Trails & Treats at the FWNC&R

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The Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, one of my favorite places is having Trails and Treats on October 27 starting at 5:30 p.m.

This is a chance to see some of the wildlife they have there, like the owls, snakes and even a tarantula spider!There will be treats there, too. And you can come dressed up in a costume. You can go on short hikes and make a craft to keep.

The best part is that this is all FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Come by and meet me. I’ll be at the “critter” table. And maybe your parents or grandparents will make a small donation to the Nature Center because it’s a really cool place and they need the money to feed the animals. You can tell them that “Joe Sent Me!”

Look for the pictures I plan to take at Trails & Treats in a future blog.

And check out this event at http://www.fwnaturecenter.org

Moody Gardens in Galveston


I recently went to Galveston, Texas and Moody Gardens® is always on our agenda. Moody Gardens® is involved in a lot of different animal and nature conservation programs. They do research for one thing. They work with experts and scientists and universities to invent or find new ways to care for wildlife health and to help the environment.
I talked a little with Sandy Richbook who is the Coordinator of Outreach programs at Moody Gardens®. So she can come to your school and talk about both animals and plants that Moody Gardens® is trying to save or protect. She was real nice and answered a lot of questions for me. Here is what she had to say about a couple things:
J: What is the number one animal you are caring for right now?
S: The giant river otter. This animal comes from South America. Did you know that Moody Gardens® is the sixth facility in North America to have the giant river otter?
FACTS: The giant river otter is an endangered animal that lives in rainforests, like the Amazon. It mostly eats stuff like fish, little crabs and snakes that are found by the water. They live in family groups.
J: What can a person who does not live in Galveston do to help Moody Gardens® in their conservation programs?
S: You can always plant a tree. Planting trees can be a home for lots of animals and plants. Animals and plants are losing their homes in rainforests because of deforestization. Even cutting down one tree in the rainforest can destroy the home of a lot of different animals.
Moody Gardens® a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (www.aza.org). They work with other AZA partners to ensure the long-term survival of captive wildlife populations. One of the primary tools used is species survival. This is a cooperative effort made by zoos and aquariums around the country to maintain genetically healthy captive populations of endangered species.
Currently, Moody Gardens® is involved in something they call the Species Survival Program (SSP). This is to help many species of wildlife including the Pink Pigeon, Ocelot, Cotton-Top Tamarin, Pygmy Slow Loris and Tomato Frog.

Moody Gardens® also has a Backyard Habitat, a very cool aquarium exhibit that is called Ocean Depth. They also have their own rainforest which really slams because birds fly free in it and you see lots of animals crawling and climbing free in the exhibit – like the lizard, bat and Tamarin that are pictured.

All Photos by Joe Kirkham

Moody Garden® has its own Adopt-An-Animal program, too so you can help conservation by adopting and taking care of one of these animals. Moody Gardens® is also involved in helping other SSPs besides the giant river otter like the Pink Pigeon, Ocelot, Cotton-Top Tamarin, Pygmy Slow Loris and Tomato Frog.
• Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas, “Conservation.” From http://www.moodygardens.com/conservation accessed 9/11/11.
• Direct contact with Moody Gardens conservation program with Sandy Richbook, dtd 9/16/99.
• National Geographic. From http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/printable/giant-river-otter.html accessed 9/16/11.
• All About Bats. From http://www.yearofthebat.org/all-about-bats accessed 9/16/11.



Fossil Rim has three kinds of zebras, including the Grant zebra, Grevy’s zebra and the Hartmann zebra. See how much you know about zebras and take the poll below. Don’t be a loser and look on Google for the answer. Just put the first thing that comes into your head.

Last Day of School!

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Today was my last day of school. YAY! I’m so happy to be free. Tomorrow I’m going to one of my favorite places in Texas — Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Fossil Rim is one of those animal parks where you drive through it and look at all the free-roaming animals. They have a pretty intensive animal conservation program plus all types of activities that you may want to look at for the summer. They have camps and programs and they have this thing called a Nature Challenge where families compete against one another at various missions and projects. It’s meant to get families in the outdoors and in nature (http://www.fossilrim.org/index.php). I think I’d like to check it out for something to do this summer.

I love Fossil Rim. My earliest childhood memory comes from there. I was feeding an ostrich and he tried to swallow my entire hand.

I was one of those kids several years ago that may or may not have been exposed to a sheep with rabies from the park. Fossil Rim was very good about trying to contact everyone and let them know if they had been at the petting zoo at Fossil Rim during a certain time they may have been exposed. Well — I was there during that time. My mom and dad did not want to risk it so I had to get rabies shots. It was not fun. I had to have eight shots (not all at once) with this big ol needle right in the muscles. I remember biting my mom’s hand while she helped hold me down for the shot. I apologized to her the whole time I was doing it but I wanted to get away. One time I threw a book at her head. Another time I made a break for it and ran out of the doctor’s office and all the way down almost to the parking lot before my mom caught me. I sound like a real brat but those shots were horrible. To this day I HATE shots and needles of any kind. My mom figures I will never get a tattoo because you have to use a needle to get one.

I’ve had a lot more good times at Fossil Rim than bad times. My dad, mom and I spent the night in one of their safari cabins once. It was fun because we got to see all the animals come down to the watering hole at sunset. We heard coyotes howling that night. We also got a behind-the-scenes tour where we got to see the Attwater Prairie chickens and some of the other animals you don’t get to see in the park.

Since school is out for the summer I will probably be adding more and more stuff to my blog. I hope you will check it out now and then and tell your friends to check it out, too.


Action for Nature and other stuff…

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There’s an organization for kids if they are real interested in nature. It’s called Action for Nature (www.actionfornature.org). If you are interested in conservation and then telling other kids about conservation you should look at this site so you can get ideas on how you can help the earth.

I just bought some of those Japanese sodas with the really unique bottles at World Market yesterday and they give a part of those proceeds to Japan to help with the earthquake victims. Go buy and drink a lot of soda to help the cause.

There’s a really funny YouTube  about a jumping spider that is on the NPR site today. Check it out because it’s really good.http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/05/05/135963961/dirty-dancing-a-gallant-spider-goes-all-the-way.

I’ll be glad when school is out for the summer so I can spend more time with my blog!

DINOSAURS at the Fort Worth Zoo

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Recently I have been to the Fort Worth Zoo. They have this new thing where they bring these robotic dinosaurs and put them all over the zoo grounds. Even though the robots are kind of cheesy when they move its still a interesting sight. I would recommend you go see it if you like that kind of stuff but if you go on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday it will be jam packed. So if you do end up going I hope you like it.