Friday, February 28, 2014

Dian Fossey continues to spark a love for mountain gorillas

I have never known anyone, let alone a child, who had such passion for something. Such a strong desire to learn everything they possibly could, and then still want to learn more. That is, until my son Dylan.

While researching topics for his new business, Dylan's Animal Adventures, we came across an article about Dian Fossey. He asked me who she was and wanted to know more about her and her work with the mountain gorillas. I suggested we watch the movie Gorillas in the Mist together. The outcome was not what I expected.

The interest was there. The understanding of what was happening during the movie was there. The concept that this was based on a true story was there. And the heart of a little boy who desperately wants to save all the animals was there when Digit was killed by poachers. The tears were flowing. It was real for him. No longer a movie, but a real animal that had been taken from this world, from his family.

Dylan did not want to watch the rest of the movie, but I encouraged him to watch and to see the wonderful work that Dian Fossey did for the mountain gorilla species.

After the movie ended I asked him what he thought of Gorillas in the Mist.

He said awesome.

What do you think about Dian Fossey?

She was wonderful. She really loved the gorillas and they loved her.

How did the movie make you feel?

It makes me want to do even more for the mountain gorillas now.

Yes, Dian Fossey, 28 years after your passing, you are still an inspiration and an advocate for the mountain gorillas. Your passion will live on in those like you and we will continue to fight for your mountain, for your gorillas, and for Digit.

To learn more about Dian Fossey, there is a wonderful article from the National Geographic archives that you can read here.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When a camera lens meets a tree, the result is magical

I recently spent several hours, ok maybe an entire day, clearing out all 2,000 plus pictures from my iPhone and putting them on Flickr for storage. As daunting as this task was, it was also a wonderful trip down memory lane. Some pictures made me happy and and others made me long for days gone by and friends that are no longer with us.

One thing that I noticed was how much I love pictures of trees. Why did I stop taking pictures of trees? I need to take more tree pictures. There is something about capturing a tree that is so magical.

Changing seasons against the fall sky at sunset 

Things are looking up - Springtime is here 

Greeting the day with a beautiful sunrise  

The barren trees of winter

and the magical tree that comes to life at sunset

The time of year does not matter. Winter, spring, summer, or fall. What matters is that your camera lens takes the time to meet a tree. To capture the beauty of a tree and to watch the magic come to life when the two become one.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Why do you do what you do?

Do you ever ask yourself this question? Do you ever wonder what makes you make the choices you make?

Last week someone asked me why I still have this blog and I was speechless. Um, what do you mean by "still"? Was there a reason I should have stopped that I am not aware of? I sat for a minute and pondered the question. Why do I have this blog?

Well, as the name of my blog says, Life with Dylan Inspires me to see the world a little differently than I did before. So I guess this is where someone could use the word, still.

Yes, the subject matter of my blog changed a few years ago, but that is because my muse changed. What inspires me to write and to share changed. So why do I continue?

I am a writer - and writers need to write. I am a photographer - and photographers need to share their pictures.

As a conservationist, I have a passion for saving the world. Can one person save the world? Probably not, but one person can make a difference ... and I intend to do just that by creating awareness. Whether one person or a hundred people read what I write does not matter to me. What does matter to me is that the people who do read my blog are inspired in some small way to make a difference of their own.

Maybe I will inspire someone to start recycling, or to make that photography hobby a way to share the world with others. Maybe I will teach someone about an endangered animal and maybe, just maybe they will share what they learned. You see, sharing is the foundation of creating awareness.

I write because I want to share. I share what I am passionate about.

Writing and taking pictures makes me happy.

So, back to the question. Why do I do what I do?

Because it makes me happy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Watching Mother Nature

Have you ever watched Mother Nature? Have you ever sat in pure amazement at what she holds in her hands?

If you are like me, then you probably need to continually remind yourself to take the time. The time to watch nature ... because nature is all around us and does not stop for our busy lives.

A few weeks ago Dylan told me about a hummingbird nest at my parents house; so of course I had to see for myself and take a picture. Holding my phone as close to the nest as possible without touching the branch was a nerve-racking experience. I did not want to disturb the nest, nor did I want the nest to fall.

Mother hummingbird was fluttering around the patio and watching my every move. I quickly went inside the house and let her get back to her eggs.

About 10 days later we were at my parents house again. Yep, I had to take another picture. I was anxious to see what miracle Mother Nature had performed when I was not looking.
The eggs had hatched!

The baby hummingbirds were so tiny. Yes, I realize they are hummingbirds and hummingbirds are tiny, but these were babies. They didn't even have their eyes open yet! Again, I only stayed long enough to take a picture and then went back to the house.

Today was exactly one week later and this is what I saw ...

Eyes open. Feathers coming in. Beaks growing.
These two are looking more and more like little hummingbirds. Sitting snug in the nest, it was almost like the stopped for a moment to pose for the picture. Either that, or they froze fearing that I was going to harm them.

From inside the house we could see the mom zipping around. She is very cautious and very aware of her surroundings. If she senses anything or anyone is watching her, she will not go to the nest. She flies up, down, and all around the tree as if to cover her tracks before landing to feed her babies.

Taking the time to watch this family grow has reminded me of the miracles that happen every day. The miracle of life. Like I said before, Mother Nature does not stop to wait for us. She keeps going on while we are busy making plans. I am not saying what you and I do is unimportant. However, I am saying that taking the time to watch nature will make your life that much better.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dylan's Animal Adventures are now available - Come join the fun!

What could be better than hosting your very own summer camp and teaching kids about saving endangered species? Well, for a 10-year-old boy who loves animals, not much ... unless you ask him if he wants to start his own business so that he can teach more kids.

For Dylan, this was exactly what happened. For the last few months we have been busy planning, researching, writing, and creating. The result of our combined efforts ... Dylan's Animal Adventures. 

Dylan chooses the topic for each new booklet and then does the research so that only the most current information is shared. Michelle writes all the content and designs the adventure guides with kids in mind. Thanks to an amazing graphic artist, Steph Calvert of Hearts and Laserbeams, each adventure has new animal friends that you won't find anywhere else.

Dylan's Animal Adventure Guides are a fun way to explore and learn more about endangered species, conservation, and making a difference.

All adventure guides come with a set of coordinating coloring pages. Perfect for parents, grandparents, homeschooling parents, teachers, and anyone who just loves learning more about animals!

So what are you waiting for? 

Support Dylan's passion and get your Original Adventure Guide today at

Friday, February 14, 2014

Did you know animals celebrate Valentines Day too?

They give hippo size kisses ...

and mountain gorilla hugs ...

and koala size snuggles. 

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 7, 2014

What season is it again?

Living in Southern California I have become accustomed to not having real seasons. This doesn't mean that I am complaining about the beautiful weather we have, but I do wish we had just a tad more authentic fall and winter days. Aside from the desperate need for rain, Southern Californians get way to excited about a little rainfall. Less than inch of rain is a big deal.

Rain clouds? We love those too.


Well, you see, a few rain clouds against a blue sky after the rain in Southern California make for the most beautiful pictures. So I guess I will take the spring-like winter days if it means I have views like this. However, I would like to experience the snow in winter just once.

What is winter weather like where you live?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Are you ready to join us for Dylan's Animal Adventures?

Do you love adventure? Do you want to learn how you can help save endangered animals?

Are you ready to have fun while we explore and learn more together?

Then you won't want to miss the launch of our new adventure ... Dylan's Animal Adventures. We have been busy putting the finishing touches on the new website and getting ready to open our Adventure Shop. Here's a sneak peek.

Our first booklet will be The Original Adventure Guide, which recaps what kids learned at Dylan's Animal Adventure Camp last summer. Filled with over 30 pages of educational fun, activities, games, craft ideas, and so much more ... this adventure guide will set the bar for all booklets to follow.

A little peek at one of the pages from The Original Adventure Guide

Yes, you read that correctly. We will be starting new adventures every 2-3 months and would love for you to join us. Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Twitter so you don't miss out on the fun.

Are you ready to have fun and explore with Dylan? Great!

The adventure begins February 15, 2104