A Great Trip Needs An Extraordinary Destination ...Hallo Bay? ABSOLUTELY

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bird Facts

Bird Facts
  1. Flamingos pair for a lifetime. Some stay with their mates for 50 years or more.
  2. The chicks of large bird species often take the longest to hatch. Emu chicks, for example, take 60 days to hatch. Small songbirds take just 2 weeks.
  3. A green woodpecker can eat as many as 2,000 ants per day.
  4. The Japanese crested ibis is one of the rarest birds in the world. Probably fewer than 50 crested ibises are alive today.
  5. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska polluted approximately 1,180 miles of coastline and killed up to 100,000 seabirds.
  6. Falconry was developed more than 4,000 years ago in eastern and central Asia. Birds were used because they could kill animals beyond the range of a hunter’s weapon. Genghis Khan reportedly had 10,000 falconers.
  7. Coalminers often used canaries to detect poisonous levels of carbon monoxide gas. Miners knew that if the canary passed out, they were in danger, too. The phrase “Canary in a Coalmine” derives from this history.
  8. The marsh warbler can mimic more than 80 different birds. Other renowned mimics include mockingbirds and lyrebirds.
  9.  A pelican’s pouch-like beak can hold up to 2.5 gallons of water at a time. The beak will shrink to squeeze out the water before the pelican swallows its food.
  10. A vulture named the Lammergeyer will fly with bones high in the air and then drop them onto rocks. It will then eat the smashed bones, like a circus sword swallower.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Disney Bear Movie

The Disney Movie, 'Bears' 
is now being advertised in theaters.
The movie will be coming to the big screen
April 2014.
Don't Miss it.

Our office manager, Sara, in front of one of the movie posters.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Keep It Healthy

For those long winter months.

Traditional Hot Chocolate
1 cup milk (or nut milk).
1/2 vanilla bean, split.
3 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, cut into small pieces.
Heat milk to scalding in a medium saucepan, add vanilla, and let steep with the heat off for 10 minutes. Strain and return milk to saucepan to reheat milk. (You can use 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract instead and skip the steeping process.) Whisk in chocolate until melted and frothy. Serve, savor.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Polar Bears

Polar Bears

Ursus maritimus. Sea Bear. Ice Bear. Nanuk. Isbjorn. White bear. Beliy medved. Lord of the Arctic. Old man in the fur cloak. White sea deer. These are just some of the names for polar bears.
Ursus maritimus is the scientific name. It means sea bear. Commander C.J. Phipps, an office in the British navy and author of A Voyage towards the North Pole used it for the first time in 1774.
Later, the scientific name Thalarctos gained acceptance. It is a combination of the Greek thalasso, meaning sea, and arctos, meaning bear of the north.
In 1971, polar bear scientists returned to the bear's original scientific name, Ursus maritimus.
  • To the Inuit, the polar bear is Nanuk, an animal worthy of great respect. In their poetry he is Pihoqahiak, the ever-wandering one.
  • The Russian term for polar bear is beliy medved, the white bear.
  • In Norway and Denmark, the polar bear is isbjorn, the ice bear.
Norse poets described the polar bear as white sea deer, the seal's dread, the rider of icebergs, the whale's bane, and the sailor of the floe. They praised polar bears for having the strength of 12 men and the wit of 11.
  • In eastern Greenland, the polar bear is known as Tornassuk, the master of helping spirits.
  • Sami (or Lapp) people refuse to speak the polar bear's real name for fear of offending him. Instead they call him God's dog or old man in the fur cloak.
  • Nineteenth-century whalers referred to the polar bear as the farmer because of his slow, pigeon-toed gait.
  • The Ket, a Siberian tribe, revere all bears. They call them gyp, grandfather, or qoi, stepfather.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Silent Night

Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin , mother and child
Holy infant so, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.
Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Alaska Facts

  1. Nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle.
  2. The Alaska Highway was originally built as a military supply road during World War II.
  3. The state boasts the lowest population density in the nation.
  4. The discovery of gold in the Yukon began a gold rush in 1898. Later gold was discovered at Nome and Fairbanks.
  5. Alaska is a geographical marvel. When a scale map of Alaska is superimposed on a map of the 48 lower states, Alaska extends from coast to coast.
  6. The state's coastline extends over 6,600 miles.
  7. Alaska is the United State's largest state and is over twice the size of Texas. Measuring from north to south the state is approximately 1,400 miles long and measuring from east to west it is 2,700 miles wide.
  8. Agattu, Attu, and Kiska are the only parts of North America occupied by Japanese troops during World War II.
  9. Oil is the state's most valuable natural resource. The area includes what is thought to be the largest oil field in North America.
  10. In 1986 Mount Augustine erupted near Anchorage. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013



Wolves are members of the family Canidae. Early taxonomists recognized about 24 New World and eight Old World subspecies of Canis lupus, with four subspecies thought to occur in Alaska. Recent studies of skull characteristics, body size, and color suggest that differences are slight with considerable overlap in the characteristics of wolves from various areas. Only two Alaska subspecies are now recognized. Wolves in Southeast Alaska tend to be darker and somewhat smaller than those in northern parts of the state. The pelt color of Alaska wolves ranges from black to nearly white, with every shade of gray and tan in between. Gray or black wolves are most common, and the relative abundance of each color phase varies over time and from place to place.
Most adult male wolves in Interior Alaska weigh from 85 to 115 pounds (38.6-52.3), but they occasionally reach 145 pounds (65.3 kg). Females average 10 to 15 pounds (2-5 kg) lighter than males and rarely weigh more than 110 pounds (50 kg). Wolves reach adult size by about 1 year of age.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Goodall Quotes

Mr. H is not just any stuffed toy; he has a story to tell.  "Don't give up when something goes wrong in your life.  Work hard and you can overcome most obstacles."  "I take him wherever I go.  I tell everyone that when they touch him some of the inspiration that I get from him will rub off on them."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Black-capped Chickadee


Active, acrobatic and agile with a perky cheerful air, the chickadee is one of the most widely recognized birds in Alaska forests. The black-capped chickadee is one of four chickadee species that occurs in the state and has a black cap and bib, white cheeks, soft gray back, wing feathers gray edged with white, and soft buffy-colored underparts grading to white in the center. Its song is often a 2 or 3 note whistle that sounds like "Hey, sweetie." Look and listen for their flocks in forest habitat, residential neighborhoods and parks.
Territorial during the breeding season, chickadees flock during the rest of the year. Small flocks made up of several adult pairs and unrelated juveniles are commonly seen from late summer through winter. Flocks of chickadees sometimes cross paths with kinglets, creepers, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers and form temporary associations.
Chickadees are specially adapted to endure Alaska's rugged winters. They have much denser, better-insulating plumage than other songbirds their size and a special ability to put on fat quickly. Birds burn fat as fuel to keep themselves warm in winter. A chickadee can put on eight percent of their body weight in fat each day. Chickadees are also able to drop their body temperature at night in order to conserve their winter fuel.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Facts on Alaska

Alaska Facts
  1. The state motto is North to the Future.
  2. The jade is the official state gemstone.
  3. Gold is the official state mineral. It was named the state mineral in 1968.
  4. The four-spot skimmer dragonfly is the official state insect.
  5. In 1926 13-year-old Bennie Benson from Cognac, Alaska designed the state flag.
  6. Alaska has been called America's Last Frontier.
  7. Every four years Alaskans elect a Governor and a Lieutenant Governor to four-year terms.
  8. The Alaska State Legislature is made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
  9. Twenty senators are elected to four-year terms; forty representatives serve two-year terms.
  10. Alaska's Constitution was adopted in 1956 and became effective in 1959 making it the 49th state. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Alaska Moose

Alaska Moose

Known as moose across North America, but called elk in Europe, Alces alces is the largest member of the deer family. The Alaska-Yukon race (Alces alces gigas) is the largest of all of these creatures. Adult moose can range in size from 800 pounds (small adult female) to1,600 pounds (large adult male), and they can be up to almost 6 feet tall. Moose can range in color from golden brown to almost black, depending on the season and the age of the animal. Newborn calves have a red-brown coat that fades to a light rust color within a few weeks. By late summer, the calves have shed this coat and grown one that is similar in texture and color to that of adults.
Moose are often easily recognized by their antlers, carried only by the males. These bony protrusions form within the first year, and are produced every summer after that. Trophy class bulls are found throughout Alaska, but the largest come from the western portion of the state. The largest sized antlers are usually produced when bulls are 10 - 12 years old, but bulls can reach trophy size as young as 6 years of age. In the wild, moose rarely live more than 16 years.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bear Facts

  1. The shape of a bear’s claw differs according to the type of bear. Bears that climb, such as black bears, have claws that are curved and strong to allow them to claw at tree bark. Bears that dig, such as grizzly bears, have straight and long claws.
  2. Koala bears are not bears at all and are not related to the bear family. They are marsupials.
  3. A bear’s normal heartbeat is 40 beats per minute. A hibernating bear’s heart rate drops to 8 bpm.
  4. Because bears can walk short distances on their hind legs, some Native Americans called them “the beast that walks like a man.”
  5. The bear that a person living in North America is most likely to run into is the black bear. They live in wooded areas in every Canadian province, many U.S. states, and parts of Mexico.
  6. Black bears are not always black. They come in a rainbow of colors from black to reddish brown (cinnamon bears) to light brown to white.
  7. Unlike many mammals, bears can see in color.
  8. The world’s most common bear is the brown bear.
  9. When bears mate, the eggs within the female’s body are fertilized but do not implant in her uterus and begin developing for several months.
  10. A swimming polar bear can jump 8 ft. (2.4 m) out of the water to surprise a seal.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Goodall Quotes

"Michael Pollan likens consumer choices to pulling single threads out of a garment.  We pull a thread from the garment when we refuse to purchase eggs or meat from birds who were raised in confinement, whose beaks were clipped so they could never once taste their natural diet of worms and insects.  We pull out a thread when we refuse to bring home a hormone-fattened turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.  We pull a thread when we refuse to buy meat or dairy products from cows who were never allowed to chew grass, or breathe fresh air, or feel the warm sun on their backs."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hug a Teddy Bear

Teddy Bears

The holiday season is here.  While everyone is out shopping for the Christmas season, pick up a small teddy bear, or find a gently used one from your home and donate it to your local Women's and children's shelters.  There are so many children that are not enjoying this time of season as all the other children are and your teddy bear donation can put a smile on their faces.

So find where you local safe haven shelters are for abused kids and make your teddy bear donation today.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


  1. Owls cannot swivel their eyes. Instead they move their heads completely around to see straight behind them. They live on every continent except Antarctica. Soft fringes on their wings make their flight essentially silent.
  2. In the continental U.S. alone, between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds are killed by cats annually.
  3. Famous birds include Ba in Egyptian mythology, Bar Juchne in the Talmud, The Cu Bird in Mexican folklore, the Firebird in Native American mythologies, Harpies in Greek mythology, the Phoenix in Egyptian mythology, Quetzalcoatl in Aztec mythology, and the Raven in Native American religions.
  4. Famous birds in literature include the Albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Archimedes in The Once and Future King, Chicken Little, Chanticleer in Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale, Fawkes and Hedwig in Harry Potter, Mother Goose, the Raven in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” Owl in Winnie the Pooh, Thorondor (the king of eagles) in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and The Ugly Duckling.
  5. Famous birds in cartoons, comics, and films include Big Bird in Sesame Street, Buzz Buzzard in Woody Woodpecker, Disney’s Darkwing Duck, Footloops cereal’s Toucan Sam, Woodstock in the Peanuts comic strip, Woody Woodpecker, and Iago in Aladdin.
  6. The bird with the most feathers is the whistling swan, with up to 25,000 feathers. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, are so small that they have fewer than 1,000.
  7. The only bird with nostrils at the end of its beak is the kiwi. This placement helps it sniff for food, such as worms and insects on the ground. It often snorts to clear its nostrils.
  8. Unlike most birds that sing, a woodpecker will drum its beak against a tree. Other woodpeckers can identify which bird it is by the sound of the drumming.
  9. The most talkative bird in the world is the African gray parrot. One parrot could say over 800 words. Most species of parrots can learn only 50.
  10. Many birds, such as starlings, sing notes too high for humans to hear.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin

Red sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus, belong to the Phylum Echinodermata and class Echinoidea. This phylum also includes sea cucumbers and sand dollars, one of their common traits is their radial symmetry. They vary in color between a uniform red and dark burgundy and crawl slowly over the sea bottom using their spines as stilts.

The red sea urchin is the largest of the sea urchins, with a maximum "test", or outer skeleton, diameter of more than 18 cm and a maximum spine length of 8 cm. The test is made up of 10 fused plates that encircle the sea urchin like the slices of an orange. Every other section has holes through which the sea urchin can extend its tubed feet. These feet are controlled by a water vascular system. By changing the amount of water inside, the animal can extend or contract the feet. The tip of the tube foot is shaped so it can act like a suction disc. Spines can also be used for locomotion.

Reproduction occurs between March and September in Southeast Alaska. Urchins are broadcast spawners with external fertilization and aggregate during spawning. Female urchins may produce 100,000 to 2,000,000 eggs into the sea where they are fertilized. After fertilization, they develop into a morula and eventually become 8-armed echinopluteus larvae which are herbivorous, feeding on phytoplankton. After the larvae stage, they develop into juveniles and eventually settle onto the substrate. After settling, a rapid metamorphosis occurs including development of spines and tube feet and then internal organs form similar to an adult sea urchin. They seem to reproduce best when in dense aggregations.

Small urchins (less than 5 cm test diameter) often hide under the adults. Adult urchins can release a chemical cue that causes the young to aggregate underneath them when the adults detect the presence of certain kinds of starfish. Some research suggests that urchins can live over 100 years, and found some near Vancouver Island that may be 200 years old.

Field studies of annual growth rates in Southeast Alaska indicate an annual growth increment between 0 and 20 mm. Growth rate is generally greatest among urchins between 20 and 40 millimeters, with large variation among locations and years. Slower growth occurs in areas exposed to open ocean conditions. By age ten urchins have almost stopped growing in diameter and growth slows considerably.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fun Facts

Bear Facts
  1. The largest mammalian carnivore that ever lived on land was the giant short-faced bear. Twice the size of the biggest modern bear, it was 6' 5" tall at the shoulder when standing on all fours. Scientists believe it had very long legs and chased antelope on the North American prairies. It died around 12,000 years ago.
  2. The sloth bear has the shaggiest fur. The sun bear has the shortest fur so it can keep cool in the hot forests of Southeast Asia.
  3. The most accurate way to determine the age of a bear is to count the rings in a cross section of its tooth root under a microscope.
  4. Bears have two layers of fur. A short layer of fur keeps the bear warm. And a long layer keeps water away from the skin and short fur.
  5.   Bears are highly intelligent animals
  6. Bears are very smart and have been known to roll rocks into bear traps to set off the trap and eat the bait in safety.
  7. Bears live as long as 30 years in the wild. One captive brown bear lived to the age of 47.
  8. Bears are bowlegged. This gives them better grip and balance.
  9. Only the polar bear is a true carnivore. All other bears are omnivores, or animals that eat both plants and meat.
  10. Sun bears have the longest claws of any bear. They also have the longest tongues, which can reach 9.8" long.
  11. Bears can run up to 40 miles per hour, fast enough to catch a running horse. The fastest known human alive today is Usain Bolt, who can run 27mph.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

River Otter Facts

River Otter

The North American river otter is a thickset mammal with short legs, a neck no smaller than its head, inconspicuous ears, and a muscular body that is broadest at the hips. Its tail is powerful and a little more than a third as long as its head and body. Only the hind feet are webbed. Adults weigh 15 to 35 pounds (6.8–15 kg) and are 40 to 60 inches (102–152 cm) in length. On the average, females are about 25 percent smaller than males.
It is sometimes called the land otter (to distinguish from the sea otter).
When prime, river otter fur appears black-brown, with the belly slightly lighter in color than its back. The chin and throat are grayish. Otter fur consists of a very dense undercoat overlaid with longer guard hairs, which are usually removed by furriers.
River otters appear to have well-developed senses of smell and hearing. Their vision is not especially good but may be better underwater than above. Several sets of strong whiskers are used by the animal for hunting and avoiding obstructions.

Friday, December 6, 2013


To Promote Bear Conservation in Katmai National Park
Our Goal is 3000 Likes
Get the word out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Goodall Quotes

"The greatest danger to our future is apathy.
Every individual matters and has a role to play in this life on Earth.
Only if we understand can we care.  Only if we care will we help.  Only if we help shall all be saved."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Beauty of Wolves

  1. Wolf gestation is around 65 days. Wolf pups are born both deaf and blind and weigh only one pound.
  2. Under certain conditions, wolves can hear as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles on the open tundra.
  3. Wolves were once the most widely distributed land predator the world has ever seen. The only places they didn’t thrive were in the true desert and rainforests.
  4. Among true wolves, two species are recognized: Canis lupus (often known simply as “gray wolves”), which includes 38 subspecies, such as the gray, timber, arctic, tundra, lobos, and buffalo wolves. The other recognized species is the red wolf (Canis rufus), which are smaller and have longer legs and shorter fur than their relatives. Many scientists debate whether Canis rufus is a separate species.
  5. Immense power is concentrated in a wolf’s jaw. It has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pound per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog). The jaws themselves are massive, bearing 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones. Their jaws also open farther than those of a dog.
  6. The North American gray wolf population in 1600 was 2 million. Today the population in North America is approximately 65,000. The world population is approximately 150,000.
  7. A hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in a single meal, which is akin to a human eating one hundred hamburgers.
  8. A wolf pack may contain just two or three animals, or it may be 10 times as large.
  9. Though many females in a pack are able to have pups, only a few will actually mate and bear pups. Often, only the alpha female and male will mate, which serves to produce the strongest cubs and helps limit the number of cubs the pack must care for. The other females will help raise and “babysit” the cubs.
  10. Lower-ranking males do not mate and often suffer from a condition of stress and inhibition that has been referred to as “psychological castration.” Lower-ranking females are sometimes so afraid of the alpha female that they do not even go into heat.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Colorful Facts About Birds

Bird Facts
  1. There are over 9,500 species of birds in the world. Scientists typically group them into 30 categories. Birds are the most widespread of all animals around the world.
  2. Characteristics that are unique to birds are 1) feathers, 2) bills, and 3) a furcula (fused collarbone, or “wishbone”).
  3. Approximately 2/3 of all the bird species are found in tropical rain forests.
  4. Hoatzin chicks have two claws on each wing. When they climb out of the nest, they use their claws to hold on to mangrove trees. They lose their claws once they mature, but they remain poor flyers.
  5. Many birds consume 1/5 of their body weight in food every day to get the energy they need to fly.
  6. The longest feathers ever seen were on a chicken in Japan. Its tail feathers measured 34.7 feet (10.59 m) long.
  7. To make them more lightweight, most birds do not have bladders to store urine. Rather than producing liquid urine to get rid of wastes, they produce a white, pasty substance. However, while an ostrich does not have a bladder like a mammalian bladder, it is unique among birds because it does have a complete separation of feces and urine.
  8. A bird’s lungs are much more complicated and efficient and take up more space than those of mammals, such as humans. A human’s lungs compose about 1/20 of its body, but a bird’s takes up 1/5.
  9. The Australian pelican has the longest bill of any bird in the world. It is nearly 2 feet (0.5 m) in length. The sword-billed hummingbird, with its 3.9-inch (10 cm) bill, is the only bird with a bill that’s longer than its body.
  10. The song of a European wren is made of more than 700 different notes a minute and can be heard 1,650 feet (500 m) away.

Monday, December 2, 2013


The Lynx

The lynx is a large, short-tailed cat, similar to the bobcat, but distinguished by its long legs, furry feet, the long tufts on the tip of each ear, and a black-tipped tail. The large broad feet function as snowshoes to aid the lynx in winter hunting and traveling. The dense soft fur is buffy grey with indistinct spotting. Most adults weigh from 18 to 30 pounds (8.2–13.6 kg). Male lynx are generally larger than females and occasionally weigh 40 pounds (18.2 kg) or more.

Mating occurs in March and early April and kittens are born about 63 days later under a natural shelter such as a spruce felled by wind, a rock ledge, or a log jam. Lynx kittens resemble domestic cats at birth and are buff colored with longitudinal streaking on their backs. Their eyes open about 1 month of age, and they are weaned when 2–3 months old. Most litters include two to four kittens, but sometimes as many as six are born and survive.

The production and survival of lynx kittens is strongly influenced by cyclic changes in snowshoe hare and other small game populations. When prey are abundant, a high percentage of 1-year old or older female lynx produce kittens, most of which survive. When prey is scarce, very few yearlings breed, the number of breeding adults declines, and very few kittens survive until winter.

Kittens remain with their mother until late winter and acquire the hunting skills and knowledge necessary for their survival. During the following breeding season, family units begin to break up.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bird Groups

Names for Groups of Birds

Birds of prey (hawks, falcons) Cast, cauldron, kettle
Cormorants Flight
Crows Murder, congress, horde
Ducks Rafts, team, paddling
Eagles Convocation, congregation
Finches Charm
Flamingos Flamboyance
Geese Gaggle, plump, skein
Gulls Colony
Herons Siege, sedge
Jays Band, party, scold
Lark Bevy, exaltation, ascension
Owls Parliament, wisdom, study
Starling Chattering, affliction
Swans Wedge, ballet, lamentation
Turkeys Rafter, gobble
Woodpecker Descent
Wrens Herd, chime

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fun Facts about the First Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

  • The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.
  •  They sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of 'Mayflower'. 
  •  They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts. 
  •  The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land. 
  •  The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.  The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. 
  •  Mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies, popcorn, milk, corn on the cob, and cranberries were not foods present on the first Thanksgiving's feast table.
  •  Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up the first Thanksgiving feast.
  •  The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.
  •  Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States.
  •  Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor, persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She is also the author of the popular nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb".
  •  Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving.
  •   In 1939, President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would take place on November 23rd, not November 30th, as a way to spur economic growth and extend the Christmas shopping season.

  • Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    More Alaska Facts

    Alaska Facts
    1. Prudhoe Bay, on the northern Alaskan coast, is North America's largest oil field.
    2. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on its 800 mile journey to Valdez.
    3. The fishing and seafood industry is the state's largest private industry employer.
    4. Most of America's salmon, crab, halibut, and herring come from Alaska.
    5. The term Alaska native refers to Alaska's original inhabitants including Aleut, Eskimo and Indian groups.
    6. The wild forget-me-not is the official state flower. The Territorial Legislature adopted it in 1917.
    7. The willow ptarmigan is the official state bird. The Territorial Legislature adopted it in 1955.
    8. The Sitka spruce is the official state tree. The Territorial Legislature adopted it in 1962.
    9. Dog mushing is the official state sport. The Alaska Legislature adopted it in 1972.
    10. An unnamed draftsman created the state seal in 1910. It consists of a rising sun shining on forests, lake, fishing and shipping boats, and agricultural and mining activities. 

    Monday, November 25, 2013



    The thick, wide bill is a trademark of all willow ptarmigan, the largest of Alaska’s three ptarmigan species.

    Another distinction is the white patch behind the male’s bill, lasting only two or three weeks in spring, before the chestnut plumage of early summer comes in. Only another ptarmigan can distinguish male’s from hens when willow ptarmigan are in winter plumage. Then, both sexes are white with black tail feathers. Beginning early in May the male’s develop a beautiful cape of chestnut-red feathers. They court the hens in this plumage, not completing the change to the brown summer plumage until the hens are nearly finished incubating the clutch of eggs.

    No sooner does the male get this first set of dark chestnut feathers, however, than a new generation of lighter brown feathers grows on its neck and breast. This new set is never completed, because by early August the male is beginning to grow white feathers for the coming winter plumage. In mid-August, male ptarmigan are a patchwork of four sets of feathers: a few old winter feathers on the wings, new white feathers on toes and belly, and parts of the light spring and darker summer feathers.

    The willow ptarmigan is the largest of three “Arctic grouse” found in Alaska, which also include the rock and the white-tailed ptarmigan.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Disney Bear Movie

    John C. Reilly gives voice to Disneynature's 'Bears'

    John C. Reilly will give voice to Bears.

    The actor will narrate Disneynature's true life adventure focusing on a bear family growing up in Alaska.

    "John C. Reilly is the voice of Wreck-It Ralph himself, he's sort of a bear of a man with both strength and mischief, and his voice reflects that," director Keith Sholey said in a statement. "He's very funny and has the ability to be empathetic, too, so he's a perfect fit for this story."

    Fellow director Alastair Fothergill (the two collaborated on African Cats) added: "The right narrator is so important to a Disneynature film. Alaska is a vast and powerful place and John C. Reilly has a big, broad voice that will aptly showcase the scope of Bears."

    Reilly said that he was "thrilled" to be part of the documentary not only because he found "bears fascinating."
    "Our National Parks are the home of many bears and need ongoing care," he added.

    The film showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two young cubs are taught life's most important lessons. The film opens April 18, 2014, in time for Earth Day.

    Thursday, November 21, 2013

    Goodall Quotes

    "Without tears in your eyes there is no rainbow in your heart.
    Together we can make this a better world for all."

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    State of Alaska

    1. Outsiders first discovered Alaska in 1741 when Danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering sighted it on a voyage from Siberia.
    2. Russian whalers and fur traders on Kodiak Island established the first settlement in Alaska in 1784.
    3. In 1867 United States Secretary of State William H. Seward offered Russia $7,200,000, or two cents per acre, for Alaska.
    4. On October 18, 1867 Alaska officially became the property of the United States. Many Americans called the purchase "Seward's Folly."
    5. Joe Juneau's 1880 discovery of gold ushered in the gold rush era.
    6. In 1943 Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands, which started the One Thousand Mile War, the first battle fought on American soil since the Civil War.
    7. Alaska officially became the 49th state on January 3, 1959.
    8. Alaska's most important revenue source is the oil and natural gas industry.
    9. Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States.
    10. The state of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times. 

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Fun Facts

    Sea Otters

    The sea otter is the largest member of the weasel family. Their fur is made up of a dense underfur, ranging in color from brown to black, and longer guard hairs. The guard hairs can be brown to black to silver. Their hind feet are webbed to aid in swimming, and their front toes are short and stiff.

    Adult sea otters may grow up to 5 feet in length. The males weigh 80–100 pounds but can weigh more than 100 pounds. The females are smaller, weighing 50–70 pounds.

    Female sea otters reach sexual maturity at 2–5 years of age. Males become sexually mature at 4–6 years of age. Sea otters breed throughout the year, but in Alaska most pups are born in the late spring. Female otters give birth to one pup at a time. Pups are 3–5 pounds at birth and light brown in color. The pup generally rides on the mother’s chest as she swims on her back. A mother sea otter will not leave her pup unaccompanied except to dive for food. The pup is weaned after 3-6 months. By this time, it weighs approximately 30 pounds and appears almost as large as its mother.

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    Fast Facts

    Bald Eagles

    • Size
      The bald eagle is Alaska’s largest resident bird of prey with a wing span up to 7 1/2 feet (2.3 m) long and weights of 8 to 14 pounds (3.6-6.4 kg). Like many raptors, females are larger than males.
    • Range/Distribution
      Bald eagles are often found along Alaska’s coast, offshore islands, and Interior lakes and rivers. The highest nesting densities occur on the islands of Southeast Alaska. The total population is estimated at 30,000 birds.
    • Diet
      Fish are the main diet of the bald eagle. Eagles are opportunistic and also prey upon waterfowl, small mammals, sea urchins, clams, crabs, and carrion.
    • Reproduction
      In late April, two eggs are laid several days apart. Incubation lasts about 35 days. When the young hatch, the weaker, usually younger, chick is killed or starved. The surviving young leave the nest after approximately 75 days. 

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Sand Dollar Facts

    Sand dollars

    1. Sand dollars live in…you guessed it! The sand. Typically, the species Dendraster excentricus is found close to shore in the low intertidal zone to as deep as 30 feet from Alaska to Baja California. (The low intertidal zone is the area close to shore that is usually covered with water except at very low tides.)

    2. For sand dollars, living right next to each other in very large groups or beds is the way to go. Sometimes there are neighborhoods of sand dollars that are several square feet (suburban dwelling) and others stretch for miles across the sandy ocean floor (urban dwelling).

    3.There are many species of sand dollars living around the world with a variety of common names including sea cookie and sand cake. Sand dollars also come in a variety of colors such as green, blue or black; the local California species, Dendraster excentricus, is purple.

    4. Sand dollars are members of the phylum Echinodermata, which means they are echinoderms and closely related to sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

    5. It’s hard to believe, but this flat and round-shaped creature is designed for burrowing in the sand. Their bodies are covered with tiny spines (similar to a sea urchin’s spines but super small) that they use to dig. Once they’ve burrowed into a good position sand dollars keep their butt end above the sand’s surface to capture food.

    6. The feeding strategy of sand dollars is fascinating. Their bodies are covered with tiny appendages to capture food particles small and large. Tiny cilia (extra small hairs) on the sand dollar’s spines sweep up small bits of food and tiny tube feet adeptly collect larger food pieces. Once food is caught the tiny appendages on the sand dollar work together to sweep food towards the mouth, which is located at the center of the five-petal flower pattern on bottom. The mouth has a five-toothed set-up called Aristotle’s lantern for chomping food. (Five pattern symmetry is a characteristic of echinoderms, sea stars have five arms, etc.)

    7. Sand dollars reproduce by spawning; male sand dollars release sperm and female sand dollars release eggs into the water during spring. Reproduction is assisted by sand dollars living so close together. Sand dollars begin their lives as larvae and go through several larval stages before developing skeletons and settling on the ocean floor as the first step to adulthood. An adult sand dollar is about three inches in diameter and lives approximately eight years.

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Bear Mythology

    The Bear Ritual of the Ainu

    The Ainu are an aboriginal hunter/gatherer/fisher people who once inhabited many of the islands that bound the southern half of the Sea of Okhotsk north of the main Japanese island of Honshu. There were Ainu populations, now extinct, who were on the Kurile islands. The few hundred Ainu who inhabited the southern half of Sakhalin Island were relocated to the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido at the end of World War II when Sakhalin became a territory of the recently defunct USSR. The origins of the Ainu have been a puzzle to physical anthropologists since they were first observed by Westerners in the late nineteenth century.

    The interest of the Ainu to us concerns the most spectacular element of their culture which served to call the Ainu to the attention of the Western world. The Ainu practiced an elaborate bear cult into the 1920s which immediately calls to mind the Paleolithic bear cult and the epiphany of the Great Goddess as Bear Mother. The Ainu captured a bear cub, nurtured it for months and then sacrificed it during an elaborate ritual. They are the only people to have retained a full fledged bear cult into the twentieth century and the Paleolithic elements are unmistakable; the Ainu are truly spectacular from a Western anthropologist's viewpoint.

    The bear in Ainu ritual is distinctly masculine and not the Great Goddess as Bear Mother. It would certainly be 'inappropriate' to sacrifice the Bear Mother who represents the Goddess as Life Giver. This Ainu bear is the earthly manifestation of the head of the mountain gods, Chira-Mante-Kamui; his bear form is his disguise when visiting the earth. The Ainu gods view humankind as equal to them. They wish to be on the best of terms with human beings because the offerings made during rituals reach the kingdom of the gods where they become the banquet items when the gods themselves hold festivals. The flesh and skin of the deity's disguise is the god's offering to humankind. The ritual surrounding the bear frees the god to return to his kingdom where the deities can enjoy the fruits of the ritual; those ritual 'fruits' magically increase when they reach the abode of the gods.

    The dead bear is placed before the altar, offerings are made to it and dances are performed. Festivities last for three days and nights. On the first night, to the left of the fireplace, a secret ceremony is performed called Keo-Mante, which means sending the dead body off. The brain, tongue and eyeballs are taken out of the skull and it is filled with flowers. This ceremony is held at midnight and it sends the Chira-Mante-Kamui's spirit back to his mountain heaven home. No women are allowed to take part in this particular ceremony. It is important to realize that these ceremonies do not involve making peace with the bear's spirit because it provided food for humans. Their relationship with a god is the primary focus of the ceremonies, not the mere acquisition of calories which mandates the placation of the animal spirit (Kindaichi 1949).

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Goodall Quotes

    "The more we learn of the true nature of non-human animals, especially those with complex brains and corresponding complex social behavior, the more ethical concerns are raised regarding their use in the service of man -- whether this be in entertainment, as pets, for food, in research laboratories, or any of the other uses to which we subject them."

    Friday, November 8, 2013

    Alaska Salmon

    The Five Main Salmon

    Salmon is valued by its fat content, which always corresponds with richness in the mouth (though not invariably with best flavor). Here are the five major Pacific salmon varieties, listed in order of richness:

    King (chinook). The lushest fresh salmon, king is the highest in fat and usually the most expensive, prized for its silken, melting texture, which is almost like smoked salmon.

    Sockeye (red). With a deep, natural color, sockeye is lower in fat but still high overall, allowing the flavor to better come through. Many salmon lovers, including me, consider this the best salmon-eating experience.

    Coho (silver). A comer, according to Bill Webber and Thea Thomas, independent Cordovan fishermen. It’s already prized by sport fishermen for its fight, and soon, the Cordovans hope, by diners for its mild but distinctive flavor. The most widely available autumn fresh salmon.

    Pink (humpback). So delicate and pale that Thomas compares it to sole—which she does not mean as a compliment. She recalls a tasting for food writers at which many rated pink the highest. “How could they?” she asks. The likely answer: “A lot of these people had never had salmon in their life.”

    Chum (dog). Like pink, chum is fished in high numbers and is lower in fat than other varieties; when it spawns in intertidal waters, it doesn’t need to build up energy to swim upstream. Its roe, however, is the most valued of the five varieties, because of its size and flavor. After being strained and separated, the eggs make particularly good ikura— the fat, bright-orange pearls familiar in sushi rolls.

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Goodall Quotes

    "There are an awful lot of scientists today who believe that before very long we shall have unraveled all the secrets of the universe.  There will be no puzzles anymore.  To me it'd be really, really tragic because I think one of the most exciting things is this feeling of mystery, feeling of awe, the feeling of looking at a little live thing and being amazed by it and how its emerged through these hundreds of years of evolution and there it is and it is perfect and why."

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Bear Species of the World

    Bear Species of the World

     Read more about the habitat, diet, physical characteristics, behavior
    for each of the bear species.