I have been told to lead a nature walk & workshop for a Girl Scout event that has a "magic" theme. This will be in the Pacific Northwest in a coniferous-riparian setting, and these are 7-17 year old girls. Yeah, I know. that's a broad range of ages. That's why I need your help. I'm a botanist. EVERYTHING sciency and outside is magical to me, so I'm hoping to make a list of very quick (<5 minute) demos with things found outside that have a big impact or are somehow surprising to a non-science audience. I'd like to avoid the pointing-and-telling kind of nature activity - I want these concepts to show themselves off somehow. Apparently I'll be doing this multiple times throughout the year so seasonality doesn't matter. [more inside]
While hiking on the Point Reyes peninsula (Marin County, California, USA), we kept smelling an almond smell. We poked and prodded various trees and plants but could not find the source of the smell. What would commonly grow in a costal fir forest that would smell like almonds? It was a strong "so where's the cookies" almond extract-y almond smell, though slightly more herby and piercing than that cheap bakery cookie smell. [more inside]
Another geeky field recording question! I live in L.A. and would like to spend Memorial Day weekend in a "primitive camping" situation, surrounded by noisy nocturnal wildlife, to make long-form field recordings (6-10 hours). Birds and beasts are a particular interest. I'd like as little human company and contact as possible. Where would you go within, say, a six-hour drive?
I'd like to do a short backpacking trip in old growth forest within driving distance of the DC area (4-5 hours or less, ideally). I looked up the locations of old growth stands in adjacent states, but many are quite small, and I'd like to get some recommendations on places I could hike and camp a couple nights. [more inside]
I live in the SF Bay area and I might be getting some last minute time off to take a break. My ideal destination is somewhere where my husband and I can stay in a cabin with our two kids (2 years and 6 months) and take long walks through the forest. [more inside]
I'm a field recordist and a solitude-lover. I'd like to camp in the most sound-rich environment possible for New Year's. I'm in Southern California. Suggestions? [more inside]
I have a vision to (when I buy a house someday) grow a forest where the lawn used to be. The best time to have started this was 20 years ago. Since that did not happen, I am wondering if it's possible to speed the growth of trees excessively through grafting. Can you graft the trunk of a young tree into the middle of another young tree, thus doubling the height? Now I am wondering what are the most extreme and crazy things that can be done with tree grafting.
I am searching for the name of a fantasy novel from childhood, which has been calling to me lately in a way that may greatly inform my artwork. It has been fruitless to google, as I can only remember certain clues about its plotline and cover illustration. Help me, metafilter! The internet is great but some quandaries need humans. (Read extended explanation for the clues) [more inside]
My girlfriend and I are going down to a wedding in Ontario, CA this summer, and have enough time for a day trip to Sequoia National Forest. What would you do if you only had a day? [more inside]
I'm trying to take a particular photo, so I'm looking for a clearing in a forest, that has a prominent tree by itself within that clearing (On top of a hill works too). [more inside]
How, physically, does clearcutting happen? What sort of equipment is used to cut down trees on steep hillsides? How is lumber and paper so inexpensive given all the work it takes? How do companies decide what sections to cut? (Some of the patterns cut are really odd!) Also, since different companies often own sections of timber accessed from the same (privately owned?) mainline, how do access deals play out?
We live in a rural New England house on a wooded lot and we don't actually know a whole lot about taking care of trees. Other than 'you should call someone and learn about taking care of trees' what will be useful for us to know? [more inside]
Five of us from San Francisco and Los Angeles like to meet in the middle along the coast once a year and car-camp for a long weekend. The past few years we've had a blast at Limekiln State Park campground, but it's under new management now and they won't allow us to reserve a specific ('our') campsite. In case we can't get one of the spots we want there, we'd like some backups to make reservations with somewhere between the southern end of Monterey Bay and San Luis Obispo—any suggestions? Hang on, let me tell you what we liked about Limekiln. [more inside]
What are your favorite hikes in Shasta Trinity National Forest? [more inside]
I want to know more about the part of forestry that explains how and why forests (any kind) are composed and developed. By "composition," I mean the relative placement of the elements of a forest, like ravines and canopies. Books, web pages, and a massive, super-detailed time lapse animation of a forest forming from nothing would all be great.
What are some cheap and interesting ways to spend 2-3 weeks without a home in and around the Bay Area? (examples: camping, retreats in redwood forest, etc). [more inside]
Help me find a forest green bridesmaid dress! [more inside]
I've always wanted to cut my own Christmas tree....on public land. Legally. How do I find out whether and where I can do this? [more inside]
What's the best way to string a tree with Christmas lights? Oh yeah, it's out in the middle of nowhere. [more inside]
Help my friend identify this white cloudy thing photographed in a forest in British Columbia! [more inside]
Do I really have to mow my one acre meadow to prevent fire hazards? [more inside]
How to record (or possibly fake) forest ground, roots and moist dirt in an arctic climate? [more inside]
What procedure would one conceivably follow in order to propose a hiking trail be named for a person in the state of Oregon? [more inside]
I am looking for information related to sustainable forestry management. I have recently secured a consultancy in Central America for developing a business plan related to the industry. While my client has provided useful information, I am also looking for external resources on the subject. [more inside]
Amazon healing plants. Who is the expert? [more inside]
Cool places to take day-trip hikes in Eastern Europe: suggestions? [more inside]
Which band did a cover of The Cure song called 'A Forest'? [more inside]
I'm trying to track down a location found in the movie 'Thumbsucker'. [more inside]
I'm trying to figure out what to do about landscaping in a pine forest location. The problem is the soil is sandy and nothing has grown there. [more inside]
Can someone tell me the name of this TV movie? There are some spoilers here if you haven't seen this, but there's no other way to try to identify it. [more inside]
Children's SF-Fantasy: For years, I have been trying to remember the name of a book I read as a child, in the mid-1980s. It is a novel, appropriate for 8-12 year olds, in a vaguely medieval/fantasy setting. The main character (I think) is a boy who goes into a forest (on a journey? a quest?) - he meets a girl there who is a firewitch, with really bright orange hair. Sorry for the vagueness, but I was about eight at the time, and haven't been able to find it since. [more inside]