Shiela Fuller:Celebrating America’s National Bird, The Bald Eagle.

This wonderful post is brought to you by my friend, naturalist, wildlife photographer, and soon-to-be children’s book author SHIELA FULLER.

Since Roman times, the bald eagle has been a “symbol of governmental power”. In 1872 the government of the United States chose the bald eagle as the national symbol for the country, signifying freedom and patriotism.  img_4165 (2)

A figure of a bald eagle can be found on U.S. coins, paper bills, stamps, flags, official government documents and passports, and other items illustrating its importance to our country’s history.  Even with the notable attention given to the bald eagle, it wasn’t that long ago that it was near extinction.  Sport hunting and pesticide use were contributing factors to the decrease in numbers of these majestic birds.  The Bald Eagle Protection Act (1940) is a Federal statute that gave legal protection to the bald eagle. In 1972, regulations curtailing pesticides that were found to be a detriment to the eagle’s future (and ours, too) were enacted.  Since that time, the eagle population has grown.  In 1995, the eagle was declared not endangered but a threatened species and in 2007, the bird was removed from the threatened list, as well.

The bald eagle is not bald but has a feathered white head and tail feathers that are not obvious until after the eagle’s fifth year of life. The bald eagle’s legs are featherless. Bald eagles are found all across North America. They have an incredible wingspan of up to eight feet and can fly 45 miles per hour. front yard dec 2017

A female bald eagle with an immature one missing the signature white head feathers.

Eagles eat mammals like raccoons and squirrels, reptiles like snakes and turtles, and water birds. They will scavenge carcasses and even steal prey from other predators.

If you would like to learn more about our national bird and perhaps see an eagle in the wild, attend the annual Eagle Fest on February 2, 2019.   Located in Mauricetown, NJ the festival is a family fun event featuring vendors, live exhibits, and speakers. After you’ve taken that all in, venture in your car for a short ride to selected eagle nesting areas where volunteers with bird scopes are waiting to show you what you came to see.

2019 Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival
Saturday, February 2, 2019
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Mauricetown Firehall
9544 Noble Street, Mauricetown, NJ
$10.00 Adults
$5.00 Children (12 and under)
At the Firehall:
Speakers and presentations
Non-profit and commercial exhibitors
Local fare refreshments & lunch available
Live raptors exhibited by
Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
Hands-on art activities by
Clay College
Along the Delaware Bay:
Five staffed viewing sites
with scopes & birdwatching experts
Bayshore Center at Bivalve walks,
food & activities
Morning & evening owl watches
Guided trail walks
East Point Lighthouse
Leechester Hall

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_and_Golden_Eagle_Protection_Act

http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle9.html

https://www.history.com/news/how-did-the-bald-eagle-become-americas-national-bird

https://www.livescience.com/32811-why-is-the-bald-eagle-americas-national-bird-.html

https://www.thoughtco.com/bald-eagle-profile-and-trivia-1140687

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/b/bald-eagle/

shiela and jonas little fig

Shiela Fuller is the author of All Night Singing (Schoolwide 2015) and Cliff Climbers, to be published in 2019 (The Little Fig).
She adores Pembroke Welsh corgis and has a new pup, Jefferson Jonas.
She is a frequent bird watcher and legacy keeper for her family.

 

 

Shiela and Jonas.

 

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Time Travel With Historical Fiction: by Marilyn Ostermiller

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was recently voted America’s best loved novel in a competition sponsored by the Public Broadcasting System.

            Published in 1960, “Mockingbird,” harkened back to a racially-motivated incident in a small Alabama town in 1936.

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Classic historical fiction tugs at our hearts and can motivate us long after we’ve turned the last page. Miss Lee immersed readers in a previous time and place to such an extent, that book has been credited with helping fuel the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

            Who doesn’t remember how a desperate Scarlet O’Hara tore down the green velvet drapes in the parlor at Civil War-ravished Tara, to sew them into a dress she hoped would entice a bank officer into giving her a loan? Or, when George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” stopped a run on the bank in the 1930s, by cajoling customers into withdrawing only as much money as they absolutely needed?

Getting the details right requires meticulous research of authors. I’m writing a historical novel about a 12-year-old girl, who vows to win the 1932 National Spelling Bee, to prove she’s the best speller in America. The idea came to me when I visited the official site of The National Spelling Bee, www.spellingbee.com. I discovered, that in the midst of The Great Depression, ordinary kids were competing to win a bag full of gold coins, worth the equivalent of about $60,000 today.

That, in turn, led me to wonder who these kids were and what words the finalists spelled. That directed me to archived newspaper articles reporting on the finals of the 1932 National Spelling Bee. I learned the national championship was held in the National Museum in Washington, D.C. The first thing visitors saw, in the lobby, were glass cases of life-size, stuffed animals, some of them reputed to have been shot by President Theodore Roosevelt while on safari in Africa.

With the help of the Smithsonian’s archives, I’ve been able to describe what it was like for those kids, who ranged in age between 8 and 13 years old, to approach the microphone on that stage, take a deep breath and spell their words in front of an audience of more than 100 people. The winning word that year was “invulnerable.” It was spelled by Dorothy Greenwald, who took the grand prize back home to Des Moines, Iowa.

            Historical fiction transports us back in time, but as with many things in life, the devil is in the details.

Next month: The second post in this series on researching historical fiction will delve into which details are most likely to resonate with readers.

Marilyn Ostermiller

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time professional journalist, who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.

 

 

I Resolve to…Cut Back on…

…PLASTICS! Stories about the plastics floating in our oceans and waterways and the dangers this poses to marine life filled headlines in 2018. One statistic stated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than marine life.  That’s a pretty sobering statistic.

Many communities banned plastic straws and some even eliminated plastic bags as an option when shopping for groceries.At the start of a new year, when our minds are focused on “resolutions” and starting fresh, I am resolving to work on cutting back on the use of plastics in my life.

I already use cloth bags for groceries. I have stopped asking for straws at restaurants. I try to recycle as much plastic as I can. I also try to store food in containers that can be reused. I have a stainless steel bottle that I take to the gym and refill. I also use a pitcher with a filter in it for drinking water, so I don’t buy those plastic bottles. (FYI: bottled water costs more per gallon than gasoline when you buy it in those portable bottles. Think of how much money you’d save each year if you went to a filter system.)

I know there is more…much more that I can do.  If healthy oceans and marine life are important to you and your families, maybe you’d like to know what YOU can do to cut back on plastic use.  

One company is making a difference. 4ocean cleans up ocean plastic from oceans around the world, collecting and recycling it into bracelets that support and help pay for the continued clean up effort. You can help by buying  a bracelet. Each bracelet purchased pays for the clean-up of one pound of ocean trash.  Visit: http://www.4ocean.com

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Visit:  http://www.myplasticfreelife.com   for 100 IDEAS and WAYS to get rid of plastic in your life.

May 22019 be a healthy year for all of us!

Don’t Throw it Away Post Holiday.

Now that the holidays are over, many of us are left to “un-decorate” and put away or toss the remnants of another holiday . Instead of tossing old cut trees to the curb, your tree can become a great winter snack for an elephant.  Contact your local zoo or wildlife sanctuary to see if it accepts trees. Goats also enjoy evergreens, and they are full of vitamin C to keep goats healthy all winter. No animal farms nearby? Stick it in the garden bed for birds to shelter in all winter long.

DONATE your old Christmas cards to ST JUDE’S RANCH  for their Children’s Recycled Card Program. It helps teens learn entrepreneurial skills by remaking and selling greeting cards.  http://www.stjudesranch.org

Got wine corks? Drop them off at a collection site and  an organization like ReCork will recycle them  into Yoga blocks and other products.  http://www.recork.org

You can offer your gently used Christmas lights and ornaments to a local nursing home or homeless shelter to use for next year’s season.

Gifts That Give Back.

While searching for those perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday list, why not try some of the sites listed below. These companies/products “pay it forward” with your purchase and provide a variety of wonderful services for children, animals and the homeless. Gifts that keep on giving.

  1. BOBS from Skechers: I am a HUGE fan of Skechers shoes for the comfort they provide. By buying from the BOBS collection, you help save the lives of SHELTER DOGS AND CATS in the US thanks to their partnership with Best Friends Animal Society. http://www.skechers.com
  2. Cuddle+Kind: Every time you purchase one of these handmade, soft and cuddly dolls you donate TEN MEALS to hungry kids around the world.  http://www.cuddleandkind.com
  3. STATE: With each purchase of a State bag, the company delivers a backpack of school supplies, including socks and snacks, to a local child in need.  http://www.Statebags.com
  4. Help give poverty the Boot with a purchase of a pair of ROMA BOOTS. The company has provided durable, colorful rain boots to needy children in 26 countries including US.  http://www.Romaboots.com
  5. Smile: Did you know 5.1 Billion people in the world own cell phones, but only 4.2 Billion of them own a toothbrush?  For every toothbrush bought from Synced Smiles, the company donates TEN to people in places like Malawi, Ugands, and the Philippines.  http://www.Syncedsmiles.com
  6. Need Socks?: These foot-warmers are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters. When you buy a pair of soft and comfy BOMBAS, the company sends a pair with antimicrobial treatment and reinforced seams to a homeless shelter.  http://www.Bombas.com
  7. This Bar Saves Lives: When you purchase one of these yummy non GMO and gluten-free snacks, a NUTRITION PACKET to help fight malnutrition is sent around the world. http://www.Thisbarsaveslives.com
  8. Need Toilet Paper? Who doesn’t.: When you buy Who Gives A Crap brand toilet tissue and paper towels – made from 100% recycles paper or bamboo, 50% of profits are used to build toilets for people who need them in developing countries.  http://www.Whogivesacrap.org

May all your gifts make a difference. Happy Holidays!

New Jersey Association of School Librarians Conference Highlights.

On Monday I attended my first New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) Conference in Long Branch, NJ.  It was a wonderful opportunity to hang out with fellow authors at the Author’s Alley, and meet so many great school librarians and other personnel who are committed to bringing great books into the hands of their students.

Here are some of the highlights of the day in photos:

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IN Author’s Alley: Nancy Viau, Paul Czajak, Becky Bertha

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With fellow author buddies Beth Ferry and Annie Silvestro

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With PB author Margery Cuyler

 

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Rachelle Burke and Angela Parrino

 

 

 

 

 

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opportunities for creativity

 

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with PB author Katey Howes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kidlit group

 KidLIt Authors Club members: Tim Young, Darlene Jacobson, Nancy Viau, David Neilsen, Rachelle Burk.

Great food, fun and an opportunity to share books with people who love them and want to get them into schools.

http://www.njasl.org/fallconf

Celebrate Giving Tuesday.

We often give in small ways everyday without realizing it. Lending a helping hand to a neighbor, having lunch with a friend, donating used clothes to a local shelter, helping at a food bank, sharing our garden’s bounty with friends, are only a few ways we give of ourselves on a daily basis.

Did you know that the act of giving back boosts health, well-being, and happiness? So, every time you give, you get back something in return. Maybe that’s why we feel so good giving gifts during the holiday season. Instead of material goods, why not give the gift of your time and talent?

Tomorrow, November 27, 2018, is Giving Tuesday. We can celebrate generosity and kindness by the simple act of giving of ourselves to others. Visit  http://www.givingtuesday.org  for ways you and your family can get involved.

helping hands

Remember: No gift or act of kindness is ever wasted.