Our Shared Heritage: Arctic Breeding Birds in the Yellow Sea

A great video to bring awareness to the struggles our migratory birds are facing globally, and particularly across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Thank you to Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Arctic Council and Lab of Ornithology for this Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative video. A Must Watch!


The power of Art for Outreach- knitted birds!

For those that know me outside the academic world, know that I am a hobby-holic. If I can learn how to craft it, can it, tan it or felt it, you are just scraping the surface of what I have tried or will hobby into something. I started this blog as a way to provide some graduate student reference for life, to reach the public about Arctic science and the wonders of the natural world and have now truly discovered the power of using these hobbies and art-outlets, as I call them, to empower the public about awareness to the natural world.

It all truly has started at The Net Loft. No matter where you come from, you are welcome at The Net Loft. A cozy, quaint and enchanting store filled with any fiber, paper and inspiration for creation you can think of. And what makes it that much more of a place to connect with your inner artist, is the people; the staff that are just as passionate about your ideas and projects as you are. Bring in an idea and they help you source materials and references to get you what you need. But aside from the actual making of your craft is the sense of community. Knitting nights, tea with candied pecans (thank you Frances!), motivational support for getting through tougher projects or patterns, and encouragement to try something new. Seeing the wonderful art coming from your neighbors is what makes this place more than just a beautiful store.

The Copper River Delta Birds by Hand Project, through The Net Loft, was something I instantly wanted to be a part of. The project objective was to engage and inform knitters and handcrafters about the wonder of long-distance migratory shorebirds that use the Copper River as a prominent staging area, particularly during spring migration.

Copper River Delta Birds by Hand Project Information

Join the Facebook Group HERE

So knitters could submit any kind of hand made bird to the flock to be put on display at the Cordova Community Center museum. Birds would be individually marked so you could look through our book and find out each bird migration and how and why they made it to Cordova. The color banding scheme followed the Pan American Shorebird Banding Protcol. Leading up to the Festival and Spring migration 2018, birds started to arrive!

In celebration of the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival we worked for two full days constructing our scene and highlighting each and every hand made bird that was donated or temporarily contributed to the flock. I really enjoyed helping create this display. Our opening event was really well attended, offering snacks and punch and watching as people ‘birded’ and read about where each bird had come from.

Blank canvas in the museum, ready to set up the flock!


View from the front for the almost finished display.
A few shorebirds
A map generated to show where each bird came from, coloured by country.
With over 250 birds, it was hard to get them all in one photo.

So for those of you who love birds and want to get involved, follow these links to find out more about contributing a migrant to this flock. Each year it will grow bigger and bigger and everyone is welcome to be a part of this celebration of birds and the Copper River Delta 🙂 Happy Knitting!



New Years Resolution for the planet and my progress

It’s 2018. It’s that time of the year where people, like myself, make those New Years Resolutions.What are the most common ones?

Most common New Year’s resolutions


According to a recent ComRes poll, the most common New Year’s resolutions include:

  1. Exercise more (38 per cent)
  2. Lose weight (33 per cent)
  3. Eat more healthily (32 per cent)
  4. Take a more active approach to health (15 per cent)
  5. Learn new skill or hobby (15 per cent)
  6. Spend more time on personal well-being (12 per cent)
  7. Spend more time with family and friends (12 per cent)
  8. Drink less alcohol (12 per cent)
  9. Stop smoking (9 per cent)
  10. Other (1 per cent)


This year my resolutions are not for me but for the environment.

Back in November I attended the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group meeting in Paracas, Peru. My first time in South America! Though there are several memorable and educational experiences I absorbed from this meeting, there was a poster that from an Argentinian man that has stuck with me. Despite my horridly poor Spanish and his moderately better English (thank goodness), I gleaned something from his work that disturbed me. We all know about the issues of plastic waste. The ‘islands’ of garbage that float around in the ocean. A quick google search gave me these results like the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or the “Trash Vortex”. Regardless if these islands are myths or exaggerated stories going viral on the internet how can you dispute that there is a lot of plastic waste in the ocean, Trash Vortex or not?




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It’s horrible and you want to look away. Only a few minutes online looking at wildlife affected by plastic waste was enough to get the blood boiling.

Back to the conference, this gentleman was creating awareness of his own plastic waste struggle. Several cross country rivers drain into the Laguna Mar Chiquita in the Reserva Natural banados de rio dulche. These miles and miles of river carry TONS of waste, depositing right into the lake within a protected reserve. Some of the coolest wildlife exist there. One of which is the Aguatero – Nycticryphes semicollaris.


Attempting to breed, shorebirds like the Aguatero establish nests right in amongst these piles of plastic bottles, bags and cartons.

He graciously allowed me to take some photos of his poster for reference.

Where does your waste go? When you throw away plastic in your recycle bin and in your trash bin, what happens to it? A teacher once said to me that the problem with garbage is that everyone thinks it’s not theirs. But how can you be so sure?

© Greenpeace

So this year I’m going to eat healthy, sure, but I’m making specific attempts to reduce my waste.

So what could I do that was manageable and not break the bank?

  1. A lot of people are doing this but really make a commitment to reusable bags at the grocery store. Fabric bags for produce, BUY or make your own.
  2. Eliminate the use of plastic bags in any garbage bins in the house that commonly are only dry waste with using newspaper instead:

Substituindo o saco plastico.

This worked but I ended up still putting smaller paper bags into one larger plastic garbage. Not sure if this is the best method. Larger paper bags that you can fold over before placing in the dumpster will work better.

3. Make your own washable tissues. The hankie has been around since the dark ages, but why aren’t we using them more often in the house? So I did a quick serge on these cloth pieces and have a laundry net to hold used hankies to throw in the washer. This waste reduction method over the past few months has greatly reduced household waste but doesn’t reduce plastic waste.


4. Eliminate the need for cleaning products with chemicals by using natural options like essential oils and washable cloths. There are several environmentally friendly and safe for the house, children and pets. For example; NORWEX

We use these great cloths for everything from cleaning surfaces, including our dogs, managing spills and dirty floors, dusting, scrubbing, the works. It’s great to reduce waste camping too. Never buy another paper towel again in your life; help reduce waste and safe money.

5. Stash travel mugs at home, in your office and in your car to ensure no matter what time of the day or night you are feeling like a beverage on the go, there is a reusable mug. Trent University had a promotion, FREE coffee and tea for a whole MONTH on campus if you bring your own mug. So get on board and eliminate beverage waste!

6. Compost. If your city or town doesn’t have a compost waste pick up service then just compost in the yard, or even in your house. My lovely and adventurous friend actually has a worm system in her house that composts their family’s waste; aka vermicomposting.


Try one thing to reduce your waste. Those that are making the effort say that they feel empowered and proud of their efforts.

As for plastic reduction, I’m still working on improving my daily choices. One big one has been the use of compost-friendly dog poop bags. For all those dog owners out there, think of all that plastic going straight to the dump or elsewhere…..these are a great alternative.

Earth Rated Poop Bags Refill Rolls Lavender Scented 120ct

Compost-friendly dog poop bags -get them here on Amazon