Archive for the 'Books & Events' Category

Apr 17 2014

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk

Published by under Books & Events

Grandma Gatewood's Walk (book cover image from Chicago Review Press)
This book is so good I could not put it down.

It’s the story of a woman, alone, in 1955, at age 67, who walked the entire Appalachian Trail.  She was the first woman to do so alone and only the seventh person to thru-hike the 2,050 miles from Mt. Oglethorpe*, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine.  She went on to become the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) two and then three times.

Grandma Gatewood did not have hiking boots, a backpack or a tent.  She carried a blanket and a shower curtain in a drawstring bag and wore sneakers because her bunions were so bad.  But she loved being outdoors and possessed grit, determination, and a “Don’t Stop” attitude that she passed on to her eleven children.**

When asked why she hiked so far she often said, “Because I thought it would be a lark” and “I like the peacefulness in the woods” and “After the hard life I’ve lived this trail isn’t so bad.”  Author Ben Montgomery reveals for the first time how hard Emma Gatewood’s life really was: married 34 years to an abusive husband, sometimes broke because of his debts, granted a divorce in 1941 because of his abuse.  Yes, the woods are peaceful and the trail isn’t so bad.

Grandma Gatewood’s walk made the Appalachian Trail famous and probably saved it from extinction by disrepair and development.  By now millions have hiked parts of it (myself included) and more than 14,000 have thru-hiked its 2,000+ miles.  Most thru-hikers have heard of Grandma Gatewood and when times get tough they say to themselves, “If she could do it, I can too.”

Emma Rowena Gatewood shows us that what you do with your life matters.  And it’s never too late to start!

 

(book cover of Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.  Click on the photo to read more and buy the book at Chicago Review Press or buy it here at Amazon.)

*The Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus was moved to Springer Mountain, Georgia in 1958.

**Many of us in Pittsburgh were inspired by one of Grandma Gatewood’s children, Esther Gatewood Allen, who passed away in June 2011 before this book was written.

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Apr 10 2014

Reminder! BirdSafe This Sunday at Noon

Published by under Books & Events

Song sparrow dead, Golden-crowed kinglet stunned by collisions (photos by Kate St. John and Shawn Collins)Become a BirdSafe Pittsburgh volunteer this Sunday. Meet at the National Aviary, 100 Arch Street, on Sunday April 13, noon-to-2:00pm to learn what to do.

Questions?  Email Matt Webb at birdsafepgh@gmail.com

Click here for more information.

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Apr 06 2014

Here’s How They Did It

You may be wondering how far the eaglecam is from the Pittsburgh Hays bald eagles’ nest and how it works out there in the woods.

This video from the Pennsylvania Game Commission shows how the eaglecam was installed last December and all the gear that makes it run.

I don’t know who climbed 75 feet up the camera tree but he was surely brave!

The man on the ground arranging the solar panels and batteries is Bill Powers of PixController.  He installed Pittsburgh’s two falconcams, too.

Many thanks, Bill, for all you do!

(YouTube video from the Pennsylvania Game Commission)

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Apr 04 2014

Help Make Pittsburgh BirdSafe!

Published by under Books & Events

Song sparrow dead, Golden-crowed kinglet stunned by collisions (photos by Kate St. John and Shawn Collins)

Here’s the project I’ve been praying for.  I hope you can help.

As I know too well, windows are a huge cause of death in birds.  Each year up to 1 billion birds die by hitting windows in the U.S. and some of them are Pittsburgh’s juvenile peregrines.  The problem is especially acute during spring and fall migration when thousands of birds pass through North American cities in the dark.  Half are killed outright. The others are stunned and need time to recuperate.  The song sparrow above died in a window-strike at WQED.  The stunned golden-crowned kinglet, rescued by Shawn Collins, is showing his yellow crown because he has a big headache!

Across North America innovative cities are working to make their towns safer for birds.  Now, thanks to a coalition of seven organizations(*), Pittsburgh is poised to join Toronto, Minneapolis-St.Paul, San Francisco and a host of others to make our town “bird safe.”   The project begins this month.

For six weeks during migration — mid-April through May — BirdSafe Pittsburgh needs volunteers to walk portions of downtown daily for an hour or two in the early morning, looking for stunned or dead birds.  Stunned birds will be rescued. All birds will be counted.

If you have free time in the early morning, and especially if you work Downtown, this project is for you!

Meet at the National Aviary, 100 Arch Street, on Sunday April 13, noon-to-2:00pm to learn what to do.   Questions?  Email Matt Webb at birdsafepgh@gmail.com

I hope you can help.

Let’s make Pittsburgh BirdSafe!

 

(photo of window-killed song sparrow by Kate St. John. photo of collision-stunned golden-crowned kinglet by Shawn Collins)

(*) The coalition includes: American Bird Conservancy, National Aviary, Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Powdermill, Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center, Green Building Alliance, and Chatham University.

9 responses so far

Mar 17 2014

Reminder: March 20 at 5pm

Published by under Books & Events

National Aviary at Night event Reminder! I’ll be at the National Aviary at Night this coming Thursday, March 20, 5:00pm to 9:00pm. Hope to see you there.

Click here for more information.

4 responses so far

Mar 15 2014

Bird in Bradford, June 6 – 8, with the PSO

Published by under Books & Events

Saw-whet owl from PSO 2014 flier (photo by Sandy Lockerman)Looking for unusual breeding birds in Pennsylvania?  Have you ever been to the Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier?

This June the Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology (PSO) will hold field trips and its 2014 annual meeting at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, Pennsylvania from Friday evening June 6 through midday Sunday June 8.

Bradford is the county seat of McKean County, one of the few places in Pennsylvania where you can find breeding saw-whet owls, merlins, Swainson’s thrushes, mourning warblers and pine siskins.

On Saturday and Sunday a choice of six field trips will lead you to local hotspots including Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny National Forest.  Presentations on Saturday afternoon include Golden-winged warblers, Saw-whet Owl breeding habitat, Snowy Owls and a raptor show open to the public.

Saturday night’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Bridget Stutchbury of York University, Toronto whose studies of songbird migration have revealed their routes, wintering grounds and breeding grounds on two continents.  Her work with wood thrushes in Pennsylvania inspired me to write about their journeys last May.

Everyone is welcome at the PSO Annual Meeting.  You don’t have to be a member to attend, though members get a discount.

Click here for the event schedule and here for registration and lodging information.

 

(photo of saw-whet owl by Sandy Lockerman from the PSO annual meeting flier)

2 responses so far

Mar 12 2014

New Banner, Thanks!

Published by under Books & Events

Thanks to the design skills of Joan Guerin and the coding skills of Jay Volk, there’s a new look at the top of my blog.   Here’s who contributed the gorgeous banner photos:
• Avocet flock: Kim Steininger
• Bobolink: Steve Gosser
• Peregrine falcon: Chad+Chris Saladin
• Starling flock above a tree: Tom Pawlesh
• Tundra Swans on the lake: Steve Gosser

Click on your browser’s refresh button to see a new photo. Look up and see!

4 responses so far

Mar 06 2014

National Aviary at Night, March 20

Published by under Books & Events

National Aviary at Night event

It’s been a long winter and I’m tired of observing birds in the cold.  If you are too, let’s get together at the National Aviary on Thursday evening, March 20, for the National Aviary At Night, 5:00pm to 9:00pm.

Admission is half price (members are always free) and there’s open café service and a cash bar.  I’m going to start my evening near the food.  :)

Click on the image above for more information and the menu.

Hope to see you there!

3 responses so far

Feb 13 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count Starts Tomorrow

Published by under Books & Events,Quiz

American goldfinches at the feeder (photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

Fill your feeders and get ready for the bird count you can do in your pajamas.

For four days — tomorrow February 14 through Monday February 17 — you can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count from the comfort of your home.  All you need to do is count birds for at least 15 minutes, keep track of the highest number of each species you see, and record your count on eBird (instructions here).  If you take pictures, submit them to the GBBC Photo Contest.

Join with others across the continent in this weekend science project.  Your data will show trends in winter bird populations across North America as you can see in these statistics from prior years.

Don’t want to stay indoors?  You can count birds anywhere or join others at one of these local events. (Scroll down for the many events in Pennsylvania.)  Here’s how to participate no matter where you choose to count.

Meanwhile, you can practice counting with this photo by Marcy Cunkelman.  What species and how many birds are in the picture?

 

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

2 responses so far

Jan 27 2014

Schenley Park Oak Wilt Meeting, Feb 3

Back in July I mentioned that there’s oak wilt in Schenley Park.  In the weeks ahead those trees will come down.
Councilman Corey O’Connor is holding an informational meeting about the project on Monday February 3, 6:00pm – 7:30pm at the Jewish Community Center, Levinson Hall B.  (The main entrance is at 5738 Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill.)

See Councilman O’Connor’s flyer below for more information.

Schenley Park Oak Wilt meeting, 3 Feb 2014, 6:00pm

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