My better late than never photoblog on Blue Mounds State Park, visited back in November.
Blue Mounds State Park is located in the southwestern corner of Minnesota, near the city of Luverne (hometown of National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg!) A huge feature in the park is a 100 foot Sioux quartzite cliff rising from the open prairie. The cliff appeared blue to settlers going west in the 1860s and 1870s, which is how the park got it’s name.
At the Mound’s southern end is a 1,250 foot line of rocks aligned in a east-west direction. Who built it and why is unknown, but on the first day of spring and fall the sunrise and sunset are lined up on this stone alignment.
There is also a small herd of bison living within the park boundaries. Local rumors say that the Plains Indians used to stampede the bison off of the park’s cliff, though no evidence exists today to prove this claim. Sadly I did not see any of the park’s bison on my visit.
Had a very exciting encounter with the mountain goats of Needles Highway right at the Needle Eye tunnel! Click any image to view larger! Continue reading
Happy Sea Otter Awareness Week!
Range: North America & Asia
Length: 3-5 feet
Weight: 40-90 pounds
Lifespan: 10-20 years in the wild
Hail storms are quite common around here, but this one was quite the doozy! Check out a few photos from the event. Click image to view larger.
It’s Global Tiger Day! Learn more about what’s being done to help protect tigers in the wild and how you can help by visiting http://www.tigercampaign.org
Today we learn about the largest of the tiger subspecies, the Amur Tiger.
Range: North America
Wingspan: 6-8 feet
Weight: 9-14 pounds (females are about 25% larger than males)
Lifespan: 20-30 in the wild; up to 50 years in captivity
International Polar Bear Day is coming up on February 27th! Read on to learn more about these cold loving sea bears and how you can help them!
photo by Paul Horsted / DakotaPhoto.com
This weekend was the second annual Burning Beetle festival in Custer, South Dakota, a celebration in dishonor of the ravenous mountain pine beetle, complete with the burning of a 28-foot wooden beetle ala Burning Man.
But what is a mountain pine beetle, and why is it so destructive?
Range: Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Northern Europe, Northern Asia
Height: 30–60 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 130–600 pounds
Lifespan: up to 20 years
Caribou inhabit the tundra and boreal forests in Canada, the northern United States, Europe, and Asia. In Europe and the Russian Far East caribou are kept in herds and used for meat, fur, and milk. Tame caribou pull sleighs and carry loads. In Europe caribou are called reindeer. In the United States a small domesticated type of caribou is called a reindeer.
Cold Brook Prescribed Burn – Wind Cave National Park
With firefighters performing several prescribed burns in the Black Hills area over the past week I was inspired to write a blog on the importance of fire in forest management and the natural forest cycle.