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Polar Bears....                                                                    
Here are some facts that will help you celebrate and save this magnificent, wild creature.

Did You Know?

Polar bears are the first species to become endangered because of climate change. The summer ice loss in the Arctic is now equal to an area the size of Alaska, Texas, and the state of Washington combined.

Polar bears are so well protected from the cold that they have more problems with overheating than they do from the cold. Even in very cold weather, they quickly overheat when they try to run.

Polar bears top the food chain in the Arctic. They help keep the balance of nature by preventing an overpopulation of seals.

Polar bears have developed many adaptive traits that help them survive in their icy environments, like small bumps called papillae that keep their feet from slipping on ice; strong, powerful claws that enable them to catch seals; and a nose powerful enough to detect prey that is miles away.

The Chukchi Sea population of polar bears, which is shared by Russia and the United States, is likely declining due to illegal harvest in Russia and one of the highest rates of sea ice loss in the Arctic.

How to Help

  • Reducing carbon emissions is a good insurance policy for the health of our planet. Polar bear scientist Andrew Derocher says that even small changes can make a difference if each of us helps
  • Make an effort to conserve energy whenever possible by purchasing more efficient appliances, unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, walking or riding your bike instead of driving, and planting trees.
  • Adopt your very own polar bear (symbolically, of course!) and help change the forecast for wildlife all over the world.
  • Remind your friends to celebrate the polar bear, and all endangered species by sending them a free polar bear e-card!
Donate to an organization that is working to save the polar bear, like the National Wildlife Federation or Polar Bears International. Recently, the government has been proposing a lot of changes to the way that endangered species, like the polar bear, are protected and managed in the United States. In fact, the Obama administration has proposed to cut funding for listing of endangered species by 5 percent, so it’s more important than ever to financially support these opportunities.

From care2make a difference  

 
 
 
 
It was fantastic to have the opportunity to speak with Richard Louv, author and journalist focused on nature, family and community.  In his book 'Last child in the Woods; Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder' Louv investigates what has happened in the last two generations with regards to children spending time outside.  The picture he paints is one of disconnect from nature that I am hoping we will, as a society, start to reverse.  We have the evidence of the importance of spending time outside, now let's start reversing the trend and find some balance for this generation between technology and nature.

For your convenience, here is the transcript of this interview:

Q.  Are we hard wired to be outside?

A.  "E.O. Wilson of Harvard, the great scientist and father of sociobiology and biodiversity calls this his biophilia hypothesis. And much of the research recently, finally, that has emerged on this, was inspired by E.O. Wilson's biophilia hypothesis.  It is a theory, but the studies that are emerging do seem to very much support his idea, his contention, that human beings are genetically wired to need nature.  We need to be with species other than our own, we need to get our hands dirty.  When we don't get enough of that, we don't do so well.  Now think about it for a minute... For all of human history and prehistory children went outside and spent most of their developing years in nature.  Within the matter of two or three decades, we're seeing the virtual reversal of that if we're not careful.  Evolution doesn't work that fast.

Could this have something to do with the huge increase in the number of kids that are being placed on Ridalin and other stimulants, not all of them, some kids need medication, could it have something to do with the huge amount of kids being placed on antidepressants.  Young, little kids, the most medicated generation in history.  And the teen suicide rate, might that have something to do with the fact that we've so radically changed childhood.  In such a short period of time, we've taken them out of nature, we've put them in cubicles and given them pharmaceuticals and we expect better behaviour.  We really need to question that.

 
 
If you have a child who is a bit of a perfectionist, try this:  Go for a walk in the forest.  Ask him/her which tree he /she finds most interesting.  Bet you it's the one with the big bump in the middle of its trunk or the one that grew all crocked.  (not the most perfect one, get it?)
 
 
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fogbow
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Blades on an icy lake
If I am not out hiking one of the many local wonderful trails and beaches with my family, I can be found enjoying outdoor time with our rowing club.
This weekend our quad set off in the morning onto a misty St Mary's Lake only to come across patches of thin ice as we rowed the 2km up the lake. It is very uncommon to find the waters frozen on this, the largest lake on the island, but with no wind, the night time low temperatures and done their thing!
The boat carved a path through the ice and our blades punched holes to find water. 
To add to the excitement, as the sun pierced the fog, a full arch of a beautiful white rainbow or 'fogbow' appeared. A fog bow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow except it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain. The water droplets that cause fog are very small so a fog bow has only very weak colours which appear white in the fogbow.
So quite a unique outing - you never know what wonders nature will throw at you!