It’s National Park Week. Across the country parks have been opening their gates, waiving entry fees and holding special events in honor of our wilderness heritage. To give a little of what you get, consider volunteering this summer at a park in your area. As the NPS prepares for the seasonal rush, they’re putting out the call for special projects that could keep you trail-bound for days or have you home by supper.
Olympic National Park – Survey the park for the endemic marmot population or contact Jill Zarzeczny (360.565.3047) to help transplant seedlings from the native plant nursery to the newly protected Elwha River area.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Assist rangers with monitoring elk and people in the remote Cataloochee valley. Contact Ranger Pete Walker at 828.506.1739.
St. Croix National Scenic Riverway – Help identify invasive species before they get out of hand or become a citizen scientist and monitor for algal blooms by collecting water samples. Contact Jonathan Moore (715.491.6839) to lend a hand.
Sequoia and Kings National Parks – Videographers wanted to create podcasts and public service announcements, produce short video stories and document the scenic heart of the land of giants. Contact Tim Barrett (565.4232) to volunteer your skills.
Search for opportunities in the park closest to your heart here.
While writing a piece a few weeks ago for the lovely Longwood Gardens, I needed some inspiration. My subject for the article, the giant water lily (Victoria amazonica) is steeped in jungle-y history, and grows to monstrous proportions. With one of the largest flowers in the world, many botanists past and present have scribbled excited passages detailing the plant’s extraordinary physiology.
To do the same, I, however, needed the BBC.
I’m not a birder, but last night this doc had me enthralled after just the first few frames.
GrowNYC’s is one of my favorite growing non-profits. One reason is their GrowTurck – the mobile lending program that brings tools, donated plants, soil, compost, and lumber to growers across the city, for free since 1977. The group has been making these deliveries with the same truck for the last 23 years. Let’s help them get a new truck by voting for GrowNYC in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good contest on Facebook. The vote is May 20th. This Sunday. I won’t remember so I signed up to “attend” the event on Facebook. This way, it pings me with a reminder to vote for GrowNYC.
If you’re not familiar with the organization or the program, the video above will give you a good idea of how great GrowNYC truly is.
It’s going to be a big party tomorrow night. Cinco de Mayo will play host to the Super Moon when the orb will appear up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger than normal. According to NASA, “The best time to look is when the Moon is near the horizon. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. On May 5th, this Moon illusion will amplify a full Moon that’s extra-big to begin with. The swollen orb rising in the east at sunset should seem super indeed.”
And that’s not all. Saturday night will also be lit up by the Aquarid meteor shower. It occurs every April and May when the Earth passes through a stream of debris cast off by Halley’s comet. Expect 40-60 meteors per hour, but you’ll have to get around the super light from the super moon to catch the show. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve got the best chance of seeing this astrological double feature. Lucky you!
Trailer for the documentary, A Grain of Sand, about an 86-year old man who in 1962 bought the deserted Moyenne Island. Now 86 years old, Brendon “Grimshaw has planted 16,000 trees and reintroduced giant tortoises to the island. Developers have reportedly offered him $50 million dollars or more for the island, but he has always refused to sell. The island is now a national park.”
Via Laughing Squid
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