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Thursday, January 29, 2015

See Yellowstone Hot Pools Bubbling

Some of Yellowstone National Park's most amazing features are the hot spring pools of superheated water.

Geothermally heated water pushes up from the rocks below cooling through convection as it reaches the surface. 

 Watch the hot gas and water as it bursts to the top.


 The different colors in and at the edge of pools are from mineral deposits and from the microscopic growth of many temperature dependent thermomophiles  - bacteria that live in extreme temperature conditions.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Meet The Platypus - Duck Bills and Fur from Down Under

2 unusual sisters swim in Sydney harbor's beautiful aquarium.

Ornithorhynchus anatinus - the platypus belongs to a sub-group of mammals (monotremes) that lay eggs instead of bearing live young.

Not much is cuter than the duck-billed platypus!

Watch their bright white eyelids close as they use their webbed front feet and beaver-like tail to dive and swim under the water! The platypus closes its eyes, ears, and nose each time it dives. 

Using electroreceptors on its bill, it can sense the faint electrical signals generated by muscular contractions of its prey- freshwater shrimps, tiny annelid worms and insect larvae.

Share another EarthMinute from Sydney Aquarium with a rare marine mammal, the dugong (Dugong dugon).

 Swim over to The Earth Minute each week for a new one-minute adventure.
Along with echidnas, Platypuses are grouped in a separate order of mammals known as monotremes - See more at:
Along with echidnas, Platypuses are grouped in a separate order of mammals known as monotremes - See more at:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Discover Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA

Pristine drops of water filtering through redwood forest. Drips of promise swept by moss fingers and fern hands. 


For me, Fern Canyon in the Prairie Creek section of Redwoods State & National Park, in northern California, is a primal place. A place where you can hear the heartbeat of the planet. A place that is both ancient and every changing. Take a walk through Fern Canyon and listen.

five-finger fern
Primary ferns in the canyon:
  • five-finger fern (Adiantum aleuticum)
  • western swordfern (Polystichum munitum)
  • lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina)

See the Roosevelt elk of Redwoods National Park

Explore other National Parks:
Explore other California locations

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Meet a Roosevelt Elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti)

You never know what wildlife you might encounter if you keep your eyes and ears open.


a younger bull Roosevelt elk; Redwoods National Park
The Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti) is the largest surviving subspecies of elk in North America. Comparable in size to a horse, a bull Roosevelt elk weighs between 700 and 1100 lbs., measures 5 ft to the shoulder and has a length of 8-9 ft from nose to tail.

Amazingly, despite the large size of this creature, hundreds of people walking along a trail in Redwoods National Park in California missed the huge bull elk that was feeding just on the other side of the shrubbery. I became aware of him when I heard him snort and saw the rustling of the grass.

We are very fortunate in the United States. Our national and state parks, wilderness areas, public and private wildlife refuges, and protected areas provide us with places to experience and discover the wild creatures that share our Earth. Step away from technological and human distractions and you too may discover an Earth Minute of your very own.

Discover other wildlife close-ups and places to see wildlife in California and around the world.

Visit each week for a new one-minute discovery

Friday, January 2, 2015

Visit Conejo Valley Botanical Garden - Hidden Gardens L.A. #4

On a recent trek to Thousand Oaks, CA, we happened upon the Conejo Valley Botanical Garden. This Hidden Garden is slightly west of Los Angeles, but definitely a local hidden treasure.


Maintained by community efforts, this quiet hillside Botanical Garden encompasses 33 acres of different garden areas and wildlife habitat with views of Thousand Oaks’ rolling hills. The large area provides space for a variety of oaks and bird species that depend on these magnificent trees. We saw acorn and Nuttall’s woodpeckers, as well as a northern red-shafted flicker.

Look For:

  • Fifteen specific garden areas: including rare fruit, bird habitat, oaks, sage, native and drought tolerant species
  • Water features: a small stream and waterfall in the bird garden which attracts a range of birds
  • Wildlife: not only does the area attract birds, look for mammals as well, like the introduced eastern fox squirrel (Sciurus niger), and local reptiles like the western fence lizards (Sceloporus occitentalis)

Special Opportunities: The vistas are beautiful and the range of vegetation offers flowering plants even in winter. Native plant areas provide an example of how you can create wild California habitat in your own yard. Plants are well labeled and well-established specimens show plant size.

The Specifics:

  • Open - Daily, except holidays, 8 AM to Sunset; Free to the public.
  • Parking - Ample free parking
  • Restrooms - Adjacent at the park community center
  • Kid Friendly - In general a wonderful “wild” place to explore. There is also a "Kid’s Adventure Garden" and a play area in the adjacent park.
  • Accessibility - Pathways vary from wide with minimal grade to narrow trails with steps. A varied stroll through the garden is possible on the wider path and signs do note “slope.” Pushing a wheelchair through the garden is possible with effort.
  • Dogs - Dogs are welcome on a leash. Make sure to clean-up after your pet and be respectful of wildlife.
  • Restrictions - Parking may be less available on weekends as the park is used by local picnickers and sporting groups.
For More Information: Conejo Valley Botanical Garden website

Find out about more Hidden Gardens in the Los Angeles Area
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