11th Annual FRANKLIN FOLK FESTIVAL :: Saturday, July 19 from 9am - 4pm in Historic Downtown Franklin

- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Outdoors

Dear EarthTalk: What is the purpose of National Wildlife Week, which I understand will take place in March 2013? — Melissa P., Burlington, NJ

National Wildlife Week is a program of the non-profit National Wildlife Federation (NWF) that is designed around teaching and connecting kids to the wonders of wildlife. Each year, the group picks a theme and provides fun and informative educational materials, curriculum and activities for educators and caregivers to use with their kids.

This coming March 18-24 (2013), the theme of National Wildlife Week is “Branching Out for Wildlife” with a focus on trees. Participating kids will learn about the parts of a tree, the role of trees and how wildlife depend on trees for survival. They can also participate in environmental service projects addressing climate change, healthy habitats, reforestation and connecting with the environment.

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The January League of Women Voters meeting hosted an instructive program on recycling. Entitled “Down With The Waste Basket,” Macon Pride members Shirley Ches and Debby Boots demonstrated how to separate and recycle what is normally considered “trash” into a money-making resource for taxpayers. Using the new recycling brochure from Macon County Solid Waste Department, they outlined how easy it is to throw items into a recycling basket or box, accenting the good news that all paper products can be recycled as can all plastic containers except styrofoam, plastic egg cartons and rigid, all plastic bags.

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While enjoying a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, backpackers like to keep a respectable distance from black bears. With help from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the Friends of the Smokies, they can continue to do so in some of the most backpacker friendly hiking in the Southern Appalachians. The ATC has provided $800 from its specialty license plate funds to help reduce black bear access to backpacker food along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), a national park unit within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).

Using the grant funds from the ATC, Park staff and volunteers have installed cables that backpackers and trail improvement crews use to store food out of the reach of black bears. Cabling systems were renovated at the Derrick Knob shelter along the A.T. and installed at the new base camp of the Rocky Top Trail crew.

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Morely the Golden Eagle passed away of natural causes sometime during the night on Jan. 1.

The oldest animal in the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitats at around 35 years old, Morely came to the Mountain in 1984. He was a native of the western United States before being injured by a gunshot. The wound left him unable to fully extend one of his wings, rendering him incapable of hunting and surviving in the wild.

He was known for amusing trainers with his modesty. He loved taking baths and when Habitats staff walked by during one of his daily cleanings, he would freeze and glare as if he was caught naked. Baths were so important to Morely that he would climb into his water bowl when his pond was frozen in the winter months.

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published: 10/18/2013
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