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Showing posts from July, 2013

Camp Creations

Tule rope braided at camp. The white rope is made solely from the interior fibers of the tule plant, and the green ones are from the outside part of the plant. Experimentation in rope-making during lunch!
Valley oak gall toys. The one on the left is a deer, made by Green Gal. The one on the right is a turtle, which was tragically abandoned by a camper at the end of the day. I rescued it and put them on my shelf, next to the tule rope. The native people of this area used to make toy animals out of Valley oak tree galls, like these pictured. The kids had a blast at camp making helicopter toys, hats, snowmen, and fun animals with their oak galls.

What do you make from nature's arts and crafts supply?

Friday Facts: Pets, Venom, and Backpack Precautions

Here is an assortment of random facts and thoughts on nature that I've learned so far this summer at camp:

Capturing Animals as Pets
You never want to capture and take home with you an animal or insect or fish from nature to make your pet. Each has its own role in that habitat, so to remove it makes it harder for that ecosystem to thrive and harms the animal you're removing. If you want a pet spider or snake, look for captive-bred animals, not live-bred animals because this means the animal you're getting was not taken from its natural environment but was raised in captivity from birth.

Another thing to realize is that putting sticks and leaves in a jar does not recreate a habitat. Ecosystems are diverse and full of organisms big and small that animals and insects depend upon. Observe and learn from animals in their habitats, but leave them be. If you really love them, leave them.

Baby Snakes are More Poisonous than Adults
Fortunately, I didn't learn this from experienc…

"We should enjoy our happiness and offer it to everyone."

"Our True Heritage" by Thich Nhat Hanh

The cosmos is filled with precious gems.
I want to offer a handful of them to you this morning.
Each moment you are alive is a gem,
shining through and containing earth and sky,
water and clouds.

It needs you to breathe gently
for the miracles to be displayed.
Suddenly you hear the birds singing,
the pines chanting,
see the flowers blooming,
the blue sky,
the white clouds,
the smile and the marvelous look
of your beloved.

You, the richest person on Earth,
who have been going around begging for a living,
stop being the destitute child.
Come back and claim your heritage.
We should enjoy our happiness
and offer it to everyone.
Cherish this very moment.
Let go of the stream of distress
and embrace life fully in your arms.

--
Thank you to my friend Collette for sharing this. Collette has a wonderful blog about Deep Nature Connection at www.awakeningwild.com. For more inspiration, visit her site!

Wordless Wednesday: The Preserve

Soundscape ecology and what listening can teach us about nature

This is a remarkable video about how scientists can use sound to diagnose the health of ecosystems. I highly encourage you to watch it, full screen, with no other windows open to distract you. Listen to what he's saying--it's quite incredible.

July 18 was World Listening Day, and lately I have come across a number of sound-related articles, activities, and experiences that have made my ears more attuned to the world around me.

Yesterday at camp, we did an activity called Graveyard, which can also be called Sit Spot. Each child and counselor found a space around a pond where they could stay silent and observe. We sat for twenty minutes, using our eyes and ears to become attuned to the pond. Our silence and immobility allowed birds, dragonflies, and frogs to return to the pond as though we weren't there. One camper told me a frog had hopped onto her arm as she sat silently observing its journey around the pond. Dragonflies helicoptered their ways across the water. Birds ru…

Wildflowers in the sidewalk: How to make the best of being stranded

Our backpacks were full of dehydrated food, trail mix bars, warm clothes, and all the fixins for a weekend away on Mount Tamalpais. We already had our hiking clothes on, and we were looking forward to spending the evening outdoors and falling asleep in my new backpacking tent. We didn't have a campsite reservation, but we figured it would all work out. The weekend was ahead of us in all its unknown adventures.

After driving for about an hour, we got onto Highway 101, excitement setting in because we had just had our first glimpse of Mt. Tam. A few minutes after getting on the highway, though, Green Guy tells me the car has stopped working. It felt unreal to me--we were so close we could see the mountain!

We pulled off to the shoulder and Green Guy checked under the hood. Unsure of what it was that had happened, he got back in the car and started it back up, driving us safely to the next exit. You could feel it as the car died on the off-ramp. Using gravity, we rolled into a nice l…