Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Northwoods Almanac for 11/10/17

A Northwoods Almanac for 11/10 – 23, 2017  

Hungry Bear(s)!
On 10/19, Bruce Bacon, retired DNR wildlife manager from Mercer, shot a large buck with his bow about 20 minutes before quitting time. Bruce is a skilled archer and made a killing shot in the buck’s lungs, but the deer ran and didn’t bleed out initially. With the light beginning to fail, Bruce tried to track it, but just couldn’t see enough, so he had to wait until morning.
The following morning, he found the track and found the buck, now a nearly cleaned skeleton. Every bit of meat on the deer had been consumed except for the neck. Importantly, the lungs, stomach, and heart were not eaten, an indication that the scavenger was a bear since coyotes and wolves tend to eat the lungs and heart very early after a kill.
Bruce aged the buck at 3½ years, and estimated that it would have had around 100 pounds of meat on it. There weren’t any clear tracks, so Bruce put up a trail camera by the skeleton, and that evening a lone coyote was all that appeared. The second day, Bruce counted 30 crows, several ravens, and an adult bald eagle attending to what little was left of the deer. All Bruce could conclude was that it was a bear, or perhaps a sow with cubs or yearlings. If it was just one bear, he or she certainly had a feast.
Bruce noted that sows typically go into hibernation in early October and the males much later. But we had a warm October, so sows may still have been out and about.
Wisconsin has one of the highest bear reproduction rates in the nation. The Wisconsin bear population is estimated at 28,000 and has grown on average 3.4% annually since 1988. I asked Bruce if the increases could be partially attributed to eating gut piles and/or deer carcasses from bow hunter success just prior to the bears’ entering hibernation. No, Bruce said, it’s due to the immense amount of bait put out for both bear and deer. Nearly all bear hunters – there were 12,850 permits issued this year – bait for bears. In fact, work published in a research paper released in July found baits comprised more than 40% of the diet of bears harvested in northern Wisconsin (“Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore” - Kirby, Pauli, and MacFarland, The Journal of Wildlife Management).  
Wisconsin allows 180 days of baiting beginning in mid-April through the end of the hunting season in October, virtually the entire active period for bears. The DNR estimates more than 4 million gallons of bear bait are placed annually throughout mostly northern Wisconsin.
Bears that are fatter going into winter have bigger litters. Bears mate in June but embryo implantation is delayed until the start of the denning season. If a sow goes into winter underweight and undernourished, the embryos won’t attach to the uterine wall and develop. The better fed she is, the more likely she’ll have more cubs than the normal two to three.
Regarding deer bait, how much is eaten by bears is impossible to determine, but bears are surely taking their share. Even in those counties where baiting and feeding deer is prohibited due to chronic wasting disease, baiting and feeding is permissible as long as the food isn't intended to draw in deer for hunting.
Bruce noted that he would have gladly shared some of the deer with a coyote, since a lone coyote could probably only eat up to five pounds of meat. But the bear, or bears, were a different story.

Deer and Wolf Talk in Mercer
            Keith McCaffery, retired Wisconsin state deer biologist from Rhinelander, and Adrian Wydeven, retired DNR wolf biologist who headed the DNR wolf program for 23 years, recently gave a highly informative talk in Mercer on the state’s deer and wolf populations. Wydeven discussed the recovery of wolves across the state, the recent wolf listings by the federal government and the impact of wolves on deer, beaver, and broader ecosystems. McCaffery discussed the dynamics of deer populations with and without wolves, reviewed the deer population “bubble” of 1995-2007, and offered thoughts on current management policies.
            I came away with many thoughts, but they all confirmed the extreme importance of scientific research. Both men provided extensive data derived from the best research done in the state and regionally, and then carefully offered their insights on the complex questions of where we need to go with management.
I was struck by one graph related to the Winter Severity Index, a measurement that helps gauge the effects of winter weather on deer survival. The index was developed in the early 1970’s and is calculated by adding the number of days with 18 inches or more of snow on the ground with the number of days when the minimum temperatures were 0°F or below. The severity of the winter is then based on the total number of points accumulated – a winter with an index of less than 50 is considered mild, 50 to 79 is moderate, 80 to 99 is severe, and over 100 is very severe. Note that WSI data is not collected in the southern portions of the state because the milder conditions don’t significantly impact the deer herds there.
In very severe winters, up to 30% of the deer herd may be lost, dramatically affecting the overall populations. In mild winters, deer survival is high as is reproductive success.
Historically, severe to very severe winter conditions were commonly reported across the northern forest region from the early 1960s through the late 1980s. From 1960-1989, there were 12 mild and 11 severe or very severe winters. However, over the last 26 winters from 1990 to 2016-17, we’ve experienced 19 mild winters (scores less than 50), 3 moderate, 1 severe, and 3 very severe, including the record-harsh WSI of 2013-14.
The deer population is controlled largely by three factors – winter severity, habitat, and hunting. If winters continue to be less of a limiting factor, and does continue to be excluded from harvesting, deer populations should rapidly rebound, and we’ll likely soon be back to the quandary of how to control our over-population of deer.
By the way, the winter of 2016–2017 rated as ‘mild’. The average WSI across 32 stations was 30.1 compared with a 57-yr average of 60.8 and median of 49.0. Assuming adequate habitat, the last three consecutive mild winters then should have resulted in a strong population recovery.
Time will tell, of course. The issue that concerns all wildlife managers now is that deer no longer have to be brought to a registration station – one can just go home and report a kill via computer or phone within 24 hours. So, now age and condition data, as well as confirmed numbers, can no longer be assessed. As a result, we’ve sacrificed the collection of scientific data for hunter convenience, and now we will manage deer based on stories and political bias/whim, a trade-off that is in no one’s best interest.
To add further to this foolishness, on 11/2 the State Assembly passed a bill (AB 455) 57-32 allowing people of any age to participate in a mentored hunt, effectively letting anyone hunt. The measure also eliminates the requirement that a hunter and mentor have only one weapon between them. This eliminates the state's minimum hunting age which currently requires that a resident must be at least 12 years old to purchase a hunting license or hunt with a gun unless they're participating in a mentored hunt (children as young as 10 can hunt under that program). The measure now goes to the State Senate.

Sightings – Tufted Titmouse, Snow Buntings, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Snowy Owls, Horned Larks
Joyce and Jim Stocker on Carlin Lake spotted a tufted titmouse on their feeders, and soon after, their neighbors Duane and Ann Swift also spotted a titmouse, presumably the same one, on their feeders. Tufted titmice nest as far north as central Wisconsin, so a sighting up our way is always an exciting event. During the past 70 years, the range of this species has expanded northward into New England and southern Canada, with climatic warming likely the most important factor along with bird feeders. Like northern cardinals and red-bellied woodpeckers, we can expect to see them nesting here in the next decade as climate change continues.

photo by Joyce Stocker

Migrating snow buntings are commonly being seen along roadsides. They’ll typically winter as far north as southern Wisconsin, where they can feed on the ground without worrying too much about deep snowfall, but they can winter further north if it’s a poor snow year.
Sarah Krembs sent me a photo of eight horned larks that were migrating through Powell Marsh on 10/20. Like snow buntings, they’ll migrate well south, but only need to go as far as where ground is exposed. We’ve never seen one up here in the winter, but a minimal snow year could make it possible.

photo by Sarah Krembs

The first snowy owls are being seen in the state. Six had been reported as of 10/31.
A female red-bellied woodpecker appeared at our feeders on 11/2. Why now and not all summer?

photo by Bee Engstrom

Sharon Lintereur sent me a fine photo of trumpeter swans that she and Erika Lintereur saw in Presque Isle. Some trumpeters will stay the winter, while others are now or will soon be migrating.

photo by Erika Lintereur


Cranes Staging
Staff at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area conducted their annual fall sandhill crane count on 10/30 and tabulated 10,929 cranes flying out from the marshes on Crex and the nearby Fish Lake Wildlife Areas.  Other major staging areas in Wisconsin include White River Marsh, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Sandhill State Wildlife Area, the Wisconsin River near the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, and Comstock Marsh.
As winter begins to set in, the cranes will catch mid-November winds, circle up to heights of 5,000 feet, and head further south, most to spend their winters in Florida.

Celestial Events
            Before dawn on 11/12, look for the North Taurid meteor shower, a modest event averaging about 10 meteors per hour. On 11/13, look before dawn for Venus just above Jupiter. Mars will be near the waning crescent moon on 11/14 and 11/15 – look before dawn again. On 11/16, look, you guessed it, before dawn for Jupiter about 4 degrees south of the moon. The peak Leonid meteor shower occurs before dawn on 11/17, offering an average of 15 meteors per hour. You can also see Venus about 4 degrees south of the moon that early morning. So, get up early this next week!

Thought for the Week
“A peculiar virtue in wildlife ethics is that the hunter ordinarily has no gallery to applaud or disapprove of his conduct. Whatever his acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers . . . The sportsman of the future must get his satisfactions by enlarging himself rather than by enlarging his bag.” - Aldo Leopold
           


Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Northwoods Almanac for 10/27/17

A Northwoods Almanac for October 27 – November 9, 2017  

Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Management Area
            Two weeks ago, Mary and I were driving to a national conference in New Mexico to set up Mary’s Ancestral Women weaving exhibit (see www.ancestralwomen.com) when the weather in Kansas forced us to take a more southerly route than we intended. The wind was howling (25-35 mph with gusts to 50 mph), and our main goal was to keep our car and U-Haul trailer on the road. We were also ooohing and aaahing at the hundreds of huge wind turbines spinning among the corn and sorghum fields when suddenly we found ourselves driving through wetlands and saw a large flock of unusual birds. Now identifying birds while driving at 65 mph tests the best birders, but we could see that these birds had long, decurved bills. And then we saw another flock, and another flock of the same kind – at least a hundred or more – and I wondered, are those ibises? Mary saw a sign for an interpretive center, so we braked hard and swung in to see what this place was and what those birds might be.


Well, we had stumbled upon Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Management Area, the largest interior marsh in the United States, and one of the most important shorebird migration stopover points in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly one-half of all North American shorebirds migrating east of the Rocky Mountains and up to one-quarter million waterfowl stop at Cheyenne Bottoms to rest and feed during seasonal migrations. In fact, 90% of North America's population of Wilson's phalarope, long-billed dowitcher, white-rumped sandpiper, Baird's sandpiper, and stilt sandpiper pass through this 40,000-acre lowland, a giant, 65-square-mile natural land sink in the prairie landscape which averages less than one foot deep.
It turned out that we were indeed seeing ibises, white-faced ibises, and while the fellow behind the desk seemed not particularly impressed or surprised, I sure was. I’ve only seen white-faced ibises a few times in my life, and only a couple at a time, so a hundred or more next to the road was over-the-top for me. Unfortunately, we were on a deadline to get to New Mexico, plus the howling wind was forcing most birds to hunker down, so we vowed to come back that way on our return trip five days later.
Return we did, but again the wind was cranking (there’s a reason for Kansas to be the site for The Wizard of Oz). Still, in an hour of birding, we found among other birds, hundreds of Franklin’s gulls, numerous great blue herons and snowy egrets, dozens of shorebirds, and the best looks we’ve ever had of two ferruginous hawks and a golden eagle. It’s clearly a place we should return to and spend a few days during the spring migration.
Cheyenne Bottoms is the midway point along the Central Flyway, a route birds use in traveling from the coastline of South America to the Arctic. It’s been designated a “Wetlands of International Importance” by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and a “Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Site” and a “Globally Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism uses dikes, pumps, and water diversions to control water levels on the nearly 20,000 acres it manages. The Nature Conservancy manages another nearly 8,000 acres, restoring grassland and marsh habitat with rotational grazing, prescribed fires, and other management techniques.
The Franklin’s gulls that we saw undertake an astounding migration. After nesting in the northern Great Plains, they fly to the Texas coast and continue to Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec. From there, they fly overland to the Pacific coast, which they then follow to southern Peru and northern Chile.

Wind Turbines!
We certainly experienced why Kansas is the second windiest in the nation. Gov. Sam Brownback has called for 50 percent of Kansas electricity to come from renewable energy, largely wind, by the end of his term, and it’s a goal they will likely reach in late 2018 or shortly thereafter.
Seeing all those windmills (in Iowa as well!) led me to research what impact windpower has on our national energy needs. Wind is the fastest growing source of new electricity generation in the U.S., currently producing 84,000 megawatts of wind power which will grow to about 120,000 megawatts in the next four years. At a national level, it’s now enough to power 25 million homes every year. Nationally, the industry employs more than 100,000 people.
There are over 52,000 large wind turbines in 41 states that now generate twice as much electricity as in 2010, the result of lower prices from more efficient turbines, federal and state tax credits, and state laws that require a certain percentage of many states’ total electricity generation to come from renewable energy.
Kansas has the second highest wind potential in the U.S. next to Texas, with an estimated 952,000 MW possible capacity. Only Texas, Oklahoma, California and Iowa currently produce more windpower.
Economically, the state’s utilities continue to like wind power because, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, it has become competitive with the least expensive competing energy source, which is now conventional gas-fired turbines.
Forecasts indicate that for every 1,000 MW of wind developed in Kansas, cumulative economic benefits will be $1.08 billion, with annual CO2 reduction estimated at 3.2 million tons, and annual water savings at 1,816 million gallons. 
Windpower, however, still has controversies. Turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year, and some residents fight their power lines and their visual impacts. Consider, however, that more than 1 billion birds are killed by domestic house cats, and another billion are killed by flying into windows and buildings.
2016 numbers from the U.S. Energy Department show wind energy generated 6 percent of America’s electricity. By comparison, 34 percent comes from natural gas, 30 percent from coal, 20 percent from nuclear, 6 percent from hydropower, and 1 percent from solar.

Bat Populations in the Northwoods
Grant Callow gave me a call to share that he hasn’t seen any bats at his home on White Sand Lake in two years, and he used to see many bats. He noted that he had called Paul White, a mammal ecologist for the WDNR’s Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation who has been studying the decline in bats, and recommended I contact him.
Paul was raised in Mercer, and I knew him as a student at the school, so I was pleased to have an excuse to email him. He wrote back quickly, sharing a good deal of data. Here’s what he had to say: “The testimonial of ‘my bats are gone’ is a report we heard throughout the northwoods beginning this summer. The number reported to us from bat roost sites in the summer (at least in the north) are now mirroring the losses observed in the winter. These losses are strikingly evident at places where summer roosts have been monitored over years with good baseline information to compare to, but also now to the casual observer where they knew (and perhaps took for granted) that bats were always “around”.
            “The statewide cave-hibernating population has dropped substantially from pre-disease numbers, especially in the northern half of the state. Truth be told, there aren’t many known hibernacula in northern Wisconsin, less than five, and only one had large numbers (<1,000 bats). However, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has a plethora of hibernating locations in the form of abandoned ore and copper mines, and these sites likely harbored a great percentage of bats that use northern WI in the summer.
“Like WI, the UP first observed white-nose syndrome (WNS) in its hibernacula in the 2013-2014 hibernating season, so there have been three to four (depending on the site) long years of infection taking its toll on cave-hibernating bats (little brown, northern long-eared, eastern pipistrelle and big brown bats). Evidence out east (where the disease has been for a decade) indicates that years three and four of infection are where the greatest population declines are observed from pre-WNS numbers, again strictly speaking in terms of bats found in the winter. While I don’t have specific numbers for the UP, this trend has, regrettably, held true-to-form in WI where we have observed an overall percent change in all cave bat species from pre-WNS numbers of -94.2% (n=8 sites) in year three of infection and in year four of infection (only one site) we see a -98.1% decline from baseline information.”
If you’ve not heard of the deadly fungal disease called white-nose syndrome, it was first documented in 2006 growing on the muzzles and wings of hibernating bats in a New York cave. The disease causes mass mortality in hibernating bats, and population die-offs of 90-100% are not uncommon. WNS has spread to 29 states and five Canadian provinces, and over 6 million bats have died from WNS since 2007. Over twenty sites in thirteen Wisconsin counties are infected as of fall 2016.

Lipp Lake Trail
            ICORE (Iron Country Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts) organized a trail clean-up last weekend on Lipp Lake Trail, a half-mile loop that is marked as #14 on the Flambeau Flowage Auto Tour. Twelve folks showed up with chain saws and hand tools, and in two hours, we had the trail cleared. I went back the next day to measure some of the large white pines along the trail, and found one that measured 42” in diameter, and many others that were over 36” in diameter. If you want to take an easy hike to see some big pines, I recommend the trail.

42" diameter white pine photo by Mary Burns
Sightings
            Gold. That’s the landscape-wide sighting right now – the gold of aspen leaves, birch leaves, willow leaves, grasslands and wetlands, and tamaracks. Soon enough, all that gold will turn to brown, and November will impose its austerity upon us.
            Marlene Rasmussen in Springstead reports that a female cardinal has just started coming to her feeders. I hope it stays the winter for her – a cardinal at your feeder sure lights up an otherwise ordinary day.

Celestial Events
            For planet-watching in November, the only visible planet after dusk is Mercury, low in the southwestern twilight. However, before dawn, look for Venus low in the east, Mars very low in the southeast, and Jupiter to emerge low in the east by mid-month.
            As of 11/3, we’re down to 10 hours of daylight.
            The moon becomes officially full just after midnight on 11/4.
            The mid-point between fall equinox and winter solstice occurs on 11/6.                               

Thought for the Week
            Since Mary and I were in Kansas recently, it’s only appropriate to quote from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”                                                          



A Northwoods Almanac for 10/13/17

A Northwoods Almanac for October 13- 26, 2017 

Snapping Turtles Hatching
            David Moyer sent me photos of hatchling snapping turtles climbing out of their nest near St. Germain on 9/25, a date that would seem late for snappers to still be hatching. However, snapper eggs typically hatch after 90 to 120 days depending on the soil’s summer warmth and moisture, so hatching usually occurs in September in this area. 

photo by David Moyer
                                                                 
           The quarter-size hatchlings dig out of the nest and somehow know to head straight for the nearest water, an ability likely associated with their highly evolved sensory organs. Snapping turtles have extremely good eyesight both above and under water and can even see straight above their heads because of the position of their eyes. They also hear very well, and anecdotal accounts suggest snapping turtles also have an extremely good sense of smell. So, perhaps they can hear or smell water, which may account for their beeline to water.
The fact that these eggs hatched is remarkable in itself. Only about 14% of all clutches emerge annually, the nests destroyed by mammalian predators like skunks, raccoons, mink, and red foxes. An undisturbed nest in a good year can produce up to 50 hatchlings, but still only about 15 hatchlings will leave a successful nest (emergence success is only about 20 to 45%).                        After beating the heavy odds to even hatch, predation on the hatchlings is heavy, especially during the first year, and only slightly lower during the 2nd and 3rd year, as raccoons, mink, weasel, skunks, herons, and large fish consume them while they are still under three inches in length. Thus, the probability of survival from egg to adulthood is 1 in 1445 individuals, while the probability of survival from hatching to adulthood is 1 in 133. Female snappers are most susceptible to an early death, leading to a probability of death between hatching and breeding age of 99.17%. Annual recruitment (the number of juveniles reaching maturity in any given year) into the breeding population of males and females is only 1 to 1.8%.
Soil temperature determines the sex of the hatchlings, males occurring more commonly after cool summers, and females more prevalent after warm summers.
The hatchlings and juveniles live apart from the adult turtles in small streams with very shallow water, up to 20 inches deep, where they can reach the surface while standing on the bottom. The hatchlings and juveniles struggle to move against a current and are thought to slowly make their way down into deeper lakes as they mature into adults.
While some adult snapping turtles are still moving around at the beginning of October, they all move to their hibernating areas by the middle of the month. Hibernating sites must offer access to either dissolved or atmospheric oxygen, and must be deep enough so the turtles don’t freeze to the bottom.
Each body of water only offers a few premium sites for hibernation, so many snapping turtles literally hibernate in a pile together, and often stack directly on top of each other with the males on top of the females, perhaps to protect the females from both predation and thickening ice.
Adult snappers have no natural enemies (other than human morons who purposely kill them on roads), so they usually live a long life and die of old age during the winter. Confirmed annual adult mortality is only about 1%, which means that 60% of the individuals reaching maturity will live to age 50.

Sightings
Denise Fauntleroy sent me photos of a pair of gray jays that have appeared in her yard near Watersmeet, MI, and whom she is now feeding to try to keep them around.

photo by Denise Fauntleroy

White deer are relatively common in our area, but seeing one is always a treat. Sarah Krembs sent me a photo of a doe eating crabapples off a driveway near Manitowish Waters.
Jim Swartout sent a photo on 9/23 of a Tennessee warbler that hit one of his windows in Minocqua and revived shortly thereafter. 

photo by Jim Swartout

Since the breeding range of Tennessee’s is restricted almost entirely to the boreal forest zone of Canada, this bird was a late migrant heading for its wintering grounds in Central and northern South America. Some have suggested that the species would be more appropriately named “coffee warbler,” because of its strong affinity for wintering in coffee plantations in Central America. Recent studies have affirmed the importance in particular of shade coffee plantations for Tennessee Warblers, yet another reason for coffee drinkers to be sure to only buy coffee that is shade-grown. As many as 150 species of birds utilize shade-grown coffee plantations. Modern “sun” coffee plantations, planted after clear-cutting tropical forests, harbor few wintering birds.
Sue Stanke in Park Falls sent me photos of painted lady butterflies that were feeding on asters near the Fifield post office. And we’ve had numerous painted ladies nectaring on asters in our yard as well. What is remarkable about painted ladies is that they are migratory, and their journey rivals that of monarchs. Painted ladies are found throughout much of the world, except for South America and Australia. A 2014 study found that most European populations appear to undertake long-range migratory flights to tropical Africa, thus crossing the combined hazards of the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. If butterflies truly are making that flight in one generation, they could be traveling more than 2,400 miles – a potential record for a migratory insect.


Green darner dragonflies have also been migrating south since late August and may not finish their migration until late October. Thanks to radio telemetry, we know that these dragonflies, which weigh about one gram, can migrate over 400 miles. Professional hawk counter Frank Nicoletti at Hawk Ridge in Duluth documented common green darners migrating down the North Shore of Lake Superior, providing food for migrating kestrels and merlins who also migrate during the early fall. Some green darners are also non-migratory, laying eggs in summer that hatch out as larvae and overwinter underwater.
Robins have been migrating through in large numbers. The hawk counters on Hawk Ridge in Duluth counted 11,391 robins alone on 9/28.
Witch hazel, perhaps our latest flowering shrub, is still in flower and will remain in flower well into November.
Tamaracks are coming now into their full smoky gold color, an event I always look forward to every Octdober.

Celestial Events
On 10/17, look for Mars, Venus, and crescent moon grouped together in the pre-dawn sky. The new moon occurs on 10/19.
In the pre-dawn of 10/21, look for the peak Orionid meteor shower. The Orionid meteors radiate out from Orion, the Hunter. It’s a modest shower, averaging around 20 per hour.
On 10/23 and 10/24, look after dusk for Saturn near the waxing crescent moon.
We’re down to 10 hours and 29 minutes of daylight as of 10/23.
            To view the International Space Station, go to https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/ and type in your town to get exact times and sky locations.

Finch Forecast
            Ron Pittaway, an ornithologist in Ontario, produces an annual “Finch Forecast” that we birders scour in hopes that Canadian birds will be showing up at our feeders this winter. The cone crop in the Northeast “is the best cone crop in a decade or more,” says Pittaway, which means most winter finches will stay north. One of our favorite winter birds, bohemian waxwings, look like they’ll stay north, too, because the mountain ash berry crop is excellent. On the other hand, common redpolls and pine siskins may be more abundant because of poor birch and alder seed crops. As usual, time will tell, and species reports will be locally specific depending on where the food is most abundant.
            I’m glad it’s still hard to predict bird populations and movements. A little mystery combined with a little randomness makes for a deeper appreciation.

Thought for the Week
“The universe is a unity, an interacting, evolving, and genetically related community of beings bound together in an inseparable relationship in space and time. Our responsibilities to each other, to the planet, and to all of creation are implicit in this unity, and each of us is profoundly implicated in the functioning and fate of every other being on the planet.” – Thomas Berry