Bees in the Willow TreesPhoto by: Dawn Harrison

— by Dawn Harrison —

Everyone has a different thing that tells them spring has arrived. For me, it’s actually different every year. Sometimes, it’s the first time I see a baby bunny in the yard. Or it could be the first tulip bloom of the year. This year, it was the first time I noticed the bees buzzing in the trees. It’s funny how you don’t realize you missed something until you hear or see it again. I was doing the morning walk of the property, saying good morning to the dogs and chickens and was on my way to say hello to the wolves when I heard the unmistakable sound of bees buzzing around the tree above me. It made me smile to know that they were busy pollinating and soon there would be beautiful blooms.

The Elusive Salamander

With spring comes repairs around the property. One such repair is filling in cracks in the cement of the bear pools. While drained, Jean came across some of the local wildlife that shares its habitat with our permanent residents. Namely, a salamander. In an effort to ensure that the salamander had the best location on property, Jean carefully scooped him into a bucket for transportation purposes. He was relocated to the pond in one of the other animal gardens which is much more friendly for our wild friends than the pools which are frequented by grizzly bears and offer very little in the way of hiding options.

The abundance of wild animals on property is astounding. Having recently moved from the desert, I had forgotten just how many lives can share a relatively small body of water. As I sit by the pond trying to capture a picture of the elusive salamander, I realize that every little stream of air bubbles that makes it to the placid surface is a living creature. One of those streams of bubbles in the marshy grass is the salamander. Even though I don’t see him, I take a picture of his ‘neighborhood’ for posterity’s sake.

A salamander in a white bowl full of water, and the new habitat to which he is being relocated, which includes grass, rocks, trees, a culvert, and a pond.

The Salamander and his new home | Photos by Dawn Harrison

It’s Not an Ill Wind…

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

I look out the window of the office cabin in amazement—it is snowing! I guess that’s what the wild winds of yesterday meant. It was a warm sunny day until the early evening. All the animals took shelter, including humans.

A woman feeds willow branches to a brown and black goat A brown and black goat reaching for a willow branch

Adrianna enjoying some willow branches | Photos by Chelsea Carson

But as they say, “It is an ill wind that blows nobody good,” and it blew well for Adrianna the buffalo goat. The fierce winds broke off dozens of little branches from our willows, who bent and danced under the onslaught. The branches were full of juicy green buds just ready to burst, rich in the nutrition needed for the unfolding of new life. We walked around, picking them up for her. She grabbed them voraciously and chewed with the vehemence that only a goat can.

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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