Tuesday

In Ancient Greece, Poseidon was known as the Greek god of the sea. Ancient Greek religion was based on the beliefs that in order to avoid misfortune, it was wise to seek the favor of the relevant gods by prayers, gifts and sacrifices. Ancient Greeks held the belief that every natural feature, such as a hill, lake, stream or woods, was controlled by a god. These gods were believed to be immortal with great power over their domain and towards humans they could be both benevolent or malicious. So if a person wanted to take a boat out onto the Aegean Sea then in order to have a safe trip and avoid drowning they would say a prayer to Poseidon and/or make an offering to his shrine.

Poseidon's temple was built on the water's edge on the island of Poros at Sounion sometime between 440 and 529 B.C. The original purpose of the temple was to deal with the civic and religious matters for the city states of Aigina, Hermione, Prassies, Athens, Epidauros and Orhomenos.

The temple was built in the traditional Greek style of all temples at that time which was rectangular with columns on all four sides.
Originally the temple had 42 columns made of white marble. Today only 16 columns still remain and the temple is in ruins. It was believed that at one time there were statues located all through the temple but these were most likely stolen over the centuries. Archaeological excavation of the temple was done in 1906 and many artifacts and inscriptions that were found then are now in the Athens National Archaeological Museum.

Notably the English poet Lord Byron visited the temple in the 19th century and it was rumored tha he carved his name into one of the columns. Although Lord Bryon spent several months in Athens during the years of 1810-11 and made two documented visits to Sounion, there is no direct proof that he actually made the inscription of his name himself. He did however mention the temple at Sounion in his poem, Isles of Greece:
"Place me on Sunium's marbled steep,
Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep..."

Today the temple of Poseidon is a very popular tourist attraction in Greece and it's image is known worldwide. Although in ruins, it's beauty is still evident just as it was when it was in it's glory.

The following time lapse video is a collage of ancient temples most notably Poseidon's Temple, old churches and other ruins all combined with the beauty and brilliance of celestial objects. It is a wonderous vision to see.



Sandi Baker is a very talented contemporary wildlife artist who's focus seems to be on wolves as a first love. She also paints other animals such as bears, tigers, wildcats, owls and horses.

Sandi and J.W. Baker were married in 2005 and currently live in North Carolina. It was shortly after their marriage that they formed their art studio, Wolf Song Studios. Both Sandi and her husband, J.W. are very dedicated artists who have extensive backgrounds in the art field through various mediums. They are both well known and their work is featured around the world in galleries, art shows and private collections. They are also featured in many art magazines, books and other art publications.

The following is a direct statement from Sandi's website and explains her personal philosophy about her artwork.
"I have always been an Artist. I remember taking extraordinarily long periods of time as a child closely examining the world around me. Fascinated with nature, and especially animals I began sketching my observations. Art has continually been my main focus throughout my adult life. I think about it constantly from every imaginable angle. I strive to communicate the indescribable, complex emotions, the fierce pain of being misunderstood as women are, the confusion onset by perplexing world events, the elation of being at true peace, the supreme honor to view a wild creature up close, the things words fail to convey, the things that only the soul speaks of.


I believe that Art is created ‘’through me’’ rather than by me. I steadfastly attempt to remain a honed instrument for the creator to speak through. I’ve experimented in a multitude of media, painstakingly finding the attributes of each so that at the precise time it can be called upon to speak in it’s unique voice. I hope to help mankind in some way with my Art, even if it is only to stir a faint memory or perhaps inspire. I have always been an Artist."

As you view her work below and watch the video please keep her words in mind. It will be an exercise of total appreciation and enjoyment.



For More Photo please check Official Site http://sandibaker.wolfsongstudio.com/

Video: Wolves - Art by Sandi Baker


A wonderful story has come out of India recently that provides a heartwarming insight into the otherwise sad world of the continued poaching of the earth's tigers. In a staggering statistic, experts say that 97% of tigers have been lost to poaching and shrinking habitats. India has the world's largest numbers of tigers with about 1706 currently living there. There has been a major decline of this beautiful creature though since there were about 100,000 tigers in India at the turn of the last century.

With Father's Day rapidly approaching in the U.S. this sweet story reminds us of how important fathers can be in the rearing of their offspring. Recently in the Ranthambore tiger reserve in India, two baby tiger cubs lost their mother in February. This reserve is currently home to about 40 tigers. What is seen as an extremely rare show of paternal affection and caring has been demonstrated by a male tiger who forest officials in northern India say is the father.

This has been backed up by photographs taken of the male tiger with the two cubs by hidden cameras in the forest. The cubs who are about 8 months old now are still too young to make a food kill on their own. The male adult tiger has been seen with them while their are hungrily devouring a fresh kill. The male tiger makes no attempt to take away the food for himself. The cubs appear to be in very good health also.

In the wild, normally the mother tiger or tigress is the sole caretaker of her offspring. Male tigers will usually kill the cubs if they come across them. After the female gives birth the male tiger will only come around to try to mate with the female, nothing more. In fact male tigers rarely are allowed to even see their offspring because they tend to view the cubs as food. The behavior of this father tiger is completely unheard of. Officials say there is no recorded evidence of males behaving like this in the past.

Just when humans in their arrogant assumptions think they know everything there is to know about the world's tigers, a father tiger comes along and proves them wrong. This is an important realization that many animals are much more complex than man has ever given them credit for. It is high past time that we as the human animal in the world take a step down from our self appointed role as the supreme species. We must open our eyes wide to the possibilities that other animal species have so much more to teach us about our world and theirs.

Most importantly we must learn to share our world with them rather than continue to abuse, use or destroy them. After all they are our brothers/sisters created by the same loving Creator that also created the human race. Isn't it logical then that we would all share the same feelings of love and parental concern that man for so long thought was his exclusive claim?

Photo: National Geographic

As modern China continues to prosper economically and the middle class becomes larger, a common theme is becoming more apparent that is causing the widening gap between the rich and poor when it comes to the outlook toward animals. For thousands of years the people in China have consumed cats and dogs as food. More specifically it was the huge class of the poor who could not afford other kinds of meat.

Then there was the Cultural Revolution where owning a pet was considered a capitalist activity. It was widely felt that only the rich and arrogant had dogs and cats as pets. The implication was that if you treated pets well, you will treat humans who are weaker very badly. But with the middle class now growing in China, many are accepting pets as a wonderful necessity.

So when a trucker with over 500 dogs in his truck was forced off the road recently and made to turn over the dogs to animal activists for a sum that was quickly raised of $17,000, many in China felt this was against the old way. China does not have any anti - cruelty laws against animals, and it is estimated that as many as 10 million dogs are sold for consumption each year and are often kept under horrible conditions. Many of these dogs are stolen pets or strays.

After this huge rescue of dogs took place, a man named Zhu Guangbing from Guangzhou, China posted on his twitter account that he protested the rescue money being raised for the dogs and that he felt it should have been given to the poor and needy. He then made the outrageous claim that starting in June he would kill one dog a day until the $17,000 was turned over to the poor. The old saying that "you reap what you sow" quickly came into play as he received more than 200 threats against him. Even his name, cellphone number, office number and his parents’ number were posted online.

Recently Zhu was forced to quit his job as his company was also receiving threats against him. Quickly back peddling, Zhu tried to say that he really wasn't going to kill the dogs but rather was just making a point. He also spoke against the animals activists who he said, " claimed to have the moral high ground, but look what they did to him."

But the animal activists have defended their stance as a necessity to move forward in China. They say it is a question of civilization and not what some people in China are saying that it is silly to protect animals. Activist, Wang, stated that, "By teaching people in this country to love little animals, maybe we can help them to love their fellow human beings better."

So the Revolution has began in China in a determined effort to make the lives of so many suffering animals there better. As with all major societal changes, the road will be long and hard. But let's stand behind the activists in China, which is not a open society by any means. There are many risks still in a country that opposes any opposition. But the seed of long overdue change for animals has been planted and it must continue to grow. Let it grow quickly!

Monday

Once again the small and extremely poor South American country, Bolivia, is leading the way in world reform, this time to help reduce environmental destruction. In 2005 Bolivia elected it's first indigenous president, Evo Morales who is an outspoken champion for environmental protection. He has petitioned for substantive change for his country and at the United Nations.

Believing that the existing laws were not strong enough, President Morale led his country to develop the Law of Mother Earth which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans. This new law has as it's foundation several of the tenets of indigenous belief, including that humans are equal to all other entities. Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca has been quoted as saying "Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family. We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values."

The new legislation will give the government new legal powers to monitor and control industry in the country. It will allow the government to regulate industry at national, regional and local levels. The law also redefines natural resources as blessings and allows the same rights to nature as to human beings, including: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. There is also the right "to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities".

Along with this new legislation, Bolivia will be establishing a Ministry of Mother Earth. Few details are available yet as to how the legislation will be implemented. Bolivia will have to balance these environmental changes against industries, like mining, which is a major contributor to the country's GDP.

Although the road ahead will not be an easy one, the eyes of the world will be on Bolivia. Bolivia's successes or failures with the implementation of the Law of Mother Earth may well lead the way for development of policies from other countries around the world.

Sunday

On Monday morning, May 30th, in the predawn sky another celestial bonus will be visible to star gazers. Four planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter will all be aligned close together. What began at the beginning of the month of May will now come to a end at the grand finale with the addition of the beautiful crescent moon.

Viewers can watch the planets appear in the order of their decreasing physical distance to the Sun, starting with Pluto that will appear tonight and ending with Mercury on Monday morning. They will appear all lined up on one side of the Sun in a fascinating early morning display.

All the other planets will also be visible between dusk and dawn including the dwarf planet, Pluto, with the exception of Saturn. But the highlight will be focused on the five glorious lights that will line up across the eastern sky. If you are an early riser it will definitely be a memorable experience to witness as you bid goodbye to the month of May.

Return of the Caribou

Every year in the remote wilderness of Alaska a mass migration begins starting with the annual gathering of newly pregnant caribou. They are almost a half a million strong as they begin their trek to the northern tundra to give birth. It is a long, hard journey so they must begin early in February to make it to their birthing grounds in the north by May.

Caribou are the main food source for the wolves, but it can be a high rate of failure for a wolf pack to catch a meal for the pack. Wolves will also scavenge during these cold months to survive. All along their trek north the caribou will be tracked by the wolves looking for their chance to find a weak or older member of the herd. It can be a fine tuned choreographed dance of death between the wolves and a caribou once they are targeted by the pack.

This video allows you to follow along during the caribou journey north and watch the interactions between the caribou and the wolves and other predators such as the bears. You will also see the actual caribou birthing of their babies once they reach the northern tundra in May. May is also the month that the wolves give birth to a litter and there are wonderful and touching scenes of the alpha female wolf giving birth also and raising her pups.
There are other up close scenes of some of Alaska's wildlife such as the grizzly bears, moose and musk oxen. Enjoy a fascinating view of nature's hardships and miracles as the cycle of life unfolds in Alaska.

Photo: National Geographic

Movie: Return of the Caribou

Friday

Snow leopards are one of the most endangered big cats in the world. They are magnificent animals but their population has dwindled down to a mere 3500 left in the wild. They are currently found in 12 Asian and Eurasian nations.

Fortunately for the snow leopards they have found help in the form of The BBC Wildlife Fund and two leading conservation organizations, Whitley Fund for Nature and Nature Conservation Foundation. These 3 organizations have joined together to start a new program aimed at saving the snow leopards in Asia. They will be focusing on the three countries with the highest concentrations of the species, China, Mongolia and India.


Almost £60,000 ($90,000) will be provided for conservation efforts to those 3 regions for the survival of the snow leopard. This will take place over the next two years. Their efforts will focus on empowering local communities in each of the 3 countries to develop a series of conservation measures, including environmental education, wildlife monitoring and anti-poaching methods.

Snow leopards are still fairly new to the conservation scene. The first photograph of a wild snow leopard wasn’t taken until the 1970s. Actual efforts for the protection of the snow leopard didn’t happen until the 1980s and was way behind the big campaigns for endangered tigers. All of that will hopefully change now with the collaboration between the 3 conservation organizations. Besides preserving the beauty and magnificence of the snow leopard, a whole ecosystem will benefit from this. This is because the snow leopard is considered to be an apex predator and is at the top of the wildlife pryamid.

All though they can't be saved all at once, with time, patience and good conservation practices, the snow leopard will be on it's way back to thriving in and helping to rebuild an entire ecosystem. Just as it always had for thousands of years past.

Photograph by Michael Nichols

Thursday

An Act of Love in a war torn country between an injured wolf and some unlikely friends

A wonderful event took place recently in an area of the world that cannot yet find peace between the people living there. But hearts went out to a hurt and stranded wolf who was seriously injured when her leg was caught in a hunters trap on the Palestinian side of the separation fence.

Soldiers of the Israeli armored corps found her and alerted Roi Ben-Yosef, an inspector from the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority. He immediately came to the wolf's rescue and rushed her to the safari's veterinary hospital. The wolf was given the name Ahinoam which means beauty of motion in Israeli.

Dr. Yigal Horowitz of the animal hospital then treated the wolf's leg until it was completely healed. He was hesitant however about returning Ahinoam back to the wild because he thought that her contact with them could possibly compromise her safety in the future. He needed not to worry though. After her leg was completely healed plans were made to release her into the wide-open spaces of the Gilboa Mountains in the north. Dr. Horowitz was quickly reassured when they had to put Ahinoam into a cage to transport her. He was quoted as saying "from the way the wolf resisted getting into the cage, it was clear we were witnessing the behavior of a wild animal."

In a touching gesture, Ahinoam was released back into the wild on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 in the presence of the soldiers who had saved her life. After hesitating only a few seconds in front of the people who came to watch, Ahinoam quickly scampered out of her cage to freedom once again. She has been fitted with a transmitter collar to allow her movements to be traced in the future.

Ahinoam was intentionally released into the Gilboa Mountains because it is known that two wolf packs make their home there.
"We hope she joins one of them," Dr. Horowitz said optimistically.

Photos: Tomer Neuberg / Jini

Source http://www.haaretz.com/ More Pictures

Wednesday

Transformation into wolves is a favourite subject of legends around the world, and many a wild tale is told by the peasants round the turf fire in the winter nights of strange adventures with wolves. Stories that had come down to them from their forefathers in the old times long ago. The story we have here would be an 'import'. There are quite a few instances of this sort of thing ... soldiers bringing home foreign tales and their being subsequently 'incorporated' into the native Irish tradition. These stories are intended to inculcate desireable behaviour models into children like generosity or kindness, which the Irish mainly favour in such tales. The last wolf in Ireland was killed in Wicklow in the 18th Century. There are no wolves existing in Ireland today.

A Wolf Story

A young farmer, named Connor, once missed two fine cows from his herd, and no tale or tidings could be heard of them anywhere. So he thought he would set out on a search throughout the country; and he took a stout blackthorn stick in his hand, and went his way. All day he travelled miles and miles, but never a sign of the cattle. And the evening began to grow very dark, and he was wearied and hungry, and no place near to rest in; for he was in the midst of a bleak, desolate heath, with never a habitation at all in sight, except a long, low, rude shieling,* like the den of a robber or a wild beast. But a gleam of light came from a chink between the boards, and Connor took heart and went up and knocked at the door. It was opened fit once by a tall, thin, grey-haired old man, with keen, dark eyes.

"Come in," he said, "you are welcome. 'We have been waiting for you. This is my wife," and he brought him over to the hearth, where was seated an old, thin, grey woman, with long, sharp teeth and terrible glittering eyes. "You are welcome," she said. "We have been waiting for you - it is time for supper. Sit down and eat with us."

Now Connor was a brave fellow, but he was a little dazed at first at the sight of this strange creature. However, as he had his stout stick with him, he thought he could make a fight for his life any way, and, meantime, he would rest and eat, for he was both hungry and weary, and it was now black night, and he would never find his way home even if he tried. So he sat down by the hearth, while the old grey woman stirred the pot on the fire. But Connor felt that she was watching him all the time with her keen, sharp eyes.


Then a knock came to the door. And the old man rose up and opened it. When in walked a slender, young black wolf, who immediately went straight across the floor to an inner room, from which in a few moments came forth a dark, slender, handsome youth, who took his place at the table and looked hard at Connor with his glittering eyes. "You are welcome," he said, "we have waited for you."

Before Connor could answer another knock was heard, and in came a second wolf, who passed on to the inner room like the first, and soon after, another dark, handsome youth came out and sat down to supper with them, glaring at Connor with his keen eyes, but said no word.

"These are our sons," said the old man, "tell them what you want, and what brought you here amongst us, for we live alone and don't care to have spies and strangers coming to our place."

Then Connor told his story, how he had lost his two fine cows, and had searched all day and found no trace of them; and he knew nothing of the place he was in, nor of the kindly gentleman who asked him to supper; but if they just told him where to find his cows he would thank them, and make the best of his way home at once.

Then they all laughed and looked at each other, and the old hag looked more frightful than ever when she showed her long, sharp teeth. On this, Connor grew angry, for he was hot tempered; and he grasped his blackthorn stick firmly in his hand and stood up, and bade them open the door for him; for he would go his way, since they would give no heed and only mocked him.

Then the eldest of the young men stood up. "Wait," he said, "we are fierce and evil, but we never forget a kindness. Do you remember, one day down in the glen you found a poor little wolf in great agony and like to die, because a sharp thorn had pierced his side? And you gently extracted the thorn and gave him a drink, and went your way leaving him in peace and rest?"

"Aye, well do I remember it," said Connor, "and how the poor little beast licked my hand in gratitude." "Well," said the young man, "I am that wolf, and I shall help you if I can, but stay with us tonight and have no fear." So they sat down again to supper and feasted merrily, and then all fell fast asleep, and Connor knew nothing more till he awoke in the morning and found himself by a large hay-rick in his own field. "Now surely," thought he, "the adventure of last night was not all a dream, and I shall certainly find my cows when I go home; for that excellent, good young wolf promised his help, and I feel certain he would not deceive me."

But when he arrived home and looked over the yard and the stable and the field, there was no sign nor sight of the cows. So he grew very sad and dispirited. But just then he espied in the field close by three of the most beautiful strange cows he had ever set eyes on. "These must have strayed in," he said, "from some neighbour's ground;" and he took his big stick to drive them out of the gate off the field. But when he reached the gate, there stood a young black wolf watching; and when the cows tried to pass out at the gate he bit at them, and drove them back. Then Connor knew that his friend the wolf had kept his word. So he let the cows go quietly back to the field; and there they remained, and grew to be the finest in the whole country, and their descendants are flourishing to this day, and Connor grew rich and prospered; for a kind deed is never lost, but brings good luck to the doer for evermore, as the old proverb says:
"Blessings are won, by a good deed done.

But never again did Connor find that desolate heath or that lone shieling,* though he sought far and wide, to return his thanks, as was due to the friendly wolves; nor did he ever again meet any of the family.

Source: Ancient Legends of Ireland by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde


Tuesday

In Botswana, found in the arid eastern part of Africa, there is a wildlife watering hole on the Mashatu Game Reserve. It is known as Pete's Pond and it was carved into the landscape by a man known as Pete Le Roux. It was born of his idea to protect Botswana's wildlife and give the animals room to run free in expanded territory.

Pete Le Roux set up this alternative watering hole to attract wildlife away from the Limpopo River where many poachers lurked. By using the remnants of an old irrigation system from the area's failed attempts to grow cotton, he had hoped to put a stop to the rampant poaching and senseless killing of Africa's wildlife. His prayers were answered as the idea worked. Today the pond regularly attracts a great variety of wildlife that come to drink at the pond including herds of elephant, eland, impala, lions, warthogs, baboons and many more.

Now in world of the internet, Pete's Pond can be seen by everyone through the lens of a famous webcam that began on National Geographic's wildcam. It is now hosted and operated by WildEarth.
The camera is mounted overlooking the waterhole along with a microphone and floodlights that switch on automatically at night. The camera is controlled by volunteers over the Internet, who Tweet 'sightings' @wildearth. Watch for awhile and before you know it, you too may become what is referred to as a "pondie". Enjoy the wonders of Africa's wildlife without ever leaving home! Even if there is no wildlife to be seen at the moment you can enjoy the sounds of Africa's voice especially from the many birds in the area.

Botswana   London   Sydney    Tokyo   New York   Los Angeles
10am          9am        6pm        5pm     4am            1am
4pm            3pm        midnight  11pm   10am          7am

Photo credit Chris Johns



Free Videos by Ustream.TV

Monday

May 23 is World Turtle Day, an annual event created to celebrate and increase awareness of turtle species around the world. 

Today, May 23rd is World Turtle Day. Founded in 2000, the American Tortoise Rescue is the founding sponsor of World Turtle Day. It was originally started to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures. World Turtle Day is celebrated throughout the world in a variety of ways, anything from dressing up as turtles to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. In Costa Rica, they are making a special appeal to prevent overfishing and implement a tougher stand against violators of the laws of preservation.

Turtles are reptiles, characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. Despite their hard exterior, they're really big softies on the inside and need our protection. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, butt they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade. Several species of turtles are in danger of extinction. They are known as the "lora" (ridley) and the "baula" (leatherback) and the "verde" (green) and the "carey" (hawksbill). This is because of global warming all the way to poor fishing practices. The most endangered turtle on our planet is China's Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle. This species only has 4 individuals left in the whole world! Despite attempts to save it, China has not been able to bring it back from the edge of extinction.

What can we do to help these gentle prehistoric creatures trying to survive in our harsh modern day environment? There are several things that both adults and kids can do to help. The following are ways to make a difference for the turtles in our world.

Never buy a turtle or tortoise from a pet shop as it increases demand from the wild. Never remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they are sick or injured. If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and send it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.

Write letters to legislators asking them to keep sensitive habitat preserved or closed to off road vehicles, and to prevent off shore drilling that can lead to more endangered sea turtle deaths.

Report cruelty or illegal sales of turtles and tortoises to your local animal control shelter. Report the sale of any turtle or tortoise of any kind.

The loss of any species is a tragic occurance to our world as there is a reason and place for all creatures on our earth. Let us celebrate World Turtle Day today and take the steps that are necessary to insure they will be with us for the next generation and beyond.

Photo credit: Tim McCormack

Sunday

Ever wonder what life is really like for a wolf pack? The following 4 part video series is a story of a pack of 7 wolves living in the Northern Rocky Mountains. 

It is a story but it is based on fact and shows how a pack survives in it's quest for food and it's challenges from other packs for it's territory.

The strength of the wolf is the pack. Life on the outside would be lonely and hard so the pack is banded together and led by the Alpha male and female wolves. The Alphas determine the pack's territory and scent mark it every month to leave a clear warning to other packs.

 The pack also has a mental map of their territory and they use this to find their prey for food. This is made possible by the size and intricacies of their large brain and their extraordinary sense of smell. The wolf's brain is 30% larger than that of a dog's. Their amazing sense of smell is up to 10,000 times more sensitive than that of a human's.

It is a fascinating world to be sure. Enjoy the the inside view of life on the Wolf Battlefield.


BBC - Wolf Battlefield- Movie Full Episode



Saturday

Think of Canada and you think of dense beautiful wilderness, majestic mountains, abundant wildlife, pristine lakes and the wolf. The wolf has always had it's place in the Canadian wilderness, running free, howling in the night. It has played a part in literature, art and song. The wolf has been depicted as a symbol of Canadian spirit and pride in it's glorious beauty of the land and it's wildlife.

Recently the Canadian Mint introduced the pure Silver Maple Leaf, $5 Lone Wolf Coin, which has demonstrated the soft spot of the Royal mint for the preservation of wildlife. It's focus is the Wolf, which is one of the endangered species. This beautiful coin is made in support of the wolf, a beautiful but very misunderstood animal.

Wolves have been misconceived throughout North America as being very dangerous to humans. Because of this misconception, wolves were almost totally eradicated from the U.S. during it's expansion out west. But not in Canada. The wolf continued to run free and wild and true to itself. Because of this, the wolf rightfully deserves it's place of honor on this marvelous Canadian coin.


Link to Purchase 2011 Canadian 1 oz Silver Wolf Coins "Wild Life Series"

Friday

Today many conservation organizations will be observing the newly formed Endangered Species Day. The purpose of this day is to recognize the conservation efforts aimed at keeping the endangered species all across America from disappearing forever due to extinction.

Many of the ecologists and biologists who have been taking an inventory of the world's biodiversity, suggest that we are in the midst of a “6th mass extinction. For example the dinosaurs, as in the kind of extinction that kills off massive numbers of lifeforms. The big difference with this current one is that it is happening faster than the past ones. What normally took thousands or hundreds of thousands of years in the past, is now taking only a couple of hundred years.

The U.S. Department of Interior recently settled with it's litigants this month and therefore hundreds of species of plants and animals will be given endangered species protection. Around 250 or so candidates for the Endangered Species Act will be given protection out of approximately 460 total. There will remain hundreds of species that will remain on the verge of becoming endangered. While the Central American Crocodile and the Indian Tiger are on an increase, other well known and beloved animals such as the South Pole Penquin are on the decline.

But all is not lost and there are still many things that can be done. The simplest way to make a difference is to voice your views to your representatives in our State and Federal legislatures, or contact your local Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters for restoration volunteer opportunities. Or you can simply do a search on “Save the _________” and then donate, and/or get involved (email or letter campaigns are always helpful).

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to take some action for the endangered ones soon because in the case of extinction, Time waits for no one! Happy Endangered Species Day and let your voices be heard!




Thursday

This year on Mother's Day weekend in America, a very special event took place. Three white bison calves were born in Bend, Oregon into a herd of 11 white buffalo. This herd of 11 white buffalo was moved up from Arizona last August, when the owner of the herd's dying wish was that they move to greener pastures.. These newly born white bison are not albino -- which have pink noses and eyes, but rather these rare babies have brown noses and blue eyes. And they were born big and strong and very white which is a very good sign that they will make it to adulthood.

In some Native American cultures the White bison symbolize peace and prayer. So the birth of three at once is considered to be an extraordinary event at the nonprofit, Sacred World Peace Alliance where they were born. "There are some prophecies that say if the buffalo come to the western shores, world peace will begin," said the president of SWPA, Cynthia Hart-Button. "And we're seeing changes. It's a sign of change to the world." She also added that according to history, the chances of a white buffalo being born is one in 10 million.

The legend of the White Buffalo

Sioux mythology has a female character of supernatural origin referred to as the White Buffalo Calf Woman.
According to legend, two men were sent out by their starving and demoralized villages to look for buffalo herds near the Sacred Hills, also know as the Black Hills, in western South Dakota.

They had a vision of a maiden dressed in white buckskin, who told them to prepare the villages for her arrival. She appeared soon after and brought prayers, teachings, a sacred pipe and other offerings.

She promised to return someday to renew the people's faith and spirit, and as she departed, she turned into a buffalo calf. She rolled over repeatedly, changing from black to brown to yellow to white. Ever since, the white buffalo has been viewed as a return of the maiden and her promise of renewal.

Photo: Courtesy of Cynthia Hart-Button





Wednesday

The Canary islands consist of 7 islands and 6 islets which are all volcanic. They are located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km (62 miles) west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union. It's beautiful beaches, agreeable subtropical climate and important natural attractions, specifically the Teide National Park and Mount Teide (the third largest volcano in the world), make it a popular tourist destination, with over 12 million visitors per year.

The name Canary Islands is most likely derived from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning "Island of the Dogs". The Guanches, who were the original inhabitants of the island, used to worship dogs, mummified them and revered dogs generally as holy animals. In ancient times the island was well known for it's people who worshipped dogs, and when the Romans first visited the island they gave it the name: 'canarii', which is Latin for "the ones with dogs". The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the island's coat-of-arms. During the Spanish Empire the Canary Islands were the main stopover for the Spanish galleons on their way to America because of the favorable easterly winds.

Today with tourism being the main attraction to the islands, many golf courses, hotels and ports are being built much to the dismay of environmentalists. In the past many people emigrated from the islands but today there is a lot of immigration from the African countries. The dichotomy between the wealthy vacationers and the impoverished immigrants is staggering. However there currently isn't a solution to this problem.

What follows is a beautiful time lapse video of these magnificent islands. Their beauty is a main attraction for many vacationers, nature lovers and hikers. As you watch you will quickly understand why this is the case.

Photo: elcielodecanarias.com

Tuesday

In astronomical terms the Full moon is a lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. The hemisphere is almost fully illuminated by the Sun and appears round to those who are viewing it from the Earth. The time interval between similar Full Moon phases is on average about 29.53 days.

However, throughout time, many a person has uttered the phrase “There must be a full moon tonight” in an attempt to explain weird happenings at night. The Romans gave the Roman goddess of the moon a name that remains familiar to us today - Luna, prefix of the word “lunatic.” Well known Greek philosopher, Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the “moistest” organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the influences of the Full moon, which triggers the tides. In Europe through the Middle Ages, humans were widely reputed to change into werewolves or vampires during a full moon.

But is there any truth to these myths of the Full Moon? Scientifically there is no hard core evidence to back this up. In fact Florida International University psychologist James Rotton, Colorado State University astronomer Roger Culver and University of Saskatchewan psychologist Ivan W. Kelly have searched far and wide for any consistent behavioral effects of the full moon. In all cases, they have come up empty-handed. This may be so but there is also the mystical part of life that begs to differ! Whatever your beliefs are, there is the consensus that the Full Moon is a magical and beautiful sight to behold for all.


May Moon Names

Frog Moon (Cree).
Ponies shed (Sioux).
Bright moon (Celtic).
Waiting Moon (Hopi).
Mulberry Moon (Greek).
Ninth Moon (Wishram).
Idle Moon (Assiniboine).
Big Leaf Moon (Mohawk).
Panther Moon (Choctaw).
Grass Moon (Neo-Pagan).
Planting Moon (Cherokee).
Corn Planting Moon (Taos).
Little Corn Moon (Natchez).
Green Leaf Moon (Apache).
Corn Weed Moon(Agonquin).
Field Maker Moon (Abernaki).
Blossom Moon (Anishnaabe).
Shaggy Hair Moon (Arapaho).
Green Leaves Moon (Dakota).
Fat Horses Moon (Cheyenne).
Leaf Tender Moon (San Juan).
Hare Moon (Medieval English).
Milk Moon (Colonial American).
Strawberry Moon (Potawatomi).
Hoeing Corn Moon (Winnebago).
Alewive Moon (Passamaquoddy).
Ninth Moon (Dark Janic), Mothers Moon (Full Janic).
Flower Moon, Corn Plant Moon, Milk Moon (Algonquin).

Other Moon names : Frogs Return Moon, Sproutkale Moon, Dyad Moon, Merry Moon, Joy Moon


Video: Sonata Arctica - Full Moon

Carl Brenders has been internationally acclaimed as one of the greatest Nature painters of all time. Just a glance at his work and you will understand this honor bestowed to him. Spend some time taking in all the details of his work and you will be in awe.

Carl was born near Antwerp, Belgium in 1937. He has drawn since childhood starting at a very early age. Carl studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Antwerp and later at Berchem in Belgium. He began his career as an illustrator of children’s books on natural history and being a great train fan, he loved to paint them also. Today, although he has traveled all over the world, Carl still calls his beloved Antwerp home with his wife, Paula.

Those who have already met him look forward to meeting him again and to listen with rapt attention as he passionately explains in great and fascinating detail the pictures he has painted. For it is in this great detail of minutia that escapes the average viewer, that Brenders art allows us to see exactly what he sees and everything else seems out of focus by comparison. He is an intense man and it shows in his work.


The wildlife images of Brenders' art are first created from pencil sketches. From these sketches his beautiful paintings of watercolor and gouache are completed with a technique he has developed during the last 25 years. His paintings in their intricate nature, devote equal attention to the detail of the wildlife subject and its habitat as well as to the mood created by the light. It is in this intricacy that his paintings take on the resemblance of photography.


A dedicated conservationist, Brenders has raised awareness for environmental and conservation causes through his art which enjoys international acclaim. He is widely collected in North America, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Holland, Argentina and in his native Belgium.


Carl Brenders sums up his philosophy on painting in his following quote.
"In my scenes of nature, I like to share the experience of being within the intimate world of the animals — a little moment in paradise together with them. Nature is already beautiful, already perfect. That is why I paint the way I do with so much detail and so much realism — I want to capture that perfection."



Photos Wildlife Paintings of Carl Brenders

Carl Brenders - Cheek to Cheek

Carl Brenders - Down for the Count

Carl Brenders - Companions, The

Carl Brenders - Black Wolf

Carl Brenders - Esprit de Corps - Arctic Wolves

Carl Brenders - Steadfast and Resolute - Wolf

Video Carl Brenders



Sunday

On April 14th, of this year the U.S. Congress passed the Budget bill to keep the U.S. Government from shutting down. Attached to this bill was a rider that was totally unrelated to the U.S. budget. It was attached by Senator Testor in a self-serving political move to out- hate wolves from his political opponent. It was the only rider left in the Budget bill and Congress passed it. The rider called for the delisting of the Gray wolf in the western U.S. and prohibited any legal challenge to this delisting. This will free up the western states to once again hold their wolf hunts and kill hundreds of wolves next fall. On April 16th, President Obama signed this bill into law.

What Congress did not allow though was for the voice of the American people to be heard. In fact this was done so quietly that the majority of Americans never even knew it happened. Surprisingly the usually very outspoken and opinionated media machine in the U.S. was also mute on this political move.

It is time that we, the people, let President Obama and the U.S. Congress know just how we feel about this underhanded method of sneaking totally unrelated issues through for the political agenda of another politician. And how we feel about the upcoming massacres of the Gray wolf and the potential destruction of the Endangered Species Act that was setup to protect our wildlife after many of them had been eradicated in the past. Now anytime a protected species gets in the way of a politician's goals all they have to do is attach a rider to a bill and that species can be in the crosshairs once again.

Whether you are from the U.S. or the larger world community, please take a minute to vote No in this poll asking if you agree with the delisting of the Gray wolf in America. Thank you for letting your voices be heard!

LINK VOTE : Poll: National Gray Wolves Delisting

The Wolf that changed America ~ How the Encounter between Ernest Thompson Seton and Lobo changed America's Future.

In 1893 Ernest Thompson Seton began a quest that would soon not only change his life but also the course of America. This history changing story took place in the beautiful southwestern state of New Mexico. At this time the wild buffalo had all been eradicated by man and were replaced by cattle whose defenses had been bred out of them. For hungry wolves the temptation was too great and the cattle made for easy pickings. The ranchers were incensed by this and wanted it stopped. Seton who was a trapper, naturalist and author had been hired to catch and destroy the pack leader of the wolves, Lobo.

Seton who was born in Canada, was familiar with wolves and had often trapped and killed them in the past. He had even written a book on how to do this. He reasoned that at most this job would take no more than a couple of weeks. But what he hadn't counted on was Lobo, a wolf with an almost supernatural ability to cheat death. Soon weeks turned into months with not even a sight of Lobo. Seton had used all his best methods to catch this wolf but to no avail.

When Seton, after months of being eluded by Lobo, finally came into contact with him a shocking chain of events took place that jolted his conscience and made him question who really was the villian and who was the hero. Although Seton was a trapper by trade he was also a naturalist and this conflicting view of his was to disappear forever. In his book, "Wild Animals I Have Known", he professed his profound regret over the war he had waged against Lobo.

Seton had been so effected by his encounter with Lobo that he never killed another wolf again. He lived the rest of his life spreading the word about preservation for America's wilderness and wild animal species. His mission began what is now the modern day conservation movement and it had been solely inspired by a wolf named Lobo. Seton pushed for the creation of national parks and lobbied for and laid the groundwork for environmental legislation. His heart had been forever touched by Lobo and America's wildlife and wilderness has been preserved because of what came out of this one moment in time.


The video that follows is a fascinating documentary narrated by actor F. Murray Abraham. The subject matter is inspired by the actual journal entries of Ernest Thompson Seton. The story is told through dramatic reenactments, vintage photos, and expert interviews with historians, library curators, and wolf biologists. It also shows some truly remarkable nature photography. This story is sure to be a memorable one.

The Wolf That Changed America Video: Full Episode



Link to Buy DVD Nature: The Wolf That Changed America

Friday

We have all heard the horror stories and seen the pictures of how circus animals are treated so badly. They are forced to perform unnatural acts for the sheer entertainment of humans. And violence and force is often used to train them. This is vividly portrayed in the current movie "Water for Elephants".

Although other countries have banned the use of wild animals in circuses, Bolivia has taken the groundbreaking step of banning all wild and domestic animals from circuses. A law was proposed by sponsor Ximena Flores in Bolivia after an undercover investigation by the nonprofit-making London-based group Animal Defenders International (ADI). This organization had found widespread abuse in circuses operating in Bolivia.

The law states that the use of animals in circuses "constitutes an act of cruelty", and it took effect on July 1st with circus operators being given a year to comply. Ximena Flores commented that Bolivian authorities have a goal of stopping circus operators from the practice of killing the animals they can no longer use. Currently there are about 50 animals that are performing in the national and international circuses in Bolivia.

Hats off to Bolivia in leading the way in the world to make sure that the abuse of circus animals is stopped in their country. It is now up to the rest of the world to take a hard look at this problem and to take their own steps to eliminate the pain and suffering of circus animals in their own countries. There will come a day, hopefully soon, when more people will become aware and this issue will become a thing of the past.

Wednesday

Just before dawn on May 9th-12th, a very rare and magical sight will take place for all to see. There will be a cluster of 4 planets which will be visible to all low in the eastern sky. Next to the moon, these planets are the brightest things in the sky and this proximity is a very rare occurance.

Although they are really millions of miles apart, Venus and Jupiter will appear to come within inches of each other. Mars will appear to be a little farther away, on the lower left of the other three planets.

According to the Austin McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas, the best view of the clusters will be seen in the southern states of the U.S. It is also suggested to increase the visibility that binoculars and telescopes could be used because the light of dawn will make it harder to see as it approaches.

Some facts about the planets involved~

Jupiter - is the largest planet in the solar system. Jupiter takes about 12 years to orbit the Sun and rotates in about 10 hours. This short Jupiter "day" is amazing since the planet is roughly 11 Earth diameters wide. It also has 39 moons orbiting it and more are expected to be found in the future.

Mars - is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system. It is often referred to as the "Red Planet", as it has a reddish appearance due to the prevalent iron oxide on its surface. It was named after the Roman god of war. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, and resembles Earth somewhat with its surface feature of valleys, deserts, volcanoes and polar ice caps. Mars has 2 moons orbiting it.


Venus - is the second planet from the Sun. It was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Venus is the brightest natural object in the night sky next to the moon and reaches it brightest point just before sunrise or right after sunset. Therefore it has been called the Morning or Evening Star. It is classified as a terrestrial planet and has been called Earth's "sister or twin planet" due to the similar size, gravity, and surface composition.

Mercury - is the smallest planet and the closest to the Sun. It was also named after a Roman god. Mercury is similar in appearance to the Moon: it is heavily cratered with regions of smooth plains, has no natural satellites and no substantial atmosphere but has a rocky body like the earth. It is also a bright planet and can be seen from the earth. Relatively little is known about this planet as compared to the other three.

The video below provides an illustration of the relative positions the planets should have throughout the week.

Image Credit: Luis Argerich


Tuesday

Live video from the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. See the Bear Center's 3 bears -- Ted, Honey, and Lucky.

The North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota is on a mission. They have set out to advance the long-term survival of bears worldwide by replacing misconceptions with scientific facts about bears. They want to show that bears play an important role in the ecosystems as predators by keeping it in balance. The Bear Center also wants to show the truth about the bears and their relationships with humans.

Since bears have also been unfairly demonized for centuries much like the wolves, they have been eradicated around the world through the use of legalized hunts, bounties, poisonings, poaching and trapping. The Bear Center is determined to replace these outdated misconceptions with the facts worldwide. They work to rehabilitate injured and orphaned bears back to the wild and to conserve bear habitat. They also work to reduce and eliminate conflict between humans and bears and to the stop the poaching for bear body parts.

To achieve these educational goals, the Bear Center is using an internet outreach program with the use of a live web videocam . The webcam is focused on the pond which is play and fishing area of the bear's home at the center. There are three bears that live here: Ted, Honey and Lucky.

Ted is the oldest and largest male black bear. In fact he may just be the largest black bear that has ever lived. When he first came to the center he weighed between 900 - 1000 lbs. He now weighs a svelte 860 lbs. Ted was raised as a family pet in Wisconsin along with Honey. He is very human friendly and sweet and is one of the few bears that actually prefers human contact over food.

Honey is the only female at the center and she is a brown phased black bear. She is on record for being the heaviest ever black bear female weighing in at 555 lbs. She was also raised by a human family along with Ted but does not exhibit Ted's unabashed friendliness toward humans.

Lucky is the youngest black bear and was brought to center as an orphaned bear weighing only 10 lbs at the time in 2007. He was afraid of both Ted and Honey for a long time but finally became friends with Ted. They now play together on a regular basis.

Please check in periodically on the live video which is available 24/7 and catch a glimpse of these wonderful bears in their daily life at the Bear Center. Get to know them up close and personal.

Photo: International Bear Center


Live broadcast by Ustream

You can also watch this video of Lucky and Ted. It shows how bears make friends with each other.


Sunday

The love of our mother is what gives us our precious start in life. There really is no way that any of us could ever really repay what our mothers have done for us. But Mother's Day throughout the world is an attempt to do just that. A way to honor the woman who played the most important role in our lives with her love and support. Today the celebration of Mothers Day takes place on different dates across 46 countries and is a very popular event. But when did this celebration of Mothers first begin?

The origin of Mother's Day actually goes back to the era of ancient Greek and Romans. The earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to their maternal goddesses. The Ancient Romans, also celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess which took place some 250 years before Christ was born. Even the early Christians celebrated a type of Mother's Day on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ.

Then in the early days of England in the 1600's this celebration was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday. It consisted of a prayer service in church on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honor the Virgin Mary and children would bring gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers. This custom evolved to where the adults were then encouraged to visit and pay tribute to their mothers. But eventually the celebrating of Mothering Sunday almost died out completely by the 19th century. It was brought to life again after World War II, when American servicemen brought the custom with them.

In the U.S., Mothers Day was originally made official in 1914 by Anna Jarvis who was inspired by her own mother who was an activist and a social worker. Although she was never a mother herself, Anna Jarvis was felt compelled to honor all mothers, living and dead, and pay tribute to the contributions made by them. After much lobbying by Anna and her supporters, on May 8, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Wherever you are in the world, the bond between a mother and her children is a strong and eternal one. Although it is wonderful to express our love and appreciation for our mothers on a special day, it is even more important to share and express our love whenever we have the chance. For once our mothers are gone, that very special and unconditional love will never be found again.
Happy Mothers Day Everyone!


Mother's Day Quotes

"The mother is everything - she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly." ~ Kahlil Gibran ~

I believe in LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT...
because I have loved my mother
ever since I opened my eyes.
~ Carli Ventura

When God thought of mother, He must have laughed with satisfaction, and framed it quickly - so rich, so deep, so divine, so full of soul, power, and beauty, was the conception.
~ Henry Ward Beecher


The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated.
~ Washington Irving

To a child's ear, 'M O T H E R' is magic in any language..
~ Arlene Benedict

A mother's happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.
~ Honoré de Balzac

A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother's love endures through all.
~ Washington Irving

Mother's will go with out food to make sure their children have enough to eat, they will not buy themselves clothes to make sure their children have enough to wear, they will read their child a bedtime story when all they want to do is relax or go to bed themselves. A child will always be cared for with the same love as if they were still small, They carry us all for 9 months of their lives going through the sickness and discomfort of pregnancy, and then the pain of labour itself, but as soon as that baby is born all is forgotten, the overwhelming love and joy they feel for the newborn is unbelievable it is a love that never ceases but carry's on forever.
~ unknown



Saturday

There are many myths and legends about the origin of the Milky Way, the galaxy cluster of stars that makes a distinctive bright streak across the night sky.

Mythology among cultures
Armenian
Ancient Armenian mythology called the Milky Way the "Straw Thief's Way". According to legend, the god Vahagn stole some straw from the Assyrian king Barsham and brought it to Armenia during a cold winter. When he fled across the heavens, he spilled some of the straw along the way.

Khoisan
The Khoisan people of the Kalahari desert in southern Africa say that long ago there were no stars and the night was pitch black. A girl, who was lonely and wanted to visit other people, threw the embers from a fire into the sky and created the Milky Way.

Cherokee
A Cherokee folktale tells of a dog who stole some cornmeal and was chased away. He ran away to the north, spilling the cornmeal along the way. The Milky Way is thus called Gili Ulisvsdanvyi "The Way the Dog Ran Away".

Eastern Asia
Peoples in Eastern Asia believed that the hazy band of stars was the "Silvery River" of Heaven (Chinese: 銀河, Korean: eunha and Japanese: ginga). In one story, the stars Altair and Vega were said to be two lovers who were allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month, when a flock of magpies and crows formed a bridge over the galactic river. That day is celebrated as Qi Xi, the Seventh Night

Egyptian
In Egyptian mythology, the Milky Way was considered a pool of cow's milk. It was deified as a fertility cow-goddess by the name of Bat (later on syncretized with the goddess Hathor).

Finno-Ugric
Among the Finns, Estonians and related peoples, the Milky Way was and is called "The Pathway of the Birds" (Finnish: Linnunrata, Estonian: Linnutee). The Finns observed that the migratory birds used the galaxy as a guideline to travel south, where they believed Lintukoto (bird home) resided. In Estonian folklore it is believed that the birds are led by a white bird with the head of a maiden who chases birds of prey away.[4] Only later did scientists indeed confirm this observation; the migratory birds use the Milky Way as a guide to travel to warmer, southern lands during the winter.[citation needed] The name in the Indo-European Baltic languages has the same meaning (Lithuanian: Paukščių Takas, Latvian: Putnu Ceļš).

Greek and Roman
The Greek name for the Milky way (Γαλαξίας Galaxias) is derived from the word for milk (γάλα, gala). One legend explains how the Milky Way was created by Heracles when he was a baby.His father, Zeus, was fond of his son, who was born of the mortal woman Alcmene. He decided to let the infant Heracles suckle on his divine wife Hera's milk when she was asleep, an act which would endow the baby with godlike qualities. When Hera woke up and realized that she was breastfeeding an unknown infant, she pushed him away and the spurting milk became the Milky Way.

A story told by the Roman Hyginus in the Poeticon astronomicon (ultimately based on Greek myth) says that the milk came from the goddess Ops (Greek Rhea), the wife of Saturn (Greek Cronus). Saturn swallowed his children to ensure his position as head of the Pantheon and sky god, and so Ops conceived a plan to save her newborn son Jupiter (Greek Zeus): She wrapped a stone in infant's clothes and gave it to Saturn to swallow. Saturn asked her to nurse the child once more before he swallowed it, and the milk that spurted when she pressed her nipple against the rock eventually became the Milky Way.

Older Greek mythology associates the Milky Way with a herd of dairy cows/cattle, where each cow is a star and whose milk gives the blue glow. As such, it is intimately associated with legends concerning the constellation of Gemini, with which it is in contact. The constellation was named for the twins, Castor and Polydeuces, who sometimes raided cattle. In addition, Gemini (in combination with Canis Major, Orion, Auriga, and the deserted area now called Camelopardalis) may form the origin of the myth of the Cattle of Geryon, one of The Twelve Labours of Heracles.


Hindu
In the Hindu collection of stories called Bhagavata Purana, all the visible stars and planets moving through space are likened to a dolphin that swims through the water, and the heavens is called śiśumãra cakra, the dolphin disc. The Milky Way forms the abdomen of the dolphin and is called Akasaganga which means "The Ganges River of the Sky".

Hungarian
In Hungarian mythology, Csaba, the mythical son of Attila the Hun and ancestor of the Hungarians is supposed to ride down the Milky Way when the Székelys (ethnic Hungarians living in Romania) are threatened. Thus the Milky Way is called "The Road of the Warriors" Hungarian: Hadak Útja .

Māori
To the Māori the Milky Way is the waka (canoe) of Tama-rereti. The front and back of the canoe are Orion and Scorpius, while the Southern Cross and the Pointers are the anchor and rope. According to legend, when Tama-rereti took his canoe out onto a lake, he found himself far from home as night was falling. There were no stars at this time and in the darkness the Taniwha would attack and eat people. So Tama-rereti sailed his canoe along the river that emptied into the heavens (to cause rain) and scattered shiny pebbles from the lakeshore into the sky. The sky god, Ranginui, was pleased by this action and placed the canoe into the sky as well as a reminder of how the stars were made.


Australian Aboriginal
The Kaurna Aboriginal People of the Adelaide Plains in South Australia see the band of the Milky Way as a river in the skyworld. They called it Wodliparri (wodli = hut, house, parri = river) and believe that positioned along the river are a number of dwellings. In addition, the dark patches mark the dwelling place of a dangerous creature known as a yura; the Kaurna call these patches Yurakauwe, which literally means "monster water." Moreover, Aboriginal Groups from the Cape York region of Queensland see the band of light as termites that had been blown into the sky by the ancestral hero Burbuk Boon. Further south the band of stars that comprise the Milky Way are seen as thousands of flying foxes carrying away a dancer known as Purupriggie.

In addition, the Aranda who come from central Australia see the band of the Milky Way as a river or creek in the skyworld. This stellar river separates the two great camps of the Aranda and Luritja People. The stars to the east of this river represent the camps of the Aranda and the stars to the west represent Luritja encampments and some stars closer to the band represent a mixture of both.
Source Wikipedia


Friday

J. D. Challenger was born in Oklahoma and his artistic talent was obvious from a very early age. Although he took his gift seriously as he developed it, he was also very humble about it. He was quoted as saying, "The thing I do best is paint. I prefer to look at it as 'not me' doing it, I'm just the instrument... The Creator, the brush, the paint, and then me."

In order to be in the good company of other artists, he moved to Taos, New Mexico which is known as a mecca for artistic spirits and for it's beautiful landscapes. It was here that J.D. started his career doing just that - painting landscapes. But privately, he felt compelled to learn about and do paintings of Native Americans. These paintings he kept secret though because he was afraid of offending a people that he greatly admired.

One day however, when he was witnessing a Ghost Dance scene being made for a movie, J.D. Challenger had a spiritual revelation of what was to become his life's mission. He became convinced that he was to paint the story of the Native Americans. After being encouraged by his wife, Denise, to show his work to his Native American friends, he received their blessing and was told by a holy man, "There has to be a messenger and he doesn't have to be one of our People. The Creator chooses His own messengers. Your path is to tell our story and educate people about the past and about what is still happening today."

From then on, he painted his portraits of the Native Americans whose past and present was rich in heritage and traditions. His goal was to paint the truth and each portrait had it's own story to tell. Sometimes the story would be one filled with anger as there was much anger felt about the injustices that had been done to the first peoples of North America by the European explorers and later the founders of the Government of the United States.

But through it all, J.D. Challenger just considered himself to be the messenger of these amazing stories. As you enjoy his paintings, you will also see for yourself, the vivid details of their stories as they unfold before you.

JD Challenger pictures







Official Site: http://www.jdchallenger.com/

Video: JD Challenger Native Am. Artwork


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