what we captured with Indiana DNR’s Project Snapshot

For the 2nd year, we participated in Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Project Snapshot program. “Snapshot Indiana is a volunteer-based trail camera program designed to collect information about a variety of wildlife species on private property in Indiana. Photos collected by volunteers provide insight into trends in wildlife populations.”

The camera was placed a couple hundred yards from Moontree Studios along a game trail, recording images for 30 days and nights. Protocols for camera placement, duration, and settings were strictly followed to ensure the DNR gets high-quality data.

I’m a big fan of citizen science. There are so many opportunities for the public to get engaged with real scientific work.

view from the game trail to the camera
view from the camera to the game trail

They shared the best photos with us. What do you think?! My favorite is the Screech Owl! They are locally common birds, but don’t appear on camera often.

racoons… always abundant, fertile, and prosperous

I also enrolled as an private landowner myself and put the camera on my property.

Apparently there are lots and lots of deer. A racoon and a squirrel were also captured. Was hoping for a fox or coyote, but no luck this time.

“hey… don’t judge! have you ever tried growing these things?!”

O Holy Night

I don’t have too much to post to round out the year, but I’d like to share this arresting, haunting and deeply moving rendition of “O Holy Night”. I think the minor key is a fitting end to 2020.

Below is a photo I took of the “Great Convergence” on the evening of the winter solstice. I wish I had had a tripod and knew how to use my equipment, but this was the best I could get. You can barely make out several moons of the red gas giant Jupiter. Yellow Saturn appears to be bulging, which I’ll go ahead and assume are the rings.

“For sure, I tell you, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it will only be a seed. If it dies, it will give much grain.” -John 12:24.

news round up: first of winter edition

The Weekly Planet: 5 Ways to Think About Biden and Climate Change (The Atlantic) He could have the best chance to fight carbon pollution of any American leader in a decade.

Why did renewables become so cheap so fast? And what can we do to use this global opportunity for green growth? (Our World in Data)

EPA Proposes Rule Limiting Indiana, Other States’ Contribution to Downwind Ozone Pollution (Indiana Environmental Reporter) Revised Cross-State Air Pollution Rule Update attempts to limit the amount of ozone pollution and ozone precursors sent to downwind states, contributing to their violation of the 2008 ozone standard.

Indiana Gets “D” for Climate Change Education Efforts, Education Department Seeks to Improve Curriculum (Indiana Environmental Reporter) Report gives state’s public school science standards to address climate change a barely passing grade, but the state is making moves to address deficiencies.

A Biden victory positions America for a 180-degree turn on climate change (Washington Post) New administration will seek to shift U.S. off fossil fuels and expand public lands protections, but face serious opposition from Senate GOP.

Artist Hubert Duprat Collaborates with Caddisfly Larvae as They Build Aquatic Cocoons from Gold and Pearls (Colossal)

Is American Healing Even Possible? (The Atlantic) In an extended interview, the Reverend William J. Barber II explains why healing the soul of the nation will take more than returning to “normal.”“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy for you,” he preached, reading from the Book of Matthew. “I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God.” It seems a strange place to start, but that’s the point, he said. “There has to be division for healing.”

Australia to host the latest world’s largest solar farm (Electrek) It looks as though the latest holder of the title, “world’s largest solar farm,” is set to be Newcastle Waters in Australia’s Northern Territory. The solar farm in the Outback will be capable of producing 10 gigawatts and will be so big that it will be able to be seen from space. The Newcastle Waters solar farm, which will sit on a 10,000-square-kilometer (3,861-square-mile) cattle station between Alice Springs and Darwin, will cost US $20 billion… two-thirds of the power will be exported to Singapore by high-voltage direct current undersea cables. The Newcastle Waters solar farm and Sun Cable will provide around one-fifth of Singapore’s electricity needs.

Exclusive: GM, Ford knew about climate change 50 years ago (E&E News) Scientists at two of America’s biggest automakers knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change, a monthslong investigation by E&E News has found. The discoveries by General Motors and Ford Motor Co. preceded decades of political lobbying by the two car giants that undermined global attempts to reduce emissions while stalling U.S. efforts to make vehicles cleaner.

AEP to Switch 100% of Cars and Light-Duty Truck Fleet to Electric Vehicles by 2030. (Press Release). American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) today announced that it will accelerate its electric vehicle purchases with the goal of replacing 100% of its 2,300 cars and light-duty trucks with EV alternatives by 2030. AEP’s total fleet is composed of nearly 8,000 vehicles, including medium- and heavy- duty vehicles. By converting medium- and heavy-duty vehicles as electric or hybrid models become available, AEP will achieve its goal of electrifying 40% of its entire on-road vehicle fleet in less than 10 years.

An Offshore Wind Farm on Lake Erie Moves Closer to Reality, but Will It Ever Be Built? (InsideClimateNews) Icebreaker would be the first freshwater wind farm in North America. But after more than a decade, it is still jumping hurdles and polarizing environmental groups.

It’s been a thousand years since Colorado has burned like this (The Phoenix) Colorado’s three largest wildfires in history have been in the past three months. Wildfires on this scale are exceedingly rare without a boost from climate change.

L.A.’s coast was once a DDT dumping ground (LA Times) Not far from Santa Catalina Island, in an ocean shared by divers and fishermen, kelp forests and whales, David Valentine decoded unusual signals underwater that gave him chills. The UC Santa Barbara scientist was supposed to be studying methane seeps that day, but with a deep-sea robot on loan and a few hours to spare, now was the chance to confirm an environmental abuse that others in the past could not. He was chasing a hunch, and sure enough, initial sonar scans pinged back a pattern of dots that popped up on the map like a trail of breadcrumbs…


“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” -Aldo Leopold

this Thursday >> Solar Energy (Virtual) Workshop: North Central Indiana

Solar energy has seemed out of reach of most Americans for years. Things are rapidly changing, though: Prices have gone down by 65% in ten years. And incentives are in place (but will phase out).

Come join the Logansport/Cass County Chamber of Commerce, Ag Technologies, Ancilla College, and the Hoosier Environmental Council, who have partnered to host a free presentation on solar energy!

Who: Homeowners, business-people, pastors & lay leaders, school administrators, municipal & county leaders

What: A presentation focused on the ideal locations for installing solar, ways to pay for solar energy systems, and opportunities to grow solar in the area and beyond.

RSVP: Please reserve tickets via the Eventbrite link!