Help Fight Plant Blight

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The Natural Area Preservation is holding a training session on Thursday, March 8, noon-5 p.m. for volunteers interested in assisting with the prescribed ecological burn program. Without prescribed fires, invasive plants gain a competitive edge, threatening the existence of native plants like upland boneset and oval ladies tresses.

Calling All Bird Counters

Join beginners and experts in the 10th annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 16-19, 2007. Take part wherever you are – at home, in school, at a local park. Have a field guide to Michigan birds handy. For extra fun, try identifying our feathered friends by their birdsongs.

Pet & Wildlife Photo Contest - enter starting Monday, Feb. 5!

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Beginning Monday, February 5 the Downtown Youth Department will start taking submissions for the "Pet & Wildlife Photo Contest." Students in grades K-12 are eligible for the contest. Here are the details: Limit of 2 entries per person. Each photo must have your name, phone # and either your pet's name or a photo title on the back of the photo and be accompanied by a signed entry form (available at the time of photo drop-off). Photos may be black & white or color, must be no larger than 5x7" and must be glossy prints only. Photos will be judged based on subject, originality and creativity. One winner and one honorable mention will be named in each of 4 categories: Grades K-2; 3-5; 6-8 and 9-12. Entries may be dropped off at the Downtown Youth Department Reference Desk during library hours beginning Monday, February 5 at 10:00 AM through Thursday, March 8 by 9:00 PM. Every photo entered will be displayed in the Downtown Youth Department during the month of March., beginning Friday, March 9. Photos will be returned to participants and can be picked up anytime during the first week of April.

Millers Creek Film Festival invites entries

Millers Creek

Environmentalists, nature lovers and budding cinematographers are invited to enter the expanded Millers Creek Film Festival. Adults, children and groups are all eligible to enter and try to win first-place prizes of $500 in each of four categories. The festival is named for the smallest and most troubled stream in the Huron River watershed. However, films can feature any creek, lake or part of the river in the watershed. The contest is sponsored by the Huron River Watershed Council. Entries must be submitted by February 20, 2007. All finalists' entries will be shown at the Michigan Theater on March 27.

Sancho’s Scene: Community Events that Wander off the Path

Early birds (har har!) gear up: the Washtenaw Audubon Society is conducting their 60th annual Christmas Bird Count this Saturday, beginning at 6am. Experts and novices alike are welcome, so grab one of our bird watching books, and join the holiday fun!

Those Tibetan prayer flags on your porch looking worn and faded? For something truly off the beaten path, hit up the Himalayan Bazaar in my Garage, also this Saturday, hosted by Of Global Interest’s Heather O’Neil, who stocks the bazaar with brightly colored items from her travels. Happy trekking!

Flora and Fauna Art Show, September 30 and October 1

This weekend, enjoy the crisp fall weather at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum’s Flora and Fauna Art Show. More than fifty artists will be displaying paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other works outdoors at the gardens. The show is open to the public Saturday, September 30 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sunday, October 1, from Noon to 4:00 pm. Click here for directions and other information for planning your visit

'Crocodile Hunter' killed by stingray

Steve Irwin, the energetic 'Crocodile Hunter' and wildlife warrior, died over the weekend after being stung by a stingray while snorkeling off the Austrailian coast. Irwin was filming pieces for a show called "Ocean's Deadliest" with Phillippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau.

Pluto Downgrade

Into the Wild

Sean Penn is currently filming Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild (1996) about Chris McCandless' ill-fated Alaskan wilderness odyssey of 1992. Although the book is dramatic enough, it's unlikely Penn will spin off, as Krakauer does, into the intriguing stories of other fanatical adventurers--Everett Ruess, John Waterman, Gene Rosellini--who also ventured off into the wild full of ideals and hubris, never to return. Part cautionary tale, Krakauer also does his bit to counter those who would dismiss the bright, Tolstoy-quoting Jack London-loving McCandless as mere crackpot by setting him within the context of other intensely motivated nature lovers (John Muir, Henry David Thoreau) who also retreated from society into the seductive refuge of nature.

Lost in the Woods

In this critically acclaimed film version of Carl Sams and Jean Stoick’s bestselling children’s book, a lost raccoon, Fernando Hernandafandavez--voiced by AADL staff member, Diego Ascani!--is confused by the signs of spring until he finally gets a little help from a wise old box turtle named Shirley. Using live action nature footage and photographic stills, filmmakers Laura and Robert Sams carefully match up the characters' dialogue and movements on screen for a fun and clever way to teach young viewers about animal behavior and their environment.

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