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Happy Solstice

Jet Eliot

Monarch Butterfly, Horicon Marsh, WI

Those of us in the northern hemisphere are entering into summer solstice this week, celebrating the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer. The word solstice derives from the Latin for sun (sol) and to stand still (sistere).

Here are a few North American summer moments, when the power of the sun (and the camera) slowed the natural world down to a perfect stand-still.

Mother Moose and calf, Rocky Mtn. Nat’l. Park, Colorado

Common Green Darner, Anax junius. California

It’s a quiet moment when dragonflies cruise by–nothing says summer days like a dragonfly.

Horicon Marsh Halloween Pennant Dragonfly, Wisconsin

Insects and wildflowers grace us with color and vibrance as they busily gather sustenance during these longest of days.

Hypericum coccinum, aka Gold Wire, with ladybug. California

Great Spangled Fritillary (female), Wyoming

And is there a more remarkable insect than the…

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Dream Temples

Close to Rasipuram in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu is the village of Singalandhapuram, one of many beautiful villages beneath the Kolli hills. The people here are mostly engaged in weaving and farming.

The village is believed to be named after Chola Emperor Rajaraja who ruled between 985 and 1015 C.E. Singalandhagan was a honorific title given to Rajaraja after his subjugation of the northern part of Sri Lanka.

Thiruveswarar Temple – A temple in the land of Valvil Ori

The Thiruveswarar temple is the Siva temple in this village. It is easy to locate as the Rasipuram – Sendhamangalam- Namakkal road passes beside the temple.

Thiruveswarar koil Singalandhapuram (6)

The temple is ancient and is believed to have existed during the Sangam Age 2000 years ago. It is one of the six temples in the region where legendary King Valvil Ori worshipped Lord Siva. A granite statue of the king is seen in front…

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Natural History Wanderings

Yosemite National Park News Release

Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Conservancy and public officials today dedicated the newly restored Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias following a landmark project to protect the ancient trees and reestablish the area’s natural serenity.

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Wild Voices

Metate_Arch_-_Grand_Staircase-Escalante_National_Monument

Preview YouTube video Artist in Residence: Grand Staircase-Escalante National MonumentArtist in Residence: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Sadly, this Monument has now been cut into three small monuments, totaling only half its former size, and opening one million acres of once-protected lands to mining, fracking, and other industrialization. A court case has been filed to re-instate the Monument.

We each need to continue to speak up in defense of our wild lands before they are all gone.

Photographer: John Fowler /  Wikipedia / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license./ Metate Arch in Grand Staircase-Escalante national Monument

Thanks to Carolyn Shelton for sending this video and for her role in its creation.

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This NASA video from today in the USA says about itself:

The Curiosity rover has discovered ancient organic molecules on Mars, embedded within sedimentary rocks that are billions of years old. News Release: here.

From Chemical & Engineering News today:

Ancient organic molecules found on Mars

Curiosity rover also reports data on the red planet’s mysterious methane plumes

by Mark Peplow

Wherever life flourishes, it leaves a calling card written in organic molecules—and researchers have spent decades hoping to uncover these telltale signatures on Mars.

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has now given those hopes a considerable boost after finding organic deposits trapped in exposed rocks that were formed roughly 3.5 billion years ago (Science 2018). The rover’s discovery at Gale Crater shows that organic molecules were present when that part of the red planet hosted a potentially habitable lake. It also proves that these traces can…

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Nat Geo Education Blog

ENVIRONMENT

Dense clusters of old-growth forests exist in patches of the Amazon basin, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic taiga. Slivers of Europe are still luxuriant with trees, too, and very old ones at that. But they’re dwindling. (Atlas Obscura)

What does Europe’s land cover look like? Use our map layer to find out.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources, including today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

You will never, ever regret looking through illustrations of Arthur Rackham’s fairytale forests. No one imagined European primary forests better.
Illustration by Arthur Rackham, from Imagina (1914)

Discussion Ideas

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THE DIRT

trump President Trump’s climate speech at the White House in 2017 / Mashable

One year ago, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, raising uncertainty about the future of the landmark agreement. Last week, the World Resources Institute (WRI) convened a panel of climate policy leaders to ask the question: Has the world moved on since President Trump’s announcement?

In a panel moderated by WRI senior fellow Andrew Light, Paula Caballero, global director of climate for WRI, gave the room reasons for both optimism and caution. “Trump can announce what he will, but the reality in the US and around the world is that efforts to tackle climate continue.”

States and businesses are doing what they can to fill the void left by federal inaction, which is reflected in bipartisan initiatives, such as the U.S. Climate Alliance and America’s Pledge. “States, cities…

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news from (and about) the trees

Coming Soon!

Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees—Volume 3: The East will be available by this time next week, through my website http://secret-voices.com or on Amazon. Check there after June 10.cover proof #1

Also this week, at The Treetalker, some new posts

Spotlight on: The Coywolf – a new species!  http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/index.html

image-20160510-20698-1hcqds5Environmental Happenings:  http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/environmental-happenings.html

  1. Silvopasturing – a way of raising cattle that is far more environmentally friendly than the common practice of raising animals in feedlots.
  2. Don’t Kill That Spider! – the little beasties that live in our homes.

    And on my blog: http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/blog.html

    “The Problem with Self Publishing”

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While domestic horses may have first appeared on the Eurasian steppes, it’s important to note that the horse originated in the Americas, not in Europe or Asia. They traveled from North America to Asia across the Bering Strait. There is significant evidence that wild horses never completely died out in the Americas, and that the wild horses still found in the West (although they are being persecuted) are their descendants. Thanks for an interesting article.

Today in History

The first dog may have approached a campfire looking for a morsel, or someone could have taken in a sick or wounded pup.  A wolf pack may have learned to shadow human hunting parties, the two groups learning to work together for their mutual benefit.  Two social, hierarchically organized species such as humans and wolves, would have found themselves on familiar ground.

The earliest known evidence of a domesticated dog comes to us from a cave in Iraq and dates to about 12,000 years ago. The specimen differs from that of a wolf, in that it was bred to have smaller jaws and teeth

1417509_origIt may be hard to imagine but, Canis lupus, the wolf, is the ancestor of the modern dog, Canis familiaris.  Every one of them, from Newfoundlands to Chihuahuas.

dog_history_tree

Ovis aries, sheep, were the next to be domesticated, probably in the Middle East. They provided milk, meat…

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Jet Eliot

Leopard, Zambia

It is a pleasure to share highlights of the classic “Big Five” animals of the African savannah: leopard, elephant, lion, rhinoceros, and buffalo. Here are a few personal experiences I have had with the Big Five.

In an earlier era they were so-named because they were the five most challenging animals to shoot. Fortunately, the trophy game hunters are the minority these days.

Most safari visitors of today cherish these animals; and the only capture is simply via cameras.

Elephant cow and calf, Botswana

Lion, Botswana

Most of us know about the ongoing problems with habitat destruction and unprecedented poaching. To read about it, here is a New York Times article: The Big Five. 

White Rhinos, Kenya, Africa

Leopard, Okavango Delta, Botswana

1. The African Leopard. A cat of extreme stealth and strength, the leopard hunts primarily at night. With a diet that is least particular of all…

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