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New Look for the New Year

Hi everyone. I’ve had a little spare time on my hands like many of you during this challenging year.  Dinking around on the computer, I thought I’d play around to see if I could tweak my site (yet again) and address requests I’ve had asking for larger previews.  After a number of iterations I realized that I would begrudgingly have to forego my tried and true method and experiment approaching it from another angle.  Lo and behold, I found a […]

Striped Skunk Family

I was tickled to be able to witness this momma Striped Skunk (sp. Mephitis mephitis) as she led her five cute little kits on an adventure. Most likely born sometime in May or perhaps the end of April, having opened their eyes for the first time when they were three weeks old, these kits have been learning life’s lessons and the skills they’ll need from their mother. Of course, the art of effective spraying is partly learned, they are able […]

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
— Albert Einstein

American Pika

One of my favorite little critters is the American Pika (sp. Ochotona princeps). These small yet robust, hard working, unbearably cute little fur balls have fascinated me for years. Unfortunately, they are not found in my region of the country so when I found myself in the high mountains of Colorado, I just HAD to go to looking for them. Typically, American Pika make their home at elevations above tree line. Where’s that? In this case, it was between 11,000 […]

Wildlife Photography: Part 1 – Code of Ethics

by Deb Tappan “Whether you’re out hiking in the backcountry or sightseeing from your car, having a chance encounter with wildlife is a magnificent and treasured moment. Watching little elk calves speed running zigzag among the herd or glimpsing a bear munching on glacier lilies are sights that captivate and inspire us all.”   – Deb For many however, the experience is so overpowering they lose sight of the fact that the subject of their admiration is a wild creature. Yes, […]

Wildlife Photography: Part 2 – Tips to Get You Started

by Deb Tappan “Exploring wilderness areas and viewing wildlife in all its varied forms is a thrilling experience. You have the opportunity to witness the intricacies of our natural environment and the interplay of species and habitats. What a delight! To capture any of it photographically is a special treat. No need to ask why I do it; no need to wonder why I tote camera bodies, lenses, tripod, extra batteries, along with the other essentials (water, etc.) while hiking. […]

Wildlife Photography: Part 3 – The Issue of Baiting Wildlife

by Deb Tappan The idea of using attractants, known as baiting, to photograph wildlife is a controversial one. Baiting wild animals is dangerous for both the photographer and animal. There are those who choose to bait but with that approach comes great responsibility. At the very least, you are training wild animals to disregard their natural protective instincts when you bait. At the very worst, you are causing them to become dependent on a food source that you alone are […]

Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics

We’d like to thank the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics for allowing us to post their Leave No Trace Principles here. To learn more about how you can minimize your impact when visiting wilderness areas, go to: Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. – Cheers, DST Plan Ahead and Prepare: Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit. Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use. […]

Adopt A Pet, Please

By Utah (the dog, not the state) Tappan “Hi everyone! My name is Utah. I’m Deb’s “littlest peanut” and all around dog pal! We’re strong proponents of pet adoption from area shelters and rescues and equally strong opponents to “puppy mills” and the like. Was I adopted? You betcha! But did you know that nationally fewer than 50% of the animals in shelters find homes and that the fate of the others is, sadly, euthanasia? That’s why I’m writing this […]

Species Tally Update: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

by Deb Tappan UPDATED May 27, 2022: As of May 27, 2022, within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (a UNESCO-MAB World Heritage Site), the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory has identified 1049 species “new to science” and 10626 species “new to the park”. In total to date, there are 21346 species known to exist within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with an additional 10’s of thousands yet to be discovered. Prior to the efforts of the ATBI, only 9666 […]