A thousand little legs locomote along the slender hands of an Academy of Natural Sciences educator. Her painted fingernails are brown and shiny just like the six-inch-long and pinky-wide African chocolate millipede snaking around her fingers. She has seen even larger ones crawling up mango trees in Puerto Rico. She trades off the millipede for two black darkling beetles, a striped and a stripeless, native to arid regions of the southwest United States. These grew up at the Academy, she explains, as she fondly strokes their backs. Watch video here.
At the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival, a Humane Society advocate asked people to try going “meatless” on Mondays as a step toward ending the keeping and killing of animals for their meat. Short video interview here.
Your correspondent volunteered for a week cleaning dishes and bathhouses at the Audubon Society Camp on Hog Island off of Bremen, Maine. He collected an old glass bottle encrusted with barnacles and these stories. See photo slideshow here.
A large aquarium in the lab building of Hog Island affords a micro view of aquatic life in coastal Maine’s tidal pools. Off the pier, swaying mats of seaweed. Watch video here.
“Puffin” Pete Salmansohn, Project Puffin outreach coordinator and director of Hog Island Educators week, describes how puffins were saved from near extermination from the Maine Coast on a boat trip out to Eastern Egg Rock Island where island sitters carefully monitor and study them. Along the way, seals sunning themselves on a small island, produce whoops and hollers among the day-trippers as they dive into the water toward the boat to investigate or perhaps be fed? Watch video here.
On Hog Island, early morning guided birding, a photographer and his camera level with the osprey nest, an osprey parent guarding two fledglings and later the same day foraying out and back. Watch video montage here.
“Seabird” Sue Schubel, Project Puffin Outreach Instructor and Hog Island Camp Coordinator, puts the finishing touches on a large batch of cream “puffins.” They will be served to oohs and ahs and camera flashes at the conclusion of the farewell lobster dinner for Educators week. The confectionary puffins, like their living counterparts, Schubel says, could be either male or female, as they look the same. Their breeding plumage, bright orange bills, mark them as mature adults. Watch video here.
Susan Spitzer Williams, a career guidance specialist participating in Educators Week on Hog Island, seen here rushing to get her camera to the photogapher and back in place for a group shot. In the video, she pauses before swimming to share one of the many ways in which she is superior to her dear older brother, Nick Spitzer, host of the widely syndicated, public radio program, “American Routes.” For one, she met and played pool with Muddy Waters and he didn’t. Watch video here.
A short, live action, instructional video for kitchen volunteers at the Hog Island camp on how to use the Hobart 4 sided, hood mounted, pass through, commercial dishwasher. Watch video here.
She’s been skinning road kill, preparing pelts, skull specimens and mounts for museums for some time but this was Carolyn Zaino’s first beaver. Discovered by a couple Hog Island staffers, the road kill became the object of Zaino’s artistry and industry in between stints in the Hog Island kitchen. Zaino is nonplussed by the gore and gruesomeness of her vocation as befits the pathologist’s daughter for whom, as a child, the hearts, lungs and brains in her father’s lab were naturally things of wonder. Her work lets her give these animals “another life” and educate people about them. Watch short video here. Watch full-length video here.
Weavers Way Food Coop has introduced a new line of energy bars - ones made with crickets.
On Tuesday, staff members at the Chestnut Hill store sampled Chapul’s Thai Cricket Bar.
Jon Roesser and Lara Cantu- Hertzler appeared pleased with the bar’s coconut-ty, gingery taste. Roesser noted that cricket flour was listed as the fourth ingredient and figured (correctly) that it served as the bar’s protein source. Cantu-Herztler was a little queasy about eating insects but thought it was a good idea.
Rick Neth hadn’t seen the product before but reported that in his native Cambodia, insects are sometimes eaten in certain regions. Farm raised crickets might be baked, used in stuffed, roasted peanuts, or fire-roasted.
On its website, the Chapul company is asking people to join the other 80% of the world’s population who, it says, regularly consume protein-rich insects as part of their diet, and effect a revolution against traditional land-and-water intensive, polluting agriculture.
At the conclusion of the accompanying video, staffer Joe Stanton is mulling over a mouthful.
Horses, riders and spectators got in the Halloween spirit on Sunday at the Northwestern Stables Haunted Horses Costume Parade and Open House.
Your correspondent observed the third round of parade competition and these were the results: Yasmin and her horse Cinnamon took the “Hilarious” prize for their superhero outfits. The “Crafty” award went to Emma and her horse Rooster for their piñata theme. Terri and Splash, (horse and rider, respectively) won the “Couple” prize for their Indian pony getup. “Most Original” went to Sal Pagen and his horse Cofrey who were costumed as an Indian chief and his warhorse. PJ Sedgwick and son Ellis Uhl were the “Most Funny” with horse Baxter as Goldilocks and the three bears. And for their fruity theme “Fruit of the Loom”, Kristen Bowmen Kavanagh’s family captured both the “Group” prize and “All-around Best.”
Northwestern offers year round riding lessons, a summer camp, a Pennsylvania Equine chapter 4H, Department of Recreation field trips and conducts community service projects with Crefeld School students and the Boy Scouts.
The dogs being served by Queenies Pets service ("Treating Your Pets Like Royalty") love romping around the Wissahickon Park (offleash) and swimming in the creek, reports Tim Abrams whom I encountered dropping off home a neighbor’s dog and ushering two others into his car after their outing. Abrams has a full schedule and just yesterday had five compatible dogs on an outing at one time. In addition to excursions in the park, Abrams manages doggie play dates in clients’ back yards.
Elmwood Park Zoo’s two giraffes use their long black tongues to draw offerings of romaine lettuce into their mouths. And they seem single-purposed enough to hardly notice getting oohed and aahed and affectionately stroked by the dozens of visitors who are feeding them.Watch 27 second Vined video here.
At the top of Forbidden Drive this Tuesday evening, Robin Gold and William Russell of Mount Airy were handing out fliers seeking help in locating their lost dog Truman. A small brownish-tan 3 year old terrier mix, Truman got away while being groomed at Bone Appetit in Chestnut Hill this past Saturday, August 3rd. He was last seen coming down Park Ave below Church in Road Lafayette Hill. Gold and Russell have been posted flyers, listed information on lostmydoggie.com (pet id 37452) and initiated robocalls to 6000 Chestnut Hill Area residents and, if Truman is not found by Thursday, will bring in a pet detective with search dogs that will track the terrier’s scent. Truman is likely tired, hungry and afraid. Please help find him. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-991-6740 with any information.Watch video here.
Truman has been FOUND.
According to Gold, Truman was discovered Thursday August 8th, two days after the above interview, near Chestnut Hill Avenue by non-English speaking landscapers who had seen the Lost Dog flyers. They contacted their boss who called the telephone number on the flyer. Unfortunately, Truman had been hit by a car and his tail severed at the spine. He was treated and is recovering at home. It appears the injury may permanently affect his bladder and bowel control but not his ability to walk. Gold reports his spirit is good and is just happy to have him home. In recent days, large laminated Lost Dog posters attached to telephone posts have been visible along Germantown Avenue and Pike offering a $2000 reward. Gold reports that the reward has been paid to the landscapers who also assisted in jumping a fence into a private yard to retrieve the small terrier: "They earned it"
Michael Gieschen, left
Because Mike Gieschen’s niece met her fiancée while competing at vaulting event, a passion they share, the blind artist decided to create a wedding gift depicting their shared hobby. (Vaulting is essentially the striking of gymnastic poses atop a horse).
Constructed of celluclay and smoothed with joint compound, built over a wire and paper armature, a male and female couple are shown, each standing on one leg atop a horse with an arm around the other’s waist, the other arm extended horizontally forward and the other leg extended horizontally back as if they were flying. Taking artistic license, not knowing whether this is an actual vaulting pose, Gieschen, in this work, expresses his hope that the newlyweds will soar together and happily in their new life together. The couple marries today
Two bull giraffes, 3-year-old Dhoruba and 10-month-old Jukuu, are making their official debut this Memorial Day weekend at the Elmwood Park Zoo, according to the Lansdale Reporter. They are on loan to the zoo through October.
According to lead keeper Stephanie Stadnik, the giraffes may represent a shift from the zoo’s tradition of exhibiting only animals native to North and South America. Giraffes, although not “super endangered” are very popular with zoo visitors in general, she says, and drawing them in gives Elmwood the opportunity to introduce visitors to overlooked native animals, some of whom can be found in our own back yards. Stadnik points out that through breeding in captivity, the black-footed ferret population has rebounded into the thousands from what was thought near extinction. Conservation efforts have similarly benefited eagles and alligators.Among our native species, wolves are some that Stadnik hopes visitors will take the time to appreciate and shed notions of the “big bad wolf.”
At the time of this interview in late April, construction of an enclosure was underway. Stairs and an elevated platform could be seen where the giraffes can be fed “browse”, small branches with tree leaves, as they would eat in their native African habitat.
From experience working with giraffes at the St. Louis Zoo yet reluctant to badmouth any animal, Stadnik relayed her impression that there is not so much going on in their heads. By contrast, with squirrel monkeys, she immediately senses the way things click with them. To round out her description, she did her giraffe “impersonation.”
On June 15th, the Zoo will host “KUWAKARIBISHA TWIGA”, a “Welcome Giraffes Beast of a Feast” fundraising event featuring R&B singer Barbara Mills. Attendees will get to feed the giraffes and feed on, uh, barbecue.