Tonight: Gardening with Gusto with Karleen Shafer!

Now that the weather is finally beginning to warm up, many of us are thinking about getting our gardens started. Local landscape designer, author and Master Gardener Karleen Shafer will be at the Mallets Creek branch of the Ann Arbor District Library this evening to discuss various gardening topics. She will touch on pruning techniques, planting issues, building healthy ecological communities with plants, and creating a sense of space in your garden, no matter how large or small it may be. She will also be available for questions about more specific topics at the end of her talk.

Useful handouts on local invasive species and how to combat them will also be provided at the event. Karleen’s talk will begin at 7:00 tonight (Tuesday, May 6) in the large meeting room at Mallets Creek. Read more about Gardening with Gusto and about Karleen here!

AADL at the Earth Day Festival this Sunday

Come visit the Ann Arbor Distrct Library table at the 43rd Annual Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival this Sunday, April 27th from 12:00 to 4:00pm! Coordinated by the Environmental Education Network of Washtenaw and hosted at the Leslie Science and Nature Center, the Earth Day Festival is a fun-filled afternoon of exploration, activities and education for all ages. Over 40 local environmental, governmental and nonprofit organizations will have tables at the festival covering a wide range of topics including live animal demonstrations, sustainable agriculture, environmental quality testing and more. There will also be local food vendors at the festival.The AADL table will have a number of our science tools available for people to try out, including our portable digital microscope.

Admission to the festival is free, and the festival is a zero waste event. Lots of recycling bins will be available and patrons are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles. You can read more about the festival here.

Peter Seeger, iconic folksinger and political activist, has died

Pete Seeger, as beloved for his enduring folk songs as for his principled political activism for six decades, has died.

Seeger began his singing career as part of the Weavers in 1948, performing tunes of peace. Just seven years later, McCarthyism caught up with Seeger. The singer refused to testify. After years of legal wrangling, Seeger was convicted of contempt in 1961. A year later that conviction was overturned on a technicality.

For years, Seeger was blacklisted and banned from performing in schools and concert venues. He refused to be silent, writing and demonstrating whenever he could.

He was the inspiration for many folksinging giants, including Joan Baez who said of Seeger: "We all owe our careers to Pete Seeger." and Peter, Paul, and Mary who made famous Seeger's If I Had a Hammer. Other long-enduring Seeger classics are Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn! Turn! Turn!.

In 1994, the National Endowment of the Arts bestowed on Seeger the National Medal of Arts. In 1996, he won his first Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Twelve years later, he won his second Grammy. And just one year later, in a stunning moment of political validation, he performed at a celebratory concert in Washington, D.C. two days before President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Seeger stayed politically active until the end of his life. In 2011, he marched in New York City with the Occupy Movement. He performed in last year's FarmAid concert and, as a lifelong environmentalist, this past November he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the Arctic 30 who were granted their freedom the following month.

In 2012, Seeger published Pete Seeger: In His Own Words.

Seeger, who was 94, died of natural causes.

Pete Seeger is no stranger to area music lovers. He made several trips to perform here. His benefit concert for the Ark is fondly remembered. Check out these Old News articles on this beloved muscian.

Film & Discussion: We Can't Eat Gold

Thursday November 14, 2013: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 9 and up).

“How does it feel when your ancestors have been surviving off the same land for thousands of years and then that land is threatened?” Residing about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage the people of Dillingham, Alaska have lived off of caribou and the world’s largest, most spectacular sockeye salmon fishery located in Bristol Bay. But now the proposed Pebble Mine that seeks to extract valuable deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum threatens that way of life.

The documentary We Can’t Eat Gold, casts light on the sustainable living the people have made off the land and sea. It also gives voice to the concern of the Alaska Native elders and youths not only about the future but also the impacts the exploration of Pebble Mine has already had on the Bristol Bay region’s King Salmon and Caribou populations. With government approval pending will the people’s voice be heard?

Film director Joshua Tucker and producer Giovanna Marcantonio will be on hand to lead the discussion following the viewing of the film.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Michigan Community Scholars' Program.

Take an Autumn Prairie Plant Hike! @Furstenberg Nature Area

Sunday September 22, 2013: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Furstenberg Nature Area

Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) volunteer and Master Gardener Aunita Erskine lead a nature walk through Furstenberg's Native Garden.

Learn about the ecology of the park, how to identify many of the autumn prairie plants and how people have historically used some of the plants for food and medicine.

Furstenberg is off Fuller, across from Huron High School. Meet in the parking lot near the Native Plant Garden.

This event is intended for all ages.

The best environmental writing

You can find Orion Magazine in the Periodicals Department on the second floor of the Downtown Library. It combines outstanding journalism, astute commentary and a measure of hope about the politics, science and current state of the environment. It manages to be inspiring, cutting edge, beautiful and provocative at the same time. If Orion Magazine has a list of favorite books on environmental themes from 2012, you can bet they are worth a look. Look here for that list. Then, the editorial staff of Orion picks the very best, and issues the Orion Book Awards for the year.

This year the winner is:
Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth by Craig Childs
The four runners-up are:
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingslover
Things That Are: Essays by Amy Leach
The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane
The Mountain and the Fathers by Joe Wilkins

A Little Book of Sloth: A great book if you startle easily

Have you ever come across something so hideous it is adorable? That is how I feel about sloths. I love them. I love everything from their quiet and reserved nature to their fabulous hair (just look here to see what I’m talking about). So, when I stumbled across A Little Book of Sloth in the AADL catalog, I immediately knew I had to get my hands on it and once I did, it did not disappoint me. This book chronicles the efforts of the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, but mainly focuses on its inhabitants and their varying personalities. Highlighting the two different species of sloths, this book contains many fun little facts about these very, very slow creatures. For example, did you know that no one really knows how long a sloth can live? Or that the sloth has extra neck vertebrae so they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees? Amazing!

The author of this book is the zoologist Lucy Cooke who has a passion for those creatures that most people would not think of as cute or lovable. You can check out some of Lucy Cooke’s older blog posts at The Amphibian Avenger, which highlight some unlovable creatures she has worked with in the past, but be advised that she is writing for an adult audience so some of the content might not be appropriate for younger readers. If you want to follow her current adventures you can check out her Facebook page.

AADL @ the 13th Annual Mayor's Green Fair

Did you know that many of our branches have environmentally friendly features? Malletts Creek has a vegetated roof and bioswales in the parking lot, the harvested ash trees from the building site of Traverwood were used in the construction of that branch, and Pittsfield's building design incorporates the natural wetlands of the area, helping to capture and filter storm water.

Interested in learning more?

This week Ann Arbor is celebrating all things GREEN with the 13th Annual Mayor's Green Fair, held on Friday, June 14th from 6-9pm. Come visit the Ann Arbor District Library at our booth on Main Street! You can learn more about our environmental features, plus information about our upcoming summer programs and events. We'll also have a craft for the kids!

GO GREEN!

May 17th is Endangered Species Day

Today is Endangered Species Day, so let's raise some awareness about the plight of Earth's endangered animals! We only have one earth and we all have to share it, humans and non-humans alike. Check out these books to learn more about how we can all help out.

Hope for Animals and Their World and Wildlife Heroes are two books about people around the globe who have worked hard (and are still working hard!) to bring back many different species from the brink of extinction. The Atlas of Endangered Species gives good information about all the endangered species from diverse ecosystems like forests, mangroves, and coral reefs. While many people know the plight of the polar bear, the panda, and the elephant, there are species of animals fighting for survival in our very own backyard. Can We Save Them? is a look at the endangered species of North America.

Audiobooks for Kids: Wildlife Adventures

Author Carl Hiaasen, born and raised in Southern Florida, spent his childhood amongst the mangrove swamps and freshwater lagoons that surrounded his home. In his books for kids, Florida’s wild places and wild animals take center stage. If you’re in the mood for a wildlife adventure, check out his audiobooks:

Chomp – Wahoo Crane and his classmate Tuna Gordon set out to find the difficult star of the reality television show “Expedition Survival” who went missing while filming an episode in the Florida Everglades. Read by James Van der Beek.

Scat – Nick and his friend Marta decide to investigate when a mysterious fire starts near a Florida wildlife preserve and an unpopular teacher goes missing. Read by Edward Asner.

Flush – With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home. Read by Michael Welch.

Hoot – Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. Read by Chad Lowe.

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