♦ Dr. Evan Antin’s ‘World Wild Vet’ is a Love Letter to Nature and the Animals Kingdom [REVIEW]

Evan Antin with an elephant friend at the Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya.
Dr. Evan Antin with his elephant friend at the Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya. (Photo courtesy Dr. Evan Antin/Facebook)
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Like so many other animal lovers, we’ve enjoyed watching veterinarian Evan Antin share his adventures with all creatures great and small on Instagram. Whether he’s treating domestic pets at the veterinary hospital where he works or is globetrotting to save an endangered species, he’s always got something new and interesting to share. Now he’s published a book all about his encounters in the animal kingdom called World Wild Vet, and it offers us a fun and fascinating look at both the wildlife he’s met and the career he’s built for himself.

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National Geographic’s ‘Almanac 2021’ Invites Conversation and Critical Thinking [REVIEW]

Birds-eye view of a man standing on Grand Canyon. (Photo courtesy Noelle Otto, Pexels/Canva)

Do you sometimes wish you had a way to determine what the coming year will bring? Now you don’t need one! National Geographic’s editors keep their fingers on the pulse of our world and beyond to cull together loads of thoughtful, fascinating insights each year and they assemble it all in one volume for our perusal, Almanac 2021.

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Six Ways to Chill Out on National Relaxation Day

Relaxing in a hammock

Take time to chill out and relax. Your heart deserves it. (Photo courtesy Canva)

If you’re like us, you like to get things done. Whether we’re managing people on the job site, delegating tasks, streamlining processes, and plowing through our email inbox or at home cleaning the house, organizing the closets, bathing the dog and ironing the clothes, we all have those check lists of chores we feel compelled to accomplish before we fall in bed utterly exhausted. And while there is satisfaction to be gained from those accomplishments, finding time to relax, unwind, and chill out is actually still quite productive. Read more of this post

National Geographic’s ‘The Splendor of Birds’ Is Simply Breathtaking [REVIEW]

Blue-Footed Booby

The blue-footed booby is only one of the many birds featured in National Geographic’s The Splendor of Birds. (Photo courtesy National Geographic)

Birds. There is something truly special about these creatures that captures the imaginations of all of us. Whether we’re feeding ducks at a park or hummingbirds nectar outside our window, watching predatory hawks soar high in the sky or an ominous flock of grackles loom overhead on power lines like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock film, or laughing at the antics of waddling penguins and precariously poised flamingoes, these winged animals are everywhere and yet each is stunning in its own way. Over the years, National Geographic has shared our fascination with them, and now they are revealing all their hard-won wisdom and stellar photographs and artistry in one incomparable volume, The Splendor of Birds: Art and Photographs from National Geographic.  Read more of this post

Big Bone Lick State Park

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On our first day of vacation, we awakened to a gorgeous, sunny day in Cincinnati. Clear, azure skies seemed filled with promise, and after sitting through a three-day convention in Dayton, we wanted to stretch our legs a bit. So we packed a picnic lunch and drove south 30 miles along I-71 to Union, Ken. to investigate a park we’d never visited before.

The drive alone delivered a beautiful respite from the city. We left behind the skyscrapers and smog of downtown Cincy and within minutes we found ourselves surrounded by rolling hills, shady groves and green pastures. Long white picket fences separated family farms and hand-painted signs offered fresh eggs for sale. We had entered “God’s country,” as we heard one woman call it later that day.

A big wooden sign surrounded with flowers and decorated with mammoths and mastodons welcomed us to Big Bone Lick State Park, “birthplace of American vertebrate paleontology”. We headed straight for the visitor’s center to get a lay of the land, which proved to be the best initiation to Big Bone Lick. There we gathered a map of the park and perused the museum that educated us about the history of the area, then we began our journey back in time along the Discovery Trail that recreates the savannah as it once was.

Some 20,000 years ago, a huge glacier stretched from Wisconsin down to the Ohio River. As time passed, the ice receded and soon giant sloths, bison, mastodons, mammoths and other beasts gathered to drink and feed among the salty bogs there. Because the soft land sucked at the feet of these creatures, many animals got caught in the mud and mire and died. Their massive bones would later be discovered by scientists excavating the area. A diorama showcases this scene in vivid detail.

Today, however, the marshland has all but disappeared, leaving behind only one salt-sulphur spring, rolling grasslands, mounding flowers and lush forests that are home to a bison herd, deer, countless insects, amphibians and other wildlife. As we hiked along the Bison Trace trail, the day began to warm up, but the towering deciduous trees offered a shady reprieve from the heat as we enjoyed a meandering hike through the woods.

If you visit, be sure to wear good hiking shoes, because the ground along the hiking trails can be slick, muddy and rocky in places, and some points deliver a rather steep climb. Still, the scenery is beautiful and offers a lovely diversion to an urban lifestyle. On our next trip, we want to camp out for a long weekend, bring our swimsuits to relax by the pool and don our visors or hats and test our putting skills on the 18-hole miniature golf course.

Big Bone Lick State Park offers so many amenities there is truly something for everyone. Fishermen can enjoy bank-fishing on the 7.5-acre lake which is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. Athletes will love the tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, softball fields and horseshoe pits. To make the camping experience even more pleasant, the 62 spacious campsites offer utility hookups, grills, a playground, showers, restrooms, laundry facilities and a grocery store.

When you go:

  • Grounds are open year round, from daylight until dark.
  • Museum and gift shop are open between April—December, Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Campgrounds are open April 1—November 15. Check-in time begins at 2 p.m. and check-out time is 1 p.m. Make camping reservations by calling 1-888-4KY-PARK or visit www.parks.ky.gov.

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