Wednesday, November 25, 2009

America's Wild Spaces

Denali National Park, AK (2007)

If you're looking for something to do this Thanksgiving, and watching the Cowboys annual Thanksgiving football game doesn't fit the bill, check out National Geographic's new series titled "Americas Wild Spaces."

The series takes an in-depth look at Yellowstone National Park (all 2 million acres of it, which makes it bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined), Death Valley (from its highest peak at 11,049 feet to its lowest point 282 feet below sea level), the Grand Canyon (which, yes, can be seen from space), the Appalachian Trail (all 2,175 miles, 165,000 white blazes, and 5 million steps), the Everglades (and its 1000 species of plants, 300 species of birds, and 27 species of snakes - 4 of them venomous), Yosemite National Park (home to Yosemite Falls, which is 13 times taller than Niagara, and giant sequoias that are wider than most city streets), Hawaii's Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (try saying that ten times fast!), Canyonlands National Park (and its thousand year old rock art and petroglyphs), and Denali (home to North America's tallest mountain - which is still growing!).

The Thanksgiving day marathon begins at 2pm on the National Geographic Channel. Check the schedule here.

Interested in visiting any of these places? Check out the WV 2010 project list, which features projects in many of these locations. Spring projects have been posted, and Summer/Fall projects will be announced on December 4th.

Happy Thanksgiving...and Happy Trails!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RSS -- What is it?

Ever wonder what this symbol means when you see it on a blog (it's on the right side of this blog just a little down the page)? RRS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and this symbol allows you to subscribe to blog feeds so you'll know when new content is posted.
Commoncraft has created a video, "RSS in Plain English" that does a great job of explaining how RSS can be a great tool to follow the blogs that you check everyday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Leave No Trace

Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, CO (2008)

For those of you interested in a Leave No Trace (LNT) refresher and for those of you new to the movement, check out this new online awareness course offered by the folks at Leave No Trace.

The Seven Leave No Trace Principals

1) Plan Ahead and Prepare
2) Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3) Dispose of Waste Properly
4) Leave What You Find
5) Minimize Campfire Impacts
6) Respect Wildlife
7) Be Considerate of Other Visitors

You can watch the National Park Service LNT video here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

On Fire

Sawtooth National Forest, ID (2007)

There's a fascinating post by New York Times columnist and evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson about the role of fire in nature, particularly forests. Whereas many of us often think of fire as a destructive force that ruins forests and wilderness, Judson points out that fire spurs new growth and can reinvigorate an ecosystem - which makes perfect sense.

But here's what's more interesting: many species of plants and trees in fire-prone areas appear to have evolved to be highly flammable. That is, these plants have evolved to cause fires as the propagation of their species - and the destruction of the competition - is dependent on their ability to burn. Read about what Judson calls the "torch-me hypothesis" here.

(For those of you that want to keep reading, check out Judson's post on the impact of large predators - or the lack thereof - on an ecosystem.)