Nature and Children

“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”

~Rachel Carson (American marine biologist and conservationist whose book, Silent Spring, and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.)

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Putting up a bird feeder with your children is an excellent way to nurture a love of nature within them — especially at this time of year!

Naughty Squirrels

“Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace.”

~Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), Nobel Peace prize winner

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Once in awhile I need a quote such as this one from Albert Schweitzer to remind me that the squirrels gnawing on my bird feeder, my outdoor decor, and my deck railings are merely trying to survive — just like all other living creatures.  Anyone else ever find themselves challenged by these determined, and frustratingly naughty creatures?

Warm Reminder

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn come after night, and the spring after the winter.”

~Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

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Sometimes the beauty of warmer days is the reminder that I need to tolerate the cold of winter.  This is a Siberian Iris that grew in my garden last June.  May it bring joy to the hearts of all of you!

It’s cold!

“The cold never bothered me anyway.”  ~Elsa, movie Frozen

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As I drove by a frozen wetland, I noticed some unfamiliar and very still brown lumps.  I stopped my car to take a closer look on this frigid day in Minnesota.  The lumps turned out to be a group of turkeys dozing in the bright sunshine.  They awoke to the sound of me pulling my car off to the side of the road, but were slower than usual in making their customary get-away.  Here they look at me in a slightly drowsy state.

I am regularly amazed that any living thing survives outside in Minnesota during the winter when the windchill drops well below zero!

Survival

“God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into the nest.  He does not unearth the good that the earth contains, but He puts it in our way, and gives us the means of getting it ourselves.”

~Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881), American novelist and poet

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A Bald Eagle having just captured his prey on a frigid day in Minnesota.  The temperature was about -5 degrees.  Brrrr…

Consider the Next Generation

“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value. Conservation means development as much as it does protection.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States

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I took this photo in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the fall of 2014.  If you are ever passing through North Dakota, I believe it is worth a visit!

Open Your Eyes

Open your eyes that you may see
The beauty that around you lies,
The misty loveliness of the dawn,
The glowing colors of the skies;
The Child’s bright eager eyes of blue,
The gnarled and wrinkled face of age,
The bird with crimson on his wing
Whose spirit never knew a cage;
The roadsides blooming goldenrod
So brave through summer’s wind and heat,
The brook that rushes to the sea
With courage that naught may defeat.
Open your eyes that you may see
The wonder that around you lies;
It will enrich your every day
And make you glad and kind and wise.
~Emma Boge Whisenand, Open Your Eyes

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As a Minnesotan, I find the fact that the Great Egret is native to my state to be amazing.  Seriously!  This is a shot of an egret during mating season.  Doesn’t this bird look too exotic to be sitting on a branch in a local Minneapolis wetland?

According to allaboutbirds.org, the pristinely white Great Egret gets especially dressed up for the breeding season. A patch of skin on its face turns neon green, and long plumes grow from its back. Called aigrettes, those plumes were the bane of egrets in the late nineteenth century, when such adornments were prized for ladies’ hats.  I’m glad that tradition has gone out of style.

As a nature photographer, I count myself blessed whenever I open my eyes to see a sight such as this one!

Daily Routine

“In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.”

~ Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist

(This quote appeared in Wisdom of the Wilderness, LIFE magazine, December 22, 1967.)

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Day after day this Pileated Woodpecker hunts for food and shelter entirely dependent upon his own physical attributes for survival.  I am awed by this fact and inspired.