Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘nature’

Tree Huggers Unite: May 16 Is National LOVE A Tree Day

Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone. (Czesław Miłosz)

A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. (Osho)

Fast! Run out today, May 16, and hug your nearest tree! Today is National Love a Tree Day — on this day, trees are celebrated and recognized for their multitude of wonderful gifts. National Love a Tree Day is a relative of Arbor Day, and sits in the middle of Garden for Wildlife Month. Use #LoveATreeDay to post on social media, and discover Five Awesome Ways to Celebrate Love a Tree Day.

2015-04-26 14.00.50

As caretakers of this beautiful sphere, it remains our utmost responsibility to honor, safeguard, and protect these living entities. Upwards of 5,000 years old, they’ve borne witness to the rise and fall of entire civilizations. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Plant a tree…Recycle…Go paperless… Follow those conservation groups diligently working to protect these lovely, ancient living citadels. Or just show them some love and respect, and give them a nice big pat or hugggggg.

2015-04-26 14.36.10

In honor of LOVE A TREE DAY, check out this brief Nat Geo clip of a most amazing man, Payeng — who single-handedly reforested his devastated wasteland of an island, which is now (thanks to him), home to thriving native wildlife. Awe-inspiring and endless gratitude can’t convey enough.

 

With as many horrific stories of needless and careless deforestation as there are today, such stories do exist… There are so many wonderful people and groups helping to sustain the planet’s flora ecosystems. Trees are not something we can live without as a species, after all.

2015-04-26 14.07.50

2015-08-20 19.58.59

2015-04-26 14.12.25

Everyone loves trees!

Everyone loves trees!

A Day to Celebrate the Amazing FROG

Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better everyday. And you will come to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I recently posted lots of amazing facts about our wonderful but endangered FROGS (See “Protecting the Prince”), but… April 25 is Save the Frogs DAY.

A Green frog enjoys the pond at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

A Green frog enjoys the pond at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Frogs are amphibians, a word which comes from the Greek meaning “both lives” — they live in the worlds of water and land. Frogs continue to be seen as an indicator species, providing scientists with valuable insight into how an ecosystem is functioning. Because they are both predators and prey, many animals are affected by them — giving further insight into the health of an ecosystem. There are over 6,000 species of frogs worldwide, and scientists continue to search for new ones….

A bright and lovely cricket frog in the Everglades

A bright and lovely cricket frog in the Everglades

Unfortunately, about 120 amphibian species, including frogs, toads and salamanders, have disappeared since 1980. Historically, one species of amphibian would disappear every 250 years — a powerful case for conserving and nurturing their (and our) environments. Our adorable Southern green tree frogs took up residence in unused  birdhouses, and I happily accommodated them by adding more shelters (and of course, never using pesticides) — anything to help their dwindling populations. There’s so much we can do to help these amazing creatures — limit pesticide use (ban it!), and provide safe spaces for them to live and thrive.

A tiny barking tree frog in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

A tiny barking tree frog in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

A wonderful vintage Larkin Advertising Card, featuring Mr. Frog

A wonderful vintage Larkin Advertising Card, featuring Mr. Frog

Frogs have fascinated humans for millennia, and are ancient symbols and totems of transformation. From the wonderful Ted Andrews and his iconic ANIMAL-SPEAK:

Moonlight Bouquets, by the incomparable Margaret Clark

Moonlight Bouquets, by the incomparable Margaret Clark

The frog is our most recognizable amphibian…. Frogs have an ancient mythology about them. Being amphibians with links to the water and the land, they are often associated with the magic of both elements. This also links them to the lore of fairies and elves. Many shamanic societies — especially North and South American — link the frog with rain and control of the weather. Its voice is said to call forth the rains.

Because of its connection to water, it is also linked to lunar energies (the moon moves the tides of waters upon the planet) and those goddesses associated with the moon. The frog was an animal attributed to the Egyptian goddess Herit, who assisted Isis in her ritual for resurrecting Osiris.

Upper section of totem pole featuring the Killer Whale and Frog — Courtesy Museum Victoria, Australia

Upper section of totem pole featuring the Killer Whale and Frog — Courtesy Museum Victoria, Australia

Frogs have been known to be heralds of abundance and fertility, especially since in their polliwog stage they resemble the male spermatozoa. This is also due to the fact that after rains, a greater number of frogs come up to dry land and feed on insects and worms who have come out of the rain-soaked land. It is also associated with fertility, for rain makes things grow.

Even as adults, frogs remain semi-aquatic. They live in damp areas. They need water and all that is associated with it symbolically or otherwise/ If frog has hopped into your life, you may need to get in touch with the water element. It may reflect that there are new rains coming or that you need to call some new rains forth. Maybe the old waters are becoming dirty and stagnant. Frog can teach you how to clean them up.

Emotions are often associated with water. Individuals with frog totems are very sensitive to the emotional stats of others, and seem to know instinctively how to act and what to say. They know how to be sincerely sympathetic.

Detail of a frog symbol on a totem pole at the Vancouver Airport, B.C. (Credit: MCArnott)

Detail of a frog symbol on a totem pole at the Vancouver Airport, B.C. (Credit: MCArnott)

Frog holds the knowledge of weather and how to control it. Frog medicine can bring rains for every purpose — to cleanse, to heal, to help things grow, to flood, to stir. Its energies can be used to bring light showers or downpours for most any purpose….

The frog is a totem of metamorphosis. It is a symbol of coming into one’s own creative power. It changes from an egg, to a polliwog, to a frog. Even after it becomes a frog, it lives close to and spends much time in the water. It always has contact with the creative force out of which it came. Usually frog people have strong ties to their own mothers.

This connection to water should also serve as a reminder to those with this totem. Are you becoming too mundane? Are you becoming mired in the mud of your day-to-day life? Are you needing to dive into some fresh creative water? Are those around you? Are you feeling waterlogged, becoming too bogged down, or drowning in emotions?

A frog blends with duckweed in the FLA wetlands

A frog blends with duckweed in the FLA wetlands

Frogs are tuned keenly to sound. Over each ear canal is a round membrane, a tympanic organ — which enables them to recognize and respond to certain sounds and their locations. Science has known for a long time that water is one of the bet conductors of sound. This sensitivity to sound should be developed by frog people. Their taste in music will probably not run mainstream, but they can learn to use their voice to stir the emotions and to call for the rains or change the climatic conditions of their own lives.

For more info:

Save the Frogs!

Save the Frogs!

Preserving our Future: World Wetlands Day 2015

World Wetlands Day PosterA million HELLOS to the blogging community!

And happy early World Wetlands DayIt’s hard not to be passionate about the celebration of such an event, since all of what you see here — the unique landscapes and its wonderful critters — are dependent on wetland ecosystems. Officially February 2, World Wetlands Day is an international celebration of the planet’s marshes, swamps, and bogs. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997, and since then government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and citizens all over the world have aimed to raise public awareness of the critical value and intrinsic benefits of wetland ecosystems.

World Wetlands Day 2015 LogoDespite the growing awareness of this unique ecosystem, there are sobering threats facing the survival of our wetlands:

    • A 2011 federal study estimated the U.S. lost 62,300 acres of wetlands between 2004-2009 — a loss rate 140% higher than from 1998-2004
    • Wetland habitat has now been cut within the contiguous U.S. to 110 million acres…. And those surviving wetlands face dangers like hypoxia due to water pollution and invasive species. Pythons and melaleuca in the Everglades (among a host of other destructive non-native species), and nutria in New Orleans continue to ravage the structure of this ecosystem
    • Wetlands are extremely sensitive, and are counted as one of the most vulnerable ecosystems subject to climate change
    • Wetlands residents have suffered terribly due to increased habitat loss

      Preserving the future of the wetlands of our world: Mother and baby Great Blue Heron in the Florida wetlands

      Preserving the future of the wetlands of our world: Mother and baby Great Blue Heron in the Florida wetlands

From the Ramsar website:

Wetlands InfographicTHE FUTURE OF HUMANITY DEPENDS ON WETLANDS

They purify and replenish our water, and provide the fish and rice that feed billions. Wetlands act as a natural sponge against flooding and drought, and protect our coastlines. They burst with biodiversity, and are a vital means of storing carbon. Unfortunately, these benefits are not widely known. Often viewed as wasteland, 64% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1900.

Help us turn the tide on the loss and degradation of our wetlands. Join us for World Wetlands Day 2015 – and beyond! Here’s how you can get involved: #WorldWetlandsDay #WetlandsForOurFuture

 

There’s much that can be done to restore and protect this vital habitat — check out your local resources, visit your neighboring natural areas, and above else, LOVE YOUR WETLANDS and their amazing inhabitants!

For more information and wonderful educational and marketing materials, visit World Wetlands Day 2015, and on Facebook: RamsarConventionOnWetlands

The lush Florida wetlands — a treasure to conserve

The lush Florida wetlands — a treasure to conserve

Protecting the Prince

Here’s some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs and members of Parliament. -Kermit the Frog

I missed National Frog Month (APRIL, by the by), but no worries. It doesn’t diminish my excitement (squeal!) when I see these lovelies, and I still spend a ridiculous amount of time snapping them. Like this little guy, who was posing next to his bronzed brethren in a pond fountain….

[Click on photos to enlarge]

Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia

Such a look. I giggle every time I look at him….

Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia

What beautiful eyes you have, my lovely

Frogs are amphibians, which comes from the Greek meaning “both lives.” Below are a few fun facts on these fascinating creatures, those that live in water and on land.

Frogs continue to be seen as an indicator species, providing scientists with valuable insight into how an ecosystem is functioning. Because they are both predators and prey, many animals are affected by them — giving further insight into the health of the ecosystem. There are over 6,000 species of frogs worldwide. Scientists continue to search for new ones…. Unfortunately, about 120 amphibian species, including frogs, toads and salamanders, have disappeared since 1980. Historically, one species of amphibian would disappear every 250 years. A powerful case for conserving and nurturing their (and our) environments. Our adorable little Southern green tree frogs took up residence in unused and abandoned birdhouses, and I happily accommodated them by adding more (and of course, never using pesticides) — anything to help their dwindling populations.

* ~ *  Fun and Fascinating Frogs * ~ *

    • Frogs have roamed the Earth for more than 200 million years — at least as long as the dinosaurs.
    • They were the first land animals with vocal cords. Male frogs have vocal sacs — pouches of skin that fill with air. They resonate sounds like a megaphone, and some sounds can be heard from a mile away.
    • Ida Rentoul Outhwaite - "I Am Kexy, Friend to Fairies"; The Fairy - The Little Green Road to Fairyland, 1922

      Ida Rentoul Outhwaite: “I Am Kexy, Friend to Fairies”; The Fairy – The Little Green Road to Fairyland, 1922

      Toads are frogs. The word toad is usually used for frogs that have warty and dry skin, as well as shorter hind legs.

    • The world’s largest frog is the goliath frog of West Africa, which can grow to 15 inches and weigh up to 7 pounds. Think of a newborn human baby….
    • The smallest frogs are from Papua New Guinea, measuring in at only 9 mm in length.
    • While the life spans of frogs in the wild are unknown, frogs in captivity have been known to live up to 30 years.
    • A group of frogs is called an army.
    • Most frogs have teeth, although usually only on their upper jaw. The teeth are used to hold prey in place until the frog can swallow it.
    • Launched by their long legs, many frogs can leap more than 20 times their body length.
    • Frogs blink as they swallow their prey, thereby pushing their eyeballs down on top of the mouth to help push food down their throats.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, The Jazz Band, 1921

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite: The Jazz Band, 1921

  • A frog completely sheds its skin about once a week — at which point the frog usually eats it.
  • The wood frog is the only frog found north of the Arctic Circle, surviving for weeks with 65% of its body frozen. It uses glucose in its blood as a type of antifreeze that concentrates in its vital organs, protecting them from damage.
  • The Australian water-holding frog is a desert dweller that can wait up to seven years for rain. It burrows underground and surrounds itself in a cocoon made of its own shed skin.
  • One gram of the toxin produced by the skin of the golden poison dart frog could kill 100,000 people.
  • The female Surinam toad lays up to 100 eggs, which are then spread over her back. Her skin swells around the eggs, protecting them. After 12-20 weeks, fully formed young toads emerge by pushing out through the membrane covering the toad’s back.
  • When Darwin’s frog tadpoles hatch, a male frog swallows them. He keeps the tiny amphibians in his vocal sac for about 60 days, while they grow — coughing them up when they grow as tiny, fully formed frogs.
  • The glass frog has translucent skin, so you can see its internal organs, bones, and muscles — even its beating heart and digesting food.
  • A frog in Indonesia has no lungs — it breathes entirely through its skin.
Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia

In the flesh and in bronze: both so lovely

Frog Infographic

Save the Frogs!

Save the Frogs!

For more info:

If Frogs Go Extinct....

We don’t want frogs to disappear! No! Courtesy of Vancouver Aquarium

The Day the Sun Stood Still

A wee bit late of June 21, the formal date of the summer solstice — celebrated throughout human history as an astronomical turning point, when daylight reigns supreme. The word solstice is derived from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stand still), because it appears as though the sun actually stops during the solstice. For a few days after the solstice, the sun rises and sets at its northernmost point on the horizon, before slowly migrating southward again for the next six months.

From the midsummer festivals with bonfires and feasts, to the festival of St. John the Baptist, to Kupala Night and more, may your days of worshiping the sun be filled with blessings!

PAn with Dragonfly

The harbinger of good times: Pan with a companion dragonfly

Go Hug a Tree — It’s Arbor Day!

I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen. -Eeyore

* * *

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. -Hermann Hesse

* * *

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. -Rabindranath Tagore

* * *

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. -Osho

Untouched Cypress Swamp on the Florida Trail Extension near Jonathan Dickinson State Park (OFF-TRAIL!)

Loving the trees in rare untouched cypress swamp

It’s Arbor Day! And despite a wee bit of life’s chaos, I couldn’t neglect our most amazing, most magnificent creatures. As caretakers of this beautiful sphere, it remains our utmost responsibility to honor, safeguard, and protect these living entities. Upwards of 5,000 years old, they’ve borne witness to the rise and fall of entire civilizations. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Plant a tree…Recycle…Go paperless…Follow conservation groups diligently working to protect these lovely, ancient living citadels. Or just show one some love and respect, and give it a nice hugggggg. 🙂

 

Cypress trees in the swamp, Florida Everglades

The always lovely cypress trees in the Everglades

A new trail....

A new trail….

Slash Pine Close-up

Slash pine close-up

Pine flatwoods vista

Pine flatwoods vista

Oak Trees of the Florida Trail, Jonathan Dickinson

The Gentlemen Oaks of the Florida Trail

Sunset tree

Sunset vista

Lovely cypress in winter

The fascinating cypress in winter

Looking up into the canopy of the hardwood swamp

The canopy of a hardwood swamp

Everyone loves trees!

Everyone loves trees!

Heart Tree, Fern Forest Nature Center, Broward County, Florida

Heart Tree!

It’s National Wildlife Week: March 17-23

It’s National Wildlife Week!

[Click on images for greater clarity]

Marsh Rabbit Baby, Florida Wetlands

The ridiculously adorable marsh rabbit baby in the Florida wetlands — or as I call them, swamp bunnies

Founded by the National Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Week is the organization’s “longest-running education program designed around teaching and connecting kids to the awesome wonders of wildlife.” The theme of 2014 — Wildlife and Water — is an effort to “provide fun and informative educational materials, curriculum and activities for educators and caregivers to use with kids.”

Sunning Alligator, Florida Everglades

A cuddly and lazy sunning alligator in the northern section of the Florida Everglades

Living on the edge / vestiges of the magnificent Everglades, the theme of Wildlife and Water is perfection. From the marshes and swamps, to the ‘glades, to the lakes and rivers and open ocean, the opportunities to explore the wonders and beauties of our unique wildlife are endless in South Florida.

Great Egret, Everglades, Florida

A regal great egret rests against the setting sun in the waters of the northern Florida Everglades

Visit their site to learn more, spread the word, and further the conservation efforts of these wonders.

%d bloggers like this: