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”

Nature Journaling Example Pages

A year ago, I posted New to Nature Journaling. Because many of us find ourselves with a little more extra time as the world around us shuts down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I thought I’d share some examples of pages from my journal to inspire your own practice… May you continue to feelContinue reading “Nature Journaling Example Pages”

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”

No Birthday Monkey: Macaque Encounters in India

I haven’t blogged about my trip to India yet! The most exciting wildlife sighting for me, other than langurs for the first time in Great Himalayan National Park (sorry, no good photos!), was rhesus macaques! Until September, I had only observed rhesus macaques along the Silver River in central Florida. Here is a quick overviewContinue reading “No Birthday Monkey: Macaque Encounters in India”