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If trees could talk …

We got a glimpse of talking trees in The Hobbit series movies … remember those wise forest giants, the Ents? As far as we know, trees don’t talk in real life, but apparently, they can make music. Artist and engineer Bartholomaus Traubeck noted that the rings on a cross-section of a tree closely resemble the grooves on a vinyl record. With that in mind, he developed a record player that plays tree slices instead of vinyl, resulting in different melodies for trees of different ages and species. Listen to one of his eerie-but-beautiful compositions:

and visit his website to learn more. Continue reading


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Bumble Buzz

The natural world is abuzz with beauty as flowers begin blooming

and bees begin …

well, buzzing.

You know the sound, right?

It stirs thoughts of lush gardens on warm summer afternoons …

Photo by Counselling via Pixabay

But did you know that some bees’ vivacious vibrations are more than simply the beating of wings as they move from flower to flower?

Yup. When it comes to the big, beautiful bumble bee, “buzz” is the sound of pollination in progress.

Photo by P7r7 via Wikimedia Commons

This is yet another little bit of magic that happens right under our noses, and the Smithsonian Channel managed to capture some fabulous bee’s-eye footage of the bumble at work:

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meteor showers

Let’s talk April showers.

Meteor showers, that is.

The Eta Aquarid shower begins around April 20 and lasts for roughly a month, promising scenes like this (if you’re near Devil’s Tower in Wyoming on a clear, clear night):

Photo by David Kingham via Flickr

The Eta Aquarids, shooting stars extraordinaire, are actually blazing bits of stellar debris that rain from the tail of Halley’s Comet.

“The Earth passes through the debris left behind by the comet every year in the spring and autumn,” explains Mother Nature Network. “The spring showers are called the Eta Aquarids because they’re named for the constellation from which they appear to radiate, the constellation Aquarius.”

Image courtesy of Till Credner of via Wikimedia Commons

Doesn’t that all sound somehow romantic?

Photo by Unsplash via Pixabay

Stargazing, you know, is one of my sweet spots …

There’s something about gazing up into a starry night sky that is deeply soul stirring. The sight of all that infinite diamond-studded darkness has the power to erase the trappings of modern life, bringing us back to a more primal part of ourselves, a part that is still exuberantly wild.

(Read more about my passion for dark skies here: Carpe Noctum—Seize the Night!)

But, back to the meteors at hand.

Rumor has it that the BEST time to get a glimpse of the Eta Aquarids show will be the crack of dawn on May 5 or 6 because the moon will be in hiding during its new (dark) phase.

If you spot them, do tell! Continue reading


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Summer Fun for Girls

As one of the premier providers of environmental education in the Palouse area of eastern Washington and northern Idaho, The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) that I founded way back in 1986 is always looking for new and creative ways to get people of all ages out and exploring the natural world.

That’s why this year, PCEI is offering STREAM Team—a week-long summer experience for girls entering their 7th-10th grade years that focuses on the STREAM fields: Science, Technology, Restoration, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

Coordinated and led by a team of female PCEI instructors, this program will feature outdoor application experiences with female community mentors who are professionals in the STREAM fields. They will share their journeys through STREAM—how they overcame the gender disparity in these fields, how their work helps the environment, and how we can do similar things with our lives.

When: Monday, June 27 to Friday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: The PCEI Nature Center, 1040 Rodeo Drive, Moscow, Idaho (downtown pick-up and drop off available)

Cost: $50 (payment plans and scholarships are available; inquire at


Find more information and application forms at Continue reading


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