Take a Hike@Bird Hills

Thursday, May 3 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Bird Hills Natural Area | All Ages

The City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff will lead a nature walk in one of Ann Arbor's most beloved parks, Bird Hills. Covering 147 acres, it is the largest park in Ann Arbor.

Learn about ecological restoration and responsible use of public lands. Opportunities for wildlife viewing are plentiful. If we’re lucky, we may get to view some early spring bloomers like trillium, jack-in-the pulpit, and more. Black, red, and fox squirrels, ground squirrels, deer, and butterflies are very common in Bird Hills. Dress comfortably to walk and enjoy nature.

We'll meet in the parking lot off Newport Road, just north of M-14. This event is for all ages.

More than Morels: Michigan Seasonal Mushrooms

Thursday May 3, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

What makes mushrooming such a fun and interesting activity? Where and when can mushroom hunts be planned? How can someone tell if a mushroom is safe for eating? What is involved in cooking mushrooms? How can one preserve them?

Phil Tedeschi, President of the Michigan Mushroom Hunter's Club, will discusses popular Michigan mushrooms and share his ideas on Michigan mushrooming at this informative program.

Earth Day Festival at Leslie Science & Nature Center

Celebrate Earth Day at the Leslie Science and Nature Center on April 22 from 12-4pm. "This free, family-friendly event features displays from 50 local environmental, non-profit, and governmental organizations; live animal demonstrations; hands-on activities; product & toy testing; live entertainment; green building & commuting technologies; energy topics; water awareness; sustainable agriculture; and more." Check out the birds of prey and the Critter House. Engage in crafting with the Scrap Box. Dance along with local musicians, Gemini. More details are posted at www.a2earthday.org. Can't make this event? Check out the AADL's collection of Earth Day books and videos for more ways to celebrate Earth Day.

Birds of North America Online

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Clangula hyemalis! Ortalis vetula! No, these aren't Harry Potter spells, they are birds -- the Long-tailed Duck and the Plain Chachalaca, scientifically speaking. For a wealth of information on our local feathered friends, be sure to visit the Birds of North America Online database. Created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the American Ornithologists' Union ("Ornithology" is the scientific study of birds), BNA provides information on EVERY species of bird from North America. Photos, videos, and audio recordings of bird calls accompany text descriptions about characteristics, life cycles, habits, and demographic information for each species. This site, which is updated every month, is fabulous for students, bird watchers, budding ornithologists, and lovers of nature.

Access to this and any of our other reference databases and resources is available at every branch of the AADL, as well as from outside the library with a valid AADL library card. For access from an outside location, please sign in to your library account, visit our reference database page, and navigate to the desired resource. To access the Birds of North America Online database, go to the research page, and select Birds of North America Online from the Science & Technology category.

Author Jerry Dennis Discusses His New Book "The Windward Shore "

Thursday November 3, 2011: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Award-winning Michigan author Jerry Dennis reads from and discusses his powerful and insightful new book "The Windward Shore" which centers on winter in Great Lakes country. This event includes a book signing and books will be on sale.

In this just-released book, Dennis, grounded by a knee injury, learns to live at a slower pace while staying in houses ranging from a log cabin on Lake Superior's Keweenaw Peninsula to a $20-million mansion on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. Walking beaches and exploring nearby woods and villages, he muses on the future of the Great Lakes, the nature of time, weather, waves, agates, books, words for snow and ice, our complex relationship with nature, and much more.

This Week In Booklists

Significant Dates for the Week of September 18-24

On Wednesday September 21st put on your best tie-dye for International Peace Day!

On Friday September 23rd be ready for a twofer because it is both:
Native American Day- Get ready by reading up on Native American history and lore.
And
The Autumnal Equinox- Celebrate that Fall is finally here with some fun reads on the season and its most important harvest.

Hooray for fall!!

If you're like me, you can't wait for the Autumnal Equinox on September 23rd to roll around so you can officially say It's Fall! for those that are excited for the cooler weather and changing colors, check out the Michigan.org website for information about the changing colors and where and when to go to get the best view. Also be sure to check our catalog for books about fall/autumn in the aadl.org catalog!

Traverwood / Stapp Invasives Removal

Thursday, September 15 | 6:00-7:30 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.

Birds of North America Online ~ New Ways to Birdwatch @ AADL

A project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Birds of North America Online includes contributions from researchers, citizen scientists, reviewers and editors and image and video galleries showing plumages, behaviors, habitat, nests and eggs, and more. BNA now features recordings of the songs and calls of their species from the extensive collection of Cornell's Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds.

You can access BNA Online 24-hours a day from home through our Database Page. I like putting in keyword terms like "black billed" or "blue throated" and seeing the results. Amazing what great background music bird calls provide to a day indoors.

Chasing the Taiga's Tale

I just finished The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, an Orion Book Award finalist about the hunt for a man-eating tiger in remote eastern Siberia in 1997. On one level, it's your basic hair-raising thriller about a rogue beast and the brave and frightened men who track it. There's plenty of grisly forensic evidence, a few spine-chilling moments, and on more than one occasion the hunter becomes the hunted. Along with the trackers, the reader is drawn into the physical and psychological realm of this near-mythic and elusive creature whose calculating intelligence and patience allows it to outmaneuver its captors while remaining virtually invisible in the forest.

But it's the forest itself, the tiger's domain, the strange land of the Siberian taiga and the people who live there, that elevates this story from man vs. beast to an intimate exploration of the natural world and its relationship with contemporary culture. By drawing attention to their interdependence, author John Vaillant renders the setting every bit as compelling a character; the tiger and taiga are indivisible. The land defies conventional description, so he dubs it a "boreal jungle" to evoke its exotic mix of flora and fauna. It's the sort of ragged wilderland you might expect to wander through in Middle Earth, but instead of elvish villages it's dotted with hunting shacks and charmless Soviet-era outposts, an aesthetic of metal boxes at odds with nature where villagers are laid low by poverty and the lawlessness wrought by perestroika. And the occasional man-eating tiger.

Capturing the strange beauty of this region has been a goal of some of our greatest filmmakers. Werner Herzog, always on the hunt for the strange and beautiful, recently teamed up for a documentary about the hunters of the taiga titled, of all things, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, which I hope to see on DVD soon. Further back, in 1975, Akira Kurosawa brought this haunting landscape to life in one of my all-time favorite films, Dersu Uzala, which was adapted from the writings of the well-known Soviet explorer, Vladimir Arseniev, about his friendship with the trapper he hires to accompany him.

In 2014, The Tiger (and the taiga) will come to the big screen again, with no less than Darren Aronofsky at the helm and a screenplay by Guillermo Arriaga, who also wrote Amores Perros and Babel. The lead tracker will be played by Brad Pitt, whose film choices have gotten more and more interesting lately. His is not the sort of face you expect to find in the Siberian wilderness, but then I felt the same way about Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson and got over it fast.

Until then, your can discover more about the taiga and its tigers in Peter Matthiessen's Tigers in the Snow and National Geographic's Tigers of the Snow.

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