Thank you for visiting the home blog of Caliso Learning, a natural science-based business celebrating the beauty and ecology of our natural environments. Our goal is to connect you and your family with nature--actually, we want you to fall in LOVE with nature!

Here you will find nature-inspired articles and posts, family activities, personal stories, resources, and more--all with the goal to connect you with the benefits of nature for family fun and inspiration! Please enjoy and let us know what you like :) Follow us on Facebook for even more resources, more frequently!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A King Penguin That's 'One In A Zillion'

We couldn't resist sharing this 2010 article about a King penguin discovered along Fortuna Bay, South Georgia. This rare bird, an all black penguin, has astonished and fascinated biologists. Learn what may be the cause(s) of this one in a zillion occurrence--is it environment or gene related?

Read more and see more photos of this all black penguin by National Geographic photographer Andrew Evans by clicking here.

Photo by Andrew Evans

Friday, January 14, 2011

Goin' With The Flow: Yosemite's Frazil Ice

One of the things we love about the natural world is its capacity to continually surprise us with "really cool" events like the little known springtime occurrence of "frazil ice." Check out this amazing short piece shared by Caliso friend Scott Scott (of Trail Discovery) showing Yosemite's incredible frazil ice creek flows that stop and start up again someplace else.

Thinking like a naturalist--while watching this video (or after) think about these tried and true interpreter prompts, and complete these thoughts in order:
1.   I notice...
(followed by)
2.   I wonder...
(now relating to the experience)
3.   It reminds me of...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

US Researchers Replicate Complex Bird Songs With a Simple Rubber Device

Find out how this discovery could impact wildlife science. A recent BBC article we came across via tweeter @thepineproject discusses the somewhat accidental discovery of bird songs that can be replicated by rubber. According to the team of US researchers, they have developed a simple rubber device that replicates complex bird songs:
  • The song is produced by blowing air through the device, which mimics a bird's vocal tract.
  •  The findings appear to challenge the idea that birds had to learn complicated neurological controls in order to produce distinctive calls.
  • The team plans to share its data with biologists to see if it sheds new light on how birds produce complex songs.

To see the device and listen to vireo and finch songs replicated by the device, read more...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

11 Ways To Love the Planet In 2011

1. Protect species from extinction: prevent habitat loss, create yard habitats, prevent the detrimental effects of introducing non-native, invasive species and pesticides into our natural environments. Here’s an example of the danger of habitat loss and butterfly migration in this article from Science Daily.

2. Spend more time outside. Connect with the land, the sea, and the sky using all of your senses. Let a summer monsoon soak you. Follow animal tracks in the snow. Go camping, go picnicking, read outside, star-gaze, explore nature with your toddler, go soak in a natural hot spring. The more time we connect with nature the more we will love and appreciate it, and the more we will work to protect its right to exist and thrive—so that we may do the same.

3. Start a family nature club. It’s easier and more rewarding than you might expect! Here’s a fantastic and free Family Nature Club toolkit from C&NN. A wonderful resource.

4. Protect the night sky from light pollution. Mankind has a long history with the stars and moon; navigation, cosmology, agricultural cycles and more. Not only does light pollution take away the beauty and knowledge gained of the stars, the Milky Way and deep sky objects for modern man, it wastes billions of dollars annually, consumes valuable natural resources, and pollutes our environment. Light pollution can seriously disrupt the natural rhythms and processes of plant and animals, threatening their survival. Here are 10 easy steps to help prevent light pollution.

5. Become involved in your community by participating in local environmental projects like neighborhood recycling, abandoned lot cleanups, community gardens and watershed restoration projects.

6. Follow blogs, or start your own, that share information about wildlife, natural areas, green living, green mommies, family nature activities, camping, creativity and nature, our oceans, spelunking—whatever you wish to learn more about. When it comes to nature, the list of possibilities are endless! Just type in a blog search of what you want to find.

7. Lend your professional services to a local environmental non-profit, pro bono. Or consider volunteering your time to teach youth about the environment, become a naturalist, man community booths, or lead outdoor art programs inspired by nature.

8. Be mindful of the connection between your daily choices and their effects on the environment. We can decide which plastics are more easily recyclable, or if we walk, or bicycle instead of driving to work. Show your love of the planet; know that every individual action or small deed adds up to a healthier environment.

9. Support your local nature centers, botanical parks, nature preserves and national parks. Visit often, buy annual passes. Fall in love with their beauty, wildlife, their restorative and inspiring affects on you.

10. Calculate and then reduce your carbon footprint at home and while traveling. Click here for the nature.org calculator.

11. Become an environmental steward to protect natural and cultural resources and nature areas for future generations. Get started by searching the internet “how to become an environmental steward (your state/city).”

This is just the tip of the (melting) iceberg regarding ways you can protect the planet. For 25 more ideas, read this short article listing, “25 Ways To Give Back: From Fur To Feathers.”  The point is to get creative, and define what YOU value in the environment, then find ways to protect that gift from nature. Do you enjoy sitting on the porch at night and gazing up at the stars? Did an animal encounter speak to your soul? Do you yearn for camping under giant pines during the work week? Does the ocean move you to poetry?

Honor your nature connection.