Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

One of BBC Earth's TV miniseries, Africa features the staples of intensive camera work and David Attenborough. The six-episode series released in 2013 travels between the Kalahari Desert, eastern savanna, Congo rainforest, southern Cape, Sahara, and a thematic episode focused on conservation and Africa's future. Africa is full of jungle and safari stereotypes, but this … Continue reading Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

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Stigma Stigma: Misadventure in Identifying Plants

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of unidentified plant photos lurk in my hard drive. I've always intended to manage and catalog them, maybe make blogging an excuse to learn the botany world one species at a time. I daresay I've failed and should try harder. One of my earliest photos back in March 2012 includes this … Continue reading Stigma Stigma: Misadventure in Identifying Plants

Film Reflection: Life on Location by BBC Earth

“How do they film that?” I always ask. “How do they coordinate? What are they not showing me?” That is how I watch natural history documentaries in between the “ah! That's so cool!” and “hmm, interesting. I should look that up.” Then one day on Netflix I saw BBC Earth's 2009 Life: On Location, where … Continue reading Film Reflection: Life on Location by BBC Earth

Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Your favorite civilian natural science book comes with prerequisites: vivid photos from altocumulus clouds to decomposition fungi, key hiding spots of small insects and charismatic critters, and nontechnical but curiosity-provoking descriptions of ecological concepts--all of which fill The Practical Naturalist. Edited by Chris Packham and written by a team of scientists, this book is detailed … Continue reading Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

There's a phenomenon science students experience. Perhaps there's an inspirational, rare term assigned to it though I do not know what that would be. The landscape is no longer a cohesive environment of greenery and blotchy earth colors punctured by charismatic creatures and dramatic waterfalls. It...becomes millions of things that non-sciency friends rare their eyebrows … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part I: Civilian)

Lake Fort Smith is one of the more popular hiking and boating destinations in my area. There the Ozark Highlands Trail, a 218 mile chain of interconnected trails and collectively the second longest in the state (the Ouachita Trail being the longest at 223 miles). They must be growing, because before I checked I could … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part I: Civilian)

Film Reflection: Wildest Middle East by Animal Planet

After reading What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis and watching Rory Stewart's The Great Game (incredible dual documentaries on imperialism and Afghan independence) on Netflix (the first is also on YouTube), I continued the theme and watched an installment on one of my favorite natural history … Continue reading Film Reflection: Wildest Middle East by Animal Planet

Wilson Park: Dogs, Flowers and Fungi (Oh! The Fungi!)

Deep oak and hickory wood laced with purring creeks and rocky rubble beckons me, but most days they must wait, as getting out of town to the nearest decent public hiking area requires twenty minutes--more than one can afford on a working day. Instead, I often opt for a five-minute drive (to avoid crossing a … Continue reading Wilson Park: Dogs, Flowers and Fungi (Oh! The Fungi!)

Keystone Species in a Yellowstone Shell

Keystone species: like a stone bridging the two sides of an arch, once removed the structure crumbles. One of ecologists favorite example in the last twenty years has been the grey wolf. Humans have a long history of destroying ecosystems and obliterating biodiversity. More than likely we've seen the loss of more keystone species than … Continue reading Keystone Species in a Yellowstone Shell

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Book Reflection: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

Patrons of my local library vie for this book. I waited several weeks before I got a chance, even though The Sixth Extinction was published over a year before this time. Then I couldn't renew it, because of course someone else was in line to read it. Several weeks later down the waiting list I … Continue reading Book Reflection: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert