Archive for May, 2009

May
30

‘Crazy Turtle Woman’ transforms graveyard into maternity ward

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Today I have been inspired by CNN to write about protection of species.

I believe that we are and should be stewards to the earth and all of its creatures. We decide now where things grow, when they grow, where they live and if they survive. Before technology, we were at mother natures mercy, today, we control almost all aspects, or at least think we do.

I believe as a civilization, we have a serious control  issue, scientists are always looking for a way to better manipulate something in nature for “the betterment of our society”. I use that phrase loosely. If society means only the people in it, then maybe they are right, but I am of the opinion that the web of life includes everything in it, not just the top of the food chain.

Stories like this about the ‘Crazy Turtle Woman’ inspire me. I have always loved protecting animals, down the the smallest insect. I am known to walk around after a rain storm, moving the worms off the road so they don’t get run over. I long to protect all species, not just the endangered ones. I am passionate about the preservation of species and management of areas for species.

I live in an area known for its population of endangered species, The Kirtland’s Warbler. They are a great example of a Michigan species dependent at this point on us and our ability to control the environment. This is why our control is important. If we were able to just let nature happen without our interference, we wouldn’t have this problem now, so the Kirtland’s  Warbler will survive, or become extinct based on our decisions.

If you are unfamiliar with the Kirtland’s Warbler here is brief introduction to them. They are a small warbler species known for its bright yellow breast and white eye rings. The exist solely in young jack pine plains. There have probably never been a huge amount of them, but their numbers neared extinction in the early 1970’s.

The Jack Pines are a fire dependent species. They grow in Northern Michigan and are a pioneer species that requires full sun. Their cones are are sealed with resin, and open only in heat, usually that means a fire. With our fire management rules, the jack pines do not grow the way they historically did, in large areas of pure stands. This is why we select areas to burn and then replant with jack pine. These artificial areas are the reason the Kirtland’s Warbler has a habitat at this point.

The Kirtland’s Warbler are ground nesting birds, which makes them susceptible to another problem, aside from their choosiness in habitat, which is the brown-headed cowbird. This bird historically followed the buffalo herds which roamed free until their massive slaughter. Now, the brown-headed cowbirds have found another way to survive. They are a bird which uses parasitism to survive. Ground nesting birds such as the warbler, lay their eggs and then so do the cowbirds, in the warblers nest. The cowbird chick is then raised by the warbler who takes care of the bigger chick and this means a loss for the warbler.

The cowbird population is controlled by constant trapping and disposal, which at this point is a necessary evil if the Kirtland’s Warbler is to survive.

Now, back to why I started writing in the first place. I know a lot of people that could be considered the crazy person who saves an animal, but if they don’t then who will? In a world with so much negativity, just look at the headlines, I appreciate stories like this about people making a difference to even the turtle. Here is the link to this story http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/05/28/cnnheroes.suzan.lakhan.baptiste/index.html

I will end by saying, thanks to everyone who sits on the beach here in Northern Michigan and watch the Piping Plovers hatch. Thanks to all the people who follow the sturgeon to spawn in the spring. Thanks to the people who forego speed on the lake to protect the Common Loon and its chicks. Thanks to the people who maintain the Warbler habitat. Thanks to the Crazy Turtle Woman,  and everyone else in the world who takes time out of their schedule to preserve and protect our wildlife.

Categories : Nature
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May
28

Northern Lights

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I was going to write about the maple tree tonight, but as I was sitting here listening to a new song, I saw a picture on the internet of the northern lights and immediately thought back to a wonderful memory I feel I need to share.

I was going to first reference a poem but I have decided not to. I will simply tell my story instead. My reasoning for this is,  this was my result from google: 1,080,000 for northern lights poems. Obviously there is much to inspire you if you search yourself, so I will let you choose your own inspiration, here is mine.

My family owns a cabin further north in Northern Michigan, near Mackinac. My better half and I have been traveling up there for weekends for going on 15 years now. Our journeys would always start late and one particular trip will always remain as one of the best memories in my life. I have had other wonderful experiences, but this one was just a series of perfect events that will never be outdone because it was provided to us solely by nature.

Our drive began as normal, nothing special until about Indian River at which point, the aurora borealis caught my eye. Faded at first, just an indication that something wonderful was going to happen, then the further north we drove the brighter they got. Greens, yellows and whites began dancing before our eyes. It was a show just for us.

As we drew nearer to the cabin, I got more excited to run down to the dock and see it with my own eyes, not through the windshield of a car.

We arrived and did just that, ran to the dock and just watched. It was magical, but what really made it amazing, was what happened next, and what makes me yearn for the wilderness. A pack of coyotes started to howl, that mournful sound that only they and the gray wolf can make. Then, the icing on the cake, our pair of Common Loons began to wail across the lake. It was everything that invokes peace, calm and serenity in our lives.

In a world of chaos, we all need to take advantage of all the calm moments provided by nature. They are gift to the world, when we as a destructive society do not deserve such a gift. That was our gift from nature, I made it ours and ours alone. I encourage everyone to go and find themselves a moment that in years to come, you can sit down in your busy world, hear a song, see a picture and remember the time that you had a moment as magical as we did.

Categories : Nature
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May
27

In The Beginning

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I started talking at the age of one and have been told that I have never shut up since.  I know that I am not the only one in the world with the “gift of gab”, but it seems to me there is only one problem with this gift. Not everyone thinks about what they should be gabbing about. I have had 33 years to find out what is really interesting to me, and I hope to others as well. This is why I am setting up this blog, to find an outlet for my incessant need to speak.

Although I am interested in many things, my passion is really nature. To narrow it down further, Northern Michigan. I was for 7 years, a natural history interpreter at Hartwick Pines State Park. It started out as a seasonal job while I was in college, but it became my passion.

I now work in my degree field, which is art, but my love of nature has always been a part of my life, and has been my major inspiration for my own art. If it crawls, slithers, waddles or sways in the wind, I am probably interested in it. Trees, plants animals, insects, or the environment that these exist in, are my inspiration.

My ultimate goal is to blog about my interests, I invite anyone who has like minded interests, to contribute to the conversation. Thanks for reading and I hope that I can enlighten others to share my passion with the Northern Wood Experience.

Categories : General
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