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Category Archives: Froggy Foibles

Froggy Foibles

These Canadian species are found nowhere else on Earth

By Emily Chung
CBC News
June 4, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada

What species are more Canadian than moose or beavers? We now have an answer. A new report has catalogued 308 species, sub-species and varieties of plants and animals found in Canada — and nowhere else on the planet. They include mammals such as the eastern wolf, Vancouver Island marmot, wood bison and Peary caribou; birds such as the Pacific Steller’s jay; and fish such as the Banff longnose dace, Atlantic whitefish and Vancouver lamprey. But 80 per cent of them are plants and insects — ones you probably haven’t heard of, like the Maritime ringlet butterfly and the Yukon goldenweed. …B.C., Quebec, Alberta and Yukon had the highest numbers of endemic plants and animals.

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Behold the star-tipped reindeer — Canadians’ top pick for a national lichen

CBC News
May 26, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada

Canadians have voted on a national lichen, and they picked a spiky white caribou snack that looks like “little mounds of cauliflower.” The star-tipped reindeer won the Canadian Museum of Nature’s nationwide online contest with 27 per cent of 18,075 votes cast. “Canada has spoken,” Troy McMullin, the museum’s lichenologist, told As It Happens host Carol Off. “It’s a great choice, largely because it’s easy to identify and it’s a spectacular species that grows mostly in the boreal and Arctic regions that dominate our country.” The museum launched a contest in February for Canadians to choose a national lichen in an effort to boost the profile of the more than 2,500 species that carpet the country. …Still, the star-tipped reindeer isn’t yet Canada’s official national lichen. Only Parliament can declare it so. 

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A special announcement from Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada
April 1, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada

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The Enchanted Forest will open for the season in a few weeks

By Megan Trudeau
Kamloops BC Now
June 10, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Enchanted Forest located west of Revelstoke is set to reopen for the season on June 26. The tourist attraction will be opening with COVID-19 protocols in place, as all reopening businesses are. …The attraction boasts a 50 foot treehouse, the largest one in the province. It also features 350 handcrafted fairy tale figurines and structures all hidden within gorgeous, old growth forest. The grounds include a two-kilometre boardwalk through the forest where visitors can learn more about the trees, plants, herbs and the giant 800-year-old cedar grove found there.

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British Columbia bear takes a nap in eagle tree

The Red Deer Advocate
June 4, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

A small black bear spent the night in a treetop – and had a long sleep in Sunday morning. Terry Ruth Eissfeldt and her husband Terrence were in their Hyde Creek home, an east-Vancouver Island spot overlooking the Broughton Archipelago, Saturday evening when Terrence noticed a kerfuffle in a nearby tree. The young bruin was eating something at the top of what the Eissfeldts call the eagle tree – which is frequented by eagles, but there isn’t an active nest there this year, Terry said.

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Living near more trees can feel as good as a $10,000 raise

By Brendan Shykora
Pentiction Western News
May 21, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

Living close to nature has long been considered a boon for mental health, but it takes a special kind of researcher to ask what dollar value can be put on the feeling of being surrounded by foliage. In 2015, researchers at the University of Chicago sought to quantify the benefits of green spaces, and after analyzing data sets from the City of Toronto, they found that having 10 or more trees on a city block does the same for a person’s sense of health and well-being as getting a $10,200 raise, or being seven years younger. A tree-filled street may not make you feel like a million bucks, but $10,000 is nothing to sneeze at!

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Mysterious ‘face’ found in B.C. cliff near logging operation

By Gord Kurbis
CTV News
March 28, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

PORT ALBERNI — A Port Alberni man is wondering if a recent logging operation on B.C.’s Central Coast has uncovered a giant face carved into a rock sheer.  Fred Thompson was driving a logging truck near Jennis Bay for a Powell River based company. He says the company has cleared a cut block and uncovered what appears to be a giant face.  Thompson says it reminds him of the faces seen on Easter Island.  “I think it’s too perfect to be natural. The nose is perfectly vertical to the earth and the eyebrows are 90 degrees to that,” Thompson told CTV News.  “You could probably put a square on it and you’d probably find it was damn close to square.”  Thompson says he was parked beside it in his truck for nine loads of logs and kept looking at the face wondering how it got there. 

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Thief steals lumber and truck trailer, worth $60,000

By Craig Takeuchi
The Georgia Straight
March 9, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

SURREY, BC — Last week, a thief in Surrey allegedly made off with a truck trailer and large lumber cargo worth thousands of dollars. …The storage container was carrying $20,000 worth of J-grade KD-HT lumber. Over 2,700 pieces of lumber covered in West Fraser Mills wrapping paper were stolen. The total amount of property stolen is worth $60,000. …The stolen trailer has the B.C. license plate D8795P with the number 234 on it, and also had Canadian Tire mud flaps. Security footage from the business depicts a suspect hooking up the trailer to the cab of a semi-truck and driving away from the property.

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Tree Frog News completes move to bigger server

Tree Frog Forestry News
January 10, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

Your Tree Frog Editors had big happy smiles on their faces yesterday as we announced that our site transition to a bigger server was finally completed. An increasing number of readers and a massive archive of forest stories (60,000+) needed a bigger home. We are grateful for your support and patience while we made the move (we had hoped to have it completed over the holiday break). Next up – we plan to reconfigure our site to better serve YOU! Stay tuned for updates. We’ll be reaching out to readers for input, meanwhile, if you have suggestions please don’t hesitate to connect with us. 

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Wolf conservation project looking for a few ‘poop fairies’

CBC News
October 27, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

Have you ever thought of being a “poop fairy”? Workers at Pacific Rim National Park are hoping a few locals will step up to help them collect wolf scat as part of a wider study to understand the diet, ancestry and kinship of the local wolf population. …Todd Windle, the project manager with the Wild About Wolves project, says there is a lot of information to be gleaned from wolf scat, but because the wolves travel over long distances and move over a large area, it’s hard for the park reserve staff to collect it. Windle says anyone who is already out and about on the beaches, trails and logging roads in the reserve could be mobilized to collect the scat. …”And once you once you know what to look for, it’s actually quite a bit easier than you think,” he said. 

 

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“This is for all the mill workers, loggers, logging truck drivers, and everyone in the forestry industry,” said Garcia

By Dara Hill
The Merritt Herald
October 1, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

When Bobby Garcia heard the story of longtime Merritt mill worker Pat Cullen, he knew there was a song waiting to be sung. Cullen dedicated over four decades to pulling, sorting, cutting and counting lumber at the Tolko mill in Merritt — never once taking a sick day. …“I read that article and it inspired me to write a song. So I went and recorded it in Kelowna and then it got sent to and cut in Nashville,” said Garcia. …But when Garcia found out that a group of over 200 logging professionals were driving to Vancouver as part of a protest convoy in September, he decided to share Born to Work with the wider community. …“This is for all the mill workers, loggers, logging truck drivers, and everyone in the forestry industry,” said Garcia

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Growing Victoria organic backyard business sells wood dust to kill fruit flies

By David Garrigg
Vancouver Sun
September 22, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Victoria startup has created an organic dust that kills fruit flies — while saving the worms — in compost bins. At one time, BinBreeze director Taylor McCarten said he was working on the idea of a perfect green bin as part of his Masters in Business Administration studies at UVic. …However, as he got closer to completing the degree, McCarten started to look beyond the bin. “…we came up with the idea that maybe we should put something in the bins, rather than trying to create the perfect bin. Because the science showed there’s no such thing as the perfect green bin.” …What they came up with was 50 per cent untreated Douglas fir wood waste, plus some zeolite from Kelowna (the world’s most porous rock), some inert dirt with silicate from Nevada and other ingredients that aren’t widely known as the company prepares to get legal protection for the product.

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Seeing faces in trees correlates to creativity, and cognitive scientists are taking interest

By Joseph Brean
The National Post
February 28, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada East, Canada

There are moments in the history of science that become fables about sudden insight, simple storybook scenes, like Archimedes in the bath, Newton under the apple tree or Einstein in the patent office. Cognitive psychology has the makings of another one in the hobby photography of Ronald Senack, 63, who walks the woods of eastern Ontario, collecting evidence for the wild truth that human minds project into the natural world. …Jessica Taubert, for example, a scientist at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, is interested in the importance of exaggerated expressions, why illusory faces tend to be expressing intense emotion. Catherine Mondloch of Brock University in Ontario, studies normal face perception, recognition of individual faces, and how it changes across the human lifespan. Other researchers are using Senack’s images to test and explain the propensity to facial pareidolia in people with dementia, motor neuron disease and schizophrenia.

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Sing along to the ’12 Days of Traffic’

By Doug Hemstead
CBC Ottawa – Traffic Specialist
December 20, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada East, Canada

All of these ‘gifts’ actually happened in 2019…

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my commute gave to me 
A drum set for drumming
An actual kitchen sink
A small bear running
Pink insulation
A fist fight on the Parkway
Seven extension ladders
Six geese a-crossing
Five copper pipes
Four Muskoka chairs
Three kinds of dogs
Two blue tarps 
and some lumber that used to be trees.

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Tree frogs create auditory illusion to find mate without being eaten

Down to Earth.org
May 10, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

New research by Purdue University has found that treefrogs create an ‘auditory illusion’ to protect themselves while trying to find a mate. The frogs become easy targets for predators and parasites when they send mating calls. But they have found out this unique way to protect themselves. Male treefrogs essentially overlap their mating calls with those of their neighbours. When this happens, an auditory illusion takes place and predators are more attracted to the leading call, leaving other frogs to find mates without risking their lives, according to the research. This is called the ‘Precedence Effect’… When we hear two short sounds in quick succession, we assume the sound is coming from the source of the first one.

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‘Easter Trees’ Bring Joy to Many Homes Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

By Tarrah Gibbons
Radio.com
April 9, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

If you’re the kind of person who hates taking down their Christmas tree, you may want to take part in a new fad flooding the ‘gram. People all across Instagram are posting pictures of their Easter trees. The hashtag #eastertree has more than 500 posts. Sam Riccioli, an interior designer from Pennsylvania, thinks these trees will bring joy to people throughout spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Christmas tree brings so much happiness to me, my husband and children that I decided to keep it up all year round and decorate it for every holiday,” she said.

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What Misinformation Has to Do With Toilet Paper

By Brian Gersten
The Atlantic
March 19, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

It started with an unsubstantiated rumor. “You can laugh now,” Johnny Carson said on The Tonight Show on December 19, 1973, “but there is an acute shortage of toilet paper.” There wasn’t—but it didn’t matter. The broadcast sent America into a mass panic. Millions of shoppers swarmed into grocery stores and began hoarding toilet paper. Ex nihilo, a shortage was born. The Scott Paper Company urged people to stop panic-buying the product. Nevertheless, for four months, toilet paper—absent from shelves—was bartered for, traded, and even sold on the black market. …You don’t have to look far to find parallels between 1973 and today. Just days after the first case of the coronavirus was identified stateside, Americans started stockpiling toilet paper, despite the fact that most stores had it in stock. 

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Toilet paper takes center stage amid coronavirus outbreak. Be thankful we no longer use corn cobs and rope ends.

By Michael E. Ruane
The Washington Post
March 18, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

In olden times, sailors used the frayed end of a rope dipped in salt water. Rural folk, legend says, once used corn cobs hung in outhouses. Stones, moss, currency, newspapers, catalogues served until, by most accounts, a New York City inventor named Joseph C. Gayetty came up with the first commercial toilet paper around 1857. It was “Gayetty’s Medicated Paper.” Made of hemp, it had the inventor’s name proudly watermarked on each sheet. Now the novel coronavirus and consumer panic-buying have prompted a look back at the history of toilet paper and its predecessors. …Four medicines blended with the paper pulp “render it a sure cure and preventive of piles,” the ads stated. “All other paper is poisonous,” Gayetty asserted. …Another welcome development was the creation of “splinter free toilet paper.” In the early 1900s, Wisconsin’s Northern Paper Mills reportedly boasted of its super-refined toilet paper, which was free of minute wood pulp splinters left over from the papermaking process.

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From bird-friendly coffee to rainforest-saving chocolate, here are 7 holiday gifts that give back

By Amy Chillag CNN
The Missoulian
December 3, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

In 2019, Impact Your World told you about dozens of people and nonprofits making a difference. …North America has lost nearly a third of its bird population since 1970, mainly due to habitat loss. You can find a bird-friendly coffee brand here. The Amazon rainforest — the largest rainforest in the world — is under threat of collapse. …You can buy chocolate grown from sustainably produced cacao, look for the frog icon that says “Rainforest Alliance Certified”. …Or why not buy a tree for your friend? You can by becoming a member of the Arbor Day Foundation.

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The environmental toll of cremating the dead

By Becky Little
National Geographic
November 5, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States

Over the past four years, cremations have surpassed burials as the most popular end-of-life option in the United States. …Cremation—along with these creative ways to honor the dead—is often marketed as a more environmentally friendly option than traditional embalmment and casket burial. …But while it’s true that cremation is less harmful than pumping a body full of formaldehyde and burying it on top of concrete, there are still environmental effects to consider. Cremation requires a lot of fuel, and it results in millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year—enough that some environmentalists are trying to rethink the process. …This year, Washington State became the first in the U.S. to legalize a type of corpse composting called natural organic reduction, or recomposition. 

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Legion of lumberjacks: Celebrate National Paul Bunyan Day around the state

By Bria Barton
The Bemidji Pioneer
June 27, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

BEMIDJI — It’s pretty obvious that Minnesotans can’t get enough of Paul Bunyan. Our love and pride for the over-sized, burly lumberjack is apparent in towering statues found along roadsides and in the businesses, trails and byways that bear his iconic name. Across America and Canada, the folk hero’s renown is as large as he was. … the most popular detail of his tall tale recalls the legend that Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes were created by his footprints — as well as those belonging to his trusty sidekick Babe the Blue Ox — which filled with water as they explored the state. Nowadays, the height of logging days may well be over, but the legend of the colossal lumberjack lives on each year, particularly on June 28, which is National Paul Bunyan Day.

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Move over Smokey says a moose with no name (yet)

The Juneau Empire
June 24, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

There’s a new face for a statewide fire-prevention campaign, but that face —a cartoon moose — doesn’t yet have a name. The Division of Forestry is holding a contest to name the new “Take Time to Learn Before You Burn” moose, DNR announced Tuesday. The Legislature in 2018 passed a bill that updated the penalties for burning offense committed on state, municipal and privately owned land. The statutes took effect last June, and DOF developed the campaign to target the division’s goal to reduce human-caused fires by 10% annually, according to a news release from DNR. …A winner will be announced Oct. 1.

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Why we knock on wood

By Rosemary Hathaway
The Washington Post
January 30, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

Ever said something like, “I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket” – and then quickly, for luck, rapped your knuckles on a wooden table or doorframe? Americans accompany this action by saying, “Knock on wood.” In Great Britain, it’s “Touch wood.” They knock on wood in Turkey, too. …The answer is complicated. The common explanation for knocking on wood claims the ritual is a holdover from Europe’s pagan days, an appeal to tree-dwelling spirits to ward off bad luck or an expression of gratitude for good fortune. …Furthermore, the theory goes, Christian reformers in Europe may have deliberately transformed this heathenish belief into a more acceptable Christian one by introducing the idea that the “wood” in “knock on wood” referred to the wood of the cross of Jesus’ crucifixion. …Today, knocking on wood may seem trivial, but it is one small way people quell their fears in a life full of anxieties.

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Only You… can design my bumper sticker

The Suwannee Democrat
June 24, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

LAKE CITY — Anybody can design a new Smokey Bear bumper sticker. The Florida Forest Service is hosting a bumper sticker design contest through Sept. 30 featuring Smokey Bear, urging artists to use their skills to send a message to their community about preventing devastating wildfires. The winning bumper sticker, along with the top 90 submissions, will be used as a collage in a Florida Forest Service calendar. The calendar will also include information about wildfire prevention week, special individual wildfire days, and Smokey Bear’s birthday.

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Ever Wonder Series: Why do the Celtics have a parquet floor?

NBC Sports
May 27, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

The Boston Celtics play their home games sandwiched by history with the 17 championship banners that hang above and the fabled parquet floor beneath. Ever wonder how the Celtics ended up with such a unique court design? The parquet look was the product of a lumber shortage as the Celtics prepared to debut in the Basketball Association of America in 1946. In the aftermath of World World II, many common items were in short supply, including professionally cut wood. Most manufactured wood had been earmarked for residential housing as servicemen returned home. To attract players and fans they needed a good quality floor. The only way they could do that was getting scraps of wood at lumber yards throughout Boston and put together a floor. The court was constructed for $11,000 using surplus scraps of northern Tennessee red oak. The pieces were laid out in alternating pattern, creating the parquet effect. The Celtics utilized that same floor for 53 years…

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The end of the innocence

By Dante Bellini Jr.
The Providence Journal
May 12, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

“Social distancing” has become the standard. Here in Rhode Island, gatherings of more than five are a violation as prescribed by medical and political leaders. And, like “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” a “Twilight Zone” episode from 60 years ago, your neighbors may even turn on you — in this case if you refuse to wear a mask. While there remains a great deal we don’t know about the immediate or long-term future, what we should probably prepare ourselves for is this — that we will think in terms of “Before Times and After Times.” It seems highly unlikely, however, that we’ll just emerge from our comfortable cocoons of toilet paper, disinfectants, sweats, Netflix and PJs to return to a busy life of meetings, travel, handshakes, kisses and hugs.

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Man builds “lumber jacked” gym after he is forced to stay home

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
April 7, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States
CINCINNATI – After Zachary Skidmore was forced to stay at home and away from his usual gym, he took matters into his own hands. He built a gym in his backyard. And he built it from lumber.  The “lumber jacked gym” features a treadmill, leg press, shoulder press, dumbbells, and more. Skidmore built the gym using a chainsaw over a two-week period. He estimates it took around 60 hours.  “So my gym closed. So, I grabbed a chain saw and went to work,” Skidmore wrote on Facebook. “I managed to satisfy my hunger to work out.”

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Deputies find 18,000 pounds of toilet paper in stolen tractor-trailer truck in North Carolina

Greenwich Time
March 19, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

Deputies …discovered 18,000 pounds of toilet paper in a stolen tractor-trailer truck during a traffic stop Wednesday. Sheriff Danny Rogers said deputies initiated a traffic investigation involving the 18-wheeler …after a motor vehicle law violation. Investigators said they followed the vehicle to a warehouse/dock facility a short distance off of the interstate and encountered the driver. Deputies determined the … trailer was reported stolen locally and was being utilized to transport nearly 18,000 pounds of commercial bathroom paper products. …As the coronavirus outbreak spreads in North Carolina and the United States, toilet paper has become the ultimate symbol of panic buying in grocery stores and supermarkets. Georgia-Pacific, the maker of Angel Soft and Quilted Northern toilet paper, said that last week, some orders from retailers nearly doubled. The company managed to ship out 20% more than its normal capacity.

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Lumber and Lace Fashion Show

By Kelly Humphrey
Pine and Lakes Echo Journal
October 12, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

The Lumber and Lace event presents designs both inspired by and using materials from the building industry. Organizers described the event as an “abstract fashion show dedicated to the local building industry, showcasing the creativity and resourcefulness of our industry professionals while raising funds and awareness for local causes.” All money raised at the Mid-Minnesota Builders Association event goes to the Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity and Tools for Schools program. The event included voting by surprise guest judges. More than 30 member businesses participated in the first Lumber and Lace with nearly 200 people attending. The public event is open to all designers, MMBA members, non-members and nonprofits.

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Smokey Bear sketches find a home in the Falls

By Hannah Olson
The International Falls Journal
August 29, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

On Oct. 13, 1954, the day the beloved statue of Smokey Bear was erected in International Falls, Christine Anderson…and her brother sat posed together with their mother, at the concrete base of the newly installed statue, which was designed by their father, Norman Anderson. Nearly 65 years later, the siblings once again sat together at the base of Smokey Bear. The Anderson siblings were back in the Falls this week, after making the trek to Koochiching County Museums to deliver original sketches made by their father for the construction of the Smokey Bear statue. The drawings and photographs were rediscovered after their mother, Ardys Anderson, died last August. …Smokey Bear himself has held up over the years but was victim to fire damage in the 1970s, when local vandals lit his rear-end on fire.

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Icelandic Forest Service Recommends Hugging Trees Since You Can’t Hug People

By Trevor Nace
Forbes Magazine
April 14, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Geoff Henley

Feeling the Coronavirus blues? Forest rangers in Iceland are working to clear roads and paths leading up to trees for people to hug as an alternative to hugging friends and family. On the eastern side of Iceland park rangers for the Hallormsstaður National Forest have come up with an interesting way to cope with social isolation, to hug trees. Representatives from the National Forest have encouraged Icelanders to take a walk outside and find a nice tree to hug to start their day off right. …Coronavirus can live on wood up to 4 days, which means you shouldn’t go hugging trees that someone else has hugged recently. While the premise of going out to hug trees sounds pretty silly, research shows that living near a forest makes people happier and increased connectivity with other living things (plants and animals) reduces stress and increases happiness. 

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Long-lost bunker belonging to ‘Churchill’s secret army’ discovered in Scottish forest

By Brandon Specktor
Live Science
March 10, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Forestry workers were felling trees in southern Scotland when they noticed something peculiar among the roots and bracken: An iron door. It turns out the team had accidentally discovered a lost WWII-era bunker, built to house one of Great Britain’s most secretive — and suicidal — military forces. Known as the Auxiliary Units (or sometimes “Churchill’s secret army”), the force was a corps of volunteers similar to Britain’s Home Guard, charged with defending the country in the event of a Nazi German invasion. Unlike the Home Guard, however, the Auxiliary Units were a guerilla warfare brigade shrouded in secrecy. …The locations of these bunkers were such fiercely guarded secrets that many of them still remain undiscovered today.

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Australian toilet paper truck catches fire sparking new tissue tizzy

By Byron Kaye
Reuters
March 4, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

AUSTRALIA — A delivery truck carrying toilet paper has burst into flames in the Australian city of Brisbane, ratcheting up a sense of panic about the availability of the product generated by the coronavirus outbreak. Shoppers have swept the shelves clean of toilet paper all week and supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles have had to limit the amount people can buy. The government has urged people not to stockpile it and tried to calm consumers worries. …The driver escaped without injury and the cargo, including toilet paper, was also largely unaffected. …Some media have taken the opportunity to poke fun at the toilet paper panic. The NT News, a newspaper known for its tongue-in-cheek antics, published eight blank pages in the middle of its Thursday edition saying it was giving readers what they needed.

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Blarney Witch’s Yew in the running for Tree of the Year crown

By Bill Browne
The Corkman
February 8, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

CORK, Ireland — It has captured the minds and imaginations of generations who have wandered through the grounds of Blarney Castle. Now, having last August won the 2019 Irish Tree of the Year title, the ancient and imposing ‘Witch’s Yew’ in the Mythical Rock Close on the Castle grounds is now vying to win the prestigious European Tree of the Year crown. The Yew Tree, which has been estimated by experts to be more than 600 years old, sits on top of a natural limestone outcrop that houses the Witch’s Kitchen. …According to legend, the area is the home of the Blarney Witch, who first told mortals about the Blarney’s Stone’s magical powers. …In what may be considered a lucky omen for Ireland, the winner will be announced on St Patrick’s Day. 

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These Researchers Want You to Live In a Fungus Megastructure

By Dan Robitzski
Futurism
January 17, 2020
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Imagine that you roll out of bed onto a living fungus floor. The walls and ceiling — heck, the whole apartment building, down to the plumbing and electrical systems — are made of fungus too. Wood and concrete are remnants of the distant past; this entire city, from the schools to the stores to the hospitals, is made of living fungus — constantly growing, dying off and regenerating itself. That’s the vision laid out in a provocative new paper, which a team of European academics say is the first-ever exploration of living fungus’ potential as a raw material for futuristic, eco-friendly “monolithic structures” that would, in their telling, revolutionize the entire built environment and economy. “We propose to develop a structural substrate by using live fungal mycelium,” reads the paper. “Fungal buildings will self-grow, build, and repair themselves.” The idea is a response to the prospect of catastrophic climate change.

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Long-distance timber trade underpinned the Roman Empire’s construction

By Public Library of Science
Phys.org
December 4, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

The ancient Romans relied on long-distance timber trading to construct their empire. …In this study, Bernabei et al successfully date and determine the origin and chronology of unusually well-preserved ancient Roman timber samples. …Based on the sapwood present in 8 of the thirteen samples, the authors were able to narrow the date these oaks were felled to between 40 and 60 CE. …”This study shows that in Roman times, wood from the near-natural woodlands of north-eastern France was used for construction purposes in the centre of Rome. Considering the distance, calculated to be over 1700km, the timber sizes, the means of transportation with all the possible obstacles along the way, our research emphasises the importance of wood for the Romans and the powerful logistic organisation of the Roman society.”

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Alaska Highway’s 8-metre-high lumberjack landmark felled by flames

By Dominika Lirette
CBC News
October 30, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

A landmark statue has burned to the ground around the Mile 62 mark on the Alaska Highway in northern B.C. The enormous fibreglass lumberjack that used to stand just outside of the former Clarke Sawmill, about 25 kilometres north of Fort St. John, went up in flames late Sunday night, said Debbie Lee Clarke, whose father bought the statue in the late 1970s. …No one knows for certain what caused the fire, but Clarke thinks someone may have shot fireworks or a flare gun at the lumberjack. … For those outside of the Clarke household, the statue was a landmark that signalled how far people were from Fort St. John.

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This Old Tree Is ‘Eating’ an Iron Bench in Ireland

By Genevieve Scarano
Geek
October 2, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

A London Plane tree located on the grounds of Ireland’s oldest law school has a big appetite. The tree, which is near The Honorable Society of King’s Inns, appears to be “devouring” an iron bench over time, Fox News reported. According to the Tree Council of Ireland, the tree is 69 feet tall and 11.4 feet wide. It was one of many trees that were planted in the city in the 1800s and two years ago, the council declared it a “heritage tree.” …In 2017, Dublin city councillors passed a motion that called for the protection of the old tree and iron bench, The Irish Times noted. …It’s uncertain how long the tree will be “chowing down” on the iron bench, but there’s still time to see this strange, yet beautiful sight in Dublin.

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A Hymn to Notre-Dame

By Ken Follett, Author
The Smithsonian Magazine
September 18, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

On September 1, 1830, the 28-year-old poet Victor Hugo sat down to write Chapter 1 of a book called Notre-Dame de Paris. …It got poor reviews but the public loved it, and it was quickly translated into other languages. The English edition was called The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. And Hugo became world famous. …Nearly 200 years later, on April 15, 2019… Notre-Dame was on fire. I understood what was burning and how the fire was gathering force. …I had, in doing research for The Pillars of the Earth, my novel about the building of a fictional medieval cathedral. A key scene in Chapter 4 describes the old cathedral of Kingsbridge burning down, and I had asked myself: Exactly how does a great stone church catch fire? …Excerpt from Notre-Dame by Ken Follett, to be published on October 29, 2019.

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Adrian Raeside on the environment

By Dave Obee
The Times-Colonist
November 17, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles

There is nothing funny about environmental concerns, so it might seem odd that over the past 40 years, one of our most outspoken advocates for sustainability has been cartoonist Adrian Raeside. …Raeside’s work first appeared in the Daily Colonist in 1979. …Through the years, Raeside has dealt with many issues he felt strongly about, including over-fishing, poor logging practices, the seal hunt and animal rights. …“It was the 1993 Clayoquot Sound logging protests on the west coast, where grandmothers were being arrested for preventing a logging company access to an old-growth forest, that really excited me,” Raeside says. “I pitched the TC’s editor-in-chief with the crazy idea of sending a cartoonist to cover a news event.

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