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!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wildly Romantic

Happy Valentine’s Day from Caliso Learning! We LOVE any chance to gush over our love for nature, and today is no exception. From romantic myth-busting (lobster love in the article below the two links), to life-long bonds, to our planet’s most romantic. Turns out we might learn a thing or two from our wild animal counterparts. For example...

Do you fancy your bond with your sweetheart to be the strongest out there? See which of these love pairs from the animal kingdom you and your sweetie most resemble in 11 Animals That Mate For Life 

Need some romantic ideas that will make your honey swoon? Check out the wild antics animals will employ to attract their dream mates, from flashy dance moves to giving gifts, from decorating to PDA’s in The World’s Most Romantic Animals 

Lobster Myth-busting. Despite the sweetness of the devotional lobster love we’ve watched on “Friends,” lobsters do not mate for life. But according to Dr. Jelle Atema of the Marine Biological Laboratory, lobsters do make tender lovers.

Based on over twenty years of studying lobster mating behavior, Dr. Atema will be the first to tell you that “lobsters have a touching courtship ritual that protects the female when she is most vulnerable.” When a female lobster is ready to molt, she chooses a mate—usually the largest in the area—and approaches his den, turning on the charm by wafting a sex pheromone in his direction. The lucky male responds by “fanning the water with his swimmerets, permeating his apartment with her perfume” and emerging with raised claws. She responds with playful boxing or by turning away (awww, how positively coy). This seems to calm down the male’s aggressive approach and the female proceeds to raise her claws, placing them on his head to let him know she is ready for love.

Together they enter the male’s den, maybe get to know each other a little better, and some time after, “from a few hours to several days later, the female molts. At this point the male could mate with her or eat her, but he invariably does the noble thing…”

With the female in her most vulnerable state, the male gently turns her limp body over onto her back, being careful not to tear her soft flesh. They mate "with a poignant gentleness that is almost human," observes Dr. Atema. After mating the vulnerable female stays a while in the safety of the den until her exoskeleton hardens (about a week). By the end of this brief yet touching encounter, the attraction fades, and the hard-shelled couple part with hardly a backward glance.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Froggy Find!

The morning began with one of our "Fledgling Hikers" programs at the Whitewater Preserve with a great group of tiny naturalists and their parents. As always for this program, I was happy to bring my 4-year old son along, this time with the help of my mom, and because the Preserve is one of his absolute favorite places to explore! After the program, we stayed to do a little creek hopping, my son's first time jumping on and off rocks in the small stream. During previous visits, he just wasn't ready to try it, but that day, with other kids around doing it, he decided it was time!

After a few slips and falls (and still loving every minute of it), the other "fledglings" very reluctantly left; and we were getting ready to leave when we heard a frog call nearby. We followed the sound along the stream for only a few yards before we came upon this little Chorus Frog (aka tree frog). What a wonderful way to end our day!