Too Many Sweets on Halloween?

I did a little research for this month’s topic of making a sustainable Halloween and I was absolutely shocked at how much candy each kid eats on that day. According to the National Retail Federation, kids will eat around 7,000 calories worth of candy on Halloween! That’s 3.4 pounds per kid of sugary, fatty, chocolatey, delicious candy.

candycorn

Delicious, delicious candy corn will not make ANY healthy Halloween treats list. – Photo Credit Atlanta Daily Herald

Is this a problem? Well, the National Health and Nutrition Examination say that kids up to the age of 10 ingest on average 2,000 calories per day. That’s a factor of almost 4 that Halloween cranks up the kids.

So, how do we change this? Is it worth changing? Many say that Halloween is only one day and letting your children enjoy their sugary haul is a time-honored tradition and I will be the first to say that Halloween candy tastes better than any other candy on any other day, but is it worth it?

Continue reading

Nature Notes: Busy Beavers

Last week, we took a look at how squirrels are tirelessly preparing for winter by collecting and stashing food away for the harsh season. This week, we’re focusing on another MN native that caches food for winter – the beavers! They are the largest rodent in North America. While most adults weigh-in at about 45 pounds, beavers can weigh over 70 pounds! Historically, beaver fur has been important economically (trading), which led to beavers being introduced in other regions of the world.  A few years back I traveled to Teirra del Fuego, Chile at the southern tip of the Americas. Beavers were introduced to this region of Patagonia in the mid-20th century in hopes of increasing economic prosperity. However, beavers have no natural predators in Tierra del Fuego and have run rampant ever since, causing millions of dollars in damage to the ecosystem. There is now a widespread campaign to eradicate this nonnative species in this region of Chile. In Minnesota, beavers are not only a native species, but also a keystone species, meaning they play a very important role in their ecosystem as timber harvester, architect, and engineer! Here habitat modification by beavers creates aquatic habitats for many other animals, helps prevent flooding and erosion, and aids in filtering and cleaning water. (Note: Click on a photo to enlarge.)

Continue reading

Top 7 Environmental Horror Movies

thehostavclub

The film “The Host” by Bong Joon-ho is a fantastic take on the monster movie. Photo Credit AV Club

My wife has a cousin that really gets into the Halloween spirit. Every October, she and her husband will watch a scary movie every day up until the spooky day. Apparently, it’s been a tradition for years, a tradition that I would very much enjoy getting in on, to be honest. So, I thought I’d help out by putting together a list of horror movies that show how much I know about the genre. I’m so into horror films, that I can put together a list that focuses on the monster/enemy/scary thing is not a slasher or ghost, but instead is the environment or nature. So, without further ado, here’s the list:

Continue reading

Nature Notes: Fall Feeding Frenzy

This month is known as Binaakwii-giizis, or “Leaves Changing Color Moon”, to the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe. The beautiful weather over the first couple days of October made for some breath-taking scenery of brilliant yellows against a bright blue sky and dark blue waters.  Soon the yellow of our aspens will be replaced by the golden shimmer of our tamaracks. Enjoy the view now, for by the end of the month, we’ll be greeting the barren landscape of winter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The animals that remain in our cold environment for winter are busy preparing for the season. Throughout the next month, we’ll focus on three animals that uniquely prepare for winter: squirrels, beavers, and winter birds.  We’ll kick off our fall feeding frenzy by taking a look at how squirrels are preparing for the season ahead. Continue reading