Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Children, Animals, and the Imago Dei

April 26, 2010

I got to participate in two events on Friday and Saturday designed to bring children closer to creation. One took place in the inner city, the other (mostly) in the country. Both were signs of life and expressions of the imago dei, the image of God, granted to humans. They involved pit bulldogs, and wild birds, but not at the same time….

End Dogfighting in Atlanta

In the city, I stood at a press event with a dear brother, Ralph Hawthorne of the Humane Society of the United States, and his colleagues from animal stewardship organizations, to draw attention to an Atlanta program that aims to end dogfighting by helping urban youth train and care for their pit bulls, preparing them for showing instead of fighting. Professional dog-trainer Amber Burckhalter and a team of volunteers work with kids to learn wise animal stewardship, compassion, and responsibility. (more…)

Georgia Youth Birding Competition

April 26, 2010
Georgia Youth Birding Competition

Young birders atop an Indian mound at Ocmulgee National Monument near Macon, GA

On Friday and Saturday, my boys Angus and Ewan joined their friends Meggie, Patrick, and Eric, as a team competing in the Georgia Youth Birding Competition, in which teams try to spot (or hear) as many different bird species as they can in a 24-hour period. They started at 5 pm on Friday. All the teams converge on the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center near Mansfield, GA,to turn in their lists at 5 pm Saturday and to enjoy an awards banquet immediately afterward. There were lots of teams competing this year, in four age brackets.

Kids have to spot, identify, and record their sightings without adult help (except for driving!). Our team had 80 species, and placed third in the elementary group. The top team had just over a hundred birds!

Here’s our list from the 24 hour big day (birds added to the  life list of someone in the group are in ALL CAPS):

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Mallard
  4. Blue-winged Teal
  5. Wild Turkey
  6. Common Loon
  7. Double-crested Cormorant
  9. Great Blue Heron
  10. Great Egret
  11. Little Blue Heron
  12. Cattle Egret
  13. Black Vulture
  14. Turkey Vulture
  15. Osprey
  16. Cooper’s Hawk
  17. Red-shouldered Hawk
  18. Red-tailed Hawk
  19. Common Moorhen
  20. American Coot
  21. Killdeer
  25. Rock Pigeon
  26. Eurasian Collared Dove
  27. Mourning Dove
  28. Barred Owl
  29. Chimney Swift
  30. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  31. Red-headed Woodpecker
  32. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  33. Downy Woodpecker
  34. Northern Flicker
  35. Pileated Woodpecker
  36. Eastern Phoebe
  37. Eastern Kingbird
  38. White-eyed Vireo
  39. Red-eyed Vireo
  40. Blue Jay
  41. American Crow
  42. Fish Crow
  43. Purple Martin
  44. Tree Swallow
  45. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  46. Cliff Swallow
  47. Barn Swallow
  48. Carolina Chickadee
  49. Tufted Titmouse
  50. Carolina Wren
  51. Marsh Wren
  52. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  53. Eastern Bluebird
  54. Wood Thrush
  55. American Robin
  56. Gray Catbird
  57. Northern Mockingbird
  58. Brown Thrasher
  59. European Starling
  60. Cedar Waxwing
  61. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  62. Palm Warbler
  63. Common Yellowthroat
  64. Hooded Warbler
  65. Eastern Towhee
  66. Chipping Sparrow
  67. Field Sparrow
  68. Song Sparrow
  69. Swamp Sparrow
  70. Dark-eyed Junco
  71. Northern Cardinal
  72. Indigo Bunting
  74. Red-winged Blackbird
  75. Eastern Meadowlark
  76. Common Grackle
  77. Brown-headed Cowbird
  78. House Finch
  79. American Goldfinch
  80. House Sparrow

Chicken stock for the soul

December 8, 2009

Ok, never mind chicken SOUP, even metaphorical soup. I’m talking stock, that liquid essence now reduced to something from a can or a bouillon cube, but which is the stuff of cooks’ dreams. Here’s what the Rombauers say about stock in The Joy of Cooking (my second favorite food book, after Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen):

Antique dealers may respond hopefully to dusty bits in attics, but true cooks palpitate over even more curious oddments: mushroom and tomato skins, fowl carcasses, tender celery leaves, fish heads, knucklebones, and chicken feet. These are just a few of the treasures for the stockpot–that magic source from which comes the telling character of the cuisine. (more…)

Should You Worry about Mercury in Swine Flu Vaccine?

November 6, 2009

Q: Should you worry about mercury in Swine flu vaccine?

Vaccination: Photographer James Gathany--CDC Judy Schmidt

Photographer James Gathany--CDC Judy Schmidt

A: Good question. Ok, it’s not really an “environmental” issue, but it does concern our physical bodies (and those of our children) so it is a “creation care” issue. The underlying real connection is whether we are willing to trust scientific consensus on some issues but not others. Hint: if you wear a seat belt but also believe that thimerosal preservatives in vaccines cause autism, you may be inconsistent. Similarly, if you buckle your kids up but don’t believe people are causing global warming, you may be inconsistent in your attitude toward expert opinion. (more…)

No Waste November by Michael Abbaté

November 2, 2009

Author of Gardening Eden and Flourish conference speaker Michael Abbaté is trying to spend November generating zero solid garbage. Anyone want to join him? Here’s what Michael writes on his blog announcement about No Waste November:

“You and I are trash machines.  We each generate nearly one ton of garbage each year.  (more…)

Kids, knives, and creation care

October 7, 2009

By Rusty Pritchard

Kids need knives.
I still get a laugh when my family goes to a sit-down restaurant, to see servers putting out silverware and carefully making sure that the table knives don’t go anywhere near my kids. This at ages up to nine…!

Those servers would have been shocked to see my six and nine year-old boys at home, sitting on the back deck, whittling away for hours, making their own bows, arrows, and spears, and eventually making even elaborate little boats and toys.

I’ve been on camping trips with other families whose own kids were kept far from knives. Their children were warned not to interact with nature.

“Don’t go off the path.”
“Don’t play with the fire.”
“Don’t pick up insects.”
“Stay away from snakes.”
“Watch out for poison ivy.”
“Don’t play with knives.”

My own kids were of course the ones catching snakes, licking slugs, picking up bugs, climbing trees, leaving the path, carving things, and getting the other kids into trouble. (more…)