Archive for the ‘Steward’ Category

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


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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


All About Birds

The Raptors

Birds of Prey Facts

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Just before Christmas, Aurora’s Brownie Troop made coupons as Christmas gifts for their mothers and fathers. The coupons read:playing near the CT river New Years

  • This coupon entitles you to 1 big hug.
  • This coupon entitles you to 1 set table: knives, forks, spoons, napkins and even beverages.
  • This coupon entitles you to the last cookie, serving of ice cream, bit of chocolate milk, you name it and it’s yours.
  • This coupon entitles you to 1 story read by me.
  • This coupon entitles you to have me pair all the socks in a load of laundry.
  • This coupon entitles you to one boardgame played with me.
  • This coupon entitles you to 1 chore: pick up the living room, vacuum, wash the counters, you name it, I’ll do it.

Cuba Gallery: Winter / lake / nature / landscape / mountains / trees / hills / water / beach / photography / New Zealand
The girls enjoyed decorating the coupons and wondered how their parents would react to each one. The activity was a success. The Brownies liked the idea of giving their mothers and fathers time, affection, labor, indulgences and activities.
As the new year approaches, I wonder about gifts for the planet. Pledges and promises of conservation, awareness, protection and stewardship are the valued gifts we need to shower upon our Earth. Think about our beautiful planet, then think about your place in the world. How can you make a difference, what can you do to make the world a better and healthier place? Once you have settled on your pledges, go out into the woods, stand by a river, sit on a beach, visit the natural setting that inspires you to pledge your allegiance to the planet and say those pledges out loud. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • I pledge to use less water.
  • I pledge to hold a year-long litter cleanup campaign: When I see litter I will pick it up.
  • I pledge to become a member of a local or national environmental organization, Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund.
  • I pledge to learn more about an endangered animal and will tell others about it.
  • I pledge to reduce my use of plastics.
  • I pledge to learn the definition of sustainability
  • I pledge to buy local foods.
  • I pledge to learn the real story about global warming.
  • I pledge to grow a least one type of food, tomatoes, beans, corn, spinach, lettuce, this year.
  • I pledge to use less fuel.
  • I pledge to recycle.
  • I pledge to stop drinking bottled water.
  • I pledge to hike trails, canoe on rivers, walk beaches, kayak on lakes, summit mountains. I will enjoy and appreciate our natural resources and natural settings.

A Day Without Plastic

21 Practical Ways to Help the Environment

Climate Change Kids Site

CT River New Years


100 Ways to Save the Enviornment



50 Ways to Help the Planet

50 Quick, Painless Ways You Can Help the Environment Today

Happy New Year from Barking Frog Farm

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Cedar Wax Wing

Birders are busy in late December, but not hunting for deals on Christmas gifts like so many other folks. They are out counting every bird that hops, swims or flies into view. For more than 100 years, individual bird lovers, families, students and scientists have volunteered their time between December 14 and January 5 to participate in the longest-running wildlife census. The Christmas Bird Count began on Christmas Day 1900. Prior to that, a Christmas tradition among hunters had been to organize themselves into teams and hold competitions to see who could shoot and kill the most birds. Ornithologist Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition, a “Christmas Bird Census.” Participants in the census would count birds rather than kill them.

Vôo dos Carcarás (Polyborus plancus) - Crested's or Audubon's Flight 30 21-06-07 177 - 9

The data collected during the Christmas Bird Counts gives the Audubon Society and other environmental organizations information about the long-term health of bird populations across North America. This knowledge, combined with information from other surveys, has helped scientists identify changes in bird populations over the past 100 years. The information helps scientists make conservation plans to protect birds and their habitats, and also helps identify environmental issues and their implications for life on the planet.

To find out more about volunteering for the Christmas Bird Count click on the link below or contact your local Audubon. Make counting birds a Christmas Tradition for your family.

Get Involved with the Christmas Bird Count

NPR’s Bird Note

Christmas Bird Count

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Homage to Jacques (Cousteau) #1

When I was a child and a Jacques Cousteau Special was on television, it felt like a holiday. It meant pajamas on early, popcorn made, drinks poured and the entire family in one room watching Jacques Cousteau aboard the Calypso. Years later, when I started my own family, I turned my son William on to the Cousteau family. We watched many undersea adventures together. William starts college next fall and will study biology. His sights are set on helping endangered mammals in the rainforest. I am happy to think that the Cousteau family has had a part in this plan. Last week, I introduced my daughter Aurora and my son Stephen to Jean-Michel and Céline Cousteau when we watched Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures: Return to the Amazon. After that program, Aurora announced she wants to be an underwater photographer. We’ll see – she is only 7 years old. Though if this plan continues, Céline Cousteau would be a great role model for her.

I feel such a closeness to the Cousteau family that when I saw an article about Fabien Cousteau in the November/December issue of Sierra, I smiled and eagerly read it. To commemorate his grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau‘s 100th birthday and World Oceans Day, in June he launched a nonprofit organization called Plant a Fish. The organization’s programs are active, hands-on outdoor education and restoration based.  They empower local communities to take action when aquatic species of plants and animals are identified as environmentally stressed. To learn more about this valuable organization and its programs, visit the website at plantafish.org.

Plant a Fish’s first four programs:

    Green Sea Turtle 

  • Oyster “C Garden” Program
  • Turtle “C Garden” Program
  • Mangrove “C Garden” Program
  • Coral “C Garden” Program

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The 50th anniversary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is approaching. Many, myself included, feel it shoulddevils tower be designated as a national monument. This would provide the Arctic Refuge with protection for critical habitat that is home to many types of wildlife: birds, polar bear, musk ox, and caribou, to name a few. The President of the United States can declare an area of the U.S. to be a national monument without the approval of Congress. The power to grant national monuments began in 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devils Tower in Wyoming the first national monument on September 24, 1906.

If you agree that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge needs more protection, let President Obama know. Ask him to designate the Arctic Refuge as a national monument.

For more information visit the links below:

Write to President Obama and ask him to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a National Monument.

A 50th Birthday Present for ANWR.


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New England Cottontail
I learned something unexpected during our annual land trust meeting on Monday. New England Cottontails are being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. When you’re thinking of rabbits, don’t you think in terms of many, many rabbits? If there is a stereotype about rabbits, it has to do with prolific breeding. A visitor from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service gave us a new picture: A reduction in thicket habitat is the primary reason for the decline in New England Cottontail numbers. Rabbits living on small patches of thicket deplete their food supply sooner. This leaves them with two choices: eat lower quality food and compromise their health or search for food in more risky areas. Another fact that our visitor shared when talking about reasons for the Cottontail’s decline I found interesting: The eyes of a New England Cottontail are set closer to the front of the face than the Eastern Cottontail’s. Consequently the Eastern Cottontail’s peripheral vision is better. It can see an owl from 30 yards away, while the New England Cottontail will see that same owl when it is 10 yards away. So let’s get the word out, the New England Cottontail is in need of protected habitat and public awareness.

For more information and ways to help see links below:
Kids who care about New England Cottontails

Eye Help Animals

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service New England Cottontail

Rabbit at Risk

A Landowner’s Guide to New England Cottontail Habitat Management

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