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Heatwaves Have Strike Again in Illinois and Western Iowa While Severe Thunderstorm Will Come to Tennessee
The record heat last week was astonishing both day and night. It was the most magnificent from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa all the way to Michigan. According to the National Weather Service Nashville, the potential for severe storms is mostly along and north of Interstate 40, particularly around the Tennessee-Kentucky border. The greatest threats are severe wind and huge hail, but a tornado is not out of the question.
Weather Forecast: National Weather Service Says Severe Thunderstorms are Possible Across the Central US
The National Weather Service warns that a few severe thunderstorms are likely to bring damaging winds and large hail across the Central US.
Ireland Weather: Met Eireann Issues Thunderstorm Warning for This Week
Irish meteorologists have hinted the thunderstorm warning will reach into the weekend, as part of the latest Ireland weather forecast.
Study: Antibiotic Resistance in Rivers Can Be Exacerbated by Heavy Metal Contamination
Scientists have discovered that excessive amounts of heavy metals in rivers can contribute to increased antibiotic resistance
New Study: To Fight Climate Change, We Must Shut Down Fossil Fuel Production
According to recent scientific research, over half of existing fossil fuel production facilities must be shut down early if global warming is kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the internationally agreed-upon target for averting climate disaster.
Prior to the Cambrian Explosion, the First Creatures Evolved Sophisticated Habitats
Early species formed complex ecological systems more than 550 million years ago, setting the developmental phase for such Cambrian explosion
Climate Change Affects Ocean Composition, Making it Harder for Marine Creatures to Communicate
A new study warns that climate change harms species' capacity to communicate through smells and other chemical cues.
Sunny Weather Expected for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend in UK
The four-day bank holiday weekend begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 2nd, with a special jubilee version of central London's famous Trooping The Colour procession.
Bomb Simulator Shows Disastrous Consequences If Nuclear Bomb Explode Near You
Nuclear weapons historian and professor develops a nuclear bomb simulator that can project the effects of the detonation of such a weapon anywhere on Earth.
1.4 Million Urban Trees Will Be Dead By 2050 Due to Infestation of Invasive Species
A new study shows that an invasive infestation will kill over a million urban tree areas across the United States. The forecast shows that nearly all ash trees in more than 6,000 communities will be infested by the emerald ash borer.
Snake Charmer Dies From Venomous Cobra Bite in Mouth and Finger
A 60-year-old snake charmer in Kigoma, Tanzania plays with a cobra and dies after the reptile bites him in the mouth and fingers.
Despite Global Warming, Antarctica Ice Shelves Exhibit Growth for the Past 20 Years
New studies show that there is ice advance or ice growth in an area behind Larsen D, in the eastern Antarctic Peninsula.
Island Now Thriving After Sucessfully Purging More Than 300,000 Invasive Rats
Exterminating invasive species from fragile islands has been one of the most significant conservation successes of the twenty-first century.
More Than a Thousand Rays Found Thriving in Indonesian Waters
For the first time, more than 1,000 manta rays have been discovered dwelling in the seas of a tropical paradise in Indonesia, providing optimism for the beleaguered species' future.
Days of Extreme Weather Will Put Flood Prone Areas All Over the US at Risk
Energy pulses moving across the eastern half of the United States will feed rounds of thunderstorms over a zone ranging from Missouri to Virginia, perhaps resulting in a days-long flood danger.
Coral Extinction is Possible by the End of the 21st Century: Marine Ecologists Warn
Coral reef extinction is projected 80 years from now if ocean warming continues to worsen.
Stone Age Hominids: Unearthed Fossil Tooth in Laos Cave Possibly from a Denisovan Girl 160,000 Years Ago
The archaeological find adds to previous suspicions that stone age hominids also lived in the forests of Southeast Asia.
'Freeway' the Wayward Sea Lion Spotted Again Traveling Urban San Diego: Sea World Officials Say
It is unusual behavior for a sea lion to be strolling around the city, miles away from the ocean. However, this is not the case for Freeway the wayward sea lion.
Pollution From Rocket Engines Spreads High Into the Earth’s Atmosphere
Researchers investigated the heat and mass transport and quick mixing of combustion byproducts to determine the possible impact of a rocket launch on air pollution
Earthquake Swarm in Florence, Italy, as People Report Tremors Since Early May
The earthquake swarm comes almost six years after a major earthquake struck central Italy, resulting in hundreds of deaths.
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WWF PSA: Love it or Lose it
- World Wildlife Fund
What’s Up with Climate Action In America?
- World Wildlife Fund
The Guide
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Primates of the Greater Mekong
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Meet WWF’s 2021 Conservation Leadership Award Winner
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WWF is thankful for you
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The Green Room: Protecting wildlife in a warming world
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The Green Room: How food impacts the planet
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El Estado del Planeta
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The Green Room: State of the Planet
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The impact of a warming Arctic
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WWF Activists’ message to world leaders on climate
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Seaweed
- Danielle Broza
A “Fish Out of Water”

This piece comes to us from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). To honor Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, WCS and Nature are sharing stories of nature and conservation.

Emily documenting whales off New York as part of the surveys conducted by the Ocean Giants Program. Photo credit: WCS/Ocean Giants. Photo taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no.18786-04.

Marine biology. That’s how I introduce what I do to people who look confused when I say “marine mammal conservation research.” Many people imagine a marine biologist as someone who works directly with the animals, so when I say I study whales and work at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) at the Bronx Zoo, people excitedly ask me, “There are whales at the Bronx Zoo?” No, there are no whales at any zoos; but if you spend a few hours on the waters off New York, you may catch a glimpse of one.

As a kid, I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. My brother and I used to play “SeaWorld” in our backyard pool, diving for goldfish (the crunchy snack) until my mom got mad because they clogged the filter. It wasn’t until college, when I started taking classes in marine science, that I learned marine mammal research existed. From there, I got an internship and part-time job in whale acoustics, studied sea otters, went to graduate school, published my thesis on modeling whale habitats and analyzing overlap with human impacts, and landed my current job as a research assistant with the Ocean Giants Program at WCS.

This was the first time an apparent competitive group of humpback whales was documented off New York. Photo credit: WCS/Ocean Giants. Photo taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no.18786-04.

During the summer and fall, the Ocean Giants team goes out on the water to conduct surveys of whales and dolphins in the New York Seascape (a regional priority for WCS’s New York Aquarium). We record data such as what the animals are doing, where they are, and the environment in which they are seen, including any prey present since New York, seems to be a place where whales come to feed. We also document features that allow us to identify individual animals; for example, we can tell individual humpback whales apart by the unique markings and shapes of their dorsal fins and flukes.

We’ve seen and documented so many captivating moments over the years: cooperative feeding, groups of multiple species (dolphins, humpback, fin, and minke whales) feeding together, mother and calf pairs, and even competitive group behavior (usually a female, with or without a calf, accompanied by multiple males) that’s common on warmer, southern breeding grounds. This research helps inform our understanding of whale distribution and behavior in the waters off New York, which in turn can help inform decisions around how to protect whales from human activities.

It sounds like an aspiring marine biologist’s dream (unless, maybe, you get seasick like me), but getting a foot in the door is harder than it seems. The marine mammal field (and conservation in general) is a privileged field. Many people can’t afford to get work experience because a majority of internships are unpaid, and many marine mammal scientists have done volunteer work (a.k.a, free labor) at some point in their careers. There are even cases where people pay to get experience. Because people of color are disproportionately represented among the economically disadvantaged, it can be harder for them to gain access to the same opportunities.

The Ocean Giants team documented cooperative feeding on menhaden by two humpback whales off New York. Photo credit: WCS/Ocean Giants. Photo taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no.18786-04.

I am often one of a few, if not the only, person of Asian heritage at various scientific meetings. I’ve always been self-conscious about it, having experienced racist and xenophobic comments and actions growing up, but as I continue further in my career, I am hyper-aware of how different I look from the people around me.

Some people who know me might find this unexpected since I was born and raised in the U.S. My parents immigrated from Taiwan to Boston, Massachusetts in the 1980s and adjusted well: my dad loved the Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Beatles; my mom made life-long friends at work, and my brother and I were raised on the sports teams of New England (where we were born). But what makes us and our experiences as Asian Americans different is quite literally written on our faces.

Like the recent conversations around representation in film (see Crazy Rich Asians, Marvel’s Shang-Chi, Turning Red), the lack of representation, of seeing someone who looks like me in these meetings, affects the confidence to speak my mind, perpetuates the imposter syndrome I struggle with, makes me uncomfortable at times, and even makes me question if I have a real shot at a future in this field.

Fin whale and common dolphin traveling together, captured by the Ocean Giants team off New York. Photo credit: WCS/Ocean Giants. Photo taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit no.18786-04.

Though I still grapple with these feelings on a daily basis, I find a sense of belonging and comfort in our Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and at international meetings when I see people who look like me and speak the same language as I do with my family. I see the steps conservation organizations and the marine mammal community are taking to support diversity initiatives: revamping or forming new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committees and goals; engaging in racial equity and justice, and welcoming tough but sorely needed conversations.

In the current climate, I remind myself that I’m incredibly lucky to have a job I’m passionate about and to grow in my career during a time when these tough conversations are happening. I am proud of the number of young AAPI speaking up about racism and ‘model minority,’ and the increasing attention to DEI across the sciences. And I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share my story—for those who might look at an AAPI friend, scientist, or colleague with a new perspective, and for those young AAPI marine mammal scientists, who I hope won’t ever feel like a fish out of water.

The post A “Fish Out of Water” appeared first on Nature.

- schmidta
Seahorse Fact Sheet

Seahorse: any of the species of small marine fish in the genus Hippocampus.

Kingdom: | Animalia Phylum: | Chordata Class: | Actinopterygii Order: | Syngnathiformes Family: | Syngnathidae Subfamily: | Hippocampinae Genus: | Hippocampus

There are at least 47 different species of seahorses. However, this number is likely to change with further research.

Size and Weight:

Seahorse sizes vary depending on the species. Their height ranges from the large Australian big-bellied seahorse, measuring about 11.8 inches or more in height, to a tiny pygmy seahorse, measuring less than an inch in height. Their weights vary depending on species, age and reproductive stage. A seahorse typically weighs between 7 ounces to 1 pound.

Appearance:

Seahorses have a distinct appearance that appears to be a fusion of multiple animals with a horse-like head, monkey-like tail, and kangaroo-like pouch. Only male seahorses have a brood pouch. Their eyes are like a chameleon in that they can move independently of each other and in all directions. Also like a chameleon, seahorses are masters of camouflage, able to change their color and growing skin filaments to blend in with their surroundings. They are also known to change colors during courtship displays and as a form of communication.

Unlike most fish species, seahorses do not have scales. They have an exoskeleton, made up of hard, bony plates that are fused together with a fleshy covering. The crown-like structure on the top of their head is called a coronet, which is a group of spines. They have pectoral fins on either side of the head to help with stability and steering when swimming. However, despite this, seahorses are poor swimmers. They rely on their dorsal fin beating at 30-70 times per second to propel it along.

Diet:

Seahorses mainly eat small crustaceans like amphipods and other invertebrates. Adult seahorses eat 30 to 50 times a day if available. They do not have a stomach or teeth, instead, they suck their prey in through a tubular snout, or a fused jaw, and pass it through an inefficient digestive system.

Habitat:

All seahorses are marine species. They are typically found in seagrass beds, mangrove roots, and coral reefs, in shallow temperate and tropical waters. Some species can also be found in estuaries, as they are able to tolerate wide ranges in salinity. In winter, some seahorse species move to deeper waters to escape the rough weather.

Geography:

Most seahorse species live in the West Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific region.

Breeding:

While it was long believed that seahorses mate for life, further research has shown that pair bonding is just for a few months at a time, or during the mating season. They reinforce their pair bonding with an elaborate courtship display, typically consisting of a color change. The female meets the male in his territory and as they approach each other, they change color. The male circles the female and the pair often spiral around an object. When the display is over, the female goes back to her territory.

When mating, the female transfers her eggs to the male, which he fertilizes in his pouch. The number of eggs can vary from 50 to 50 for smaller species to over 1,500 for larger species. In the male’s pouch, the eggs receive everything they need from oxygen to food. The gestation time varies from 14 days to 4 weeks. The birthing process can last up to 12 hours.

Social Structure:

Like most fish species, seahorses do not nurture their young after birth. The infants are at risk of predators or ocean currents, which wash them away from feeding grounds or into temperatures too extreme for their delicate bodies. They have a survival rate of less than 0.5%.

Seahorses are largely solitary creatures, aside from mating. Most species form territories. While males stay within 10 square feet of habitat, females range over about one hundred times that. Their territories will often overlap.

Lifespan:

The lifespans of wild seahorses are unknown due to a lack of data. In captivity, lifespans for seahorse species range from about one year in the smallest species to three to five years in the larger species.

Threats:

Seahorses are hunted by humans to be used for medicine, as souvenirs, and in the pet trade. They are used for all types of medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine Trade takes in excess of up to 150 million seahorses a year from the wild. The Curio Trade also takes about one million seahorses from the wild. They are often sold as souvenirs. The pet trade also takes an estimated one million seahorses from the wild. Many of those taken in the pet trade will not survive more than six weeks.

Other major threats to seahorses include bycatch, habitat loss and climate change. Coral reefs and seagrass beds are deteriorating, reducing viable habitats for seahorses.

Conservation Status:

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, 12 of the 42 seahorse species that have been assessed so far are listed as Vulnerable, with two listed as Endangered, one as Near Threatened and 10 as Least Concern. The remaining 17 seahorse species are listed as Data Deficient.

Conservation Efforts:

Numerous conservation groups, such as Project Seahorse and The Seahorse Trust, are working to protect seahorse species. Further research is needed to assess and protect these species.

Sources: Project Seahorse and The Seahorse Trust.

The post Seahorse Fact Sheet appeared first on Nature.

- Danielle Broza
How I Turned Passion for Design and Wildlife Into a Career

This piece comes to us from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). To honor Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, WCS and Nature are sharing stories of nature and conservation.

Sue with a radiated tortoise in the Madagascar exhibit at the Lion House. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

The mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is to save wildlife and wild places, but as an organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, it also nurtures people like me. I was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the Bronx when I was twelve.  A zoo visit was a regular family outing and a way for my parents to fuel my interest in all things related to animals and nature. For a kid in the Bronx, this was my access to the natural world.

My “career” started at the Bronx Zoo as a seasonal employee when I was sixteen. Finding my passion took a couple of tries. My first weekend was spent selling hot dogs. Next, I became a membership salesperson where I learned more about the organization and its mission. Then I moved on to doing live interpretation that focused on conservation messaging using animals. Through this type of engagement, I could see the impact on visitors immediately! I was hooked!

Although this was a critical turning point for me at the time, I don’t think I realized it then. I was pursuing my other dream, to be an architect. While researching my thesis project on spaces that support education, I found an opportunity to work part-time in the WCS Exhibition and Graphic Arts Department (EGAD) and embarked on a career designing zoo and aquarium exhibits.

Sue was part of the team that designed Congo Gorilla Forest at the Bronx Zoo which opened in 1999. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

EGAD is a multidisciplinary design department responsible for exhibit design, interpretation, graphic design, architecture, landscape design, and construction at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, New York Aquarium, and select global conservation projects. As Vice President of Planning and Design and Chief Architect for WCS, I lead the EGAD team. I am a licensed New York State Architect, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA,) a member of the American Association of Museums (AAM), and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Earlier on in my career, as an Asian American, I didn’t fit in anywhere. In the zoo and aquarium profession, I would attend a 2,000+ person conference and be one of a handful of Asians. In the architecture and construction profession, most of the time I was the only Asian and only woman in the room—and let’s not even factor in being British and from the Bronx!

This was just my reality and I honestly didn’t think much about it. Along the way, I had many mentors and allies, most of who didn’t look like me but whose support and guidance shaped my career. These people were instrumental in encouraging my development and professional goals and now I endeavor to do the same: as an Asian-American, as a woman, and as a native Bronxite!

In 2004, Sue showing a model of the Madagascar exhibit to Former President of Madagascar, Marc Ravalomanana. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

Design and wildlife are my passions and I am privileged to be able to combine them in a way that has an impact. Our exhibits are choreographed to tell a story and engage visitors with the animals and cultivate an emotional connection through inspirational animal experiences. We introduce guests to amazing animals and unfamiliar habitats, threats to their existence, and the conservation work that is being done to reduce those threats. Motivated by travel to natural areas around the world, I want to bring those experiences back to our NY visitors—to connect them with nature and animals —and empower them as advocates for conservation.

A holistic design vision is necessary to make sure that we use every tool we have to create powerful exhibits that are inclusive and accessible. Immersive exhibits created through architecture, landscape design, graphic design, and focused storytelling require ensuring that design decisions reinforce, not detract, from the story and experience, whether it’s the choice of materials, the topography, the planting, a soundscape, or a photo or illustration.

This is the philosophy we used for many exhibits at our zoos and aquarium, including Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, Madagascar at the Lion House, and Ocean Wonders: Sharks! (a major new building and exhibit at the New York Aquarium.) An important aspect of our work has been integrating sustainable strategies into planning and design, a decision that resulted in the adaptive re-use of a landmark Beaux Arts building, the Lion House—New York City’s first LEED (Gold) certified landmark.

Sue at Ocean Wonders:Sharks! during construction at the New York Aquarium. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

We have also worked with our global conservation staff on design projects in Uganda and Kenya, a marine research facility in Belize, interpretive centers in Costa Rica and Rwanda, and an education campus and visitor’s center in Madagascar; all aimed at connecting increasingly urban communities to their native wildlife.

Each of these projects illustrates how design and integrated content and messaging contribute to inspiring people to care about nature and animals with the ultimate goal of creating advocates for conservation. Continuing to have an impact is what has kept me in this career and made me so glad that a summer job where I began selling hot dogs led me to the career of a lifetime!

 

The post How I Turned Passion for Design and Wildlife Into a Career appeared first on Nature.

- schmidta
Musk Ox Fact Sheet

Musk ox (Ovibos moschatus): large, hoofed mammals in the Bovidae family.

Kingdom: | Animalia Phylum: | Chordata Class: | Mammalia Order: | Artiodactyla Family: | Bovidae Genus: | Ovibos Species: | O. moschatus

Musk oxen are members of the Bovidae family, which includes domestic cattle, sheep, goats, bison, antelopes, and wildebeest. Cattle, bison and buffalos are in the subfamily Boninae, while the musk ox is in the subfamily Caprinae, which also includes ibex, sheep, and goats. Therefore, the musk ox is more closely related to the species in the Caprinae family, such as sheep and goats than it is to cows.

Musk oxen. Arctic National Wildlife Range. Credit: Florian Schulz / © Tom Campion Foundation/Terra Mater Studios

Size and Weight:

Mature males, called bulls, are about 4 to 5 feet high at the shoulder and weigh 500 to 800 pounds. Females, called cows, are smaller, averaging approximately 4 feet in height and weighing 400 to 500 pounds.

Appearance:

Musk oxen are large, hoofed mammals. They have an extremely thick and shaggy coat. It is two-layered with the outermost layer consisting of guard hairs covering a shorter layer of “qiviut” hairs. Both cows and bulls have long horns, which continue to grow throughout their lifespan.

Diet:

Musk oxen are herbivorous that feed primarily on grasses, woody plants, and moss.

Habitat:

Musk oxen live in the Arctic Tundra.

Geography:

Musk oxen can be found in the Canadian Arctic, Norway, Alaska and Siberia.

Musk ox mother and calf. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Florian Schulz / © Tom Campion Foundation/Terra Mater Studios

Breeding:

Musk oxen are in part named for the distinctive odor that males produce to attract females during the mating season. Their mating season typically occurs between late August and October. A dominant male will guard a harem of females and compete with opposing males. The dominant male typically mates multiple times with each female during the season.

Following an eight-month gestation period, a female will give birth to a single baby, called a calf. This typically occurs between April and June when the weather is warmer and food is more readily available. After only a few hours of being born, the calf is able to stand and walk on its own. The calf stays with its mother for about two years, where it will be protected by the herd.

Social Structure:

Musk oxen live in herds of about two or three dozen individuals, which are sometimes led by a single female. Living in herds offers musk oxen protection from predators like wolves and dogs. use cooperation to deal with predation by wolves or dogs. They have developed an effective defense strategy when they feel threatened called “circle the wagons.” The adults quickly gather into a circle of tightly packed animals with their sharp horns facing outwards and their young hidden away in the middle.

Lifespan:

The lifespan of muskox is 12 to 20 years.

Threats:

The largest threats to musk oxen are predation by wolves and hunting by humans. In the past, humans killed great numbers of musk oxen for their hides and meat. By 1860, musk oxen were hunted to extinction in Alaska, but they were reintroduced in the 1930s. There are now a few thousand in the state.

Musk oxen fighting. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Florian Schulz / © Tom Campion Foundation/Terra Mater Studios

Conservation Status:

Musk oxen are listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern. The population size is estimated to be around 80,000 to 120,000 individuals and is stable.

Conservation Efforts:

Musk oxen are currently protected within their range. Legislation protects herds in Alaska, Norway, and Siberia.

Sources: Discover Wildlife, National Geographic and NATURE’s episode “American Arctic“.

The post Musk Ox Fact Sheet appeared first on Nature.

- Danielle Broza
Working with Local Communities to Conserve Colombia’s Pacific Coast

This piece comes to us from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). To honor Women’s History Month, WCS and Nature are sharing stories of nature and conservation.

Fishing monitoring in DRMI Encanto de los manglares del Bajo Baudó. Photo credit: @Javier Silva.

The Colombian Pacific is a wonderful environment that offers inexhaustible sources of inspiration for work in marine conservation. From a very young age, I visited the beautiful landscapes of the Colombian Pacific and I remember that I was always amazed to see its extensive beaches, the cliffs with their large number of crabs and snails, as well as the beautiful mangroves and the vast sea.

As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity to explore other places on the Pacific coast and start to understand the close relationship between coastal communities and natural resources. At this point in my life, I began to have a great interest in marine and aquatic fauna, especially mammals, sharks and rays.

Working with river dolphins (undergraduate thesis) and humpback whales (volunteer and tour guide), I had two great women mentors who inspired my vocation as a researcher—Maria Claudia Diazgranados and Lilian Florez.

Discussion on piangua management strategies with piangueras of Orpúa. Photo credit: @Fernando Mosquera Concosta.

In my early years as a biologist, I co-founded a local non-governmental organization. With my colleagues, I worked to help fill some of the many information gaps that existed in the country about sharks and rays. We studied aspects of the taxonomy, distribution, reproductive biology, diet, fisheries, and production chain of these species while understanding their importance for the economy and food security of fishing communities.

Subsequently, I focused my doctoral research on assessing the vulnerability of a stingray species frequently caught by small-scale shrimp trawlers as bycatch. I tried to address how to propose management measures based on life-history traits and demographic analysis of the species.

Thanks to my regular interaction with local communities, I began to understand the decisive importance of their participation to achieve the conservation goal of sustainable use, as well as the essential function of communicating research results with them.

In October 2017, I began my career at WCS as a marine leader and had my initial discussions about what I’d be doing with my managers and co-workers. I understood the great challenge and opportunity that we faced in addressing marine conservation issues from the perspective of sustainable use of marine resources and the well-being of communities. I now faced the personal challenge of shifting my focus from conservation research to action.

Participation in a NPoA Sharks-Colombia Workshop (2020). Photo credit: @Squalus Foundation.

Over the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to go to new and beautiful places on the Colombian Pacific Coast, full of natural and cultural richness and friendly people. Moreover, we have been able to ensure that a community participation approach underpins the marine protected area (MPA) declaration process and the formulation of management plans in these areas

Three new areas have recently been declared as Integrated Management Districts—that is, protected areas where the sustainable use of natural resources is allowed. In these collective territories, the economy and food security depend on the use of natural resources through different activities such as forestry, subsistence hunting, agriculture, fishing, and piangua (ark clam) extraction.

These last two activities have been the focus of our projects in these marine coastal areas. Specifically, piangua-harvesting is an activity that consists of extracting this invertebrate from the mangrove roots in order to sell it or for family consumption. This arduous activity, carried out mainly by women, is experiencing difficulties driven by a decrease in abundance due to overexploitation of the ark clams and the logging of mangroves.

That is why WCS—together with the environmental authority and the community council—is working with women from the “Encanto de los manglares del Bajo Baudó” MPA so that they can lead their own piangua conservation efforts.

Piangua monitoring with piangueras of the DRMI Encanto de los Manglares del Bajo Baudó. Photo credit: Diego Amariles/WCS.

To achieve this, we have accompanied the piangueras (women who collect pianguas) into the mangroves to understand how they carry out the ark clam-harvesting, to monitor the resource with them, to teach them the importance of the mangroves and the allowed size of the piangua (5 cm), and to train them in the recognition of sex and the different stages of maturity.

We are also teaching the piangueras how to use the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for the month-to-month collection of data and the importance of monitoring and data for decision making, based on an adaptive management approach.

With this information gathered in a participatory way, the piangueras have themselves defined the appropriate management measures for this clam resource and fulfillment of those measures through community agreements. These actions have enabled women to have a recognized role in their communities as active promoters of change towards conservation, sustainable development, and their own livelihoods.

Sharing and learning with piangueras during their activity. Photo credit: Paola A. Mejia/WCS.

This integration of gender equality in conservation initiatives will be key to the success and sustainability of management measures on the Colombian Pacific coast. We will continue working with faith that all of this effort will have a positive impact on the communities by improving their livelihoods while protecting the resource and the mangroves.

Thanks to WCS, I have been able to put a grain of sand towards conservation and the well-being of women and local communities on the beautiful Colombian Pacific Coast. There is still a long way to go, but I am hopeful that this grain will grow to a beautiful pearl as we dedicate ourselves to securing it in this and the other marine-protected areas in which we work.

The post Working with Local Communities to Conserve Colombia’s Pacific Coast appeared first on Nature.

- Danielle Broza
One Woman’s Quest to Counter Wildlife Trafficking in Thailand

This piece comes to us from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). To honor Women’s History Month, WCS and Nature are sharing stories of nature and conservation.

Joob at the University of Minnesota, USA in 2015 while completing her Ph.D. Photo credit: ©Pornkamol Jornburom

For the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Thailand program, I lead the planning and implementation of all activities intended to counter wildlife trafficking (CWT).  At the same time, I organize workshops, trainings and other events with government agencies and civilian law enforcement officers to investigate and prevent wildlife poaching and trafficking in Thailand.

My career in conservation has been an exciting journey so far. After earning a bachelor’s degree in wildlife from the Faculty of Forestry at Kasetsart University in Thailand, I became a member of the Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM) Ecosystem Management Project, a government project team under the Thai government’s Royal Forestry Department.

The WEFCOM encompasses 17 protected areas and numerous threatened wildlife species, including tigers and their main prey (gaur, banteng, sambar deer, wild pig, and red muntjac)—all of which are found within the WEFCOM. For the Ecosystem Management Project, I participated in a wide range of activities that expanded my understanding of, and expertise in, conservation. Those activities included wildlife surveys, ranger training, awareness campaigns, and community relationships.

Joob teaching patrol rangers how to use a standard data form for SMART Patrol System Training at Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in 2006. Photo credit: ©WCS Thailand

My next position, working on a famous Thai hornbill project, motivated me to pursue a master’s degree with a focus on hornbills. My two years of work experience with the hornbill project gave me the opportunity to learn how a single group of species can inspire the conservation movement in Thailand. My participation in the project led to the idea of conducting intensive and regular population monitoring of hornbills and other key species in their key landscapes.

I have been so privileged to have had a major part in teaching officers, park rangers, and wildlife conservationists to use science to improve the protection of wildlife areas. I have also been chosen to lead international workshops on the SMART Patrolling system, which combines anti-poaching patrols with monitoring of tigers and large mammals.

Joob teaching officers from India and China about a patrolling system and the SMART database at Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in 2009. Photo credit: ©WCS Thailand

 At the same time, I’ve helped lead tiger conservation trainings for staff from 13 tiger range countries. I have been asked to speak to public groups, academics, and policymakers but I must say my best times have been had in remote areas conducting first-hand research. I received my doctorate in Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota (advised by Dr. J. L. David Smith) based on research I conducted on tigers and their prey, protection, and management at the landscape scale in WEFCOM.

Developing an international perspective has been very important to my growth as a conservation scientist. I am particularly interested in verifying the current status and potential for the recovery of tigers using occupancy surveys or the proportions of habitats occupied by tigers to predict the human activities and ecological factors that influence the density of tigers and their distribution in the WEFCOM.

Joob collecting tiger tracks using occupancy survey technique in 2013. Photo credit: Kwanchai Waitanyakarn/WCS Thailand.

As part of my Ph.D. research, I proposed to investigate and improve a patrol-based law enforcement system that could become a standard method for assessing wildlife status at the landscape scale across the WEFCOM and elsewhere in Thailand. My career plan is to expand my knowledge on tiger conservation more broadly to further contribute to their conservation management.

 Because WCS has a range of roles in environmental law enforcement—including acting as policy advisors and researchers—I am working with the WCS Thailand Program as its Conservation Program Manager. That role enables me to participate in all the segments related to our Counter Wildlife Trafficking (CWT) work aimed at ensuring that wildlife laws are properly enforced.

The other part of my job, based on my outdoor experience, is to help university students develop an awareness of (and an interest in conserving) tigers and other wildlife species. We take them out into the field, where tiger monitoring and direct contact with nature help them develop positive attitudes toward wildlife and wild places.

Joob teaching officers from the Department of National Parks Wildlife and Plant Conservation how to use a database to analyze illegal wildlife trafficking networks in 2017. Photo credit: ©WCS Thailand

Working with WCS for more than 10 years has provided me with a strong grounding in conservation and science. During Women’s History Month I think about the women who have served as role models in earlier generations. Becoming a scientific researcher is a difficult path,  and I admire the many women scientists who have been doing phenomenal work and inspire me to take on tougher challenges.

I am proud to say that I am one of only a few women doing this important conservation work in Thailand. I am hopeful that by my own example, I am inspiring and encouraging other young women in my country and elsewhere to pursue a career in conservation.

The post One Woman’s Quest to Counter Wildlife Trafficking in Thailand appeared first on Nature.

- Danielle Broza
Balancing Conservation and Socioeconomic Development in Uganda

This piece comes to us from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). To honor Women’s History Month, WCS and Nature are sharing stories of nature and conservation.

Beatrice working with the communities to set up chili nursery beds. Photo credit: Beatrice Kyasiimire/WCS.

Growing up in Uganda, my home environment nurtured my love for the natural environment and wildlife, which I often saw as I walked to school every day. It further influenced the clubs that I joined at school and the environmental course I pursued at Makerere University. It was not surprising to my family when I joined the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2009, because they knew I loved nature.

The first project I oversaw was implemented in Northern Uganda with communities adjacent to protected areas: Mt. Otzi forest reserve, Agoro Agu forest reserve, Karenga community wildlife reserve and East Madi wildlife reserve. The project aimed at promoting the conservation of biodiversity-friendly land and the use of natural resources in the key corridors and buffer zones that make up the migratory route for elephants moving from Southern Sudan through East Madi to Murchison Falls National Park, as their historical route.

Beatrice discusses the responsibility to maintain the chili nursery beds with community participants. Photo credit: Beatrice Kyasiimire/WCS.

The project was implemented during the aftermath of the civil war in Northern Uganda that forced many people into internally displaced camps.  During the years people were in the camps, their abandoned lands regenerated, allowing wildlife to expand their range. When peace was restored it was a great relief for people to get back to their homes. With a zeal to start over, they cleared the overgrown habitats for agriculture, fuel, and new settlements.

Working with the government, landowners, and protected area authorities, I conducted a needs assessment for the local authorities and involved them in the process to understand the gaps in their planning for the communities bordering protected areas. Together we engaged the communities to understand issues affecting them, with the aim of coming up with inclusive conservation initiatives in stewarding land, water, and natural resources.

It was during one of these engagements that a community shared a story of how elephants from Sudan had raided their cultivated crops and had instilled hatred for the animals. This incident enabled us to explain to the communities the importance of land-use planning in the context of wildlife conservation, community livelihoods, and socio-economic development.

Beatrice working with Gulu University staff to exhibit project work at the University. Photo credit: Beatrice Kyasiimire/WCS.

In our community walks, we encountered an elephant. Inside, I was happy to see the elephant, but local people used the moment to address the problem we had just discussed in our community meetings. Fortunately, we were traveling with a ranger who was able to scare the elephant away. This incident again enabled the local leaders to appreciate the permanent use of deterrent measures to control elephant raids and promote harmonious living with elephants.

In the planning process, the communities identified possible income-generating enterprises. I was thrilled when they identified beekeeping as a suitable initiative because it offers an alternative livelihood for the community as it moves away from unsustainable activities. It also helps to preserve and protect established forests, thereby reducing deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss.

Beatrice supervises distribution of modern beehives to beneficiaries. Photo credit: Beatrice Kyasiimire/WCS.

During the implementation of this project, I came to appreciate that letting the communities “own” their conservation activities is critical to the success of any given project and demonstrates integrity in working with these communities.

The project gave me a good foundation in working with a number of stakeholders. I am now able to contribute to bridging the gap between behavior change and reducing threats to biodiversity by working with developers and government entities to improve policies, tools, and implementation mechanisms that reconcile development and conservation. I hope to continue engaging with all stakeholders to protect wild places for the benefit of future generations.

The post Balancing Conservation and Socioeconomic Development in Uganda appeared first on Nature.

- Danielle Broza
A Determined Wildlife Educator & Bird-Friendly Coffee

This piece comes to us from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). To honor Women’s History Month, WCS and Nature are sharing stories of nature and conservation.

Lily spending time with “Rio” a rescued macaw at the Queens Zoo. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

When I was a young girl, my cousin was on the first-ever US women’s Olympic ice hockey team. I remember their slogan: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” At the time, I didn’t really get it. Growing up, I was always taught I could do anything and to dream big.

I was lucky to have great teachers. There was my mom, who taught me to love nature, and my dad, who worked at the Bronx Zoo (a pioneer in supporting women scientists). My dad would bring home snow leopard stickers that read, “Is there no place on Earth for me?” I would stick them on all the kids’ lockers at school.

When I was 16, I was the youngest participant in a National Outdoor Leadership School semester. It was led by a team of mostly-female instructors who taught us how to survive in the wilderness. It was the first time I had ever seen places where you could walk hundreds of miles without seeing anyone.

Helping with the Harbor Herons project while interning at New York City Audubon. Photo credit: ©Susan Elbin.

My favorite section was paddling down the Yampa River in Colorado. I remember the instructors telling us that at one point, there were plans to dam the river and flood the canyon. A group of citizens rallied together to fight the Bureau of Reclamation and won! I thought then that was what wanted to do—to protect the last of our wild places.

I returned to Colorado for college, majoring in biology. My first job was working for the National Forest Service, counting endangered butterflies at the top of 14,000-foot mountains. I was the only woman who applied, and I lived all summer in a small trailer with three men. Every day, we had to hike those peaks. I had just had ACL surgery that winter, and they thought that I would slow them down. They were wrong.

It wasn’t until my junior year that I finally took an ornithology course. I had a professor who was so passionate about birds. He would literally lose his mind every time he saw a rare behavior or species. I remember him screaming “copulation!! COPULATION!!!!” He asked if I would help lead birders out to the lekking grounds of the endangered Gunnison sage grouse. I was hooked on birding.

Stopping to say hi to “Chomper” the goat while walking around the Queens Zoo. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

When getting my graduate certificate in conservation biology at Fordham University, I had another great teacher (and passionate birder), Alan Clark. He taught me to look at conservation from both a scientific and policy perspective. Meanwhile, I had landed my first job as an educator at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, teaching youth about aquatic birds and other marine life.

In classes at night, my frustrations would grow at our government’s inability to protect birds, while during the day I was inspiring people to care about them. And suddenly, I realized that I had found a way to live out my passion.

I have now worked in conservation education for twelve years. Since joining the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Education Department, I have worn many hats. I love reaching so many people in New York City through programs like Project TRUE (Teens Researching Urban Ecology), where we teach youth how to do field research out in the city’s parks. Nothing compares to seeing a young person put on a pair of waders for the first time and crawl out into the mud to encounter a whole new world.

When I was accepted into the Advanced Inquiry Program (Miami University of Ohio and WCS’s graduate program), I jumped at the opportunity to further develop my skills as a biologist and educator, while advancing avian conservation. I’d heard about Bird Friendly coffee when they started selling it at the Naples Zoo. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly coffee program certifies farms that grow their coffee in shade to avoid cutting down rainforests. It sets the strictest criteria for preserving habitat. I wondered if I could bring Bird Friendly coffee to WCS’s parks in New York City.

A lot of people said it couldn’t be done, but I wanted to try. I did the research and brought the right people together. It took work—lots of surveys and approaching visitors in the zoo asking them if they’d buy Bird Friendly coffee—but in the end, it paid off.

Singing enrichment with Noosa the laughing kookaburra at the Central Park Zoo. Photo credit: ©Emilie Hanson.

In the spring of 2018, WCS’s Central Park Zoo started selling Bird Friendly coffee. Now we sell it at our other three zoos and our aquarium. I was lucky to have mentors like Craig Piper, Director of City Zoos, who patiently read my reports and was a huge supporter of the project. The movement is growing. Every day, we’re educating students and visitors. I’ve presented on Bird Friendly coffee at our national zoo conference and more zoos and aquariums are selling it.

As conservationists, sometimes the biodiversity crisis can seem overwhelming, but with actions like these, we really can make a difference. I feel so fortunate that I get to spend my days at work inspiring others to do more to protect wildlife. We really can be champions when we are passionate about something. And don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can’t do.

The post A Determined Wildlife Educator & Bird-Friendly Coffee appeared first on Nature.

- The Nature Conservancy
Help Save Bats
- The Nature Conservancy
A Peek Behind the Scenes
- The Nature Conservancy
Planet Together: Earth Day 2022
- The Nature Conservancy
Wetland Restoration at Winter Lake
- The Nature Conservancy
Let's Planet Together - Earth Day 2022
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TNC TV: Winter Birding and Licheneering
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TNC TV: Exploring Preserves and Surrounding Communities
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TNC TV: Winter Photography
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TNC TV: Winter Trail Running
- The Nature Conservancy
TNC TV: Wintertime Fun with Little Ones
- The Nature Conservancy
When Rivers Return
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The Tree that Fire Built
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From the Fire: A Legacy of Longleaf
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The Sagebrush Sea - Innovative Restoration
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Sustainable Rivers Program: The Roanoke
- explore

by Mike Fitz

Watching unfiltered footage of wild animals on explore.org means that we’ll inevitably witness nature’s harsh realities. Bears strip the skin off of living salmon. Lions subdue zebras. A python snares an unsuspecting bird from its perch. Falcons fight for nesting territories. Ravens pillage an unoccupied eagle nest. Although these events can be difficult to watch, the reasons for them are typically clear. Hunger and reproduction are powerful motivators. Other behaviors and situations, though, challenge our best available science as well as our sensibilities of right and wrong.

A bird nest is a dichotomous place of nurturing and conflict. Parents care for their vulnerable young, while chicks compete for food and space. The competition in a bird nest can manifest in ways far beyond the times when my brother, sister, and I fought over the last cookie. 

An extreme form of sibling rivalry at a bird nest may lead to siblicide. Also called Cainism after the biblical story of Cain and Abel, siblicide occurs when a nestling’s behavior leads to the death of one or more of its siblings through starvation, physical injury, or eviction from the nest. While siblicide is not common among birds overall, it does happen in a wide variety of birds. It’s documented in the osprey, shoebill, southern ground hornbill, white-bellied swiftlet, blue-throated bee-eater, and blue-footed booby as well as certain species of cranes, eagles, egrets, hawks, herons, guillemots, gulls, owls, pelicans, penguins, and vultures. 

Siblicide in birds often occurs as soon as a larger or more aggressive nestling gains the size, strength, and weaponry (such as a sharp beak) to cause significant harm to its younger and smaller nest mate(s). On explore.org we’ll likely witness it on the webcam that features the African black (Verreaux’s) eagle nest in South Africa, and it is possible that we could see it at the cams of great blue heron, osprey, black guillemont, and bald eagle nests in North America. But, there are differences in how it occurs. African black eagles experience obligate siblicide: two eggs are laid, they hatch at different times, and the older chick always kills its younger sibling. In contrast, siblicide is facultative in herons and osprey: it is circumstantial and doesn’t always occur. 

Distinguishing the nuances of obligate and facultative siblicide doesn’t make it any easier to witness, of course. I wonder if this behavior is so difficult to watch, in part, because it is so difficult to explain. 

Many organisms including humans make overt efforts to help ensure the survival of related individuals. This trait isn’t universal, though. At best, many more organisms behave indifferently to their siblings’ survival. Others take a more aggressive stance. Certain species of sharks attack and eat their siblings in the womb. 

If siblicide was maladaptive, if it failed to provide survival benefits in the near or long term, especially if an alternate life history strategy such as cooperation among nestlings led to higher survival and reproductive rates, then those with the siblicidal trait might eventually have their genes winnowed from the population or species. Yet since siblicide persists, then scientists—or at least my interpretation of their conclusions—have operated under the assumption that siblicide, especially obligate variation, provides some sort of benefit that leads to reproductive success for the individuals that practice it.

During the last few decades, scientists have hypothesized many potential explanations for siblicide in birds. Maybe the only thing we know for sure is that there are certain factors that make it more likely to happen, although none appear to be universal. Among birds, siblicide is correlated with large body size at maturity, complex hunting and foraging behaviors, a protracted period of learning in early life, and a slow life history pace (that is, you live a long time and have a low reproductive rate). In addition, siblicidal bird species are more likely to have a long nestling period and effective weaponry at a young age such as a sharp bill. Regarding the nesting period, consider that American robins (a species with no documented siblicide) leave the nest about 14 days after hatching, while the African black eagle doesn’t fledge for 95 days or longer. The nests of many siblicidal species usually offer limited escape possibilities too. A mallard duckling spends relatively little time in its nest after hatching and its ability to move and feed independently allows it to easily avoid a pushy sibling, unlike a heron chick that remains in a nest high in a tree for weeks after hatching. Additionally, if the species practices asynchronous hatching, then the older, first-hatched chick has a head start on growth and those few days can make a tremendous difference. A mother Canada goose may lay many eggs, but she does not start incubating until the entire clutch is laid and all of her eggs hatch at about the same time. In contrast, a female African black eagle begins to incubate her first egg immediately even though she usually lays a second egg three or four days later. As a result, her first chick hatches several days before the second. When the second chick hatches, the older black eagle chick uses its strongly hooked beak to attack its younger, vulnerable sibling. In More than Kin, Less than Kind: The Evolution of Family Conflict, biologist Douglas Mock notes a case when an older African black eagle chick attacked its nest mate within a few hours of its sibling hatching. The younger chick died three days after hatching and weighed 18 grams less than when it hatched due to the repeated attacks and food monopolization from its older sibling. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, food availability and hunger play an important role, especially in species with facultative siblicide. If the parents deliver food in large parcels, then the older or stronger chicks may be able to monopolize the food to the detriment of their siblings. If the parents feed their chicks infrequently and food transfer between feedings is slow, then an older or stronger chick can also interfere with the feeding of its sibling.

Competition for food can become more intense as chicks grow. But, sufficient food can also allow younger or smaller chicks with the fortitude and energy to withstand and survive the aggression of their nest mates. One study on great egrets found that the amount of food had little direct influence on fighting behavior between siblings, though it consistently influenced chick survival. When scientists provisioned a great egret nest in Texas with extra food they found that nest mates didn’t reduce their aggression toward each other, but more chicks to survive to fledge. 

There may be other factors that influence siblicide as well. One idea, for example, posits that some chicks may be more vulnerable to parasites. These infestations might leave a chick in a weakened state where it cannot withstand the aggression of its nest mates.

As species with facultative siblicide demonstrate, all nestlings can survive when circumstances allow. Parent birds are often great hunters and select their nesting territories well, which makes obligate siblicide perplexing. Food is not always in short supply for young (less than one week-old) African black eagle chicks. So if “Cain” is always going to kill “Abel,” then what’s the point of laying a second egg? Perhaps obligate siblicide evolved in anticipation of food shortages later in the nesting period or maybe there are other, stronger reasons. After all, natural selection operates on a continuum of scales.

For a mother African black eagle the energetic cost of laying a second egg is relatively small, but the payout could be huge—at least in terms of reproductive success—if something happens to the first egg. In this way, a black eagle’s second egg might serve as an insurance premium of sorts. An independent analysis of one chick mortality study in African black eagles found that about one in five of the second-to-hatch chicks survived to fledge. In fact, “Abel” survived to fledge at the Black Eagle Project’s Roodekrans nest, where explore.org now has a webcam, in 2005 and 2006 after the first egg failed to hatch. Although the probability of the second egg surviving remains low, it still may offer just enough of a reproductive reward to ensure the effort of laying a second egg, even if sibling aggression will lead an older chick to kill its nest mate in most instances.

I offer this information knowing that it won’t make siblicide any easier for many of us to witness. It is appropriate and natural to feel for animals and empathize with their struggles. Siblicide is often difficult if not disturbing to watch, so always remember that it is also okay to take a break from the cams or watch a camera that focuses mostly on scenery rather than wildlife when things get unpleasant.

The diversity of survival strategies among wild animals, though, serves as a never-ending point of fascination for me and I hope you as well. I wasn’t always the best brother to my younger siblings when I was a kid, but I was vested in their welfare. So something like siblicide in birds seems so out of the ordinary to feel alien. However, rather than judging whether it is right or wrong, I see it as something different, something outside of human ethics, a behavior that has purpose for the animals that experience it. Although siblicide in certain species of birds seems to have evolved to benefit survival, it remains a behavior that provokes our discomfort and is difficult for science to reconcile.

- explore

The Africam Show (Tuesdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – A special live Q&A session to catch up on the best weekly Africam moments. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask Ranger Russel Gerber questions on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube chat roll.

Africam4Good Show (Thursdays at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET) – A weekly conversation about the conservation of African wildlife, and an overview of great moments from the live cams. Watch these special broadcasts on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube channel.

The Africam Show: (2nd November)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good Show: Predator Conservation (4th November)

Russell chats with Thandiwe Mweetwa from the Zambian Carnivore Project about her conservation efforts in Zambia and what it’s like having a career in conservation.

The Africam Show: (9th November)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Ground Hornbill Project (11th November)

Russell chats to Kyle-Mark Middleton about the endangered Southern ground hornbill and their current efforts to protect the bird’s future.

The Africam Show: (16th November)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Tembe Elephant Park – (18th November)

Russell chats with Ernest Robbertse from Tembe Elephant Park about his water project for the Tembe community and to chat about the history of Tembe.

The Africam Show: (23rd November)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Kalahari Wild Dog Project (25th November)

Russell chats to Nadja le Roux from the Kalahari Wild Dog Project about her conservation work with the endangered painted dog.

The Africam Show: (30th November)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

- explore

All live events for the Polar Bear Cam will take place on the Tundra Connections Channel.

Tuesday, October 19th, 1:00pm Central

Polar Bears on the Tundra: Cam Kick-off

It’s that time of year again! Polar bears are gearing up for the sea ice to return soon, gathering along the shores of Hudson Bay in anticipation of eating soon. In the meantime, we’ll be watching and live-streaming their every move while letting you know what we’re seeing! Join us as we kick off the season with familiar faces and answer all your questions about what this season holds!

Thursday, October 28th, 11:00am Central

Arctic Innovations

The Arctic is known to be a harsh environment, but we choose to work there anyway! We are going to talk about some of our favourite new technologies and innovations allowing us to learn more about polar bears and help us keep them in the wild.

Thursday, November 4th, 12:00pm Central 

Polar Bear Tracking: Past, Present, and Future

From bulky radio collars in the 80s to stick on tags smaller than a deck of cards in 2020, polar bear tracking has come a long way! Join us to discuss the difficulty, evolution, and importance of tracking an animal that lives on the Arctic sea ice for most of its life!

Friday, November 12th, 1:00pm Central

Farewell to the Tundra

It’s been another amazing season! We will discuss our favorite (and fan favourite!) highlights from this bear season and look at what’s next for the polar bears of Western Hudson Bay.

- explore

The Africam Show (Tuesdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – A special live Q&A session to catch up on the best weekly Africam moments. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask Ranger Russel Gerber questions on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube chat roll.

Africam4Good Show (Thursdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – A weekly conversation about the conservation of African wildlife, and an overview of great moments from the live cams. Watch these special broadcasts on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube channel.

The Africam Show: World Animal Day (5th October)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good Show: Charlie Annenberg – Founder of explore.org (7th October)

Russell talks to Charlie Annenberg, the founder of explore.org. He discusses his love for Africa and what inspired him to set up live cameras around the world.

The Africam Show: (12th October)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

● Africam4Good: Giraffe Conservation Foundation (14th October)

Russell chats to Arthur Muneza about giraffe conservation and the work done by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to help protect giraffes across Africa.

The Africam Show: (19th October)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Birdlife South Africa (21st October)

Russell talks to Ernest Retief about the flamingos at Kamfers Dam and the conservation work done by BirdLife South Africa.

The Africam Show: (26th October)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Elephants Alive (28th October)

Russell talks to Michelle Henley from Elephants Alive about her projects involving elephant identification and conservation.

- explore

Celebrate the success of Brooks River’s world-famous bears during Fat Bear Week. Your vote decides which bear will be crowned the fattest of the year. National Park Service rangers and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz are hosting many live events to help inform your vote. Watch the bears every day on explore.org.

Fat Bear Junior

For these young and maturing bears, it is win and you’re in! During this warm-up event for Fat Bear Week, you choose the cub who will compete in the annual Fat Bear Week tournament. Join the bracket reveal with Mike Fitz from explore.org and Katmai National Park ranger Naomi Boak during a live play-by-play on Monday, September 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific. The Fat Bear Junior vote takes place September 23 – 24 on fatbearweek.org

Fat Bear Week in the Classroom

We invite teachers to take bearcam into the classroom and consider the different ways in which bears find success in Katmai’s challenging environment. Ranger Lian Law from Katmai National Park and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz will record a special broadcast to answer your students’ questions. Learn more about how your class can participate. Questions are due by September 28. The recorded broadcast premieres on October 4 at 2 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. Pacific on the Explore Live Nature Cams YouTube channel.

Fat Bear Week Live Chats

Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. And, if you miss any of our live chats, you can find the replays on our Bears and Bison YouTube channel.

Fat Bear Week Bracket Reveal

September 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

The road to Fat Bear Week greatness began months ago. After a summer-long effort, brown bears at Brooks River in Katmai National Park have reached peak fat. How did they do it and what challenges did they face along the way? Those are a couple of the questions that explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Katmai National Park rangers Naomi Boak and Lian Law will answer as they reveal the contenders and the bracket for the 2021 Fat Bear Week tournament.

Welcome to Fat Bear Week

September 29 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

Winter comes quickly in Katmai and bears must get fat to survive it. Fat is the fuel that powers their ability to endure winter hibernation as well as the key to their reproductive success. Learn more about the importance of fat in the survival of the Fat Bear Week contestants with explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Katmai National Park rangers Naomi Boak and Lian Law.

A Very Fat Bear Play-by-Play

October 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

A favorite of rangers and bearcam fans alike, play-by-plays are live events when rangers and other experts narrate the bear and salmon activity at Brooks River. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the individual bears on the cams and how they survive.

Fat Bear Tuesday

October 5 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

In the tournament of champions that is Fat Bear Week, the merely pudgy bears have been winnowed away. The truly fattest are left standing. On Fat Bear Tuesday we conclude another titanic Fat Bear Week, and the two finalists are quintessential examples of success and the supreme adaptations that bears possess to survive. Explore the lives of the two final contestants with explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Katmai National Park rangers Naomi Boak and Lian Law.

Live Q&As

Chat in the comments with Mike Fitz, explore.org’s resident naturalist, and rangers from Katmai National Park during our weekly Q&As. Bring your questions about bears, salmon, and Katmai.

Explore.org: Every Tuesday (except October 5) from 5 – 7 p.m. Eastern / 2 – 4 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Live Chat channel. YouTube Q&As: Every Thursday from 2 – 4 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Falls YouTube page. Tiktok Q&As: Join on the explore.org Tiktok channel. October 1st at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific.

Brown Bear Superlatives

Choose your favorite bear among many categories including “most respected mom” and “best angler” in this post-Fat Bear Week celebration and fundraiser for the Katmai Conservancy. New superlatives are chosen each day from October 6 – 9 on the Brooks Falls YouTube page.

A Brown Bear Celebration

October 9 at 4 p.m. Eastern / 1 p.m. Pacific on the Brooks Live Chat channel.

After Fat Bear Week concludes, bears continue to fish at Brooks River and the Katmai Conservancy continues its work in support of Katmai National Park. Join the Katmai’s Conservancy’s Sara Wolman, explore.org’s Mike Fitz, and several special guests for this live event celebrating the 2021 brown bear season at Brooks River.

Got Questions?

Did you see something on the bearcams you’re curious about? Or, would you like to submit a question in advance for our live events? Ask it here. Rangers and expert staff may answer your question in a live chat, in the bearcam comments, or in a blog post.

- explore

Late summer is here and Katmai National Park’s brown bears are packing on the pounds in preparation for their winter hibernation. National Park Service rangers and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz have many live events in store this month, including Fat Bear Week which begins September 29. And, don’t forget to watch the bears every day on explore.org.

Live Chats

Join park rangers and other experts for in-depth conversations about brown bears and salmon. Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. And, if you miss any of our live chats, you can find the replays on our Bears and Bison YouTube channel.

A Conversation with Katmai National Park Superintendent Mark Sturm: September 1 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

What challenges does Katmai face now and in the future? Get a superintendent’s perspective on the park’s priorities, issues, and plans for the future when Ranger Naomi Boak interviews Mark Sturm, superintendent of Katmai National Park. Submit your questions in advance using Ask Your Bearcam Question.

Late Summer at Brooks River: September 8 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

During a season when daylight wanes and nights begin to grow long and frosty, Brooks River is still very much alive. Brown bears, who seem to have an unlimited stomach capacity, seek to satisfy their hunger while spawning salmon attempt to complete their life’s work. Join explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Ranger Naomi Boak from Katmai National Park as they discuss the late summer season at Brooks River. It is the second peak season on bear cam and a time of year that offers bears their last opportunity to gain the fat reserves necessary to survive winter hibernation.

The Language of Bears: September 15 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

So you speak English, German, Urdu, etc. Want to learn Bear? In this chat Ranger Naomi interviews Bear Management Ranger Nick to translate bear language into our own. What does it mean when a bear lowers its head? That popping sound—what does that signal? Is that a fierce growl or a friendly greeting? No need for Google Translate today.

Katmai’s Keystone: September 22 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

Pacific salmon are born in freshwater, grow large in the sea, and return to their place of birth to spawn and die. Their uncommon lives have extraordinary consequences for the ecosystems they inhabit. Join Mike Fitz to explore the amazing lives of Pacific salmon—the heartbeat of Bristol Bay’s economy, culture, and ecology.

Fat Bear Junior Bracket Reveal

Which chubby cubby will face off in the first ever Fat Bear Junior tournament? Find out at the beginning of the bearcam play-by-play on September 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific.

Fat Bear Week

Choose the fattest bear of the year! Some of the largest brown bears on Earth make their home at Brooks River in Katmai National Park. Fat Bear Week is an annual tournament celebrating their success in preparation for winter hibernation. From September 29 to October 5, your vote decides who is the fattest of the fat. Visit fatbearweek.org and join the special live events on the Brooks Live Chat channel.

Fat Bear Week Junior: It is win and you’re in for these young and maturing bears! During this warm-up event for Fat Bear Week, you choose the bear cub who will compete with the largest adults in the annual Fat Bear Week tournament. Fat Bear Week Junior takes place Sept. 23-24 on fatbearweek.org. Fat Bear Week Bracket Reveal: September 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific. Welcome to Fat Bear Week: September 29 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific.

Play-by-Plays

September 6, 13, and 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

A favorite of rangers and bear cam fans alike, play-by-plays are live events when rangers and other experts narrate the bear and salmon activity at Brooks River. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the individual bears on the cams and how they survive. Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. You never know what might happen!

Live Q&As

Chat in the comments with Mike Fitz, explore.org’s resident naturalist, and rangers from Katmai National Park during our weekly Q&As. Bring your questions about bears, salmon, and Katmai.

Explore.org: Every Tuesday from 5 – 7 p.m. Eastern / 2 – 4 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Live Chat channel.  YouTube Q & As: Every Thursday from 2 – 4 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Falls YouTube page. Tiktok Q & As: Find these on the explore.org Tiktok channel. September 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific.

 Fat Bear Week in the Classroom

We invite teachers to take bear cam into the classroom and consider the different ways in which bears find success in Katmai’s challenging environment. Rangers from Katmai National Park and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz will record a special broadcast to answer your students’ questions. Learn more about how your class can participate.

Got Questions?

Did you see something on the bear cams you’re curious about? Or, would you like to submit a question in advance for our live events? Ask it here. Rangers and expert staff may answer your question in a live chat, in the bear cam comments, or in a blog post.

- explore

The Africam Show (Tuesdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – A special live Q&A session to catch up on the best weekly Africam moments. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask Rangers Phill Steffny and Russel Gerber questions on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube chat roll.

Africam4Good Show (Thursdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – Join ranger Russell Gerber and Phill Steffny for a weekly conversation about the conservation of African wildlife, and an overview of great moments from the live cams. Watch these special broadcasts on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube channel.

Africam4Good Show: World Vulture Day (2nd September) Russell talks to Kerri Wolter from Vulpro, a vulture conservation organization. Kerri discusses the trials and triumphs of vulture conservation. The Africam Show: (7th September)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and update us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Care For Wild: Rhinos (9th September) Russell talks to Petronel, the founder of Care For Wild, a rhino rescue and rehabilitation organization. She chats about the live cams and rhino conservation and the upcoming World Rhino Day! The Africam Show: (14th September)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and update us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Elephants (16th September) Russell talks to Adine from the organization HERD about elephant rescues, rehabilitation and conservation. The Africam Show: (21st September)

Russell and Phill take us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and update us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Flamingos (23rd September) Russell talks to Ester, the Environmental Specialist at Ekapa Mining. She chats about flamingos and the exciting new flamingo cam. The Africam Show: (28th September)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and update us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good: Leopards (30th September) Russell talks to a leopard expert about the conservation efforts being made to protect one of the most elusive cats, the leopard.
- explore
Mother Bears and Human Emotion

By Mike Fitz

Perhaps no other group of bears captures our attention like mothers and their cubs. We empathize with their plight and wish them success. Mother bears often show a high tolerance for each other, almost as though they recognize their mutual problems.

In 2016, I watched 128 Grazer and 409 Beadnose back down from conflict instead of risking a fight in which they or their cubs might be injured. Read my full breakdown.

Bears have large appetites, though. They must eat a year’s worth of food in six months or less. Limited fishing success and empty stomachs  increase the frequency and intensity of conflict between bears at Brooks Falls. Although bears avoid physical conflict most often, we still see them fight. How should we react when bears don’t play nice?

It’s been an unusual year at Brooks River so far. The salmon run was slow at first even as the number of salmon entering the greater watershed climbed above two million. It strengthened and increased in the river toward the end of July and has remained somewhat strong through much of early August. This has kept many bears around at a time of year when they usually disperse away from the river.

As recently as the beginning of the week, dozens of bears have been fishing within sight of Brooks Falls. Congregations like this don’t happen without some level of mutual tolerance, even as the bears warily eye and look to usurp fishing spots from each other.

Mother bears, in particular, must work especially hard to keep their cubs protected and well fed. They display their work ethic and devotion in subtle and overt ways. Some mother bears avoid areas with high numbers of bears, foregoing prime fishing opportunities to give their cubs greater security. As a group, though, no matter if they fish at the falls or elsewhere, mothers are the most defensive of all bears.

128 Grazer, for example, often isn’t willing to back down when another bear approaches her family too closely. If Grazer senses another bear might threaten her offspring, she confronts the threat head on. Under those circumstances her defensiveness extends to most all other bears. She’s defended her yearlings from the largest adult males as well as younger bears who maybe took too great of a risk to satisfy their own hunger.

Here is a cam highlight that shows Grazer defending her cubs against an adult male.

128 Grazer, 854 Divot, and their yearling cubs, engaged in a prolonged conflict over space and a fish on August 10, 2021. In my experience at Brooks River, it’s quite rare to see mother bears compete so vigorously with each other. This situation, interestingly, was precipitated by the yearlings. Grazer’s yearlings wanted a fish that Divot’s yearlings had in their possession. Divot felt the need to defend her yearlings. Each time Divot stepped in, she got too close to Grazer’s yearlings and that caused Grazer to react defensively. It was, for a moment, a feedback loop.

Grazer’s defensiveness, in particular, has provoked a wide range of reactions among webcam viewers, everything from awe to fright to concern to disdain for her aggressiveness. Some viewers have also wondered if Grazer poses an undue threat to other bears. She doesn’t FWIW, but this has got me wondering, once again, how do our human-centered perceptions of the world affect our reaction to the behavior of wild animals?

Although it elicits the ire of many people in the natural sciences, it’s sometimes difficult to not anthropomorphize animals. We are human and applying human characteristics to non-human creatures is common in literature and in real life. We usually have few qualms interpreting the feelings of our pets as sad, happy, or guilty even if our interpretations are sometimes incorrect. When we see Grazer beat up a small, seemingly non-threatening subadult bear, her behavior can seem harsh.

If I’m being honest with myself and you, her behavior is harsh. However, I use that word with caution. The act of being harsh may come loaded with negativity in our minds. I use it, therefore, not as a judgement but as a description. 

For a moment, consider the world through Grazer’s eyes. She’s a sentient individual living in a difficult and competitive environment. Her survival and that of her cubs is not guaranteed. While bears are not as asocial as their reputations suggest, Grazer doesn’t live within a permanent social group. She’s devoted to her cubs, yet cannot rely on the help of other bears to raise them. Her species hasn’t evolved a sense of reciprocation. Like other bears, she establishes her place in the hierarchy through the use of body size, strength, and force. She senses the clock ticking perpetually toward winter, when she and her cubs must outwait famine by hibernating. Grazer faces those challenges daily.

If we can decouple the behavior of bears from the implications of the words we use to conceptualize their behavior—whether that’s moral or ethical—then perhaps we can more easily understand why bears make the decisions they do. Grazer is harsh toward other bears. Yet, her morals and rules for life are not our own. If I am to be fair to her, even as she is unfair to other bears, then I should consider life from her perspective rather than my culture’s and species’ rules for social engagement.

It’s okay to feel when we watch bears. We are emotional creatures, after all. Try as I might, I can’t fully channel my inner Spock well enough to remove myself emotionally from the bears’ lives. I only need to acknowledge that the bears’ minds, morals, and ethics are not human. Bears and other non-human creatures behave in ways that may clash with our values of right and wrong. And, that makes their behavior neither right nor wrong but something unique to them alone.

- explore

Katmai National Park’s brown bears are packing on the pounds in preparation for winter hibernation. National Park Service rangers and explore.org’s resident naturalist, Mike Fitz, have many live events in store this month. And, don’t forget to watch the famed brown bears of Brooks River every day on explore.org.

Live Chats

Join park rangers and other experts for in-depth conversations about brown bears, salmon, and other topics. Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. And, if you miss any of our live chats, you can find the replays on our Bears and Bison YouTube channel.

Journeys at Katmai: August 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

“Journeys at Katmai: An Activity Book for Not-So-Junior Rangers” will allow adults of all ages to learn about Katmai’s history, wildlife, and changing landscape. Some Katmai journeys reach as far as the moon! The lunar-like landscape of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes was once a training spot for NASA’s Apollo astronauts. Join Katmai rangers Sarah Gage and Lian Law for a live discussion to learn more about the fun history of the Valley and the exciting new activity book.

The Technology of Bear Cam: August 10 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

Many of explore.org‘s cameras broadcast from remote areas where their installation and maintenance can be difficult to say the least. The bearcams at Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska pose a particularly unique set of challenges. Join Ranger Naomi Boak from Katmai National Park she talks the tech of the bearcams with explore.org‘s Candice Rusch, Director of New Media, and Joe Pifer, Field Operations Manager.

Bear Monitoring and Science at Brooks River: August 11 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

The behavior and movements of bears at Brooks River change over time, so what might this mean for National Park Service managers who are tasked with protecting the wildlife and how do biologists track bear use of the river? Join Mike Fitz as he interviews Katmai’s wildlife biologist Leslie Skora on the bear monitoring program at Brooks River, the long-term study to document bear and human use of the area.

Katmai Bear Genetics: August 18 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

Ranger (and now Dr.) Michael Saxton tells us about his DNA study of the bears of Brooks Falls. Over the past several years Michael collected DNA samples of bears in part to try and understand the genetic diversity of brown bears at Brooks River and along Katmai’s Pacific coast. Join Ranger Naomi Boak as she interviews Michael about his research and about how climate change may affect the bears.

Birds of Katmai National Park: August 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific **CANCELED**

Ever wonder what birds you’re seeing on the bearcams? Join Ranger Andrea Willingham for a live chat all about the birds of Brooks River. It’s an opportunity to learn more about Katmai’s frequent flyers, and how they connect our beautiful national park to the rest of the world.

Mid-Summer Life of a Katmai Bear: August 25 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

Fewer bears use Brooks River in August compared to July and September, so where do they go? Join Katmai National Park rangers Lian Law and Naomi Boak as they journey to places beyond Brooks River where bears make a living.

Katmai’s Lynx and Snowshoe Hares: August 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

Snowshoe hare and lynx are just two of the many animals that call Katmai home. Their lives are inextricably linked together. Join Ranger Cara Rohdenburg as she delves into this predator-prey relationship.

 Katmai Superintendent Mark Sturm: September 1 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific

What challenges does Katmai face now and in the future? Get a superintendent’s perspective on the national park’s current priorities, issues, and plans for the future when Ranger Naomi Boak interviews Mark Sturm, superintendent of Katmai National Park.

Play-by-Plays

A favorite of rangers and bearcam fans alike, play-by-plays are live events when rangers and other experts narrate the bear and salmon activity at Brooks River. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the individual bears on the cams and how they survive. Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. You never know what might happen!

August 5 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific August 9 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific August 23 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific More play-by-plays for the month will be announced depending on bear activity.

Live Q&As

Chat in the comments with Mike Fitz, explore.org’s resident naturalist, and rangers from Katmai National Park during our weekly Q & As. Bring your questions about bears, salmon, and Katmai.

Explore.org: Every Tuesday from 5 – 7 p.m. Eastern / 2 – 4 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Live Chat channel. YouTube Q & As: Every Thursday from 2 – 4 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Falls YouTube page. Tiktok Q & As: Find these on the explore.org Tiktok channel on August 19, August 26, and September 2 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific.

Ask Your Bearcam Question

Did you see something on the bearcams you’re curious about? Or, would you like to submit a question in advance for our live events? Ask it here. Rangers and expert staff may answer your question in a live chat, in the bearcam comments, or in a blog post.

- explore

If you like the Africams, you’ll love their new semi-weekly collaborative series! Mark your calendars and get ready to learn all about the wild visitors who appear on the live cams.

The Africam Show (Tuesdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – A special live Q&A session to catch up on the best weekly Africam moments. Viewers will have the opportunity to ask Rangers Phill Steffny and Russel Gerber questions on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube chat roll.

Africam4Good Show (Thursdays at 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET) – Join ranger Russell Gerber for a weekly conversation about the conservation of African wildlife, and an overview of great moments from the live cams. Watch these special broadcasts on the Africam Shows Channel or on our YouTube channel.

Africam4Good Show: World Lion Day (August 5th)

Ranger Russell Gerber talks about the lions of Africam and conservation efforts around lions.

The Africam Show: World Lion Day Part 2 (August 10th)

Russell airs live cam highlights to showcase the lions of Africam and gives viewers the opportunity to ask questions about the prides that appear on camera. There will be a special lion quiz during the broadcast to test your Africam knowledge!

Africam4Good Show: World Elephant Day (August 12th)

Russell talks about the elephants of Africam and the conservation efforts being made to protect elephants.

The Africam Show: Virtual Safari (August 17th)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good Show: Snaring & Poaching (August 19th)

Russell talks about the dangers of human-wildlife conflict, snaring & poaching.

The Africam Show: Virtual Safari (August 24th)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good Show: World Wild Dog Day (August 26th)

Join Ranger Russell and Africa Geographic Science Editor Jamie Paterson for a live discussion on painted dogs for World Painted Dog Day. Jamie discusses what she loves about painted dogs as well as naming conventions for the dogs.

The Africam Show: Virtual Safari (August 31st)

Russell takes us on a virtual safari with the live cameras and updates us with highlights of animal characters.

Africam4Good Show: World Vulture Day (September 2nd)

Join Ranger Russell and Kerri Wolter from Vulpro, a vulture conservation organization, to discuss the trials and triumphs of vulture conservation.

- mtello
Get To Know This Year’s Featured Migratory Bird Day Species: Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore OrioleBaltimore Oriole on branch VITAL SIGNS Common name: Baltimore OrioleLatin name: Icterus galbulaRange: Found in Southern areas of Easternmost Canadian provinces3.Lifespan: 11 years3Size: Ranging in length from 17-19 cm, and a wingspan of 23-30 cm3.Population estimate: 12 million (globally) THE FACTS

The Baltimore Oriole, not to be confused with the baseball team; are small, brightly coloured migratory birds. Males have bright orange and black bodies with white striped wings, whereas females are duller yellow and grey3. Their diet changes depending on the season. From May to late Summer, their diet mainly consists of insects as they are high in necessary protein. They will consume insects such as beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, and snails3. Baltimore Orioles may also feed on invasive pest species, such as the gypsy moth, a highly invasive species to North America.

In spring and fall, high-in-sugar nectar and fruits provide ample energy for migration. The Baltimore Oriole is widely known to feed on fruit crops, including raspberries, mulberries, cherries and oranges3.

When nesting, Baltimore Orioles tend to nest in American Elms but may nest in maple or cottonwood trees as well3. They typically have a clutch size of 3-7 eggs with nestlings typically leaving the nest 12-14 days after hatching.

THE STORY

Though the species has shown to be relatively tolerant of human interference, there are still many threats to their populations. Increasing urbanization and development cause an increase in habitat loss through the destruction of green spaces and both an increase and changes to agriculture in general, specifically chemicals and pesticides used.2 Threats to this species can come in the form of heatwaves, and an increased range of wildfires1.

WHAT IS BEING DONE

The species was classified as “Least Concern” by IUCN Global in 20184 and was designated as Secure by Wild Species Canada in 20102. It is also considered a Priority Species in the Bird Conservation Region Strategy in the Prairie and Northern regions, as well as Ontario and Quebec2.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Like many species, an increasing global climate is bound to affect the population numbers and habitats of the Baltimore Oriole. Avoid spraying pesticides on trees that the species frequents, as this can harm important food sources and may poison the birds directly. Refrain from using pesticides in your gardens or lawn and opt for more bird-friendly options instead

Get involved with a local Bird Team in your community to work towards becoming Bird Friendly City Certified. Or host and participate in an upcoming World Migratory Bird Day event near you!

1Kaufman, K. n.d. Baltimore Oriole. National Audobon Society. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/baltimore-oriole 2Status of Migratory Birds in Canada: Baltimore Oriole. 2014. Government of Canada https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/bird-status/oiseau-bird-eng.aspx?sY=2014&sL=e&sM=c&sB=BAOR 3The Cornell Lab, 2019. All About Birds: Baltimore Oriole https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Baltimore_Oriole 4Icterus galbula (Baltimore Oriole). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2022. IUCN Global https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22724126/132026652&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1651519778676981&usg=AOvVaw27aQm5rYIHaGilbwjHAjJ2

The post Get To Know This Year’s Featured Migratory Bird Day Species: Baltimore Oriole appeared first on Nature Canada.

- mtello
Recipients of the 2022 Young Nature Leaders Grant!

Since 2017, young people across Canada have been demonstrating their leadership for nature through creative, nature-based projects submitted to Nature Canada’s Young Nature Leaders Grant. This year, we are celebrating the grant’s fifth year running thanks to the passion and generosity of Women for Nature members and other funders. The Young Nature Leader’s grant was created to empower, uplift and support young people looking to implement a community-based project centered around nature and sustainability. 

This Earth month, we are celebrating six recipients of the Young Nature Leaders Grant. We were thrilled to see the number of passionate young people eager to educate, engage and lead others in caring for nature. We look forward to supporting them as they implement their nature projects over the course of this year.

Congratulations to the 2022 Young Nature Leaders Grant recipients who include:

Kehkashan Basu – Toronto, ON

Kehkashan will develop educational workshops and public awareness campaigns that will engage students and the public to protect the endangered Wood Turtle. “I think as young people we need to step out of our comfort zones and take that extra step and walk that extra mile to get the future we want. Protecting our environment is no longer a choice, it’s a responsibility. So we must act now to achieve a sustainable world.”

Ana Castillo – Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, QC

Ana plans to launch a seed-keeping program at the Young Roots Farm’s summer camp that will provide marginalized youth the opportunity to learn about farming through hands-on learning and storytelling.

“Young Roots Farm is an educational farm for inner-city kids, providing skills and knowledge for an inclusive and sustainable relationship to food. Thanks to Nature Canada and Women for Nature this year, I hope to broaden our seed-keeping knowledge!”

Rachel Irwin – Hamilton, ON

Rachel plans to expand the outreach of the Toronto chapter of the Feminist Bird Club by organizing birding events that promote diversity in birding while creating a safe space for conversations around social and environmental justice.

“The goal of these birding events will be to create a safe space for new birders and youth to connect with nature and their community while having important conversations around inclusivity, accessibility, climate change, and the importance of advocacy in the outdoors.”

Nena Van de Wouwer – Bouctouche, NB

Nena will launch a Green Godparent program that engages community members to become stewards for local nature spaces and will include beach clean-ups that upcycle the collected trash into art to raise awareness about protecting nature. “I started the Green God Parent Program to encourage people to spend more time in nature while simultaneously giving back to it. For me, that is the best feeling in the world!”

This year, we also honoured two amazing champions for nature, Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson and have provided grants in their name to young people to honour their wishes to inspire future nature ambassadors and protectors:

Margaret Atwood Young Nature Leader Grant

Denise Miller – Six Nations of the Grand River Territory/Brantford, ON

Denise will expand the Revitalizing our Sustenance Project that works to address food security issues within the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and will include land and agricultural restoration work using native plants. “As a Haudenosaunee woman, when you restore the land, you restore your identity and responsibility to Creation.”

Graeme Gibson Young Nature Leader Grant

Kenzie McCallum – Halifax, NS

Kenzie will coordinate and lead a three-part outdoor program for students at local elementary schools which will incorporate outdoor learning, climate change discussions and an action-oriented service project. “I hope to help students connect with their surrounding environments in meaningful ways and empower them to feel they can make a difference by their actions in the fight against climate change.”

You can also read about previous winners and their nature-based community projects here.

We would like to give a special thanks to the Selection Committee that included both Women for Nature members and Young Women for Nature. Thank you to Alana Norie, Dalal Hanna, Celeste Landon, Christine Leduc, Iman Berry, Jessica Yu, Kirsten Reid, Mathilde Papillon, and Nikki Paskar for volunteering time to review all the inspiring projects!

The post Recipients of the 2022 Young Nature Leaders Grant! appeared first on Nature Canada.

- mtello
Charwell Point: Gem on Eastern Lake Ontario
Charwell Point, Prince Edward County, Ontario (Photo: Paul Jones) Dunlin on the move

It is late May on the shores of eastern Lake Ontario and with a synchronized flash of wings, a flock of Dunlin alight at Charwell Point in picturesque Prince Edward County. Long distance migrants, these sandpipers are heading from their wintering grounds in the southern U.S. and Mexico to nest on Canada’s Arctic coast. Charwell Point’s uniquely remote and undeveloped beaches provide a perfect place for these birds to peacefully rest and feed before continuing north.

A Dunlin touches down at Charwell Point, May 2021 (Photo: Paul Jones) Many Shorebirds

Dunlin are not the only shorebirds to stop at Charwell Point. Visitors range from tiny Least Sandpipers to the charismatic and crow-sized Whimbrel. 

A Whimbrel takes a spring break at Charwell Point on its epic journey from South America to the Canadian Arctic. It may have been in the air for 24 hours. (Photo: Paul Jones)

As the most prominent feature on the otherwise gently curving southern shore of Prince Edward County, the point is a magnet for migrants crossing Lake Ontario. Songbirds such as sparrows and warblers find shelter in the windblown maple and cedars at the tip. For shorebirds, it is the remote and undisturbed beaches, habitat rare elsewhere in the County, that are the attraction. In fact, after recent survey work, twenty-six species of shorebirds have now been documented at this location. Among this number is a Ruddy Turnstone named 1332-27918 FELG8UN RUTU, or “RUTU” for short. Captured in New Jersey in 2012 and marked with a field readable tag, the bird has been regularly resighted along the eastern US coast – always in the last few days of May. Then, on June 4, 2020, RUTU was photographed at Charwell Point. This special record provides insight into the timing and trajectory of the Turnstone’s travels and underlines the point’s importance as a migration stopover site. 

RUTU, a colour-banded Ruddy Turnstone at Charwell Point, June 2020 (Photo: Paul Jones) Wintering Waterfowl

While Charwell Point’s lonely beaches are essential spring and fall shorebird habitat, its offshore waters are equally important to wintering waterfowl. Greater Scaup arrive from the north and west in October and form huge, densely packed rafts of resting, preening and feeding birds. A significant portion of the world’s Long-tailed Ducks also winter here, down for the season from the Arctic. On cold January days, the air rings with their distinct and beautiful calls; put to flight by the resident Bald Eagles, their vast swirling flocks resemble clouds of smoke on the horizon. For these hardy northern waterfowl, the windswept and remote waters of eastern Lake Ontario provide a cold but hospitable home for almost six months of the year.

A Long-tailed Duck enjoys wintery Lake Ontario weather (Photo: Paul Jones) Looking to the future

Charwell Point sustains a remarkable diversity of life, illustrating the wonders of nature, and also its fragility. The shorebirds that are such an important aspect of the place are an extraordinary family of birds, but their future is not secure. With habitat destruction reducing their populations, safeguarding locations such as Charwell Point is a top priority. Fortunately, initiatives are underway to protect the lands and waters of eastern Lake Ontario, and there is a strong chance that future generations of birds – and humans – will continue to enjoy this special location.  

Creating a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) in Lake Ontario’s eastern basin will safeguard bird populations, protect 243 species at risk, and contribute towards the government’s goal of protecting 30 percent of land and waters by 2030.

If you can, pay a visit to this biogem and discover all it has to offer.

Cryptic and endangered, a Piping Plover rests at Charwell Point, May 2020 (Photo: Paul Jones) A Least Sandpiper, barely larger than a sparrow, surveys the scene at Charwell Point (Photo: Paul Jones)

After a career working at social justice/labour rights NGOs, Paul has retired to Prince Edward County in southeastern Ontario where he devotes his time to birdwatching and nature photography.

The post Charwell Point: Gem on Eastern Lake Ontario appeared first on Nature Canada.

- mtello
Get To Know This Year’s World Migratory Bird Day Featured Species: Black-Crowned Night-Heron
Black-crowned Night-heronBlack-crowned Night-herons and nestling (Shutterstock) VITAL SIGNS Common name: Black-crowned Night-Heron,  Bihoreau gris (French)Latin name: Nycticorax nycitcoraxRange: Year-round resident in South America and the Caribbean, wintering in Mexico, breeding range mainly in the United States, South-western Ontario and parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and AlbertaLifespan: Around 20 years, oldest female was 21 years 5 monthsSize: 58-66 cm in length with a wingspan of approximately 115-118cm, typically weighs 727 – 1014 gPopulation estimate: Approximately 10,000 – 25,000 breeding birds in Canada3, THE FACTS

Black-crowned Night-Herons are larger than their cousins, the Green Heron, and have stockier legs than Great Blue Herons. These short-distance migrants can be found in wetland habitat, marshes, lakes and rivers across North America and socially nest together in trees with a clutch size of around three to five eggs3. Immature individuals look much different from mature herons as their colouring is mostly brown with white spots and yellow eyes. Once they reach maturity they can be identified by their thick necks, defined dark back and head as well as red eyes. 

Offspring typically leave their nest after 1 month and begin to learn to fly when they reach six weeks2. Their diet consists mainly of worms, insects, mussels, clams, crustaceans and any other plant or animal material typically found along shorelines or near their nesting habitat2. 

When they aren’t nesting, searching for food, or looking for a mate you can find Black-crowned Night-Herons in colonies with other heron species and egrets. What makes them so special, is they are nocturnal migrants who hunt at dusk, dawn and during the nighttime hours1.

Black-crowned Night-heronBlack-crowned Night-heron on branch (Shutterstock) THE STORY

Black-crowned Night-herons have a relatively stable population in Canada and North America since the 1970s after the banning of DDT3. However water pollution, habitat loss, climate change and other persistent pesticides still negatively impact this species’ abundance. The National Audubon Society’s interactive map demonstrates how the Black-crowned Night Heron’s range may shift with various global temperature warming scenarios, which can be viewed here. 

WHAT IS BEING DONE

Globally, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just designated this species as Threatened as of 2016 after being previously listed Least Concerned for many years prior, indicating that these herons are facing additional pressures and need more conservation efforts to support their populations. 

In partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Black-crowned Night Heron is a Priority Species within the Bird Conservation Region Strategy (BCRs)3.  Wild Species Canada has listed their population as ‘Secure’ since 2010. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO Refrain from using pesticides in your gardens or lawn and opt for more bird-friendly options instead Get involved with a local Bird Team in your community to work towards becoming Bird Friendly City CertifiedHost and participate in an upcoming World Migratory Bird Day event near you!

1 BirdLife International/NatureServe Distribution Maps https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/bird-status/dist-dist-eng.aspx?sY=2014&sL=e&sB=BCNH&sM=p1&sD=37712 Stein, K. A. (2018). Filling gaps in the full annual cycle of the Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) [Master’s thesis, Ohio State University]. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1532001612265579

3Hothem, Roger L., Brianne E. Brussee and William E. Davis Jr. (2010). Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.4  Cuthbert, F.J., L.R. Wires and J.E. McKearnan. 2002. Potential impacts of nesting double-crested cormorants on great blue heron and black-crowned night-herons in the U.S. Great Lakes region. Journal of Great Lakes Research 28:145-154.

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- mtello
Honouring Biologist, Environmental Leader and Educator Bob Peart with the Douglas H. Pimlott Award
Bob Peart Bob Peart, recipient of the Douglas H. Pimlott Award

The Douglas H. Pimlott Award honours individuals who have demonstrated a significant contribution throughout their lifetime through words and deeds to the conservation of Canada’s biodiversity, landscapes and wilderness. This year’s winner, Bob Peart, is an exceptional biologist, environmental leader, educator, and volunteer who has spent decades working for nature in Canada. 

Since 1972, Bob has been dedicating his time and passion to Canadian nature. He was Chair of Nature Canada from 2017-2020, though he first worked alongside the government at Parks Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Royal BC Museum, BC Government’s Environment and Aboriginal Affairs, and the Greater Vancouver Regional Government. He then made waves as an Executive Director of Environmental NGOs such as the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, BC Chapter of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and Sierra Club of BC, before going on to privately consult for ILE Consulting and the Nexus Learning Group. 

For more than forty years Bob has volunteered for Nature Canada, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC, the Friends of Shoal Harbour Society, the Elders Council for Parks in BC, the Fraser Basin Council and The Land Conservancy of British Columbia.

Bob is enthusiastic about reconnecting children and families to nature. He founded and chaired the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, served on the board of NatureKids BC, and was a strategic advisor to the Cheakamus Centre – North Vancouver Outdoor School. Bob was also a Senior Associate with the Children and Nature Network in the USA.

Bob has tirelessly advocated for and upheld the values we hold dear: parks and protected areas, Indigenous rights and conservation, environmental education, wilderness protection, bird conservation, and connecting all Canadians to nature.

Bob has already been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the J.B. Harkin Conservation Medal, and we believe Bob’s incredible life’s work and legacy deserves to be honoured with Nature Canada’s most prestigious conservation award.

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- mtello
Get To Know This Year’s Featured World Migratory Bird Day Species: Swainson’s Thrush
Swainson's Thrush on branch VITAL SIGNS Common name: Swainson’s ThrushLatin name: Catharus ustulatusRange: Breeding grounds span the Southern half of Canada and migrate throughout the United States.Lifespan: 2-10 yearsSize: Length ranges from 16-19 cm, and wingspan ranges from 29-31 cm. Population estimate: Estimated population of over 50,000,000 breeding individuals in Canada1. THE FACTS

The Swainson’s Thrush has a medium brown colour, but with a  soft, pale, and spotted underbelly. They have white markings that extend in between their eyes, similar to the look of spectacles. Breeding often occurs in coniferous forests, but during migration periods, individuals can live in a variety of habitats. Diet during breeding seasons consists mainly of insects and arthropods such as ants, beetles, caterpillars, flies and grasshoppers3. In the Fall and Winter, they tend to eat fruits, particularly elderberries, blackberries, raspberries, twinberries, huckleberries, and others. When hunting prey, birds perch on low-lying branches and dive into the leaf litter below3. The species consists of two subspecies, russet-backed and olive-backed. Russet-backed thrushes have plumage with a reddish tint compared to the olive-backed, which are more brown2.

THE STORY

Though having a relatively stable population, the Swainson’s Thrush is negatively affected by habitat loss through human interactions such as logging and clearing for development. It has also been shown to be more susceptible to building and window collisions during migration1. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, the population has decreased by about 38% between 1966 and 20142. Significant threats occur in the destruction of their breeding habitats in the form of invasive plant species and human activity. Like many others, the Swainson’s Thrush is predicted to be harshly impacted by climate change, losing up to 48% of its habitual range if global temperatures increase by 2 degrees celsius4.

WHAT IS BEING DONE

The Swainson’s Thrush is not recognized by COSEWIC but was classified as being a species of “least concern” under IUCN Global1. It is also a priority species according to the Bird Conservation Region Strategies, in the Northern Rockies region1. The species was designated “secure” according to the Wild Species Canada 2010 report1. Swainson’s thrush was given a rating of 10/20 on the Continental Concern Score2.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you live in their range, providing tree and shrub cover, avoiding chemical pesticides and accumulating leaf litter are all ways of making an enticing habitat for this species. Advocating for the preservation of wildlife habitats and against urbanization is another great way to help many species, not just the Swainson’s Thrush.

Get involved with a local Bird Team in your community to work towards becoming Bird Friendly City Certified.

Host and participate in an upcoming World Migratory Bird Day event near you!

1Canadian Wildlife Service Waterfowl Committee. 2015. Migratory Birds in Canada. https://wildlife-species.canada.ca/bird-status/oiseau-bird-eng.aspx?sY=2014&sL=e&sM=c&sB=SWTH2The Cornell Lab, 2019. All About Birds, Swainson’s Thrush https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Swainsons_Thrush/overview#:~:text=During%20fall%20and%20spring%20migration,floor%20to%20catch%20insect%20prey. 3McLaughlin, J. 2021. “Catharus ustulatus” Animal Diversity Web. https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Catharus_ustulatus/4Kaufman, K. n.d. Swainson’s Thrush. National Audobon Society. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/swainsons-thrush

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- mtello
Shipwreck Diving in Lake Ontario’s Own Bermuda Triangle

As a terrestrial being, my perspective of the natural beauty of Prince Edward County is rather unique. I view its natural beauty from above the waterline of Lake Ontario, admiring its invaluable wetlands, its seasonal avian visitors and its spectacular shoreline. 

However, as a marine scientist and diver, I am also privileged to gaze at its underwater vistas, especially at the scores of historical shipwrecks slumbering on the dark lake-bed.

Ship Wreck by Kenn FeigelmanShipwreck in Lake Ontario, taken by Corey Phillips

Surely, you’ve heard of the Bermuda Triangle, responsible for countless shipwrecks and vanished airplanes. But did you know that Lake Ontario has its own hungry vortex of doom? There are somewhere between 270 and 500 shipwrecks in Lake Ontario’s eastern basin, and most of them are in an area known as The Marysburgh Vortex. The three points of this ‘triangle’ are Wolfe Island, Mexico Bay near Oswego, New York, to Point Petre in Prince Edward County.

The Marysburgh Vortex is a curious region of magnetic anomaly. Navigation within the area is dangerous because the magnetic field can offset a compass by 20 degrees! Just 25 feet beneath the surface of the lake lies a ring-shaped shoal, likely from a meteorite impact 460 million years ago that deposited these compass-confusing minerals.

Beyond retaining a snapshot of history for recreational divers, the wrecks are a study of how human objects can affect natural underwater environments with little disruption. As the years pass, these sleeping ships become homes for fish and other marine animals.

Shipwreck in Lake Ontario, taken by Corey Phillips

The shipwrecks in the Marysburgh Vortex serve as sub-aquatic condominiums for myriad fish species, especially, vast schools of pelagic bait-fish, including native species like Rainbow Smelt and invasive species like Alewives (which threaten native species).

These long-lost, drowned ships not only provide shelter for these bait-fish from marauding predators but also serve as a perpetual source of nutrition for them, with the abundant growth of phyto-plankton and varied zoo-plankton.

A diver might even see invasive zebra mussels at home on shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. These filter-feeding mollusks eat plankton and make the water crystal clear for divers, but can have harmful effects on the aquatic food web.

It is not uncommon to discover a solitary large trout or salmon residing in the sanctuary of a shipwreck, surveying its watery domain for uninvited interlopers. These territorial, pescatorial “Landlords” tend to be rather “bossy”—they have even been known to challenge those strange-looking alien visitors, AKA, scuba divers.

Maintaining a healthy ecosystem is important to supporting future quests to discover long-lost shipwrecks off Prince Edward County. A great example of the unique relationship between these diving quests and the surrounding ecosystem is how divers sometimes use the sudden appearance of huge schools of pelagic bait-fish on side-scan sonar monitors as an indicator that they are approaching their targeted anomaly on the lakebed. 

Sonar image, taken by Kenn Feigelman

A National Marine Conservation Area in Lake Ontario’s eastern basin would protect these glimpses of history and joining of human influence on aquatic ecosystems. What’s more, there are still many more shipwrecks in the area that are yet to be found!

Kenn M. Feigelman was born in Montreal. In1973, he co-founded Deep/Quest 2 Expedition. He attended McGill and Concordia University, receiving his Doctorate in Marine History from the College of Marine Arts in South Carolina. He is an avid marine scientist, photographer, and documentary film producer. 

Find out more about why Lake Ontario needs a National Marine Protected Area here, then voice support.

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- mtello
The Western Tanager: The Songbirds of the West

While most birds gain their distinct red colouring from a variety of plant pigments called carotenoids, the Western Tanager actually owe their crimson head to a distinct pigment known as rhodoxanthin, also found in conifer buds. It is not surprising that you can find them in western conifer forests and woodlands during their breeding season. The Western Tanager tends to nest in large trees, where the number of eggs laid spans between 3 and 5 eggs starting at the beginning of May and the end of April.

Western Tanager by Dan Hutichinson

Unlike any other tanager, the species ranges further north, breeding northwards to a latitude of 60 degrees into Canada’s Northwest Territories. The wintering range for this species stretches from southwestern Mexico and Central America. They tend to migrate alone or in groups of 30 birds.

Despite their distinct yellow-black plumage, red head, and memorable song, the species likes to remain hidden. These birds are often out of view, foraging above the tree lines, sometimes flying out to catch insects in flight. They tend to prefer to inhabit the shade of foliage; staying out of your field of vision. Although you will see them often in cities and parks during their long migration from the south and the northwest side of the continent.

The Western Tanager feeds predominantly on insects during the breeding season but it also incorporates fruits and berries into its diet when it can. The latter constitutes a major part of their diet.

How to Identify a Western Tanager? A Western Tanager by Debra Herst

You may have a hard time spotting one but with a little bit of luck and being in the right area you may spot one of these flashy and vibrant creatures!

The male Western Tanager has a scarlet red head, a vibrant yellow body and black wings. They are around 7 ¼ inches long with a wingspan of 11 ½ inches. The female is a little less conspicuous with a yellow body and black wings. More often than not, they are heard and not seen. As the male is extremely protective of its breeding grounds you will hear a robin-like song filled with arpeggiated whistles to claim his area.  When you do catch a glimpse of these elusive creatures, it may just look like a flickering flame!

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- mtello

Canada’s new 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) released on March 29 has a major hole in it: it ignores the massive greenhouse gas emissions (carbon) caused by clearcut logging of Canada’s globally-significant forests.

Canada is home to the largest remaining tracts of intact forests in the world. These forests store hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon, making them critical allies in the fight against climate change.

Yet every year, logging companies in Canada clear-cut around 400,000 hectares of intact forests in Canada’s Boreal region alone, an area equivalent to five NHL hockey rinks a minute.

The Government of Canada clings to the notion that net emissions from this widespread destruction of natural forests are minimal because companies replant saplings in place of the trees they fell.

Nature Canada’s analysis shows that this is just a myth—one we have been working hard to dispel. We’ve been urging the federal government to more accurately account for and report forest sector carbon emissions, and to take stronger action to protect intact forests and incentivize emission reductions by forestry companies. 

We released a major report with NRDC, Nature Québec and Environmental Defence last October, covered by CBC’s The National, showing that the actual net emissions from logging in Canada are over 80 million tonnes a year—the same amount of emissions as are produced by all of the country’s oil sands operations.

We aren’t the only ones who are skeptical of the federal government’s stance on logging and the emissions it causes. In the lead up to the launch of Canada’s ERP, nearly 100 scientists, including luminaries like Dr. Suzanne Simard and Dr. Diana Beresford-Kroeger, sent an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging the government to both enhance protection of climate-critical primary forests and commit to improve the accuracy of its logging emissions estimates in its new climate plan. The letter was covered by the Globe and Mail and a Canadian Press story about it was picked up by over 160 newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

There is also a widespread desire for stronger protection of forests among Canadians. 

Nature Canada recently released results from an Ekos Canada poll showing that 83 percent of Canadians want stronger government action to protect forests, and 73 percent want strong action to reduce logging emissions in Canada’s climate plan. The poll struck a chord: it was covered by the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and 110 other newspapers, and 30 radio stations across Canada featured interviews about it on the morning the new plan was released. 

What was in the ERP?

While the government did not yet recognize the true climate impacts of logging in its new Emissions Reduction Plan, it did acknowledge the need for continued action to improve the accuracy of the accounting of forest sector carbon emissions. More generally, it recognized the importance of protecting old-growth forests to fight climate change. Specifically, the plan allocated an additional $780 million to advance nature-based climate solutions that protect, restore and better manage forests, wetlands, grasslands and coastal areas.

Nature Canada is committed to working with officials from the federal departments of both Environment and Climate Change and Natural Resources to ensure that Canada takes action to more accurately report the true impacts of logging and implements policies to better protect primary forests and to support a transition to logging practices that are more compatible with a climate-safe future for humans and all other species. 

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- mtello
IPCC Mitigation Report Urges Nature Protection as Key Avenue for Climate Action

That’s the clarion call from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment report on Mitigation released this week.

Over six hundred scientists contributed to the writing of the report, which drew on more than 18,000 scientific papers to inform its assessment. 

The IPCC authors, as well as the 195 signatory countries, agree that rapid and deep emission reductions are needed to keep global warming below the dangerous 1.5°C tipping point—starting now.

Specifically, greenhouse gas emissions need to fall 43 percent from the 2019 level by 2030, and 84 percent by 2050.

Accomplishing this will require faster action to shift away from fossil fuels, increase energy efficiency, and reduce high-carbon consumption, especially in wealthy countries.

The new investments needed to drive the low-carbon transformation will be significant, but the authors are clear that the costs of inaction are much higher.

Two elk calves emerge from the forest and drink from a forest lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. Protecting nature is key to climate action

The IPCC report also underlines the importance of better protecting, restoring, and managing Earth’s critical ecosystems. Harnessing the innate benefits of nature can help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  

Agriculture, forestry, and other land-use practices currently make up approximately 22 percent of global emissions. At the same time, intact ecosystems play a critical climate role, absorbing about one-third of human-caused emissions each year.

The IPCC report indicates that the land-use sector can contribute 20-30 percent of necessary emission reduction to keep warming below 1.5°C. What’s more, most actions are eminently affordable on a dollars-per-tonne-of-emissions-reduced basis.

The most important action we can take in mitigating climate change is better protecting and restoring forests, peatlands, coastal wetlands, and grasslands. Doing so can reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by as much as seven billion tonnes—ten times Canada’s emissions.

Improved agricultural practices can reduce emissions by up to a further four billion tonnes a year, while shifting food consumption patterns (e.g. increasing plant-based diets and reducing food waste) can contribute another two billion tonnes in reductions. 

All of this will cost money: a sixfold increase in current spending ($700 million per year) on land-sector emissions reductions is needed.

Leveraging nature must also be based on an accurate assessment of the carbon emissions and removals from forests and other ecosystems. The IPCC report raises concern about significant discrepancies between different approaches to accounting for forest carbon. This reinforces Nature Canada studies showing that Canada is vastly underreporting the net emissions associated with logging.

But the benefits of protecting nature go far beyond limiting climate change. Protecting nature can help stop mass species extinction, advance Indigenous rights, improve mental and physical health, and strengthen our resilience to extreme weather.

Protecting and enhancing the carbon storage benefits of nature does not mean we can slow the transition away from fossil fuels—a separate and vital task. But it is a key requirement for a safe and livable future.

Canada has globally-significant forests, peatlands, grasslands, and coastal wetlands, and our government has stated a strong commitment to protect nature and halt biodiversity loss. We are, therefore, well-positioned to lead the way in leveraging nature in the fight against climate change.

Take Action

And you can help. Please, join other Canadians in urging the federal government to hold the logging industry accountable for their climate impacts and align logging sector policies with Canada’s climate, nature, and reconciliation goals. Sign the petition now.

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- Mark
Sunday book review – Field Guide to Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises by Mark Carwardine

I went to a talk at the 2018 Bird Fair by the author when he talked about the preparation of this book – and now here it is. It’s a fine field guide.

And it really is a field guide – a slim volume that can easily be pocketed in a coat and brought out on deck to check something. The pages are clear and well laid out – it’s easy to find the key information at a glance. If you were packing for a trip abroad and paused to wonder whether for your couple of days at sea it was worth taking this guide, you’d decide ‘yes’ as it is slim and looks like it will lead you in the right direction.

There are 93 species of cetacean covered here, and as I’ve only seen a sixth of them I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the information except by saying that Mark Carwardine is very widely acknowledged as an absolute expert in this field, or in these waters. You’ll be in good hands with this guide.

Most of the illustrations are by Mark Camm – they are very clear.

The cover? Yep, that’s a cover for this book – 8/10.

Field Guide to Whales, Porproise and Dolphins by Mark Carwardine is published (26 May) by Bloomsbury.

- Mark
Sunday book review – Peak District by Penny Anderson

This is a standard New Naturalist – a series of books that doesn’t feel very new, or at all ground-breaking these days. Penny Anderson gives a workpersonlike account of the wildlife and ecology of this area, mostly a National Park, and the habitats it includes.

There is mention of raptor persecution. Hen Harrier appears in the book’s index twice and we are told that they ‘…have always been rare in the Peak District … and have bred succcessfully only six times in the last 23 years … despite suitable suitable habitat being available.’ and that ‘Illegal persecution is a major issue for this species, not just here but more widely.’. There is discussion of persecution of other birds of prey, mention of the failed and failing bird of prey initiative and some words in the last chapter, which looks to the future, about having targets to put things right. The account lacks the sense of injustice that so many of us feel that here, in a National Park, protected birds of prey are shoved aside through the breaking of laws that have been on the statute book for, now, getting on for 70 years! It is suggested that solving this local issue might depend on action on grouse shooting by national government, but not what action is needed or desired.

Only in recent days has the news emerged of two Hen Harrier nests failing ‘mysteriously’ in the Peak District, on National Trust land, this year. In both cases the males ‘disappeared’ whilst away from the nest – one of the most favoured ways of causing nest failure these days. The National Trust knows that there will not be natural levels of Hen Harrier in the Peak District until grouse shooting ceases – it should do its bit, on its land, as a major local landowner and nationally in the corridors of apathetic power (I mean, of course, DEFRA and Natural England) to push for the national action that would help. But ceasing grouse shooting on its own land would be a good start if it said that it could see no reason to appear to support a land use that carries with it so much ecological damage and lawlessness.

Grouse shooting itself, identified as the major land use alongside farming in the northern part of the Peak District, the Dark Peak, is discussed. Where grouse moor management is discussed in most detail (pages 203-04) we learn that alongside burning there is ‘… legal predator control of Foxes, Carrion Crows, Stoats and Weasels, but the methods used are regulated‘ – nothing to cause any concern at all here then. We are told that ‘Ideally, diverse blanket bog should not be burned‘ but are not told how close to this ideal the grouse moors of the Dark Peak manage to get and why good practice cannot be enforced through the designations that apply to this land. Red Grouse diseases are briefly mentioned and the remedies that managers use to reduce the impacts on the Red Grouse, but the fact that such diseases are an economic problem of the grouse manager’s own making on grouse moors where Red Grouse densities are unnaturally high in order to enable recreational shooting is not explained. The conflicts between traditional grouse moor management and efficient carbon storage in blanket bogs are largely skirted. It may well be that the call by the Climate Change Committee for a cessation of all burning on blanket bogs, made in early 2021, was too late to include in this volume but there were plenty of previous such calls and evidence that might well have been given greater prominence. The EMBER study and its scientific papers were lacking as best I could see from the references and the index and I didn’t come across them in the text.

Grouse shooting is a major land use in the Peak District but the naive reader would get little flavour of the controversy surrounding this matter from the pages of this book. The controversy felt to me as though it were largely sidestepped.

Hen Harrier Days more or less started in the Peak District with the first major rally occurring in the Derwent Valley in pouring rain in 2014 – the #sodden570. Subsequent rallies were held in the Goyt Valley in 2015, Edale in 2016 and Sheffield in 2017. These perhaps were not worthy of any mention here but that made me wonder how the Kinder Mass Trespass, a provocation that was influential in opening up the uplands, bit by bit and against landowner opposition, featured here. It almost doesn’t. Of course the lump of Kinder Scout is mentioned but one of the most influential events in securing access to land for the people as a whole gets an early but brief mention (page 5) and is termed ‘the notorious Kinder Scout Mass Trespass in 1932‘ and that’s more or less an end to it. That seems strange to me in a book whose cover tells you that it deals with the region’s ‘storied history‘ by ‘weaving in human history to bring to life the evolution of the area.’.

I did though, particularly enjoy the last chapter on the future. I thought that the preceding 430+ pages, whilst packed with information, might have set up the thoughts for the future a bit better but here we are told about rewilding possibilities (though the word rewilding, interestingly, does not occur in the index) and the need for improved land management to reduce flood risks and to ensure carbon capture. The author is too kind, in my view, to the Glover report and the text for this book must have been completed before the utterly limp government response to Glover. But there should be a serious and passionate public debate about the future of our National Parks and their purpose. This book provides some of the information necessary for such a debate about this particular National Park, Britain’s first after all, but I wish it had sketched out more of a view for how the Peak District could be at the forefront of positive change in the future.

The cover? Is lovely, (and following the retirement of the late Robert Gillmor) is by Robert Greenhalf – I’d give it 7/10.

Peak District by Penny Anderson is published by Collins.

- Tricia Hodges
A Beautiful Queen Anne’s Lace Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Our family made great memories together one year while noticing and studying Queen Anne’s lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne’s lace nature study for your homeschool and see what you notice in each season too!

If you don’t have any Queen Anne’s Lace to observe in person, choose two other neighborhood weeds to study and compare using the ideas in the challenge.

Homeschool Nature Study members will find the suggestions in this challenge a great help in learning about this common wildflower. (Some call it a weed, but I prefer to think of it as a wildflower!) Members: Find this challenge in your Summer Continues Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum ebook.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool. Queen Anne’s Lace Nature Study

I suppose it’s the new awareness we have from last year’s summer study of Queen Anne’s lace. Or it could be recent rains. Or it could be that we didn’t really start looking for Queen Anne’s lace until late August of last year. Or it could be a combination of all those factors. Which, likely, it is.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

It’s abundant. We point and yell, “Look!” everywhere we drive. Lace lines the roadsides to the north Georgia mountains where we trekked last week. Lacey patches are right across the street – almost as tall as Middle Girl.

“Nature study cultivates in the child a love of the beautiful…”

~ Anna Botsford Comstock, The Teaching of Nature Study Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

(Above photos of her taken with my phone when we quick pulled off the road).

family homeschool nature study

And Queen Anne’s lace thrilled us in the usual spot we checked back in spring. When we went on a family walk that Sunday night before Memorial Day – there it was!

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

Ready for the picking.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

We scooped a few blooms and brought them home to study up close. To sketch.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

We also found a beautiful robin’s egg, right in the middle of the grass, while on our walk. We figured the recent winds and storms may have blown it out of its nest.

Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

Our up close studies helped us appreciate. As I sketched my flower, I noticed the hundreds of little, tiny flowers…

nature journaling

…the umbrella looking underneath, the pink tinges of a young blossom.

nature journaling

The children appreciated the certain color of green, the hairy stems, the dot in the center.

“The chief aim of this volume is to encourage investigation rather than to give information.”

~ Handbook of Nature Study homeschool nature journaling

During sketching we noticed that the outside flower clusters open first, just as the Handbook of Nature Study says.

Queen Anne’s lace makes this mama happy. It reminds me of childhood.

Homeschool Nature Study for Your Family

Join us this summer! Enjoy some deliberate delight with nature walks and simple, joyful learning.

Join Homeschool Nature Study Today! Make great memories by studying Queen Anne's lace throughout the seasons. Enjoy this beautiful Queen Anne's lace nature study for your homeschool.

How about you? Is Queen Anne’s lace lining your roadsides?

Tricia and her family fell in love with the Handbook of Nature Study and the accompanying Outdoor Hour Challenges early in their homeschooling. The simplicity and ease of the weekly outdoor hour challenges brought joy to their homeschool and opened their eyes to the world right out their own back door! She shares the art and heart of homeschooling at You ARE an ARTiST and Your Best Homeschool plus her favorite curricula at The Curriculum Choice.

The post A Beautiful Queen Anne’s Lace Nature Study for Your Homeschool appeared first on Homeschool Nature Study.

- Barb
The Habit of Gathering Things for Your Homeschool Nature Table
The Habit of Gathering Things for Your Homeschool Nature Table

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time.

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time. What is a Nature Table?

A Nature Table Is…

1. A table, shelf, box, or tray where teachers and families can gather and collect natural items for exploration and discovery.

2. A collection of natural objects gathered by the teacher or student for closer observation.

3. A place for the child to touch and interact with the natural items.

4. A place that changes with the seasons and interests of the student.

5. A collection of inanimate, living, and once living objects.

6. A place to encourage the outdoors to come indoors.

7. An aid to looking more closely at nature from your own backyard.

8. A part of a nature center, hopefully near a window for firsthand observation of things in your own yard or neighborhood.

9. A place to gather tools and ideas for further investigation.

Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here are some tips to help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table. How A Nature Table Can Work in Your Homeschool

The habit of collecting nature items for a homeschool nature table helps us transition from season to season. At the start of each season, we would evaluate which things on the table we would keep and which things could be taken back outside. Leaves get crunchy and flowers wilt over time, so they were easy to recycle. The other items like rocks and shells can live on the nature table or be stored in a box for future observations or display. I’m sure you’ll come up with a system of rotating items for your family that makes sense to you.

During our family nature walks, my boys would gather things to bring home for our nature collection. They were always asking me to carry things for them and soon my pockets would be stuffed with rocks, acorns, and other interesting natural items. If they had too many items, I would make them choose a few favorites.

Often, we would draw the items once we were home but many times these treasures went straight to our nature table. This habit of gathering items while outside together was one that connected our time in nature with our indoor life and learning.

Inevitably, the table would be covered with lots of things, and I decided we needed a system of displaying the items. I gathered a few baskets and plates and boxes for holding the bits they brought home from our outdoor excursions. (See the post linked below on how this worked with our rock collection.)

items for your nature table Practical Suggestions Please use common sense when adding things to the nature table. Please be cautioned about potentially hazardous items like glass jars, sharp objects, and/or possibly poisonous items like berries, mushrooms, and leaves.The nature table can be a part of a larger nature observation center in your classroom or home. Positioning the table near a window for outdoor observation is a great way to use the nature table as a place to gather nature study tools like magnifying glasses, binoculars, a nature journal, and field guides.Consider changing items from year to year to freshen up your seasonal nature table.Do not look at the items collected as something to necessarily save from one year to the next.Allow a place for new objects and for areas of interest.Let your children gather and collect items for the table if possible.

 

Here are some ideas from the past to inspire

If you’re not a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study yet, please consider joining to gain the benefit of having a nature study library at your fingertips.

Nature Table Display Ideas Pinterest boardBird Nature Table Ideas Moss on Your Nature Table – images and ideas5 Ways to Display Rocks on Your Nature TableTable Top Garden and Garden Flower Ideas for Your Nature Table Unsure of what a nature table is exactly? Here is simple definition with some ideas and tips. These will help you begin the habit of gathering things for your homeschool nature table during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time. More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! There are endless resources available for you to help create the habit of nature study within your family.

Find Out More About Homeschool Nature Study Membership HERE

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

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- Barb
Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling for Your Homeschool

I have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool. <<<<< This book is going to help me in my journaling and drawing skills immensely.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

This review includes Amazon.com affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling – Review

I finally received The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws from our public library and it has taken a few weeks to get through an initial read through of this detailed and thorough book. My first reaction was one of happy surprise.

I would have been happy with this book just being a helpful “how to” sort of book with suggestions and hints for getting started with drawing in my nature journal. It was much more than I expected! The sections at the beginning of the book were a delight as they unfolded many ideas and insightful help in the philosophy and methodology behind nature journaling. Laws reminds us that careful and thoughtful observations should be the backbone of our nature study.

“Copying the journaling approaches of others will not reduce your own creativity or make you a clone of another person. You will incorporate what you find useful into your own style and discard what does not work for you.” John Muir Laws (page 63)

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is full of inspiring illustrations that are not just in the book to be pretty. He breaks his example pages down to show how we can use the ideas and patterns in our own journals.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

 

There are many, many specific drawing tutorials for everyday subjects you may encounter in your nature travels like frogs, flowers, trees, birds, and so much more. This section of the book could be the basis for a complete course in nature journaling. If my children were still homeschooling, my brain would be organizing the material so we could work through it methodically.

“Before you pick up your journal again, reform your intentions; let go of the goal of making a pretty picture. You don’t have to be good at drawing to discover amazing things through the process of journaling. John Muir Laws (page 86)

One of my favorite sections in this book is the two page spread that is titled, “A Road Map from Wishes to Practice”. On these two pages, John Muir Laws puts into words so much of what I try to encourage my blog readers to remember about journaling – everyone can draw with practice!

Use This Book to Bump Your Journaling Skills to the Next Level

If you are new to drawing or feel you don’t have a gift for drawing, this book is going to be a perfect bridge for you to get from where you are to the next level. It has specific step by step tutorials that will give you the confidence to start a practice of journaling. The author gives us all encouragement that we can take our skills to the next level with lots of practice and we will only fail if we give up or don’t try!

I highly recommend The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. I am going to be purchasing it to help me in my nature goal for 2017 to create a nature journal page each week. It will be a very beloved and well used book that I will keep in my personal nature reference library. I may be purchasing a few as gifts to share with some young friends I know that love nature and drawing.

have seen many books on nature journaling but the Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool. Additional Thoughts If you read this book, don’t miss the first 17 pages. There are some fundamental ideas found there that I truly think will shape my thinking about science and nature study for a long time to come. He has gathered some important ideas on these pages and I would hate to think you are going to skip them to get to the drawing tutorials.He suggests using the prompts I notice, I wonder, and It reminds me of to help us go a little deeper in our nature journaling.There are project ideas that help you get started as you face a blank page. Check out pages 20 and 21.Although this book is written by someone who lives on the west coast of the United States, the ideas and tutorials are applicable to anyone no matter where you live.There is a comprehensive supplies list with specific suggestions that I found extremely helpful. I am a firm believer that having quality materials and a variety of media to choose from makes all the difference in your results.Not only does he have a list of supplies, he has pages dedicated to showing you exactly how to use the pencils, pens, colored pencils, gouche, watercolors, and watercolor pencils in your nature journal, including some common mistakes beginners make using the materials. Helpful!If you have never checked out the author’s website, you NEED to: John Muir Laws.

Look for this book at your public library or put it on your Amazon wishlist!

The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling is definitely the most thorough and potentially helpful of any book I’ve ever found for our homeschool.

first published 2017

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- Tricia Hodges
The Ultimate Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone Falls – Hodges, August 2020

What a treasure! Barbara McCoy and her family travel so many of America’s national parks, monuments and state parks. Here, I have gathered all that she has shared over the years and have added in a few of my family’s travels too. While many of Barb’s photos did not transfer over and are not included in these posts, her words and tips are so very valuable!

Barb and I got to take a trip to Florida together a few years ago – and we spent time studying nature. We even got to see an alligator. I shared about the memories we made together in my Florida Nature Studies.

Enjoy this Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool. We hope it helps you make glorious memories with your family!

Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool 10 Best of Everything National Park (Book Review)Acadia National ParkAmicalola Falls State Park (Tricia)Bryce Canyon National Park (Tricia)Cabrillo National MonumentCalaveras Big Trees State ParkChannel Islands National ParkCrater Lake National ParkDeath Valley National ParkDevil’s Postpile National MonumentEagle Lake Waterfall HikeEd Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State ParkFlorida Gulf Coast (Tricia)Georgia Civil War Field Trips (Tricia)Golden Isles of Georgia (Tricia) Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!Grand Canyon National Park – south rim – Hodges, August 2020. Grand Canyon National ParkGrand Canyon National Park sunrise (Tricia)Grand Canyon National Park sunset (Tricia)Grand Teton National Park – Colter Bay (Tricia)Grand Teton National Park – Grizzly BearsGrand Teton National Park – Jenny Lake Boat Ride and Hike (Tricia)Grand Teton National Park – String Lake (Tricia)Great Basin National Park Great Swamp National Wildlife RefugeHawaii Volcanoes National ParkHot Springs National ParkJohn Day Fossil Beds National Monument: Painted Hills UnitJoshua Tree National ParkKennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park (Tricia)Lake Tahoe in JuneLassen Volcanic National ParkMammoth Cave National Park Morristown National Historical Park Muir Woods Muir Woods National MonumentNewberry National Volcanic MonumentNorthern California Redwoods – Hiking Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Oregon State ParksPaterson Great Falls National Historic SitePetrified Forest National ParkPinnacles National ParkPoint Reyes National SeashoreProvidence Canyon State Park (Tricia)Redwoods National ParkSaguaro National Park Shenandoah National ParkSmith Rock State ParkTahoe National ForestTumalo State ParkUtah in AugustUtah – Little Cottonwood Canyon, Cecret Lake (Tricia)Utah – High Uinta Mountains, Mirror Lake, Christmas Meadows, Provo Falls (Tricia)Waterfalls to Visit in Georgia (Tricia)Weir Farm National Historic SiteWyoming in Summer Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors!Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic – Hodges 2020. Yellowstone National Park (Tricia)Yellowstone National Park – south to north (Tricia)Yosemite Half Dome HikeYosemite National Park – BearsYosemite National Park – Family Fun on a BudgetYosemite National Park – Hikes and WildflowersYosemite National Park – How to Beat the Crowds in SummerYosemite National Park – Planning a TripYosemite National Park – SpringYosemite National Park – SummerYosemite National Park – AutumnYosemite National Park – WinterZion National ParkZion National Park (Tricia)

Trekking American Landmarks with chalk pastels.I Drew It Then I Knew It American Landmarks Hands On Learning – American Landmarks Art Lessons

Do you dream of trekking America’s landmarks and national parks with your kids? With our sister website, You ARE an ARTiST, you can let Nana take you and your children on a trip around our great United States without leaving the comforts of your home. Trekking American landmarks with chalk pastels are as easy as walking to your kitchen table and setting out your chalk pastels with a pack of construction paper. Nana will do the rest.

No hiking shoes or sore feet required! Browse I Drew It Then I Knew It American Landmarks

Want even more ideas? Enjoy 99 Nature Study Ideas to Get Your Family Outdoors and Study Nature As You Travel This Summer.

Ready to enjoy a trip to a national park? Use this guide to national parks nature study for your homeschool and enjoy nature study learning while you explore the great outdoors! More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Find Out More About Homeschool Nature Study Membership HERE

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

The post The Ultimate Guide to National Parks Nature Study for Your Homeschool appeared first on Homeschool Nature Study.

- Barb
How Homeschool Nature Study Enriches High School Biology

Just how to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Here you will find a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module of your homeschool biology lessons. I really think it depends on the family and how much nature study you have time to fit in with your high school age children.

How to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Nature study definitely enriches high school biology. Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module. Homeschool Nature Study and High School Biology

There are two ways to approach homeschool nature study with high school biology.1. Start with nature study and supplement with a text.2. Use a text and supplement with nature study.

If you decide on approach number one, take each area of focus in the Outdoor Hour Challenge and add in supplemental information from a textbook.

Please note that affiliate links are included in our recommendations below. Please see our disclosure policy.

Using Apologia Exploring Creation with Biology OH Challenge: Garden Plants =Text Module 8 and 15OH Challenge: Insects =Text Module 3 and 12OH Challenge: Trees =Text Module 14OH Challenge: Mammals =Text Module 10 and 16OH Challenge: Flowerless Plants =Text Module 4 and 14OH Challenge: Birds =Text Module 16OH Challenge: Crop Plants =Text Module 8 and 15

For the second option, here is how I enhanced the Apologia biology text with nature study ideas…many of these ideas are on my Biology Squidoo Lens.

Module 1: Microbiology for Homeschool

Read biography of Carl LinnaeusRead Microbe Hunters, chapter 1 Leeuwenhoek

How to include homeschool nature study as part of high school biology? Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module. Module 2: Microbiology and Homeschool Biology Pond Study

Read Microbe Hunters, chapter 2 Spallanzani and chapter 3 PasteurStart a pond study to complement the study of microscopic organisms-protozoaUse A Golden Guide to Pond LifeRead biography of Louis PasteurField trip to a pond: Complete nature journal pages for things observed in real life.

Enjoy a Turtle Homeschool Nature Study.

Module 3: Continue Pond Study-Algae

Handbook of Nature Study section on insects of the brook and pondExamine pond water under the microscope.Complete nature journal pages on pond insects you observe.

beautiful moss homeschool nature study Module 4: High School Biology Nature Study Focus on Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Work with yeastWork with moldsThere are some ideas for study in the flowerless plants section of the Handbook of Nature Study.Take a nature walk to look for mushrooms and then complete nature journal pages for each one identified.

Modules 5-7: During These Modules We Used Local Field Guides to Identify Various Subjects From Our Nature Walks Each Week

The Biology Coloring Book by Robert Griffin-color appropriate pages to help visualize the abstract concepts in these modules

Homeschool nature study is definitely a part of high school biology! Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module. Module 8: Gardening for High School Biology

Growing pea plants to support Mendelian genetic study (just for fun).Read a biography of Gregor Mendel. (The picture book Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas looks like a wonderful way to include younger students).Grow radishes as part of experiment 8.4Worked on a garden plan for the following summer.

Module 9: Homeschool Rocks and Minerals Study

Read a biography of Charles Darwin Handbook of Nature Study section on rocks and mineralsUsing a field guide we identified several local rocks and made nature journal entries for each one.

Module 10: Mammals Study for High School Biology

Identify a local mammal and then draw where it fits in the food web.Learn about your local watershed and then diagram it or draw a map for your journal.Complete nature journal entries for mammals observed during this module.

Find more ideas in this Mammals Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

Module 11: Invertebrates for Homeschool Biology Studies

Dissection of an earthwormNature study focus on Invertebrates-garden snails, earthwormsHandbook of Nature Study section on invertebrate animals other than insectsComplete nature journal entries for invertebrates observed during our Outdoor Hour timeComplete a one small square activity and look for invertebrates or signs of invertebrates in your own garden or yard.

Earthworm Study for Your Homeschool

Module 12: High School Biology Study on Insects

Nature study focus on arachnida (spiders) and/or insects and/or lepidopteraDissection of a crayfishHandbook of Nature Study section on insectsComplete nature journal entries for insects observed during our Outdoor Hour time.

marine biology studies for homeschool biology Module 13: Amphibians and Fishes

Dissection of a perch and a frogNature study focus on amphibiansHandbook of Nature Study section on fishesHandbook of Nature Study section on amphibiansKeep an aquarium and use the Handbook of Nature Study suggestions for observations.

More in Homeschool Ocean Study and Marine Biology Resources.

Module 14: Plants

Collect leaf samples and make a pressed leaf collectionNature study focus on flowerless plantsHandbook of Nature Study section on flowerless plants

plants and wildflowers for high school biology study with homeschool nature study Module 15: Garden Flowers and Seeds

Insectivorous plants-observe a Venus Flytrap or SundewNature study focus on garden flowers-parts of a flowerCollect and press flowersGerminate seedsHandbook of Nature Study section on plants/garden flowersStart a seasonal tree study for a tree in your own yard

The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflower Nature Study for Your Homeschool

The Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool nature study using the Outdoor Hour Challenges Module 16: High School Biology Nature Study Focus on Birds, Reptiles or Mammals

Handbook of Nature Study section on birdsHandbook of Nature Study section on reptilesHandbook of Nature Study section on mammalsKeep a pet and make observations based on suggestions in the Handbook of Nature Study.Hang a birdfeeder and keep a log of birds that visit.Go bird watching and make journal entries for each bird you identify.

The Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool Nature Study Resources Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can see how you can take an idea and then expand on it using nature study. If you use the basic ideas I have illustrated with the biology topics, you can make a study of nature high school level. Keep everything relevant to your local area and it will be a joy to work on each week. Your family will learn so much together as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

SaMore Resources For Your Homeschool High School Biology and Nature Study Find the answer to the question, Does Homeschool Nature Study Count as Science?See how Tricia’s family used Nature Study to Complement High School Biology.Review of Apologia Biology by Tricia and by Daniele.

All of the Outdoor Hour Challenges that pair with homeschool high school biology are included in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Find Out More About Homeschool Nature Study Membership HERE

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

Homeschool nature study definitely enriches high school biology! Here is a break down of nature study suggestions and accompanying resources for each module.

Spublished August 2009 by Barb

The post How Homeschool Nature Study Enriches High School Biology appeared first on Homeschool Nature Study.

- Barb
Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers

These timeless Charlotte Mason nature study ideas are as relevant today as when they were written and I’m forever grateful for the encouragement these gave me when I was a new homeschooler. The ideas for this post have been taken from Volume One of Charlotte Mason’s homeschooling series.

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers includes ideas for how to help your child engage in nature and study wildflowers. Charlotte Mason – Simple Nature Study Ideas for Wildflowers

My children benefited from Miss Mason’s simple and consistent approach to learning. We didn’t waste time learning things for a test, but were encouraged to explore and observe the natural world right outside our doorstep.

I would like to offer you the road map to learning about wildflowers in a “Charlotte Mason” way by giving you a short list that summarizes her ideas found in Volume One on page 51 under the subheading of “Flowers and Trees”.

Elements of a Wildflowers Nature Study

Your child should be able to:

Describe the shape, size, and placement of the leaves.Note whether there is a single blossom or a head of flowers.Observe the flower and its habitat so well that it can be recognized in any location in the future.Use a field guide to learn about the wildflower (with help from a parent if needed).Collect, press, and make a record of the flower’s habitat and location. ***Optional: Make a watercolor of the flower or the whole plant.

*** It’s important to note that we shouldn’t be picking flowers in great numbers. Many wildflowers do not last long once picked and therefore are wasted if not going straight into a flower press. Here is Anna Botsford Comstock’s advice on picking wildflowers from the Handbook of Nature Study:

“Some flowers are so abundant that they can be picked in moderation if the roots are not disturbed, if plenty of flowers are left for seed, and if the plant itself is not taken with the flower….Everyone should have the privilege of enjoying the natural beauty of the countryside. Such enjoyment is impossible if a relatively small number of people insist upon picking and destroying native plants for their own selfish interests.”

HNS page 460 blue flag iris More Wildflowers Nature Study Ideas for Your Homeschool

If you’d like help in getting started with a wildflower study, I have some thorough posts with some ideas for your family:

Learn the Parts of a FlowerThe Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Nature StudyCharlotte Mason Nature Study for Your Homeschool

There are three sets wildflower curriculum available in Homeschool Nature Study membership!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get outdoors!

Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers includes ideas for how to help your child engage in nature and study wildflowers.

The post Charlotte Mason Nature Study: Simple Ideas for Wildflowers appeared first on Homeschool Nature Study.

- Barb
Great Sunflower Project for Your Homeschool

What is the Great Sunflower Project? This is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children. If you can grow a sunflower (or selected other flowers), you can join the project with just a few minutes invested later this summer.

The Great Sunflower Project is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children this summer. Great Sunflower Project for Your Homeschool

Is the Great Sunflower Project difficult?

The basic idea for this activity is to sit quietly and observe any bees that visit your sunflower. This is a perfect summer nature study project for families with children of all ages.

What is the Sunflower Nature Study time commitment?

Participants are asked to make three observations of at least 5 minutes each. That’s it! Of course, you can participate more than that if your kids enjoy counting bees.

The Great Sunflower Project is a citizen science activity that you can participate in with your children this summer. Why we count bees as part of the Great Sunflower Project

The decline in bees affects everyone! This project helps collect data for scientists to use to track the bee population. If you would like to read more, click over to the website: Great Sunflower Project.

Interested in more information?

Here’s a sunflower nature study video on YouTube to go with your sunflower time.

I just planted my sunflower seeds for my summer garden. I purchased my Lemon Queen sunflowers from Renee’s Garden. Lemon Queen is the variety of flower preferred by the Great Sunflower Project. These are beautiful yellow sunflowers with lots of pollen.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in a comment or in an email.

Combine your sunflower nature study with this citizen science project. There are several great nature study ideas in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

homeschool nature study membership More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Find Out More About Homeschool Nature Study Membership HERE

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

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- Barb
Study Nature As You Travel This Summer

Right now we are all ready to be outside and doing our normal summer activities. If you are planning a trip to a natural area to enjoy the outdoors, you may want to include nature study for your summer travel plans. Implement some of the ideas below to enhance your outdoor time.

Why not incorporate Nature Study into your family's summer travel plans? These tips and tricks will help you get started. Four steps to preparing for nature study as you travel this summer

It is so important to prepare ahead by researching the places you will be visiting. You may even need to make reservations to visit your preferred natural area.

From my original post:

“The difference between a good outdoor experience and a great outdoor experience with an opportunity for nature study is sometimes just a matter of preparation. Summer nature study is a perfect fit for most families with the weather being more enjoyable and with longer days to enjoy. Whether you are visiting a new city, exploring your own city, or taking a road trip, including nature study in your plans can make your time more fun and interesting. Our family tries to include some element of outdoor time to each traveling experience.”

Why not incorporate Nature Study into your family's summer travel plans? These tips and tricks will help you get started. Research the Nature Habitat

1. Do a little research ahead of time for the habitat you will be visiting. Determine what you will encounter on your trip that might make for interesting nature study. I linked some ideas below along with some simple nature study books to get you started. Make sure to use your local library to find more books to prepare your family before your trip so you have some things to look forward to seeing in real life. For example, if you are going to be visiting an ocean beach, learn what plants, birds, and animals make their home there. You can also use the Handbook of Nature Study to read about things you think you might encounter during your summer travels.

Please note the links above and further in this blog entry are Amazon affiliate links.

Habitats Might Include:

SeashoreWoodsDesertPondDeciduous Forest Boreal Forest (Northern) Find Nature Field Guides

2. Find resources such as field guides or other nature related books to read or bring along with you. I suggest a good bird field guide, a wildflower field guide, and perhaps a tree field guide as a basic set of resources to have with you. Check your library for books you can borrow and take with you. (See my post on my Favorite Field Guides.) To prepare, you should page through the field guides before you leave on your trip to be familiar with the layout of the book and perhaps to glean a few things ahead of time to be looking for as you go outdoors. Additional field guide ideas will be found on my website (Handbook of Nature Study).

nature journaling Bring Your Nature Journal

3. Bring along your nature journal or some pre-printed notebook pages. During down time, it is nice to have supplies on hand to make a nature journal entry to record your nature study as you travel. Basic art supplies like markers or colored pencils are easy to pack. I also like watercolor pencils for nature journal entries. Keep it simple. Taking their own photos is fun for children and then to use as they document their own view of the trip. Encourage your children to take photos of things that they observe for future reference in identifying or including in their nature journals.

My suggestions for nature journal supplies and then nature journal ideas can be found here:  Nature Journals-Ideas and Tips.  In preparing for your trip, you could also look up a few of the Outdoor Hour Challenges before you leave, the first five challenges can be applied to any habitat.

If you have access to the first Getting Started with the Outdoor Hour Challenges Guide, you can have that loaded on your laptop or phone as a reference while traveling.

Research Nature Centers

4. I also like to look up nature centers or nature trails in the areas we visit. A good nature center visit can take an hour or two and can provide a spark to capture the interest of everyone in the family. The staff will be knowledgeable about the local habitat, giving you advice on where to go and what to see. They also can help identify anything you have observed but can’t put a name to as you try to make your journal entries. Most nature centers have bookstores that can provide additional resources to follow-up your nature study time. I found this list of Nature Centers in the United States. (This list does not look complete but it will get you started.)

We just returned from a camping trip to the coast. I had brought along my nature journal supplies and a few field guides. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to end the day by creating a recap of the daily events and things of interest we observed. Capturing the details as they happen help remind you later of things you may want to research further. Nature study will help you train your children ask good questions and get them to observe things more closely. These skills are ones that will cross over into all areas of their life.

Use the time ahead of a trip to prepare for your nature study and you will reap the benefits as your family takes their learning to a new level. Explore a new place this summer!

homeschool nature study membershiop More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Find Out More About Homeschool Nature Study Membership HERE

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

The post Study Nature As You Travel This Summer appeared first on Homeschool Nature Study.

- Tricia Hodges
Goat Homeschool Nature Study for All Ages

This goat homeschool nature study is packed with fun from fainting goats to advanced mammal studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

This goat homeschool nature study is packed with fun from fainting goats to advanced mammal studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Goat Homeschool Nature Study A funny video on fainting goats to catch your children’s attentionHandbook of Nature Study reference pages, Outdoor Hour time and follow up journal suggestionsPrintables for your goat study in your Spring Outdoor Hour Challenge CurriculumBurgess Book of Animals pages to read aloud.Learn what is a mammal?Online links to view goatsAdvanced students: the history of goats, study on breeds of goats, the digestive system (Goats are ruminant animals – animals with four stomachs)How to draw a goat This goat homeschool nature study is packed with fun from fainting goats to advanced mammal studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Virtual Field Trip to Learn About Goats

For a fun virtual field trip, be sure to follow all the goat adventures with Accidental Country Folk. Jodi shares more than goats – including a fancy chicken named Ms. Frizzle on Instagram too!

The Ultimate Guide to Mammals Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

You can enjoy a simple mammals homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! Go to The Ultimate Guide to Mammals Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges.

NOTE: All of the mammals homeschool nature study resources listed are available as an Outdoor Hour Challenge in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your mammals nature study.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

homeschool nature study membership

Visit our website to find an affordable membership option that suits you. Why not give membership a try for a month and go from there. We would love to have you along for the adventure!

Join Homechool Nature Study Membership Today! This goat homeschool nature study is packed with fun from fainting goats to advanced mammal studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here's a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

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- Tricia Hodges
Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members.

This earthworm homeschool nature study is packed with great learning for all ages and even includes advanced invertebrate studies! Bring the Handbook of Nature Study to Life in your homeschool! Here’s a peek at what you can expect to enjoy in this Outdoor Hour Challenge for Homeschool Nature Study members. Earthworms Homeschool Nature Study: Invertebrates

“Any garden furnishes abundant material for the study of earthworms. They are nocturnal workers and may be observed by lantern or flashlight….For the study of the individual worm and its movements, each pupil should have a worm with some earth upon his desk.”Handbook of Nature Study, page 424

Take 15 minutes of your outdoor hour time to find a place in your yard to dig for worms. If you have a garden or flower bed, you may be successful in finding earthworms just a few inches down in the soil. Use some of the suggested activities from the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study to carefully observe your earthworms.

This earthworms homeschool nature study for our members includes:

Handbook of Nature Study references and indoor preparation timeSuggestions and questions for your Outdoor Hour TimeA list of questions to ask during your earthworm nature study timeFollow up activity for your nature journal

Members will find the full homeschool nature study in the Spring with Art and Music Appreciation Outdoor Hour course and curriculum.

You can use the notebook page provided with Spring with Art and Music Appreciation course or your own blank nature journal to record you observations and sketches. Don’t forget to sketch and label your earthworm.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

More Earthworm Links My Anatomy-Getting to Know Squirmin’ Herman. This is an excellent source of specific information about the parts of an earthworm.Worm World: Invertebrates FactsProject to try: Quart Jar Worm FarmSpring Nature Study with Multiple Ages – not only an earthworm study but more!Our sister website, You ARE an ARTiST, has a new earthworm art lesson for Clubhouse members in the Backyard Nature course. Join Homeschool Nature Study membership today!

Visit our website to find an affordable membership option that suits you. Why not give membership a try for a month and go from there. We would love to have you along for the adventure!

first published May 2010 and updated May 2022

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