Archive for the ‘General’ Category

2010 Recap

January 2, 2011

I’d like to take a moment to look back and see how I’ve enjoyed and protected nature in the past year.

• I took up a new hobby in 2010—birdwatching. I was fortunate enough to tag along with a group of expert birders, logging about 40 hours with them. Not only did I see many birds I had never seen, I also visited many local parks I had never visited. Thanks Monday Morning Birding Bunch!

• I enjoyed the company of my husband and my dog during two relaxing camping trips at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area—near Ely and on the Gunflint Trail. Canoeing, hiking, swimming, birdwatching and stargazing were excellent.

• I attempted to make healthy and sustainable food choices by shopping at a local food co-op and supporting a local farm through a CSA membership.

• I watched my 2nd-year native plants garden grow and observed how the butterflies, bees, caterpillars and birds are attracted to native plants.

• In my own small way of trying to get others interested in nature, I gave Toastmasters speeches about the Minnesota Master Naturalist program and about my EcoStrides blog.

• H and I purchased snowshoes for our Minnesota nieces and nephews for Christmas and then we all went on a short snowshoeing and sledding adventure.

• I logged 47 hours of volunteering as a Minnesota Master Naturalist. My projects included:

  1. Pulling invasive garlic mustard at Crosby Farm Park for Friends of the Mississippi River
  2. Weeding at Como Lake’s shoreline for St. Paul Parks
  3. Removing invasive burdock from Como Park Woods for St. Paul Parks
  4. Collecting seed of native prairie plants at Woodbury Conservation Corridor and Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for Great River Greening
  5. Supervising teens in stacking buckthorn at Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for Great River Greening
  6. Spreading mulch under new shrubs under the Xcel Energy High Bridge for Great River Greening
  7. Cutting and piling brush at Lost Valley Scientific and Natural Area for the Minnesota DNR
  8. Cleaning seeds previously collected for Great River Greening
  9. Talking to visitors about native plants during a neighborhood garden tour
  10. Addressing envelopes for the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
  11. Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count

Here’s to 2011 and more outdoor escapades!

What Would Nature Do?

August 18, 2010

What do Velcro, the turbine, and Michael Phelp’s swimsuit have in common?

They were all inspired by nature.

In her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine Benyus describes biomimicry as a “new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.”

I find this topic fascinating. I first learned of the concept of biomimicry years ago from an article in Utne Reader, Mimicking Mother Nature. More information can be found at the non-profit Biomimicry Institute, and from the TED talk video (below).

It seems obvious that scientists and engineers should be looking to nature for ideas, but what about the rest of us? Could we apply biomimicry to everyday living? It’s time to go outside and start looking at flora and fauna from a new perspective.

The Dogs of Lima

February 5, 2010

In Lima, Peru—where spaying and neutering is practically unheard of—street dogs are a real problem. While some dogs in Lima are beloved pets, most are unloved and must fend for themselves on the streets. This is my small tribute to the dogs of Lima, from the pampered to the neglected and everywhere in-between.

Bon Bini 2010

December 31, 2009

As we welcome the new decade I hope for sustainability for the Earth and happiness for its people.

Bon Bini: “Welcome” in Papiamento, the language of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

One-Year Anniversary

October 30, 2009

Today marks my one-year anniversary (and 52nd post) of blogging about nature. Thanks for being a reader!

Running on Empty in the Middle of Nowhere

October 4, 2009


Sentinel Butte, North Dakota, June 11, 2009

Music to My Ears

August 18, 2009

The wind shakes the leaves of the cottonwood tree like a million tambourines

The waves slap the shore like brassy symbols

The woodpecker taps out the beat like a snare drum

And the songbird carries the melody

Gear for Roadtripping

July 7, 2009

Having just returned from a 4500-mile roadtrip, I’d like to recommend the following essential gear.

Thermos Nissan 14-oz. Leak-Proof Travel Mug

mugsWhat I love about this vacuum-sealed mug:

  1. Keeps coffee or tea hot for at least 6 hours
  2. Keeps ice water cold for at least 6 hours
  3. Doesn’t leak
  4. Has a great handle, and it fits in the car cup holders

It’s a little pricey, but worth it for sitting in the car for hours at a time. Available through Thermos and several online vendors in smoke, espresso, and stainless colors.

REI MultiTowel Lite X Large Towel

towelsWhat I love about this microfiber towel:

  1. Folds up into a tiny package
  2. Dries extremely quickly
  3. Has a clasp for hanging
  4. Is absorbent

At $26.50 it’s a little pricey, but worth it for traveling and camping. Available at REI in orange and green.

A Request from the Prez

April 22, 2009

Yesterday, President Obama announced a call to service:

… I ask every American to make an enduring commitment to serving your community and your country in whatever way you can … Together, we will measure our progress not just in number of hours served or volunteers mobilized—but in the impact our efforts have on the life of this nation … We need your service, right now, at this moment in history. I’m not going to tell you what your role should be; that’s for you to discover. But I’m asking you to stand up and play your part. I’m asking you to help change history’s course.

Today, on Earth Day, as a Minnesota Master Naturalist, I pledge to volunteer at least 40 hours per year for environmental causes. My charity dollars and my free time are spent enjoying and protecting nature.

What’s your pledge?

I’m Tweeting on Twitter

March 14, 2009

Twitter is a mini-blog in which posts are limited to 140 characters. Now you can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/ecostrides. My most recent tweets are also embedded in the sidebar of this blog. My plan for Twitter is to write about enjoying and protecting nature, just as I do here.