Watching the wildlife can be endlessly entertaining.
Nice photo from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Beautiful place, nice photographic capture.
Then I look, and I see a lot of necrotic tree tops. Acid Rain? Warming? Pine borers or some other insect?
Sometimes, Mark Twain’s lament is right. Sometimes you know too much to just sit back in awe. Feynman was right, too.
- “Winter’s freeze stopped ash borers and stink bugs cold, but they’re primed for a comeback,” Washington Post
- “All the dead trees,” William Britten Photography
- Hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive species, National Park Service
Ken Burns called the National Parks probably the best idea America has had.
Certainly a great idea — really born on this day, 142 years ago, with the designation of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone NP contains the world’s largest collection of geysers. It is the heart of the largest, nearly-intact temperate zone ecosystem on Earth as well, contained in 3,468 square miles (8,983 km²), a laboratory and playground for geologists, geographers, botanists, zoologists, and almost anyone else who loves the nature and the wild.
Only 142 years old? In the U.S., we have more than 300 units in the National Park System, now, including National Historic Places as well as the best of the wild. Around the world, how much land has been saved, for the benefit of humanity, by this idea? Not enough.
What’s your favorite memory of Yellowstone? What’s your favorite feature?
- Note at Indian Country Today media network, on the troubled history, too
- Disease-free Yellowstone bison okayed to start wild herds in other places, Christian Science Monitor
- “Its up, up and away for ancient trapped helium at Yellowstone National Park,” Los Angeles Times
- Yellowstone recruiting for 2014 Youth Conservation Corps
- “The wonders of wolf-watching in Yellowstone National Park,” Washington Post
- “Yellowstone: The great American family vacation,” at Experiential Passage
- Ferdinand Hayden’s geological survey, at Now We Know ‘Em
- “Why we love America’s National Parks,” at Passport To Your National Parks® Blog
- “Hitching a ride” and “Winter Walk” at Fiordiliso Photography
- “Wolf as ecosystem engineer,” at 9 Fox Tales
It’s just a click of the shutter? Ha!
I’m assuming not a lot of post-photo processing on this. Lynn Sessions had to figure out when the Moon would be in the North Window Arch, calculate exposure, and shoot off enough of them to get a decent shot before the Moon moved. I suspect the rocks were “painted” with a flashlight during the exposure.
(Haven’t yet found the technical details of the shot. But I did find this about the photographer:
I’m a frustrated amateur photographer who is trying to visit every corner in Utah as well as hike/photograph every canyon in southern Utah. More at http://www.DreamBreeze.com )
Patience, planning, creativity — then just push the button.
- North Window Arch and South Window Arch, together, are sometimes known as The Spectacles
- Arches National Park, at Marbleart.us
- Hiking the Windows Trail, at Utah.com
- Official site for Arches National Park
I was born on the Snake River, farther south and west, in Burley, Idaho. It’s a grand river, not so much in the water it moves as the way it moves through the landscape and becomes a part of grander parts of the American west. Kathryn and I honeymooned in Yellowstone, and stayed in Grand Teton on the way out.
There is nothing grander on Earth than a sunrise in the Tetons. Do you think a grizzly appreciates that?
Yeah, gotta get back there.
I love the poetic descriptions, from geologists!
Uploaded on Dec 7, 2009
Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America, and is a powerful presence in Yosemite Valley. From winter ice to spring flood to autumn dryness, this magnificent waterfall is a dynamic force of nature.
There’s even a resurrection story for the falls. Maybe Emily Dickinson was on to something about finding religion in nature.
- Yosemite National Park sponsors film contest for youths (fresnobee.com)
- The Mist Trail : Yosemite National Park (nobodygoingnowhere.wordpress.com)
- San Jose: High school student wins national honor for brave save at Yosemite (mercurynews.com)
Icy day here in Dallas, we missed a lot of dates that should have been commemorated.
Let’s catch this one: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was created 53 years ago today in the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, by Interior Secretary Fred A. Seaton.
ANWR finds itself the center of controversy, now, because of the possibility of oil underneath it, and the difficulty of getting that oil without destroying wildlife habitat, or the possibility of destructive oil spills. For an understanding of the issues, visit ANWR’s website and the non-partisan discussion there.
Odd that land so severely beautiful, so far out of the way and so difficult to master, has its fate decided in marble halls in Washington, D.C., 3,172 miles distant. The United States is a big, sprawling nation.
Information on the ANWR:
History and Culture
Refuge Establishment: Legislation and Purposes
The Arctic Refuge was established in 1960 and expanded in 1980.
- Brief description of Refuge purposes
- Public Land Order 2214 creating the Range in 1960
- Excerpts from the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act expanding the Refuge and its purposes in 1980
The Arctic Refuge has been providing for the physical and emotional well-being of humans for many thousands of years. It remains an important resource to help sustain local Eskimo and Indian cultures. The Refuge continues to be valued, even by those who never travel within it’s borders, as a symbol of America’s vast and remote wilderness – a place of inspiration and beauty – a promise for the future for all Americans.
- Caribou Fences: People of the Caribou
- Time Line – Establishment and management of the Refuge
- Legacy of Conservation
- Discover what three official names the Refuge has had.
- Partial listing of historic writings related to the Refuge
The lands of the Arctic Refuge continue to support the Inupiat Eskimo and Gwich’in Indian peoples who have lived here for centuries.
- ANWR Campaigns March On, No End in Sight (alaskapublic.org)
- Senate Duo Announces Bill Protecting 1.56M Acres of Arctic Refuge (joemiller.us)
- PolitiFact Florida: Dave Weldon claims no wildlife in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (tampabay.com)
- Legislation introduced would prevent drilling in ANWR (juneauempire.com)
- Alaska oil separates Hanabusa and Schatz (staradvertiser.com)
- A bipartisan call to protect the Arctic (seattlepi.com)
- In a Warming Arctic, Oil Drilling Brings Disaster (Op-Ed) (livescience.com)
In Oregon, a scientist’s view from a field research station at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
A photo from the actions of President Theodore Roosevelt:
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 18, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt as the Lake Malheur Bird Reservation. Roosevelt set aside unclaimed lands encompassed by Malheur, Mud and Harney Lakes “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.” The newly established “Lake Malheur Bird Reservation” was the 19th of 51 wildlife refuges created by Roosevelt during his tenure as president. At the time, Malheur was the third refuge in Oregon and one of only six refuges west of the Mississippi [six, then].
- The Oregon Outback – September, 2013 (oregonfieldnotes.wordpress.com)
- Oregon DFW Fish Passage Task Force to Consider Passage Waivers for Baker County and Malheur Basin Projects (outdoorhub.com)
- Burns explores Roosevelt legacy in new documentary (thenewstribune.com)
It’s a composite of 11 photographs to get the whole panoramic view — which just demonstrates that in photography it’s great to be lucky, but it usually takes great skill to get that amount of luck.
How much processing was involved, really?
Don’t worry, just check out the photo.
- Typewriters of the moment: Mitford and Carson, two environmental journalists (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
- How Rachel Carson Are You? (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- How to become a good scientist (usfwsnortheast.wordpress.com)
- Science and Imagination Under the Sea-Wind (bigbearblue.wordpress.com)
Photo and press release from NASA’s Earth Observatory:
Description of the photo:
Taken with a short lens (50 millimeters), this west-looking image from the International Space Station includes much of forested central Idaho. The oblique image highlights part of the largest single wilderness area in the contiguous United States, the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness.
Within this mountainous region (the dark areas are all wooded), several fires produced extensive smoke plumes. The densest smoke appeared to be generated by a combination of the Little Queens and Leggit fires (within the Salmon River Mountains [link added]). This image shows the common pattern of westerly winds carrying smoke in an easterly direction, as seen during the wildfire season of one year ago.
Named fires—most ignited by lightning—had burned 53,000 acres of forest south of the Salmon River by August 20, 2013; the number would be significantly higher if unnamed fires were included. The Gold Pan fire, north of the Salmon River, had burned 27,000 acres. For a sense of scale, Gold Pan lies about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of the Little Queens fire.
Ten days before this image was taken, fires in central Idaho (near Boise) had been aggravated by southerly winds. Some of those fires began to burn in July, but were quelled and remain under observation for new flare-ups.
In the image above, smoke partly obscures the black lava flows of the Craters of the Moon National Monument [link added] (lower left). The Beaverhead Mountains [link added] mark the eastern boundary of Idaho with Montana.
Astronaut photograph ISS036-E-32853 was acquired on August 18, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 50 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 36 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs/JETS at NASA-JSC.
Instrument: ISS – Digital Camera
My older brother Dwight was a firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management in the early 1960s. There were some huge fires then — but not so many, so large, all at once. While we don’t have satellite photos to compare from way back then, this is just scary. Those were scary on the ground, and smaller than these — and fewer.
Notice in the photo below, some of these huge fires are not even big enough to be named. Wow.
- NASA scientists study wildfire trends from space (ktvb.com)
- Fires Around Darwin, Australia (spaceref.com)
- Astronaut’s astounding ISS mission photos (flickr.net)
- News on California fires, at California Fire Blog
- Uncontrollable Idaho fires ruin vacations, Time Magazine
- Fire updates from the Idaho Statesman (Boise)
- Fires in the Himalayas, from 2 Degrees Centigrade
Compare with NASA photo from a month ago; Idaho’s been hammered by fire in 2013:
Emerald green beetle, looks a lot like a longhorn. I feared it to be a dreaded emerald ash borer, but it’s not.
Okay. What is it? Any body know?
From our Backyard Collection, two weeks ago:
It’s too big to be an emerald ash borer.
Perhaps a flower longhorn beetle?
Update, mystery solved: Ted C. MacRae said (see comments) it’s the bumelia borer (Plinthocoelium suaveolens). He wrote about it here. So, Kathryn, what are they eating in our backyard? Bumelia lanuginosa is a Texas native; do we have one, or a relative, in the garden? Dallas-area Dirt Doctor Howard Garrett says they’re mostly harmless in the garden. (Here’s a closeup, from MacRae’s blog):
Found this via a stream of Pinterest and other blog posts: National Wildlife Federation (NWF) put together four great camping bingo cards to use with your kids – depending on how wild your backyard is, you may not even need to go far to play.
Here in South Dallas County, you can see much of this stuff with a stroll through a local nature preserve.
Teachers, you can use this idea, with pictures and words, yes?
Here’s the link to get the four cards NWF created in .pdf. If you want to create your own (history, geography, mathematics, language arts) teachers, here’s a blank form in .pdf.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Duncanville ISD’s Judy Henry.
- Back to School Does Not Have to Mean Back Inside for Kids (virtual-strategy.com)
- Mom Bloggers Write the Book – Literally – on Getting Kids Outside in Summer (virtual-strategy.com)
- Be Out There: a FREE e-book by Fadra Nally (and many, many others) (allthingsfadra.com)
- Outdoor play linked to better quality sleep, says guide (time4sleep.co.uk)
Normally I might just let this beautiful photo slide by without comment.
In this case, I find this particularly frustrating. See that creature? That’s the same goat that blocked my trail in Glacier National Park. I’m sure of it. I’d recognize those beady eyes and horns anywhere! (See the first story linked to in the “more’ section; maybe this goat stopped in Washington on the way to Alaska.)
He’s probably in Alaska now under the Federal Goat Protection Program.
He probably thinks he’s safe there at Kenai Fjords National Park. Ha! He’s farther away, but that just means I have farther to travel to find him!
I’m taking a longer telephoto, a wide angle, and a first aid kit, next time. I’ll be prepared!
- Glacier, UM to study human, goat interactions near Logan Pass (missoulian.com)
- Billy Goat Gruff (bigskyken.wordpress.com)
- Life’s Outtakes: When Something Gets Your Goat (njtoday.net)
- Glacier park to conduct new mountain goat study (billingsgazette.com)
- Glacier, UM to study human, goat interactions near Logan Pass (billingsgazette.com)
- The Kenai Peninsula Awaits (suitcasesweethearts.com)
- July 6-9: Kenai Fjords (vs. Denali) Wins By a Landslide (Glacier Slide) (tinaspangler.wordpress.com)
- Breathless (trimadnessblog.wordpress.com)
- Glacier Driving Tour – (Glacier National Park) (rv-dreams-journal.com)
It’s Eagle required, too — well, Scouts can choose either Environmental Science or Sustainability, but must earn one or the other to earn Eagle rank.
Requirements for the new Sustainability merit badge were released on July 16, concurrent with the 2013 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit. A lot of people missed the announcement, I’ll wager.
It’s good news. Conservation and nature-related merit badges have suffered a decline in Scouting, it seems to me. The conservation series was very much the keystone of a trek to Eagle when I was a Scout, at least as important as the citizenship series. But I don’t see that emphasis in Scouting today, sadly.
BSA recently created a Mining merit badge, which created some quiet grumbles among conservationists — this new, Eagle-path badge more than makes up for that, I think (though mining is a great topic for Scouts, especially in the western U.S., I think). This will not set well with the anti-conservation, anti-Agenda 21 crowd and their merry hoaxsters. But nothing BSA does is removed from political criticism from the right any more (see this odd photo choice for the Sustainability badge notice at the radical right-wing Daily Caller site).
This announcement gives me hope.
- Worksheet for the Sustainability merit badge from Boy Scout Trail
- Flyer with requirements for the Sustainability merit badge from Scouting.org
- Boy Scouts Launch Sustainability Merit Badge (stateimpact.npr.org)
- Boy Scouts of America introduce sustainability merit badge (treehugger.com)
- Boy Scouts Prepare for Sustainablilty (echo2hotel.wordpress.com)
- Five big takeaways from today’s release of the 2013 Guide to Advancement (scoutingmagazine.org)
- Fenton Eagle Scout earns all 135 merit badges (mysanantonio.com)
- Mining finally arrives: Boy Scout merit badge approved (mining.com)
Below the fold, the requirements and announcement from Bryan on Scouting, at Scouting Magazine’s site, verbatim and in total.