My Nature Nerd Word Collection

whip-poor-will wool dew mossy cerulean solstice limpkin alula rrrobin rrred brrreast (rrreally rrroll those rrr’s) clouded leopard guppy snapdragon Susquehanna shrew salamander torreya button quail Monongahela guava rhododendron mountain voices birds eye speedwell gingko weaving bobcat elderberry chamomile crawdad fiddlehead willow monkey-puzzle pangolin sassafras sycamore mountain laurel loblolly ginseng juniper chrysanthemum dandylion* mistical Potomac* anhingaContinue reading “My Nature Nerd Word Collection”

Durga’s Tiger: A Goddess and Her Cat

Whew, I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. In my head, it was going to be some kind of palate-cleanser after watching the Netflix series, Tiger King, but I’m not sure what it is. I just knew I needed to write about Durga and her big cat, as I’ve been pondering the conceptContinue reading “Durga’s Tiger: A Goddess and Her Cat”

Castor Craft Collaborative

People increasingly recognize the benefits of partnering with beavers across the country (and the world) to address issues such as water quality, erosion, drought, wetland restoration, wildfire management, habitat and biodiversity loss, and more. My collaboration with castorids, however, is a creative one. I observe my favorite ecosystem engineers and collect the materials they noContinue reading “Castor Craft Collaborative”

Camera Trap Diaries: Beaver vs. Otter

These camera trap pictures are from The Clifton Institute, where I work in northern Virginia. As you can see in the photo sequence above, on March 10th a beaver seemed to chase a river otter off its lodge. At 7:43am an otter appeared, then became a blur of movement as a beaver followed it, alsoContinue reading “Camera Trap Diaries: Beaver vs. Otter”

How To Use Weather Stones As A Nature Education Tool

Weather stones are a tool I use in outdoor, environmental education programs to teach early learners about their surroundings and to encourage mindful nature observation, because the weather is something we can always observe with multiple senses. I bought smooth stones at a craft store, painted the symbols with acrylic paint, embellished them with glitter glueContinue reading “How To Use Weather Stones As A Nature Education Tool”

Colors of Clifton: Foraging and Dyeing with Native Plants

This fall, The Clifton Institute hosted a program called Colors of Clifton: Preserving the Palette of Autumn. We gathered native plants and learned about their special qualities with naturalist, Regina Yurkonis. “I don’t want my art to do damage. All things pass away, so using natural materials allows one’s art to dissolve back into theContinue reading “Colors of Clifton: Foraging and Dyeing with Native Plants”

Human-Beaver Coexistence Q&A with Skip Lisle and the Almost Anthropologist

This post is a summary of portions of a Q&A panel that occurred after a film screening of Beaver Believers in Washington, VA on January 10, 2020. Responses are paraphrased from memory unless in quotation marks. Q: How are beavers unique in the larger context of human-wildlife conflict across the world? Alison Zak: Beavers areContinue reading “Human-Beaver Coexistence Q&A with Skip Lisle and the Almost Anthropologist”