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Federation launches Wildlife Nation

Watching a pair of blue jays frolic in a bird bath, sitting on a park bench observing squirrels chase each other around a giant oak tree, gardening in your backyard, planting a tree, fishing along a misty river, seeing turtles sunbathe on a log in a local lake, counting stars by a dying camp fire in a state park — people who love the outdoors and wildlife are invited to check out a new online community called Wildlife Nation that the National Wildlife Federation is launching.

The goal is connecting people with each other in order to instill a love of wildlife in children. You can visit Wildlife Nation at www.wildlifenation.org

“My favorite memories as a kid involve the outdoors, but children today are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and wildlife,” said Becky Lentz, director of Great Lakes programs and operations at the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office. “We started Wildlife Nation because we can’t imagine a world where nature and wildlife are not a part of kids’ lives. Our goal is to create a community where we all help each other so that kids today can enjoy the wonders of wildlife whether they live in a large city, a suburb, or rural community.”

Wildlife Nation aims to attract people who enjoy doing things outside or who want to get outside more — and to connect them to other like-minded people to create a network of people who can help each other connect kids to nature. People who join the community can upload pictures, tell stories, and ask questions. Once there, people can find resources to create a habitat in their backyard, plant trees, or camp and fish.

“We view Wildlife Nation as a kind of ‘niche Facebook’ for adults who care about wildlife and want to pass that sense of caring on to the kids in their lives — whether those are their own kids, grandkids, or the kids at their school, church or down the block,” said Julia Liljegren, regional education manager. “The Wildlife Nation community is online and on-the-ground so teams of one or more adults do stuff outside with kids and then connect with others to share what they are doing online. People can do as much or as little as they want, how and when they want to do it. Whether you’re the type of person who likes to take a leisurely stroll around the block or hike the Appalachian Trail, you’re welcome to be part of Wildlife Nation.”

People and organizations can join Wildlife Nation. There are 16 founding teams representing the states of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia and Vermont, all of which are participating in the launch of the social media platform. Founding teams include families, schools, corporations, organizations and state agencies.

Sierra Club to host hydrology program

The Sierra Club will host a program on “Flooding in the 21st Century” at its Feb. 13 meeting.

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The talk will discuss issues and challenges to world rivers and human populations along those rivers in the 21st century.

Nicholas Pinter, a professor in SIU’s Geology Department and Environmental Resources and Policy Program, will be the featured speaker.. Much of his recent work focuses on rivers, flood plains, and watersheds

The program begins at 7 p.m. at 217 East Main Street in Carbondale. It is free and open to the public.

Maple syrup workshop Saturday

Have you ever wanted to tap into that large sugar maple in your backyard and make maple syrup? Then this workshop, sponsored by the Sierra Club, on February 1 is for you.

Two workshops, one at 10 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m., will be held at the City of Carbondale’s Cedar Lake Shop.

Dress for the weather! Most, if not all, of the program will held be outside.

Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, call John Wallace at 618-549-8441.

— The Southern

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