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Dec 29
2009

"The Dangerous World of Butterflies"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , tourism , timber , resources , policy , parks , open space , media , law enforcement , international , government , farms , environment , conservation , author , animals

Bruce Robinson

 Nature lovers versus breeders. Preservationists versus poachers and smugglers.  A history that goes back eons versus threatened extinctions in the 21st  century. These are just some of the stories that lie within the dangerous world of....butterflies?

 Here on the west coast, we enjoy seeing the annual migration of the brilliant orange monarch butterflies, some of which gather in certain trees at the Bodgea Dunes state park on the Sonoma Coast.  But the Monarchs of eastern North America have a longer and far more remarkable migratory cycle.

 

Researching and writing this book on butterflies has opened his eyes in unexpected ways, Peter Laufer (left) says, but it also served to fulfill the unarticulated wish behind the impromptu remark that first set him onto that path.

 

 

 

This video compresses the life cycle of the Painted Lady butterfly into less than three minutes of striking time-lapse photography.

[video:[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD0jQH 400x400] 300x300] 


From PeterLaufer.com:

War weary after writing a book about Iraq, Laufer joked before an audience that his next book would be about butterflies. The result: an invitation to a butterfly preserve in Nicaragua. There he stumbled into a theater of intrigue full of strange and nefarious characters-all in pursuit of one of nature's most delicate creatures.

 

The Dangerous World of Butterflies chronicles Laufer's unexpected discoveries in the butterfly industry and underground. Readers will learn everything there is to know about the beauty and magic of butterflies. But Laufer's narrative takes unpredictable turns into the high-stakes realms of organized crime, ecological devastation, species depletion, natural history museum integrity, and chaos theory. Set in locales throughout the Americas and beyond, this fascinating book takes us into a behind-the-scenes world sure to alter our view the next time we delight in the colorful fluttering of butterflies in our yards.

 Butterflies are enormously popular, and have been for centuries, but not everyone loves them. There is even a website for people who are repelled by them.

 

Dec 28
2009

"Tamalpias Walking"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in speaker , parks , open space , ocean , Marin , history , environment , coast , author , art

Bruce Robinson

Marin County artist Tom Killion has spent his life portraying different views of Mount Tamalpias--but filtered through the techniques of Japanese woodcut printmaking.

 

When he set out to draft the text for Tamalpais Walking, Killion discovered he had a lot to learn about the history of Mount Tamalpais.

   Tamalpais Walking is the most recent in a series of collaborations between Killion and poet Gary Snyder, Their previous joint effort was The High Sierra of California in 2002. Killion will be at Copperfields Books in Sebastopol on June 3 to talk about their books.

 

Even though Japanese woodcuts are distinctly stylized, Killion says he was also intrigued by the accuracy of detail that the masters were able to incorporate.

 

Killion's website shows and sells many of his prints, including the samples reproduced below. There is also a page explaining his technique, including this favored hand-powered press.

 

 

 

Dec 23
2009

Vanishing Soundscapes

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , Sonoma County , Science , research , open space , media , environment , education , climate change , birds , art , animals

Bruce Robinson

The sounds of the natural world are changing, and not for the better. Bernie Krause (left)  has tapes that document that trend.

While Krause has been recording and tracking the changes in aural environments around the world over the past several decades for his business, Wild Sanctuary, he has also been observing the concurrent changes in the soundscape around his Glen Ellen home. And he’s been astonished by what he’s found.

Just as the soundscapes have been changing over time, so has the recording equipment Krause uses. Digitization, he says, has made his professional life much easier.

Dec 22
2009

Recording Nature in the Tetons

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , trees , technology , Science , open space , media , environment , conservation , climate change , birds , animals

Bruce Robinson

You have to get up pretty early to capture the pure sounds of nature… and get a long way away from the rest of the noisy human race.

Gina Farr of Wild Sound Stories in Marin County finds a poignant significance in these recent recordings, because the changes they document tell a story of losses that will not be recovered.

This is one of her summer 2009 recordings of birds in the Grand Tetons of northwest Wyoming:

Tom Rusert, an avid birdwatcher and the volunteer director of Sonoma Birding, joined in the June workshop to see firsthand how the sounds now increasing featured in birding guides were being collected.

Hundreds of shorebirds were covered in oil after the Cosco Busan oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. Many died, but some were saved. Here, International Bird Rescue Association volunteer Tom Rusert releases one of the very first stricken shorebirds back into the wild after being cleaned.

 

 

 

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