This blog is an outlet for sharing some of the more interesting issues that I work on as a consultant to conservation groups and foundations. It includes articles I've written for a public audience, to educate others about these issues in a way that has meaning to them. Enjoy.

April 18, 2011

Bio Break

A handoff occurred during my first viewing.  I was mesmerized by the piercing yellow eyes constantly scanning the surroundings, and the fuzzy gray head of a baby bird poking out from underneath the breast feathers.   Suddenly, another eagle entered the frame and landed on the edge of the nest.  The dramatic effect doubled:  now there were two massive birds and bold white heads.    After a few moments, the babysitting parent took off, revealing two more youngsters hidden underneath.  The new arrival shuffled over to assume the position, and the eaglets huddled closer for warmth.   

It’s a few days later and I’m back for more, sharing the site with about 80,000 other people also viewing live video feed of the Decorah Eagles  at this moment.  Many of them undoubtedly have visited before – it’s a bit addictive— but with more than 43 million hits since the site went online this winter, the total number of people who have sneaked a peak clearly is quite large.   Sponsored by the Raptor Resource Project  this real-time video feed provides anyone with an internet connection a voyeuristic view of a bald eagle family nesting near a fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa.    You can also click on links replaying each of the eggs being laid and hatching, as well as the youngsters feeding.   

So what’s the big draw?

April 1, 2011

Digging Deep

It must be the primal, hunter-gatherer part of our brain that makes people so wild (so to speak) this time of year.   Now that it’s April, it’s ramp season in Appalachia, and rural people throughout West Virginia and nearby states will soon be scouring the hillsides, often in large groups, digging up clumps of smelly, leafy bulbs.  Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are wild leeks with tasty leaves and a small, but pungent, bulb, that grow in moist shady areas throughout  Appalachia.  While rural towns celebrate with ramp festivals and fry their ramps with potatoes and ham, urban residents enjoy theirs in fancy restaurants in a lovely salad or pasta with a sprinkle of asiago cheese and perhaps a dry white.  I confess that, although I now live in West Virginia, my location in the relatively cosmopolitan Eastern Panhandle means that I get my ramps the white tablecloth way.  But the thrill is still there:  it’s not just about the taste.  It’s that it’s wild.