Tag Archives: nature

Naming again all the animals

Originally published August 31st, 2011.  Is it a woodchuck, or a groundhog?

Guest blog: by Lowell Bliss

As part of our summer vacation this year, we found ourselves at Canada’s Wonderland, a colossal amusement park near Toronto.  My teenage son has discovered roller coasters as a passion, and so we strapped ourselves into the Behemoth, riding up to a height of 230 feet and then plunging down at 77 mph.  The Behemoth cost $26 million to build.  But all day it was like that: we were surrounded by acres of ingenious and costly technologies engineered with the sole purpose to amuse and thrill.

As my old body began to wane in the late afternoon, I plopped down on a park bench and waited out my kids who were on another ride.   A young teenage girl was standing nearby.  Suddenly, I heard her utter a short squeak and I felt something rustling on the ground between my ankles.  I looked down.  A chubby woodchuck wandered out from under my bench.  Behind us was a small wooded lot between paths in the amusement park.  A little stream flowed into a pool there and it was hard to tell whether this patch of nature among the tarmac was original or manufactured.  Nonetheless, it was apparently where the woodchuck lived.  I suspect it was “suppertime,” if that’s what you can call his daily allotment of popcorn and funnel cake. Continue reading

Reviving a Sense of Wonder

The first of Andrea Ebley’s monthly posts on the blog.  

IMG_3877wonder n : rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

Children embody the definition of wonder, a sense that inspires curiosity and investigation, and fosters delight. How often do you see a child running to catch falling leaves or jumping from curb to puddle, completely absorbed in his actions and oblivious to all else? How often do you see a full-grown adult doing those same things? Continue reading

Christian Camping and Creation Care – a formula for success!

Originally posted September 27th, 2011.  I (Brittany) am now a UW-Madison graduate and a full-time staff member at Care of Creation.

This summer Brittany Ederer, a student at UW-Madison, served as an intern in the Care of Creation office in Madison.  Based on her interest in camping, education nature and environment, we assigned her to start a survey project of Christian camps in Wisconsin, the upper Midwest and then throughout the country.  Are there Christian camps who are actively promoting creation care as part of their camp program?  Are they using creation care principles in caring for their properties?  This blog post is a preliminary report on a visit to one camp not far from Madison.  It turns out one of the best examples of creation care at camp is right in our own back yard.  We’re looking forward to a complete report from Brittany later on, but in the meantime, enjoy her thoughts on what’s going on at Timber-lee

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Martha and the Monarch: Must we do it again?

“Martha,” the last known passenger pigeon. Photo by Carl Hansen, Smithsonian Institution, 1985 (click picture for source)

One hundred years ago last Monday, on September 1, 1914, with the Russian revolution in full swing, World War I raging in France, and in the midst of a thousand other events of note, a single, nondescript bird in a cage in a zoo in Cincinnati Ohio died. A century later, we remember the death of that bird. Why? Martha (Marta in some documents) was the last passenger pigeon still alive, and her passing marks one of the most dismal failures of humanity’s exercise of dominion over God’s creation in all of modern history.

The story of the passenger pigeon is well documented. In the mid-19th century, flocks of birds numbering in the billions streamed across the skies of North America. Huffpost provides one description of many:

At the time of the Civil War, the passenger pigeon was the most numerous bird in all of North America, probably even the world. There were as many as 5 billion birds flying the skies. They ranged throughout the eastern United States, parts of Montana and Texas and north well into Canada. Imagine looking up into the sky today and not being able to see the sun because a flock of birds was so numerous it blocked the light for hours and hours.

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An Apple a Day Revisited

It was a completely unexpected outcome.  Researchers expected that patients would be more content.  They thought they might sleep better.  But nobody expected that redesigning a hospital room would cause people to ask for less pain medication.

The story was in the New York Times last week (In Redesigned Room, Hospital Patients May Feel Better Already – NYTimes.com).  University Medical Center of Princeton NJ needed a new hospital, and decided to try to design a new hospital room from the ground up.  After extensive interviews with patients, nursing staff and many others, the new room was created, tested and eventually incorporated in the new building.  People love it, staff love it: All the rooms are single patient, have large windows looking out, a couch for visitors, even (why didn’t they think of this a century ago???) a continuous handrail from bed to toilet. Continue reading

Fire in the Engine Room! A Parable for Our Time

Most of us have long forgotten the Carnival Splendor debacle, almost four years ago, now.  I bet those passengers haven’t forgotten, though, and neither should we forget the powerful lesson from this incident.  (Published Nov 12, 2010)

The spectacular, ill-fated Carnival Splendor

The word “ordeal” was what caught my attention first.  It was a news story about the Carnival Splendor, one of the largest cruise ships in the world, disabled off the coast of California early this week.  Ordeal?  Amid all that luxury?  This must be journalistic overstatement.

Little by little, the details started to emerge as the ship was towed back to San Diego, then came a flood of reports yesterday after the ship reached port.  Smoky corridors.  Blocked up toilets.  Stench filled hallways.  Interior rooms with no light or ventilation.  And two hour waits to be served hot dog salad and Spam.  (It is a strange footnote to this entire episode that the only thing the cruise line has disputed is that Spam was served to the passengers.  What’s the big deal about Spam among all of the other hardships?  But I digress…) Continue reading