Monthly Archives: January 2014

Canadian Geographic Contests ~ Enter both to win!

2013 COVERS

You have an opportunity to enter two Canadian Geographic contests:
Choose Your Favourite Cover from 2013!

CDN GEO MAG COVER CONTESTS1

Vote now and you can enter
a draw to win a one-year subscription.

 

CDN GEO MAG COVER CONTESTS2

We want to know what you think
was the best Canadian
Geographic cover of 2013.

CDN GEO MAG COVER CONTESTS3

Select your choice for best cover and click “Submit my vote!” Vote now and you can enter a draw to WIN a one-year subscription to Canadian Geographic.

Click the following link to enter the first contest –

http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/contests/best_covers/?s=blog

– 2nd CONTEST –

Help us choose the March Canadian Geographic Travel cover!

We need your help in choosing the cover for the next issue of Canadian
Geographic Travel. Select your choice for best cover and click “Submit
my Vote!”

CDN GEO MAG COVER CONTESTS

Vote Now and you can enter a draw to win a one-year subscription
to Canadian Geographic.

Click the following link to vote:

http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/contests/coverVotes/mar14/default.asp

Good luck to everyone!

Apostle Islands Secluded Ice Caves ~ Amazing and Magical!

APOSTLE ISLANDS NEW

IMAGESIGNThe Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin.  The majority of the islands are located in Ashland County – only Sand, York, Eagle, and Raspberry Islands are located in Bayfield County.  All the islands except for Madeline Island are part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Deep Freeze Reveals Lake Superior’s Secluded Ice Caves
For five years, the winter wonder of Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands sea caves have been hiding—but recent freezing temperatures have revealed their beauty by Natasha Geiling JANUARY 24, 2014  

IMAGE13For the first time in five years, visitors to Lake Superior’s Wisconsin shore can experience the winter beauty of the Apostle Sea Caves—completely frozen and safe to visit, thanks in large part to this winter’s exceedingly low temperatures. National Park Service officials, who monitor conditions along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, say that the last time Lake Superior’s ice was thick enough to safely hold visitors to the caves was back in 2009; but with weeks of frigid temperatures caused by the polar vortex, Lake Superior has iced over enough to support adventurers on their one-mile trek from mainland Wisconsin out to the caves. Bob Krumanaker, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore superintendent, told Wisconsin Public Radio that the caves are one of the most unique sites in the park, which includes 21 islands formed from sandstone over a billion years ago.

IMAGE14Visitors to the caves who make the mile-long trek over an icy lake are greeted by an amazing winter view, with icicles hanging like stalactites from the cave ceilings and a clear ice floor that reveals the lake floor below. During the summer, visitors can kayak through the caves, but a solid lake offers adventurers the only way to experience the caves on foot.

IMAGE4On a peak weekend day, more than 1,000 people can visit the caves. Krumanaker hopes that weather conditions will allow the ice caves to remain visitable for another six weeks, though with fickle winter, the caves could be closed as soon as the coming weekend. If you can’t venture out on Lake Superior to check out the caves firsthand, we’ve compiled some of Instagram’s best to give you a sense of the icy beauty.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/frozen-lake-reveals-secluded-ice-caves-180949470/

The following paragraph and photos are taken with thanks and appreciation from the Maven Cookery blog article, “Our Morning At The Sea Caves” posted Jan. 17, 2014. (link to site provided below)

“There was a single track along the shore and out across the lake.  The snow was a pristine white blanket, it was quiet enough to hear the ice creak and pop with unseen swells from the lake and it was solitary enough to feel the ancient energy radiating from the rocks that ringed the shore. Words can’t begin to describe what it felt like to witness the wild and ephemeral beauty of ice and sandstone. The different colors, shapes and textures of the ice was mind-blowing. It was a work of art, created by wind and water— magical in its perfection.”

APOSTLE ISLANDS CAVEShttp://thecookerymaven.com/2014/01/our-morning-at-the-sea-caves/

Related link ~  17 Photos From the Frozen Ice Caves of Lake Superior – Esquire 

Threatened species saved by constructed wetlands in Sweden

WETLANDS SAVE WILDLIFE


This article is from Science News Jan. 21, 2014 “Constructed Wetlands Save Frogs, Birds Threatened With Extinction”

SWEDENOver the last few decades, several thousands of wetlands have been constructed in Sweden in agricultural landscapes. The primary reason is that the wetlands prevent a surfeit of nutrients from reaching our oceans and lakes. A study from Halmstad University shows, in addition, that wetlands haveRED LIST contributed to saving several frog and bird species from the “Red List” – a list that shows which species are at risk of dying out in Sweden. In the latest update, five of the nine red-listed bird species that breed in wetlands –

CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS

including the little grebe and the little ringed plover could be taken off the list. Yet another bird species was moved to a lower threat category. As regards batrachians, four species-among them the European tree frog-have been taken off the list, and two species have been moved to a lower threat category.
Great effect on biological diversity
Definition of eutrophication: the process by which a body of water becomes enriched in dissolved nutrients (as phosphates) that stimulate the growth of aquatic plant life usually resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen.

WEISNER“An important objective in constructing wetlands is reducing eutrophication – over-fertilization. It’s surprisingly positive that they’ve also had such a great directHALMSTAD U SWEDEN effect on biological diversity,” says Stefan Weisner, Professor of Biology specialising in environmental science at Halmstad University.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, the amount of wetlands in Sweden decreased drastically: almost all original wetlands in agricultural areas have disappeared through drainage and land reclamation. This has affected many of the plants and animals that depend on these types of environments.
An inexpensive way to reduce eutrophication

EUTROPHICATION

Over the last 15 years, nearly 3,000 wetland areas have been constructed in agricultural landscapes around Sweden. Farmers SWEDISH AGRICULTURE LOGOhave the possibility of receiving economic support for this from sources such as the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The primary reason is because wetlands catch the surfeit of nutrients from agriculture such as nitrogen and phosphorus-substances that would otherwise have leaked out into the seas and lakes and contributed to eutrophication.IMAGE6
The study shows that creation of wetlands is a cost-effective to catch the nutrients.
“It’s a very effective way of purifying the water.

TREATMENT PLANTIt’s less expensive than constructing treatment plants, and in addition it contributes to biological diversity,” Prof Weisner says.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01 /140121092911.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fearth_climate%2Fwater+%28Water+Conservation+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Expertsvar.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Journal Reference:
John A. Strand, Stefan E.B. Weisner. Effects of wetland construction on nitrogen transport and species richness in the agricultural landscape—Experiences from Sweden. Ecological Engineering, 2013; 56: 14 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2012.12.087

Designing water reclaiming and recycling programs – green technology

ROOFTOP GARDEN

This article, ‘Function and Beauty – A new reality for watershapes’, by Aviram Müller, appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of WaterCanada magazine.

Please note that I’ve added a YouTube video, uploaded Sept. 15, 2010 by Aviram Muller, regarding the BioReSys – Bionic Regeneration Systems which I definitely recommend – should be a must for our current school curriculum.  This video is the first of five parts which you can access after watching Part 1.

In recent centuries , designers have done a tremendous job of figuring out how water looks and sounds. As environmental concerns become increasingly important, however, we’re being challenged to think differently about water – how it affects us physically and the essential role it plays in maintaining a healthy world.
2ND PARAAs a species, we’ve done a great deal to squander water as an asset, whether by contaminating and otherwise polluting natural bodies of water or by treating pools and other watershapes with harsh chemicals. Isn’t it ironic that spas, which exist primarily so we can take advantage of their healthful benefits, are commonly sanitized with chlorine or other powerful oxidizers that may be hazardous to our health?
3RD PARAIn trying to use water to achieve healthful or recreational ends, we have in fact turned away from its natural value and benefits. And it’s not just spas or swimming pools—even with decorative, purely visual water features such as fountains, we have for years turned our backs on natural processes while
pursuing our aesthetic goals.
Point of crisis
Today’s culmination of economic and environmental crises presents an amazing opportunity for watershapers to step back and set the foundations for a fresh, sustainable direction.
5TH PARAWhen water features emerged in Classical times, Islamic and later European societies, they introduced fountains as the public source for potable water. It was only after centuries of performing this public function that fountains moved decisively away from their original purpose and became more or less purely decorative.

6TH PARAThe time has come for water feature to come full circle. Not only must water features be beautiful and soothing, but henceforth, they must be functional, purposeful in the reclamation and decontamination of water. And if water features as part of water management also remediate existing environmental damage or contribute to the cooling of interior spaces, even better.
Increased scope
7TH PARAIn recent years, the typical water feature (fountain, pool, spa, pond or stream) has essentially been a standalone unit in which water is circulated, filtered and treated in a closed loop. As such, these features have very little (if anything at all) to do with the overall performance of adjacent buildings or spaces.
8TH PARABut water features could be part of a much larger system. Water could be reclaimed from roofs and other impermeable surfaces, moved into storage in various cisterns or reservoirs and then treated biologically in planted pond or wetland areas or used as part of a water feature. Then, this same water can be used for irrigation, firefighting, air conditioning or the cooling of manufacturing, industrial and power-generating systems.
Some of the pioneering work has already been done. What may seem revolutionary to some in North America is, in fact, already widely practiced in Europe and has been part of the designer approach for more than 20 years. In some places, natural resources and environments are so restricted by population density that designers have already moved in this direction out of necessity.
For years, they’ve dealt with acid rain, groundwater contamination and rivers so polluted that swimming in them has become hazardous or impossible. Under those constraints, system designers think differently about how they manage, reclaim and reuse water.
Using biology
In North America, we have been taught that water can only be effectively treated through use of chemicals and mechanical filtration. But in Europe, the effluent from car washes, water discharged from nuclear power plants, cooling water from large office buildings, and even the water that emerges from zoological exhibits are treated biologically. In addition, the European experience has shown that biological filtration using specific types of plants can help remediate contaminated water by removing heavy metals and organic compounds introduced into water supplies via the fertilizers used by agricultural or industrial operations.
Whether they take the form of ponds with wetland areas and planted floating islands or of green roofs that bring park like features to urban settings, biological systems can be beautiful. Once humdrum settings, such as retention basins, are now accented with plants, pathways, docks, floating fountains, floating islands and diverse varieties of wildlife.
Specific measures
PARA 14Currently, there are no classifications or criteria in the LEED certification program referring specifically to water feature designs. The Water Efficiency category, however, emphasizes reducing the use of potable water supplies and thus presents several opportunities for creative applications.
PARA 15Already, according to current LEED provisions, a green roof can be used to capture rainwater. Once captured, the water is treatment by flowing either to a gravel-based wetlands zone/retention basin or into a body of water that contains floating islands and myriad plants that take up contaminants.
PARA 16When water exits these basins, no matter its condition, it can be used for water features, irrigation, or numerous other reasons. Alternatively, this water can be channeled into an “infiltration” basin where water is injected into the ground to help recharge aquifers. This can be helpful in areas where there are issues with seawater intrusion or underground plumes of pollution.
PARA 17Some LEED projects seek designs that involve remediation of environmentally damaged areas. Indeed, contaminated soil can be helped by properly designed water management – for instance, designs can include choosing plants specifically meant to biologically treat water containing certain contaminants.
Active participation
In sizing up the LEED point potential of water features, it’s important to recognize that the water features will help earn credits relative to specific situations. The LEED point system and the relative value a “functional” water feature can bring opens the discussion of the role the designer can play in the final design of commercial complexes and residential developments.
PARA 20  Traditionally, designers in their more aesthetic or recreational roles are among the last consulted in a project. Until recently, in fact, fountains, swimming pools, spas, ponds, cascades or interactive water features have been seen as separate and divorced from everything else on site.
LAST PARAWith this new green philosophy, designers are becoming integral participants in the process of designing water reclaiming and recycling programs, and providing beauty with function.

MULLERAviram Müller is the founder of Karajaal, a Quebec-based company that designs and engineers distinct and interactive venues using water, lighting effects, fountains and pools.
A graduate of Frankfurt University, Aviram has dedicated 25 years to the creation and development of water-based art. Aviram is recognized by his peers as an artist and sculptor with a strong engineering and technical foundation.

 

Friday’s ‘Aw… and Wow’ Factor ~ Amazing!

PENGUIN NURSERIES

The following article, “Hey, I think that’s our kid, 3,233rd from the left: Stunning pictures of island where penguins have created the world’s largest crèche” by Emily Allen, was updated 2 June 2011, on http://www.dailymail.co.uk.

I thought you might also enjoy this great Youtube video, “King penguins – Attenborough: LIfe in the Freezer” – BBC, uploaded Mar. 7, 2012. In a fantastic clip from Attenborough’s 1993 series ‘Life in the Freezer’, Sir David demonstrates how inquistive baby penguins are. A great glimpse into the life of king penguins and their parental instincts.

These stunning aerial images of a King Penguin colony in South Georgia show just how extraordinary penguin parenting really is.
In what looks to be the world’s largest crèche, thousands of King Penguins instinctively herd their recently born young into giant huddles to stop them freezing to death.
Parental instinct takes over in the inhospitable climate of the South Atlantic and the chicks with their long, brown, downy coats are made to crowd together to retain their body warmth in the equivalent of bird crèches – visible as brown swathes on our photo.
DAILY MAIL1
Birds of a feather: Thanks to these stunning aerial images we can see penguin parenting in action. The brown swathes are the young penguins herded together.

DAILY MAIL2
P-p-p-peckish? A King Penguin feeds its baby in the colony in South Georgia.

DAILY MAIL3
The young brown penguins are clearly visible in their huddles.

IMAGE4Meanwhile their extraordinary parents waddle down to the shore to bring back dinner for their offspring. The chicks, which take between 10 to 13 months to raise – cannot regulate their body temperature and the parents care for them round the clock for the first three weeks.

DAILY MAIL4
Extraordinary patterns emerge as the brown baby penguins are herded into crèches.

The penguins look after their young around the clock for the first three weeks. They then put the chicks in one of the crèches, returning every two or three days with food. 

DAILY MAIL5
A King Penguin protects a female from another male as the sun sets.

MAPNEW
South Georgia is a British territory close to the Falkland Islands and is one of the main breeding colonies for the birds.

IMAGE9The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin, weighing up to 35 lbs. The Emperor penguins are the largest. They eat small fish – mainly lantern fish, and squid and repeatedly dive to more than 100 metres to find lunch. A full penguin breeding cycle lasts more than a year and pairs generally breed twice every three years.
There are an estimated 2.23 million pairs of King Penguins with numbers increasing.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1393379/King-Penguin-colony-South-Georgia-Stunning-pictures-worlds-largest-cr-che.html#ixzz2qaj35Ki1

Devastating effect on Canada’s lakes caused by acid rain

BLAME IT ON THE RAINThe following article, “Blame it on the Rain” appeared in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Watercanada magazine, written by Rebecca Taggart.

Acid rain leaves its mark in Canada’s freshwater lakes:

Calcium deficiency is commonly  considered an ailment of the elderly. However, many of Canada’s freshwater lakes are now being diagnosed with a similar condition.
Calcium levels in many of Canada’s freshwater lakes are dropping. Just as it’s necessary for a healthy human body, calcium is also essential for supporting life in aquatic ecosystems. Environment Canada scientists are involved in collaborative research that sheds light on a pattern of calcium loss in our small lakes and wetlands. For almost 30 years, samples were collected from lakes across southeastern Canada to monitor chemical levels in ecosystems sensitive to acid rain. In an assessment of chemical changes from 770 Ontario lakes, researchers noticed a troubling pattern of declining calcium.

MAKING A RECOVERY:  When rain falls on the land or drainage basin surrounding a lake, it washes a small amount of calcium from the soil and drains it into the lake. This natural process has occurred over thousands of years, and accounts for most of the calcium found in lakes.
Acid rain speeds up this process by washing calcium from the soil and into lakes at a much faster rate than regular rain.
BLAME IT ON THE RAIN
Acid rain also increases the acidity of lake waters, which can negatively affect the aquatic species that rely on the lake to survive. Acid rain peaked during the 1970s and 1980s because of increased urban and industrial development throughout eastern North America. Since then, aggressive environmental policies have reduced the harmful emissions that cause acid rain, and have succeeded in reducing its occurrence.

However, those decades of faster calcium leaching due to acid rain have depleted the natural stock of calcium found in the soil of land in lake drainage basins. Now that we are seeing less acid rain, calcium concentrations in some lakes are declining, perhaps to levels that are lower than those before acid rain became a problem.
This means that there may not be enough calcium available for some aquatic species to survive in these lakes. Low calcium levels may also slow the biological recovery of lakes from the higher acidity levels that were also caused by acid rain.
GETTING TO THE CORE OF OUR LAKES: To demonstrate the effects of this problem, research scientists studied Daphnia, a crustacean that lab studies have shown is strongly dependent on sufficient calcium concentrations in lakes.
BLAME IT ON THE RAIN2
Researchers conducted a paleolimnological survey, which involves using a coring device to remove a sample of the lake’s sediment floor. Lying within these sediments are remains of plants and animals that have been preserved over time.

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN3
Based on an analysis of lake sediment cores, scientists found that Daphnia began to decline in the 1970s, showing a strong link with measured declines in lake calcium levels.
Declines in Daphnia and other calcium rich foods have the potential to threaten many other species. Daphnia graze on algae, which regulates their presence in a lake. This affects other animals in the food chain such as fish and birds.

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN1
The results of this research teach an important lesson about the role that each creature plays in an ecosystem. Small lakes and wetlands provide important habitat for many species. The individual roles these species play in our ecosystems demonstrate the interconnectedness of all life forms and illustrate the potential for habitat pollution and other impacts to have complex consequences for ecosystems. WC Rebecca Taggart is with Environment Canada.

Here’s a link to a related and more in-depth article, “Acid rain legacy hurting lakes”
ONTARIO'S PLASTIC LAKE
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2008/11/28/acid_rain_legacy_hurting_lakes.html

Diana Nyad ~ “Never, ever give up!” ~ Remarkable!

DIANA NYAD SWIMMER

Diana Nyad is an American author, journalist, motivational speaker, and world record long-distance swimmer.  Nyad gained national attention in 1975 when she swam around Manhattan (28 mi or 45 km) and in 1979 when she swam from North BiminiThe Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Florida (102 mi (164 km)).  In 2013, on her fifth attempt and at age 64, she became the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage, swimming from Havana to Key West (110 mi or 180 km).  

In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida – at age 64.

Diana refers to her experience as “awe inspiring” ~ Diana’s talk is inspiring – what a truly remarkable woman!

This amazing motivational video is sure to inspire everyone! 

With a brand new year just beginning perhaps these quotes from Diana will have you reaching for your star:

“You can chase your dreams at any age – you’re never too old!”

“When you achieve your dreams, it’s not so much what you get, as who you have become in achieving them.”