!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What time does your 3:00 talk start?

I worked as a naturalist for about 6 years and learned not to laugh when visitors asked questions like "Is the cave underground?" (this after we'd climbed down to stand in the mouth of the cave, looking up at the plants above us) and "When do the deer turn into elk?" (we naturalists considered this such a classic park-visitor question that I thought I was being set up...but no, the asker seemed sincerely surprised to learn that deer and elk are two separate species). 


by Noël Zia Lee
So when a woman stopped me during my rounds of a campground to ask, "Which tree has both regular leaves and pine cones?" I carefully considered her question. I knew that no broadleaf tree has true cones, but it dawned on me that the red alder certainly looks like it does.


Alders have both male and female catkins, and it's the fertilized female catkins that resemble miniature conifer cones. Male catkins hang tassel-like under the branches, while the smaller female buds grown on top of the branches. After fertilization, the female catkin develops into a small woody cone. Tucked inside its small scales are tiny seeds, which will eventually be dispersed by the wind.


Oh, and I started my 3:00 talks at three o'clock.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

Photo from NNDB
The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.

--Rachel Carson, in Silent Spring

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shout-out to the U.K.!

My publisher gave me the happy news that Kidnapping the Lorax has sold 17 copies in the United Kingdom! Hey, who across the pond has discovered my book?! 
I do have dear ol' Greenpeace pals there, but not enough, I think, to claim 17 copies. My thanks to readers in the U.K. And the publisher's other piece of news: the novel will soon be available in Australia as well.


Map by Daniel Feher http://www.freeworldmaps.net/europe/united-kingdom/map.html

Friday, September 2, 2011

Haiku Friday

Your challenge is to write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: reverse graffiti, the scavenger hunt, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

Leave your haiku in the comment section!