Showing posts from 2013

One Small Step for Business, One Giant Leap for green coffee company's promise to the planet

In a world that's more than ready for businesses to start reducing their carbon footprints and making the move toward being green, one office coffee company is doing just that. UK-based Office Coffee Company offers a wide variety of organic, fair-trade, Rainforest Alliance certified coffees, teas and hot chocolates, as well as eco-friendly cups, sustainably harvested wooden coffee stirrers, and environmentally friendly office coffee machines. The Office Coffee Company has won the Eden Project and Planet First'sPlanet Mark for Business certification, which means they are making a real and quantifiable effort to help the environment. They are committed to reducing their carbon emissions every year. Should you wish to become a client, they will even sit down with you and provide a unique carbon assessment that will explain the amount of rainforest trees you will save and carbon dioxide retained by drinking their Cool Earth coffee products. 

Cool Earth is an environmental charity d…

Antelope Island State Park - best place for sunsets in all of Utah

If you've never been to Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse, Utah, then you are missing out on a wonderful wildlife and nature viewing experience. Antelope Island is a preserve made up of a desert shrub and grassland island surrounded by the scenic Great Salt Lake. Standing on the shore of the Great Salt Lake is like standing on the coast of an ocean. Tiny islands dot the view and the lake goes on as far as the eye can see.

On the island you can see all kinds of wildlife, including pronghorn, bighorn sheep, American bison, porcupines, badgers, coyotes, bobcats, owls, and millions of waterfowl. The Great Salt Lake is an important rest and nesting stop for birds migrating through the Western United States.

This all adds up to a beautiful and scenic day at the "beach". Although camping is allowed at a campground on the island so you can extend your stay. The entrance fee to visit the island is $10 per vehicle, and just past the entrance you will drive out on a long causewa…

Baby owls are the best!

A few months ago I had the pleasure of performing Flammulated Owl nest surveys with Hawkwatch International.

Biologists with Hawkwatch International have been creating artificial owl nests for quite a few years now, in order to increase flammulated owl presence in Utah and to decrease predation on fledged chicks. Karri Smith and I, representing Great Salt Lake Audubon, were able to spend a day with the biologists and chicks. Together we performed nest checks in order to inventory young. This involved taking each owlet from the nest, cuddling it, weighing it, and measuring its wing length. Tiny owl puffballs so trustingly slept in our hands while we worked.

We checked over 20 nests, hiking to each site, sneaking up to the nest and blocking the entrance with a pole-and-baseball-cap device in order to trap the mother and place a radio tracker on her, and carefully inspected each baby owl to make sure all were healthy and growing. Sunshine, pine trees, and wildflowers made up our work…

Pelican Banding on Gunnison Island

Gunnison Island is a protected pelican nesting island in the North Arm of the Great Salt Lake. I was recently asked to help band juvenile pelicans this July with Utah's Department of Natural Resources and a few other non-profit groups. Here's how it went...

"Hug a Pelican?! Of COURSE I want to hug a pelican! Oh, er...BAND a pelican. Yes, that's what I meant." As I hung up the phone I was still picturing the opportunity to hug one, of course. Seeing pelicans on Gunnison Island, a protected island upon which few feet have trodden, is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was definitely going to take advantage of that by doing all the hugging I could.

My alarm went off at 3:30 am, and after a 10-minute period of groggy confusion, I remembered that today was pelican-banding day! The morning dawned bright as Karri Smith and I (both representing Great Salt Lake Audubon) pulled up to the meeting spot to meet the other banders and biologists working on the …

True Facts about the Owl

Step aside, Honey Badger. There's a new hilarious sheriff in town!

Backpacking Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas

On my recent 4-month volunteer trip to Peru I decided to spend 6 days backpacking the country's beautiful Sacred Valley. The Sacred Valley lies in the mists of the Andes mountains, starts from the Incan capital of Cusco and includes everything between Calca and Lamay, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. The ancient ruins of Machu Picchu top off the valley and keep a watchful eye over the sacred land.

Surprisingly, I had never been backpacking before. I camp, hike, get lost in the jungle, etc, but have never taken my 10 most essential items, stuck them in a bag, and walked off into the mountains with only ideas to guide me. Well, that's exactly what I did, because I figured, what the hey, I'm in Peru and I tend to be braver in South America than I am in the states. That doesn't make a lot of sense but it's worked for me so far.

Into a tiny school-grade backpack (hey, big ones are expensive), I packed a toothbrush, one change of clothes, some bug spray and sunblock, toilet pa…