Sunday, May 04, 2008

Everybody's Doing It

I finished reading the YA book for next school year's All County Reads: Julia Alvarez's Before We Were Free. Part suspense, part coming-of-age, part historical fiction; it's a good story, but possibly a tough sell. Well, the pitch "If you liked Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, try this" did occur to me.

I signed up for eBird because I am on a Capital City-area birding listserv and many people use this online database service to share their birdwatching lists. It looked like a good way to 1) keep up with the cool kids and 2) have something to post to the listserv and the blog. Let's see how the cut-n-paste looks!

Canada Goose X
Mallard X
Black Vulture X
Osprey X
Bald Eagle X
Spotted Sandpiper X
Mourning Dove X
Belted Kingfisher X
Red-bellied Woodpecker X
Downy Woodpecker X
Hairy Woodpecker X
Pileated Woodpecker X
Eastern Phoebe X
White-eyed Vireo X
Red-eyed Vireo X
American Crow X
Carolina Chickadee X
Tufted Titmouse X
Carolina Wren X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher X
American Robin X
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird X
Northern Parula X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X
Yellow-throated Warbler X
Prairie Warbler X
Black-and-white Warbler X
American Redstart X
Prothonotary Warbler X
Common Yellowthroat X
Summer Tanager X
Song Sparrow X
Northern Cardinal X
Indigo Bunting X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird X
Orchard Oriole X
American Goldfinch X
House Sparrow X

Hmm. Not bad. Those X's mean that we didn't count individuals, we're just reporting seeing at least one.

The third thing everybody's doing is littering. In the age of fuel-efficient cars and a glut of "green" products and books on "green" topics, people still leave their freakin' soda cans anywhere they like. A generation after the cool, young teachers at my elementary school taught us about conservation by turning off the lights when we didn't need them and by re-using the ditto'ed pages, most people still see the entire planet as an empty waste basket. Isn't pickup trash - don't litter the first, easiest answer kids give when grown-ups talk to them about what each person can do to help nature/the planet/their neighborhood? Yet people's tossed crap is everywhere, from the sidewalk in front of my house to rocks in the James to along the train tracks from DC to NYC (that one's been annoying me for 19 years now). Seriously people: that's just tacky. For more on this topic, see our new blog, here.

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