Monday, July 23, 2012

R.I.P. Sally Ride

Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, died today at age 61 of pancreatic cancer.  Dr. Ride joined the astronaut program in 1978 and flew on shuttle missions in 1983 and 1984.  She retired from NASA in 1987 and joined the faculty of University of California San Diego as a physics professor and director of the California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science, a private company dedicated to encouraging boys and girls pursue careers in science.  She served on numerous boards and received numerous awards, but what I remember  most is when her missions blasted off, all I could think of was "Ride, Sally - Ride!"  She was a pioneer in many areas.  RIP

(Picture courtesy of NASA; Sally Ride in 1984)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Got Fish?

Tropical Storm Debbie dropped some much needed rain on us here in Brevard County (east coast of Florida), but she hit the west coast and the Panhandle area much harder.  Suzi Fox, Director of the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, reported major sea turtle nest losses, although we're hoping that perhaps the nests were intact but the marking sticks were washed away.  (Be sure to check out their new web site - attractive and informative.)  Locally, our sea turtle nests fared well, and friends report a great year thus far in terms of quantity and choice of nesting spots. 

In the Panhandle, pelican parents fled for their lives, leaving the little ones behind.  Rescue organizations there have farmed out the babies to various rehab facilities across the state.  Margie Mitchell, a volunteer at the local Florida Wildlife Hospital, sent this picture of the pelicans they received.  The babies are in an inside cage in this photo, but the next day, they were moved to the outdoor shorebird cage, and she sent a charming video.  As you can see in the video, these little kids have voracious appetites, so I'm going to send out an appeal to all the fishermen I know to BRING FISH!

David McRee, aka BeachHunter, has done some good blog posts on TS Debbie aftermath.  David recently updated his excellent FREE Beach Survival e-book, and you can download it from his Blog the Beach site.