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Take 1 more trip to the beach after reading BFF’s Sept book, Leo Lionni’s On My Beach There are Many Pebbles. Read more http://ow.ly/6lY7c

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snowmankids and snowmanLast week, we finally had good snowman-making snow. Stephen and Aurora rolled snowballs through the yard, encouraging them to get larger and larger, until they were the desired sizes for a head and a body. The completed snowman parts were stacked one on top of the other. The kids decided to take a page out snowman and squirrelof the book Stranger in the Woods and decorate the snowman with food to feed our backyard friends. Birdseed, apples, cereal, and carrots were used to make eyes, hair, a nose, and buttons. Then some extra was sprinkled around just because the kids knew it wouldn’t go to waste. We saw a lot of activity around the snowman. Many turkeys, birds and squirrels feasted on the treats of our snowman. Let us know the kinds of backyard friends you have in your area.snowman and turkeys

Friday Photo

Sunsets Farewell Kiss to Summer, San Diego, California

warm thoughts

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Barking Frog Reads is featuring a book about friendship and connection. This book was conceived by Craig Hatkoff and his seven-year-old daughter after they read a newspaper article about a baby hippo who was separated from his pod during the 2005 Indonesian tsunami.

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship is the story of that hippo, who was left alone on a reef in Kenya. He was tired, frightened and unable to reach the shore on his own. Hundreds of villagers and visitors worked together to help the young hippo get safely to shore. He was offered a place to live at an animal sanctuary called Haller Park. The baby hippo’s journey from reef to shore to sanctuary was frightening; lots of people, noises, nets, vehicles and he was alone. His hippo family was gone. He arrived at the sanctuary weak and exhausted.

At Haller Park, the hippo was given the name Owen. He was put in an enclosure with bushbucks, monkeys and a giant solitary Aldabra tortoise named Mzee. As soon as Owen entered the enclosure he crouched behind Mzee, the way baby hippos often hide behind their mothers for protection. The next morning the hippo and the tortoise were still together, with Owen snuggling up against Mzee. In the protective presence of the 130-year-old tortoise, Owen calmed down, started eating and regained his strength.

This book is full of images of Owen’s journey to the sanctuary and life at the sanctuary with Mzee and the people who care for the animals at Haller Park. Children from kindergarten-age to fifth grade will enjoy this inspirational book.

If you would like more information about Owen and Mzee visit owenandmzee.com.

Other books about this remarkable pair:

Owen & Mzee: Language of Friendship

Best Friends (Owen and Mzee)

Owen and Mzee: A Day Together

Best Friends: The True Story of Owen and Mzee (All Aboard Science Reader)

A Mama for Owen

Talk Hawk

Cooper's hawk

Last week a Cooper’s Hawk arrived in the Library of Congress. It was first spotted last Wednesday. This bird of prey may have flown in through a broken window in the dome of the Main Reading Room. The hawk likes to perch in the 160-foot-high dome, but at times swoops through the library, creating a lot of excitement. Attempts have been made to lure her down with live bait and frozen quail. She managed to successfully snatch the quail without being caught. But a week after her arrival, a three-member team from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia captured the hawk, using as bait a caged pair of starlings, named Frick and Frack. The hawk will be restored to health and then released into the wild.

A story like this creates a wonderful opportunity for teaching children about nature. Sharing this story is a great way to teach kids about hawks and other birds of prey. Ask your children, “Did you hear, there was a hawk in the Library of Congress?” The curiosity of childhood will take it from there. All kinds of questions will be asked, and together you can have lots of fun finding the answers. Below are some links that will get you started:

Library of Congress Blog

NPR Story of the Cooper’s

RSPB Kids

All About Birds

The Raptors

Birds of Prey Facts

Friday Photo

snow, snow, snow

snow, snow, snow

Barking Frog Farm would like to give a Shout Out to the Sierra Club and all the other agencies that helped convince the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to veto the water pollution permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers for the 2,300 acre Spruce No. 1 Mine project in West Virginia. This project would have been one of the largest mountaintop removal mines ever proposed in Appalachia.

1: Mountain-top removal mining

To learn more about this process and its environmental impact visit the links below:

What is Mountain Top Removal Mining?

Sierra Club

I love Mountains

Greenhouse Gorilla