Posts Tagged outdoors

Garden for Wildlife

Janet Ulrey, Adult Services Librarian

Gardens are a wonderful way of gaining joy from the outside world. The visual beauty of flowers and plants is pleasing to the eye, but when a butterfly drops in for a visit, another dimension is added to heighten your gratification. It doesn’t matter if you have an apartment balcony or a 20-acre farm, a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat can be created. The month of May is “Garden for Wildlife” month, so, it is a fitting time to plant your own wildlife-friendly garden. Find significant resources at the library to help you get started.

“Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants” by Douglas Tallamy, will get you off to a great start. Tallamy indicates that the gardener plays an important role in the management of our nation’s wildlife. The plants in your garden attract insects which are necessary to attract wildlife. He tells us which particular insects are best to have in your garden and what particular plants will lure them. This is a comprehensive book that will also help you decide which native plants will work best for your area to draw in desired wildlife.

What is more native to the garden than the bee? “The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard that Nurtures Bees and Supports Biodiversity” by Kate Frey, is filled with beautiful photos. Frey tells us that spending time in a bee garden can be a source of pleasure, as well as therapy in your own backyard. Bee-friendly gardens also attract butterflies, moths, bats, and hummingbirds. It’s important to remember that bees provide many benefits, and they only sting when provoked.

Wildlife that you expect to see in the backyard are birds. “Backyard Birding: Using Natural Gardening to Attract Birds” by Julie Zickefoose, explains what type of plants you’ll need for different types of birds. The plants invite birds to the yard because of the food or shelter that they provide. Water is especially important to keep birds coming back, and Zickefoose shares some creative ways for you to supply the water they need. No matter which birds frequent your backyard, the experience of sharing your plot of earth with them will be rewarding.

Whether you want to attract birds, bats, or butterflies, “Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden: Creating Backyard and Balcony Habitats for Wildlife” by Catherine Johnson is an impressive asset. She not only shares which plants you should grow to entice the wildlife of your choice, but also gives simple instructions for building feeders, nesting boxes, and arbors.

The garden is an awe-inspiring place for children to discover nature. In April Pulley Sayre’s book “Touch a Butterfly: Wildlife Gardening with Kids”, simple steps are given that families can follow to create their own wildlife habitat. April reminds us that sound is often the first clue to the presence of wildlife. Children learn to listen, then look for the creatures that have tickled their ears. She also points out that the winter garden is a place of discovery; footprints in the snow give substantial clues to the wildlife that visit and can be a magnificent source of entertainment. Sharing life in a garden with children is sure to be lots of fun.

In this book, “Nature-Friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People” by Marlene Condon, the author not only gives insight on how to attract the right kind of insects, but also gives guidance in selecting the right binoculars for up-close viewing. Ms. Condon likes to use nesting boxes in her garden. As a result, she has seen eastern screech-owls, southern flying squirrels, and opossum take-up residency in them. She tells us that a gardener must plan to coexist with wildlife as well as their predators to make gardens imitative of the natural world.

There are many other selections available at the library to help you attract and enjoy wildlife in your own backyard. Why not get started today?

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Perfect Weather and Perfect Books to Share

By Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager

Spring weather has blown in to Manhattan. It’s a time to appreciate Earth’s beauty, head out on the nature trail or spend an evening at the ball diamond. Here are some children’s books that pair nicely with the season.

Greensburg, Kansas is celebrated in Allan Drummond’s newest picture book, Green City: How One Community Survived a Tornado and Rebuilt for a Sustainable Future. Beginning with the aftermath of the 2007 tornado, Drummond portrays the damaged town, the worried citizens, and the many decisions that had to be made. Children can see how a few bright ideas about rebuilding Greensburg “green” caught on and took hold throughout the whole community. Sidebars give further information about influential townspeople and building sustainable structures. Published just in time for Earth Day, this will be a popular resource for teachers and an inspiration to young students all over the U.S.

Cricket Song by Anne Hunter will set the mood as your day comes to a close. Beautiful illustrations using watercolor and ink show frogs, foxes, otters and whales settling in for their evening. The calming text intertwines animal sounds with poetic prose, perfect for reading aloud to a toddler or preschooler. “The frogs puff their throats full of cool air from the woods, where the poorwill calls poorwill! poorwill! and listens for the footfall of the fox.” The framework of the story connects one sleeping child at the beginning to another sleeping child at the end, with the land and ocean and all the animals between them. Another gorgeous title to share is Kevin Henkes When Spring Comes, with enticing illustrations by Laura Dronzek. Young children are amazed by the green and the blossoms and the critters that come with springtime. Henkes captures this wonder and the joy it brings.

moMo Jackson is the star of a beginning reader series by David Adler, who also writes Cam Jansen mysteries, picture book biographies and a slew of other series. In Get a Hit, Mo!, Mo’s baseball team, the Lions, is playing the Bears. Mo was excited about the game, but after he arrives, he remembers that he is the smallest on his team. He always bats last and is stationed in boring right field. The Bears, on the other hand, look big and strong and they pitch fast. Mo strikes out, not once but twice. Many kids will identify with Mo’s moods and will cheer him on to the very end. Adler, a seasoned writer of beginning readers, has the formula down perfectly with just the right amount of text, controlled vocabulary, and illustrations by Sam Ricks that will clue readers in to the story as they decipher harder words.

Headed out to the park with your “helicopter parent” shoes on? Check out some facts and advice from Heather Shumaker’s It’s OK to Go Up the Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids, a recent addition to our Parent and Teacher Resource Center. There’s a reason why your child wants to go up the slide. In fact, the urge to take risks or try new challenges is part of healthy development. Shumaker uses her Renegade Golden Rule, “It’s OK if it’s not hurting people or property,” to sort through many situations kids and parents encounter. She tackles topics parents may not have even considered questioning, like talking to strangers or doing homework, and includes a helpful section on limits for screen time. With each new chapter, or “rule,” Shumaker includes examples, facts about child development, and practical tools for parents to try. She provides words to say (and words to avoid), as well as how to “take off your adult lenses” to get past preconceived notions. Chapters can easily be read alone, so busy parents or teachers can read what they need instead of tackling a 300+ page book.

Enjoy the transformation of spring with your kids, and if the wind or rain drives you inside, curl up with a good library book.

 

Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Iditarod–“The Last Great Race”

by Linda Henderson, Adult Services Librarian

Get ready for the “Last Great  Race.”  The Iditarod starts on March 7.  Lots of good information is available on the Iditarod website:  videos, plans, maps and insider stories and meet the races for 2015.

iditarodThe Alaskan Iditarod is an annual 1180-mile dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome that generally takes two to three weeks to complete. If you’d like to experience the race without the dangers, Manhattan Public Library has a number of good books available.

You might begin with Winterdance: the fine madness of running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen. Paulsen is a popular YA writer who participated in the race in 1983 and 1985. He was training for a third race when a heart condition forced him to retire. Winterdance, is primarily an account of Paulsen’s first Iditarod and its frequent life-threatening disasters, including wind so strong it blew his eyelids open and blinded his eyes with snow, cold so deep matches would not strike, and packages of lotions kept next to his skin that froze solid.

I had the pleasure of sharing supper with Paulsen years ago,  just after he published his young adult novel Hatchet.  Hatchet is about a youngster surviving alone in the wilderness and I asked him how he came to write with such detail.  He told me of his experiences in northern Minnesota, his dog races  and his own love of the wilderness.

Bill Shernowitz’s Iditarod: The Great Race to Nome, recounts the history and past three decades of the Iditarod and looks forward to its promising future, while photographer Jeff Schultz provides thrilling new photos, from the arctic landscape to the competitors and the dogs they rely on.

Just for fun, you might try Sue Henry’s fiction story:  Murder on the Iditarod Train or Cherry Adair’s On Thin Ice.

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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Eagle Day at Milford Lake

untitledTomorrow,  January 17, 2015, head to Milford Lake State Park for their annual celebration of Eagle Days. View live eagles and see various programs on raptors of Kansas at the Milford Nature Center. Take a guided bus tour and view the Bald Eagles as they soar above Milford Lake or watch them as they sit in the tall cottonwood trees along the lake’s shore. Learn about nesting eagles in Kansas and watch the Live Eagle program. Bus tours for viewing will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the last tour at 3:30 p.m., departing from the Milford Nature Center parking lot. It’s all free! We are lucky to live in an area where these magnificent birds spend the winter and where we can get great views of them soaring above the Flint Hills, so take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about our national bird! Check Facebook for more information!

eagle days

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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First Day Hikes

 

First-Day-HikesIf you need to get out and get some fresh air after New Years Eve celebrations, head to Tuttle Creek State Park on January 1 at 10:30 for a “First Day Hike”. Meet at the park office and join a park ranger for a guided bird walk. Dress warmly–no pets, please! Bring binoculars, cameras or other birding items. Word has it that the eagles have returned for the winter, so come along to view these magnificent birds! There are often several species of ducks, geese and other birds to be seen as well!

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Science Saturdays: Survival 101

Couldn’t survive five minutes out in the wilderness? Then, this program is for you. Learn the ropes of wilderness survival with Daniel Schapaugh. Katniss and Peeta will have nothing on you after this program. Be there on Saturday, July 19th at 10:00 in the Groesbeck Room. See you there! Recommended for tweens to adults.

Posted in: Adult Services, Children's Dept, For Adults, For Kids, For Teens, Young Adult Dept

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Summer Cloudspotting

cloudsThis summer, take time to study the clouds as they change and move and then learn what they tell us about the weather. Find guidance and inspiration in “The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds” by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. It’s a delightful cloud identification guide that offers plenty of helpful illustrations and surprising humor. Another good book for cloud-gazers is “The Book of Clouds” by John A. Day, which includes spectacular photographs, a cluod chart and weather forecasting information. You can find both of these books at the Manhattan Public Library. And remember, look up!

Posted in: Adult Services, For Adults

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