AADL Bags Make Great Holiday Gift Wrap

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This year, consider wrapping your holiday gifts in something their recipients can actually use: an attractive, reusable AADL tote bag.

These little numbers come in black, emblazoned on one side with our fetching teal logo. They look pretty sharp when coordinated with a contrasting color of tissue paper (I'm liking blue, red and silver). Oh, and did I mention they're only $1?

Wow your friends and family this holiday season with your eco-friendliness and discerning sense of style! Our totes are roomy enough to hold your holiday gifts, as well as groceries for years to come. AADL totes are for sale at the circulation desks of all branches of the library. This year, wrap in the gift that keeps on giving!

Young Naturalist Awards

Calling all Young Scientists!

Are you curious about nature and life science? Have you ever wanted to conduct experiments and research, just like the grown-up scientists?? Well then the Young Naturalist Awards might be right up your alley!

The Young Naturalist Awards is an annual contest put on by the American Museum of Natural History that encourages young scientists ages 7 to 12 to explore a question they have about natural science, make observations and report their findings on what they discovered. It is an essay contest that is designed like a real scientific study, focusing on the fields of Biology, Ecology, Earth Science and/ or Astronomy.

The deadline for the contest is March 1, 2011. There will be twelve winners selected for the contest, two from each grade. The winners are awarded cash prizes and an expense paid trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the same museum featured in the movie Night at the Museum! They will meet with Museum scientists, take behind-the-scenes tours, and will be honored at an awards ceremony. Their essays will be published on the Museum’s Web site and excerpted in Natural History magazine.

The Ann Arbor District Library has many resources for any Young Scientists looking to enter the contest, including books on studying nature and exploring space and astronomy. We also have the Access Science database available to library patrons, which includes articles, biographies, definitions, images, and more from the online version of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. The Stapp Nature Area is a great place to observe nature and it is adjacent to our Traverwood Branch.

For more information about the Young Naturalist Awards, including Rules & Regulations, How to Get Started and much more, please visit their Website.

A Conservationist Manifesto

A Conservationist Manifesto

Point 1 - The work of conservation is inspired by wonder, gratitude, reason, and love. We need all of these emotions and faculties to do the work well. But the first impulse is love – love for wild and settled places, for animals and plants, for people living now and those yet to come, for the creations of human hands and minds.

Scott Russell Sanders has not been a professor of English at Indiana University for the last 40 years for nothing. The man can write. He has mastered the art of the personal essay and won awards for his, as he should. I found myself all through this marvelous book rereading paragraphs more than once, to savor the language, the turn of a phrase, the expressive beauty and style of the message. I thought of copying passages so many times I realized I would have a quarter of the book written out for a keepsake. I decided to just buy the book, so I can dip in at will.

A Conservationist Manifesto tells how and why (but more why) we must turn from consuming to conserving in order to redress the imbalances we have wrought on the planet. It explores our enduring relationship with Earth’s bounty and beauty and the necessity of choosing a place to stay put in; a home community in which to invest one’s care and attention. Sanders tells numerous stories about his adopted home in southern Indiana. I was especially happy to read about the restoration of the Limberlost, which was once a 13,000 acre wetlands immortalized by Gene Stratton-Porter in The Girl of the Limberlost and other books. Until recently the Limberlost was gone, but careful efforts are bringing back a small section of it, renamed Loblolly Marsh.

Read this book for the urgency of the 40-point manifesto, calling for more attention and justice in our relationship to the Earth and its creatures, and for the change and commitment it will inspire. Read it also for the beauty of the telling.

Point 40 - Conservation arises from the perennial human desire to dwell in harmony with our neighbors – those that creep and fly, those that swim and soar, those that sway on roots, as well as those that walk about on two legs. We seek to make a good and lasting home. We strive for a way of life that our descendants will look back on with gratitude, a way of life that is worthy of our magnificant planet.

Bird Hills and Kuebler Langford Nature Areas

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Bird Hills Nature Area is the 161-acre wooded haven for some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Ann Arbor. It is also a well loved sanctuary for myriad creatures and plants, and it's only a mile north of the downtown area. This place is spectacular in the fall. Dozens of fellow runners and hikers explore these trails every day, though they might not know about the smaller but equally varied terrain of Kuebler Langford Park, which borders Bird Hills to the east of the Beechwood Drive entrance.

Kuebler Langford Nature Area is marked by a creek-cut ravine that runs down the middle of the park, with trails heading up either side. The trails are hard packed dirt with a few picnic areas along the way where cleared out woods make for magical little harbors. On the M-14 side of the park, the soil changes to loose sand and prairie-like vegetation, which provides a wholly different experience just a few hundred feet from the woods. You'll find plenty of hills on your hike, though none too steep to climb with an ordinary pair of running shoes or hiking boots. Enjoy!

Discover some of the other outdoor gems in Ann Arbor by checking out Riverwalks Ann Arbor, Along the Huron, or Footloose in Washtenaw, or see our Events page for the Take A Hike! events through the AADL.

Literacy Series -- Nature Literacy

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Naturalistic Intelligence is the most recently identified of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. A rather under-appreciated form of intelligence in our technological modern world, Naturalistic Intelligence consists of the ability to recognize patterns, relationships and categories in nature, essentially, the ability to “read” nature and be “nature literate.”

Today, we tend to live farther and farther from nature, although research suggests that access to nature, and even dirt itself may be vital to human health and happiness. Few would argue that nature is essential to human survival -- and we need nature literate people to give us more balanced ways of living on earth.

So what can you do to foster nature literacy? Here are some easy (and fun!) suggestions:

1. Visit a natural history museum: U of M’s Exhibit Museum of Natural History is a great local resource – and guess what? We have a Museum Adventure Pass!

2. Go on a nature walk: Ann Arbor has many excellent parks available for this purpose – Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum for example. And look! We have a Museum Adventure Pass for them. Also, if you act fast, you can take a hike at Greenview Park with us on September 13th.

3. Feed the birds: What better way to observe wildlife than in the comfort of your own backyard? Check out The Bird Lover's Ultimate How-To Guide for some bird feeding and watching tips. To see more birds, and other types of wildlife, too, check out the Howell Nature Center. Oh yeah, and we have a Museum Adventure Pass for them, too.

4. Read about famous naturalists: Like Jane Goodall, George Washington Carver, Rachel Carson, John Muir and Charles Darwin, to name a few.

5. Explore nature yourself!
Try these books for tips:
Hands on Nature
Sharing Nature With Children
Teaching Kids to Love the Earth

Orion Book Award Winner: Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing by Charles Bowden

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The 2010 Orion Book Awards have been announced. Orion is one of the best magazines you will find, whose byline – nature/culture/place – reveals its focus. The editorial board reads like a who’s who of contemporary luminaries in the environmental movement, such as: Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, Edward O. Wilson, Barry Lopez, Jane Goodall. Orion manages to be artistic, literary, probing and provocative, with cutting-edge articles on the politics, ethics and practice of environmentalism, farming and forestry and featuring the work of artists, poets, and storytellers. It inspires personal commitment to change the world, one short shower, cloth bag, bike ride and community garden at a time.

Every year the editors acknowledge books that, “deepen our connection to the natural world, present new ideas about our relationship with nature and achieve excellence in writing”. We own a few of the winners and Mel owns the rest. Below are this year’s winners with links to the catalog where you can reserve them.
The 2010 winner:Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future Charles Bowden
The 2010 finalists:The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World Wade Davis
Rewilding the West: Restoration in a Prairie Landscape Richard Manning
Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories Lydia Peelle
The Barbaric Heart: Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature Curtis White

Monarch Magic

The World Wildlife Fund has put out a list of Ten Species to Watch in 2010. On the list with tigers, polar bears, mountain gorillas, and giant pandas, among others, are monarch butterflies. Their fate is tied to their habitat being destroyed by natural disasters and industrial development, affecting breeding patterns.

Every year millions of monarchs leave their locations and travel thousands of miles to Mexico or California to the overwintering site where they will reside until the following Spring. (Envision a forest of pine trees that are completely covered in monarchs!) How do they know how to get from Michigan or Kansas down to the same spot in Mexico every year? That is THE question, and it has been well studied for years. Not only is their migration fascinating, but their complete life cycle is as well.

To read up on the monarch butterfly, AADL has you all set with a list of books. For the younger set I recommend Monarchs, and The Monarch's Progress: Poems With Wings. For the adults, a real winner is Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the butterflies of passage, by Robert Michael Pyle. For more info, MonarchWatch.org is an excellent source for all things monarch, whether you’re a student, a teacher, or a life long learner.

When you see those orange beauties flying in the sky this Summer, or perhaps perched on some milkweed, give them a second look.

Take a nature walk at Wurster Nature Area

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Join Natural Area Preservation staff for a free nature walk through Wurster Nature Area. A staff naturalist will point out wildflowers, trees, and shrubs and talk about ecological restoration, as well as volunteer activities in Ann Arbor Parks, recreation opportunities, and responsible use of public lands. Plenty of time will be available for questions. Meet at the Edgewood Place cul-de-sac just off of West Davis Avenue. Parking available on the outer ring of the cul-de-sac.

Wurster Nature Area Hike | Thursday, July 15 | 7:00-8:00 PM | All Ages

Huron River Day

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The 30th Annual Huron River Day is this Sunday, July 11 at Gallup Park from 12 to 4 pm. There will be lots of great activities for the whole family, including:

•$5 Canoeing & Kayaking
•Children's Activity Tent with National Wildlife Federation
•Storytelling 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. by Tricia Travis
•Butterfly House with LIVE butterflies!
•Fun River Exhibits
•Music & Drumming by Laz of Gemini and Lori of Drummunitiy
•Shakespeare Theater Performances
•Geochaching
•Classic Small Boat Show
Fly Fishing Demonstrations

Sounds like fun! See you on the river!

Join us as WeeRecycle!

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You are never too young to protect the environment! On Monday, July 12 from 10:30-11a, the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor will be at the Traverwood Branch for WeeRecycle, sharing stories, songs, and experimenting with playdough to teach preschoolers and kindergarteners about the importance of recycling, and how they can participate in the process.

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