Good News Day 29: Meet the Bird Brainiacs: American Crow


Editor’s Note: Members of the crow family, known as the corvids, are among the smartest birds in the world. Some are capable of using tools, playing tricks, teaching each other new things, even holding “funerals.” And yet there’s still much we don’t know about these fascinating, sometimes confounding creatures. What’s going on inside the mind of a corvid? Three leading scientists are finding answers.

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PET scan of a crow’s brain: Robert Miyaoka/Dept. of Radiology/University of Washington

The crows in your neighborhood know your block better than you do. They know the garbage truck routes. They know which kids drop animal crackers and which ones throw rocks. They know the pet dogs, and they might even play with the friendly ones. If you feed them, they probably not only recognize you but your car as well, and they might just leave you trinkets in return. These birds live their lives intertwined with ours, carefully observing us even as most of us barely take note of them…

Read more here: https://www.audubon.org/magazine/march-april-2016/meet-bird-brainiacs-american-crow

 

Good News Day 27: Amazing Things to See in the Night Sky in 2016


If you’re a night owl who loves stargazing, 2016 is going to be a busy year for you. This year is packed full of remarkable sights — including three supermoons, two eclipses, and dozens of meteor showers. Some of them you’ll need a telescope or binoculars to see, but many are visible with your naked eye alone.

Read all about them here: http://www.upworthy.com/19-amazing-things-you-dont-want-to-miss-in-the-night-sky-in-2016?c=ufb1

Good News Day 23: Monarch Butterfly Population More Than Triples Over Last Year


Imagine 10 acres of woodland fields and branches dripping with butterflies. That’s what the remarkable comeback of the monarch in Mexico looked like this winter.

Source: Monarch Butterfly Population More Than Triples Over Last Year

Good News Day 20: New Zealanders Crowdfund Themselves a National Park


New Zealanders pooled their money to successfully purchase a pristine beach out from under developers and make it part of a National Park.

Source: UPDATE: New Zealanders Win Bid to Buy Beach By Crowdfunding; It’s Now Public

Good News Day 15: Mainers Work to Bring Back American Chestnut


Rows of young American chestnut trees in the Buck Hill Conservation Area on Thursday. Every tree in this small breeding orchard is important because each one has a part in a national effort to restore American chestnut trees, which were nearly wiped out a century ago by the accidental introduction of the chestnut blight.

American Chestnuts in Veazie, Maine – Photo Credit: Mickey Bedell, BDN

VEAZIE, Maine — Glen Rea walks with satisfaction and even affection along the rows of young American chestnut trees he helped plant 11 years ago in the Buck Hill Conservation Area.

Some trees are thriving, stretching their branches well above the head of the 73-year-old retired stockbroker from Bangor. Others look less healthy, with the telltale red dots of the dreaded chestnut blight fungus spreading lethally across their bark. But every tree in this small breeding orchard is important because each one has a part in a national effort to restore American chestnut trees, which were nearly wiped out a century ago by the accidental introduction of the chestnut blight. (Read More)

https://bangordailynews.com/2016/02/20/outdoors/revival-of-forest-giant-mainers-work-to-bring-back-american-chestnut/

Good News Day 9: Two Surfers Quit Their Jobs And Invented A Trash Bin That Cleans The Ocean


It’s good news when people who care about something are able to come up with an idea to make a difference! ~Tricia


 

If you’re a surfer or a beach-goer in general, you know how much trash washes ashore each and every day. For Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, two Australian surfers, that was a daily reality. They were so disheartened by how much trash they saw floating in the ocean that they quit their day jobs and…

Source: These Two Surfers Quit Their Jobs And Invented A Trash Bin That Cleans The Ocean

Good News Day 4: Rare Wildflower Superbloom Paints Death Valley in Brilliant Color (VIDEO)


Millions of wildflowers are blooming all at once in Death Valley National Park in a once in a decade ‘superbloom.’

Source: Rare Wildflower Superbloom Paints Death Valley in Brilliant Color (VIDEO)

To Bee or Not To Bee


Bee on Dandelion

It’s spring in Maine, finally! The insect life is waking up, and I’ve had a few encounters with bees recently. I try to pay attention, and even follow my own advice when I have more significant or unusual animal encounters. If an animal makes significant repeated appearances, or if you find the appearance particularly meaningful, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s something you should pay attention to.

In this case, the bee encounters certainly stood out. There was one or two bees who chose to follow me for a walk, another one very determined to get into my car, and a fourth one was a bumblebee just meandering through the produce section in the grocery store. So, should bees of any variety make their way into your life, it might be time to look into what the buzz is all about (just one pun, I promise!).

Bees have long been a powerful symbol in many cultures, representing the sun, fertility, royalty, gods and goddesses. Their seemingly improbable ability to fly can represent achieving the impossible. They gather pollen and contribute to the fertility of countless plants, creating food for themselves and ultimately the world. In their creation of honey, they transform sunlight into liquid energy.

If the bee is buzzing into your life, you may need to find faith in your ability to to take flight and achieve the impossible. Maybe you need to become more aware of what information you gather, distribute, or ingest. Make sure you’re taking the good parts of life and leaving the destructive bits behind. Share only the positive, energy giving honey.

Are you being too much of a worker bee and attempting to do too many things? Do you need to take the time to enjoy the fruits of your labors? Maybe you’re working so hard that you’ve forgotten that you even once enjoyed what you’re doing. Wallowing in the labors of collecting your pollen and forgetting to enjoy the beautiful sunshine that has made it all possible.

A visit from bee may be reminding you to stop and smell the flowers, value your own productivity, creativity, and industriousness. Take time out to enjoy the sun and the honey. Trust in your ability to get done what you need to without working yourself into a frenzy. And maybe, just bee.

When the Storms of Life Rage On, Don’t Get Too Prickly


I’ve had people tell me that hikes are boring. They clearly haven’t gone for a hike with me! I think that people kind of forget that there’s more to hiking that just plodding along the trail. Sometimes you never know what’s just around the corner, or hidden in the brush alongside the trail.

StormyLast week on a hike, I was racing a pretty ominous looking thunderstorm. Let’s just say it turned into more of a jog than a hike, as I turned around to beat feet the 1.6 miles back to the car. I decided I had a better chance of not getting struck by lightning if I turned around rather than trying to continue another two plus miles to finish the loop.

Along the trail, I was startled by something ambling along the path. A chubby little porcupine! He got into the underbrush and it was difficult to photograph him, so I chalked it up to a fun memory. About five minute later, I see another chubby little shape ambling down the trail in front of me. Another porcupine! This one didn’t seem to care that I was hiking along behind him, but it was just far enough ahead that I had a hard time capturing a good photo. I did however start to think about the frequent appearance of this prickly little critter.

Porcupines amble along through life, and with the exception of a few predators – primarily fishers and mountain lions – have earned the respect of the animal kingdom. They are generally peaceful, they don’t “throw” their quills, and their major defense actually requires that an attacker get close enough to truly harm them before it does it’s job.

PorcupineCabelasSpringfield0511In animal wisdom, Porcupine often represents a reminder not to spend too much time caught up in the seriousness and gravity of life. Honor your playful spirit, and take time to wander through nature, or simply through your imagination, and hunt for treasures.

Don’t let negative old barbs or pain from the past haunt you and drain the happiness from your present. Don’t allow yourself to become so prickly that people are afraid to come near you. Trust that when you really need it, your defenses will help protect you.

Go forth and shed your quills.

Love & Laughter,

Tricia

It’s the Little Things


forest smallOkay yes, it has been a while since I wrote anything. To be fair, it’s been a kind of hellacious summer, and to be honest, I’ve kind of let it get to me. However, recently I’ve decided that even if I don’t give myself time for much else, I need to at least take some time out for what I’ve been calling Nature Therapy. I’ve been making a point to get out and appreciate nature and the truly beautiful state that I live in, Maine.

Getting outside for a hike or a paddle changes my mindset, even if it’s only for a little while. I take my camera with me, and I go with the intent of finding and appreciating the wonder that is nature. I walk along, thinking about the flowers and critters and smelling the balsam fir and the fallen leaves. I listen to the songs of birds, the buzz of bees and frequent scolding from red squirrels. I revel in that non-silent silence that you find when you’re deep out on a trail with no modern distractions.

When I was preparing to finally get back to writing on this blog, I kind of first planned a bit of a rant about being judgmental, but I could not quite get it to flow the way I hoped. Two things changed my mind. red squirrelOne was this Sunday’s message from my minister, who spoke about “Something is Wrong”, and with it she spoke about the judgment and treatment of our fellow humans, and it gave me a different spin on the thought that I want to write about. So, watch for that coming up next. (You can listen to this message here. This particular message starts at 11:30)

The other thing was that afternoon’s walk in the forest, where I had an entertaining encounter with a red squirrel and another one with a damselfly, and I realized that what the world needs now is good news. It made me think that sometimes what we need are the little things to help us change our mindset, turn down a different path, or look at the world in a slightly different light.

I decided that one of the things I would start doing on this blog is also writing up some of the entertaining things that end up happening to me on my walks in nature. A reminder to everyone to take the time out, find your nature therapy or book therapy or whatever little thing makes your world even just a little bit better.

spiderwebA reminder that sometimes when you’re trying to see the forest for the trees or staying on the path, because that’s how you get to the end, you miss the journey. You miss the cheeky red squirrel, the ambling porcupine or the spider web glistening with rain drops.

So, yes, I will write about personal and social responsibility and growth, but I’ll also take the time to share some of my nature therapy with you, in the hopes that it will help inspire you to go experience some of your own.

Peace & Hope

Tricia