Saturday, August 31, 2013

Where did my summer go and how can I get it back?

It seems like just yesterday I went back to work after having the month of July off and now it is Labor Day weekend. School is starting on Tuesday ... how is that possible? How did I manage to miss the entire month of August?

July was filled with adventures like our Zoo Road Trip (yes, I know I still have to tell you about that - soon, I promise) and then it was Dylan's birthday, and we got Tiga, and then we hosted Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp ... oh, and someplace in there I guess the month of July whizzed by too.

So yesterday I decided that I was not going to let another day of summer go by without me. It was time to watch the sunset with my own two eyes instead of through everyone's pictures on twitter and Instagram.

So Dylan and I set out to find a cliff overlooking the ocean where we could enjoy a little picnic dinner and watch the sunset. This was our beautiful view of Newport Harbor with Catalina Island in the background.

After a long day of hot and humid weather, the gentle yet warm breeze felt nice.
What I thought was a large storm cloud earlier in the day decided to spread out over the ocean, which gave way to another spectacular SoCal sunset.

And so another day is done.
At least this one didn't slip by without me noticing the beauty in it.

Good-bye summer. Hopefully we can spend more time together next year.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy World Orangutan Day!

We share 98% of their DNA. They deserve our 100% commitment to save them. 


By saving their homes, we can save the orangutans. Download the Palm Oil Shopping Guide today and start making a difference for these red-headed beauties. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Time to Get Wild with Nat Geo WILD & the return of America the Wild

While most parents limit the amount of television their children watch, I have the complete opposite approach. You see, my son loves to watch educational shows and documentaries – especially the ones on Nat Geo WILD!

Last night we had the opportunity to preview the season premiere episode of America the Wild: Monster Wolf and we loved every minute of it. In true Casey Anderson form, he had us both on the edge of our seats and holding our breath to see what would happen next. There were even a few times when my son said, “That’s insane!” and “Casey has the best job ever!”

If you are not familiar with the series America the Wild or Casey Anderson, then you must tune in to the Nat Geo WILD channel this Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the season premiere. This marks the fourth season of the popular series and I’m sure we are in for some amazing adventures.

As a wildlife expert and naturalist, Casey Anderson lives and breathes wildlife. This season he will take us across North America to explore the lives of wolves, mountain lions, moose, bighorn sheep, and other elusive and endangered animals.

In the premiere episode America the Wild: Monster Wolf, Casey ventures to Canada’s wild West Coast in search of clues to some unusual wolf behavior on Vancouver Island. Most wolves keep their distance from humans, but the wolves in Tofino are not like most wolves - because these wolves are approaching and in some instances attacking humans.

Are these so-called “monster-wolves” purebred wolves, hybrid wolves, or some sort of wolf-dog breed? Be sure to watch this Sunday, August 18, 2013 to learn what truths Casey and his tracking skills discover about the wolves. I promise you will be glad you did.

Casey Anderson watches a hungry hybrid wolf-dog tear apart an elk carcass at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. Photo Credit: Grizzly Creek Films, LLC/Rick Smith

Breathtaking scenery from a tree top and a bald eagle had me saying “Wow, that’s amazing”! Casey Anderson on a beach at night with a pack of hungry wolves and an animal carcass had me saying “Wow, that’s amazing”! No matter how you look at it, whether it be the film footage National Geographic is known for or the fearless adventures that Casey lives for, America the Wild is a must see for all wildlife enthusiasts.

You can find America the Wild episode guide on the Nat Geo website. Future episodes include Mountian Lion vs. Bighorn, American Vampire, and Super Moose. Make sure to set your DVR's so you don't miss a single episode.

About Nat Geo Wild:
For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming. The networks Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD, launched in 2010, offer intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air that draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists of the National Geographic Society.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dylan shares his love of Southern White Rhinos through writing

Last spring Dylan was given a writing assignment in school and told that he had to write a paper about his favorite animal. He had to do research about his chosen animal and then write a seven paragraph paper, which he would read aloud to the class. I have never seen him so excited to write a school paper. 

He said other kids were writing about cats, dogs, bunnies, horses ... the usual stuff, but he was going to figure out a way to write about conservation. Yep, he saw an opportunity to bring awareness to the plight of the rhinos and he ran with it. 

Today I am sharing his paper with you in hopes that he can make one more person aware. 

Southern White Rhinos
by: Dylan Fryer

The White Rhino is one of the most beautiful animals in Africa. It is endangered. That means there are not many left in the wild. They are all dying because poachers are hunting them for their horns. The Southern White Rhino is the least endangered of the living rhino species. 

The scientific name for the Southern White Rhino is Ceratotherium simum. It means "horned wild beast with a flat nose" in Greek. White Rhinos are native to the African savannah. They are found in Botswana, Nambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda. 

The Southern White Rhino is unique because of its two sharp horns. The front horn is about 40 inches, but can grow to 79 inches. The back horn can be 22 inches. Their horns are made of keratin. Poachers think the horns have medicinal value, but they do not. Rhino horn is not medicine. It is keratin, just like our fingernails and hair. 

The White Rhino is a grazer. It is identified by its square lip. White Rhinos feed mostly on short grasses and like to wallow in the mud. Like all rhinos they are ungulates, which is a hooved animal. They have excellent hearing and good sense of smell, but very bad eye sight. 

Next to the elephant, the White Rhino is the largest land mammal. Male White Rhinos weigh up to 4,400 lbs. to 7,920 lbs. and females weigh up to 3.080 lbs. to 3,740 lbs. White Rhinos can grow up to 11-14 feet long and 5-6 feet high at shoulder height. Even though White Rhinos are big, they can run at 30 m.p.h. for short distances. That is an impressive animal.

White Rhinos can live up to 50 years. With a lifespan like that people think that there would be a lot of them left. There's actually not many because over the past three years poachers have killed an average of two rhinos a day. With a gestation period of sixteen months, they will never catch up. This is why rhino conservation is important. 

Not many people know that Southern White Rhinos are endangered. In 1895 the Southern White Rhino was thought to be extinct until a small population was discovered. Now there are 20,600 Southern White Rhinos left. That's the power of rhino conservation! 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I never get tired of watching sunsets

I still say the best cure for a bad day is watching the sunset. Watching that big ball of fire get smaller and smaller and finally disappearing below the horizon ... perfection in my book.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My son will always come first in my life

Something I learned when I became a parent was that the needs of my child would take precedence over my own needs. I thought this would change as my son got older - and in some aspects it has, but not entirely.

I am at a point in my life where I would like some things to change. I am thinking about a career change and a possible move, which would be a done deal if it was just me. However, I have a son and I will always be a parent first. So I must put on my mom hat, the one filled with rationality, before making any hasty decisions.

Would it be fair to pull him from his school where is very happy? Would it be right to go back on promises of future vacations because a new job won't give me the time off I have now? Do I just continue down the path we are on for a little longer? Maybe make some modifications, but no major changes?

I've spent the last week thinking about nothing but the future and the changes that I will or won't make. Countless hours on the internet looking at my options. Sleepless nights with tears of frustration, followed by 3-4 cup coffee mornings. Nobody ever said that being a parent was easy, but they also didn't say how tough it was being a single parent.

Every single choice I make will effect my son and I need to make sure that I am making the right choices. Not just what is best for me, but what is best for us - for my family. Now 10 years old, my son is still determining the path that I take in life and that is perfectly ok with me.

Some people may think I am wrong for thinking this way, but my son will always come first in my life. He is a pretty incredible kid with some big dreams of making this world a better place. Making his hopes and dreams come true is my priority. I had 32 years to myself before him and in 8 short years he will be off to college - so for now there will be no major changes -we will continue down this path together. Laughing and loving every minute of our adventure.