America’s Oldest Park Ranger Brings History to Life at Richmond’s Rosie the Riveter Park

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From KQED:

Betty Reid Soskin is one of KQED Forum’s all-time most beloved guests. At 93, she’s the oldest national park ranger in the United States, who came to the Bay Area in 1927 as a six-year old girl, and now works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. Soskin’s tours offer a place where, “America can revisit its past and move together to a more compassionate future.” Listen to her full interview:

Posted in Conservation, Natural Law Tagged , , |

The Paradox of Summer Solstice

The Waning Light Ahead…

Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island

Today officially marks the first day of summer with the sun at its highest point in the sky gracing us with the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The great paradox, of course, is that with the arrival of summer, along with its attendant abundant signs of life, the days will gradually begin to grow shorter from here on out as we head into fall.

This paradox is the inherent law of nature: the balance of life and death. During summer, the sun shines its brightest at its greatest strength with the promise of shorter days and waning light ahead. Shorter days ahead are not cause for sadness or melancholy, but is a gift that allows deep appreciation for the fleeting, ephemeral beauty of life and our transient and impermanent place in it.

Implicit, too, in the paradox of the summer solstice is the inevitability of rebirth. We can immerse ourselves in the here and now, reflect on the swift inevitable passage of time, and also have an appreciation for the value of seasonal changes ahead.


Posted in Natural Law Tagged , , , |

Earth has entered sixth mass extinction, warn scientists

From Telegraph:

Earth has entered its sixth mass extinction with animals now dying out at 100 times the normal rate, scientists have warned. Humans have created a toxic mix of habitat loss, pollution and climate change, which has already led to the loss of at least 77 species of mammals, 140 types of bird since and 34 amphibians since 1500.

They include creatures like the dodo, Steller’s Sea Cow, the Falkland Islands wolf, the quagga, the Formosan clouded leopard, the Atlas bear, the Caspian tiger and the Cape lion.

Scientists at Stanford University in the US claim it is the biggest loss of species since the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction which wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

“Without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event,” said Professor Paul Ehrlich, at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Posted in Anthropocene, Conservation Tagged , |

Jurassic World’s Dinosaurs Roar to Life, Thanks to Bird Calls

From National Audubon Society:

A charging Stegosaurus, a bloodthirsty Indominus rex, a screeching Pteranodon, and . . . a baby pelican? The digitized dinosaurs of Jurassic World aren’t as terrifying as you might think, at least if you listen closely: Their roars, growls, and squawks are actually provided by their living descendants—birds.

“Birds are a great source for dinosaur sounds,” says Al Nelson, one of the sound designers for the film, “because they are tonal, musical, and expressive, and that is what we are always on the hunt for.”

This is something the franchise already knew well: Gary Rydstrom, the sound designer on the original 1993 version, employed several birds to voice his dinos. That Velociraptor death hiss? It’s really an irate goose.

Posted in Birds, Paleontology

Happy Earth Day!

Cedar Waxwings perched in Amherst State Park, NY
Cedar Waxwings perched in Amherst State Park, NY

Posted in Anthropocene, Birds, Conservation, Great Lakes Tagged , , , |

Preserve the Buffalo Outer Harbor on Lake Erie as Public Parklands

There is an excellent op-ed by Jay Burney in the Buffalo News calling for the preservation of Times-Beach Nature Preserve.  The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) announced development plans to create a condo community, endangering this significant and rare wildlife habitat:

“When the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC) conducted its very short-term public engagement process regarding Outer Harbor development last summer, many of us were stunned to find that the “final option” presented by the consultants involved creating a new private condo community around the Times Beach Nature Preserve, including in Wilkeson Pointe Park.

We were stunned because many of us, including Times Beach Nature Preserve advocates, have been working on Outer Harbor issues for decades. We participated at every public opportunity provided by the ECHDC. The announced development plan would significantly impact Times Beach Nature Preserve. The plan ignores the nature preserve, the reasons that it is a nature preserve and the importance of protecting and continuing it as a nature preserve.” (Buffalo News)

Please sign the petition to save Times-Beach and the Outer Harbor.

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