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Connecting with Nature Through Art: You Don’t Have to Be an Artist!

Art and I have an uneasy relationship. I enjoy looking at art. I admire people who create original works. I often wish I could draw, or paint, or sculpt; I long for the artistic ability to capture the beauty I see in wild animals and plants. Every now and then I take a stab at sketching in my nature notebook ... but I always fall back on words to describe what I see. Writing is far easier, for me. It comes more naturally. Drawing is mildly scary. Painting or using pastels, or introducing color in any way? Terrifying!

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Power Lines to Cut Through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

On October 1, the National Park Service announced that it had approved a controversial proposal by power companies to upgrade the electrical lines running through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a 70,000-acre park in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that straddles the Delaware River.  Two weeks later, on October 15, a coalition of nine conservation groups including Earthjustice, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and the New Jersey Highlands Coalition filed suit in federal court to stop the powerline upgrade. Read more

A Snake in the Grass

The eastern yellow-bellied racer is a common snake in the grasslands of western South Dakota.  True to their name, racers are speedy snakes, long and slender.  They’re nonvenomous and, in my opinion, beautiful: the archetype of what a snake should be.  I was delighted to see this blue-green adult racer, roughly three feet in length, as I walked home for lunch today. Read more

That’s No Spider!

Eeek!  Giant spiders have taken over the roof of the Seattle Center Armory, terrorizing visitors to the Space Needle!

… Or maybe not.  A Mental Floss blog post yesterday includes this photo of the trompe l’oeil painting created by artist Marlin Peterson:

seemingly three-dimensional giant daddylonglegs on the roof of a Seattle building

Artist Marlin Peterson’s painted giant daddylonglegs look like they’re going to walk right off the roof of the Seattle Center Armory. (from Marlin Peterson)

The painting is beautiful and well-executed and slightly creepy and awesome.  But the blog got one important point wrong: the giant painted critters aren’t spiders at all.  They’re daddylonglegs, also known as harvestmen.  Read more

Fall Color, Prairie Style

I’ve been in my new home in Badlands National Park for just over two weeks now.  I arrived here in summer, and within a week the autumnal equinox carried us over into fall.  On cue, the cottonwood trees turned from green to gold, and the nights became crisp and clear. Read more

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