Happy New Year

Monarch Butterfly, Horicon Marsh, WI

Monarch Butterfly, Horicon Marsh, WI

May you find the tender leaves of hope

wherever you turn in this new year.

 

Photo credit: Athena Alexander

Line one: William Shakespeare, King Henry VIII (1613)

Wishing you this holiday season…

 

Lioness, Africa

Lioness, Africa

 

 

Time to relax,

 

 

 

 

Otter, Alaska

Otter, Kenai, Alaska

and enjoy~~

 

 

 

 

Denali, Alaska

Denali, Alaska

Plenty of beauty on your path,

 

 

 

 

Elephants, Tanzania, Africa

Elephants, Tanzania, Africa

lots of love,

 

 

 

 

Purple Finch, California

Purple Finch, California

health,

 

 

 

 

 

Kangaroos, Australia

Kangaroos, Australia

and hoppin’ good times.

 

 

 

 

 

Elegant Trogon, Mexico

Elegant Trogon, Mexico

Happy Holidays, my friends, and many thanks for your valuable friendship~~

 

Photo credit: Athena Alexander

 

 

 

 

Golden Gate GraveyardA good last minute gift is a digital e-book, and I know just the one — it’s hot off the press, suspenseful, and written by someone you know. Also available in paperback.

Purchase from the publisher or Amazon or any major online book retailer.

 

Green Roofs and the Environment

Academy of Science green roof, San Francisco

Calif. Academy of Sciences green roof, San Francisco

As we celebrate Earth Day in an era when human population and cities are burgeoning, it is inspiring to see the growing utilization of green roofs.

 

A few of the environmental virtues of green roofs:

  • Reduce building heating and cooling, stormwater run off
  • Create native plantings and provide natural habitat for wildlife
  • Filter pollutants out of air and rainwater
  • Lower urban air temperatures
  • Transform carbon dioxide into oxygen

Click here for more info.

 

Toronto, Canada; Mtn Equip Co-op Store (MEC) roof. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Defined as a building roof partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, green roofs have become a new trend in the 21st century…but they are not new.

 

Until the late 1800s, sod roofs were the most common roof on Scandinavian log houses.  Sod roofs, made with birch bark, kept the house insulated from cold and moisture.

 

Osterdalen farmstead, Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo, Norway. Courtesy Wikipedia

More here about the old sod roofs.

 

Eventually sod roofs fell out of vogue, but were revived in the 1960s in Germany.  Today Germany has the most green roofs in the world; where they are part of the landscaping apprentice education.

 

Calif. Acad. of Sciences, SF. Courtesy Wikipedia.

San Francisco’s natural history museum, The California Academy of Sciences, was completely renovated in 2008 due to earthquake damage.  This gave them an opportunity for new environmental upgrades, including a green roof.

 

SF Academy of Science. Green roof, "rolling hills" in center.

SF Academy of Science. Green roof, “rolling hills” in center.

In the center of this large city, the roof provides 2.5 acres (1 h) of rolling hills and fields.  A living science exhibit, the roof is open to museum viewers.

 

I visited there recently and not only was there a terrific view of Golden Gate Park, but white-crowned sparrows serenaded and butterflies fluttered past me.

 

Courtesy Wikipedia

The Academy reports 30-35% less energy consumption than required.  More Calif. Academy Living Roof info here.

 

Green roofs vary depending on the depth of the planting medium.  The deeper the layer of earth, the more installation and maintenance is required.  A waterproof membrane and root barrier are always involved.

 

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy

Rooftop container gardens, though beautiful, are technically not green roofs.

 

Learning how to maximize our urban centers into earth-friendly expanses will go a long way toward supporting and enhancing our growing population.

Photo credit:  Athena Alexander unless otherwise noted

Chicago City Hall. So many abundant flowering plants here, beekeepers harvest 200 lbs of honey/year. Courtesy Wikipedia

 

 

Happy Easter

Prairie Dickcissel, Attwater Preserve, Texas

Prairie Dickcissel, Attwater Preserve, Texas

Warm wishes to you as we celebrate hope, renewal, rebirth~~

 

Photo credit:  Athena Alexander

California poppies

California poppies

Violet-green swallow eggs in nest box

Violet-green swallow eggs in nest box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

California

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Lincoln's House, Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln’s House, Springfield, Illinois

On this day in 1809, in a Kentucky one-room log cabin, Abraham Lincoln was born.

 

On a summer day a few years ago, I visited his Springfield home, the only house he ever owned, where he and Mary Todd lived for 17 years and raised their family.  Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield from 1837 to 1861.

 

Old State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois

Old State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois

Within a few blocks of his home are his original law office and the Old Illinois State Capitol.  At this capitol building he practiced law in front of the Illinois Supreme Court, served as a state legislator, delivered speeches, and later had his informal headquarters for the 1860 presidential campaign.

 

This Old State Capitol building is also where, in 2007, then-senator Barack Obama announced his presidency, and in 2008, his running mate Joe Biden.  More about Springfield here.

 

Lincoln's house, 19th C., celebrating his announced presidency

Lincoln’s house, c. 1861, celebrating his presidency

The family left Springfield in 1861 when Lincoln was elected president, moved to the White House in Washington, D.C.

 

His presidency evolved during one of the most vitriolic periods of American history, and would eventually end in his assassination.  More about Lincoln here.

 

Their son Robert, the only Lincoln child who lived to adulthood, donated the house in 1887 to the State of Illinois.  The house, and a restored four block segment of the neighborhood, is now maintained by the U.S. National Park Service.  It is open to the public, and free of charge.  Lincoln House info here.

 

Athena and Abe having a chat

Athena and Abe having a chat

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln.

 

Photo credit:  Athena Alexander except where noted

 

 

Lincoln's law office. Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln’s law office. Springfield, Illinois