Another year has passed…and I am using today to savor it month my month. As I wrote this post, a bluebird settled outside the window of my office - long enough to photograph through the window; so I'm sending off 2015 with a 'bluebird of happiness' in view. I find myself focusing on what was new (to me) in 2015 as I write this. I’ve indicated the ‘new’ in italics.
In January we visited Tucson and made an overnight trip up to Montezuma’s Castle, Wapataki, Sunset Crater, Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and then drove back through the White Mountains. There was a beautiful sunset on that drive back. We also enjoyed the butterflies and poison dart frogs in the conservatory at the Tucson Botanical Garden.
I spent over a week in Texas – and enjoyed the birds at Josey Ranch as usual.
During February, March and April I spent one day a week in Maryland Master Naturalist training. It served to update many things I learned in my college classes in biology in the early 70s! Jelly fungus was one bit of trivia I learned…and now I see them frequently.
In April we spent days exploring wildlife refuges along the North Carolina coast and a little inland. It was the first time I’d seen river otters in the wild and a carcass being shared by a turkey and black vulture.
May a big month for hikes with elementary school field trips…and retracing steps to places discovered during the Master Naturalist class (like the grove of Bigleaf Magnolias near the boundary between Belmont and Patuxent Valley State Park).
Somehow there were a lot of short trips in June…and associated discoveries: bird’s nest fungus at Centennial Park, the comfort of James Buchanan’s house in Lancaster (and the legacy his niece left to Johns Hopkins), the attention to detail of the DuPont that created Winterthur, and the Monticello structure upstairs that camouflaged the multiple floors and filled them with light too.
I was back in Texas again in July and the desert willows were blooming – otherwise it was too hot to do much outside.
August was a busy month. I was thrilled that the elementary school aged campers enjoyed nature photography so much.
We also made a tour of New York State Parks with waterfalls. Some we had been to before: Letchworth, Montour Falls, Taughannock, and Harry H. Treman. Stony Brook was the new one.
The highlight at Longwood Gardens in September was the water lilies.
In October – we went to our first Dark Sky Star Party at Staunton River State Park in Virginia. It was the first time we had camped in over 20 years too!
The star party was followed by a tour through West Virginia to enjoy the fall foliage – partly via the Cass Scenic Railroad.
October and November were filled with hikes with elementary school field trips….and swirling fall leaves.
The end of year crescendo was our vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii. There were firsts at every turn on this trip.
I also discovered a new source of free courses: edemy…and completed two of them!