Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mysterious Lynx Explained by Gabby and Seth Yates

       I have never seen a lynx in the wild even though I have spent much of my life outdoors in lynx habitiat. I knew that the lynx prey mostly on snowshoe hare and that their population rises and falls with the snowshoe hare cycles. I knew lynx were cats. After that much, my knowledge was fairly fuzzy and confused with other cat habits. Many myths have been passed along about the habits of lynx and their behavior.

       This week I listened to a presentation by Gabby and Seth Yates on the lynx and it was fascinating. Gabby is doing research for her PH.d and is studying the lynx and it's habit of travelling great distances and how this relates to population cycles . Many other variables come into this equation such as climate change and habitat destruction.

     This team of researchers is trying to live trap 20 lynx in the Nordegg area of Alberta and collar them with a hi tech radio which gives much information on the activity of the animal. Since the lynx population is healthy, they have no great problem to box trap animals. In fact, the lynx have learned the box trap contains supper so the individuals that have been trapped once keep going into the trap. They sit quietly and wait until they are released. Apparently the lynx is a very calm laid back character. They will leave only when they decide you are a threat. Lynx do eat other animals such as deer fawns. However, they're not really sure if the lynx actually kill the fawns. Lynx will also eat prey that may belong to another animal. They think that lynx travel widely in search of food when the snowshoe hare population crashes. What makes the snoeshow hare population crash? Disease? Lack of Vegetation? All this is being considered.

     The audience asked many tough questions and the tougher the questions the more passionate the presenters became about their topic.  Trapping was questioned. The researchers don't see trapping as a problem as the lynx population is considered healthy. They work closely with trappers and as a result gain much more information to add to their study. Trappers take a small piece of lynx hide to give to the researchers so that DNA study can be conducted. In this way they can detect what area lynx came from.

     So it was an interesting presentation which gave a much greater appreciation of the lynx.

Olympic Womens Curling Team Tops in my Mind

         My view of sports and Olympic games is a little different than most people's opinions. I don't watch TV and don't follow sports on a regular basis. There are some aspects H6WGQ5V65CYG of sports that do get my attention and the Canadian Women's Olympic curling team certainly caught my attention as they are highly skilled.

          I liked their success in the Olympic schedule. They curled well and conducted themselves with confidence. Most fans expected them to take the gold medal in a shoo in. That didn't happen and the team was disappointed and many fans were just as disappointed. Here's where I take a different path. Any team in the Olympic games has to perform at an extremely high level. To me the skill level is absolutely awesome. Anything can happen in sports competition. That's what makes sports interesting and challenging. People go out and give their best. The game determines the outcome. There's an opponent that has some say in the outcome.

      In my mind the Sheryl Bernard's Olympic team are to be greatly admired. Everybody wins at the Olympic level just by competing. I was disappointed to hear some criticism of the team's silver medal standing. Not me! They are tops all the way! Hold your heads high!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Student Success Brings Pride

        I have written four previous posts reflecting on my teaching career. One of the posts was reflecting on all the types of students one would encounter in a teaching career. I think I admitted that my favorite assignment would be to take about a dozen students who were not having success in a regular class and teach a modified program where they could meet with success. Usually these students had some behaviour difficulties resulting from their lack of success. It was usually at the gr. 9 level as they could continue in highschool with a similar program.

       I found one of my former students on face book the other day. H6WGQ5V65CYG I knew that he had become successful,but I didn't realize how successful. When I had him for gr.9 math he did not know up to the 5 times table and had difficulty dividing with just one place divisors. I had some success in these areas but not a lot. He was very interested in algebra but had not too much hope for success because of his arithmetic limitations. Factoring polynomials takes some basic arithmetic skills.He was pleasant, cooperative and willing to work. He wanted to learn. He was always thinking about some various type of device that would be really cool to do something with and it was always  remotely controlled. He was a little rough around the edges socially. He was a little guy but had a record of being able to pound kids twice his size if he was pushed into it by their teasing.

     I knew that he had some very successful inventions. He had designed remote sensing controls for gas wells in isolated areas. He was discussing a plan to set these devices up for gas companies and then monitor the fuctioning of their wells for them. Smart plan! He was going to borrow $1.7 million dollars . He was a cautious kid and he was hesitant about borrowing this much money? After that I lost contact with him.

     Yesterday I find out that he owns a multi-million dollar oil well servicing company! Was I proud of him! It made my day.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jeremy Wotherspoon My Winter Olympics Hero

        I have followed Jeremy Wotherspoon's speed skating career since he first started skating with the local club.

        Jeremey became a world class leader in speed skating for a long time. This took tremendous dedication to every aspect of his life. Training to get to this level takes determination as well the dedication of your whole life.

       Jeremy had much success in World Cup races. Winter Olympics were another thing.

      For the 2010 Winter Olypics Jeremy was added at the last minute. At  34, age  had caught up to Jeremy. However, Jeremy went out and competed even though his prospects were remote. This is were it really takes guts. You go out and give it all you've got even though you know it's not going to happen. I'm reminded of Rudyard Kipling's line were he says "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing their's ....You'll be a man my son" Jeremy's a great man!

       Now Red Deer, Jeremy's home town, could name a street Wotherspoon Way?? The speed skating oval where it all started could be named for Jeremy. Come to think of it an enclosed speed skating oval would be reallly cool!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Silent Fellow Travellers

       I am always amused when I find that something else has travelled silently and unobserved in my territory.

      Last week as I was doing my paper route I suddenly noticed deer tracks down the sidewalk I was following. Yes, in the middle of a city residential area a deer had taken the sidewalk to go from someplace to somewhere else. I'm sure that it was seen by no one as it would have moved in the early morning hours. Interesting how we share our space with other creatures and few of us are aware of their presence. I wonder if they are aware of our presence or do they just ignore us? I some how doubt they ignore us as they have extremey keen senses of hearing and smell.

     So I enjoyed sharing my space with my unseen silent partner.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Saskatchewan Towns

       I am presently reading a book called Our Towns by David Mclennan which gives a brief history of Saskatchewan towns. I must admit that I'm a sucker for local history. If there are great pictures, like this book has, I'm really hooked.

      The author has a pattern for each town. He gives it's location, early origin, main economic status and the town's pattern of growth. For 75% of Saskatchewan towns their growth pattern is similar. In their early development they usually prospered and then for reasons of climate, economics or depopulation they withered and died or almost died.

     What intrigues me about these stories is how people came to a new area with dreams of success and worked hard only to fail because of influences they could not control. Yes, some people were the author of their own failure as they were not competent in the enterprize they chose. Many people were eager to start a small business in these villages and towns as they thought they could make a fortune or if not a fortune a good living. They worked hard to establish all the amenities for a community. So schools, roads , parks, hospitals and recreation facilities were built. Much effort and equity was put into these developments.These people were optimists and doers. For many the dream failed. They lost their busnesses or farms after they had put in years of labor and equity. Climate worked against many settlers in the southwest as they did not get enough moisture to produce crops. The depression only made matters worse. Later, the change to highly mechanized farms lead to massive depopulation of rural areas. Better roads and transportation allowed people to travel to cities or larger towns to conduct their business. As a result, local small businesses had to close.

      Having grown up on that isolated Saskatchewan farm in the 40's and 50's I saw many of these changes take place. My father worried about the success of his farm.  He made the right decisions and succeeded. I probably would have become a farmer, but the option was not there.

      For all this hard work and hardship I have a feeling of sadness because these people worked hard and long and in the end lost. As I travel through Saskatchewan and look at the sad little communities I can't help but feel sympathy for these long gone people and the dreams they lost.

    David Mclennan has caught the rich character of Saskatchewan towns in his beautiful book, Our Towns. Thank you David.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bird Trail for Red Deer

       Bird trail some joker may say? Yeah birds run through the bush. Well, I'm telling bout a differnt bird trail.

      Bird trails have recently been designed  and become very popular. A bird trail is nothing more than a series of excellent bird siting areas that have been publicized and organized. Birders can then travel to these areas and see a larger number of birds without wasting time. Some of these trails have become very popular .

     The Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN) are producing a map which will detail sites to visit within the city of Red Deer. Locals know where these spots are ,but the poor tourist comes to town and misses excellent birding opportunities.  Our brochures should be ready in April 2010 and be distributed to tourist bureaus. We also hope to have this information on our website


      We host a series of early morning bird walks in the spring. Check our Face Book Site and Http:// and get dates and times. We'd love to have you join us.

     In the coming year we will produce a birding trail guide which will feature the Central Alberta area. Again the locals know all of the good sites . This new material will make it easier for visitors to see the birds we have in this rich area.

     So join us or just come to the area on your own and enjoy the birds in this area.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ten Things Old Guys should Do.

       Quite some time ago I did two posts with the "old guys" theme. I did "All Old Guys Should Cycle " and "All Old Guys Should Have a Paper Route." I had fun with these posts and have some ideas for more. Today I would like to make alist for old guys(and gals too).

Ten Things Old Guys Should Do

  1. Read my blog

  2. Read good books

  3. Watch the sunrise

  4. Watch the sunset

  5. Have a nap after lunch

  6. Enjoy sitting in the sun

  7. Walk in the woods

  8. Listen to great music

  9. Enjoy good food

  10. Visit with other people