2023: A Case for Optimism

The beginning of a new year often makes people philosophical, thinking about what has or hasn't worked the year before and what they resolve to improve. Most of this is positive, at least for me. Lately, though, and I imagine also for many, it's getting easier to let those thoughts become tinged with concern for... Continue Reading →

De-Extinction in Your Backyard Laboratory

I’ve been reading a lot lately about de-extinction. Quaggas, Passenger Pigeons, the Thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger - in fact neither a tiger, nor specifically Tasmanian). Not remotely smacking of necromancy, smart geneticists are working diligently to bring these and other species back from the afterlife. In doing so, they expect not only to resurrect the... Continue Reading →

A Little World Within Itself: My First Voyage to the The Galápagos

In 1835, Charles Darwin wrote these worlds in the Voyage of the Beagle: “The archipelago is a little world within itself, or rather a satellite attached to America, whence it has derived a few stray colonists, and has received the general character of its indigenous population.” Chapter XVII: "Galapagos Archipelago" (second edition, 1845), entry for... Continue Reading →

No Place for Frogs

Last summer, listening to nights filled with frog calls from the trees around our house, I resolved to put in a frog pond in our garden. My hope was to encourage breeding and bring our property a tiny step further towards being a well-rounded habitat for native wildlife. A Gray Treefrog, one of the species... Continue Reading →

Dogwoods in the Anthropocene Forest

Until recently, we had a number of dogwoods (Cornus florida) on our wooded North Carolina property. Every April, we'd enjoy their beautiful, saucer-like white blossoms peeking through the other foliage, virtually the only reminder of their existence through the thick undergrowth. In September, their berries were enjoyed by a riot of birds. Mockingbirds, bluebirds, thrushes,... Continue Reading →

Jackson Wild, CITES & UNDP – Raising the Profile of Wildlife in Peril

Mother and baby lion-tailed macaque. Image: Nagaraj Papanna 2017 A mother lion-tailed macaque cradles her baby against her, undisturbed by the camera crew in close proximity. Polar bears trudge across sludgy ice floes to find ringed seals in winter. A herd of pronghorn antelope bounds across the screen and condors fly high over herds of... Continue Reading →

Earth Systems on Vacation

Cormorants and Pelicans at 2nd Street Pier, Myrtle Beach SC. Image: Eric Dorfman 2021. As I write this, I’m sitting by the side of the Atlantic Ocean, winding up a 2021 Christmas holiday spent at the beach. It’s been a relaxing and tranquil time, looking out over that water, seasonably cold and silty brown, turbid... Continue Reading →

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