Category Archives: natural science

Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545)

Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street (at Gateway Rd) * Manitou / Colorado Springs, Colorado * 719.634.6666 * http://www.gardenofgods.com/ * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545
Originally first published May 9, 2009 by Thomas Baurley

Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.

History and Mythology

Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.

This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.

The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.

Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.

The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “

If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.

The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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The Orient Land Trust, Villa Grove, Colorado

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs

The Orient Land Trust a.k.a. “Valley View Hot Springs”
info@olt.org, olt.org * PO Box 65, Villa Grove, CO 81155-0065 * 719.256.4315 * 9 am – 10 pm. Open to the public 7 days a week – closed December 1st – 28th.
This fantastic Land trust is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources, wildlife habitat, open space, historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The OLT protects a humongous bat colony, hot springs, alternative energy use, and is well known for its high altitude dark skies for astronomy, exposed active geological fault, limestone caves, numerous trails, historic buildings, town sites at an abandoned iron mine, and a working ranch. The OLT is a naturist community (clothing optional) with 24 hour access to the hotsprings when camping or renting their rustic lodging cabins. They limit the number of visitors based on space availability and environmental impact. For current pictures and views … visit their web site, linked above. The entire grounds are clothing optional – while the majority of the guests tend to swim and soak without swimsuits, there is no pressure either way. The OLT welcomes a diverse clientele of couples, singles, and families from all walks of life – children are always welcome, though require supervision. They offer camping and cabins, their indoor lodging have heat and electricity, though there are no telephones, clocks, radios, or tvs in any of the rooms. All of the ponds and pools are outdoors – there are no private pools or hot tubs – there are four natural ponds with temperatures ranging in the 90’s, an 80′ long spring-fed swimming pool (no chlorine) in the high 80’s, and a heated hot pool around 105 degrees. Our visit to this fantastic resort was over the weekend of 11/10-11/11. A must visit for any hot springs or naturalist enthusiast. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

Additional Visit: 1/24-1/25/09. 2/16/17-2/18/17. Excellent visit.

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=164); near Moffat, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes
* http://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm *

One of my favorite parts of Colorado is its great diversity in the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. One of those hotspots of “oddity” is the vast Sahara-like desert of sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. Of course California, New Mexico, and Arizona has tons of sand dunes – but Colorado’s is very unique, especially at the foot of snow-covered mountain peaks and being the tallest dunes in the United States. This geologic feature extends 5 x 7 miles with a grand height of 700 feet above the valley floor (over 7,600 feet above sea level). As early as 440,000 years ago, the dunes were formed from the Rio Grande River’s and associated tributaries flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over a period of several thousand years, and continually growing today, the westerly winds blow the sand over the Rockies and down along the river flood plain, collecting sand, and depositing them on the east edge of the San Luis Valley before the winds rise up and over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range shaping these huge stable dunes. There are also some parts of the dunes where patches of black sand can be found made up of magnetite deposits as crystalline iron black oxide. Medano Creek winds through the dunes as it is fed by melting snow from the mountains. It extends roughly 10 miles, flowing from spring and early summer from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disappears into the floor of the valley. An unusual feature of the creek is that it never finds a permanent and stable streambed causing small underwater sand dunes that act like dams are continuously formed and destroyed, causing what seems like “surges” with “waves of water” flowing downstream with intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes, and can appear as large as a foot in height with an appearance of an “ocean wave”. The geological area is known as a “High Desert” with summer temperatures not typical of normal high desert lands, varying from high and low temperatures of exceedly cold nights (even below zero). There are also alpine lakes and tundra in the park, with six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruces, pine forests, aspens, cottonwoods, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is also notated as being the quietest park in the United States. The park, is managed by the National Park Service, and has been a place of enjoyment under their reigns since November 2000 with over 85,000 acres. In 2004 it became known as the “Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve”. It can be reached west from Mosca along country road 6 North, or from the south along CO road 150. The park hosts a great visitor center, a campground, four wheel drive trails, restrooms, and picnic areas. The park is great for hiking, wading, sand castles, sandbox play, sunbathing, sand sledding, rough play, skimboarding, photoshoots, and ATV sports. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/12/2008. 2/16/2017. Review by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Leafworks and Technogypsie Research/Review Services.

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Gingko Tree Petrified Forest (Washington)

Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan  and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Gingko Petrified Forest
Vantage, Washington. http://parks.state.wa.us/288/Ginkgo-Petrified-Forest
Article by Thomas Baurley on 12/3/2016 ~

Enroute to a archaeological survey I was doing, we stopped the night at Wanapum State Park only to discover next door was the GIngko Petrified Forest. What a treasure trove lying within the Washington desert for any paleontology enthusiast. The park is approximately 7,470 acres including over 27,000 along the shoreline of the Wanapum Reservoir on the Columbia River. This petrified forest was once a tropical jungle that after cataclystic events became hardened into stone by volcanic activity and lava during the Miocene Period. It is located right off of Interstate 90. We took a hike along the “Trees of Stone” interpretative Trail, just down the road from the interpretive center. You have the option of the longer 2.5 mile loop or a 1.5 mile loop. Dotted along the trail are metal cages containing in situ various tree stumps and logs that were petrified long ago. There are over 22 species of trees that can be found on the paths. The petrified trees were discovered by a highway crew in 1927 led by geologist George F. Beck. In 1938 the Civilian Conservation Corps completed Beck’s excavations, built a museum here, and opening the park to the public. In 1965 it was designated a National Landmark by the National Park Service.
The interpretative center and museum tells the story of the forest, how it was formed, what life was like when it existed and how it is now. During the Miocene of the Neogene period (15.5 Million years ago), this area was a semi-humid jungle that was affected by volcanic fissures and lava flows that once came across the Columbia Plateau. These flows leveled the landscape that once was here, flattened and encased in basalt rock. During the burial, a chemical transformation converted the wood to stone by process of petrification when the minerals and silica from the volcanic ash mixes with ground water, penetrates and soaks into the wood, and mineralized it enough to make it rock. By the end of the last ice age, the catastrophic Missoula Floods around 15,000 BPE, the basalt was eroded and exposed some of the petrified wood. There are over 50 species found within the park including sweetgum, ginkgo, redwood, douglas fir, walnut, spruce, elm, maple, horse chestnut, cottonwood, magnolia, madroe, sassafras, yew, and witch hazel.

The Wanapum peoples lived in this region from the Columbia River to Beverly Gap onwards to the Snake River. They welcomed the white settlers during Lewis and Clark’s expedition. They used the petrified wood for lithic tools, carved petroglyphs in the basalt cliffs, and lived here by fishing or agriculture.

Nearby is the Wanapum campground for visitors to stay and be able to explore the ground over the course of a few days. Near the Interpretive center is a Gem shop where visitors can buy souvenirs and stones for their collections. There is collecting permitted on Saddle Mountain 14 miles away where collectors can gather up to 25 pounds a day or 250 pounds a year for personal use.

Walnut ( http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=11050). Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan  and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Walnut ( http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=11050). Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Mount Rainier

Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 19, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903.  Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland:  http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281.  To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Life in the Gorge: Chronicle 22 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. The Gorge/Columbia River, Oregon-Washington. Photos taken March 19, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17903. Hood River: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23683; The Dalles: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=24107; White Salmon: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23677; Husum: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25039; Portland: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=281. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Mount Rainier, Washington

One of the largest mountains in North America, Mount Rainier, otherwise known as Mount Tacoma is the highest mountain in the Cascade Range and is an active strato-volcano, also being one of the most dangerous volcanoes in existence. Because of its threat, it is listed on the Decade Volcano list as one of the world’s most dangerous threats. The amount of glacial ice on the volcano could produce massive lahars when she erupts that could destroy the entire Puyallup River valley and destroy Seattle. It is located only 54 miles south-southeast of Seattle that hosts over 3.7 million inhabitants in its area. Mythically, Rainier was known by local tribes as the Goddess “Talol” (Tahoma/Tacoma) as the “Mother of Waters” or “Larger than Mount Baker”. “Rainier” was given by the adventurer navigator George Vancouver to honor his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier and was listed on the Lewis & Clark expedition map as “Mt. Regniere”. A national park was established to encompass it as a forest reserve. She can be seen as far away as Corvallis Oregon or Victoria British Columbia on a clear day. There are over 26 major glaciers and 36 square miles of permanent snowfields / glaciers atop Mount Rainier and is the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states. The summit hosts two volcanic craters, each over 1,000 feet in diameter with the larger east one overlapping the west crater. The craters are free of snow and ice due to the geo-thermal heat coming from within the volcano, forming the world’s largest volcanic glacier cave network within the ice-filled craters and hosting over 2 miles of passages. Mount Rainier start the heads of the Carbon, Mowich, Nisqually, Cowlitz, and Puyallup fed from the glaciers, while other fed glaciers create the White River. Most empty into Puget Sound and the Columbia River. There are three major summits atop Mount Rainier, most notably Columbia Crest, Point Success, and Success Cleaver. The mountain is made up of lava flows, debris flows, and pyroclastic ejecta and flows from past eruptions. The earliest deposits are over 840,000 yeaers old with the current cone being over 500,000 years old. Most of the geological composition is andesite. Past lahars and lava flows had reached Puget Sound in the the past as recent as 5,000 years ago during a major collapse. Her most recent eruptions were between 1820 and 1854, though eruptive activity took place also in 1858, 1870, 1879, 1882, and 1894. She is ready for a major eruption anytime now. She is part of the eastern rim of the Pacific Ring of Fire, nestled with other active volcanoes in the east such as Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak, Crater Lake, Three Sisters, Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams, Glacier Peak, Mount Baker, Mount Cayley, Garibaldi, Silverthrone, and Mount Meager. Rainier has up to 5 earthquakes recorded monthly near its summit with swarms of 5-10 shallow earthquakes taking place every 2-3 days from time to time below the summit.

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The first USGS Gauging Station 1889

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USGS Gauging Station 1889
* Embudo, New Mexico * (south of Taos) * http://md.water.usgs.gov/publications/presentations/md-de-dc_rt98/sld002.htm *

As studying stream and river flow patterns, power, and conductivity became a passion with the U.S. Geological Survey, they established their very first gauging station in 1889 along the Rio Grande River near Embudo, New Mexico. Here they collected stream flow information for scientific reports, studies, and analysis. Directed by John Wesley Powell, Irrigation Survey personnel (branch of the U.S. Geological Survey) developed procedures here that could be utilized for creating reliable stream flow estimates and was believed to be an important item to inventory in the arid west prior to settlement of the region. Once the methodology was solidified here near Embudo, the staff went to collect data at other western locations. Within two years, they also began collecting stream flow data along the Eastern United States, starting on the Potomac River at Chain Bridge near Washington D.C. on May 1, 1891. By 1895, measurements were being conducted in over 27 states. Today the USGS currently operates over 7000 gauging stations nation-wide. This helps us to understand the discharge of the stream, power of current, floodplain mapping, velocity, flood warnings, flood forecasting, and annual flow volumes. This is located just south of Taos, New Mexico.

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Roswell Spring Hill Zoo

photos 09/11/12 125-145


Spring Hill Zoo, Roswell, New Mexico

Spring Hill Zoo
* 1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell, NM 88203 *505-624-6760 *

Spending elementary, middle, and high school in Roswell, this was our local “Disneyland” outside of Carlsbad Caverns. A nice sized park for picnicking and outdoor activities, a free zoo, a petting zoo, duck ponds, cycling/jogging/walking trails, and green space. A five mile hard surface recreational trail that runs along the Spring River from west to east. The zoo is the only one of its kind and the only free zoo available in New Mexico. It also has its own youth fishing lake (age 15 and younger only can fish). There is an antique carousel and miniature train that runs through the park. The zoo features a prairie dog town, longhorn ranch, and children’s petting zoo. There are also exhibits of native and exotic animals, birds, and critters including bobcats, foxes, bison, owls, raccoons, antelope, deer, mountain lions, and black bear. Fun filled for children, its quite dusty and hot to visit. On more than once when I’ve visited, I’ve found it a bit unsanitary which is sad as I don’t remember it being that way. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Brisbane River (Queensland, Australia)

Brisbane River

Queensland, Australia

The Brisbane River quickly became home to me during my Australian travels in the Summer of 2011. It was home to the HMB Endeavour, upon which in May I was a volunteer tour guide and crew member while it was in port at the Brisbane City Center and during its circumnavigation voyage leg from Brisbane to Gladstone. I found the river as it flowed through Brisbane to be a hub of cultural activities from outdoor recreation, panoramic scenery, cultural events, to botanical garden goodness. It was also a hot spot for transportation to and from work while I was living in Manly West and the West End. The Brisbane River is the longest river in southeastern Queensland, flowing through the metropolitan hub of Brisbane before it empties into the Moreton Bay. It was named after Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales, in 1823 by John Oxley who was the first European to navigate and explore the river. Its mouth at Moreton Bay did however get visited by Captain Cook, Matthew Flinders, John Bingle and, William Edwardson, all whom failed to discover the river. After the river was given this name, so was named the penal colony that once habitated the lands where metropolitan Brisbane now stands. This amazing river will astound you with beauty and richness as it is a major waterway between Brisbane and Ipswich. The River from afar in its contrasted beauty shimmering reflections of skyscrapers and modern architecture unfortunately is quite murky, dark, and polluted within its depths. It comes from Mount Stanley, 214 miles away, dammed at Wivenhoe Dam to form Lake Wivenhoe which is the water supply for the city. The river is known to be abundant with the rare Queensland lungfish, Brisbane River cod, and bull sharks. The river has 16 major bridges crossing it, as well as the Clem Jones Tunnel which was built in 2010 to go underneath it . It is a hub of activity as personal watercrafts, large ocean vessels, ferries, yachts, and historic ships travel this waterfare. The River sees alot of commuter traffic on the River CityCat.

The largest ship ever to be built on the river was a 66,000 ton beast done so by Robert Miller, though was un-moored by the 1974 Brisbane flood, one of the most devastatingly damaging floods in the river’s history. The River historically flooded severely numerous times in 1893, 1974, and most recently in January of 2011. The river has expanded its port facilities, especially that on the historic “Fisherman’s Island” which is now known as the “Port of Brisbane”.

The Brisbane river is fed from the Brisbane Mountain Range that is east of Kingaroy. The River proceeds south past Mount Stanley, through the Moore and Toogoolawah townships where the Stanley River meets with the river, then runs into Lake Wivenhoe, eastward to merge with Bremer River, on into Brisbane including Jindalee, Indooroopilly, and Toowong. Within Brisbane, the River goes under the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, a quarry area that is a scenic spot for the River, and a popular location for parties, drum circles, and other outings. The River is also fed by other tributaries besides the above such as Breakfast Creek, Moggill Creek, Bulimba Creek, Norman Creek, Oxley Creek, Lockyer Creek, Cressbrook Creek, Cooyar Creek, Cubberla Creek, Wolston Creek, Woogaroo Creek, Goodna Creek, Six Mile Creek, Bundamba Creek, Pullen Pullen Creek, and Kholo Creek.

Pre-contact, the river was very popular among the Aboriginal peoples of the Turrbal nation as a location for fishing and fire stick farming. After Contact, with explorations by Captain Cook, Matthew Flinders, John Bingle, and William Edwardson of the area, first being missed by them. It was however discovered by Western settlers in 1823 when convicts sailing from Sydney on a timber retrieval mission to Illawarra were blown north by a storm stranding on Moreton Island. They escaped by making it to the mainland after going south of the Brisbane River. As they were heading home north back to Sydney, they discovered the river, by walking upstream along its banks for almost a month before making their first crossing at “Canoe Reach” where it junctions with Oxley Creek by stealing a small canoe from the Aborigines. At the same time, John Oxley was sailing into Moreton Bay looking for the prime location for a new convict settlement when he discovered the stranded men. In 1823, the river was named after Sir Thomas Brisbane the then governor of New South Wales and saw its first settlement in 1824 on its shores. The first private wharves were built in 1848 and then the first shark-proof river baths established in 1857 at Kangaroo Point. River dredged in 1862 for navigation requirements. Because of the early settlement of Brisbane water quality deteriorated to a level that several public baths could no longer source water from the river. Even to the 1930’s the water was remarked as clear, and swimming in the river was still very popular. But as Brisbane grew, the river clarity worsened and became likened to a sewer and waste dump. A River walk was established and restoration of the river was seen in the later end of the 20th century. Even by 2000, the Brisbane River did not meet environmental standard guidelines. In 2008 river quality still not seen healthy with murky waters and no longer recommending swimming in the waters. In addition, bull sharks have made their home in the river causing much more dangers, being home to numerous shark attacks and deaths.

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Sir William Colin MacKenzie (1877-1938)

Sir William Colin MacKenzie ~ 1877-1938: the surgeon, anatomist, philanthropist, orthopaedist

    From the Australian National Museum display: ” Colin MacKenzie was a Melbourne surgeon who studied marsupial anatomy in order to understand human anatomy. Like many other scientists, he believed Australian animals would soon become extinct. MacKenzie wanted to start a native animal sanctuary in Canberra to help with his research. It never happened, but he later founded the Healesville Sanctuary …”

“Colin Mackenzie” or “Bricky” was nicknamed as such for his red hair was a man of great repute in Australia especially as a benefactor, museum administrator, anatomist, and director. He was born on March 9, 1877 in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. He was the youngest of six as son to his Scottish parents John MacKenzie a draper, and his wife Anne nee McKay. He educated at Kilmore State School and on to Scotch College in Melbourne where he graduated with honors in Greek on December 1893. He graduated from Medical school from the University of Melbourne in 1898. He was first-class honors in surgery, women’s diseases, and obstetrics. He studied in Europe in 1903. In 1908 he tackled the extensive epidemic in Australia of people suffering in need of orthopaedic skills. During World War I he spent three years in England at the Royal College of Surgeons assisting Sir Arthur Keith in cataloging specimens of war wounds for the army and helped bring out the new edition of Treve’s Surgical Applied Anatomy. At the same time he continued his studies of comparative anatomy of Australian fauna. MacKenzie dissected dozens of Australian animals to help him understand human anatomy. For example, he thought dissecting and examining the shoulders of a Koala might help him improve techniques for human shoulders in surgery. He became council member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. By 1918, he returned to Australia and converted his house at 612 St. Kilda Road into a laboratory and museum which he called the Australian Institute of Anatomical Research devoted most of his time researching Australian animals from 1919 until his death in 1938. By 1920 He had 80 acres of bushland at Badger Creek as a field station for his research. The facility was fenced, had a 6-roomed house for a curator, a cottage for visiting scientists, workshops, animal pens, and a staff of assistants. This eventually became the Sir Colin MacKenzie Sanctuary in 1934. His collection of specimens became world famous, and was gifted to the Australian goverment in 1924. He married his assistant Winifred Iris Evelyn in 1928. He was knighted in 1929 and spent a good portion of the remainder of his life in Canberra. There he served as a member of the Medical Board and by 1933 became the second president of the Canberra-based Royal Society of Australia. His health began to decay and he retired in 1937 upon returning to Melbourne with his wife. He died on June 29, 1938 of a cerebral hemorrage at his home in Kew and was cremated.

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James Cook University | Brisbane


James Cook University @ Brisbane
Queens Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A private university established in 1970 in the heart of Brisbane near Eagle Street Pier, James Cook offers its students a committment in the study of Australia’s indigenous cultures, a dedication to research especially in marine sciences, biodiversity, tropical ecology, global warming, tourism, tropical medicine, and public health care. James Cook offers smaller classes with more direct access to teaching staff, and is a broad school throughout Australia with large campuses in Townsville and Cairns, regular campuses in Brisbane, Sydney, and Singapore, and smaller study centers in Mount Isa, Thursday Island, and Mackay. The school’s base is in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. It is the 2nd oldest university in Queensland, and the first tertiary education institution in North Queensland. Named after Captain James Cook whose ship the HM Bark Endeavour was grounded in North Queensland. It was proclaimed a university through Act of Queensland Parliament on April 20, 1970 first as the University College of Townsville changing names to James Cook University of North Queensland with Queen Elizabeth II officiating. In 1974 when Cyclone Tracy in Darwin hit, James Cook University decided to open a cyclone research facility which now operates as an independent unit of the School of Engineering and acts as an advising member to the Australian Standards committee in areas of structural design specializing in wind actions. The Brisbane campus however was not established until 2006. Student populations university-wide are around 16,338 with over 3,400 international students. Aside from its popular courses, James Cook also offers an online astronomy degree.

    Bibliography/References:
  • Ifsa Butler: James Cook University. Website referenced December 2011. http://www.ifsa-butler.org/james-cook-university.html

  • James Cook University. Website referenced December 2011. http://www.jcu.edu.au/.

  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. James Cook University. Website referenced December 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook_University.

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Koala: Phascolarctos cinereus

Phascolarctos cinereus: Koala” or “Koala Bear:”

Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Marsupialia; Diprotodontia; Phascolarctidae; Phascolarctos cinereus

Common Names: Koala, koala bear, monkey bear, native bear, and tree bear.

Localities: Koala are found in the coast regions of eastern and southern Australia in the Eucalypt woodlands.

Description:
A arboreal herbivorous marsupial found in Australia that attracts many tourists annually Down Under for a chance to see this bear in the wild. They were named after the Dharuk gula which was changed to “koala”. Its genus is derived from the Greek word “phaskolos” meaning “pouch” and “arktos” meaning “bear”. Although referenced as a “bear”, the koala is not related to the bear. It was given this description because of its bear-like resemblances. Its closest family is the wombat and actually physically resembles them. The earliest fossils of Koala date from 20 million years ago. It is estimated that from 20 million to 50,000 years ago, giant koalas inhabited the rainforests. The origin of these creatures are unknown, though believed to have descended from terrestrial wombat like creatures. The Victorian koala have long, thick, dark grey fur with chocolate-brown highlights on its back and forearms with a prominently light-colored ventral side with fluffy white ear tufts. They have been known to weigh upwards of 26 lbs for males and 19 lbs for females. The Queensland koala though are smaller averaging at 14 lbs for the male and 11 lbs for a female with a lighter scruffy color and shorter thinner fur. There is a golden tinged koala, known as the “golden koala” that has a slight golden tinge to its fur. Some others may have white fur due to recessive genes. They have a slow metabolism and sleep mostly through the day. Koala have a thicker coat than the wombat, much larger ears, longer limbs, and large sharp claws for tree climbing. Their five fingers include two opposable thumbs giving them excellent gripping ability, and is one of the few mammals outside of primates to have unique fingerprints representing strong similarities to human fingerprints under a microscope. They have two sharp incisors they use to clip leaves at the front of their mouths, separated from the grinding cheek teeth by a wide diastema, owning a dental pattern of 3-2-2-4 on the top, and 1-0-1-4. The male has a bifucated penis and the female has two lateral vaginas and two seperate uteri. They walk on four legs while on the ground with their infants clinging to the back. The koala has a much smaller brain size than its earlier ancestors, most scientists believe this is due to the change towards a low energy diet. It is one of the only animals to have a strangely reduced cranial cavity. The Koala is very silent except for the male during mating season. If stressed, the koala will issue a loud cry similar in tone and intensity to that of a human baby. They have been known to live upwards of 18 years in age. Males mater by age 3 or 4, and Females at age 2 or 3. When birthing, females produce one young a year for upwards of 12 years in a row with a 35 day gestation period. Infants are called a joey, sized at about a 1/4 of an inch long, sleeps downward facing in the pouch, and are blind, earless, and hairless. They remain in the pouch upwards of 6 months at a time, feeding on the mother’s milk, during which time they will grow ears, eyes, and fur. When it begins to explore outside the pouch, it starts to consume the mother’s “pap” innoculating its gut with microbes required to digest eucalyptus leaves. The koala populations are diminishing so are a protected species. Some estimate between 80 and 100,000 left. The Australian government does not deem them to be a threatened species, but the US Government does.

Predators:
Loss of Habitat, Humans, impacts from urbanization, dog attacks, traffic accidents, chlamydia, and feral animals.

Diet:
Koala bears are herbivores and rely almost entirely on eucalyptus leaves. Three to Five of their waking hours is spent eating leaves, upwards of 18 ounces a day. Jaws turn the leaves into a fine paste which gets filtered by the liver to deactivate the toxins in the Eucalypts. In addition to eucalyptus, some other species such as Acacia, Melaleuca, and Leptospermum get ingested and differences of preference varies from region to region. The southern koala like the Manna gum, blue gum, and swamp gum best while northern koala prefer tallowwood and grey gum.

Uses:
Once hunted for its fur, it is now a protected species as it was almost hunted to extinction in the early 20th century.

Culinary:
Unknown.

Medicinal:
Unknown.

Folklore and Magical Uses:
Unknown.

Written and researched by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Research Services. November 25, 2011.

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Platypus: Ornithorhynchus anatinus

a.k.a. “Platypus” or “Bewick’s Platypus”

Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Monotremata; Ornithorhynchidae; Ornithorhynchus; Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Common Names: platypus, watermole, duckbill, and duckmole.

Localities: Native to Eastern Australia including Tasmania, with ancestors from South America. They live on the edges of rivers and freshwater lakes where they can burrow.

Description:
When white settlers first encountered this mammal, it was defined a hoax. It took over a hundred years to be accepted by the scientific community as defined a semi-aquatic mammal, as one of five extant species of monotremes – mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. They are egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammals that represent creatures of faerie tales and legends. It became so popular to Australia’s iconography, it was placed as a national symbol, appears as a mascot to national events, and was featured on a reverse of the 20 cent coin. The oldest fossil of a platypus dates from 100,000 years ago in the Quaternary period.

Paraphrased from Australian National Museum displays and exhibits: Platypuses are found only in Australia, though their ancestors lived in South America. With waterproof fur and webbed feet, platypuses are uniquely adapted to life in fresh water throughout Australia and Tasmania; they breathe air, but can stay underwater for about five minutes at a time, storing the food they catch in special pouches in their cheeks. The platypus was first seen by Europeans in 1797. The first Drawings were based on a preserved specimen sent to Joseph Banks in England by New South Wales governor John Hunter. The earliest published drawing was done in 1800 from “A General History of Quadrapeds” by Thomas Bewick. “Hoax?: “Of all animals yet known it seems the most extroadinary in its conformation. ~ George Shaw, 1799. In 1797, when the first platypus reached Europe pickled in brandy, scientists in Europe were suspicious. They could not believe one animal could have both a beak and fur. They thought it was a hoax. Even now, the fact that the platypus makes a nest, lays eggs, and suckles its young, seems remarkable. From Hoax to Enigma: The Natives have exhibited their ignorance of the natural history of the platypus by asserting that the young are produced from eggs. ~ Arthur Nichols, 1883. “ Platypuses and Echidnas were no mystery to Aboriginal people, who were well acquainted with their habits and biology. They told the first Europeans who arrived in Australia that platypuses and echnidnas laid eggs, but scientists in Europe did not believe this. It took nearly 100 years before it was accepted that the platypus really did lay eggs. “O’ thou prehistoric link, kin to beaver, rooster, skink, duck, mole, adder, monkey, fox, Paleothoic paradox! Beak of shovellers, spur of fowl; cheek of monkey (pocket jowl); trowel of beaver, gait of skink; Dope of adder, foxy stink. ~ Harry Burrell, “The Mud-sucking Platypus: A Brief History; about 1925.” During the day, the platypus rests in burrows they dig along river and freshwater lake edges within banks that overhang the river, here they bask in the sun and groom their dense fur. They are most active at night, which is when they feed, for several hours after dusk and before dawn. They are excellent swimmers and divers. When diving, they keep their eyes and ears shut using its webbed forefeet to swim downwards fighting its natural buoyancy. Webbing on the front feet extend beyond the claws forming large paddles for swimming. They can stay under for over two minutes, though can rest upwards of 10 minutes underwater under a submerged object. It’s bill resembles that of a duck’s bill which is really a elongated snout covered with soft, moist, leathery skin and sensitive nerve endings. Their bodies can be upwards of 12-18 inches long, with a 4-6 inches long flattened tail, and webbed feet. They can weigh upwards of 5+ lbs. They have three layers of fur – an inner layer to trap air and keep the animal warm, a middle layer working like a wet suit, and an outer layer to sense distance from objects. They have been known to live for upwards of 12 years in the wild. The male platypus has a sharp, hollow, horny spur that is about 15 mm long on the inside of both of its hind leg ankles which is connected to a venom gland producing a very strong toxin they use in defense against predators. They are monotremes, a rare form of mammal that do lay eggs instead of live birth. As the males are larger than females, they mate once a year from late June and in October. Females lay two to four eggs, incubated against her abdomen, and milk is produced in large glands under her skin oozing out onto a patch of fur that the offspring suckle.

Predators:
Loss of Habitat, Humans, snakes, water rats, foxes, and goannas.

Diet:
The platypus eats aquatic insect larvae, shrimps and worms found in the bottom silt of rivers and freshwater lakes and can eat their own body weight in food in one night.

Uses:
Once hunted for its fur, it is now a protected species.

Culinary:
Unknown.

Medicinal:
Unknown.

Folklore and Magical Uses:
Unknown.

Written and researched by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Research Services. November 25, 2011.

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Australian National Botanical Gardens

Australian National Botanical Gardens
* GPO Box 1777 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory * 2601 * Australia * +61 2 6250 9599 * http://www.anbg.gov.au/ *

In the heart of Australia’s Capital Territory and City of Canberra is the Nation’s most exquisite National Botanical Gardens. Radiating like a gem in the midland plains, this fabulous collection of Eucalypti, plants, trees, shrubs, vines, orchids, and botany is any garden lover’s paradise. It is operated by the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage. The park encompasses the largest living collection of native Australian flora in the world. The goal of the center is to understand, study, and promote Australia’s flora locally, regionally, and around the world; hosting a variety of botanical resources for researchers while protecting and cultivating endangered native plants. The Garden was first conceived in Canberra’s development plans of the 1930’s when the Advisory Council set up a framework for its development, planning a large site on Black Mountain. The first trees were planted in September 1949, though not opening its gates until October of 1970. The Gardens encompass over 90 hectares on Black Mountain, of which 40 is currently developed and embracing thematic sections in the park housing plants with shared taxonomy of over 5,500 cultivated species. The Gardens have a Rainforest Gully, a Rocky Garden, A Sydney Region Flora area, A Mallee Plants section, Banksias, waratahs, grevilleas, Callistemon, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, A Eucalypt Lawn, Wattles, and a Research facility, gift shop, and cafe. The National Herbarium is also on site housing the largest collection of dried, pressed, and recorded plant specimens in Australia. The facility manages several large plant databases of Australian plants based on its collections. For any botanist or plant enthusiast, the Botanical Gardens is a must see while in Canberra. “Extroadinary”. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited on April 24, 2011 by Thomas Baurley.

Australian National Botanical Gardens: Botanical Resource Center

sign at the gardens: “Botanica Resource Center: Plant identification at your fingertips
The Botanical resource center is a learning place for visitors to discover, identify, and explore flor of the A.C.T. and southeastern N.S.W. This self help collection is available for use by students, plant surveyors, and people who want to learn more about plants. To explore this library of pressed plant specimens and computer plant identification resources contact the Australian National Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre.”

    Bibliography & Recommended Reading:

  • Australian National Botanical Gardens. ~ About Us. referenced in 2011 from website; ANBG: http://www.anbg.gov.au.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. ~ “Autralian Nationa
    l Botanical Gardens
    ; referenced in 2011 from website; author unknown. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org.

Plants, Species, Photos, and more information: Continue reading Australian National Botanical Gardens

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Kangaroo Meat

Kangaroo Meat

During my trip to Australia, I had the unique experience of trying Kangaroo. It was interesting that Kangaroo is not commonly eaten by the white/European population as much as it is by the Australian Aborigines. I actually introduced the dish to my host at the time. The meat of the kangaroo has numerous health and environmental benefits over traditional meats and described as having a stronger wild meat flavor. The tender meat is very high in protein and low in fat (less than 2%), has a very high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is well known to be anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetes, reduces obesity, and atherosclerosis. Traditionally, and currently, it is used by the Aboriginees for meat, bone, and tendons. They were once hunted by the (now extinct) thylacine, marsupial lion, Megalania, and the Wonambi. Kangaroos are not farmed for meat, but are hunted for meat, hides, sport, and to regulate grazing lands. While I’m not much of a meat-eater (as a free-rangerian most of the meat I eat is free-range, organic fed, or wild game) it is my 2nd favorite meat, next to Ostrich. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Article/Review 11/14/2011 by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie.com

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Narooma

Narooma
New South Wales, Australia

By far, my most favorite place in Australia, Narooma is a panoramic sensation for the beach enthusiast. Think the historic Highway 101 Coastal Oregon route meets the Bahamas and you have “Narooma”. The Aborigine suitably called this area “Clear blue waters” and nothing more could be true. Crystal clear waters. A town of about 3,000 and a strip of geological wonders along the beach, this captures the contrast of earth and water perfectly. The rocks found near Narooma include the Narooma Chert that dates to Cambrian times. There are also underwater remains of a submarine volcano with pillow lava offshore. The Island known as “Montague Island”, now a National Park and Wildlife Refuge, is 8 kilometers offshore from Narooma and was one of the islands sighted by Captain Cook in 1770. The island has 8 known rainforests on it. The area brought white settlers for timber, gold, and fishing. It was declared a port in 1884, opened its first school in 1886, and its first post office in 1889, and originally was only accessed via the sea. By the 20th century, it became a major tourist destination and boomed in oyster farming. Then saw construction of the first major bridge to be constructed on the Princes Highway, improving access by road. In 1937, industry boomed again with a local cannery opening its doors to process tuna and salmon which eventually saw a drought of salmon causing the cannery to close its doors. Narooma was also home to the annual Great Southern Blues and Rockabilly Festival held in October until it moved to Batesman Bay in 2010. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

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Opossum


possum, Lentil as Anything restaurant,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. April 15, 2011.

Common Name: Opossum
Nicknames: Possum, Oppossum
Taphonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Marsupialia; Didelphimorphia; Didelphidae; various species: (Virginia Opossum) “Didelphis virginiana”. Bishop’s Slender Opossum (Marmosops bishopi); Narrow-headed Slender Opossum (Marmosops cracens); Creighton’s slender opossum Marmosops creightoni; Dorothys’ Slender Opossum (Marmosops dorothea); Dusky Slender Opossum (Marmosops fuscatus); Handley’s Slender Opossum (Marmosops handleyi); Tschudi’s Slender Opossum (Marmosops impavidus); Gray Slender Opossum (Marmosops incanus); Panama Slender Opossum (Marmosops invictus); Junin Slender Opossum (Marmosops juninensis); Neblina Slender Opossum (Marmosops neblina); White-bellied Slender Opossum (Marmosops noctivagus); Delicate Slender Opossum (Marmosops parvidens); Brazilian Slender Opossum (Marmosops paulensis); Pinheiro’s Slender Opossum (Marmosops pinheiroi); Genus Metachirus: Brown Four-eyed Opossum (Metachirus myosuros); Genus Micoureus: Alston’s Mouse Opossum (Micoureus alstoni); White-bellied Woolly Mouse Opossum (Micoureus constantiae); Woolly Mouse Opossum (Micoureus demerarae); Tate’s Woolly Mouse Opossum (Micoureus paraguayanus); Little Woolly Mouse Opossum (Micoureus phaeus); Bare-tailed Woolly Mouse Opossum (Micoureus regina); and hundreds of others.

Age on planet: Evidence for existence from the Late Cretaceous to present day era (as of this writing 2011).

Range:

Opossums were first named after the Virginia species as “opossum” in 1610 after the proto-Algonquian aposoum that means “white dog” or “white beast”, classifying a species of the largest order of marsupials known in the western Hemisphere. They range from small to medium size from the visual range of a small mouse to a large house cat. Semi-arboreal, with long snouts, narrow braincase, prominent sagittal crest, and an omnivore appetite. Dental formula is lower 4, 1, 3, 4 and upper as 5, 1, 3, 4 with very small incisors, tricuspid molars, and large canines. Feet are flat on the ground with hind feet consisting of an opossable digit with no claw. Similar evolutionary history as New World monkeys, they have prehensile tails. Only young babies will dangle temporarily from trees by their tails, not found characteristic in adults. All will use the tail as a brace and fifth limb while climbing or as a grip to grab leaves and nesting material. As a marsupial, they possess pouches on the female sex. The pouch contains the divided uterus and marsupium. The young gestate from 12-14 days and after birth the newborn has to find their own way into the marsupium to nurse off the teat. Males tend to be heavier, larger, and with larger canines than the female sex of course with no pouch. The male has a bifurcated penis and the female has a bifurcated vagina – the sperm forms conjugate pairs before fertilization to help ensure survival of its genotypical spermatozoa. This assists the poly-process when females mate with multiple males and increases motility and enhancement of fertilization success. However, many young fail to attach to the teat in the marsupium so there is a large birth-loss. Upwards of 13 young can attach to the teat at a time weaning from 70-125 days leading to leaving the pouch. An oppossum life span is usually only 2-4 years. Their immune system is extremely robust with partial or total immunity to many poisonous snakes like pit vipers, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths. While accused of being carriers for rabies, they are eight times less likely to have rabies than wild dogs, and only 1 out of 800 are infected with said virus. Opossums have a broad and diverse diet but primarily carrion or roadkill, insects, frogs, birds, earthworms, small mammals, and snakes. They also eat apples, clementines, persimmons, and avocados. They are also known to eat human waste, garbage, and pet food. As they scavange for roadkill, they often become roadkill, and known to be nomadic, solitary creatures staying local in an area as long as food and water is available, moving on to the next location when resources run dry. Opossums live in abandoned ready-made burrows, sometimes with family units, or under houses, as too lazy to put effort in making their own home. Opossums are nocturnal, hunting in the dark, and are semi-blind. When threatened they will “play dead”, lips drawn back, teeth bared, foamed saliva around mouth, eyes half-closed or closed, and anal glands excreting a foul-smelling fluid mimicking the smell, and stiff curled body carrying an appearance of a sick or dead animal for 40 minutes – 4 hours. While threatened, if not playing dead, they will growl deeply raising pitch. Males make a clicking “smack” noise from side of their mouths while searching for a mate. When separated, the young often make a sneezing noise to signal their mother.

Meat/Predators: Humans are the opossums biggest predator. Often hunted and consumed in the United States in the backwoods. Common as well in Dominica and Trinidad. Meat is often smoked then stewed. Meat is light and fine-grained but must have the musk glands removed during preparation. Often used as a substitute for chicken and rabbit meat.

Medicinal: Mexican common folk use the opossum tail as a dietary supplement to improve fertility. Possum Grease or Opossum oil is used as a chest rub and a carrier for arthritis as a topical salve since it is high in essential fatty acids.


possum, Lentil as Anything restaurant,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. April 15, 2011.

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Wombat

Wombat
Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus)
Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat or Yaminon (Lasiorhinus krefftii)
Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons)

One of the unique creatures in Australia next to the Kangaroo is the “Wombat”. A wombat, like the Kangaroo, is a marsupial. It is a large brained mammal that has four short legs with a short nubby tail. It has a similiar appearance to a teddy bear. They are found in southeastern Australia and Tasmania living in the forested mountainous regions and the heathlands. Wombats have sharp rodent-like teeth and powerful claws that they use to burrow into the ground. As a marsupial, they have a backwards-facing pouch that is un-affected due to its orientation when digging/burrowing in the ground. Females give birth to one child in the spring and has a 20-21 day gestation period. The youth leave the pouch after 6-7 months and are completely weaned by 15 months. Wombats sexually mature by 18 months. Wombats tend to be mainly active at night or during cool overcast days so are not often seen during daylight. They have a herbivore diet consisting of herbs, plants, grasses, sedges, bark, and roots. Their fur ranges in color from a light sandy or dark brown to grey or black. Most range from 1 meter in length and weighing from 44-77 lbs. Their metabolism is very slow and finishes its digestion from 8-14 days allowing for survival in arid regions. They are very slow moving but when threatened can run up to 25 mph upwards of 90 seconds at a time. They will defend their burrows and attack aggressively when threatened. They usually occupy an area of upwards to 57 acres for their living range. Its donkey-like hind kicks are destructive as are its claws and bites. They have been known to charge humans, break bones, bite, claw, and bowl them over. There are three species of Wombat: The Common Wombat, Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Wombats are a protective species as humanity has severely damaged its populations through the sarcoptic mite or mange that came to Australia from human activity leading to a long slow painful death. They are also dying from a fungal lung disease that has no cure brought in from farming activity. In addition humans are destroying their habitats as water sources and grazing areas are fenced into farms. Octoboer 22nd is Wombat Observation Day.

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Australian National Museum

National Museum of Australia
* Lawson Crescent * Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601 * (02) 6208 5000 *

One of Australia’s most brilliant and diverse museums is the National Museum of Australia in Canberra within the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1980 by the National Museum of Australia Act to preserve and interpret Australian history, cultures, people, and events that made Australia what it is today. It was homeless until March 11, 2001 when it opened its doors in the national capital. Diverse collections and exhibits ranging from 50,000 Before Present upwards to the current day with focus on the Aborigine, the original inhabitants, their beliefs, culture, and myths. It covers European settlement of these shores from 1788 to modern day and focuses on the material culture that Australia creates both past and present. They possess the largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools found in Australia. Exhibits rotate around like all major museums and during my visit had a feature called “Not Just Ned” covering the Irish immigration to Australia. In addition to a massive artifact collection, they have a wide range of books, catalogues, and journals in their archives. Highly innovative and on track with technology, the Museum is notable for its advancement and design. They have an incredible outreach program with regional communities as well as a inclusion with the Aborigines. The Museum was designed by architect and design director Howard Raggatt themed with knotted ropes symbolizing the weaving together of Australian stories and tales. The entire building and grounds tells the story of creation, the Dreaming, and immigration of these shores. The building is at the center of the knot with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building, forming large loops that are walkways extending past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl aligning as the “Uluru Axis” representing the Australian natural landmark. This design incorporates Bed Maddock’s “Philosophy Tape”, Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”, the Boolean String, A knot, Ariadne’s thread, and the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of he Rainbow Serpent creating the land. Within the Museum complex is an exact copy of the lightning flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a five pointed star of David. This initially brought allegations of plagiarism. Its exterior is covered with anodised aluminum panels that include worlds written in braille. These words include “mate”, “She’ll be right”, “sorry”, and “forgive us our genocide”. In 2006 the Museum was damaged by a hail storm that caused the ceiling to collapse, expose power cables, and flood the floor.

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Ochre

Ochre

A common denominator amongst indigenous cultures around the globe is the use of ochre in ritual magic, painting, and funerary customs. You can find this intriguing use amongst the Australian Aborigines, the Native Americans, the Celts, the Egyptians, and even prehistoric Cro Magnon cave dwellers. In many of these societies, only certain individuals were permitted to collect ochre. It was a popular trading item amongst the Native Americans, the Australian Aborigines, the Celts, and other civilizations that has elaborate rituals. The term “Ochre” comes from the Greek “?????, ?khrs” which means “pale”. It is sometimes spelled “ocher”. It most commonly is yellow-gold, light yellow brown, or with a reddish tint for color. Red Ochre, is distinquished in use from regular ochre as it often has more ritual and burial use in various cultures. Some rare forms of brown or purple ochre are popular in ceremonial use as well. It was amongst the very first pigments to be used by humankind as it was a tinted clay embedded with mineral oxides consisting of hydrated iron oxide. The first written use of ochre appeared in 1550 BCE papyrus scrolls in Egypt. The earliest art utilizing ochre belonged to Cro-Magnon cave paintings of Southern Europe dating from 32,000-10,000 B.C.E. Some Neolithic graves suggested they used the ochre symbolically representing a return to the Earth or a form of ritual rebirth and symbolizing the blood of the Great Goddess. The Ancient Picts and the Irish were known to paint themselves “Iron Red” with red ochre. After being ground, it was often mixed with fish oil, animal fats, linseed oil, or oils to make a paint out of it.

In Australia, “The Ochre Pits”, a mine belonging to the Western Arrernte, are a popular place to visit amongst tourists in the Northern Territory, just outside of Alice Springs on the Larapinta Trail. These pits contain numerous layers of multi-colored rocks that the Australian Aborigines would grind up as pigment or paint to utilize in their ceremonies and was a common trade item between neighbouring clans and countries throughout the continent. Ochres from these mines were the choicest known to man – soft, vivid, magical. Some with sheen others without, ranging in color from crimson to gold. The Australian Aborigine would ground the ochre and mix it with Emu fat to use as a bodypaint for ceremonial body adornment.

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Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook

* 1728 – 1779 * England / America / Australia *

One of the world’s greatest explorers, Captain James Cook was born in Yorkshire, England on October 27, 1728. A very intelligent, loyal, and self confident man, Cook was a hero in many eyes. He was brilliant in navigation, very attentive to good hygiene and taking care of his crews. He was the son of a average family with a mom from Yorkshire and a Scottish father who was a simple laborer. Raised on a farm, he attended the school in his village of “Marton-in-Cleveland” and became a shopkeeper’s apprentice at age 17. 18 months later he changed apprenticeship to that under a Quaker coal-shipper at Whitby by the name of John Walker. During his apprenticeship, he learned navigation and mathematics. Walker was impressed with him and offered him a command which was turned down after embarking upon the H.M.S. Eagle graduating to Master’s Mate. After two years in Channel service, he gained another promotion, this time as Master of the Pembroke and took plight to cross the Atlantic in 1758 engaged in the siege of Louisburg, manning the ship “the Mercury” and conducting a survey of the Saint Lawrence River to assist the troops to sieze Quebec during the 7 years war. His high notability for such a feat gained him a transfer to Northumberland where he was tasked to survey the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for four years all the while advancing his knowledge and studies. He was married to Elizabeth Batts of Shadwell, England in 1762 while on break from the Newfoundland Survey and was awarded his first command of the schooner Grenville and soon after published his Newfoundland charts and observations of the solar eclipse that put him on radar with the Royal Society and the Admirality. He became father to James Cook, Nathaniel Cook, Elizabeth Cook, Joseph Cook, George Cook, and Hugh Cook. He was shortly thereafter nominated over the first chosen candidate Alexander Dalrymple as the captain of the expedition to the South Seas to observe the transit of Venus with a secret mission to discover the mythical South Lands that is now known as Australia. Promoted from Master to Lieutenant, he was given the command of the Endeavor Bark. He embarked upon the expedition on August 26, 1768 overseeing a crew of 94 with assistance from an onboard astronomer, artists, and two botanists by the name of Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. They sailed through the Madeira, Canary Islands, and Cape Verde Islands, past Rio de Janeiro, and around Cape Horn to Tahiti arriving on April 13, 1769 to observe the transit of Venus so the distance from the Earth to the Sun could be measured. He also charted numerous island and collected natural flora and faun of the lands he encountered. He followed through on his secret mission to discover the South Lands – and in August sailed to “re-discover” New Zealand (previously discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642), circumnavigated the islands, charted its coast, and took possession of the lands for Britain. He steered westward where he discovered the Eastern coast of “New Holland” on April 19, 1770 when land was spied by his Lieutenant Hicks that became “Australia”. They sailed north charting the coast and sought refuge on land to conduct repairs of the Endeavor. On April 29th, they landed at Stingray Bay that was later renamed “Botany Bay” collecting various flora and fauna that interested them. From Botany Bay they hit Bustard Bay onwards to Cape Townsend northward until they beached on the Great Barrier Reef for several weeks. They lost a bit of their surplus and equipment beaching into the Endeavor River. It took them 7 weeks to complete repairs but enough time to collect more flora and fauna and declaring the land for England taking possession of the whole Eastern Coast of modern day Australia. They then sailed for Batavia where they arrived early October that same year. More repairs and refitting had to take place delaying their departure until December 26th causing delay in their return to England until July 13, 1771. He didn’t realize he had discovered “The Great South Land” (a.k.a. Terra Australis) and pleaded for another chance to discover it. He was awarded a second expedition, manning the “Resolution” followed by the “Adventure” with scientists and artists from 1772 to 1775 circumnavigating the world in high southern latitudes. He officially discovered Australia in early 1773, and sailed around Tasmania. His third voyage from 1777-1778 on the “Resolution” again, visited Adventure Bay, searched for the Northwest Passage from the Pacific, explored the Bering Straight, the Pacific coasts of North America and Siberia. He arrived in the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawaii) early 1779 during the “Makahiki” a great Hawaiian harvest festival involving the worship of the Polynesian God Lono. Quarrels fell between the locals and Cook with crew causing some to thieve Cook’s boats. Cook attempted to take the king “Kalaniopuu” hostage but failed and stabbed to death. He was killed on February 14, 1779 in Kealakekua Bay. In Honor of him and his discovery of Australia, the HMS Endeavor has been replicated as the HMB Endeavor.

Captain Cook has been billed with the discovery of Australia (for white / Western society), charted over 5,000 miles with unusual accuracy, solving many myths/legends of the Pacifi Ocean, opened the northwest American coast to trade/colonization, he set high standards for charting and navigation, was one of England’s most able cartographers/navigators/astronomers, and one of whom charted the transit of Venus so the distance from the earth to the sun could be measured. He was also the Western discoverer of many unique flora and fauna such as the Eucalyptus and the Kangaroo. He also theorized that Polynesians originated from Asia. His discoveries allowed England to establish a second British Empire.

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Kangaroo: Macropus sp.

Kangaroo

Taxonomy: Animalia; Chordata; Mammalia; Marsupialia; Diprotodontia; Macropodidae; Macropus; Macropus and Osphranter

Common Names: Kangaroo, gangurru, boomers, jacks, old men, bucks, does, flyers, jills, joeys, roos

Localities: Native to Australia. Some relatives in New Guinea.

Description:

One of the unique critters of Australia, A marsupial that is native to the Down Under and an infamous animal/symbol of Australia. Kangaroos belong to the Macropodidae family and consists of numerous species. The name comes from the Guugu Yimithirr word “gangurru” that is used by the Aboriginee for “Grey Kangaroos”. The term “kangaroo” was first used by Captain James Cook on the banks of the Endeavor River near “Cooktown” where the HM Bark Endeavor was beached on the Great Barrier Reef for seven weeks early August 1770. Some claim that Cook asked a aboriginee the name of this intriguing animals and the individual said “Kangaroo” which was interpreted through time to mean “I don’t understand you” but has since been proven to be a false myth according to linguist John Haviland in the 70’s. The males are called “boomers”, “jacks”, “old men”, and “bucks” while the females are called “does”, “flyers”, or “jills” and the infants are called “joeys”. When grouped together they are called a “mob”, “court”, or “troop” of kangaroo. They are often nicknamed “roos”. A mammal that is found throughout Australia it has a few related species that can be found in New Guinea as well, some of which are endangered. This amazing animal is important and endemic to Australia and its culture. They have been described by many Europeans as strange creatures that stand upright like humans, have a deer head without antlers, but hop around like frogs. They originally were seen as a myth until Australia became inhabited by Westerners who verified their existence. The first Kangaroo to be shot by a Westerner and exhibited to European culture was by one of Captain Cook’s officer’s by the name of John Gore in 1770. The Kangaroo’s iconography can be found on the currency, coat of Arms, emblems, and airlines. There are four main species: The Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) which is the largest existing marsupial in the world); The Eastern Gray Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus); The Western Gray Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus); and the Antilopine Kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus). The animla has large powerful hind legs adapted for leaping with a long tail for balance (only mammal known to use hopping for locomotion and clocked upwards of 20-25 to a max of 70 km/hour). The females of the species have a marsupial “marsupium” which is a pouch where the infants finish their post-natal development. Their average life span is 6 years in the wild and 20 years under captivity. They are an herbivore feasting primarily on grasses or shrubs yet unlike other herbivores do not release methane gas. Some smaller species feast on hypogeal fungi. A good percentage of them are nocturnal. They are known to have complex social structures and interactions with one another such as touching and sniffing one another. They usually mate in pairs. Female kangaroos are usually pregnant in permanence except the day of birth but can “freeze” the development of an embroyo until the current infant is ready to leave the pouch. The egg descends from the ovary to the uterus where it is fertilized and developes into a neonate that emerges within 33 days, with one young born at a time where it gestates in the pouch for upwards of 190-235 days until it can leave the pouch. Before copulation the male monitors the female, sniffs her urine, follows her every move, approaches her slowly and if not scaring the female will paw, lick, and scratch at her before engaging copulation. After a long intercourse and consort pairing that can take several days, the male moves on to another female. Male aggression between one another occurs frequently and usually results in “boxing” matches. These fights can be brief or long and ritualized usually involving fighting over a woman or a feeding/drinking spot. Sometimes punching, grabbing of the opponent’s neck, locking of forearms, and wrestling will take place until one of them breaks off and retreats from the fight. Their sharp hindlegs can dis-embowel an opponent. Oddly, after the fight, the males often scratch and groom one another. They are often shy and curious about humans. During a disease in 2004 that was similar to “rabies”, there were a few unprovoked attacks on humans by kangaroos. In 2003, an Eastern Grey kangaroo alerted a farmer’s family to his location after he was injured by a fallen tree branch. This Kangaroo received a National Animal Valor award in 2004 for this feat. Outside of humans and dingos, Kangaroos have few predators still alive. Sometimes foxes, dogs, and feral cats can threaten kangaroos. They were once hunted by the (now extinct) thylacine, marsupial lion, Megalania, and the Wonambi. Kangaroos are a menace to vehicles especially at night similiar to incidents in North America with “Deer” or “antelope”. They become dazzled by the headlights and car noises often causing them to leap out in front of the travelling vehicle causing a severe impact that can destroy small vehicles and damage sufficiently larger ones. Kangaroos that are hit along the roadside as “road kill” have their pouches checked for “joeys” and often a large spray-painted red “X” is put on the kangaroo to denote that the pouch has been checked.

Uses:
Kangaroo is used for hide, leather, fur, cooking, and meat. Kangaroos are not farmed for meat, but are hunted for meat, hides, sport, and to regulate grazing lands. The meat of the kangaroo has numerous health and environmental benefits over traditional meats and described as having a stronger wild meat flavor.

Culinary:
See our culinary and article about Kangaroo Meat here: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2218.

Medicinal:
The tender meat is very high in protein and low in fat (less than 2%), has a very high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is well known to be anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetes, reduces obesity, and atherosclerosis.

Folklore and Magical Uses:
Traditionally it was used by the Aboriginees for meat, bone, and tendons. The scrotum was sometimes stuffed as a ball for the football game of “marngrook”.

Article/research by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie.com – August 2011.

Continue reading Kangaroo: Macropus sp.

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Eucalyptus


Eucalyptus Tree, Pine River Island, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Eucalyptus
Myrtaceae

Common Names:

“Eucalypts”, “Gum Trees”, “mallees”, “mallet”, “marlock”, “Apple Box”,

Taphonomy/Taxonomy:

Over 700 Species.

Localities:

Native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. Might be native to the Archipelagos of the Philippines as well as Taiwan. With over 700 Species, 691 are found in Australia, and 15 of the species can be found outside of Australia, with only 9 species not local to Australia. Eucalyptus species are found cultivated in other parts of the world, especially in tropical/subtropical regions in the Americas, Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, China, and India.

Description:

One of the most dominant fast growing trees found in Australia, the Eucalypus is a diverse species of Myrtle Family trees and shrubs.Single stemmed with a crown forming a minor proportion of the tree height for the trees found in forests, and single stemmed with short branches above ground level for those in the woodlands. Those that are multi-stemmed from the ground level but rarely taller than 10 meter height are called “Mallees” and have crowns at the ends of the branchlets. Leaves are lanceolate shaped, alternate, petiolate, and waxy/glossy evergreen though some tropical species lose their leaves during termination of a dry season. The leaves are covered with oil glands. Mature trees have numerous full leafs and are towering giants offering patchy shade as the leaves droop downwards. Leaves of the seedlings are sometimes sessile, glaucous, and opposite. There are numerous differences between species. The flowers are very distinct for the Eucalyptus as well as its capsule/gumnut fruit. White, cream, pink/red, or yellow fluffy stamened flowers with no petals enclosed by a operculum cap composed of fused petals, sepals, or a combination. When the stamens expand, the operculum breaks off splitting from the cup-like flower base and is what gives to the naming of the tree. Fruis are cone-shaped, woody with valves at its ends that release the seeds. Full or Half Barks can range from smooth to textured, stringybarks, ironbarks, tessellated, boxed with short fibres, or ribbon barked with a satiny sheen as white, grey, green, copper, or cream colored. Dead bark can sometimes be retained in the lower half of the trunks/stems. Relating to the Gum Tree family as many species will release gummy sap where a break on a branch or the bark occurs. Its roots control sitting water, drainage, and irrigation. Some species of Eucalyptus are amongst the tallest trees in the world. The oils in the wood, bark, and leaves are highly flammable and can become explosive during forest fires.

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Pirate Relief’s : “Project Sustainability”

Pirate Relief’s: Project Sustainability
* Piraterelief.com *

The ongoing focus of Pirate Relief is “Education”, “Awareness”, and “Sustainability”. Were also currently focusing on educating our crew in the ways of the sea, and the public in the ways of sustainability, environmental stewardship, & responsibility. By passing on stories, myths, legends, and tales of past – we will weave solutions for the future. Awareness. Understanding. Compassion. Manifesting a means for our community to be responsible. Right now, this is a dream we are breathing into creation. The seed is being planted. How can you help? Get involved. Donate. Spread the Word. Help Raise Funds. Weve already got our eyes on a few vessels, our Captains are looking into getting educated on sailing and ship operations, and were looking for a force that are interested in the project: Fire Spinners? Artists? Entertainers? Ecologists? Historians? Cooks? Crafts-People? Social Workers? Doctors without Borders? Guards? Crew Mates? Nurses without Borders? Have we left anyone out? Weve already got a talented crew climbing aboard … How about you?

The world is simply not taking care of the Earth and her oceans. Oil, plastics, toxins, and waste are being dumped into our lifestream daily … We’re looking into ideas and solutions to help. We are striving to live a more sustainable and ecological lifestyle with a focus on “community”. With one of the world’s most tragic environmental Disasters – “The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill” in our own backyard, we realize strongly now more importantly than ever, we need to get away from the vanishing resource we know as “oil” and “gas”. With the horrid unseen and “out of sight, out of mind” growing Ecological trash heap known as “Pacific Trash Island”, we are also realizing we need to stop using plastics for day-to-day activities. Stop using those once-used water or soda bottles. Re-use containers and focus more on a organic and free range lifestyle. In addition we need to do something with all that plastic trash already existing. With the tragedy of Japan with the Tsunami/Earthquake of 2011, and the contaminants leaking into the oceans from Nuclear Power Plants, we realize everyone (including ourselves) need to be educated about the pros and cons about certain forms of energy, and how can we work together to find alternative energies and harness them sustainably. We are looking into projects that can help with revitalizing the environment, assisting the wildlife affeced, and help rehabilitate the damages of this and other catastrophes are causing. We hope to educate the public about these issues through art, music, theater, and storytelling … bringing to fruition the “Living Myth” and getting involved in any way we can. Mobility by wind, alternative fuels, and energies. Renewal and Sustainable technologies in which to effect change on the planet ….

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Pirate Relief’s “Project Pacific Trash Island”

Pirate Relief’s: Project Pacific Trash Island
* Piraterelief.com *

Project “Pacific Trash Island” is one of Pirate Relief‘s first Environmental “Large Scale” cleanup projects the organization will work on, ship or no-ship yet ready to sail. One of our first projects will be to find solutions in tackling the ecological mess that is known as the Pacific Trash Island. In the center of the Pacific, natural ocean currents have been collecting trash in the ocean and lumping it together to create a mass of junk over the years the size of two Texas landmasses stuck together. We are abhorred by the fact that the Nations of the world responsible for this trash is not cleaning it up. Were investigating sustainable renewable floating islands, art projects, and recycling ventures to tackle this issue. We will also investigate how we can help with the Gulf oil spill rehabilitation. This growing ecological catastrophe brewing in the Pacific Ocean the size of “two” Texas length and width landmasses of trash and litter nestling in the middle of the ocean currents. We are in process of investigating recycling and renewal technologies to help break up Trash Island. From floating islands to renewable energy … our research team is brainscheming for our first of many ecological battles to tackle …

  • Recycling
  • Cleanup
  • Sustainability
  • Floating Reclaimed Islands
  • Plastic Bottle Vessels like “Plastiki” that just made their successful journey from California to Australia
  • Art Projecs and Events to Make the Project Fun

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The Tree Leaves Oracle & Folk Fellowship

The Tree Leaves’ Oracle and Folk Fellowship
* www.treeleavesoracle.org * 1991 – Present * Livejournal Community * Facebook Group *

Founded in 1991 as an underground Neo-Pagan newsletter, evolving into an arts and crafts wandering business, “Tree Leaves” eventually mutated into a cooperative / collective of folk enthusiasts, folklorists, artists, musicians, religionists, and culturalists who seek to preserve folk and tree lore, culture, ways, religion, art, music, and beliefs. As a cooperative, members network together, share ideas, theories, concepts, art, techniques, and lore to help one another preserve traditions, knowledge, and beliefs that have been generated in the past, present, and future. Tree Leaves sprouted from an entity known as “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. (The Tree Leaves’ Oracle started as a community newsletter and grew into a journal. It became an organization, a store, a company, and was reduced back to a journal offered by the Folk Fellowship to it’s membership. From 2007-2008 it became a faerie and art store in historic Manitou Springs, Colorado.)

When “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle” started out as a Tallahassee Florida publication in 1991 it very quickly shifted into a nomadic arts/crafts/oils/ and herbal sachets nomadic peddling business founded at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon that same year. In 1993 a not-for-profit special-interest group was formed for the study of folklore and the offering of folk artist networking as a avenue for drum circles, talent shows, classes, and discussion groups. This special-interest group became known as “The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship”. Tree Leaves soon took off on it’s own and escaped the financial support of “The Tree Leaves’ Oracle”. In fact, as the “The Tree Leaves Oracle, Inc.” collapsed as a corporation, the Folk Fellowship was still holding activities and networking several hundred enthusiasts of folk culture (and a membership base of a couple hundred). The Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship was officially born and founded as a separate entity in November of 1995 with conceptual activities sprouting in 1994. Through membership dues and support, the fellowship offered it’s collective a bi-annual journal called The “Tree Leaves’ Oracle”, a quarterly newsletter known as “Tree Talk”, an annual membership directory, a web site, and a board of Directors and volunteers who actively organized activities, events, and question/answer support for those seeking answers about folk culture. Because of difficulties with volunteer support, The Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship closed it’s person-to-person activities and community support on September 1st of 1998. By October 1, 1998 Tree Leaves had mutated into a internet organization that operated on a strictly cyber-basis. (although Tree Leaves’ Folk Fellowship forest groups still held activities in their local areas) The official organization stopped holding events, printing paper publications, and no longer offered telephone or person-to-person guidance & support. After careful consideration of the expenses involved in becoming a non-profit tax-exempt organization, Tree Leaves decided to remain not-for-profit and allow other organizations to donate support and funding for it’s operation and existence. The journal, website and former newsletters were shortly made available for free online. Their folk journal is sporadically still published online for free viewing by anyone with internet access. From 1998 to 2000, Tree Leaves was adopted by the research and design firm known as “Leafworks, Inc.” (a company now defunct). From the death of Leafworks, Tree Leaves operated under the wings of Wandering Leaf Designs. Reproduction of all cyber published materials was available for a nominal printing or reproduction cost through copyright held by Wandering Leaf, LLC. (now defunct)

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Pirate Relief

Pirate Relief
www.piraterelief.com * Facebook *

Imagined by Captain Leaf McGowan in May 2010 as a dream, the ghostly ship didn’t manifest into conceptualization until June 2010 as he was to embark across the “Great Pond” to England. He posted the concept on facebook and expected to be laughed at but was greatly supported and encouraged to have the ship set sail. Investigations into the idea, networking, and fundraising took effect immediately as a crew of over 20 committed individuals enthusiastically climbed on board. At this stage, the group is planting the seed to make the project a reality. The crew and project has a facebook group and a web site with several projects being set into motion.

Pirate Relief is a roving band of pirates, gypsies, artists, musicians, environmentalists, scientists, & relief volunteers who are striving to bring together a fleet of tall sailing ships to sail the seven seas to ports around the world – sharing art, music, drama, theater, folklore, performance, storytelling, history, & culture to those they encounter. They are setting out to share the wealth of the Living Myth. When able to assist in coastal disaster areas – they plan to set into port to uplift the spirits of those who had their lives affected – bringing back hope to the hopeless, guidance to the lost, and insight to the inquisitive … sharing whatever resources they have on board or the crew has to offer – whether uplift of spirit through entertainment, stories of hope, supplies, medical aid, arts, education, inspiration, or a helping hand. They are also working on environmental projects to assist in ecological tragedy by approaching areas affected such as the Gulf oil spill, the Pacific Trash Island, and how to address pollution issues with our waterways. They are targeting our concerns by embracing ecological and sustainability ideas for a new approach to living, caring for the environment, mobility, and keeping culture, arts, & sciences alive. “Through Storytelling and the Arts – The Living Myth shall live on! “ Their PDF Brochure can be downloaded Here. By the return of Captain Leaf McGowan from England, the crew was soon involved in Faerieworlds in Eugene, Oregon and Brethren Con 2010 in Denver, Colorado presenting a presence to share about the legacy and visions of the project. Still in its infancy, the captain is soon to set sail on a historic vessel to learn the ropes at sailing a tall ship, investigating the foundations of what will need to be accomplished to make this dream a reality.

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Plastiki Arrives in Australia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/23/plastiki-arrives-in-austr_n_656141.html

‘Plastiki’ Arrives In Australia After Plastic-Bottle Boat Makes 8,000-Mile Journey Across Pacific

Posted: 07-23-10 09:58 AM on Huffingtonpost

The 12,000 plastic water bottle catamaran that David de Rothschild in company with Jo Royle, the skipper made landing in Australia after a treacherous 3 month journey, 11,000 mile journey across the Pacific from California to Australia. They pass through the Great Pacific Trash Island. The above link leads to a video about the journey, and the Youtube video below talks about the expedition. The ABC news Youtube link below shows the beginning of the journey.

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-23/tech/plastiki.australia_1_plastiki-australian-national-maritime-museum-plastic-bottle-boat?_s=PM:TECH

Plastic bottle boat reaches Australia after stormy seas

July 23, 2010

After spending 125 days traveling over 8,000 nautical miles, the Plastiki is preparing to reach Sydney, its final destination, on Sunday.

The Plastiki’s arrival in Sydney will not, however, be the 60-foot catamaran’s first time to reach Australian soil. Winter storms producing near-hurricane strength winds forced the vessel and its crew to take refuge in Mooloolaba, Queensland on Monday.

Originally, the crew had hoped to land in Coffs Harbour, south from Mooloolaba, before heading to Sydney. After waiting out the bad weather, the Plastiki took off from its unexpected first port-of-call in Australia early Friday morning with hopes to reach Sydney in the next two days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ug7CpVkBuU
ABC News: The Plastiki Sets Sail, Youtube Video

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The Blarney Poison Garden


The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

The Poison Garden:
Blarney Castle, Ireland * 021-4385252 * vwww.blarneycastle.ie *

One of the most intriguing features of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle for a botanist, scientist, or herbalist is the castle’s “Poison Garden”. A collection of plants embracing the world’s most deadliest toxins, one can walk amongst danger and see, smell, and view from close proximity what plants take the lives of hundreds of thousands of human lives annually. The garden has been active since the 18th century and a popular tourist attraction along with the other gardens on the grounds as the estate extends to over 1,000 acres of gardens (the poison garden is just a small tiny yard). The garden is located hidden behind the Castle’s battlements. Some of the more toxic or illegal of substances are located within large black conical iron cages to protect them from the tourist and the viewer from their toxicity. Some of the garden’s plants are controlled substances and therefore heavily monitored. During my 2010 and 2012 visits, many of the caged plants were empty, including the cannabis specimen. This specimen was Taken by the local gardai in 2010. Upon a visit in 2013, the Cannabis plant is not only present but enormous.

120313-117
Cannabis plant, Blarney Castle’s Poison Garden, Ireland

Of the ones I photographed and wrote about below, are:

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Cherry Laurel



Cherry Laurel
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Cherry Laurel:
Prunus laurocerasus [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Rosales: Rosaceae: Prunus: Prunus laurocerasus ]

Common Names:
Cherry Laurel, English Laurel

Localities:
Native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, from Albania to Bulgaria east through Turkey and Iran. It is a invasive species in the United Kingdom and Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Species:
There are over 40 cultivars; Numerous varieties of Cherry Laural, Magnofolia is the large leaf’ed one, Otto Luyken is compact with abundant flowers, Schipkaensis is the hardiest wid spreading smaller leaved plant; Zabeliana has narrow willow type leaves.

Description:
A low, compact spreading evergreen shrub or upright small tree, with a maximum height of 20-25 feet and 18 feet width with 2-6 in long / 1/2 to 1 inch wide narrowly oblong smooth edged dark green above and paler green below leaves. The shiny leathery leaves flower into fragrant white 1/4 inch long flowers in narrow cylindrical clusters 2-5 inches long in late spring and summer. The flowers blossom into 1/2 inch long oval green drooping fruits that are believed to be mildly poisonous. It has a rapid growth patern coupled with being a evergreen, tolerant of drought and shade, thereby out competing and killing off native plant species making it an invasive species in some parts of the world.

Cultivation:
Can handle difficult growing conditions including shaded and dry soils.

Common Uses:
Common as a garden ornamental and a favorite in North American yards. Common in landscaping. Leaves repel weevils, fleas, and lice.

Culinary Uses:
Cherries are edible, but the rest of the plant can be poisonous. Leaves are used like bay leaves (laurel family) as a culinary spice albeit the leaves has toxins.

Medicinal Uses:
Most parts of the plant are poisonous including the seeds as they contain cyanogenic glycosides and amygdalin.

Magical Uses:
The leaves can be used to ward off evil spirits.

Folklore and History:


Cherry Laurel
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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