Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tadpole Goodbyes

A Outdoor Wednesday Story:

This past summer, Olivia had a couple tadpoles she loved dearly. Their names: Fred and Sparkle. They had good lives in the aquarium by her bed. Fred and Sparkle grew quickly from tiny slips of almost nothing to hulky creatures squirming around their habitat. However, they never seemed to grow past a certain point. Little nubs for legs didn't lengthen... they seemed sad. Deciding that the smallish habitat may be to blame, Oliva bravely decided that Fred and Sparkle should be released into the wild. So, we tranferred the duo to a little bowl for traveling and set out for Burr Oak Woods. Near the nature center, a beautiful water garden was famous for its multitude of tadpoles and frogs. And that precious pond became the new home of our dear Fred and Sparkle.

"Willy-Beast" and "Rosebud"

New Watery Home

Sparkle ( left)     Fred (right)

The Moment of Truth

The pretty new home of Fred & Sparkle

The proud parents of future frogs

Bye-bye Fred. See ya Sparkle.

Good job kids

My Hero Linus Pauling

LINUS PAULING explains how he discovered the alpha helix... All you need is a piece of paper, the intellgence of a genius, and the spirit of an innovator. Amazing.

Besides his groundbreaking work in chemistry, Linus Pauling was also an ardent advocate of peace and a outspoken protestor of the use of nuclear weapons.

Linus Carl Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, peace activist, author, and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists in any field of the 20th century. Pauling was among the first scientists to work in the fields of quantum chemistry, molecular biology, and orthomolecular medicine. He is one of only 4 individuals to have won multiple Nobel Prizes. He is one of only two people to have been awarded a Nobel Prize in two different fields (the Chemistry and Peace prizes), the other being Marie Curie (the Chemistry and Physics prizes), and the only person to have been awarded each of his prizes without sharing it with another recipient.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Children's Community Garden

On the advice of my BFF, Valerie, over at Our Front Porch Looking In, I've made my first ever participation in OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY hosted by A Southern Daydreamer. This is looks like a lot of fun and I hope you check out some of the other OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY posts for this week.

I have been tending my sick children for what feels like weeks now. I thought a look back to "healthier" times was in order. Early this fall we attended the Fall Harvest Fest at the Kansas City Children's Community Garden. We had never been before so everything was new to us. It was a wonderful adventure and we plan to go back and particpate any way we can - maybe a few kiddo volunteer hours are in our future! LOTS of pictures follow!!

Veggie Garden near the entrance.

Sweet William inspects the lastest growth.

Children left the shells in the upper basin of this stone fountain.

There where several educational demonstrations going on. We watched as she spun cotton fibers (from the garden) into threads for weaving. Pretty cool.

On the path to another interesting area of the garden.

Hey! They have a coy pond too!

Do fish dream when they sleep?

Something cool. Not sure what.

Can't hardly have a proper festival without a microscope station. Duh.

I love the texture & color.

Making natural peanutbutter.

Me too.

Young owl brought to the festival by the folks at Lakeside Nature Center.

If your eyes were the same proportion as that of the owl, THIS is how big they would be!

Another Lakeside foundling. Kinda cute, uh?

The separate zones of discovery were great fun to explore along the winding paths.

My new best bud - the Bug Lady. Check out the shirt - awwwwwesome.

Dramatic. In a good way.

Lookie what Mama found!

The kids played games for free books.

The children are encouraged to pick & taste from the garden. These little gems were quite tasty! The chocolate mint didn't go over as well as I thought it would.

Room. With a view.

Not a color you see everyday.

We had fun.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Braddock Bay

Migrating Sandhill Cranes at Sunrise (NPR)

As the weather grows chilly and the days grow short, birds from the north begin their yearly journey south to winter in warmer climates. When completed, the flight maps of these amazing trekkers can cover thousands of miles. At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, researchers and citizen scientists seek to learn more, tracking the birds' flight patterns and banding song birds. Below are a couple short but very in videos produced by Flora Lichtman and hosted by NPR's Science Friday on the work done at Cornell and Braddock Bay. Enjoy.

For those avid birders interested in migration, related links:
North Pairie Wildlife Research Center: Migration of Birds
Zoological Society of Milwaukee: Bird Migration Facts
Wired Science: Build Your Own Bird Tracker
Audubon Birds and Science

Scientists banding birds at the Braddock Bay Bird Obervatory

Monday, October 12, 2009

Damn Dam

Rogue River in Oregon

The environment and our need for energy as long been at odds. And for as long as mills have ground grain into flour or hewn logs into lumber, our waterways have served our power needs. In more recent times, we have damned damed our rivers, rushing waters spinnign turbines, to create direct electricity. No viable form of energy production is without its impacts. Overly channelized rivers have destroyed the landscape's ability to deal with flooding, habitats were destroyed by the dam lakes, and some species such as salmon have neared depletion as spawning waters were cut off from the ocean.

The environmental impact can and has been mitigated by some projects like fish ladders. However, there is a growing trend to return some damed rivers to their (more) natural state by removing or altering the dams. Frequently, this is not possible in areas where development has occurred downstream. On the Rogue River in Oregon, the natural area surrounding the aged Savage Rapids Dam allowed for its recent demolition. For the first time in more than 100 years, the Rogue could flow unimpeded for 157 miles from the Cascade foothills to the Pacific Ocean. The dam's fish ladders, as well as some fish screens, no longer meet federal standards. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation thinks removing the dam will increase the number of salmon reaching spawning grounds by 22 percent a year, an increase of about 114,000 fish.

Construction crews built a coffer dam and started jackhammering half of the dam to pieces last April, and on Friday removed the piles of rock and gravel holding the river back, allowing the river to flow freely. The rest of the dam is to be removed by December. The river quickly cut down through the huge accumulation of sand, gravel and rocks that had built up behind the dam the past 88 years. A flotilla of some 80 people in rafts, driftboats and kayaks celebrated the breaching of the Savage Rapids Dam this past Saturday by floating through the remains of the concrete structure. "What this really represents today is our culture being capable of backing up a little bit and doing something differently," said a flotilla participant as he pushed off from the bank and rowed his driftboat down the newly freed section of river.

Source: Jeff Barnyard, AP

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rosebud Blooms

She did it! The great abyss that was my daughter's room is actually passable. It is so wonderful to see the floor. Seriously, I am proud little girl got her room more organized and because she has begun her blogging. I love you Liv!