Running Inspiration at Western States 100

WS buckleWS buckle

This weekend, several hundred lucky ultrarunners toed the starting line at the Western States 100 mile trail run, one of four Grand Slam 100-mile events, the others being Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run, Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run, and Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run.

According to the Western States website, "the run is conducted along the Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn. Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters."

Ellie Greenwood, a dominant ultrarunner competing in her first 100 mile race, overcame early hamstring tightness as well as a twenty-minute deficit with 22 miles to go when she surged into first place at mile 95, en route to a victory that set the second fastest women's Western States time ever. Spaniard Kilian Jornet won for the men, setting the third-fastest men's time in course history. Simply amazing.

Looking for more distance running inspiration? Check out AADL's collection of run training books, as well as the trail running specific books, Runner's World Complete Guide to Trail Running and The Outdoor Athlete.

Ben Brilliant: Science Experiments for Kids!

Ben Franklin was a legendary inventor whose imagination and hard work led him to conduct famous scientific experiments and invent many new devices.

Inspire the young scientist in your family with stories of Franklin's experiments and inventions with Gene Barretta's Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions Of Benjamin Franklin, Rosalyn Schanzer's How Ben Franklin Stole The Lightning, and Pamela Nettleton's Benjamin Franklin: Writer, Inventor, Statesman.

Then dig into some experimenting yourself! This website from the Franklin Institute has instructions for experiments with electricity, air, heat, and the glass armonica. If electricity sparks your imagination, there are plenty more experiments on this topic, including how to build your own Leyden jar!

Did you know that Ben Franklin was the first scientist to study the Gulf Stream, a powerful, warm current in the Atlantic Ocean. Take your own voyage on the Gulf Stream with these science and math activities!

If you're a teacher or parent seeking to incorporate educational lessons and experiments inspired by Ben Franklin's life, refer to the PBS Benjamin Franklin Teacher's Guide, a series of eight lesson plans aligned to National Standards.

BenFranklinScienceBenFranklinScience

Take a Hike @ Black Pond Woods

Pond at Black Pond WoodsPond at Black Pond Woods

Thursday, June 16 | 7:00-8:30 p.m. | 1831 Traver Road | All Ages

Meet at the Project Grow Garden of the Leslie Science and Nature Center, 1831 Traver Road and join a naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) on a nature walk. Learn about native plants and trees, ecological restoration, and responsible use of public lands, as well as volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks.

Black Pond Woods is named for a small, vernal pond whose basin was carved by receding glaciers. Tannins and humic acids from leaf litter cause the water color to be dark brown, thus giving rise to the name “Black Pond.” This pond provides favorable conditions for frogs and salamanders. The land around the pond includes an oak-hickory forest, a savanna, and a wet meadow.

Park & Read Passes Have Arrived!

Grand Haven State ParkGrand Haven State Park

Now's your chance to get a free one-day pass into any Michigan State Park or recreation area with a Park & Read Pass from AADL this summer! How does it work?

  • A limited number of passes are available at each AADL branch. Passes are available on a first come, first serve basis and can not be reserved. Only one pass may be checked out to a single library card holder at one time. Each pass is good for the free entrance and parking of one car (bring the whole family if they'll fit!) at a State Park or recreation area.
  • When checking out a pass, you'll be given a printed admission card and brochure by the Circulation desk. This admission card is your pass and is turned in at the park on arrival. You don't have to return anything to the library! Passes must be used within seven days of checkout, and can only be used once.
  • For a list of parks and areas you can visit, click here!
  • Park & Read Passes are available this year until October 1st, 2011. Get your pass today and enjoy summer in Michigan at the park!

    Traverwood/Stapp Invasives Removal

    TraverwoodTraverwood

    Thursday, May 19 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Traverwood | Grade 6-Adult

    Wear your outdoor work duds/gloves and with the help of Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation (NAP) staff, identify and pull invasive plants on the grounds of Traverwood or nearby Stapp Nature Area. Meet just outside the front door of the Traverwood Branch.

    What are invasives? These are plants that do not naturally occur in southeast Michigan woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. Invasive plants DO NOT provide the food and habitat needed by our native animals.

    Teens (and adults), this is a VOLUNTEER opportunity. Just complete NAP’s volunteer form and bring it along with you to the event.

    April 16 - 19 is National Park Week

    The U.S. National Park Service is celebrating National Park Week from April 16 - 19, which means free entry into 394 National Parks this week. There are six National Park locations in Michigan, though the most famous are the majestic Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, MI, and the stunning Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula.

    The NPS will host numerous events at the parks throughout the week, such as Junior Ranger Day and an Empire Bluffs Sunset Hike. If you can't make it away this week but want more information on these fantastic natural resources in Michigan, check out Michigan State and National Parks by Tom Powers or the nearly 200 National Parks guidebooks from the AADL.

    Take a Hike @ Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

    Mary Beth Doyle dedicationMary Beth Doyle dedication

    Thursday, April 21 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Mary Beth Doyle Park | All Ages

    Join us on a walk on the unpaved trail that meanders along Malletts Creek and through woods and wetlands of this 81.4-acre park. William Kirst, a naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will discuss native plants and trees, invasive plants, ecological restoration, volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks, and much more.

    The walk will start at the park entrance at Packard Rd. (just east of Cobblestone Farm on the south side of the road). Parking at the entrance is limited; additional parking is available at the Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower) with a half-mile walk east along Eisenhower and Packard to the park entrance.

    Keeping Bees in Your Own Backyard

    Bees

    Did you know that the Ann Arbor city code (search for apiary) allows for two hives of bees on every city lot? Keeping bees is not everyone’s idea of fun, but it is remarkably easy and, if you are inclined, there is abundant support for learning how to enhance the diversity of your backyard habitat. Now is the perfect time to get started.

    The best book I know for learning the craft of beekeeping is Ross Conrad’s Natural Beekeeping. We own other books and dvds on the subject too, but Conrad keeps to a plan of organic care for his bee colonies, which keeps stress on the hive to a minumum.

    SEMBA is the resource you need if you are actually trying to start hives. Lots of educational opportunites and comaradarie with fellow beekeepers. For supplies and lots of other information there are, of course, excellent sites online, here and here and here.

    The documentary film Queen of the Sun is an amazing tour de force about our relationship to bees and explores the question, “What are bees trying to tell us when colonies collapse and bees disappear?” It is still touring select theaters and I am hoping it makes its way to Ann Arbor soon! Watch for it.

    Finally, the wisest beekeeper around, Gunther Hauk, has a very special and inspiring message for working with bees and has started a “honeybee sanctuary” in southeastern Virginia called Spikenard Farm. Even if you don’t plan to keep your own hives, there is much to learn here.

    Magazine Update -- Giraffes, Plays and Magical Neurology

    by stevendepolo, Flickr.comby stevendepolo, Flickr.com

    You may have noticed that Ann Arbor is steadily sinking into the ground. Shocking news! But as you await the inevitable plunge towards the center of the Earth, at least you can read these cool new magazines.

    For the kids:
    Zootles is all about Giraffes, the tallest animals on Earth!

    Plays Magazine gives you seven all new scripts for aspiring thespians, including "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" inspired by the classic Sherlock Holmes story!

    Dig magazine digs into the Aztecs (get it?), and Muse magazine tells you about the weird brain glitches that make magic tricks work.

    For the parents:
    American Baby is ready to tell you all about decoding your baby's mood signals, dealing with kid-caused embarrassment, and going on baby-friendly vacations.

    Have fun!

    Restoring Ann Arbor's Natural Areas with NAP

    Bird Hills trail verticalBird Hills trail vertical

    Did you know that the City of Ann Arbor has over 1400 acres of dedicated natural areas? Our urban forests, prairies and wetlands provide shelter, food and water for a vast number of unique plant and animal species, help clean our city's air, and filter rain water that enters the Huron River.

    William Kirst, a naturalist for Natural Area Preservation (NAP), will walk us through the seasons of Ann Arbor's natural wonders, all from the comfort of the Traverwood Branch! William's lecture and slideshow will show us familiar sites; we'll learn about native plants, their fundamental importance in nature, and get some ideas on what nature even is and how we are key in the workings of nature.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm --- Traverwood Branch Library: Program Room --Grade 6-Adult

    Syndicate content