Category: Native Species

Check out this week’s issue of The Free Weekly for a concept design of one acre for Making Ripples!

Ryan & I have been thinking hard since August 2011 about how to make the most ripples on a small piece of land.  There are so many wonders to be created on just one acre for Ripples, if it’s healthy, protected and sustainable: native pollinators, trees, and wildlife; rainwater harvesting systems; technology that makes a difference globally; alternative power sources like solar panels; fresh organic vegetables and herbs; healing pathways through the forest, and much more!  These are just ideas, but some of them are already alive and well: technology help for non-profits, our blog and column, a rain barrel, bicycles, and more.  But we can’t make a more tangible difference in Northwest Arkansas without the land.  Have you seen this acre?  If so, let us know by emailing

Thanks! :)

Dogs that save endangered animal and plant species!

This week’s issue of The Free Weekly is probably my favorite issue ever, because of the wonderful inclusion of a new comic strip: Eve of the Ozarks.  It’s got a unique art style, awesome fairy-like characters and a decent plot set locally in Arkansas.  Also, check out this week’s Making Ripples column about trained dogs working as conservation heroes around the world, with lots of potential to help local species make a comeback, too. Here’s an incomplete list from on the species that dogs are trained to find:

Black-footed ferrets
Bird and Bat Mortality at wind farms
Individual Siberian Tigers
Desert Tortoise
Kit Fox
Spotted Knapweed Invasions
Ringed Seal lairs and breathing holes
Discriminate between individual Maned Wolves from scat
Right Whale Faeces
Javan Rhinos
Sea Turtle Nests
Invasive Pythons in the Everglades


Making Christmas magic for wildlife this year.

A bit of trivia from Science 2.0: the first artificial trees were basically really tall toilet brushes, manufactured by a toilet brush company!  Read what I’ve learned about artificial and real Christmas trees, the pros and the cons of each, in the latest column of Making Ripples in The Free Weekly that came out yesterday when I was so busy working on concept art for Ripples 2013 that I totally forgot to post a link!  Sorry folks.  But the art is coming along, and next week there will be a holiday surprise from Ripples to all of you!  Check out The Free Weekly online to learn about how you can recycle your live trees in Bella Vista this year to help little fishies have lake habitat.

Ryan & I are decorating our wildlife “tree” soon and will be posting photos here next week once we do.  Cross your fingers that we get a deer or some cute squirrels!

The latest Ripples’ column in The Free Weekly is about my favorite subject…wildlife! View full article »

Saturday, October 6th, I ate my very first chestnut.

It was a transformative experience which food often brings about, changing the world from ordinary, familiar and full of obligation into a place of adventure and celebration of the mundane moments dearest to our hearts.  Eating a little piece of chocolate while doing the laundry, for instance, might not be a holiday event but it’s sure to make those fluffy, fragrant towels more enjoyable.  So when it’s a dreary Saturday morning in the 50’s and quite chilly for an October farmer’s market in the Ozarks, the scent of roasting nuts overpowered me.  As I was striding quickly towards the alpaca farmer to buy a warm woven headband to protect my ears from the wind, I noticed a vendor that I’d overlooked on all my previous trips to the market.  He was the type of old which I find very appealing, the sort of elder full of wisdom to learn from.  And the lesson he had for me was in a little chestnutView full article »

Waffles the Raccoon has a very cute baby!

Pancake the baby raccoon!

There’s one baby raccoon in particular who likes to explore.  She, or he, is quite an attractive, curious animal, with fluffier fur, a perfectly poofy ring tail, and very black fur around the eyes.  We’ve decided to name him, or her, Pancake!

Pancake enjoys visiting our backyard every morning and evening, often coming alone.  Pancake will roll around on the deck near the cat food, licking its little raccoon paws.  One day, I was standing outside our front door and Pancake was en route to the woods following the raccoon parade of mom and four siblings.  All the other raccoons fled as soon as they heard me, but Pancake froze in place, curious.  Sniffing the air, Pancake posed for this picture.  Raccoons are incredibly intelligent and I wonder what Pancake thinks of me.  It’s a moment I’ll never forget!

We have a groundhog!

Today I’m celebrating our very large ground-dwelling critter who munches our compost.  Thanks to Disney’s Bambi II, when little rabbits jump up and down singing “groundhog, groundhog!” I’m very fond of groundhogs. View full article »

As part of our conservation work, Ripples is sending postcards!

What? Postcards? How could that possibly help save wildlife??

Because being a tiger ranger in the field is a thankless job.  Sometimes all it takes is acknowledgement and appreciation to renew the spirit of someone risking their life for wildlife.  For the cost of one postcard stamp, or the totally FREE action of sending an online e-card, you can say thank-you to the people who help save my favorite animal, the tiger.  Ripples will be sending one postcard to each country to say thanks, and we invite you to join us by sending a card yourself. Meanwhile, Ripples is working here in Arkansas trying to protect our own native species.  Once we buy the land and build the homestead (including free community workshops on building with earth bags) we will also have free wildlife habitat tours and workshops where the community can learn more about creating vital habitat for native species.

In the meantime, it’s all about learning as much as we can! With the dry, excessive heat, I recycled an old skillet and put it at ground level, filled it with water, and placed several branches around the outside to encourage songbirds and other animals to perch and take a drink.  This was a makeshift birdbath idea suggested by our friend Louise, who noticed that wildlife seemed to want a ground-level bath and using an upturned trash can lid and branches was effective. Good tip!

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What’s more adorable than a baby raccoon trying to go up the stairs? A BUNCH of baby raccoons! View full article »

The Universe and I are having a miscommunication.  I requested some good luck, and it sent me lots of crickets.

In many cultures around the world, crickets signify good luck. Depending on their color, and which country they can be found in, they might also indicate the arrival of a new baby, rainfall, death, illness, money, or renewed hope.  I’m groovy with hope-carrying crickets, in particular. But do they have to sleep with me? View full article »