January 28, 2005

Forgotten pollinators

The state of North Caroline is beginning to realize that without bees, agricultural production plumments.

Other voices have been proclaiming this crisis for some time.

January 16, 2005

"The Silence of Sasquatch"

I have no personal experience of Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, although in my newspaper days I interviewed a man living two counties north of here who swore he had seen a couple of them walking in the snow near his house. He photographed the three-toed (?) tracks: they went down a road . . . and ended suddenly.
Still, I have problems imagining a hairy primate that could live year-round in the Rockies, unless it hibernated like a bear. On the other hand, one of the best Sasquatch books (set in Washington state, however), was written by a respected naturalist, Robert Michael Pyle: Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.

It in turn inspired Joel Weishaus' digital project, "The Silence of Sasquatch: Toeing the Dark Divide," which is worth a look.

January 14, 2005

Animals translated

Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University (Fort Collins), is well-known for her claim that her own mild autism makes her more able to understand animal behavior than do most "normal" people. In her words, "the 'Interpreter' in the normal human brain that filters out detail, creating an unintentional blindness that animals and autistics do not suffer from."

She develops this idea in her article ,"Thinking the Way Animals Do" and now in a new book, co-written with Catherine Johnson, PhD., Animals in Translation.

January 12, 2005

Buffalo wings, 1964

An amazing food timeline starts with water and includes histories, recipes, and cookbook references.

January 11, 2005

George knows

Goddard College has created an environmental and sustainability studies resource page at its web site. Named "George," for Vermonter George Perkins Marsh, the page provides an extensive collection of print and electronic sources. They are of particular use to undergraduates and beginning graduate students.
Fear is oneness

One of the outdoor-gear catalogs that clog my mailbox recently advertised, "Get close to nature, but not too close." The product advertised was a sleeping pad.

Then there was novelist Geoffrey Household's approach. In his thriller Watcher in the Shadows (1960), the protagonist, a former British Ww 2 spy, is being stalked by an assassin in the English countryside. He thinks, "I believe that for the animal always, and for man sometimes, fear is only a vivid awareness of one's unity with nature."

It's one of few spy novels set in a realistically described outdoor setting, where wildlife plays a role in the plot.

The movie adaptation was Deadly Harvest, which moved the action to California and made it a Cold War movie.

January 05, 2005

Teaching animal tracking

Urbanites learn animal tracking in order to census animal species in the Mount Hood National Forest but also for the experience.

"Alan Dyck, forest wildlife program manager for the national forest, said the data provided by Cascadia Wild is valuable because surveys aren't routinely conducted in the million acres of forest land around Mount Hood."