Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Natural Connections Book Tour

Natural Connections Book Tour
August 21-29, 2019

I still have some time to fill. If you'd like to host a book signing, talk, or workshop, please let me know! 

Wednesday, August 21
Program at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve?
Looking for hosts!

Thursday, August 22—Retzer Nature Center
6:30-7:30-public program “Nature Better than Fiction”

Friday, August 23 ???

Saturday, August 24—Retzer Nature Center
9:30-2:30,  Book signing at the Green Alliance Sustainability Fair @ RNC

Sunday, August 25—open?

Monday, August 25--morning open?

Monday, August 26—Schlitz Audubon Center

Hike with Emily Stone and Don Quintenz
Monday, August 26 | 4:00pm - 5:00pm

Join Emily Stone, a Naturalist and Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum, and Don Quintenz, for a guided hike exploring the natural wonders of the season.

Emily Stone, author of Natural Connections 2
Monday, August 26 | 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Emily Stone, a Naturalist and Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum, will read from and talk about her new book, Natural Connections 2: Dreaming of an Elfin Skimmer. She uses science to tell complex stories in readable, enjoyable ways that are full of wonder for nature, weaving a world of magic for readers. Emily writes a weekly column called “Natural Connections” for 20 local and regional newspapers. She has earned several Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Her first book, Natural Connections: Exploring Northwoods Nature through Science and Your Senses was published in 2016. Books will be available for purchase; the author will be happy to sign them.

Tuesday, August 27—Lake Geneva area

Finding the Stories in Nature for Kids
Kishwauketoe Preserve.   10:00-11:30 a.m.
Stories are powerful tools for engagement, learning, and relating for all ages. But we don’t need to invent anything—nature has already done it for us. During this program for young learners, Emily Stone, author, naturalist, and Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum will lead nature discovery activities infused with her own playful sense of wonder. By using science to tell stories, Emily wields a magic that makes the whole world feel more alive. 1.5 hours

Finding the Stories in Nature            
This is a 1.5-2 hour talk/workshop at the library in Lake Geneva
Stories are powerful tools for engagement, learning, and relating. But we don’t need to invent anything—nature has already done it for us. Scientists are busy translating. These stories can make natural phenomenon come alive for any audience! During this workshop, Emily will share some of her favorite stories and photos, including readings from her Natural Connections books. Then, through a series of props, writing, and speaking exercises, participants will have a chance to practice finding and telling the stories in nature. Presenter: Emily Stone, Naturalist/Education Director, Cable Natural History Museum.

Wednesday, August 28—Lake Geneva area

All day:
Hike around the Shore Path.

Thursday, August 29—Lake Geneva area


3 hour hike, for naturalists and volunteers. “train the teachers.”

Finding the Stories in Nature Walking Workshop
Join Emily Stone, a Naturalist and Education Director at the Cable Natural History Museum, on a guided hike to explore natural connections through science and our senses. She’ll give tips and tricks for finding the stories in nature, and we’ll all practice creating mini-narratives about the characters we meet along the way. As naturalists, infusing our teaching and communications with stories can be an effective way to engage both hearts and minds. 

Afternoon: Drive north!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Buzzing with Life

Hot sun beat down on the back of my neck, and a mosquito pricked at my elbow. Still, I held my breath and clicked the camera’s shutter-release button twice more before straightening up out of my crouch and swatting the mosquito. The tiny wasp I’d been trying to catch in the act of nectaring zoomed off. This time of year the pollinator gardens at the Cable Natural History Museum are simply buzzing with life.

Several times each day I’ve found excuses to wander outside and check on our bee cabinet and the drama unfolding with flower-eating caterpillars and caterpillar-eating wasps. We’ve had a steady stream of families going to and from our new Curiosity Center, so I can usually justify my visit to the pollinator garden by showing moms, dads, and 8-year-olds the gruesome tale of wasp larvae eating comatose caterpillars.

Once the families move on, though, I go right back to scanning the gardens for anything interesting. Dragonflies often hover above the grass, and a particularly brave one once perched calmly on the tip of a caterpillar-eaten figwort plant while I played paparazzi. It’s yellow and orange body was contrasted by beautiful burgundy wing spots, and bright white pterostigmata. These little rectangular patches of thicker, heavier, cells at the leading edge of each dragonfly wing help to prevent the wings from vibrating at high speeds. I love seeing a pterostigma just so that I can say the word to myself. The silent P is my favorite part. Ptero- relates to wings, and a stigma is a mark or spot. But saying “wing spot” just isn’t the same.

Do you see the little white mark on the front of each wing?

A monarch butterfly caught my attention, too, and as I followed it around to the patch of yellow coreopsis flowers, a new butterfly caught my eye. With wings of yellow shading to orange, overlaid with a striking pattern of black lines and spots, I couldn’t help but snap a few photos of it, too.

The Aphrodite fritillary butterfly in habits open fields and woodland edges throughout Wisconsin. Photo by Emily Stone.

While leaning over some false sunflowers to see the butterfly, a break in the pattern caught my eye. How odd! Three inches of a flower stem, just under the blossom, were lined with tiny critters. Their oval bodies were red-orange, and their wiry black legs stuck out at odd angles. As I looked more closely, I guessed that they were aphids, since each one had a straight, black mouthpart inserted into the plant stem. I snapped a few photos of those, too, using my macro setting to capture the detail.

Once back at my desk, I alternated between responding to emails and uploading the photos. Feeling too rushed to flip through the selection of field guides on my shelves, I opted for a different route. I logged into my iNaturalist account, and uploaded the best photo of each critter.

The description on their website summarizes that, “iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature.” They have an app as well as the website, and both can be used to upload photos of living things. The photos get geotagged, identified, and become observations. Then an extensive network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists can check your identification, add their own ideas, and use everyone’s data to do research.

With more than 23,486,900 observations around the world, iNaturalist has seen a lot of living things. That allowed the developers to create an automated species identification tool. It combs that database for things that are both visually similar to your photo and have been seen nearby by other observers. What that means for amateurs like me, is that when I clicked in the “species name” box under my photo, a list of suggested identifications came up. “We’re pretty sure it’s in this genus: Small Pennants, Celithemis,” was the helpful comment, and below that, “Here are our top species suggestions:” Within seconds, I was pretty sure that I’d photographed a calico pennant dragonfly.

After identifying my purple-lined sallow moth caterpillars, dark paper wasp, Aphrodite fritillary butterfly, aphids in the genus Uroleucon, and several more, a Facebook message pinged. My childhood friend in Omaha sent photos of fuzzy caterpillars on milkweed for identification. I uploaded that photo, too, and iNaturalist gave me the tentative ID of “tussock moth caterpillars.” After she posted 10 more photos of insects in her pollinator garden, I clued her into the iNaturalist trick, too.

Then an automated email from iNaturalist notified me that my calico pennant observation had been added to a project called “Odonata - parasitism.” Looking closer at my photo, I saw several clusters of dark bumps under the dragonfly’s body. A quick Google search informed me that larval water mites often attach to a dragonfly for a meal and ride – not unlike ticks on humans. I’d never have noticed those mites without the extra eyes of iNaturalist participants.

Can you spot the little round, brown, mites under the thorax and the abdomen?

This summer I’ve had a number of people comment about how much I know, or should know about nature. Naturalists are generalists, though. I can tell you a little bit about just about everything, but there are a whole lot of details that I can’t even begin to remember. One of the most valuable skills of a naturalist is knowing how to use the resources available to answer questions. Sometimes that means paging through a guidebook or asking an expert, and sometime that means submitting a photo to a computer algorithm. The fun part is that iNaturalist is available to anyone at any time. And just following your curiosity by uploading photos to get ID help will result in data that may someday be used for important science. Want to join in the fun? Now’s the perfect time – summer is just buzzing with life!

Emily’s second book, Natural Connections: Dreaming of an Elfin Skimmer, is now available to purchase at www.cablemuseum.org/books and at your local independent bookstore, too.

For more than 50 years, the Cable Natural History Museum has served to connect you to the Northwoods. Come visit us in Cable, WI! Our new Curiosity Center kids’ exhibit and Pollinator Power annual exhibit are now open! Call us at 715-798-3890 or email emily@cablemuseum.org.

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Well-Stocked Cabinet

The hook rattled as I slipped it up out of the metal eye and opened the small, yellow door. This cabinet was well-stocked with provisions, but it looked nothing like my pantry. Instead of shelves lined with boxes of food, there were routered grooves filled with little green caterpillars and yellowish blobs. The front of the grooves was covered in a sheet of Plexiglas—a window into the lives of mysterious neighbors.

Thanks to artist Sarah Peebles and her project Resonating Bodies for helping us with the design of this cabinet and providing the audio equipment. Her advice and guidance was invaluable!

Potter wasp females paralyze caterpillars with a sting, then cram several of them into each brood chamber with a single egg. She seals the walls and door of the nest with mud. The eggs hatch, the larvae eat the caterpillars, and then the wasp pupae overwinter in the nest. A Plexiglas wall on this nest cabinet gives humans a view of the entire process.  Photo by Emily Stone. 

Ever since our talented volunteers designed and built this solitary bee cabinet for the Bee Amazed exhibit last spring, we’ve been eagerly watching and waiting for new residents to move in.

When most people think of bees, they imagine honey bee colonies in big white boxes, dripping with honey. When I say “wasp,” they shudder at the memory of disturbing a ground nest or papery ball of colony-nesting aggressors, stingers at the ready. This cabinet frames a very different picture.

Most of our species of bees and wasps don’t live in groups. They are solitary nesters who lay about 14 eggs over the course of their short lives. These hard-working single mothers are too busy—building their small nests, laying those eggs, and gathering provisions that will feed the larvae as they develop—to even think about stinging you unless you’re actively squashing them.

This spring I’ve rattled open that cabinet door almost every morning and every afternoon as I walk to and from work. The bees moved in first. We watched as an iridescent blue mason bee created a cell of mud inside the groove and then packed it with “bee bread,” which is a mixture of pollen, nectar, and her own saliva. Once the loaf was big enough, she laid a single egg, sealed up the chamber with mud, and began to provision the next cell.

The center groove is filled with bee larvae, feeding on bee bread, in cells made of mud. Photo by Emily Stone.

Now the length of the groove is filled with little brood chambers, and translucent bee larvae can be seen munching on their baby food. They will pupate and spend the winter right there in the cabinet, emerging as adults when the apples blossom.

Recently, a groove near the middle of the cabinet began to fill up with piles of little green caterpillars. Bees are almost all vegetarians—both adults and young focus on eating flower parts. Wasps, on the other hand, drink nectar as adults, but feed animal protein to their young. Wasps evolved first, and bees developed later as they began to exploit resources from flowers.

Solitary bees and wasps both engage in a type of parenting called “mass provisioning.” They stock all of the food their larvae will need into the brood cell before they lay each egg. They seal up the nest, and then leave. Their life probably doesn’t last much longer, but their eggs and larvae have everything needed to grow.

I have yet to watch the mama wasp actually carry a caterpillar into her nest, but on one sunny afternoon I did watch her carry mud and pack it onto the outer door of the final chamber. That mud tells me that she’s probably a member of the potter wasp or mason wasp group. I can count at least 5 green caterpillars in each of her brood cells, but the literature tells me some wasps stock up to 12 caterpillars per egg. In order to keep the egg from being crushed by all of this food, wasps often suspend the egg from the ceiling of the brood cell.

Now, if a mama wasp killed each caterpillar before storage, its soft body would soon be an inedible pile of goo. In a thrillingly awful and brilliant twist, she simply paralyzes each caterpillar with a sting. The wasp larvae will eat the comatose caterpillar alive, starting with the inessential parts first, so that its lunch stays fresh for as long as possible. Like the mason bee, this wasp’s pupae will overwinter in the nest cabinet and emerge next summer.

After the wasp finished packing her load of mud into the tunnel, I watched her back out of the nest’s entrance hole and fly off. I followed her buzzing form, expecting her to disappear from sight. Instead, she only flew a few feet, and then began sipping nectar from the tiny, maroon flowers of the figwort nearby. With my attention shifted, I started noticing other types of wasps and a few bees hovering at the blossoms. I later read that the inconspicuous flowers of figworts are among the most prolific nectar producers in the plant world.

A female potter wasp sips nectar from a figwort flower, while a moth caterpillar feeds nearby. The wasp’s nest is stuffed with those caterpillars, just waiting to be eaten by her larvae. Photo by Emily Stone.

With the wasps buzzing around, I soon noticed that a small, green caterpillar was also feeding on a flower. It wasn’t just drinking nectar, though, it was munching on the blossom itself. Now that I’d seen one, I started spotting those green caterpillars everywhere! By feeding these moth larvae to her young, the wasp was protecting an important source of nectar for herself and many others.

The inconspicuous flowers on figworts provide ample nectar to many bees and wasps. They also are the favorite food of this caterpillar who will eventually become a purple-lined sallow moth…unless a potter wasp larva eats him first! Photo by Emily Stone. 

As the purple-lined sallow moth caterpillars grow, they change color. Photo by Emily Stone.

As the purple-lined sallow moth caterpillars grow, they change color. Photo by Emily Stone.
I’m lucky to have such exciting neighbors on my way to work. Each morning I get to open a door to new discoveries. Come visit our bee cabinet, and you can discover them, too!

Just after writing this I headed back outside to check on the figwort. I found this Dark Paper Wasp, Polistes fuscatus, wasp chewing hungrily on an older caterpillar. Wasps provide so much excellent pest control! Photo by Emily Stone.

BIG THANKS to Thanks to artist Sarah Peebles and her project, Resonating Bodies, for helping us with the design of this cabinet and providing the audio equipment. 
Her inspiration, advice, and guidance was invaluable!

Emily’s second book, Natural Connections: Dreaming of an Elfin Skimmer, is now available to purchase at www.cablemuseum.org/books and will soon be available at your local independent bookstore, too.

For more than 50 years, the Cable Natural History Museum has served to connect you to the Northwoods. Come visit us in Cable, WI! Our new Curiosity Center kids’ exhibit and Pollinator Power annual exhibit are now open! Call us at 715-798-3890 or email emily@cablemuseum.org.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A Bird in the Hand

The buzz of cicadas gave voice to the heat as we strolled through the shade of giant oak trees. Arkansas in June is a hot soup of humidity. Luckily, it is a short, flat walk from the lodge to the classroom at the Potlatch Conservation Education Center on Cook’s Lake.

This old duck-hunting lodge—once owned by Lion Oil Company—is now operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). The educational activities here, which are focused on youth and the mobility impaired, are funded by a statewide 1/8th cent Conservation Sales Tax.

Wearing a uniform shirt with a hummingbird embroidered opposite the AGFC logo, Miss Tana Beasley greeted us warmly as we stepped into the classroom. Long rows of tables and chairs filled the center of the room, while every possible surface along the walls was covered in teaching tools, taxidermy, and snake ID posters. I felt instantly at home, despite the giant alligator and rattlesnake skins spread across a display case.

Rattlesnake rattle on top of an alligator skin.

A retired biology teacher, Miss Tana is the only master hummingbird bander in the state. Such tiny research subjects require a different permit than other birds. Tana has been leading hummingbird banding programs here since 2008. School field trips, civic groups, and now this little group of visitors from the Outdoor Writers Association of America conference in Little Rock, all benefit from her knowledge and skill.

Due to its location along the Mississippi River flyway, Arkansas sees plenty of migratory birds—hence this facility’s start as a duck hunting lodge. Hummingbirds are the smallest avian guests, and some of them stay to breed. Others may just pass through on the way to our feeders in the Northwoods!

Weighing only 3.5 grams—about as much as a nickel—a ruby-throated hummingbird can fly 18-20 hours straight as it crosses the Gulf of Mexico to or from its wintering grounds on the Yucatan Peninsula. Built to power that flight, the tiny bird’s pectoral muscles make up 25% of their bodyweight (compared to 5% in humans.)

On the mainland, those hummingbirds will fly straight to places where they’ve found food before, and peer indignantly into your window if the feeder isn’t full. They have a remarkable memory, enabled by a relatively large brain for their tiny size. Before banding studies were done, scientists guessed that they could only live 3-5 years. Now we know that they can live up to 12 years and return annually to the same feeders.

After the background lecture, Tana situated herself at the banding table, with all of her tools laid out neatly. I saw many similarities between her and Jim Bryce, who bands songbirds with our Master Naturalist course on the Moquah Barrens each spring. Soft-spoken, methodical, gentle, and precise, these two show a special reverence for their subjects and excitement for what birds can teach us.

Miss Tana bands a hummingbird.

With Tana at the ready, Wil Hafner, an AGFC educator, headed out the back door to show us the specially made trap. With trap’s doors open, a swarm of hummers buzzed around three feeders hung inside. When Wil closed the top doors, the hummers flew up to try and escape, and he put his hand in through a lower door to carefully scoop a single bird into a small mesh bag.

Danielle Taylor takes photos while Wil Hafner catches a hummingbird for banding. 

We enjoyed our close-up view of the others as they stuck their heads through the wire mesh that was precisely sized to avoid injury. Going eye-to-eye with a young male, I was thrilled to examine his striated throat up close. Tana had explained that these dark stripes on his white chin are sheaths surrounding what will become iridescent red feathers once he matures. 

After this brief encounter, Wil opened the top of the cage so the parade of hummers could zoom away.

Inside, Tana used a little piece of nylon stocking to swaddle the hummer while she clasped a tiny band on its leg; measured wings, tail, and beak; weighed it; and then checked for fat by blowing on its belly through a drinking straw. As she manipulated the little guy, we gasped in awe as his throat feathers caught the light and turned from black, to purple, to ruby. This was definitely a mature male. So I was confused to see a featherless patch of skin on his belly revealed from Tana’s puffs of air.

It's important that you don't put pressure on a hummingbird's tiny chest when you hold them.

A new bracelet!

Tana makes sure she has bands ready to go. They arrive in a flat sheet. She separates them, closes them around a tapestry needle, and files off rough spots with a nail file.

Measuring wings.

Measuring tail. 

Measuring beak.

Weighing the little guy. Males weigh about as much as a penny, females are closer to a nickel.

Blowing the tummy feathers aside helps banders assess the body condition of birds by looking at fat through their skin. Most male birds do not have a brood patch, but hummingbird males do!

The iridescent throat feathers of a male ruby-throated hummingbird. 

In most birds—like the ones Jim Bryce catches—the females will pull out feathers on their brood patch to allow for the efficient transfer of body heat to their eggs. With their long beaks, though, hummingbirds can’t reach their own bellies. Their brood patch is automatic, and it occurs on both males and females, even though the guys never sit on the nest.

When we recaptured a female who had been banded just 10 days prior, the puff of air revealed the pale lump of an egg developing under her skin. Tana worked more quickly then, not wanting to interrupt this mama’s important business.

This female has an egg developing in her belly!

You can also see the little egg lump showing through the brood patch of this female as she explored the trap.

Each of us students released a banded hummingbird during the program. My mom was tasked with releasing this mom. Outside the classroom, Tana arranged my mom’s hand out flat and then carefully pressed the tiny bird’s warm belly against her skin. Mom’s smile grew as she felt the heat and racing heartbeat. We readied our cameras. Tana let go. Immediately, the tiny jewel zoomed off in a shimmer of green, leaving my mom grinning with delight.

For as long as I can remember, we’ve had a hummingbird feeder near the kitchen window so that Mom (and all of us) could enjoy the antics of her favorite birds. They are fun to watch, of course, but there is nothing quite like actually having a bird in your hand.

My dad releasing a hummingbird.

Danielle releasing a hummingbird.

Ashley releasing a hummingbird.

Emily’s second book, Natural Connections: Dreaming of an Elfin Skimmer, is now available to purchase at www.cablemuseum.org/books and will soon be available at your local independent bookstore, too.

For more than 50 years, the Cable Natural History Museum has served to connect you to the Northwoods. Come visit us in Cable, WI! Our new Curiosity Center kids’ exhibit and Pollinator Power annual exhibit are now open!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Paddling through a Forest

The ripples from my kayak set the trees to wiggling among the lily pads. Already Dr. Seuss-worthy, the conifers looked even more whimsical when viewed as reflections on the twinkling surface of the Little Maumelle River. With a few quick paddle strokes, I slid right through the yellow water lily leaves and was soon bobbing eye-to-trunk with the buttressed base, striated bark, and feathery green needles of a bald cypress tree.

In an airy grove, tall trees with graceful boles, gnarled branches in various stages of death, and tufty caps of grass-green needles rose from the water. If we were in prairie country, we might stroll beneath the lacy canopy and call this a savannah or woodland. When the stroll becomes a float, the forest becomes a swamp.

My parents enjoy canoeing just about anywhere.

My parents and a Vermonter named Gary Moore slid their canoe and kayak into the water a few minutes later. We’d all come to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s annual conference and were drawn to this pre-conference trip by the promise of an exotic experience by a familiar mode of travel. For locals, the Little Maumelle River Water Trail’s 8.2 miles of calm waters that flow imperceptibly toward the Arkansas River offer relaxing solitude surprisingly near the city.

Part of the water trail flows through The Nature Conservancy’s William Kirsch Preserve at Ranch Northwoods—an area that was slated for development until the owner realized that floods would be a constant headache. On route to the landing, Randy Zellers, of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), drove us through brown fields that had were still dotted with mud chimneys built by crawdads.

When Kirsten Bartlow and Jeff Williams, both also with the AGFC, took over as our guides on the water, they continued to point out signs of recent high water. The 500-year-flood had been brought on by heavy rains and emergency dam releases in Oklahoma.

Being from Iowa, my parents and I are no strangers to the effects of frequent floods. Our local Turkey River jumps its banks almost every year. We’ve even paddled through forests before—in the backwaters of the Mississippi River. The dusty high-water marks on tree bark and sad, brown colors of drown vegetation barely registered; we were captivated by those trees.

Bald cypress trees are native to the southeastern United States. As we floated in the shady spaces between their stately trunks, Kirsten explained that this even-aged stand is typical of a forest that all germinated during the same, rare season of perfect conditions; counterintuitively, that means a drought. Their seeds must germinate on top of soggy but not flooded soils, and then shoot up quickly enough to keep their heads above floodwaters during the growing season. They have enough cold tolerance to grow farther north, but the trees struggle to reproduce where ice cover damages the tender saplings.

As with other trees that frequent saturated soils, bald cypress trees flute out at the base in stabilizing buttresses. When hiking up north, I look for black ash trees with this same growth form in order to spot ephemeral ponds even when they are mostly dry. Cypress trees grow one step further, though. Their root systems send projections upward, where they poke through the water’s surface like cartoonish wooden fingers called cypress knees. Once thought to be a sort of breathing tube, the current evidence leans more toward additional structural support. Since the trees regularly remain upright through hurricanes, this explanation seems logical to me.

Similar to the bonsaied canopies of older white pines, most of the cypress trees had a few puffy clouds of live needles punctuated by elegantly weathered branches jutting out at artistic angles. Woodpecker holes, giant cavities, and hollowed trunks added even more character and wildlife value. We spotted flycatchers, kingfishers, mockingbirds, herons, magnolia warblers and prothonotary warblers making themselves at home. I was surprised, actually, at how many things felt familiar to me, even though the ecosystem was new. (You might hear more about them in the future.)

Jeff Williams of the AGFC relaxes while we do some birdwatching.  

The day warmed toward an excessive heat warning and the humidity became oppressive, so we turned back to the landing. A low branch, its needles likely suffocated by the flood, glowed a rich shade of rusty brown. “That’s what they all look like in the fall,” explained Kirsten, “right before they lose their needles.” I paused in mid-stroke, baffled.

Those brown needles are a sign of what's to come--brown and then bare across the whole swamp in October!
Ever since I took my first class on woody plants, I’ve been saying that tamaracks are the only deciduous conifers. They have cones like pines, but lose their leaves like maples. Dawn redwoods—native to China—also have that unusual combination of traits. As it turns out, bald cypress is so named because they stand bare from October through March, and regrow their needles in spring. With my penchant for looking north, I didn’t realize that I needed to add “in the Northwoods” to my declaration about tamaracks. Now I will.

After pulling my kayak onshore, I straightened up to gaze back out across the swamp. Those delightful trees still sent their reflections wiggling among the water lilies. They also wiggled into my heart, and snuck in between some of my preconceived notions. As is often the case, what I’d expected to be an exotic experience had plenty in common with home.

Emily’s second book, Natural Connections: Dreaming of an Elfin Skimmer, is now available to purchase at www.cablemuseum.org/books and will soon be available at your local independent bookstore, too.

For more than 50 years, the Cable Natural History Museum has served to connect you to the Northwoods. Come visit us in Cable, WI! Our new Curiosity Center kids’ exhibit and Pollinator Power annual exhibit are now open!