Disappearing Panda Fundraiser for WWF

Like most of the world, I've been in love with pandas since I was small enough to be aware of them. My first magazine subscription was National Geographic, which I paid for with my own money and gained most of my knowledge of the outside world. I've only had one quick glance of a panda at the National Zoo in DC. The small window and huge crowds where disappointing and nothing like I long imagined my experience would be like. Since then, pandas live on only in nature documentaries and books for me, and I am content with the fact that I will probably never see one in my lifetime.

I made the painting "Disappearing Panda" many years ago after coming across an old book "The Last Panda" by George B. Schaller.

I had barely remembered owning the book and found a newspaper clip inside about Hsing-Hsing, a panda at the National Zoo. I found this clip just a couple months after visiting the National Zoo.

HsingHsing.jpg

Chicago Sun-Times, April 17, 1997

Hsing-Hsing had been a wild panda before being gifted by China to the National Zoo. He died in 1999 at the age of 28, which at the time was the longest for a panda living in captivity.

World Wildlife Fund Panda Facts

The National Zoo Panda Facts

I've created a print on panel of "Disappearing Panda". Half of all print sales of will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund

Disappearing Panda - 5x5 print on panel

Disappearing Panda - 5x5 print on panel

The World Wildlife Fund has been protecting nature for over 50 years. To learn more about them go here

Turn off the Lights for Earth Hour

Book Gift Guide for Nature Lovers

National parks, meditations on wood, bunnies and birds are just a couple of the subjects covered in these books. I can imagine any nature enthusiast cuddling up this winter with a good book and thoughts of getting outside soon.

National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways by National Geographic Society

For those who enjoy time in the car and taking the long way, there are 275 drives to tackle in this book. We've enjoyed making notes in the margins and sticking in menus, receipts and leaves we find along the way. Each time we open this book it is filled with memories of beautiful sites and fun journeys. A GPS is recommend!

Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin

Ideally you want to be sitting under your favorite tree when you read this book but a nice window will also do.  This book is for the person who loves trees and nature writing. It will inspire and deepen your appreciation for the outdoors.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

In this classic, the reader peaks into the lives of rabbits, where we can read their words and experience their hardships.  This book is full of excitement and imagination. After reading this book, you just might look at the rabbits in the yard a bit differently. You may even say hi.

Flights of Imagination: Extraordinary Writing About Birds edited by Richard Cannings

Most bird lovers have a great story about a pursuit of a rare bird or their first memory of finding appreciation for our winged friends. This collection of short stories will relate with anyone who has a passion for birds.

Two Books to Inspire

First, I just finished "Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds", which I wrote about in an earlier post. I picked this book up because I wanted to read about birding but instead found myself much more interested in the life of Phoebe Snetsinger and her never ending energy, power and zest for life. Upon finishing, I was reminded of Lynne Cox and her book "Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long Distance Swimmer". This is another almost unbelievable tale in which Lynne Cox archives what seems impossible. Both risked their life and much more for the passion of doing what they love and doing it well.

We can think of Lynne and Phoebe almost as superhuman but we all have a piece of them in us some where. Lynne and Phoebe both had goals that no one had ever achieved but they didn't archive them overnight. They reached their huge goals by taking small steps. 

Life List

I am reading Life List: A Woman's Quest for the World's Most Amazing Birds by Olivia Gentile and that's what got me started on the subject of lists. I've been interested in birds for awhile but this book has brought me into the whole world of birding and list keeping and now I am making a life list of birds I have seen.

I am including with each bird, the situation, day, thoughts, etc. Whatever it takes to remember that moment. It's not easy to catch a photograph of a bird and often while trying you while miss seeing the action all together. I've decided to stop trying to catch photos of anything in action and take in the moment the best I can by paying attention and as soon as I can writing it down. Most of our memories are made through telling a story.

So what is the purpose of the list? It's not so much about the end result, but rather to remind myself to keep looking. It's about all the things I will notice that I may have missed; things that might not even be on the list.

If you want to start a list, I recommend starting with a good notebook. My first bird list is in The Paper Apartment's Feathers Notebook. Then find a list for your area to follow. In Chicago visit the Chicago Ornithological Society and download their Chicago Area Birds Checklist on the homepage.  

Happy Birding!
 

Dreamy Skies after the Storm

We just had a big storm. I should say another big storm. Very high winds, tornadoes, hail, flooding, all of it. But after the storm moved on, there were rainbows and strange greenish-yellow skies. Not just the sky was green though, everything was green. As the sun set, everything began to turn orange and pink. Although it was close to dark, my flowers were the most vibrant colors I had ever seen them. I took a few shoots as the sky changed.

 It's still raining a little in these above shots. The greenish-yellow light was so unique.

That's our backyard and our favorite place! The light was so soft and warm tonight. Perfect for taking pictures.