Posted by: lisaracz | September 13, 2012

Science Reveals Facts about 2012 End of Days Fallacies

photo of Earth as seen from above north america

The countdown is on or, at least it was back in December 2011. The wide spread fear throughout the globe is that the earth is going to undergo catastrophic events or that life as we know it will end for some beliefs,  in the year 2012. Well, unless this article is a dream, life is still living as we continue our daily lives for more than half way through 2012 and,  we are all still here. Rumors plagued throughout communities along with some internet hoaxes that are still out in syberspace so, it comes to ones mind to seek the truth of what events will take place in the year 2012 and soon after, if any. For all who celebrate Earth Day this month, what better way to celebrate it than with a little knowlege and plannetary education so, to ease your mind of what is still to come, factually, please read on…..

Public rumors of planet to planet collisions, alignments, pole shifts, solar flares, floods and meteor showers have all been mentioned worldwide on the internet. But, there are scientific facts of what earthly events will actually take place as the year 2012 approaches.

According to Dr. Stephen Pompea, scientist and manager of science education at Kitt Peak National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, “The 2012 end of the world rumor is a hoax and astronomical events, such as meteor showers are unrelated to the alignment of the planets.” Astrobiology is the study of all living things within the universe, where they might be found and how they were formed. The study includes exobiology, the study of other planets both in our Solar System and those orbiting around other stars and planetary biology, the study of human spaceflight and how life first came into existence. These studies have given Astrobiologists factual conclusions for the events in the year 2012. According to Dr. David Morrison, senior scientist of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, “There is no factual basis of a wayward planet that is approaching our planet to cause any type of destruction on earth and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax; however Eris, the planet that is rumored to be approaching Earth, is very real. It is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that continues to remain in the most outer portion of our solar system.”

Planets In The Universe

Doomsday stories of direct planetary alignments with the Sun are more beliefs being tossed around. Supposedly, as all the planets become aligned, title waves and earth quakes will rampage across the planet.“There is no basis in fact of an alignment of planets in the year 2012 and we are slowly orbiting the galactic center at a distance of about 30,000 light years,” states Morrison. “What does happen is the Sun, as seen from Earth, is approximately in the direction of the center of the Milky Way galaxy each year in December, but that is not an alignment.”

Some 2012 survival activists say that Earth’s rotation will suddenly reverse in 2012, causing the earth to have major magnetic pole shifts where the sun will rise in the west instead of the east. This is thought to cause a reversal on the planet causing floods and even acceleration in Global Warming. “The idea of a [pole shift] is also unfounded; has never happened, and never will in this life time,” says Dr. Morrison. “Some people are confusing this with the reversal of the magnetic poles on Earth, which does take place regularly, every 4000,000 years on average. But, there is no evidence that this might happen soon and even if it did, the magnetic shift would be gradual and there would probably be no consequences on the planet, certainly nothing catastrophic.”

Exaggerated sources, such as the science fiction film “2012” that displays solar flares or outbursts disrupting the Earth’s core, causing the planets destruction, raises some public concern, because solar flares in fact do exist. “The truth is that the Sun has an 11-year activity cycle and near and during peak activity, some solar flares can cause damage to space satellites, though engineers have learned to design them to withstand such events,” says Dr. Morrison. “The next solar maximum is predicted to happen between the years 2012 and 2013 and is predicted to be weak. Although the Sun is never completely predictable, if you survived the solar maximum we had in 1990 or 2001, you have nothing to fear.”

For more information on facts and fallacies about the year 2012 contact, Dr. David Morrison 1-650-336-3171 or visit david.morrison@nasa.gov.

“If we continue caring for the environment and strive to keep our earth alive, we will succeed for all species.” by: Lisa Racz  – One Earth, One Home.

Sincerely.

Lisa Racz - Queen of Green

Lisa Racz (Queen of  Green)

Your local Arizona Environmental Writer

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A Creek Oasis - photo by Lisa Racz

A Creek Oasis – photo by Lisa Racz

  

Flowering desert sage, whispering cottonwoods, towering Saguaro cactus along with the hushed trill of cool water welcome phoenix residents seeking a hiking oasis from out of the heat into a rare, natural sanctuary.

 A few miles north of Phoenix in the historic town of Cave Creek, lies a hidden hiking trail known to locals as the “Jewel of the Desert.” The actual name for this hiking spot is the Jewel of the Creek Preserve, which inhabits 27 miles of rare desert preserve trust land surrounding a flowing stream.

According to Stacy Fischer, conservation director with Desert Foothills Land Trust, “This trail spot received its name when it was reclassified as a rare conservation land site in 1998. Then the Desert foothills Land Trust purchased the 27 acres of preserve lands from the State Land Department in 2001, placing these acres in permanent protection.”                                                                                                  

To find this trail, take Cave Creek Road north from Phoenix into the town of Cave Creek and turn left at the old Cracked Crab Restaurant onto Spur Cross Road for about four miles. Spur Cross Road soon turns into a smooth dirt road for the last mile where it ends at the Spur Cross Ranch on the right. Parking for Spur Cross hiking trailhead at the Jewel of the Desert is located on the left, jut in front of an unusual misplaced house that some locals like to call, “Adams family house.”

The creek got the name Cave Creek from different stories ranging from folklore tales of “Old Rackensack”, to caves left by mining prospectors and hostile Indians who often used the large cave north of the creek as a camp back in the 1870’s. This northern cave is now on private property and is off limits to hikers, but the Land Trust gives six tours a year to the northern cave with cooperation from the property owners.

According to Jay Williams, board member of Cave Creek Museum in Cave Creek, “Legend says, Ed Cave (Old Rackensak) was an old prospector who lived in the cave for nine years, sickened with mercury poisoning. One day the local woman found the cave empty and assumed he died and the animals dragged his bones away.”

The truth is more historical than the legendary old Ed Cave where prospectors worked the caves after some soldiers found shiny stones in the water.

“Prospectors referred to the stream as cave Creek in 1870 when the Cave Creek Mining District was established, “ states Williams “An old military map dated in 1866 shows the location of the cave and referred to the stream as Cave Creek.”

Hiking Trail to Creek - photo by Lisa Racz

Hiking Trail to Creek – photo by Lisa Racz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The hiking trail is fairly easy with a slight incline down into an array of flora and fauna with colorful desert flowers, ivy, red flamed ocotillos and a canopy of diverse tree species.

According to Stacy Fischer, conservation director at Desert Foothills Land Trust, “The Jewel of the Creek is unusual and differs from other valley hiking spots because it contains three distinct habitat types, Sonoran Desert Upland, Mesquite Bosque and Riparian. The riparian area is supported by year round water and is home to a beautiful overstory of Cotton woods, Gooding’s Willow, Arizona Ash, Sycamore, Arizona Walnut and rising Saguaro Cactus; all in close proximity.”

The hot desert and cactus gives way to butterfly laden paths leading to trickling cool waters and a diverse scene of animal species that is revealed below at the creek where you will find the reason this trail site is called the jewel.

“The Jewel Creek preserve holds much wildlife such as the Sonoran Mud Turtles, Lowland Leopard Frogs, Canyon Tree Frogs and long list of colorful, singing birds,” states Fischer.

The creek preserve is surrounded by stair-stepped rock formations waiting to be explored, sandy shores for relaxing and pick-nicking along side mini grassy fields buzzing with Arizona’s pollinators and small scurrying creatures below the blades.

“Riparian areas are among the highest areas for biodiversity in our area and the Jewel represents an important wildlife habitat area as well as passive recreation.” says Fischer.

 The Jewel of the Creek is becoming a popular hiking spot, but there are a few environment rules that are to be followed.

“There are daily visitors with more on the weekend and less during the hot summer months. Desert Foothills Land Trust just added a new trail, Dragonfly trail, in February 2009. There are no dogs, horses or mountain bikes aloud nor fires or camping in the area. These are hiking trails only,” exclaims Fischer.

For more information on The Jewel of the Creek or guided tours, contact Stacy Fisher at 480-488-6131 or e-mail sfischer@dflt.org. For historic information on Cave Creek call Jay Williams at Cave Creek Museum at 480-488-2764.

“Make it your goal to venture your life out into the green— One Earth, One Home.”

Sincerely.

Lisa Racz - Queen of Green

Lisa Racz (Queen of  Green)

Your local Arizona Environmental Writer

View Image   View Image

Today is May Day! This day was a traditional holiday in many pre-Christian European cultures and is celebrated on the 1st of May, making it the first day of summer celebration and a celebration of nature and the environment. May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries, similar to today’s Earth Day. Most May Day traditions begin with you waking to see the sunrise and enjoy the days festivities of a street carnival, ancient folk music and dancing madrigal singing performed mostly by woman, food and of course the decorating and dancing around the Maypole. In the Roman Catholic tradition, May is observed as Mary’s month, and in these circles May Day is usually a celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In this connection, in works of art, school skits, and so forth, Mary’s head will often be adorned with flowers in a May crowning. May Day was abolished and its celebration banned by puritan parliaments during the Interregnum, but reinstated with the restoration of Charles II in 1660. Fading in popularity since the late 20th century is the giving of “May baskets,” small baskets of sweets and/or flowers, usually left anonymously on neighbors’ doorsteps.

Trees have been linked to the celebration of May Day. In ancient Europe, trees have always been the symbol of the great vitality and fertility of nature and were often used to be turned into the Maypole. So the history of May Day (May 1st) begins with the Maypole.  The celebration of dancing around the maypole has been a tradition Worldwide to celebrate the on set of May, which dates back to ancient days before the birth of Christ. History states that the Maypole, itself, has an ancient Druid connection that suffered a setback for a few decades, but returned when the Puritans lost power in England around 1644.

For some, the celebration of the Maypole represents an ancient New Year ritual, for others, like the Romans, it was primarily to worship the goddess of flowers, Flora. In France, the Maypole name was changed to “Tree of Liberty” and is the symbol of French Revolution. Still, for others the decorated Maypole represented ancient fertility rights and May Day reminds us of being a part of nature. During the May Day celebration a may Queen is chosen for the day to represent purity and love of nature.

By the Middle Ages almost every English village had a Maypole to celebrate the coming of Spring. In London, the Maypole was set up permanently. Trees have also always been celebrated in ancient Europe as  a symbol of wisdom and strength. Now in more modern times in some states in the U.S., the Maypole is a part of joy and merriment for children and families to dance around it holding its attached ribbons accompanied by much music and food usually in the month of May.

A Maypole is wooden pole, or most usually, a tree selected by village people from a near by forest in the early dawn. The tree was cut down and the limbs are cut off. The bringing of the Maypole from the woods to town was a grand occasion with trumpets blowing and drums playing. The Maypole was then decorated with a colorful sort of ribbons attached at the top along with many flowers. The pole is sometimes painted or left natural.

Once the ribbons are attached at the top of the maypole, girls and boys, in spring dress, would grab an end of the long ribbon and begin skipping and dancing around the Maypole in opposite directions. This causes the ribbon to get shorter and shorter, intertwining the ribbon into a weave pattern. The music that was played in earlier Maypole celebration times was Celtic music with lots of flute playing.

The idea or the Maypole and maypole dancing is all that is left from the celebration of the renewing of a new year from old ancient European traditions which is coming back in the US.

Sincerely,

Lisa Racz –

“For the earth and the environment”

Posted by: lisaracz | October 30, 2011

Are you a Vampire, sucking the GREEN out of Halloween?

 

Daughter in Halloween picture by: Lisa Racz

Daughter in Halloween picture by: Lisa Racz

Ahhhhh. It’s the time of the Goblins and for Witches to be dancing around the fires singing, “Double, double Toil and Trouble…….as their cauldron bubbles and ghostly figures fill the dark shadows of night!  Each year, the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve begins at nightfall on  October 31st  but, are you keeping it GREEN?? I don’t mean the slimy green or the green toad green. I’m talking environment-friendly GREEN.

You can have loads of fun on Halloween and be environmentally conscious as well. Don’t be a Vampire, sucking up unneccessary energy or Frankenstein stomping your carbon feet around! There are efficient Halloween lights, recycling ideas for costumes and green-friendly ways to decorate that reduces the use of energy which in turn uses less of our city power plants that disrupts our carbon foot print and keeps us more earth conscience.

There’s that old saying. “Waste not, want not.” That should be a moto for all who care about leaving less of a carbon print on this planet to live by!  

String of 70 Forever Bright C6 LED Energy Saving Orange Indoor/Outdoor Halloween Lights

As decorations are put up do you consider energy-saving Halloween lights such as C6 LED Energy Saving Orange Indoor/Outdoor Halloween Lights? these are relatively inexpensive and last a little longer than the normal string of yellow and green Halloween lights. These can be purchased at your local home store such as, Home Depot or Lowes. You can also check out your super stores or your nearest pharmacy stores and check out the Halloween section or purchase on-line such as this site: http:///www.amazon.com/String-Forever-Bright-Outdoor-Halloween/dp/B001PL7XA8

Soy Candle By Lisa Racz

Soy Candle By Lisa Racz

            

Want to create a little mystery or a scary ambiance? Then candle lighting is the thing. Halloween luminaries are a tradition anyways and they look good! You can lead your little goblins to your haunted door with a path of lit luminaries,using soy candles, of course. This give a cleaner burn and with Soy, there is no chemicals released into the atmosphere. If you don’t have rowdy pets, you can use your soy candles inside as well instead of using electricity and racking up that utility bill. Just be careful of your cats tales. I had a scary incident of my older cat swishing her tail too close to a candle and almost caught it on fire. I put a form of screening over my candles now. Lesson learned!

Home made Kimono costume Photo by: Lisa Racz

Home made Kimono costume Photo by: Lisa Racz

 and are you putting out decorations that you can reuse over the years to cut down on garbage that continues to pile up at your local dump. How about creating your Halloween costume? There are many re-sale stores that have a variety of costumes in good condition or create your own Halloween creation! Recycling clothing is just that. Recycling and we all want to participate in cutting down on waste. You can also make a costume. I have put together many costumes make from old bed skirts and sheets and a used wig that I sanitized with salt water, which is a natural sanitizer as salt eventually turns into natural bleach without harming your clothes but, that’s for another article.

small burlap sack isolated on white background Stock Photo - 7077455           

Go out with re-usable bags for your Trick-or-Treat bag! You can paint those reusable grocery bags with food coloring to create a custom candy bag or buy burlap bagsat a craft store or even your local Home Depot or Lowes in the garden section. Now that’s a GREEN  idea! Burlap is sturdy, recyclable and you can paint it with eco-friendly non toxic paints. How do you paint those canvas bags? Read here. http://www.ehow.com/how_4792752_paint-canvas-bags.html

You have to do a litte homework to find some earth-friendly paints but, there’s plenty of options out there. You jus need to know what to look for.  

  1. First look for earth-friendly paints that has few or no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.  Those are harsh chemicals that create harmful fumes  into the air that cause those  headaches that you get with conventional paints.
  2. Second, get in the habit of using water-based paints.  Read the label and look for GREEN words such as, biodegradable  or phosphate-free and specifically VOC-free

Do Not Litter – Stop “Werewolfing” around and quite littering the ground! For all you parents out there, including myself, we need to make sure our children know not to litter when their out Trick-or-Treeting and eating the candy they receive and to recycle their candy rappers  when they get home or throw them in the trash. I have no doubt that has already been told to them considering there is a law against littering and you can also receive a hefty fine of $500 per littering incident if someone makes a complaint. If the wind picks up, wrappers can be blown into the backyards or in nearby preserve lands and animals my=ight mistake the sweet-smelling wrappers as a tasty morsel, eat it and become sick or worse, choke and die. So, no littering please!

If you choose to follow a few earth-friendly tips such as these, you are on your way to having a green and clean Halloween! If you have a few green ideas of your own, please leave a comment and share your green Halloween ideas! Have a Happy and GREEN Halloween!!

“Make not your traditions a tradition of uncaring — One Earth, One Home.”

Sincerely.

Lisa Racz - Queen of Green

Lisa Racz - Queen of Green

Your local Environment Writer

 

The Arizona Canal is a major canal in central Maricopa County that led to the founding of several communities. The canal is approximately 50 miles (80 km) long and  is the northernmost canal in the Salt River Project’s  131-mile  water distribution system.  It begins at Granite Reef Dam to northeast of Mesa and flows west across the Pima Indian Community to downtown Scottsdale;snakes through Phoenix’s Arcadia and Sunnyslope neighborhoods,  then to Glendale, and Peoria  before ending at New River near Arrowhead Town center. Whew!  That’s a lot of ground to cover!

Home With Flood Irrigation

The canal system provides water to neighborhood homes to water their yards once a month through irrigation systems, several water treatment plants and to  local  farm lands.In order for irrigation communities to receive water flow on their scheduled times with out interruption, an annual maintenance ritual takes place by SRP employee’s,  during the winter months, to keep the systems in good working order.

Besides the annual maintenance, done by SRP employees, a regular, everyday canal maintenance is done by a more eco-friendly friend, the White Amure fish, whose natural job is to control aquatic weed over-growth in the canals that may cause blockages. These fish are sustained with continual water flow for them during the winter maintenance ritual that closes the water flow to certain sections of the canal at a time.

File:Grass-Carp1web.jpg

 This name of this lovely fish arrises from its native area of living in the Amur River on the Siberia-China border.

The White Amure fish, also known as The Grass Carp, is farmed in China for food but was introduced in Europe and the U.S.  for environmental friendly aquatic weed control since the fish has a pretty wide range  in temperature tolerance. The Arizona Game and Fish Department provides special stock permits for these canal swimming White Amure because, these fish, eating in our canals are sterile.

The White Amur helps in controlling excessive aquatic vegetation, as shown in the picture above.  These fish are a very effective with biological control by consuming more than twice their body weight each day during their early growing years. Our useful friend also eliminates the need for humans to use chemical herbicides which can damage any underwater ecosystem.

For information on canal maintenance and when it begins in your area, call SRP 602-236-3333.

More related sites about the White Amure fish:

http://www.srpnet.com/environment/amur.aspx.    

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Nature-Community/1980-05-01/Weed-Eating-Fish.aspx

“All creatures have a wonderful purpose on this planet and the quicker we understand that, The more we will all live in harmony as a whole.” – Lisa Racz

Sincerely,

Your local environment writer
Lisa Racz - Queen of Green

Lisa Racz - Queen of Green

Image Detail

There are many debates on the issue of protecting the global environment, but the issue that comes up in most conversations is climate changes or what is commonly known as global warming. Whether it is man-made, a natural occurance or both, there are effects within earth’s environment that comes with global warming.

With climate changes continually happening, environmental facts are to be considered when changing human habits and wildlife habitats. It is becoming more common for communities to be aware of the endless changing global environment to better prepare humans and wildlife for a better way of life on this planet.

There is much talk about how global warming is caused. There are some scientists and environmentalists who believe that it is strictly a natural process and there are those who have theories that man is the cause for the rise in the earth’s temperature. However, there are scientists who have gathered facts showing that global warming is man-made as well as a natural cycle. With all this to consider, what then are the facts on global warming?

Is global warming happening, creating constant changes in earth’s temperature as well as CO2 and oxygen levels within the earth’s atmosphere?

“Depends on how you describe global warming. Are temperatures rising? Yes. One simple reason is we have changed our environment by making cities, which causes hotter temperatures, but that’s not the main cause for global warming, per say. There’s no proof of that.” states Kurt Hill, Climatologist and division chair of Social Sciences at Paradise Valley Community College.

Many discussions have arisen as to what is causing the global climate variations and whether it is man-made, natural or is it both. Some experts believe global warming is happening and those men and nature have a role in its process. During this process of temperature changes, wildlife is affected in being forced to adapt to new ways of living.

  

 

“The planet is constantly in flux and a large part of Co2 emissions is created by volcanism. Man has a part in causing the heat blanket of Co2 with the burning of fossil fuels and cutting large portions of trees down, especially from rainforests. Your going to lose some species which will be replaced with a new evolved type of species by having to change to adapt to their new environment.” states John Douglass, professor of Geology at Paradise Valley Community College.

 There are theories as well as documented scientific facts as to how global warming will affect Earth’s climate changes by causing temperatures to be warmer and then cooler unexpectedly.

 “One natural possibility of causing global warming is the Sun which is displayed in the Malankovitch Theory. Documents and charts show that the more sun pots the sun has, the more heat is produced and the less sun spots that are present on the Sun, a quiet Sun, the less heat earth gets.” says Hill.

There have also been predictions by Environmentalists and some experts that within the next several years there will be a rapid change in our earth’s climate at the Poles, causing much change in natural ecosystems.

    

“Polar bears need ice, which is depleting due to the Suns rays. Glaciers have, in fact, been melting for many years, but the melting process has execrated.” says Douglass.

Many environmentalist and glacier scientist have brought to the public’s attention that ices from the North Pole and South Pole are melting yet, beliefs that the Poles themselves are melting hold variations with experts.

“The concept of the Poles melting is misinformation. There are two simple scientific facts. First, the ices that we see melting are ice jettisons and will not cause oceans to rise, because the ice is already in the water. The ice simply melts to water, taking up no more space than when it was ice. It’s like ice in your cup. Scientific groups are and have been taking temperature readings for at least 20 years and show that temperatures are actually getting colder at the Poles.” says Hill.

People have already began to realize that changes need to be made with the habits of humans lives by creating less trash, destroying less ecosystems, not polluting the air as well as prepare for planet changes that may occur in the future.

“It is a fallacy that the planet is always at a constant. Change is the only thing constant and the cycle is and will happen. Though the planet is not going to end any time soon, we should think and start acting locally about air pollutants to begin with.” states Douglass.                                                                

In today’s world, we have scientists, environmentalist and programs telling the public that we must act environmentally by using less fossil fuels, promote cleaner energy products, use less energy, conserve water use, stop methane blanketing now. All to make sure our earth is sustained for the future of humans and wildlife. Ideas and Philosophies vary between scientists as to whether humans should be actively preparing for some near future global change.

“Global warming is a “passe” so, we don’t need to rush out and do any immediate preparations. We just need to act responsibly from now on. Today we have Neomathusian’s that use a “Chicken Little” syndrome to scare the public into environmental panic and spend money. Where as scientists don’t need scare tactics in order to get the facts or theories across to the public.” says Hill.

The discussion of Co2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere is an ongoing debate whether we have too much or not and that we need to produce fewer amounts yet, plants need Co2 just as humans need oxygen to survive. The idea to release a chemical into the atmosphere to lessen Co2 levels is now a new topic.

 “When we have a rich leveled balance of Co2 in our atmosphere we have more greening. Without it we would have a “Snowball” earth so, we need some Co2 in the atmosphere for plants to survive and to prevent an Ice Age from happening.” states Douglass.

For more information on Global Warming contact Dr. Kurt Hill at kurt.hill@pvcmail.maricopa.edu. or Dr. John Douglass at john.douglass@pvcmail.maricopa.edu.

“We have ONE Earth – We live ONE life – We experience wildlife, nature and people on ONE planet – We only have ONE responsibility…… Global Caretakers”  by: Lisa Ra’cz

With sincerity,

Lisa Ra’cz

Your local environment writer

Posted by: lisaracz | April 24, 2011

Outdoor Family Easter Events around the Valley of the Sun

 

This year Easter falls on April 24, 2011 and with spring in the air; family events for Easter are popping up like bunnies. This year brings a variety of hopping Easter events around the valley that have plenty of activities for every family member to enjoy.

With the beautiful weather, spring surroundings and Easter in the air, families are on the move to celebrate the season and there are several ways to do so, such as a puppet show celebrating spring, an indoor Easter brunch then walk through the Zoo, an amusement park Easter celebration for the wild side within and a traditional annual Easter egg hunt event with a chance to meet the Easter Bunny.

 The Great Arizona Puppet Theater

            The performance of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” is a classic that can be enjoyed by the youngest to oldest family member. This is a tale originally told in a fable book by the writer, Beatrix Potter, which has been read to children in many households and is now being told through puppetry at one of Arizona’s last running puppet theaters, established in 1983.

            According to Natalia Ronceria Ceballos, office manager at The Great Arizona Puppet Theater, “The “Tale of Peter Rabbit” has been in our theaters repertoire for fifteen years as a  Spring and Easter celebration that was originally developed for hearing impaired children to enjoy.”

            Puppeteers are professional performers just as actors are and take their jobs very seriously for their audience. Each performer has had years of performing in the industry and/or has gone through theater schooling.

            “Our founder, Nancy Smith has a degree in theater management and our Puppeteers are long going performers with us, either with degrees in theater or have grown up in pupating,” states Ronceria Ceballos

            The performance will be showing for most of April, from the sixth through the twenty-fourth and with a special performance on the twenty-third, The National Day of Puppetry.

            “The day before Easter, performances are discounted to $5 for everyone and are shown every hour, on the hour with food and refreshments along with activities between performances followed by a finale of a puppet parade,” says Ronceria Ceballos.

            For information on pricing, Showtime’s and theater directions visit info@azpuppets.org or contact the theater at 602-262-2050.

The Phoenix Zoo’s Bunny Brunch

            Each year The Phoenix Zoo hosts an annual Easter Bunny Brunch, geared for the whole family. The Bunny Brunch will be held indoors at the Stone House Pavilion just inside the zoo, located at 455 N Galvan Parkway on Saturday, April 23, 2001 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

            According to Linda Hardwick, public relations coordinator for the Phoenix Zoo, “Each year we hold an indoor Easter brunch for families with a variety of breakfast foods such as: fresh fruits, breakfast meats, eggs and a variety of breads and toasts to be enjoyed from the menu

while children’s songs play as atmosphere music along with the Easter Bunny hopping around throughout the entire event just waiting for that photo opportunity.”

            Food and drink isn’t the only entertainment at the Bunny Brunch. Both children and adults have an opportunity to get up-close and personal with furry friends, all the children get their sweet tooth satisfied and everyone gets to stroll through the zoo for the day, if desired. 

            “At our Bunny Brunch, children will receive candy filled plastic Easter eggs then, after eating brunch, family members can get up-close with some of the Zoo’s bunnies and admission into the Bunny Brunch gets everyone into the  rest of the zoo for the day, says Hardwick.

            For more information on the Bunny Brunch at the Phoenix Zoo visit www.thephoenixzoo.com/bunnybrunch or call the Phoenix Zoo at 602-273-1341. You can also contact Linda Hardwick at 602-914-4363.

Enchanted Island Amusement Park egg hunt and Easter celebration

            Downtown Phoenix holds one of the oldest parks, Encanto Park and within that park, just off of Encanto Boulevard reveals a historical land mark; Enchanted Island. Easter is celebrated this year on April 24, 2011 and Enchanted Island is presenting their 10th annual Easter egg hunt and festival, sponsored by Food City.

According to Sofia Castaneda, event coordinator for Enchanted Island, “This is an all day annual event with free Easter egg hunts every fifteen minutes in the morning, starting at 10:00 am through 12:15 pm with fun prizes free ride and food coupons inside the plastic eggs that can be used the same day while the rest of the activities and sightings of the Easter Bunny continue until 7:00 pm.”

The food is simple at this outdoor egg hunt event which includes such foods as hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, chicken nuggets, pretzels, etc. that is offered from the Snack Bar inside Enchanted Island.

            The rides at this event have various age restrictions and have a two ticket minimum per ride. The cost for each ticked besides the free coupons inside the plastic Easter eggs is $110 per ticket. There are several rides at this mini amusement park such as, Red Barron plane ride, the Dragon, a mild rollercoaster, bumper boats, the Rock and Roll, the traditional Carousel ride and Train that goes through the park.

“Grown-ups can also get into the amusement fun, because they too can ride some of the rides such as the train ride, the Carousel and the Rock and Roll rides,” states  Castaneda

For more information on Enchanted Island amusement park visit info@enchantedisland.com. For information on the Easter egg hunt event call 602-254-1200

The Dolly Sanchez Memorial Easter Egg Hunt presents their 35th year in Peoria

            This year’s Easter event is in its’ thirty fifth year of hosting the largest Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 23, 2011 with the gate opening at  8:00 a.m. to noon at the Peoria Sports Complex, located at 16101 N. 83rd Ave just south of Bell Rd. Parking and admission is free with a donation of canned food to benefit St. Mary’s Westside Food Bank Alliance.

According to Kelli Kincaid-Broady, recreation coordinator for the City of Peoria, “Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny will be present throughout the day for pictures with kids and to start the hunts that will start 8:20 am, each for about a half an hour and will continue until 10:40 am with the family scavenger hunt taking place from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.”

Food and beverage can be purchased from one of the several concession tents at this outdoor event including a special $5 kids’ meal of a hot dog, a small soda and your choice of chips for those family members 12 years old and under and there will be plenty of activities to keep the children occupied.

“Cottontail Lane will be open for kids to participate in carnival games and participate in fun art &   craft activities. Kids can also watch a great puppet show, visit animals at the petting zoo, take a train ride, and jump on the inflatable’s,” says Kincaid-Broady.

For more information on the events at the Dolly Sanchez Memorial Easter egg hunt contact Kelli Kincaid-Broady at 623-7737137 or e-mail Kelli.Kincaid-Broady@peoriaaz.gov. To find more Easter events to participate in this year visit www.phoenix,about.com/events/easter.

“A Spring celebration with family is always priceless and memorable. Make this Easter celebration a close connection with family and friends”

With sincerely,

Lisa Racz

Lisa Racz

Your local Environment and travel writer

Photo by Lisa Racz

Photo by Lisa Racz

 

The sweet smell of rain showers that fill the air this Spring along with the sound of rolling thunder, brings forth all sleeping seeds waiting to burst into germination. The spring rain showers have awoken wild flowers among the many natural settings around the Valley attracting the public to view their glory and splendor.

The transformation of Arizona’s natural desert landscapes from cold dirt and barren plants into the lush desert with bountiful color is as if Arizona’s desert took one of Monet’s paintings and brought it to life.

Photo by Lisa Racz

According to Scott Hunt, phoenix district forester of 30 years with The Arizona State Forresting Division, “A cycle of above average rain fall happens approximately every 7 years which springs up the dormant annual plants and flowers in the preserves creating a carpet of green throughout the preserves.”

The Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens is one stop to visit for a bouquet of wonderfully color filled flower gardens along casual gravel paths where there are displays of Arizona wildflowers from the vibrant golden-yellow California Wild Poppies and purple flowering desert clover to the multi colored blooming barrel cactus.

If a more natural floral setting is what your looking for, the near by preserves have the tranquility of flora and fauna at its best. The nature paths lead you through the landscape with amazement and awe in the bouquet of sweet smells and sight of splashing, dancing wildflowers in the desert breeze. 

Photo by Lisa Racz

Driving south to North Mountain from Thunderbird road, you already notice the vibrant butter scotch desert poppies on the east facing side of the mountain opening for the suns warmth and all who pass by driving on 7th street. This natural park preserve holds the trophy on its surrounding pathways for the most populated flowing sea of California Wild Poppies along with thick patches of purple flowering verbena, and Brittlebush with large yellow daisy looking flowers.                                                                                                     

The trails within Piwestua Mountain preserve holds a secret of abundant multi colored flowers along her trails. Blue, yellow, purple, white! All around you, just off the green filled path of trail 304; the quiet trail of 8B holds a color for everyone.

Looking closely at the ground covering you notice the tiny white flowers, the Pterocarya Recurvata or what some call, “desert baby’s breath”.

According to Angela Elliot, Arizona wild flower curator with the Desert Botanical Gardens, “This flower is hardly mentioned or put in articles because it’s not as showy as the larger colorful flowers yet, look closely at its small white petals and together they form a white blanket on the mountains.”

The flower is little smaller than the eraser on a pencil yet, together in mass they form what looks like a sea of mist in the evening sun. So, you need to catch them after the sun has charmed them to open each delicate petal.

“This delicate flowering ground cover will live a short life from mid March to the beginning of April and can lay dormant for Centuries depending on the rainfall so, It’s rare that people get to enjoy them this Spring.” Angela says.

Along with the tiny delicate flowers you notice the abundant violet colored Lupine flowers, like a hue of purple light hitting in spots.

The color diversity of flowers go on to Dreamy Draw Park just east of the 51 freeway on Northern which runs straight into the preserve park. Here you will enjoy either dirt natural paths or the paved path. Both take you into the color filled preserve landscape where banana yellow flowering Brittlebush is in abundance along side the path-ways with vibrant indigo blue lupines mixed within.

Photo by Lisa Racz

Dreamy Draw Park is the favorite place for the blooming Ocotillo Cactus. The tips of each of the cactus’s long thin strands burst in a flame of scarlet red flute like flowers raising its color above all the other flowers.

Amongst your floral journey of colorful eye sweets, fluttering butterflies also show off their rainbow of colors for the all to admire. You can also close your eyes to hear more closely, the faint humming of bees greeting each of Mother Nature’s brilliantly colored mater pieces. Enjoy your walk in your adventure of Arizona’s wildflowers.

For further information on Arizona’s vegetation and Spring wildflowers, contact Angelica Elliott, Curator of Arizona Wild Flowers at 480-481-8171. For information on Arizona’s natural vegetation contact Scott Hunt, Arizona State Forresting Division at, 602-542-2119 or 602-495-5540 for The North Mountain Visitors Center.

“Enjoy the fruits of nature as nature intended for all life to enjoy”

Sincerely,

Lisa Racz

Lisa Racz

 

Arizona’s Environment Editor/Writer

House Cat /Picture by: Lisa Racz

House Cat /Picture by: Lisa Racz

 

Those of you who have cats know how important it is to not have your home smell like urine. So, it’s is a constant trip to the store to buy cat litter that keeps the house free from smells and isn’t going to break the bank along with keeping that sweet little feline happy with a suitable type of litter, not harmful to the environment.

Now days, most households have more than one cat as well as other pets. Some houses, such as mine, are E3 homes. These are listed intake homes that take in strays, abandoned, and un-adoptable animals that have nowhere else to go except for the few foster homes, when there’s room.

What ever type of home a cat claims as its’ home, it is important to have a litter to withstand the smell of cat waste and be as convenient to the homeowner as possible and of course, be environmentally friendly. So, when I came across a cat litter that claimed to be 100 % natural, made from natural corn kernels and was flushable, you bet I took it home and tested it out.

Cat litter made from natural corn/ picture by: Lisa Racz

Cat litter made from natural corn/ picture by: Lisa Racz

 

The use of “World’s Best” cat litter in my zoo of a house, proved to be exactly that. I believe it to be the best litter I have ever used for the twelve, (yes I said 12) cats I have in my care. I have tested the litter for a month and a half and I have no smell, my piping is not clogged from flushing the clumped waste and the litter lasts longer so, I use less litter than I have ever done in the past.

I am not, in any way, an employee of the “World’s Best” cat litter company nor do I have any relatives or friends employed by that company. As an environment writer, I feel it necessary to write on a subject or product that truly holds to its name as an environmental asset. And that’s what this article is, nothing else. You can get this litter at most grocery stores, Target, and your local pet store.

This litter has made everyone in my house much happier and cats tend not to urinate elsewhere if the litter box is clean and the litter is good. A lot of litters are not made of natural ingredients and may have toxins. Remember, your cat constantly cleans their paws and will not use litter boxes that have toxins in the litter. Where do you think your cats paws are when they use their litter boxes? If it’s all natural, your cat will not be poisoned or become ill. Please read the label on your cat litter. If it doesn’t say 100 % natural, their might be toxins in that litter. There is enough pollutants in the earth, we don’t need to add any more.

Also, there is no harmful silica dust in this litter, like in most clay litters have that can be breathed in and no coloring. This is completely natural with out any form of toxins in case of ingestion by a pet or child.

For information on “World’s Best” cat litter visit www.worldsbestcatlitter.com or call 1-877-367-9225.

If you have any comment or opinion on this article, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

“An environment not livable, holds no life.”

Sincerely,

Lisa Racz

Lisa Racz

 

For the environment

Environment and Travel Writer

Facts about Groundhogs

First lets learn a little lesson on the sweet little, err I ment the predicting plump little groundhog.

Groundhogs are usually large ground squirrels that are referred to as Marmots. They are same as the woodchucks and can climb trees and also swim! They are rodents and live in burrows in the winter season. The life span for these rodents is two to three years approximately but they can survive up to six years in the forests and up to ten years in captivity.

The whole life cycle of the animal is very interesting. Her’s some facts about groundhogs.

 The body clock of the groundhog is believed to be adjusted with the yearly changes in the amount of sunlight. It is said that their body undergoes hormonal changes, specifically melatonin, which is a sleep, related hormone and the secretion of this hormone also works with waking up the hibernating animal.

During hibernation the body temperature of the groundhog decreases from ninety-nine degree Fahrenheit to forty degree Fahrenheit. Don’t worry though, because  have groundhogs have two layers of fur. The outside layer is a waterproofing layer and the inside layer maintains body heat. They hibernate to save themselves from the cold weather and when they hibernate their whole body metabolism slows down, so that it consumes less energy and uses the stored body fat.

They can grow to a maximum of two feet when measured from head to toe and weigh somewhere around five to fourteen pounds. Wow! As it becomes closer to autumn, the groundhogs start gaining weight and become fatter. Groundhogs are herbivorous (they eat plants) They like grass, clover, dandelions and other low laying flowers, alfalfa, some berries and the occasional grub.

They dig their burrows with their powerful limbs and thick claws that will have many chambers and more than one entrance to escape predators or any flooding. Did you know that they have four toes on the front feet and five on their back feet??

Groundhogs can produce a whistle sound when communicating between each other. It’s actually a loud whistling sound as an alarm bell to make everybody aware that there is danger around, giving them the name “Whistle Pigs.” Groundhogs have amazing sense of hearing very sharp eyesight. They breed between March and late April, just after they wake from their long Winter sleep.

The True History and Fun Folklore of Groundhog Day

Every year Phil is pulled out of his heated burrow in a fake tree stump at 7:25 am on Groundhog Day, February 2, to make his prediction to us all about the coming of Spring. Shadow or no shadow. What shall it be? The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

This tradition stems from the ancient European belief that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime by their emergence. Which makes sense, since there’s the smell in the air of fresh flowers and new greens. This is yum to the groundhog! In earlier european stories, it was the badger that was told in stories then it changed to the groundhog as the story moved to the east coast of the U.S.

Traditionally, it was believed that if Candlemas was sunny, the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold. But if it rained or snowed on Candlemas, the rest of the winter would be mild. If an animal “sees its shadow,” it must be sunny, so more wintry weather is predicted. Some how this doesn’t make too much sense, but it’s a fun idea that brought about some folktale poems.

This is a Scottish saying, turned poem:

The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.

(They reference a serpant instead of the groundhog.)

Here is the known English saying:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

I always thought that if the weather was nice and sunny, that was the end of  Winter and the beginning of Spring.  Of course, this is folklore and we have to honor the adorable Groundhog.

According to today’s 2011 National Geographic Daily news, by seeing no shadow as Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his ceremonial burrow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, he said to have predicted an early spring for 2011. Of course this is just after most of the east coast has just been hit with one of the hugest storms and there is mostly cloud cover. I guess “Phil” didn’t see his shadow today!

Have fun with it and enjoy!!

“Traditions bring people and animals together along with a sense of magic.” 

Sincerely,

Lisa Racz - local environment writer

Lisa Racz - local environment writer

 

Lisa Racz

Environment and Travel Writer

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