Marjorie Shoemaker brings her "Paws of the Spirit," to nursing homes and other venues. Her passel of animals include an easygoing white Labrador retriever service dog named Archie who, she says cost $50,000 to train, two rabbits and about a dozen guinea pigs. Shoemaker demonstrated how Archie can retrieve things and assist someone who might be disabled by, for example, gently taking off a person's socks without taking off any toes! Watch video here.
The nursing home residents coo ooh and ahh as they hold and pet the rabbits and the guinea pigs. The guineas, adept vocalizers, "wheek," purr, and chut in return in this video.
Your correspondent volunteered in the kitchen for two weeks this summer at the Audubon Society's nature camps on Hog Island, some skipping stones length off of Bremen, Maine in Muscongus Bay and shares some highlights - and wisecracks - with you!
--With many thanks to those on the other side of your correspondent's lens!
On Hog Island, Maine , raptor biologist Rob Bierregaard and a guest expert demonstrate how a juvenile osprey is measured, blood-sampled and banded for scientific study purposes. Just minutes before, they had climbed a ladder to snatch and secret the chick away and worked quickly so as to reduce stress to it and return it as soon as possible to its likely fretting parents. Watch video here.
Biology professor Jerry Skinner holds a black capped chickadee in a photographer's grip as he discusses how to identify species of chickadees and the art and science of banding birds. Watch video here.
Snow Goose III Captain Bill Chapman and First Mate Meghan Kennedy bring up cages with lobsters and talk about lobsters and lobstering in Muscongus Bay
Built in Bath, Maine in 1902 to carry coal. this three thousand ton 273 foot long 5 masted schooner was refitted to become a nightclub in 1929, gutted in 1938 to become- unsuccessfully- storage for lobsters. The Cora was then scuttled near the shore to serve as a breakwater. According to an older gentleman at a nearby dock, attempts to remove the ship by burning failed and break away debris poses a threat to sea-goers. Watch video here.
EDUCATORS WEEK EVENING POTPOURRI
The Audubon Society's Sue Shubel trains a powerful microscope on a small bunch of barnacles and describes how they open up to use their filaments to feed on plankton. Watch video here.
Award winning senior naturalist Ted Gilman from the Audubon Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, led a group of nature educators trying to locate bats with an electronic bat detector. Watch video here.
By keeping the moon on one side of them as they fly, moths are able to navigate and fly straight-ish. But they also keep a nearby artificial light at night to the same side and end up going around in circles. Moth student extraordinaire Paul shares his recently acquired knowledge of moths indigenous to Hog Island. He appears to be on his on his way to becoming acquainted with nearly all the 160,000 known species and has a growing collection. By identifying moths temporarily captured on a lit up vertical white sheet, he was able to deduce what flora were nearby because some moths in their caterpillar stage feed only on the leaves of one plant or tree species. Watch video here.
Meet Paula Winchester, pastel artist, herb and tea entrepreneur, world traveler, Hog Island camper then volunteer and watch her tell about her travels to India and Africa.
Elizabeth Fink has been using the new composting toilets near the Wissahickon Environmental Center (formerly Andorra Tree House) at the northwestern edge of Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. It never smells, she says and there's Purell for hand sanitizing. She thinks it's a big improvement over the old "Johnn(ies) on the Spot". She's careful that her cell phone is in a zipped pocket, however, lest it inadvertently fall into the pit! She and a companion had been taking a walk in the woods and recommended I check out the toads mating in the pond above the tree house. Watch video here.
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.
riders and spectators got in the Halloween spirit on Sunday at the Northwestern
Stables Haunted Horses Costume Parade and Open House.
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
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.
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.
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.