Archive for November, 2011

Start a nature library

Looking for gifts for your nature-loving friend, relative or
yourself? Publications on how to enjoy Missouri and Illinois nature
areas near St. Louis run from free to inexpensive.



Missouri Conservationist

What • It covers outdoor activities — hiking,
biking, hunting, fishing, trapping — from border to border and
includes articles about environmental issues, public and private
land management, history and conservation. Read this over the
course of a year and you’ll be an authority on Missouri

How much • Free, monthly issues.

Publisher • Missouri Department of

Subscribe • Visit

Outdoor Illinois

What • This monthly magazine is aimed at the
outdoorsy individuals and families who are looking for fun. It
touts all levels of outdoor recreation, but it’s less hard core
than the MDC mag. Also, it’s interactive with photo contests,
public contributions, events and features such as campfire

How much • $15 a year; less if you subscribe
more years. Subscription includes a wall calendar. Also,
subscribers will receive regular emails from the publisher.

Subscribe • Visit

Publisher • Illinois Department of Natural

Missouri resources

What • Outdoors also means rock collecting,
exploring caves, archaeology, natural wonders, appreciating
sunshine, following the maintenance of land, air and water. This is
a high-quality slick-page magazine for people who want to know
about the preservation of the environment and history — all the way
back to the mastodons — with respect to the outdoors. One issue
addressed ozone, asbestos, idling cars and beautiful state

How much • Free, published three times a

Subscribe • Visit

Read online • Visit and includes back issues.

Publisher • Missouri Department of Natural



By Robert Rubright • “Walks and Rambles in and
Around St. Louis,” $20; and “Weekend Walks in St. Louis and
Beyond,” $16.

What • Both are still in print while Rubright
trods the television and talk show circuit around St. Louis.
Rubright is the investigative journalist of hikers. His books
present some obscure trails, and he creates routes in areas not
considered trails. His radius is 150 miles. He mixes urban hikes
with country hikes. His details are precise, and he has walked
every inch he writes about.

Where to buy • Online and bookstores.

Publisher • Backcountry publications.

MDC library

What • The website has a set of about 30 books,
including “Conservation Trails,” $5; “Field Guide: Trees of
Missouri,” $7.50; “Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms,” $14; “Missouri
Wildflowers,” $14; “Tried True Missouri Native Plants,” $6.
Other books cover Missouri orchids, reptiles and amphibians, shrubs
and woody vines, butterflies and moths, fish, insects and water

How much • Books range from $5 to hardbacks for

Where to buy • Visit Many
of the books are available at Powder Valley Nature Center, Columbia
Bottom Visitor Center, Missouri Botanical Garden and

“60 Hikes in 60 Miles: St. Louis”

What • The title is self-explanatory. What’s
best is that author Steve Henry has updated it regularly since
1982. The book also includes directions, detailed descriptions, GPS
mapping and other helpers.

How much • $9 to $14 depending on where you
purchase it.

Where to buy • It’s widely available online and
in bookstores.

Publisher • Menasha Ridge Press,

“Hiking Missouri” and “Hiking Illinois”

What • Both are from Human Kinetics of
Champaign, Ill. The Missouri book features 127 hikes; Illinois, 107
hikes. The descriptions by the authors — Kevin Lohraff for Missouri
and Susan Post for Illinois — include information about bicycling
and horseback riding as well as hiking. Each natural area has a
starred map on the page to show the location of the trail in the
state. The book is divided into regions. The segments for central
and southern regions in the Illinois book are enormous.

How much • $10 to $15, depending on where you
purchase them.

Where to buy • Available online and in

Publisher • Human Kinetics of Champaign,

“Walking St. Louis”

What • Judith Galas and Cindy West put together
a touristy book on hikes, in the city and suburbs. Many are walks
the authors mapped in St. Louis neighborhoods, historic cemeteries
and local parks — for example, routes in the St. Louis Zoo,
Missouri Botanical Garden and St. Charles Main Street. Appendices
include landmarks and boutique restaurants and diversions.

How much • $11.

Where to buy • Bookstores and online.

Publisher • Falcon Guide.

Article source:

Nature’s role in stemming climate change


Environmental activists promoting the use of solar and wind power engage with locals on the Durban beachfront yesterday. Picture: Reuters

Mercury Reporter

A plea for nature to be given a chance to help in the fight against climate change has come from one of the world’s most influential environmental movements.

In a statement directed at the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says governments cannot ignore the immediate and effective role that nature plays in stemming the impact of climate change. One of the key issues is how to make the best use of nature-based solutions in reducing harmful climate change.

“Ecosystem-based adaptation is a cost-effective, no-regrets solution that governments ought to incorporate into national policies and take immediate action to implement on the ground,” says Stewart Maginnis, the director of the IUCN’s Environment and Development Group.

“Improving the management of river systems, coral reefs, mangroves and forests all tangibly improve the resilience of people’s livelihoods, as they deal with the sudden and long-term consequences of climate change.”

There is evidence that appropriate management of nature helps to reduce the vulnerability of people to the threats posed by climate change. Protecting natural ecosystems also helps to slow the rate of climate change by capturing and storing large amounts of carbon.

Trevor Sandwith, the director of the IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme, says investments and commitments made by governments to conserve biodiversity in intact ecosystems, including through protected areas, is a win-win solution that is cost-effective and applicable where it really matters, at a local level by indigenous peoples, local communities, and especially women.

The IUCN, a coalition of the world’s leading environmental organisations and a large number of scientists, says one of the most advanced options for fighting climate change is a forest-based protection programme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, known as REDD+.

“We must accelerate the implementation of an environmentally sound and socially equitable REDD+ mechanism at a national level.

“The industrialised world needs to remove bottlenecks currently holding up the flow of promised resources, and tropical countries need to seize this moment to strengthen and, above all, avoid weakening existing legislation and policies that will enable fast-start action on REDD+,” it says.

Other natural systems it says offer governments practical nature-based options in the fight against climate change are coastal and marine ecosystems, as well as the world’s grasslands and drylands. These systems are also the resources on which millions of people depend every day for water, food and safety.

Edmund Barrow, the head of the IUCN’s Ecosystem Management Programme, says people often do not realise just how effective nature can be in tackling the effects of climate change. The challenge is to find the most appropriate and sustainable ways to manage and use these resources.

Article source:

Horry County Schools center offers window on nature, conservation

“That’s a cricket frog,” he told students, as the tiny amphibian tried to hop from his hand. “He has antifreeze in his blood, like a flounder,” which he said helps it survive cold temperatures.

Before more questions could form, he had already pointed out two plants underfoot, then inspected another treasure from Casey Hamilton, 11, who was having a prolific hunt.

“This guy has the eyes of a hawk,” Abercrombie said. “He’s a natural.”

Abercrombie is director at Playcard, a haven near Loris established in 1987 as the Horry County Conservation Foundation by a group of local men with ties to agriculture. They wanted a place to educate people about nature, the environment and the importance of conservation.

In 2000, Horry County Schools partnered with the foundation to lease and manage the 220-acre facility, which includes a building – full of wildlife, both mounted and alive – and the wonders around Playcard Swamp, including 2.5 miles of trails, 60 acres of swamps and backwater ponds, a Native American village and an old-fashioned swamp ferry.

“This is a place for students to learn,” said Abercrombie, who joined Playcard 12 years ago but previously worked in environmental science with the U.S. Department of Defense and with the U.S. Geological Survey.

“We want to teach them to be ecocentric, not egocentric,” Abercrombie said. “We don’t own the Earth; the Earth owns us.”

Abercrombie said community groups are welcome to book sessions at the center, but 90 percent of his time is spent on day field trips and overnight campouts with Horry County Schools students.

The trips are popular with students, and teachers have to be fast to get on the center’s calendar.

“You have to reserve immediately,” said Loris Elementary teacher Melissa Stephens. “It is so much fun, and he is good with building relationships with the children. He gives them a warm welcome and positive expectations.”

Abercrombie said bringing children in from around the county is important, because they can’t appreciate protecting nature if they’ve never had a first-hand, hands-on experience.

“One-third to one-half of the kids on the beach have never been on a trip in the woods past where they can see a house,” Abercrombie said, although that wasn’t the case with most of the Loris students. “These kids have a different backyard.”

While 99 percent of the lesson was conducted outside, Abercrombie began indoors, calling students to order with his steer horn to begin exercises focused on teamwork and science. He told them not to fear nature – “There’s no good or bad, just a balance” – and showed them everything from “hairy” poison ivy to a live rat snake, as well as different snake markings and how to react to them in the wild.

Part of the lesson acknowledged the kids’ level of comfort with hands-on learning – whether they were confident, willing to stretch a bit or in the panic zone – and he encouraged them to help each other work through any apprehension.

“I think some of the stuff out here is pretty cool,” said Ileya Green, 10, as Abercrombie took the snake around the room, although she and two friends chose to remain in their panic zone, firmly planted in the next room.

Until the action moved outside that is, then all the students were hurrying down trails, excitedly exploring and eager for Abercrombie to name a creature, investigate a hole or offer a sample of some edible plant.

They learned interesting tidbits, such as:

• Snakes do not hibernate in South Carolina.

• Spanish moss worn in a shoe is good for high blood pressure and gout. It also was used to stuff mattresses, spawning the phrase, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” after the insects that inhabited the plant.

• The S.C. state flower, the yellow Jessamine, is toxic. Consuming one leaf is enough to kill a human, and there’s no remedy.

• A tea made from dogwood bark can rid an animal of fleas.

“In nature, you can find a drug store, a department store and a convenience store,” Abercrombie said. “It’s all here.”

Abercrombie said Playcard was the first facility in the country that he knows where a school district has partnered with conservation education, and that other counties and states now are following suit. He said the center hosts three special event days for the public – SwampFest on the first Saturday in November; Starry Starry Nights, set for Thursday; and Baby Animal Day on April 20 – and is trying to do more.

Abercrombie said Playcard is growing and needs more volunteers, as well as landowners willing to set up conservation easements, which would give them federal tax benefits while benefiting the county.

“We’re willing to work with them for options on land use,” Abercrombie said. “It’s good for communities and provides more green space. In Horry County, developments are eating it up.”

Abercrombie said more than 100,000 students have visited Playcard, and its doors are wide open for more.

“This is an outdoor classroom so they can learn that everything in nature is a balance,” he said. “No matter who they are, their background or economic status, we want an opportunity for all children to be here.”

Article source:

Indian River County Looking Ahead Calendar, Updated Nov. 28

Indian River Community Calendar


Community Sing-along: Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1301 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian, 2 p.m., Dec. 4. 772-589-7117;

Hiking the St. Sebastian River Preserve: Easy 2 mile hike through the environment of Old Florida. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 9-11 am, Dec. 1. $8/adult $4/child. Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Kayaking Wabasso Island: Shallow water around ELC’s Wabasso Island campus. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 9 am-1 pm, Dec. 2. $20. Reservation: 772-564-9297;

Nature Nuggets for the Little Ones: You and your child will explore nature. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 3:45 pm-5 pm, Dec. 1, 15. Ages 4-7. $10 per family. Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Open House at the ELC: Learn about volunteering. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 3-5 pm, Dec. 6. 772-589-5050;

Pontoon Excursion: Scenic boat ride on the St. Sebastian River. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 10 am-noon, Dec. 9. $26/adult; $14/child. Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Morning Pontoon Excursion: Tour and the secrets of the Indian River Lagoon. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 10 am-noon, Dec. 14, 21. $22/Adult; $10/Child . Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Afternoon Pontoon Excursion: Birds and their natural history in the Lagoon. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 3 pm-5 pm, Dec. 20, 27, 29. $22/adult; $10/child. Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Storytime at the ELC: Saturday’s Storytime. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr., Vero Beach, 10:30 am, Dec. 3,10, 17, 24, 31. 4-8 yrs old. Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Captain Forster’s Hammock Preserve Walk: Nature Guide describes the natural features, flora and fauna.. Environmental Learning Center, 255 Live Oak Dr, Vero Beach, 9 am-11 am, Dec. 15.$8/adult;$4/child. Reservation: 772-589-5050;

Cookie Walk: 100 varieties of homemade cookies. Living Lord Lutheran Church, 2725-58th Ave., Vero Beach, 10am-noon, Dec. 10. 772-778-1500;

Looking Ahead

Magic School Bus Live!: The Climate Challenge. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. 10:30 am, Nov. 28. $9. 321-242-2219,

Toy, Gift Drive: Toys will be collected. Youth Guidance Office, 1028 20th Place, Vero Beach, 9 am, Nov. 28-Dec. 8. 772-770-5040;

Free Wi-Fi Workspace Day: North County Library, 1001 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian, 10 am-5 pm, Nov. 30. 772-589-1355.


Sebastian River High Prism Concert: 9001 Shark Blvd., Dec. 1-4. $5-25. Tickets sold 6-7 pm, Nov. 17-18. 772-564-4387;

Potluck Luncheon: First Baptist Church of Wabasso, 4720 86th St., 11:30 am, Dec. 1. Seniors. 772-589-5256;

Winter Wonderland: 85,000 lights; live Nativity. LaPorte Farms, 7700 129th St., Sebastian. Dec. 2, 6-9 pm, 772-633-0813;

Boxwood Workshop: Boxwood Christmas tree arrangement instruction. Garden Club of IRC, 2526 17th Ave., Vero Beach, 9 am, Dec. 2. $20. Reservation:

Christmas Boat Parade: On Intracoastal Waterway. 6 pm, Dec. 2, viewing stations at Royal Palm Point and Vero Beach City Marina.

Craft Fair: By the Cardiopulmonary Department. Sebastian River Medical Center, 13695 US 1, Sebastian. 7 am-1:30 pm, Dec. 2.

Holiday Crafts: Yard sale offer by residents. By the River, 11065 Ganga Way, Sebastian, 10 am-3 pm, Dec. 2; 9 am-2 pm, Dec. 3. 772-388-5858;

Christmas Angel Tree: Gift-giving for 9 children. Cornerstone Christian Church, 5950 12th St., Vero Beach, 10 am, Nov. 27; Dec. 4, 11, 18. 772-567-0085;

Leroy Anderson Nutcracker: Space Coast Symphony, Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts, St. Edwards School, 1895 St. Edwards Dr., Vero Beach. 7 pm, Dec. 2. $25. Tickets: Marine Bank Trust, Madison Avenue Consignments, 321-536-8580.

Community Yard Sale: Yard sale booths inside, outside open to the community. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, 1590 27th Ave., 8 am-2 pm pm, Dec. 3. Register: 772-778-5880;

Christmas Parade: High school marching band, Santa. Ocean Dr., Vero Beach, 5:30 pm, Dec. 3. 772-532-7983;

Art Trail: Tour of 10 artist studios/homes around Vero Beach, 10 am-4 pm, Dec. 3. $25. Ticket: 772-231-0303;

St. Patrick’s Parade Dinner/Dance: Vero Beach Elks Club, 1350 26th St., 5:30 pm, Dec. 3. $20. Reservation: 772-562-8450.

“The Aristocats”: Stage adaptation of Disney classic. Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, 1:30 pm, Dec. 3-4, May 5, 12; 7 pm, May 4. Ages 4+. $8. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

Gigantic Yard Sale: Cornerstone Christian Church, 5950 12th St., Vero Beach, 8 am-2 pm, Dec. 3. Benefits orphanages in India Chile. 772-567-0085;

Christmas In The Park: Riverside Park, Riverside Dr., Vero Beach, 9 am-4 pm, Dec. 3, 4. 772-336-0606;

Craft Fair: Vendors, food, raffles. St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, 901 Clearmont St., Sebastian. 8 am, Dec. 3.

LoPresti First Saturday: Charity breakfast w/ aviation speaker-fly in or drive in! Sebastian Airport, 210 Airport Dr. East, 9-11:30 pm, Dec. 3. $8 donation; canned goods. 772-562-4757;

Florida Cracker Christmas: Food, music. Benefits Pet Medical Assistance Program. Heritage Center Indian River Citrus Museum, 2140 14th Ave, Vero Beach. 7 pm, Dec. 3. $50; Ages 21+.

Snack Time With Santa: Crafts, snacks with kids. Indian River Mall, 6200 20th St., Room 471, Vero Beach. 10 am, Dec. 3. 772-770-9404.

Cat Show: Indian River Fair Grounds, 7955 58th Ave., Vero Beach, 9:30 am-4 pm, Dec. 3.

Christmas Craft Show: Craft Club of Sebastian. Riverview Park, 650 Indian River Dr., 9 am-3 pm, Dec. 3-4. 321-327-5389;

“Christmas Is Coming Concert”: Benefits Music Academy and Food Bank. Nonperishable food items collected. First Baptist Church, 2206 16th Ave., Vero Beach. 6:30 pm, Dec. 4. 772-562-7265;

Fish Fry/Chicken BBQ: Florida Nurses Association Southeast Region. 9040 44th Ave., Wabasso, 1-3 pm, Dec. 4. $3-$7. Ticket: 772-589-4480;

Christmas Sing-A-Long: First Baptist Church, 2206 16th Ave., Vero Beach, 6:30 pm, Dec. 4. Ages 6+. 772-562-7265;

Christmas Sing-A-Long: Christ the King Lutheran, 1301 Sebastian Blvd., 2 pm, Dec. 4. 772-589-7117;

Harry Getzov: Author of “gOLD,” presentation, luncheon. Quail Valley River Club, 2345 SR A1A, Vero Beach, noon, Dec. 5. $100. Fundraiser for TCCH Foundation. Reservation: 772-571-1983;

Swing For Health Golf Classic: Hawk’s Nest Golf Club, 6005 Old Dixie Hwy., Vero Beach, noon, Dec. 5. $275-$1,100; benefits IRMC Foundation. Register: 772-226-4952;

AAUW Book Review Breakfast: “Kristin Lavransdatter,” by Sigrid Undset. Richardson Center, IRSC Mueller Campus, 6155 College Ln., Vero Beach, 9:30 am, Dec. 5. 772-532-4712;

Festival Of Lessons And Carols: Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 7 pm, Dec. 6., 772-231-4136.

Laughing Lady: Brackett Library, 6155 College Ln., IRSC Mueller Campus, Vero Beach, 4 pm, Dec. 7. Age 13+. Donation. 772-770-5060;

Tree of Lights Ceremony: Indian River Medical Center, 1000 36th St., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Dec. 7. 772-567-4311; Humanities Series: Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, 7 pm. 772-778-5249;

Dec. 8: The Ashley Gang, “Telling Tall Tales, Having Fun with Florida Songs and Stories.”

Jan. 26: Cynthia Barnett, “Blue is the New Green: Water Sustainability and the Future of Florida.”

Feb. 16: Alex Stepick, Ph.D., “Immigration’s Impact on Florida and the United States.”

Mar. 22: Seth Bramson, “The Florida East Coast Railway.”

Apr. 19: Carrie Sue Ayvar, “Florida Stories with Latino Sabor (Flavor).”

Holiday Instrumental Concert: By middle, upper school students. Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 7 pm, Dec. 8., 772-231-4136.

Know The Flow: Workshop on managing neighborhood drainage systems for HOA’s. 8 am-1 pm, Dec. 8, IRC Fairgrounds, 7955 58th Ave., Vero Beach.

“The Nutcracker In Swing Time!”: Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach, 7:30 pm, Dec. 9, 16; 1 pm Dec. 10-11, 17-18. Ages 5+. $6-18. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

Winter Concert: “Tidings of Joy: Sounds of the Season” Vero Beach Choral Society, Trinity Episcopal Church, 2365 Pine Ave., 7:30 pm Dec. 9; 3 pm Dec. 11. $5-$20. Ticket: 772-569-8165;

Mardy’s Tennis, Jake’s Music Fest: Kids’ tennis clinic, reception, silent auction, tennis exhibition w/ Mardy Fish, Dec. 9; concert w/ country artists, 7 pm, Dec. 10. Grand Harbor Golf Beach Club, Holman Stadium, Vero Beach. $35-$75 exhibition; $20-$100 concert. Benefits Mardy Fish Foundation, Jake Owen Foundation. Ticket: 866-333-7623;

IR Charter High School: Christmas selections performed by Choral Group, Jazz Band; dinner. Elks Lodge, 1350 26th St., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Dec. 10. Dinner $9-$15. Fundraiser. Ticket: 772-913-1196 before Dec. 2.

Concert with Sygnal: Night Sounds at Sebastian Inlet State Park, classic rock, RB, jazz, blues and reggae. Sebastian Inlet State Park, 14251 N. A1A, Vero Beach, 7-9 pm, Dec. 10. Park admission. 772-388-2750;

Cookie Walk: 100 varieties of homemade cookies. Living Lord Lutheran Church, 2725 58th Ave., Vero Beach, 10 am-noon, Dec. 10. 772-770-0523;

Walk In A Pack Poker Stroll: For rescue animals. Riverview Park and H.A.L.O. Rescue, 710 Jackson St., Sebastian, 10 am, Dec. 10. Donation. Register: 772-589-7297;

Come See Santa: Walker Woods Apartments, 2610 71st Circle, Vero beach, 10am-noon and 1-3pm, Dec. 10. 772-299-6100.

Toys For Tots: Dinner Dance. EL-DOE’s of Sebastian Elks Lodge 2714, 731 S. Fleming St., 5 pm, cocktails; 6 pm, dinner, Dec. 10. $12.50 unwrapped toy. Ticket: 772-589-1516.

Holiday Arts Crafts: Children’s Festival w/Santa Claus, elves. North County Library, 1001 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian, 10 am-noon, Dec. 10. Bring canned goods for local food pantry. 772-589-1355.

Rotary Nautical Flea Market: Riverside Park, At The Oaks, 3250 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach. 9 am-5 pm Dec. 10; 9 am-4 pm Dec. 11. 772-696-3532;

Silver Tones Holiday Concert: Indian River Mall, 6200 SR 60, Vero Beach, 1 pm, Dec. 10. 772-469-2062;

Christmas Concert: Indian River Charter High School Choral Group. Elks Lodge 1774, 1350 26th St., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Dec. 10. $9-$15. Reservation: 772-913-1196.

Unique Boutique: 25 vendors, holiday setting. Heritage Center, 2140 14th Ave., Vero Beach, 11 am-3 pm, Dec. 11. $5. Ticket: 772-562-6877;

Christmas Choir Festival: Chancel Choir Orchestra. First Presbyterian Church, 520 Royal Palm Blvd., Vero Beach, 8:45 10:45 am, Dec. 11.

Holiday Dinner Show: By Theatre-Go-Round. Elks Lodge, 1350 26th St., Vero Beach, doors open 4:30 pm; show at 6 pm, Dec. 11. $22.50-$45. Reservation: 772-252-9341;

Social Justice Film Series: “The Story of Stuff” and “The Story of Citizens United v. FEC”. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1590 27th Ave. 7 pm, Dec. 11. 772-778-5880.

A Beatrix Potter Holiday: Community Outreach. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. Dec. 12-14, 16. 321-433-5717.

Silver Tones/Gifford Youth Orchestra: Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, 7 pm, Dec. 15. Suggested donation $5. 772-469-2062;

Children’s Holiday Program: Storytelling, caroling. IRC Main Library, 1600 21st St., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Dec. 15. Ages: 2-8. 772-770-5060;

Golf Tournament: Club at Pointe West, 7500 14th Ln., Vero Beach, 8 am tee off; luncheon, Dec. 17. $100/player. Benefits Kiwanis Club of Vero Childcare Resources. Ticket: 772-708-9523;

Winter Celebration: Schumann Hall Senior Center, 686 14th St., Vero Beach, 5 pm, Dec. 17. $15. Ticket: 772-469-2062;

Handel’s “Messiah”: First Baptist Church of Vero Beach, 2206 16th Ave., 7 pm, Dec. 17-18. Offering. 772-231-3498;

Cowboy Christmas: 10 tons of snow (children 10 under). LaPorte Farms, 7700 129th St., Sebastian, 4-9 pm, Dec. 17. All ages. 772-633-0813;

Jazz On Sunday: “A Stan Kenton Merry Christmas Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker,” Space Coast Jazz All-Stars. Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, 3 pm. Dec. 18. $20, $25. Ticket: 772-778-5249;

“The Christmas Puzzle”: Aerial Antics Youth Circus. Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center, 1707 16th St., 2 pm 6 pm, Dec. 18. $5-$6. 772-567-2144;

Heritage Holiday Dinner Show: IRCHS Chorus and Jazz Band concert while you dine. Heritage Center, 2140 14th Ave., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Dec 18-19. $20. Ticket: 888-718-4253;

“My Son Pinocchio”: Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach, 1:30 pm, Dec. 29, 30, Jan. 7-8; 7:30 pm Dec. 28, 30, Jan. 6. Ages 4+. $5-$16. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

“Rapunzel And Me, The Muzical”: Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, 7:30 pm Dec. 28-30, Jan. 6; 1:30 pm, Dec. 29-30, Jan. 7-8. Ages 4+. $5-$16. Ticket: 772-231-6990;


Atlantic Classical Orchestra: Pianist Lindsay Garritson. Waxlax Center, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr, Vero Beach, 8 pm, Jan. 5. $55. Ticket: 866-310-7521;

Elvis’ BIRTHDAY BASH: Starring Jack Smink. Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 7 pm, Jan. 8. $30. 321-242-2219;

Italian: Basic conversation, culture; grammar. Administration Building, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 9-10 am , Jan. 9. Adults. $150. Register: 772-492-2113;

Knot Tying: Lower School, 1895 St. Edward’s School, Vero Beach, 3:30-4:30, Tues. Jan. 10-Feb.28. Grades 2-5. $120. Register: 772-492-2113;

Bird Photography: Tips and Tricks with Ron Bielefeld. Island Images/Gallery of Hope, 2036 14th Ave., Ste. 101, Vero Beach, 6:30-8 pm, Jan. 10. 16+. $15. Register: 772-643-6994;

Beginners Genealogy: Series, 8 classes. IRC Main Library, 1600 21st St., Vero Beach, 9:30 am, starts Jan. 11. Adults. $35. Register:

Transformation Celebration: IRMC Foundation gala. Moorings Club, 100 Harbour Dr., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Jan. 12. Ages 21+. $1,000. Reservation: 772-226-4952;

Etiquette School: Lower School, 1896 St. Edward’s Drive, Vero Beach, 3:30-4:30, Jan. 12-Feb. 16. Ages K-5th. $125. Register: 772-492-2113;

Ethan James Memorial 5 K Walk: Benefits SIDS Research. Tradition, Port St. Lucie, 9 am, Jan. 14. Register: 772-971-4030;

Arianna Huffington: Celebrated Speakers Series. The Emerson Center, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1590 27th Ave. Vero Beach. Jan. 14. $65.; 772-778-5249.

Celebrated Speakers Series: Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, 4 pm, 7 pm. Arianna Huffington, Jan. 14; Mark Shields, Feb. 4; Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Feb. 25; Joe Scarborough, Mar. 10; Bob Woodward, Mar. 31. $65-$275. Ticket: 772-778-5249;

Active Approaches to Shakespeare: Student Workshops. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. Jan. 17, 321-242-2219, Golden Dragon Acrobats: Groups only. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. 10:30 am, Jan. 18. $9. 321-242-2219,

Occasionally Clay: Working with clay through hand building. Lower School, 1895 St. Edward’s Drive, Vero Beach, 9 am-noon, Jan 17, Feb. 25, Mar. 24, Apr. 21. Grades 2-5. $50 session. Register: 772-492-2113;

Twelfth Night: Connection to academic areas. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. 10:30 am, Jan. 18. 321-242-2219,

Demonstration: Gary Dulac, handcrafted jewelry. Vero Beach Museum of Art, 3001 Riverside Park Drive, 7 pm, Jan. 19.

OBA Sunset Saturday Night: Concert. Sexton Plaza, Ocean Dr., Vero Beach, 5:30-8:30 pm, Jan. 14, Feb. 11, Mar. 10.

Gallagher: Comedian. Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, Jan. 21, 8 pm, $30. 321-242-2219;

Senior Activities Fair: Council Chambers, Sebastian City Hall, 1225 Main St., 2 pm, Jan. 26. 772-469-2062;

South Florida Race For The Cure®: 21st Annual Susan G. Komen. Meyer Amphitheater, 104 Datura St., West Palm Beach. 5:30 am, Jan. 28.; 888-470-6374.

ArcAttack: High-tech wizardry. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. 10:30 am, Jan. 31. $9. 321-242-2219,

Aaron Lewis: Solo Acoustic. King Center, Melbourne, 8 pm Feb. 2. $26.50.

Atlantic Classical Orchestra: Waxlax Center, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 8 pm, Feb. 2. $55. Ticket: 866-310-7521;

“The Adventures of Flat Stanley Jr.”: Musical based on child’s book. Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, 7:30 pm, Feb. 3, 24; 1:30 pm, Feb. 4-5, 11, 18-19, 25; 10 am, Feb. 10, 17. Ages 4+. $5-$16. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

Mark Shields: Celebrated Speakers Series. The Emerson Center, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1590 27th Ave. Vero Beach. Feb. 4. $65.; 772-778-5249.

Nonprofit Information Fair: Schumann Hall Senior Center, 686 14th St., Vero Beach, 2 pm, Feb. 7. 772-469-2062;

Penn Teller: King Center, 3865 North Wickham Rd., Melbourne. 8 pm, Feb. 9. Tickets 321-242-2219;

Haiti Partners Benefit: Annual dinner banquet. The Community Church of Vero Beach, 1901 23rd St., 6:30 pm, Feb. 10. $30. Benefits education in Haiti. Ticket: 772-539-8521;

Sweethearts Dance: Schumann Hall Senior Center, 686 14th St., Vero Beach, 5 pm, Feb. 11. $10. Ticket: 772-469-2062;

Bridal Expo: Vendors needed. Vero Beach, 1-5 pm, Feb. 11. Register: 803-308-4462;

Self Defense: Wachter Activity Center, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 12:30-4:30 pm, Feb. 11. Age 13+. $20. Register: 772-492-2113;

Driver’s Education: St. Edward’s Upper School, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 8 am-4 pm, Feb. 11, 25. $450. Register: 772-492-2113;

Classic Albums Live: Is an ensemble of world-class musicians recreating the greatest Rock albums ever recorded live on stage. Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, Feb. 17, 8 pm, $24. 321-242-2219; Polo Cup: John Walsh. Windsor Polo Field, Vero Beach, Feb. 18. Benefits Vero Beach causes. 772-559-6362;

Rod Stewart Experience: Rick St. James and his all-star band create an unforgettable performance not to be missed, a tribute to Rod Stewart. Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 8 pm, Feb. 24, $TBD. 321-242-2219;

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Celebrated Speakers Series. The Emerson Center, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1590 27th Ave. Vero Beach. Feb. 25. $65.; 772-778-5249.

Atlantic Classical Orchestra: Featuring violinist Elmar Oliveira. Waxlax Center, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr, Vero Beach, 8 pm, Feb. 29. $55. 866-310-7521;

Lewis Black: Comedian. Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 8 pm, March 2, $35. 321-242-2219;

Cracker Hoedown: Riverside Park, Vero Beach, 6:30 pm, Mar. 3. $75; benefits Habitat for Humanity. 562-9860 ext. 229.

Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: The Best Live tour ever. Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 3:30 6:30 pm, March 3. $15. 321-242-2219;

Birds In Flight: Bird Photography with Ron Bielefeld. Island Images/Gallery of Hope, 2036 14th Ave., Ste. 101, Vero Beach, 6:30-8 pm, Mar. 6. 16+. $15. Register: 772-643-6994;

Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons: Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 8 pm, March 7, $49.50. 321-242-2219;

“Wizard Of Oz”: King Center Theatre, 3865 N Wickham Road, Melbourne. 10:30 am, Mar. 8. $8. 321-242-2219,

Dancing With Vero’s Stars: 10 star dancers w/ professional instructors in fundraiser competition. Waxlax Center, St. Edward’s School, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 7 pm, Mar. 10. All ages. Ticket: 772-563-9118;

Joe Scarborough: Celebrated Speakers Series. The Emerson Center, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1590 27th Ave. Vero Beach. Mar. 10. $65.; 772-778-5249.

Jazz on Sunday: “Blues, Boogie, Be-Bop and Beyond.” Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, 2:30 pm. Mar. 11. $20 and $25. Ticket: 772-778-5249;

“Angels Help Our Kids Take Flight”: Sun Aviation Hangar, 3350 Cherokee Dr., Vero Beach, 6 pm, Mar. 22. Ages 21+. $275. Benefits summer camp scholarships for IRC Boys Girls Clubs. Ticket: 772-299-7449;

Kids On The Court Tennis: Learn fundamentals, build tennis skills. Upper School Hard Court, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 3:30-4:30 pm, Mar. 20, 27; Apr. 3, 10, 17. Grades K-5. $125. Register: 772-492-2113;

Silver Tones Concert: Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero Beach, 7 pm, Mar. 20. Suggested donation $5. 772-469-2062; Phillips: Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, 8 pm, March 22. $29. 321-242-2219;

Rapunzel Me – The Muzical: Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach, 1:30 pm, Mar. 24, 25, 31, Apr. 1, 14, 15; 7:30 pm, Mar. 23. Ages 4+. $5-$16. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

“School House Rock”: Musical based on ’70s cartoon series. Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach, 7:30 pm, Mar. 23; 1:30 pm, Mar. 24, 25, 31, Apr. 1, 14, 15; 10 am, Mar. 30, Apr. 13. Ages 4+. $5-$16. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

Tour Of Homes: Hosted by Junior League of Indian River. 999 US 1, Vero Beach, 8am-5 pm, Mar. 24. $35. Ticket: 772-563-9287;

Atlantic Classical Orchestra: Featuring Luis Gomez, Double Bass. Waxlax Center, 1895 St. Edward’s Dr., Vero Beach, 8 pm, Mar. 29. $55. Ticket: 866-310-7521;

Bob Woodward: Celebrated Speakers Series. The Emerson Center, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1590 27th Ave. Vero Beach. Mar. 31. $65.; 772-778-5249.

Hibiscus Festival: Entertainment, music, food, children’s activities, 5K race, art show. 14th Ave., Vero Beach, 9 am, Apr. 14. 772-234-4412; Also: Miss Hibiscus Pageant, 7 pm, Apr. 13.

Spring Home Landscape Show: Indian River County Fairgrounds, 7955 58th Ave, Vero Beach, noon-8 pm m, Apr. 20; 10 am-8 pm Apr. 21; 10 am-6 pm Apr. 22. Ages 13 +. $5. Ticket: 772-228-6045;

Elvis Costello And The Imposters: Kings Center For The Performing Arts, 3865 North Wickham Rd., Melbourne, 7:30 pm, April 23. $35+. 321-242-2219;

“The Noodle Doodle Box”: Story of two clowns. By Riverside Children’s Theatre. Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach, 1:30 pm, Apr. 28-29. Ages 4+. $8. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

End Of The Season Party: Schumann Hall Senior Center, 686 14th St., Vero Beach, 5 pm, April 28. $15. Ticket: 772-469-2062;

Pops Concert: Benefits IRMC Foundation. Windsor, 3125 Windsor Blvd., Vero Beach, 3:30 pm gates open, 5:30 pm concert begins, May 6. $25-$200. Ticket: 772-226-4952; Trash: Trash Recycle Show. King Center Theatre, 3865 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. 10:30 am, May 9. $8. 321-242-2219, Repertory Dance Concert: Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Dr., Vero Beach, 7 pm, May 17-18. Ages 3+. $8. Ticket: 772-231-6990;

Spring Fiesta: Celebration of performing arts for kids. Agnes Wahlstrom Youth Playhouse Anne Morton Theatre, 3280 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, 10 am-3 pm, May 19. Ages 3+. 772-231-6990;

Ride To Beat Hunger: Bike ride to raise money for food charities. Waldo’s Restaurant, 3150 Ocean Dr., Vero Beach, 5 pm, May 22. Non-perishable food donations. 772-494-5009;

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Living-in-nature pod can be transported to the mountain peak of your choice

This stunning alpine modular lodge is the creation of Italian design firm LEAPfactory. Dubbed LEAP (living ecological alpine pod) the modules are built entirely off-site, ready to be transported by helicopter to the summit of choice. Breaking away from traditional alpine structures, the pod is fitted with high-tech features and “at the end of its life cycle [it] can be lifted away by helicopter without leaving any permanent trace of its presence in the natural environment” says LEAPfactory.

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The LEAP has been designed to accompany trekking and mountaineering activities, leaving little impact on the surrounding environment compared to traditional mountain shelters. The pods have been built with durability in mind and are able to withstand “all kinds of mechanical and atmospheric stress.” Comprised of a composite shell exterior, the shelters are said to provide excellent thermal insulation. The interiors have been designed for comfort, whilst also taking into consideration materials preferable to hygiene, safety and fire resistance.

Each pod is comprised of four units that connect together to create the final structure. The entrance unit is fitted with a thermally isolated inner door, storage/drying rack and rescue equipment compartment, the kitchen unit features a pantry and cooker (electric induction hob), the sleeping unit has flexible bunks according to the number of guests, and the living room unit features a panoramic view with the ability to open onto the surrounding landscape.

An integrated technological apparatus is fitted to provide energy to the pod, utilizing photovoltaic film cells incorporated in the outer shell. The apparatus can also measure local weather conditions and perform self-diagnosis, whilst additionally being connected to the local rescue headquarters. There is a sanitary module, equipped with a biological toilet that disposes of all sewage without polluting the environment.

In the case of extreme damage, the module can easily be airlifted off-site for repairs.

Whilst the luxury of having an exclusive alpine lodge flown to a private destination may remain on most of our wish-lists, LEAPfactory does claim that “the overall cost is highly competitive with the traditional solutions.” How much that is remains a mystery – as final prices are yet to be released.

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Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: When one beast must die – to let another live

I think it was some of this instinct which kicked in on Wednesday night when the much-lauded BBC series Frozen Planet showed, among astounding scenes of weasels hunting voles under the snow, and baby polar bears being born, and the brinicle, the icicle of death in the sea – if you missed that one, you’ll just have to look it up – the single most remarkable piece of wildlife footage I have ever witnessed. It was a fight between a bison and a wolf.

It took place in the snowy landscape of the Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Canada, and although you couldn’t really call it a grudge match – there was obviously nothing personal, if you see what I mean – it was most definitely serious. It was a fight to the death, where one participant had to die so the other could live. A zero-sum game, as the cliché used to have it.

We have grown used to predator-prey dramas in our natural history documentaries: we have all seen the lions chase the wildebeest, and bring it down and kill it, or owls catch their mice with a swoop and a flick of the talons, and, in the nature of things, these are over quickly; but this was different. It was a lone wolf, and a lone bison, and most unusually, they were very equally matched, so although at first you thought “well, the sharp-fanged killer is bound to win, isn’t it?”, the next moment the bison tossed the wolf through the air like a rag doll, and then trampled it with its half-tonne weight, and you thought, “wow, how can it survive that?”.

It was unbelievably fascinating. It was unbelievably exciting. The inner schoolboy in me was shouting, and it was impossible not to take sides – and I wondered later if it said anything about your personality if you sided with the wolf, or sided with the bison – although, I found my own loyalties shifting, first supporting the bison, which was only trying to avoid being eaten, and then sympathising with the wolf, which was only trying to avoid starvation.

And it went on, this epic battle. It went on, and on, and on, and Jeff Turner, the wildlife cameraman who had spent 15 years waiting to film something like this, and who was barely 50 yards away, said later that it continued for more than an hour, although, of course, the footage shown lasted only a few minutes. Yet you could tell what a long, drawn out affair it was, because gradually the coats of both combatants became red with blood, and their movements slowed as their strength ebbed away.

Finally, they stood in the snow, facing each other, completely exhausted; and they had both been so brave and tried so hard that suddenly you wanted to be the teacher in the playground, or the referee in the boxing match, and stride forward and say in effect, “All right, you’ve both done really well, you’ve shown a lot of pluck, but that’s enough, so go inside and get those cuts sorted out.”

But, of course, there are no intervening teachers, no referees, in the natural world, and the zero-sum game had to play itself out, and it was the bison in the end which succumbed, with my inner schoolboy silent now, shouting no longer.

The battle to save the Arctic’s environmental future is gathering pace

Frozen Planet, narrated in perfect tone and cadence by David Attenborough, has undoubtedly moved many people, and made them aware of how rich, beautiful and untouched are the ecosystems of the Arctic (and the Antarctic, too, of course). But it may have done more than that: it may have made them sympathetic to the fight to protect the Arctic’s environmental future, which is about to begin.

Next year, a new oil rush will begin above the Arctic Circle, led by Shell, drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas north of Alaska, and followed by ExxonMobil, which will be drilling with Russian partners in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia; but next year, too, Greenpeace will launch a major campaign to internationalise the High Arctic and make it a “global commons”, owned by no one and free from industrial development. Greenpeace has been joining in the enthusiastic tweeting which accompanies every Frozen Planet episode, inviting people to join its Arctic Campaign: it says the response has been “substantial.”

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Canadian Museum of Nature Announces 2012-2013 Season of Exhibitions

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire -11/23/11)- An exciting line-up of nine new exhibitions, including two international blockbusters, highlight the upcoming 2012-13 season of attractions at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The marquee offering for spring and summer 2012 is Whales Tohora, a specimen-rich exhibition from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. From March 2 to September 3, visitors will be immersed in the mysterious world of these large marine mammals, as seen through the culture of the Maori people that venerate them. It will be a rare opportunity for Canadians to experience this unique 8,000 sq. ft. exhibition, as it completes an international tour.

A second blockbuster from September 22, 2012 to May 5, 2013 is Nature Unleashed. This immersive and interactive experience from The Field Museum in Chicago tackles wild weather and the science behind the geological forces that lead to natural disasters. It addresses how events such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes impact our lives.

“These two engaging blockbusters will have a broad appeal, and they provide the backdrop for programming that reflects our commitment to provide Canadians with the opportunities to be inspired by, connect to and explore the natural world,” says Meg Beckel, CEO and President of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “Our 2012 offerings will reinforce the role of the museum as not only a national visitor destination but also as a community and social hub where visitors can explore relevant environmental issues facing us today.”

In December 2012, the final phase of the museum’s Vale Earth Gallery will be completed. Displays of more than 1,000 rocks and minerals, many from Canadian locales, will relate the remarkable story of the earth’s evolution and the geological forces that have shaped it. The refurbished gallery will feature new hands-on experiences for visitors that focus on geological events such as volcanoes and earthquakes, as well as a mineral lab and a zone where visitors will learn about the research of museum mineralogists.

Interspersed throughout 2012, visitors will experience a series of nature-inspired art shows. These include:

November 29, 2011 to fall 2012

Awesome Arctic, a photography exhibition of Canadian Museum of Nature researchers at work documenting the marine life, plants, fossils and mineral diversity of Canada’s most northern regions;

November 23, 2011 – February 2012

On the Labrador, a display of spectacular large format images from the remote corners of Labrador by photographer Arnold Zagaris;

December 9, 2011 to February 12, 2012

Preternatural, a contemporary art show, curated by Dr. Celina Jeffery at the University of Ottawa, with works by five artists exploring themes of wonder and the extraordinary in nature through various media, including photography, video and sculpture; and

March 22 to September 3, 2012

Unrequited Death, featuring paintings and prints by artist Helen Gregory that examine how biological specimens can be represented in relation to the natural world and our understanding of cultural meaning.

The museum will also bring back three popular exhibitions developed with community partners:

April 18 to 22, 2012

Ikebana, a delightful floral exhibition, now in its 22nd year, that features the botanical creations of the Ottawa Chapter of Ikebana International;

May 5 to 13, 2012

Nature into Sculpture, a showcase for dozens of creations by members of the National Capital Network of Sculptors;

June 7 to August 26, 2012

Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year, a collaborative exhibition with Canadian Geographic of award-winning images from Canadian Geographic’s national photo contest.

Throughout the 2012 season, visitors to the Canadian Museum of Nature can expect to enjoy a variety of public lectures, engaging Cafe scientifiques evenings, thought-provoking film festivals, and 3D film features. There will also be special packages such as dinner and a movie, birthday parties and other seasonal-related activities and events. For more details, visit

To reflect the new offerings and options, the museum is launching a new price structure, new membership package and a Patron Circle that will support the development of national educational projects, and research and collections activities.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada’s national museum of natural history and natural sciences. It promotes awareness of Canada’s natural heritage through signature and travelling exhibitions, public education programmes, on-going scientific research, a dynamic Web site, and the maintenance of a 10.5-million-specimen collection. A founding member of the Alliance of Natural History Museums of Canada, the Museum is working with partners to expand its national service and to develop national programmes about the natural environment.

Images available at the museum’s Web site,

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