Climate Change March September 21

Climate March Organizers See Surge of Momentum for People’s Climate March; Over 100,000 expected  September 21
New York City — Over 1,000,000 flyers have been handed out across New York City in the last five days. Hundreds of volunteers are canvassing subway stations across the city. 496 buses are coming in from nearly all 50 states. More than 32 marching bands are ready to play. It’s official: the People’s Climate March is going to be big.
If the weather holds, over 100,000 people are expected to attend demonstration on Sunday to demand bold action on climate change. Police have blocked off traffic on Central Park West from 59th St. to 86th street to accommodate the tens of thousands of students, workers, parents, scientists, beekeepers, and more who are joining the march.

Beginning at 10:30am, different groups taking part in the march will host small rallies up and down the march route to fire up their contingents or deliver public statements. At 11:00am labor unions will host a rally with thousands of members just south of Columbus Circle on Broadway.
The march will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Columbus Circle, head east on 59th Street, then south on 6th Ave, west on 42nd Street, and finish at 11th Avenue and West 34th Street. The front of the march is expected to reach the end of the route at about 2:00pm.
At 1:00pm, after a moment of silence to honor those impacted by climate change and the fossil fuel industry, the march will “Sound the Climate Alarm” with drums, trumpets, vuvuzelas, and over 20 marching bands. Churches across the city will ring their bells, as Jewish temples blow their shofars, as part of this global climate chorus calling for action.

This is Your Life In, On and Under Water

Read This, Feel Better, 

"My grandfather would go there, and so shall we."
- Celine Cousteau, from the Foreword of Blue Mind

Blue Mind
The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do

A landmark book by marine biologist Wallace "J." Nichols on the remarkable effects of water on our health and well-being.

"Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In BLUE MIND, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, he shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.
BLUE MIND not only illustrates the crucial importance of our connection to water-it provides a paradigm shifting "blueprint" for a better life on this Blue Marble we call home."
(Little, Brown & Company, 2014)

"Can simply being near the ocean wash away stress?"

Engaging the Next Generation Jewell Style

If Americans are going to continue to lead healthy lifestyles, and have healthy lands and a healthy economy, one of the steps we must take is to bridge the growing divide between young people and nature, according to Sally Jewell, US Secretary of the Interior. 

 The Department of the Interior is establishing specific goals as manager of America’s national parks, refuges and other public lands, and will meet  with businesses, conservation organizations, tribes, youth corps and partners just like you.

"One of the best investments we can make in the future of our country is in our young people."

 Yeah Sally!

Sally Jewell and The Department of the Interior make a few encouraging plans!

Was Saint Patrick 'Green?"


St. Francis was about the coolest Nature Dude around in his day. He lived with the wonders of Nature and loved the creations of God.

But, there is another well-known figure of the early Christian religion who also had a reverence for nature and all creation (except maybe the snakes he ran out of Ireland. Sorry herpetologists!)
Eight hundred years before the birth of St. Francis,the
patron saint of ecology, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, honored the beauty and power of Creation.

There is a prayer, known as "St. Patrick's Breastplate" because it seeks God's protection, that offers us all a wide-ranging spiritual reflection.

It includes the following:
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks

 St. Patrick's Day blessings to you!

Today is also officially the date to plant our peas outside. Even with snow on the ground, and knowing that we will have to plant again,it is a tradition! The kids will plant at least a few round large peas seeds in the gardens. These seeds are wonderful for tiny hands. Seeds are large enough for limited dexterity planters!

If you don't have a garden to plant in, try a nice little recycled quart plastic container or can. Perfect for a few pea plants to peek up from in a week or wo. Later as they grow upward, make a little trellis from some sticks for your sprouting green pal to climb on. 

And don't forget my favorite St. Patricks Day joke (year 30)  for gardeners and landscapers:

Question:  What is the Irish gardener's name who stayed out in the yard all night?

Answer:    Patty O'Furniture!

For a longer version of the prayer, you can go to the site of the Catholoc Climate Covenant

Go Fish With those Little Lunkers

There is always a good old fishing story to be told in our family.  The adventure of fishing offers time together, new traditions and always adventure and discoveries that you just can't find sitting indoors watching a screen. Many states open the Spring fishing season in April and also offer a free fishing day.
Call your state conservation department to find out the free day and while you are there, ask about borrowing fishing rods, free fishing clinics and any thing else they can offer for children and families interested in  fishing programs.  You will be  surprised at the assortment of free programs and nominal cost programs offered by state conservationists.
Need information for  a wonderful family site to enjoy fishing? offers an incredible array of information just for Budding anglers who want to learn how to fish  and get to know common fish species they might find on a fishing trip. Try your hand at Hatchery Matchery, one of our favorite fishing games. Flip the cards over and match the same fish species to one another.

Bird Festivals 2014 - Feathered Fun in the US Wildlife Refuge

Photo Credit: US NWFWS See Thousands of Wintering sandhill cranes  in Alabama at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge during the Festival of Cranes 

Great Bird Festivals at National Wildlife Refuges
          A Calendar of Festivals for the Year 

For a jaw-dropping natural spectacle, it’s hard to beat a bird festival. Of all the wildlife in the United States, birds attract the biggest following. According to the Service’s most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, about 18 million people a year take trips to see wild birds. National wildlife refuges make great bird festival locales because they’re bird magnets; many protect important bird habitat along the country’s major flyways.

To see great masses of birds, look for festivals that coincide with spring or fall migration. Here are some major refuge-centered festivals scheduled for 2014, in the order they will occur:

January 11, 8 a.m.
Festival of the Cranes
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, AL
See thousands of wintering sandhill cranes as well as whooping cranes and white pelicans. Enjoy refuge tours, birding workshops, nature walks, live raptors and kids’ activities.

January 22-27
Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
Eastern Florida State College, Titusville, FL
The 17th annual event is billed as the largest birding and wildlife festival in the United States. Festival includes field trips to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

January 22-26
Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway
Chico, CA
Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is one of several field trip destinations for this major West Coast bird festival. The refuge, a Central Valley birding hotspot, boasts a large viewing platform overlooking wetlands teeming with bird life, a photography blind (available by reservation), an auto-tour route and miles of hiking trails.

February 7-9
San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival
Vallejo, CA
The 18th annual festival includes field trips to San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Feb 8
Florida Scrub-Jay Festival
Jonathan Dickinson State Park, FL
The festival celebrates the only bird species unique to the Sunshine State. Scrub-jays are found at Hobe Sound, Lake Wales Ridge and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuges. Enjoy live music, guided nature walks, live animal displays, children’s crafts and environmental exhibits.

February 13-16
Winter Wings Festival
Klamath Falls, OR
The six national wildlife refuges that make up the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex host the Winter Wings Festival. The festival spotlights the beauty of the basin’s high desert winter. On view: hundreds of eagles and other raptors, plus thousands of ducks, geese and swans.

February 20-23
Whooping Crane Festival
Port Aransas, TX
“America's Birdiest Small Coastal City” hosts a festival that includes a field trip to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to see cranes in their winter habitat.

February 27-March 2, 2014
San Diego Bird Festival
The annual festival features field trips to three coastal San Diego National Wildlife Refuges. Birds to see include: Brandt’s cormorant, pied-billed grebe and black-vented shearwater.

March 8, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Swan Day Festival
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
Celebrate Tundra Swan Day with a day of free activities. Take an auto loop tour to view the return of these magnificent migratory birds. Enjoy swan-themed crafts, games and movies inside the Wildlife Education Center.

March 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eagle Festival
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD
The festival includes several free “eagle prowls” – short bus tours to see active eagles’ nests on the refuge. No pre-registration required.

April 11-13
John Scharff Migratory Bird Festival
Harney County, OR
The festival includes birding trips to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. On one trip – a llama birding trip – your own personal llama (for the duration of the trip) will carry your gear. Registration opens February 3.

April 10-13
Galveston, TX
The festival includes field trips to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.

April 11-13
Bayou Teche Black Bear and Birding Festival
Franklin, Louisiana
The annual festival celebrates species found in North America’s largest river swamp, such as white pelicans and roseate spoonbills. Guided boat tours and paddling trips into Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge are featured attractions, along with a photo show, music and fireworks.

April 12-13
Prairie Chicken Festival
7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, TX
Enjoy tours of the refuge, native plants and Attwater prairie-chickens on their “booming grounds.”

April 16-22
Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival
Arcata, CA
Week-long birding and nature festival in northern California's coastal redwoods includes a field trip to Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Festival also includes more than 100 ecotours and workshops, an art show, live birds of prey and a keynote lecture.

April 24-26
Great Dismal Swamp Birding Festival
Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, VA
The festival falls during the height of the spring neotropical songbird migration. You might catch a glimpse of the Swainson’s warbler and the Wayne’s warbler, two of North America’s most secretive birds. The festival is part of International Migratory Bird Day, which celebrates the incredible journeys of migratory birds between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America.

April 25-28
Balcones Songbird Festival
Marble Falls, TX
The 14th annual event includes guided tours of the natural habitat of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. See the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo and many more.

April 25-27
Santee Birding and Nature Festival
Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC
The festival celebrates the natural beauty of South Carolina by providing wildlife watching and natural history opportunities in the state’s midlands and beyond. The event includes field trips to Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

April 25-27
Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
Hoquiam, WA
The festival, which coincides with the peak of spring shorebird migration on the Washington Coast, includes field trips to Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and other birding hot spots.

April 25-27
Birding and Crystal Festival
Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, OK
The annual festival typically features guided tours, workshops, decoy-carving demonstrations and selenite crystal digging contests.

May 6-15
Biggest Week in American Birding
Northwest Ohio
This major bird festival takes place at the peak of spring bird migration in the Lake Erie Marsh region of the state. The festival features field trips to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

May 8-11
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival
Homer, AK
The 22nd annual festival features workshops, tours, hikes and field trips to Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Birds to see include: the rufous hummingbird, horned puffin and red-necked stint.

May 10
International Migratory Bird Day Celebration
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA, and elsewhere
Thousands of shorebirds, representing more than 20 different species, feed and rest at Chincoteague Refuge during the spring and fall migration. Chincoteague’s 20th annual celebration features workshops, bird walks and guided lighthouse tours. The event is one of many planned to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day, which celebrates the remarkable journeys of some 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and wintering grounds in South and Central America. To find an IMBD event near you, see the Bird Day Map. Learn more about International Migratory Bird Day. As the date approaches, check the Refuge System special events calendar for more IMBD event listings.

May Date TBA
Upper Tanana Migratory Bird Festival
Tok, AK
This festival, now in its 13th year, has become a tradition in Tok. Sponsored by the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, the one-day festival often includes a morning bird tour, several kids' activities, a junior duck stamp art competition, a young naturalist competition and a live bird presentation.

May 15-18
Kenai Birding Festival
Kenai, AK
This three-day festival includes field trips to Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, workshops, kids’ activities and a Kenai River birding float with local birding experts.

May 15-19
Great Salt Lake Bird Festival
Farmington, UT
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a festival sponsor. Birds to see include the burrowing owl.

May 23-26
Down East Spring Birding Festival
Near Calais, ME
The annual festival includes guided hikes, boat tours and expert presentations. It also features field trips to Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, one of the event sponsors.

June 11-15
Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival
Carrington, ND
Field trips to Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge and Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge are highlights of this festival celebrating remote prairie, wetland and meadow birding hot spots.

October Date TBA
Wings over Water Wildlife Festival
Outer Banks, NC
Pick from scores of talks and trips on birding, paddling, wildlife photography and natural history. Field trips generally go to Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges. All proceeds go to the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, a nonprofit that supports national wildlife refuges in eastern North Carolina.

October Dates TBA
Ridgefield Birdfest and Bluegrass
The annual festival celebrates the birds that make their home on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Washington state.

October 10-12
Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival
Cape Charles, VA
The festival features field trips to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge.

November Date TBA
Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival
Harlingen, TX
The festival generally includes field trips to Laguna Atascosa, Lower Rio Grande Valley and Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuges. Featured events include lectures, workshops, birding trips, boating on the Arroyo and other guided trips. Look for great kiskadees, green jays, Altamira orioles and chachalacas.

November 18-23
Festival of the Cranes
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
Thrill to skiesful of sandhill cranes and snow geese at a world-famous birding festival. Enjoy tours, talks, workshops, field trips, dusk fly-ins and dawn fly-outs.

November 27 - 30
Assateague Island Waterfowl Weekend
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia will offer special events and programs to mark the fall migration of waterfowl to the refuge.

More bird festivals:

Alaska bird festivals 2014:


The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. You can visit them at