Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nature Nerd Wednesdays

Welcome to Nature Nerd Wednesdays, your mid-week nature break to reconnect with the calming, refreshing, and inspiring effects of nature. Take a deep breath and enjoy...

Immature male Anna's hummingbird - a frequent visitor outside my window. Lainey Piland photo

I recently discovered via social media that this week is National Wildlife Refuge Week, so I thought we'd mark the occasion accordingly here for Nature Nerd Wednesdays. The United States contains more than 560 wildlife refuges, providing vital habitat for thousands of bird, fish, amphibian, and plant species, hundreds of which are endangered.

Some wildlife refuges are open to the public, and there's one here in Washington State that I hope to visit soon: the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge near Olympia. I've driven past this place more times than I can count, but have never visited. Here's a film from Wild Northwest Beauty Photography for your Wednesday nature escape; offering a glimpse into the Nisqually refuge's diversity of wildlife and wild scenery. (I'd recommend hitting mute on this soundtrack before watching... the electronic/techno/dance music doesn't jive well with the imagery, at least not for me...)

There's tremendous value in spending time quietly watching and observing; mindfully connecting with the wild lives with whom we share our home ground. Visiting a wildlife refuge is one way to accomplish this, but  simply sitting next to a window in our homes and offices for a few minutes and watching birds, insects, or squirrels going about the business of their lives can offer us a break from mundane tasks, spark curiosity and imagination, and foster an invigorating connection with the wild lives outside of our human ones.


  1. I love that we have wildlife refuges, but lots of wildlife needs more and larger "refuge" areas with habitat connectivity issues. I've been to the Nisqually refuge once years ago, and I think they have changed the access since then. My brother and I weren't birders, but we went anyway and saw lots of what we jokingly called NBBs - nondescript brown birds. I am more informed now, but still the details of identifying the less showy species eludes me. Regardless, thanks for calling out our wildlife refuge system for attention!

    1. My bird identification skills still have a loooong way to go, too! ;)

      I agree, Jill: Refuges are great for wildlife, but connectivity is still a big problem. It is heartening to see that more efforts are being made to address the issue though, with wildlife bridges/underpasses being installed on major roads and highways, and conservation groups buying up land to keep it protected from development.

      I'm actually reading a very interesting book right now called "Subirdia" - it's written by John Marzluff, a researcher at the UW who suggests in this book that suburbs - backyards as well as remnant forest fragments - are valuable habitat for native birds. It's giving me hope that biodiversity can be supported even outside of the wildlife refuges!