Drawn to the West: Squirrelly Notions

Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com
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There weren’t any squirrels in the town where I grew up.

I didn’t know to remark on that fact when I was young.

It wasn’t until I moved away from home that I discovered two apparent truisms regarding urban squirrels:

  1. Squirrels can be boldly urbane, in their own chattery twitchy way.  
  2. Squirrels occur en masse in every town and city I have since inhabited.
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Despite this, or perhaps as a result, I haven’t thought or written much about squirrels. That pleasant oblivion ended abruptly last summer. In 2014, my typical gardening frenzy was necessarily pared down to a few pots of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs on a borrowed balcony.

Continue reading Drawn to the West: Squirrelly Notions

A quick sketch for World Sea Turtle Day!

2014_Europe sketches (25)_sea turtle_clean_sigIt’s World Sea Turtle Day, and I just happen to have a sketch of a sea turtle hatchling!

I sketched this wee turtle, along with a handful of others in a display aquarium, last September. They were awaiting release at sunset, because the popular nesting site we visited was also one of Cyprus’s most popular beaches. Continue reading A quick sketch for World Sea Turtle Day!

Should we be feeding wild birds? How a desire to sketch birds led to a romp through the bird-feeding literature

Cross-posted on www.drawntothewest.com

Group of finches_v1You can tell it’s spring; the Internet is aflutter with bird articles.

A lot of those articles relate closely to the two-part series I just wrapped up about attracting wild birds using methods informed by ornithology research.

I was inspired to investigate the subject because we have a “new-to-us” backyard that is bare dirt. A few trees and shrubs sit at the corners of the lot, but that’s it. We’ve begun by seeding in some native grasses and installing a vegetable garden, and now are considering what we could do to attract birds.

3 reasons why we should tell stories about scientists, not just science.

1. Human details tangibly bring Conserving Quebec caribou_Ia story to life.

Being able to relate to a researcher is key to having an interest in what that person researches. When a science story includes the scientist, a reader can hope for a quirky anecdote, a personal revelation that is highly intriguing, or even a zany description of the scientist’s physical attributes. Continue reading 3 reasons why we should tell stories about scientists, not just science.

Spring Prescribed Burns: Prince Albert National Park

Watching aspens burn_colour_BG Merkle (05.2013)

Here are a few shots from two spring prescribed burns I recently documented for Prince Albert National Park’s fire management team.  Read a blog post about the project here, and visit my online gallery for an in-depth look at the burns.

Bison charcoal_BG Merkle (05.2013)

Row of bison_BG Merkle (05.2013)

Smoke over blackened earth_BG Merkle (05.2013)

Willows burning 3_BG Merkle (05.2013)