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Natural Connections

Feb 2, 2023

Tiny forests of mosses poked up between pale sand grains. Carpets of bluish lichens protected little hills, and pixie cup lichens raised their chalices as if waiting for the right vintage of raindrop. Here, miles from the desert, was another community of cryptobiotic crust holding together sand as the stone falls...


Jan 26, 2023

White-breasted nuthatches weigh more than twice their little cousins, the red-breasted nuthatches. More handsome than cute, their black head grading into a gray back and mostly white belly is quite natty.


Beyond size and color, these two cousins have some interesting similarities and differences. They both eat mostly...


Jan 19, 2023

“So who do you think made this scat?” I asked, while holding the handful of rubber bear scat aloft. Several hands shot into the air. Omnivore. That was an easy one. Next, I pulled out a replica of scraggly fox scat, and a pile of rubber deer scat. No problem. Most kids were confident that they could categorize any...


Jan 12, 2023

I enjoyed making weed soup as a child. Here’s the recipe: fill a plastic pail with water, add cut grass, dandelion leaves, a generous handful of weed seeds, mix well, and show Mom. Since then, I’ve taken classes, accumulated books, and joined walks with experts on edible wild plants. I’ve progressed to wild plum...


Jan 5, 2023

During the Museum group’s visit to El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Preserve, our guide Daniel called me over to an educational display he’d laid out on a stump. Each of the three butterflies had been eaten by a different predator, and their bodies bore tell-tale clues.

Each of these predators—the mice, the grosbeaks,...