Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'Nature' Category

Please be a friend of Wagner Ranch Nature Area

Bullfrog by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.

I just received this letter from the Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area. The Friends and the school children of the Orinda School District have a problem … and you can help. Please do. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Dear Supporters of the Nature Area Environmental Education Program:
These are desperate times, and the Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area requests your help in educating the community about the importance of retaining this superb environmental education program. The informational press release below is provided by the Board of the Friends for your use in alerting neighbors and fellow Orindans. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
Under: Education, Nature, Wagner Ranch Nature Area | 4 Comments »

Red-tailed hawk attends memorial service

On Friday, May 2, Frank Vizena was buried at the new Veterans National Cemetery near Dixon, CA, exit 60 off Interstate 80.

The beautiful and inspiring ceremony was held under the committal shelter, but several people stood out from under it. As taps was being played, some saw a large bird (a red-tailed hawk, perhaps) fly over us. Then at the very end of the ceremony, the bird (same one?) flew up and over the shelter, cried out, and circled a few times before flying off.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2008
Under: Mother Nature, Nature, Raptors, Red-tailed hawk | No Comments »

Mighty oaks grow from little acorns … and scrub jays

My friend Brian of Walnut Creek, Calif., has a special way of looking at the land that we can all benefit from. He sees it through Mother Nature’s eyes.

A case in point. Brian is very much involved with the Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation and one of his special projects, among many, is to help plant oak trees in the Walnut Creek open space areas. Not by simply poking holes in the ground, dropping in acorns and kicking a little dirt over the top of the oak seeds.

No, nothing quite so complicated.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 8th, 2008
Under: Acorns, Nature, Open space, scrub jay | No Comments »

Getting too much stimulation? Go find a tree.

My friend Brian is an old-school philosopher and he has a simple yet complicated way of looking at life as most philosophers do. It’s the nature of the beast.

Take a look at this e-mail Brian just sent me. (Yes, even philosophers know how to use computers.)

Now is a great opportunity to go out in the open space or a park and just sit under a tree in the morning or evening to just watch what is going on.

See who is picking up nesting material and where they are going with it. See how many nests are being built in the area. What kind of material are the birds using to build their different nests?

Since we are used to so much stimulation these days, it’s a little difficult for us to sit in one place for an extended period of time. Nature works at it’s own pace which we have trouble adjusting to.

This exercise in sitting and watching develops your skills in seeing things in more detail. As you acquire those skills it’s a gift you can carry with you wherever you go and it will add to the enjoyment of great vacations because you have taught yourself to see so much more.

I’m going to be sitting around with 1600 mm of lens and taking photos of what I see this weekend. (Brian, Walnut Creek, CA)

See what I mean? Be sure you pick the right tree. Mine is in my own backyard. You don’t have to go far to see great things. /Gary

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2008
Under: Animals, Nature | No Comments »

Student interview about nature

Dear Gary:
My name is Shane Mann and I’m a 4th grade student at Ayers Elementary in Concord. I am a big fan of nature, and I enjoy your columns about wild animals. We are writing a newspaper at my school and I’d like to interview you for an article. Here are the questions:

1. When did you start to enjoy the gift of nature?

2. What made you decide to write articles for a newspaper?

3. What is it like to work for the Contra Costa Times?

4. What is your favorite type of animal to write about?

Thank you and have a Happy New Year.

Sincerely, Shane Mann, Concord

Dear Shane:
Can you please send me a copy of your newspaper when it gets printed? I’d be interested in looking at it.

Here are my answers to your questions:

1. I think I first enjoyed the gift of nature when I was about 3 or 4 years old and found a roly-poly bug crawling in my backyard. I let it crawl around in my hand for a while and then release it back in the grass where I found it. That’s the first thing I can remember. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated with everything that has to do with nature. And that, of course, means EVERYTHING … from living creatures, to plants, to everything that makes up this earth.

2. I was working as Curator (the person who cares for all the wild animals) for the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek back in 1970. I decided I wanted to try and write a column about wild animals for the Contra Costa Times so I could get some publicity for the museum. The newspaper started me off writing a column once-a-week. Soon I was writing two columns a week, then three, and finally five columns like I do today. I also started writing about pets and the environment because readers sent me letters and e-mails asking questions about those things.

3. It is a lot of fun to work here. At least I think it is. I get to write about the things I love and I have a lot of friends who also work here. They are neat people who write about lots of other things. Putting out a newspaper every day of the week can be very exciting. There is always somebody here doing something, day and night.

4. All the animals are my favorites. I like to write about everything. Well, OK, I guess I do like to write about mountain lions more than other animals. That’s because I raised 4-5 mountain lions when I was working at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, and I loved them a lot. But that’s another story, isn’t it?

Good luck with your story and Happy New Year to you! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2006
Under: Nature | No Comments »