Snowy road lined with snow-covered pine trees
Urban Living & Nature
January 20, 2020

Seeing Beauty or Worrying—Which to Choose?

— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It was so beautiful. I was driving a friend over a wintry mountain pass to make a doctor’s appointment. We started out in a snowstorm...

Seeds in various stages of germination

Seeds are tiny, magical packets of latent energy and potential, ready to burst forth when conditions are right. They contain the very essence of Life itself: ancient wisdoms and future hopes, exquisitely designed to adapt and evolve as needs arise. Part of Earthfire’s mission is to be a seed center. Here we gather selections of what we would like to see to germinate, take root, and unfurl into the light; stories that educate, inspire, inform and embrace hope and action. We invite you to partake, swap and share them. May they all bear fruit. A school district in Florida has enlisted the help of some unique landscapers: 24 goats, hired to manage weeds on a patch of land that's also...

Porcupine sleeping on a branch

— By Ann Loyola — Teddy is a porcupine. He’s about five years old and came to Earthfire Institute as a private rescue four years ago. About a month after I began working here, Susan suggested I choose some animals for mutual mentoring and my first choice was Teddy. Now, three months later, I spend a part of every workday with him, usually in the morning. Sometimes we just chat about the weather and other times the topics are more complex. Before my regular visits, Teddy had become withdrawn and his appetite was off; sometimes he stayed in the back of his den and refused to eat. He was very quiet. I didn’t know that porcupines could make any kind of sounds other than the gnawing...

The view looking up through tall cottonwood trees

— by Ann Loyola — The Seven Sisters have become a closely-held secret for at least two reasons. Mostly, I was loathe to share them; and secondly, I feared I would be rightfully labelled as a weirdo. Still, their presence is so obvious and commanding that surely I can’t be the only person wandering in the woods to come across them. The Sisters stand in a snug circle: cottonwood giantesses seemingly sharing one underground bole. When I spotted their distinctive canopy, I had to wade off the trail and through the grasses for closer inspection. Of course I slipped between their trunks to stand in the center, approximately three feet in diameter. Of course I looked up to the sky, down to...

Bobcat walking through deep snow

— by Dawn Harrison — Winter and an aging bobcat with arthritis? Not a great mix. Better the Bobcat has been ailing for some time. We’ve been trying to figure out what mix of supplements, vitamins, and feed would help poor Better feel better. The journey has taken months and included help from vets, research, and trial and error, and so far, it seems like nothing has worked. But still we clung to the hope of a solution for Better. So imagine my surprise when I walked by Better’s enclosure and, instead of limping up to the gate, he runs up and swipes out at my feet! My heart leaped for joy. Every animal is different, just like every human. We know that what works for one doesn’t...

Orange and black butterfly

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It takes five generations of Monarch butterflies to complete their migration and return to the place of origin---five generations! The ones that return aren’t the ones that left. How do they manage that? And how do we know that? Because of input from something wonderful called citizen science: thousands of individuals, normal people like you and I, participating in learning about and helping our Earth. Thousands of individuals spotting the butterflies and sending the information to a data center that compiles it all. This was just one bit of information and one innovative approach from a recent TEDWomen conference that I attended. The event was filled with...

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