Swamps get a bad rap. People think of ‘swamps’ as the most ugly, mucky, gross place to be (heck, Shrek lives in one), but the word ‘swamp’ merely means a forested wetland. What are two of the most popular destinations for nature walks? Forests and wetlands, baby! Swamps are gorgeous and super vital to the ecosystem!
This beautiful destination is the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia:
Ever heard of the “Great Dismal Swamp” in Virginia? Do you imagine the most depressing, gross, scary place you’ve ever seen? It might look a bit haunting, but look how gorgeous the Great Dismal Swamp can be:
Oh yeah, did I mention that swamps are unbelievably rich in wildlife and rare plant species? For example, the Great Dismal Swamp has over 200 species of birds, over 70 species of reptiles and amphibians, and booming mammal populations (you’re very likely to see black bears and otters, for example). That doesn’t sound so dismal to me.
Speaking of wildlife, the Pantanal swamps in Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia are home to some rare and gorgeous animals like jaguars, hyacinth macaws, capybaras, caiman, giant otters, maned wolves, and more.
It’s easy to understand why swamps might get a bad reputation. They’re hard to travel on foot (many swamps now have boardwalk trails and canoe tours), and the stagnant water can smell bad and give a home to many bugs, which spread diseases. Cool animals like crocodiles and jaguars are bad news if you’re lost in the swamp and come face to face with one. But swamps are super important to the planet and are often way more beautiful than what you may be picturing!
One cool thing swamps do is absorb excess water like sponges so the surrounding areas don’t get badly flooded. In addition to the many animals that live in swamps, swamp plants often have medicinal value or other practical purposes. And despite their reputation for being dirty, swamps actually purify water because their thick plant growth and soil absorb impurities in the water!
"The Neukom Vivarium by Mark Dion is a hybrid work of sculpture, architecture, environmental education, and horticulture. This 60-foot-long nurse log, with its ongoing cycles of decay and renewal, represents the complex processes of a natural ecosystem."
Fungi are everywhere but they are easy to miss. They are inside you and around you. They sustain you and all that you depend on. As you read these words, fungi are changing the way that life happens, as they have done for more than a billion years. They are eating rock, making soil, digesting pollutants, nourishing and killing plants, surviving in space, inducing visions, producing food, making medicines, manipulating animal behaviour and influencing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel and behave. Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view, and more than 90 per cent of their species remain undocumented. The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.
Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures
The seeps and headwaters that feed Appalachia's rivers and streams, such as Scott Run in Coopers Rock State Forest (above), are key to the local ecosystem’s ability to absorb, hold, and distribute water, control flooding, and maintain high quality habitat for the region’s incredible biodiversity. These source waters are the most vulnerable hydrologic features of the mountains, the first to be adversely impacted by mining and deforestation. Despite Appalachia's long struggle with devastating flooding and degraded water quality, work is underway in many parts of the region to restore previously-impaired lands and headwaters. That’s good news for this chubby Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (bottom photo), which this past Saturday was busy with spring mating duties in one of the headwaters of Scott Run.
Check out this little dude. This is a whirligig beetle!
They get their name (i think) from the way they love to rapidly swim around in circles. They're a common sight on the shores of any freshwater pond or lake in the Summer.
Their sleek, streamlined design serves a similar purpose as in diving beetles - to make them hydrodynamic (faster in the water). And they are quite fast swimmers! You'd be hard pressed to catch one without a net.
Here's a couple of them swimming! Look at that stroke! Little Olympic contenders! They even have a little "paddle" on their rear that helps them push through the water!
Their speed is mostly for evading predators. Their food sources aren't very fast - consisting mostly of water mites, snails, and small insect larvae. These guys, like dragonfly nymphs, help cut down on mosquito larvae, making them very beneficial!
But above all, I think the coolest thing about whirligig beetles is this:
Look closely - these beetles have FOUR EYES. Now, having more than 2 eyes is actually pretty common in the insect world. Many have 3 or more eyes. However, these "extra" eyes are usually small ocelli, or "simple eyes" that can't do much besides sensing the relative light level throughout the day.
Whirligig beetles have 4, real-deal, massive compound eyes that give them excellent vision. But why 4? It has to do with the fact that whirligigs swim on the exact surface of the water! Two of their eyes look above for predators, while the two on the bottom search for prey (and for other predators)!
(image source: National Geographic)
This amazing adaptation is similar to the four-eyed fish. It only has 2 eyes, but each one has two pupils, giving it the same ability as the whirligig beetle!
Next time you're near a freshwater shore, look for these cool little swimmers. The beetles themselves might be a little tough to spot, but the swirling of water and subsequent ripples they make will make it obvious when they're around.
Hope you enjoyed these tid-bits about these bugs! It goes to show that even common insects can have mesmerizingly cool traits of their own!
During the dry season, some Bettas can get stuck in puddles -- but they avoid this and will jump to greater levels of water when possible.
This survival fact about Bettas is embraced and amplified by the pet industry because it creates huge opportunities for profit -- the sale of more Bettas and tiny "tanks" that falsely suggest they mimic a Betta's habitat.
Aquariums are artificial environments, not natural ecosystems. A Betta will not be happy in such cramped conditions (e.g. tanks under 1 gal), just as it would not enjoy getting trapped in a puddle!
In the comfort of our homes, Bettas shouldn't just be surviving!
Please consider signing this petition for Petco to raise the recommended minimum Betta fish tank size in their “Betta Care Sheet” from 0.25 gallon to 3 gallon:
The fact that right now, all around the world, there are little bugs.
Little snails, spiders, caterpillars, bees, you name it. Little frogs, and big ones too.
Just sitting on leaves, or trees or ground. Not doing anything in particular, just existing. Some of them may be munching on those leaves, or looking around, or taking a nap.
And on the forest floor, there are little mushrooms. Little plants, slime mold and patches of moss. Just growing. Living. Existing.
Completely unaware of and unbothered by our big bad human worries.
With no ability or need to ever comprehend anything we associate with modernday life.
I think about that a lot, it makes me so happy.
Some of the world’s biggest mining companies have withdrawn requests to research and extract minerals on Indigenous land in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, and have repudiated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s efforts to legalize mining activity in the areas. The Brazilian Mining Association (Ibram), which represents around 130 companies, conducted an internal survey of its members earlier this year, according to Raul Jungmann, its president. For the first time in decades, none of the companies have current research or mining applications for gold, tin, nickel, iron and other ores in Indigenous areas, he said. The collective retreat comes as Bolsonaro insists Indigenous territories contain mineral resources vital to bringing prosperity to both the nation and native peoples. Brazil’s Constitution states that mining can only take place on Indigenous lands after getting informed consent and under laws that regulate the activity. More than three decades later, such legislation still hasn’t been approved. Source: AP News (link in bio) #Brazil #sustainability #ecosystem #indigenouspeople https://www.instagram.com/p/Cd5uw5aLdJE/?igshid=NGJjMDIxMWI=
Lissoni Casal Ribeiro for Skyhive 2020 skycraper Challenge
Inspired by nature, the concept proposes a complete, self-sufficient ecosystem. the multi-use tower collects rainwater and gathers energy from the sun and the wind, transforming it from its tensioned cables into electricity to be used by inhabitants.
When you walk through a forest that has not been tamed and interfered with by man, you will see not only abundant life all around you, but you will also encounter fallen trees and decaying trunks, rotting leaves and decomposing matter at every step. Wherever you look, you will find death as well as life. Upon closer scrutiny, however, you will discover that the decomposing tree trunk and rotting leaves not only give birth to new life, but are full of life themselves. Microorganisms are at work. Molecules are rearranging themselves. So death isn't to be found anywhere. There is only the metamorphosis of life forms. What can you learn from this? Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.
It may be from this ghost shark, also known as a chimera, swimming in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. While related to sharks, these deep sea cartilaginous fish species genetically diverged from their shark relatives nearly 400 million years ago!
(Photo: Hariotta Raleighana/NOAA. Image description: Ghost shark with ghastly coloration, and eerie large black eyes.)
Their name literally means “vampire squid of hell”. Despite its name, it’s not quite a squid, but it’s a distant relation of both the squid and octopi. It’s in its own category. Since they live in the Mesopelagic zone, they’re difficult to study, so we really don’t know too much about them!
more people need to shop at thrift stores, rummage sales, estate sales, consignment, flea markets, and the like. I don't care if you can afford new stuff, if you think it's dirty, if you don't feel like spending the time sifting through things you don't want. fast fashion and other quick moving industries are killing us.
so many thrift shops are begging people to buy more, and they have to stop taking donations for a while. a lot of rummage sale sellers will throw out what they don't sell by the end of the weekend, and they can negotiate and give you deals..
even if you don't want clothes, chances are you will find something you needed anyways, or find something you didn't know you needed. I promise you can find time in your hurried schedule to make a weekend out of rummage saling, and it's so much more fun then taking a minute to add a new shirt to your cart on amazon.
and while you're at it, set up a rummage sale of your own if you can, even in favor of listing it online. there's people in your community who will take a weekend to check it out, and those people are often in need of cheaper options for things like clothes, shoes, kitchenware, etc.
and please for the love of god if am item is still in working condition, use it as long as possible, or give it/sell it away if you must. do not throw away perfectly good items.