Ten Little Celebrations – September 2019

September was a transition month…the end of the Wings of Fancy exhibit and the gearing up for the Howard County Conservancy’s fall field trips for county schools. That overall theme carried over to almost all the little celebrations I’m featuring in this month’s post.

Beginning yoga. I was surprised that I could do some of the poses with relative ease….and others with a little practice. It’s surprising how quickly the benefits begin to be noticeable.

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Question Mark Butterfly. I was thrilled to notice the butterfly in the mulch at Brookside Gardens when its wings were open. I would have never seen it had its wings been closed. I celebrated a second time after I got home and figured out what kind of butterfly it was.

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Mount Vernon. What a place for a volunteer appreciation day…and the weather was perfect! I celebrated the place and the people I was meeting all day long.

Longwood Gardens. The place is always special – because of what we see there during our visit and the memories of other visits.

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Toad near the stream. There are always those serendipity events that make an ordinary hike extraordinary.  During one of our training sessions at Belmont we hiked to the small stream….and were finding mushrooms and moss and macroinvertebrates….and then a small toad jumped into our midst! Being naturalists…we all celebrated.

Large monarch caterpillar. My milkweed didn’t have many caterpillars this year…but one morning when I looked there was a large one (obviously had been there eating). I celebrated that he was probably big enough to make a chrysalis.

Casemaker caddisfly. We’ve had almost no rain for the past month or so and the stream was low…but we found several casemaker caddisfly larvae! They looked like a small clump of debris at first….and then they moved. It’s good to see living things in the water even when there is not much water around.

Carrot cake. I was celebrating something but the carrot cake itself overwhelmed whatever I was celebrating. Yummy!

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Wings of Fancy. The next to the last volunteer shift in the Wings of Fancy exhibit was a light day for visitors and I celebrated some quiet time with the butterflies.

Day at Little Patuxent River. High schoolers in the river….interested and focused. The water was low but they found some macroinvertebrates and they were so organized in the chemical tests of water quality (my station for this field trip) that we finished everything with a little time to spare. Celebrating high schoolers!

Gleanings of the Week Ending September 2, 2017

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

Yoga and meditation improve mind-body health and stress resilience – A study that went beyond anecdotal reports of positive effects. They looked at brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and activity in the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) and inflammation markers.

20+ Spectacular Photos From the…Solar Eclipse and NASA’s Best Photos of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse – Photo series from the web of the 8/21/2017 solar eclipse.

Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain – Dancing is more effective than endurance training! Both dancing and endurance training increase the area of the brain that declines with age but dancing improves balance too!

The big idea: 5 ways to be a more thoughtful traveler – The articles ‘5’ are: know some history, think about how you’ll document your trip, read a book set wherever you’re going, learn some of the language, and understand where you come from. Good ideas!

10 Really Weird Animals of the Anthropocene  and Tongue Orchids & Corpseflowers: 7 insanely weird plant species – There is so much to learn about plants and animals…sometimes because they are changing and sometimes because they are hard to find/rare.

Trying to Create Something Different in the Nebraska Sandhills – I couldn’t resist this one…since I just visit Nebraska for the first time recently.

Image of the Day: Flying Blood Bag – The entwined network of blood vessels in a pigeon’s CT scan.

Our brains to change from early to mid-adulthood – The changes observed were so highly correlated to age that the researchers could estimate the ages of an individual simply by looking at the brain scan. 111 scans were analyzed from volunteers 18-55 years old.

On Education in the 21st Century – A paper by Richard Watson (futurist) for the Australia’s Department of Education. It talks about Slow Education (people centric, reflective, and aim to ensure that individual appreciate where the things they consume come from…emphasizes the importance of local difference, craft and quality over standardized production and cheap ingredients).

Interactive Infographic: The Global Business of Dying – The laws governing how terminally ill patients can choose to die vary widely – around the world and in the US (link to the US map is at the bottom of the global post).