Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wildlife Wonders

     On Friday, I was rushing to get to work, earlier than my usual start time. We were hosting a seminar for land improvement contractors and serving breakfast. As I sped along a frosty and hilly blacktop, I was looking out for deer - trying to avoid them and the ensuing visit to the local body shop. It wasn't long before a flash of fur ran across the road in front of me. The animal was moving so fast, that I didn't even need to hit the brakes. This common Illinois mammal wasn't a deer, but a coyote. These native carnivores belong to the dog family and enjoy feasting on smaller mammals and even tasted a couple of my coworker's chickens earlier in the week.

     In my mad dash to get to on time, I frequently view birds and mammals. Lately I've enjoyed seeing bald eagles soaring above and perched in trees along the Hennepin Canal.  Many of the animals I see as an adult, I rarely or never saw as a child, even though we lived on a farm and had plenty of countryside for wildlife to roam. Whether I see a pesky coyote that may be bothersome to farmers raising livestock, or a majestic bald eagle, I am glad to have the opportunity to view these animals and even happier that my daughters can see them too.  On the way home from visiting our family this weekend, we spotted at least ten deer grazing n one field. My daughters were amazed. In my youth, it was unusual to see just one deer at a time.

     As children spend more and more time learning and entertaining themselves with electronic devices, getting kids outdoors is even more important. Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk books are intended to be read and used outdoors to teach readers about nature.  I am very excited that my fourth book in the series, Rachel and Sammy Learn to Conserve, is almost complete and will be released in the next few weeks. This book is a little different from the previous books, but it still contains realistic illustrations, colorful photographs, and a fun and educational storyline that will help children learn different ways to conserve natural resources. Please stay tuned for details!