How to Find Tardigrades

They have become infamous as some of the toughest organisms on earth. They can survive the vacuum of space, they withstand doses of radiation that would kill humans, they can dry out or be frozen and survive for years in that state. They are tardigrades and they live on your roof, on your driveway and in your lawn.

I’ve been asked many times how I find tardigrades so here are directions to find your own.

Tardigrade with eggs

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MICROSCOPE: The first think you’ll need is a microscope. Tardigrades are tiny, but you can see them fairly well with a basic dissecting microscope. I don’t have anything fancy, just a simple scope with a top and bottom light. The bottom light is helpful because tardigrades are transparent and…

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Nature Highlights of 2015

Looking back over my photos from 2015 I realized what a nature filled year it was for me. Sometimes when I get lost in the daily routine and only manage a short time outside I forget how much I’ve seen over the year. Looking at my photos is a great reminder of how many places I visited and how many things I saw. Here are some of the highlights of 2015, with links to photo albums.

Olympic Peninsula

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In January we made an overnight trip to the Olympic Peninsula where we drove along Hood Canal to Port Townsend. We also visited Port Angeles, Dungeness and Marrowstone Island. It was beautiful in the winter with perfectly photogenic fog over the harbors and in the forests.

 View photos of the Olympic Peninsula

 

Glacier National Park

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30 Days Wild

Back in June this year, The Wildlife Trusts in the UK launched the 30 Days Wild campaign to get people outside and connect with nature. Although the project was aimed at residents in the UK, many people – myself included – participated from around the world. The website for 30 Days Wild was a source of inspiration, full of ‘Random Acts of Wildness’ which they described as “any thing that you can do in an average working day to bring a little nature into your life. They can take a few seconds, a few minutes, or if you lose yourself completely, a few hours!” The website, which is still available to view, lists 101 nature activities to do – everything from taking a nap in the grass to investigating tracks and signs. Each activity also has simple instructions or activity sheets to help you along. It looks…

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Get Thee a Hand Lens!

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

As a naturalist there are certain pieces of equipment which are necessary; a pair of binoculars, a couple of fields guides, a notebook for example. However, how many of you would have listed a hand lens as one of those necessities? I never even thought of it until I read Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness and the author talked about always carrying a hand lens as part of her daily repertoire, because it allowed her to examine things that may otherwise be overlooked. A few months ago I got a hand lens and it can’t be overstated how much it’s changed the way I view the natural world.

What is a hand lens? The short answer is that it’s basically a fancy magnifying glass. Also called a loupe, they come…

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