Time to Climb Everest

While we enjoy a spring afternoon, Mt. Everest expedition teams are sleeping somewhere near or on the mountain. Depending on the approach they staked their tents in Tibet or Nepal.

Keep on top of the latest Everest expedition news: MountEverest.net

Elevations
Ann Arbor: 256 m (840 ft) What's the highest point in Ann Arbor?
Nepal-side base camp: 5,380 m (17,700 ft)
Tibet-side base camp: 5,180 m (16,990 ft)
Mt. Everest peak: 8,844.43 m ± 0.21 m (29,017.16 ± 0.69 ft)

Everest books:
1996 climb
2006 climb

Everest DVDs:
1996 climb
Everest: beyond the limit

Vacations to Enrich Your Life

On our new book shelf here at the AADL you can pick up a copy of The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life, written by Pam Grout & published by National Geographic. The author's intent, as she states in the introduction, is to alter your idea of what vacation is meant to be and offer you the potential to change your life. The experiences are divided into four categories: arts and crafts getaways, learning retreats, volunteer vacations, and wellness escapes. Even if you can't afford some of the fabulous ideas set forth in this book, it's still enjoyable to read about them. Consider a three-day mahout (elephant wrangler) training course in Thailand. Spend a month working for African Impact, a lion rehabilitation center in Zimbabwe. Master the art of blending scotch at the Glengoyne Distillery in the Scottish highlands. Ride horses to Machu Picchu's sacred sister city, Choquequirao, Peru.
The trip that caught my attention is run by COBATI (Community-Based Tourism Initiatives) in Kampala, Uganda. Instead of a typical African safari package that does little to benefit the locals, COBATI homestays offer the amazing opportunity to stay in small, rural villages and learn about the real Uganda. Visit banana plantations, stay with midwives, learn beekeeping & mushroom growing, attend community weddings, visit flower farms and see homesteads with Ankole longhorn cattle (indigenous to Uganda for at least seven centuries). Interested? Visit www.cobati.or.ug or head to the library for a copy of this unique travel guide.

Keeping an eye on the ‘nesting boxes’ at the Pittsfield

bird housebird house

My son, Bill, led the construction and installation of a dozen “nesting boxes” for birds and bats on the east side of the Pittsfield branch last summer as one of the requirements to become an Eagle Scout. Library director Josie Parker supported the project as a reflection of the AADL’s commitment to capitalize on environmental principles...to operate more in harmony with the ecosystem. I'm keeping an eye on the project now that Bill’s off at college, and with spring coming, I hope other library patrons would post a comment if they see birds (or bats) actually occupying the boxes.

Sap to Syrup -- Doing it Yourself

You can't beat the taste of real maple syrup on hot, crispy Belgian waffles, especially on a cold winter morning. If you've ever wanted to give your mouth that Vermont-fresh taste without the store-bought price then the Saturday, February 28 program, Sap to Syrup -- Doing it Yourself, at the Field Operations Building of Ann Arbor's County Farm Park is just what you've been waiting for. From 1-2:30 pm, Faye Stoner will be discussing methods of identifying maple trees, tapping the trees, and boiling the sap into syrup. The program requires registration beforehand, so be sure to let them know if you're planning to go. Can't make the event but still want to tap that delicious drizzle? Check out some AADL items on all things syrup: The Maple Syrup Book, Sugaring Season: Making Maple Syrup, or the Newbery Honor book, Sugaring Time.

Celebrate our national parks

On February 26, 1919, Congress enacted legislation to establish two national parks. One was Lafayette National Park on the coast of Maine which was later renamed Acadia National Park. The other was Grand Canyon National Park in northwestern Arizona which covers over a million acres. The Library has a wonderful collection of books and dvds on all the national parks. So if you're planning a trip to any this summer, come check them out.

Six more weeks of winter? Boo! Hiss!

Well. Punxsutawney Phil has done it again. Casting his ominous shadow, Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter. February 2 is the official Groundhog Day when men in tall hats in a small town in rural Pennsylvania hold up the fat furry creature for all to see. It is also a "cross-quarter" day in the solar calendar, a day that falls exactly between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Groundhog Day originated with the Germans who emigrated to Pennsylvania. They wanted to use a badger but couldn't find too many, so settled on our beloved groundhog.

Pulp

Pulp Tree

Project Budburst: Tracking Climate Change In The Garden
Organic Gardening Magazine February/March 2009 Page 47
In the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads book "Seeing in the Dark: How Amateur Astronomers are Discovering the Wonders of the Universe" we learned about how amateur astronomers help professional astronomers. Similarly, gardeners can help scientists track climate change. Project Budburst is "a citizen's research program developed to monitor the ways in which climate change is impacting the leafing and flowering of hundres of plant species nation-wide."
Climate change : what it means for us, our children, and our grandchildren
Cool it : the skeptical environmentalist's guide to global warming
The Michigan gardener's companion : an insider's guide to gardening in the Great Lakes State

A champion of animals

durrelldurrell

Today, January 7 is the birthday of British zoologist and writer, Gerald Durrell who was born in Jamshedpur, India in 1925. Durrell loved animals from an early age and to the distress of his mother, brought many specimens home. He became interested in rare and endangered animals and his dream was to one day open his own zoo. At the suggestion of his brother, novelist Lawrence Durrell, he began to write of his adventures to many parts of the world to collect animals so that he could finance his projects. In 1953, he published his first book, The Overloaded Ark, which was a great success. He went on to write over 30 more books and was eventually able to open his own zoo on the Jersey Islands. The zoo led to the development of the the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, an organization whose mission is to save endangered animals from extinction.

In a letter he wrote to seal in a time capsule, he says: "We hope that there will be fireflies and glow-worms at night to guide you and butterflies in hedges and forests to greet you. We hope that there will still be the extraordinary varieties of creatures sharing the land of the planet with you to enchant you." I hope so too.

Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count

Washtenaw Audubon SocietyWashtenaw Audubon Society

Looking for a break from the holiday hustle and bustle? Try a more relaxing weekend this Saturday, December 20th by joining up with the Washtenaw Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. Each year for over a century the Audubon Society has organized local groups of birdwatchers to compile a list of all the birds spotted across the continent. The results help researchers track bird populations and identify habitats at risk. You can be a part of this international effort (and hone your bird identification skills) by signing up with the local chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Dec. 6, 1947 - Everglades National Park, Florida dedicated by President Harry S Truman

"Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in our country." With these words, Truman formally dedicated Everglades National Park. This event culminated years of effort by a dedicated group of conservationists to make a national park in the Florida Everglades a reality. For a fascinating and comprehensive history of this amazing wetland, check out Michael Grunwald's The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise. Thinking of visiting the park? Check out Hidden Florida Keys and Everglades or Adventure guide to the Florida Keys & Everglades National Park.

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