Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DIY - Tea Party


I have posted a couple of times about tea parties and while surfing today I came upon a site that offered some free templates. What a cute, fun project this would be! I love things like this - simple yet creative and very memorable! Here are the links:

Teabag Label - Blue
Teabag Label - Red
Tea Canister Label

To add a little more fun to this do it yourself project - get creative and make your own tea! There is a great Etsy shop that provides the means to do this and it's very inexpensive! 25 Heat Sealable Paper Tea Bags sell for $3.50 and the shop also has herbs to make your own tea creations! Check out Flowering Tree Botanicals

Monday, March 29, 2010

That Grasshopper Ate My T-Shirt!

Western ranchers are gearing for a major plague of grasshoppers. In Wyoming, 2.9 million acres were infestations with 15 or more grasshoppers per square yard last year, a more than 10-fold increase from 2008. That’s a whopping mess of grasshoppers, and the outbreak may get even worse this year. Grasshopper fritters anyone?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Turn Up The Volume!

Did you notice something new coming out of your speakers? I added a play list to my blog! I actually love hearing the music while I am sitting here posting. The songs I have chosen all have special meaning to me! I played them at my wedding! The song titled "In This Life" was my First Dance song...it still bring tears to my eyes when I hear it!

For those of you who are married, what was your First Dance song?
For those yet to be married, what song will you be dancing to?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Manitou Island Bird Survey

Manitou Island is situated in Lake Superior just off the eastern tip of Northern Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

As documented by Joseph Youngman and others, volunteer observers made 17 trips to Manitou totaling 63 days from 2002 through 2007 and recorded 204 species. They also documented major migratory flights of raptors over the island, and determined that at least 80 species may nest there. Since then, periodic surveys have continued through 2009.

Financial support for the survey has been provided by the Copper Country Audubon Club, Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society, the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas II, a Michigan Natural Heritage Program Grant, and several private citizens.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Recycled Bride Unveils Biggest Giveaway Ever: A Free Reem Acra Wedding Dress

Well, now, here is an interesting contest! Recycled Bride has teamed up with YourWeddingDay.com to offer this give-a-way. The bad news....it's a size 10 but the good news...as of this posting there are only 63 entries! Go type your story and let me know if you get picked!


So here is the deal:

Dress Details:
  • Retails for over $4,800
  • Silk satin
  • Sweep train
  • Strapless ballgown silhouette
  • Reem Acra label inside
  • Brand New
  • Ivory with gold detailing
  • Bridal size 10 / Daywear size 8 (can be altered to fit a size 8 or smaller)
  • Bust: 36″
  • Waist: 29″
  • Hips: N/A
  • Hollow to Hem: 60″
Enter to Win:
  • You must be a Recycled Bride member to win, so sign up if you haven’t already (It’s free and takes just a minute).
  • Go to the Your Dream Dress Giveaway Page and leave a comment telling us why you want to win this Reem Acra designer wedding dress.
  • One comment/entry per person
  • A panel of wedding experts from RecycledBride.com and Your Dream Dress will choose one lucky winner on April 2nd, 2010.
  • Winner will be chosen based on the comment that most inspires our panel *UPDATE* WE’VE BEEN RECEIVING SO MANY INSPIRING COMMENTS THAT WE’VE DECIDED TO NARROW IT DOWN TO OUR 10 FAVORITES, THEN CHOOSE AT RANDOM FROM THOSE. YOUR STORIES HAVE MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO PICK JUST ONE THAT INSPIRES US MOST!

Spring Means Green!

One of the sites that I mentioned in my blog about Tea for Two....or Twenty was The Queens Treasure. Well, I just got an email from them that any purchase of in stock items qualifies for FREE SHIPPING from now until April 15, 2010. I wanted to make sure I passed along this info to anyone who might be having a Bridal Tea Shower! They have some fabulous items - including very pretty fake floral arrangements!

State Bird Journals: Revised

Note: Originally published on 3/9/10, this post has been revised by incorporating information on New Jersey Birds, a journal published by New Jersey Audubon Society.

This review was prompted by my curiosity about how Michigan Birds and Natural History, a journal affiliated with the Michigan Audubon Society (MAS), compares to other State and regional bird journals being published in the United States. In the first two weeks of March 2010, I conducted an extensive Internet survey to gather information on bird journals and their affiliated organizations. I here summarize information relating to (a) organizational relationships, (b) frequency of publication, (c) longevity, (d) page counts, (e) seasonal field notes, (f) online journal access, (g) organizational membership, (h) membership dues structure, and (i) organizational income and assets.

Organizational Relationships of State Bird Journals:

In the United States, there are 35 "State" bird journals representing 35 States, plus 1 "regional" journal representing 7 States (Table 1), with all but one of the journals being received as a benefit of membership in a State or regional organization (Table 2); the sole exception is Michigan Birds and Natural History. Five of the 35 "State" journals are directly or indirectly associated with an Audubon society (HI, IN, MI, MO, NJ), the others with a separate ornithological society.

Additionally, Bird Observer—The New England Birding Journal is published privately (annual subscription rate of $21 for 6 issues), with no organizational affiliation but with Editorial Staff, Corporate Officers, and Board of Directors. It offers camera-ready quarter-, half-, and full-page ads for $35, $55, and $100.

Frequency of Publication:

Three journals are published annually, 6 are published biannually, and 23 are published quarterly. Outliers include Colorado Birds and Michigan Birds and Natural History (5 times/year), Bird Observer (6 times/year), and Elepaio (9 times/year).

Longevity:

The longevity (as of 2010) of 34 State journals for which I was able to determine such information ranged from 8 years (Journal of Louisiana Ornithology) to 88 years (Indiana Audubon Quarterly), with a median of 58 years. From this perspective, Michigan Birds and Natural History is relatively young, as it turns just 17 in 2010. However, if one considers MBNH to be a legitimate successor to the Jack-Pine Warbler (the ornithological journal), then MBNH can justifiably lay claim to an 88-year publishing lineage, tying the IAQ for longest-running State bird journal.

Page Counts:

As a general rule, State bird journals tend to be rather small in terms of the number of pages. To get a handle on this, I obtained information on total page numbers in the five most recent volumes for nine journals (all journals for which I was able to download such information), realizing that this may not be a representative sample.

For those nine journals, median page counts ranged from 28 (Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society) to 340 (Passenger Pigeon), with a median of about 101. Page counts for two recent volumes of Michigan Birds and Natural History (2007 and 2008) averaged 252, making it more than twice the size of the average State bird journal sampled.

Seasonal Field Notes:

Organizations in at least three States (New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia) publish their quarterly field observations separate from their journals. The respective publications for New Mexico and Virginia are NMOS Field Notes and Virginia Birds. Through a partnership with Natural Heritage New Mexico, the New Mexico Ornithological Society even offers a searchable database for NMOS Field Notes. I was not able to determine if Texas field notes are available only online or if members receive them in a print format.

Online Journal Access:

All or substantial portions of 14 journals are now (or soon will be) available online as PDF files, and in a few cases the archives are searchable. The 14 journals are:
  • Alabama Birdlife: Volumes 1-54 (1953-2008). Full articles, plus Search feature.
  • Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society: Online archive of first 37 issues (1968-2004), with issues available as PDF files, courtesy of the Oklahoma State University Library Electronic Publishing Center.
  • Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society: Just two volumes (2006-2007) are currently available online as PDF files.
  • Chat (NC, SC): 23 volumes online, others in progress. Plus cumulative index and searchable database.
  • Florida Field Naturalist: All articles from 1973-2006 are downloadable, including searches by date, title, or author.
  • Elepaio (HI): PDF files of all issues from February 2003 to March 2010.
  • Indiana Audubon Quarterly: A project is currently underway to digitize all issue since first published in 1929, including searchable index. This feature may be available now for members. In the meantime, one issue of the IAQ is available for public download as a PDF file.
  • Kansas Ornithological Society Bulletin: All issues from 1950 to 2007 (Volumes 1-58) are available as PDF files.
  • Kingbird (NY): Searchable archive of articles published 1950-2007.
  • Migrant (TN): Volumes 1-75 available online as PDF files.
  • New Jersey Birds: All issues since Fall 2006 (Volume 32, Number 4) are available online in PDF format. Available in online-only format since 2009 (Volume 35) for reasons stated here.
  • NMOS Bulletin (NM): Articles from Volumes 1-28 (1973-2000) are available as PDF files. Tables of Content only for Volumes 29-36 (2001-2008).
  • Passenger Pigeon (WI): All issues (1939-2006) are available online as PDF files through the University of Wisconsin Digital Collection.
  • Raven (VA): All issues (1930-2005) are available as PDF files through the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary.
  • South Dakota Bird Notes: All Volumes (1948-2003) are available as PDF files (1948-2003).
  • Five journals have made available, either online or in hard-bound volumes, indices of journal contents:
  • Loon (MN): Online index to articles by species, but individual articles are not available, with exception of Reports of the Minnesota Bird Records Committee, which are all available as PDF files.
  • Colorado Birds: Table of Contents and sample articles available online for 4 most recent issues. Hard-bound Subject Index to first 34 years is available for purchase.
  • Kentucky Warbler: Tables of Content for Volumes 73-85 (1973-2009). Indexes (or highlights) for Volumes 13-72 (1937-1996).
  • Maryland Birdlife: A CD index is available for purchase.
  • Ohio Cardinal: Indices of all issues by article and species. Contents only of latest issue, and PDF file of one sample issue.
  • Six journals list their Tables of Content to a greater or lesser degree:
  • Bluebird: Covers and tables of content only for Volumes 70-77 (2003-2010).
  • Iowa Bird Life: Table of Contents of most recent issue only, with 1 article available for download.
  • Meadowlark: An archive lists the highlights of each issue, Volumes 1-18 (1992-2009), and the contents of the most recent issue are displayed.
  • Nebraska Bird Review: Tables of Content only, Volumes 66-75 (1998-2007).
  • Utah Birds: Table of Contents of a single issue posted online.
  • Washington Birds: Tables of Content for Volumes 1-9 (1989-2006).
  • In general, less seems to have been done to make known to the general public the contents of Michigan Birds and Natural History and its predecessor, the Jack-Pine Warbler, than most other State bird journals. There is no online or published index, Tables of Content of past or current issues are not available, and only a single "sample" issue (June-August 2008) is downloadable as a PDF file.

    Organizational Membership:

    Membership in organizations publishing State bird journals tends to be relatively small. Using the National Wildlife Federation’s online Conservation Directory, I was able to determine the size of just eight State organizations; 5 reported having between 101 and 1,000 members, 2 reported having between 1,001 and 10,000 members, and 1 reported having between 10,001 and 100,000 members; New Jersey Audubon Society was the largest, followed by Michigan Audubon Society and the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union.

    Membership Dues:

    With the exception of Michigan Birds and Natural History, State bird journals are received as a benefit of membership in the organization with which the journal is affiliated. In most cases (24 of 34) a newsletter is also received as part of the membership package (Table 3). Dues structures vary tremendously among the various organizations, with a variety of (sometimes imaginative) membership categories. In the following summary of 12 of the most frequent types of membership categories, I show sample size, median values, and ranges (in parentheses):
  • Student/Senior/Limited Income (n=37): $14 ($5-20) = MAS Student level
  • Regular (n=9): $20 ($15-35)
  • Individual (n=29): $25 ($10-30) = MBNA subscription rate
  • Family (n=31): $30 ($20-40) = MAS Basic level
  • Library/Institution (n=10): $30 ($15-45)
  • Sustaining (n=26): $40 ($20-500)
  • Contributing (n=14): $50 ($15-60) = MAS Donor level
  • Business/Corporate/Donor (n=6): $75 ($30-100) = MAS Business level
  • Supporting (n=8): $75 ($25-100) = MAS Supporting level
  • Patron (n=8): $300 ($50-2,000)
  • Life (n=35): $500 ($100-3,000)
  • Benefactor (n=4): $750 ($150-5,000)
  • Income and Assets:

    Among the 35 State organizations that I was able to find in the online Melissa data lookup for non-profit corporations, the median annual income was $26,216; 15 reported incomes of less than $25,000, while 4 reported incomes exceeding $500,000. New Jersey Audubon Society topped the list at $8.7 million, followed by Michigan Audubon Society $2.6 million {1}, Maryland Ornithological Society ($603,100), and Georgia Ornithological Society ($579,000).

    Twenty organizations reported assets ranging from $31,400 to $26.2 million, with a median value of $228,900. New Jersey Audubon Society topped the list, followed by Michigan Audubon Society ($10.7 million) {1}, Georgia Ornithological Society ($2.2 million), and Maryland Ornithological Society ($1.8 million).

    {1} Income and asset figures for MAS represent the sum totals for operations in the Lansing office as reported under four different Tax I.D. numbers.

    Table 1: State and Regional Bird Journals.
    Alabama Birdlife, Bird Observer—The New England Birding Journal, Bluebird (MO), Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society, Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society, Chat (NC, SC), Colorado Birds, Connecticut Warbler, Delmarva Ornithologist (DE), Elepaio (HI), Florida Field Naturalist, Indiana Audubon Quarterly, Iowa Bird Life, Journal of Louisiana Ornithology, Kansas Ornithological Society Bulletin, Kentucky Warbler, Kingbird (NY), Mississippi Kite, Loon (MN), Maryland Birds, Meadowlark (IL), Michigan Birds and Natural History, Migrant (TN), Nebraska Bird Review, New Jersey Birds, NMOS Bulletin, Ohio Cardinal, Oregon Birds, Oriole (GA), Passenger Pigeon (WI), Pennsylvania Birds, Raven (VA) Redstart (WV), South Dakota Bird Notes, Utah Birds, Washington Birds, Western Birds (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, WA).
    Table 2: Organizations Publishing State Bird Journals.
    Alabama Ornithological Society; Audubon Society of Missouri, Brooks Bird Club (WV); Carolina Bird Club, Colorado Field Ornithologists; Connecticut Ornithological Association; Delmarva Ornithological Society (DE); Florida Ornithological Society; Georgia Ornithological Society; Hawaii Audubon Society; Illinois Ornithological Society; Indiana Audubon Society; Iowa Ornithologists’ Union; Kansas Ornithological Society; Kentucky Ornithological Society; Louisiana Ornithological Society; Maryland Ornithological Society; Michigan Audubon Society; Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union; Mississippi Ornithological Society; Nebraska Ornithologist’s Union; New Jersey Audubon Society; New Mexico Ornithological Society; New York State Ornithological Association; Ohio Ornithological Society; Oklahoma Ornithological Society; Oregon Field Ornithologists; Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology; South Dakota Ornithologist’s Union; Tennessee Ornithological Society; Texas Ornithological Society; Utah Ornithological Society; Virginia Society of Ornithology; Washington Ornithological Society; Western Field Ornithologists; Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.
    Table 3: Newsletters of State Organizations that Publish Bird Journals
    Badger Birder (WI), Cardinal (IN), CBC Newsletter (NC, SC), Cerulean (OH), COA Bulletin (CT), D.O.S. Flyer (DE), GOShawk (GA), Horned Lark (KS), IOU News (IA), Kestrel (KY), Kestrel Express (NJ), LOS News (LA), Mail Bag (WV), Minnesota Birding, New York Birders, NOU Newsletter (NE), PSO Pileated (PA), Scissortail (OK), Snail Kite (FL), Tennessee Warbler, VSO Newsletter (VA), Wings Over the Prairie (IL), WFO Newsletter (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, WA), WOS News (WA), Yellowhammer (AL), Yellowthroat (MD).

    Safe Passage to Migrating Birds

    A 2009 State of Michigan proclamation designates the period of March 15 to May 31 and August 15 to October 31 as Safe Passage Great Lakes Days, an effort to protect migrating birds from the collision hazards posed by tall, lighted buildings.
    . . . residents and property managers are reminded to close shades or turn out lights between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (or dawn) on tall buildings from the fifth floor and above.
    Read the proclamation signed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm here, and see what actions are being taken in such places as Ann Arbor and Detroit

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Ruffed Grouse in Michigan

    Perhaps it is a tribute to the abundance of Ruffed Grouse in the Wolverine State, or maybe a reflection of the zeal with which some sportsmen pursue this wily gamebird. For whatever reason, the number of local chapters of the Ruffed Grouse Society in Michigan (27) equals the number in Pennsylvania and exceeds the number of chapters in Minnesota (23). Interestingly, New York State—where Gardiner Bump did his landmark study on Ruffed Grouse—has a mere 15 chapters.

    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment has assembled several valuable sources of information on Ruffed Grouse here, including a status report and conservation plan, and has published management guidelines for landowners.

    Some Fall 2010 Dresses - Sneak Peek!

    Just released! I was able to get my hands on some sneak peek pictures of the Fall 2010 Bonny Collection! Oh happy day! These dresses haven't even been posted on their website yet...so you get to see them here FIRST! Leave a comment and let me know which one is your favorite!

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    More to come later! I love a couple of these....I have numbered them so you can list your favorites! My favorites are.... 3 5 6 7 10 13 16 17

    I will update tomorrow on why these are my favorites and I will be adding MORE sneak peek pictures just for my readers!

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    And the winner is....

    Congratulations to Think Thin Thoughts! The winning entry - picked by Random.org was #41
     
    To everyone that entered - THANK YOU! Remember we have a contest once a month! Check back and read our little blog...we will come up with some other fab finds in the bridal world for April...until then...think Green! 
     
     

    Tonight's The Night! March Give-a-way Ends 10pm PST!

    Tonight's the big night! We will draw our winner for the March Give-a-Way! Have you entered yet? Now is the time! I can't wait to announce the winner....I love give-a-ways! If you have an idea for the April give-a-way submit it now! You never know - you may be a winner of something you love and want for your wedding!

    Good luck to everyone!

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    March Give-A-Way Ends....This Sunday!

    We are celebrating GREEN this month!

    Our March Give-A-Way is coming to a close! Have you entered to win? Stopped by to add your name? Well, I have been posting away so I thought I would put something a little closer to the top - in case you are looking! But, if you are just stopping by for the 1st time...hang out awhile! Love having you here!

    One winner will receive all of these fun items! 

    Modern Modest Wedding Gown

    I had someone point out style 2005 from the Bliss collection. When I saw the picture, I wondered why this gown didn't jump out at me right away! I actually love this gown - the person who was interested in it wondered if the dress could be made with longer sleeves...and I found out it can be! Awesome! There are some dresses that you can not do custom changes to - but in a modest line I think it is essential! I really wanted to post this dress and get it some attention!

    Description: Modest gown with delicate pleated cap sleeves decorated with lace. The lace covers the modified square neckline bodice. Lace trimmed pleating wraps around the waist and into the asymmetrical overlay along the skirt and semi-cathedral train. Style 2005 from the Bliss Modest Collection

     


    The Jewels Have It

    While at the Las Vegas Bridal Market, I couldn't help but notice one thing....beautiful jewel embellishments on the gowns! Lot's of sparkle and so very beautiful. I am throwing out a sneak peek here of a gown (this gown isn't available in stores...YET!) I absolutely loved and the price is to die for! The fabric is a Charmeuse (silky, creamy). The suggested retail price...are you ready....? Sitting down? $595. I am in love.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Off Topic - But I Couldn't Resist!

    I have been watching my wallet lately - hasn't everyone? I came across this deal at Rite Aid for Easter that was just TOO GOOD not to share! Even though this is a little off-topic on the bridal side I know you all will appreciate it...and hey if anyone is using pastel colors for a candy bar station...well then here you go! :)

    RITE AID:
     
    BUY:
    (9) Hershey, Reese's Nestle or Cadbury bagged Easter candy 8-10 oz  they are on sale this week for $1.99 each

    GET:
    Go To http://coupons2.smartsource.com/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=5S2ZUA6PWPEPO and print THREE of the coupons for the Hershey Candy ($2 off 3)
     
    At the Rite Aid store you can grab their sale flyer (you will need 3 of them!) and get the in-ad coupon for $2 off 3 bags

    Total for 9 bags: $17.91
    Less Coupons: -$12.00
    Less $3 off $15: -$3.00
     
    TOTAL COST FOR 9 BAGS: $2.91 or.... $0.32 CENTS A BAG!!!!
     

    Cute Idea for Bathroom Basket

    I came across these adorable totes and my first thought was "Oh! These would work well for Bathroom Baskets!" I like the idea because they come in quite a few colors, you can monogram them at no extra charge AND you can use them after the wedding!! So many items are disposable at weddings but this tote can be a really cute thing to use after the wedding which will give you sweet reminders of your day! They are lightweight and have an aluminum sturdy frame and have a matching fabric handle!



    The colors available are: Hot Pink, Solid Lime Green, Aqua, Orange, Brown, Black, Navy, Red, Zebra, Floral Lime Green, Floral Pink, Floral Black and Floral Brown.

    Price: Ranges from $27.00 - $30.00

    They collapse flat for storage (love this!). Market Totes measure 18" x 11 1/2" x 9". 


    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    A Fred Moore for you


    Click to enlarge-it's worth it.

    ...via the Animation Guild's blog and an anonymous collector with an enviable collection of artwork he likes to share.

    One wonders just how many of these Fred did for people over the years. This looks as if it's the same format as the ones I own-approximately 11x17, mounted on board.

    Much imitated in his day, surrounded by other expert good girl artists and brilliant cartoonists...but none captured the particular elegance and spirit of these studies by Moore. 60 years later he remains inimitable.

    Deluxe Bridal Appointments


    So I hear the new "trend" in bridal gown shopping is setting a "Deluxe Appointment" with the salon - IF they do it. For a fee, the bride and her party can attend a private appointment where light refreshments will be served...appetizers, wine, cheese and crackers, champagne...you know the deals and frills. So, how much is a private appointment you might be asking? Looks like the typical price range is $100 - $150. The bride may or may not get a goodie bag filled with all kinds of things she needs - like a gift certificate off her dress OR the maids dresses. I have heard the discount offering would sometimes cover the cost of the appointment fee so that is a PLUS! Let's look at what else is a plus: You are the main focus, you don't have to worry about being left while someone else needs help, you get 1 on 1 attention, you get to know the people helping you and...well it's like your own little party in the bridal store...just for you! Normally these appointments are booked after-hours or when the store is closed.


    What's wrong with this? Should bridal salons charge to give you service - isn't that what most salons offer as a means to get your business? The answer should be Yes. But, looking at both sides, it is the LEVEL of service you are paying for. And I have to say....I am not opposed to paying for better service! Are you?


    I would stay at a 5-star resort over a budget motel....How about a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio...compared to Strawberry Hill?  Truth be told I can't afford the 5-star resort but I would find a 4-star for sure! haha.

    So, what do you guys think?
    • Would a Deluxe Private Appointment appeal to you?
    • Would you pay to have this level of service?
    • Would you pay only if you got money saving offers
    • Has anyone reading this blog ever done this? What was your experience?
    Here's my take on it...and remember I owned my bridal salon for 5 years! I LOVE THE IDEA! Here is the reason why...being able to focus on just one bride and give her everything I possibly could would be the best thing I could do for my customer. During normal operating hours you can not focus on only one customer...other customers may come in, the phones are ringing, people are walking in, etc etc. The other plus side to me on this is that shopping at a salon for this dress for this day - it's pretty personal and you are going to work with those people for about 6 months (order time - to delivery time - to wedding time). This is an excellent way to get to know each other! I always said that I was sad when the days came for my brides to say "I do" because that meant I wouldn't be seeing them, and that made me sad! So, anyway, I really think this is a perfect service...and if the store is savvy enough to offer a discount or credit for the amount of the appointment onto your purchase....well this appointment is a no brainer...BOOK IT! :)

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Fair Trade Products

    Fair Trade Products: I have been doing a little checking on items you could incorporate into your wedding that are Fair Trade. Here are some of my favorites:





    We all know love is sweet...and so is chocolate! Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 45% owned by the farmers! You must check them out to learn what all these symbols mean! Love this!

    Fair Trade Wedding Stationary made in South Africa Read about the workers (in their own words) and get the silk ribbon painted to match your wedding colors! These are works of art!

    And of course, if case you want to know more about Fair Trade you should check out this link!

    The Green Glossary

    I stopped over at Something Green today and found a very helpful "Green Glossary"! I wanted to share it with my readers too because when I first started posting this month about Green Weddings I didn't really understand all the different meanings! Sure, I always hear or see the word "organic" and I knew what that meant - but I can honestly say the one thing that has inspired me the most this month is finding things that are Fair Trade items.  Something Green is also looking for folks like you who will be adding green touches to their wedding! Get inspired...or better yet...inspire someone else over at Something Green

    Organic: The product has been grown without the use of toxic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.

    Natural or All-Natural: The product has been processed and/or finished using exclusively natural ingredients.

    Eco-Friendly: The product has been produced in a way that is less harmful to the environment and to the consumer.

    Made in USA: The product has been manufactured, produced and finished in the United States.

    Fair Trade: The artisans who have created/assisted in the production of the product have received livable wages, fair working conditions and otherwise equitable treatment. Often, the company that has created/assisted in the creation of the item has reinvested back into the community where the item was produced, grown, etc.


    All text copyright Angela M. Graziano/Something Green, 2009-2010

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Viva Las Vegas!

    The past few days I have been in one of my favorite places...Las Vegas! I was lucky enough to be invited up to attend the Fall Bridal Market at the Rio hotel! Market time always starts in Vegas - and then moves onto Chicago, Dallas, New York, etc. This is the market where all the wedding pro's show off their new dress lines (these are for the Fall 2010 dresses). It was really awesome to see some friends I haven't seen in awhile!! When I owned my shop, I would attend the Fall and Spring markets in Vegas to do my buying - it was a little different this time being on the other side! The Fall market is typically smaller and this one was no exception...but some of my favorites were there (Bonny, Allure, Maggie Sottero, Casablanca). I have a new favorite wedding dress though...ok, ok more then one!! I couldn't stop ooh'ing and aah'ing at the adorable flowergirl dresses - I just love them! Joan Calabrese has the most amazing flowergirl dresses, but I have to say ouch on the price! Tip Top Kids has some cute dresses with little bolero jackets! All the glitzy prom lines were there - color, color everywhere!! I immediately went looking for an old friend, Sue. She owns a company called Hera's Gem. She has the most beautiful bridal jewelry!! I wish she had a website or pictures online so I could show you her beautiful pieces - but she only sells to salons and her items aren't available direct. Insert sad face here. If you are looking for some well made, quality jewelry make sure to ask your bridal salon if they carry this line - you will be happy you found them! The big draw to bridal market though is...BRIDAL. There were some real standouts for me as I browsed around! One of my all time favorite companies - Bonny - had some gorgeous dresses!! I love Bonny for several reasons...I know their product well....I sold them in my store for years. They make a quality product and their prices (on the retail side) are excellent! There is one dress in particular that I am in love with though and once I sift through all my pictures I will post it (The dress has an awesome orange sash and I am all over this color!!).

    I am glad to be back home though and I have a lot of catching up to do! I have the most amazing hubby who braved my normal job, being the 24/7 caretaker to our 3 year old daughter! He is always very helpful with her, but I don't think he has had 3 days with her alone - ever. So, a big shout out to him for doing that while I got to get away and play...literally! haha.

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Michigan Purple Martins

    Michigan Purple Martins is "devoted to the study of Purple Martins in the State Michigan." It features maps of all known active and available (but inactive) colonies in the State, with a detailed history of each colony. It also features a Discussion Forum.

    I encourage everyone out there hosting a Purple Martin colony to add it to this interactive site.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Recovery Plan for a Non-Recoverable Species?

    I just ran across a couple of remarkable quotes from an article by John Beetham at A DC Birding Blog about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s plans to release a final recovery plan for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Beetham included several paragraphs from a limited-access article by Rex Dalton that was posted at Nature News, which is where the following selected quotes originally appeared:
    "We don’t believe a recoverable population of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers exists," says Ron Rohrbaugh, a conservation biologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who headed the original search team.
    Followed, two paragraphs later, by this:
    Jerome Jackson, an ornithologist at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers who serves on the FWS’s Ivory-billed Woodpecker recovery team, says that a draft recovery plan from 2007 is "incredibly biased". In his view, the plan has overemphasized evidence of the bird’s existence to shore up political support for saving it. "I don’t think I’m going to be happy with the final plan either," he adds.
    I find it rather remarkable that the FWS is still pursuing finalization of this recovery plan given the sorry state of the U.S. economy, the Federal budget, and Ivory-bill populations.

    Michigan’s Important Bird Areas

    As of the present time, 99 sites in Michigan have been identified, nominated, or recognized as Important Bird Areas—parcels of habitat that are considered essential for avian conservation.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Feeding Birds or Baiting Deer?

    A Gaylord, Michigan, man who feeds birds has run afoul of a new State law that prohibits feeding or baiting deer and elk as a precaution against chronic wasting disease.

    Although Ken Borton’s sunflower-stocked feeders are suspended nearly six feet off the ground, wildlife officials "told him he must scoop up the leftover seed casings each day to be in compliance with the law."

    Competitive Birding Coming to the Big Screen

    Considering the cast of comedians assembled to portray birders in the movie version of Mark Obmascik’s birding tale, The Big Year, this film (scheduled for release in 2011) could turn out to be an utter disaster. Birders take their seemingly (to normal people) zany pursuits seriously, after all, and don’t like to be portrayed as nut cases.

    Bird Banding in Michigan

    Bird banders are a relatively small but dedicated subset of the larger cohort of birders and ornithologists. They are represented in Michigan by Michigan Field Ornithologists and Bird Banders.

    As attested to by these early papers by Dayton Stoner (.PDF) and Wm. I. Lyon (.PDF), Michigan has a rich and colorful history of banding dating back some 90 years, to the very beginnings of organized bird banding in the U.S.

    Organizatons actively engaged in banding birds in Michigan include the following:
  • Great Lakes HummerNet
  • Kalamazoo Nature Center
  • Rouge River Bird Observatory
  • Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
  • All-Black King Penguin

    Defying all odds, a melanistic King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) has been photographed in Antarctica. This bird just looks so weird!

    Full or partial melanism is exceedingly rare in the King Penguin, there being only about four previously published records (.PDF).

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Michigan Bluebird Society

    The Michigan Bluebird Society is a group of individuals dedicated to helping bluebirds and other cavity-nesting bird species in the State of Michigan.

    It’s time to get those nest-boxes ready!

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    It's Give-A-Way Time!

    Well, it's time for another awesome give-a-way! This month I have some really lovely things to offer a lucky reader! I found so many green wedding items it was hard to choose! My theme this month has focused on incorporating "Green" or organic items into your wedding! One lucky winner will receive:

    From Paloma's Nest - a beautiful custom ring bearer bowl. Paloma's Nest is dedicated to creating pieces for the home and for the heart. These pieces are intended to become modern heirlooms, to be cherished by you and for many future generations to come. The studio, where your beautiful bowl is made, is powered 100% by Renewable Wind Energy. That means when the wind is a blowin' out in West Texas, the little kiln is a firin' here in Austin! I love that! Paloma's Nest uses recycled, upcycled, and biodegradeable products in our pieces and packaging whenever possible. Please recycle or reuse the packaging your order arrives in. Value of bowl is $46.00 (plus shipping).


    In addition to the beautiful ring bearer's bowl, the winner will receive a flower girl basket with your initials in a heart from New Hampshire Wood Creations. This flowergirl basket is made from real white birch bark and dried green moss. It is 4"X4" and about 8" to top of handle.Your initials or the date of your wedding can be burned inside a heart on the front. The bow is also made from birch bark. Each basket is a one of a kind as the bark from each tree varies! Value of basket is $24.50 (plus shipping).


    And finally...I found these most adorable favors! Monogram letter birdseed favors from Etsy seller 2birdsinlove. I couldn't pick just one letter so the winner will receive the "I Do" letters and 2 Hearts! A cute little sample that will feed some birds in nature! The initial monogram favors are made from locally grown organic wild bird seed and all natural ingredients are added to 'bind' the seeds into shape. Hemp or satin ribbon in your choice of color is embedded into the favor. Each favor is $1.25 for a total of $6.25 (plus shipping).


    VERY IMPORTANT: THE NOT SO FINE PRINT

    Please read this because I don't want to disqualify anyone! Comments will close on March 21st, 2010 at 10 PM PST. Due to some shipping restrictions of the sellers contest is limited to US residents only (sorry!).
    The winner will be posted on my blog and contacted via email. YOU MUST RESPOND WITHIN 48hrs or another winner will be chosen!

    VALUE OF CONTEST: $96.00

    THREE WAYS TO ENTER:
    • You must choose to follow my little blog PUBLICALLY and leave a comment to be considered for the give-a-way. If you are new here - there is a link in the upper left corner that says "FOLLOW" please click on that, then leave a comment telling me you are a follower. This will allow you ONE entry!
    • For a SECOND entry blog about this contest and leave an ADDITIONAL comment to let me know you did that with a link to the post!
    • For a THIRD entry twitter about this contest and leave an ADDITIONAL comment to let me know you did that with a link to the post! You can find my twitter page here
    I will say this again, because it's so important: Please make sure you follow all the rules of the give-a-way....I never want to have to disqualify someone! If you are not sure if your entry meets qualifications...ASK ME! :)

    Duplicates and comments not including the above information will be disqualified. Comments are moderated. If you don’t see your comment in a reasonable amount of time, send me an email. Brides and non-brides may enter. Please leave your email address in your post! If you don’t want to leave your email address, please be sure to check back on March 21, 2010 for my announcement on the winner. Please note that winners must respond within 48 hours of being announced/contacted or another winner will be drawn. Winner will be selected using Random.org

    If you have any questions please email me at tndrhart2@aol.com

    THANK YOU EVERYONE! Good luck!!!

    State Bird Journals

    This review was prompted by my curiosity about how Michigan Birds and Natural History, a journal affiliated with the Michigan Audubon Society (MAS), compares to other State and regional bird journals being published in the United States. In the first two weeks of March 2010, I conducted an extensive Internet survey to gather information on bird journals and their affiliated organizations. I here summarize information relating to (a) organizational relationships, (b) frequency of publication, (c) longevity, (d) page counts, (e) seasonal field notes, (f) online journal access, (g) organizational membership, (h) membership dues structure, and (i) organizational income and assets.

    Organizational Relationships of State Bird Journals:

    In the United States, there are 35 "State" bird journals representing 35 States, plus 1 "regional" journal representing 7 States (Table 1), with all but one of the journals being received as a benefit of membership in a State or regional organization (Table 2); the sole exception is Michigan Birds and Natural History. Five of the 35 "State" journals are directly or indirectly associated with an Audubon society (HI, IN, MI, MO, NJ), the others with a separate ornithological society.

    Additionally, Bird Observer—The New England Birding Journal is published privately (annual subscription rate of $21 for 6 issues), with no organizational affiliation but with Editorial Staff, Corporate Officers, and Board of Directors. It offers camera-ready quarter-, half-, and full-page ads for $35, $55, and $100.

    Frequency of Publication:

    Three journals are published annually, 6 are published biannually, and 23 are published quarterly. Outliers include Colorado Birds and Michigan Birds and Natural History (5 times/year), Bird Observer (6 times/year), and Elepaio (9 times/year).

    Longevity:

    The longevity (as of 2010) of 33 State journals for which I was able to determine such information ranged from 13 years (Washington Birds) to 88 years (Indiana Audubon Quarterly), with a median of 62 years. From this perspective, Michigan Birds and Natural History is relatively young, as it turns just 17 in 2010. However, if one considers MBNH to be a legitimate successor to the Jack-Pine Warbler (the ornithological journal), then MBNH can justifiably lay claim to an 88-year publishing lineage, tying the IAQ for longest-running State bird journal.

    Page Counts:

    As a general rule, State bird journals tend to be rather small in terms of the number of pages. To get a handle on this, I obtained information on total page numbers in the five most recent volumes for eight journals (all journals for which I was able to download such information), realizing that this may not be a representative sample.

    For those 8 journals, median page counts ranged from 28 (Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society) to 340 (Passenger Pigeon), with a median of about 120. Page counts for two recent volumes of Michigan Birds and Natural History (2007 and 2008) averaged 252, making it about twice the size of the average State bird journal sampled.

    Seasonal Field Notes:

    Organizations in at least three States (New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia) publish their quarterly field observations separate from their journals. The respective publications for New Mexico and Virginia are NMOS Field Notes and Virginia Birds. Through a partnership with Natural Heritage New Mexico, the New Mexico Ornithological Society even offers a searchable database for NMOS Field Notes. I was not able to determine if Texas field notes are available only online or if members receive them in a print format.

    Online Journal Access:

    All or substantial portions of 14 journals are now (or soon will be) available online as PDF files, and in a few cases the archives are searchable. The 14 journals are:

  • Alabama Birdlife: Volumes 1-54 (1953-2008). Full articles, plus Search feature.
  • Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society: Online archive of first 37 issues (1968-2004), with issues available as PDF files, courtesy of the Oklahoma State University Library Electronic Publishing Center.
  • Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society: Just two volumes (2006-2007) are currently available online as PDF files.
  • Chat (NC, SC): 23 volumes online, others in progress. Plus cumulative index and searchable database.
  • Florida Field Naturalist: All articles from 1973-2006 are downloadable, including searches by date, title, or author.
  • Elepaio (HI): PDF files of all issues from February 2003 to March 2010.
  • Indiana Audubon Quarterly: A project is currently underway to digitize all issue since first published in 1929, including searchable index. This feature may be available now for members. In the meantime, one issue of the IAQ is available for public download as a PDF file.
  • Kansas Ornithological Society Bulletin: All issues from 1950 to 2007 (Volumes 1-58) are available as PDF files.
  • Kingbird (NY): Searchable archive of articles published 1950-2007.
  • Migrant (TN): Volumes 1-75 available online as PDF files.
  • NMOS Bulletin (NM): Articles from Volumes 1-28 (1973-2000) are available as PDF files. Tables of Content only for Volumes 29-36 (2001-2008).
  • Passenger Pigeon (WI): All issues (1939-2006) are available online as PDF files through the University of Wisconsin Digital Collection.
  • Raven (VA): All issues (1930-2005) are available as PDF files through the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary.
  • South Dakota Bird Notes: All Volumes (1948-2003) are available as PDF files (1948-2003).
  • Five journals have made available, either online or in hard-bound volumes, indices of journal contents:

  • Loon (MN): Online index to articles by species, but individual articles are not available, with exception of Reports of the Minnesota Bird Records Committee, which are all available as PDF files.
  • Colorado Birds: Table of Contents and sample articles available online for 4 most recent issues. Hard-bound Subject Index to first 34 years is available for purchase.
  • Kentucky Warbler: Tables of Content for Volumes 73-85 (1973-2009). Indexes (or highlights) for Volumes 13-72 (1937-1996).
  • Maryland Birdlife: A CD index is available for purchase.
  • Ohio Cardinal: Indices of all issues by article and species. Contents only of latest issue, and PDF file of one sample issue.
  • Six journals list their Tables of Content to a greater or lesser degree:

  • Bluebird: Covers and tables of content only for Volumes 70-77 (2003-2010).
  • Iowa Bird Life: Table of Contents of most recent issue only, with 1 article available for download.
  • Meadowlark: An archive lists the highlights of each issue, Volumes 1-18 (1992-2009), and the contents of the most recent issue are displayed.
  • Nebraska Bird Review: Tables of Content only, Volumes 66-75 (1998-2007).
  • Utah Birds: Table of Contents of a single issue posted online.
  • Washington Birds: Tables of Content for Volumes 1-9 (1989-2006).
  • In general, less seems to have been done to make known to the general public the contents of Michigan Birds and Natural History and its predecessor, the Jack-Pine Warbler, than most other State bird journals. There is no online or published index, Tables of Content of past or current issues are not available, and only a single "sample" issue (June-August 2008) is downloadable as a PDF file.

    Organizational Membership:

    Membership in organizations publishing State bird journals tends to be relatively small. Using the National Wildlife Federation’s online Conservation Directory, I was able to determine the size of just eight State organizations; 5 reported having between 101 and 1,000 members, 2 reported having between 1,001 and 10,000 members, and 1 reported having between 10,001 and 100,000 members; New Jersey Audubon Society was the largest, followed by Michigan Audubon Society and the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union.

    Membership Dues:

    With the exception of Michigan Birds and Natural History, State bird journals are received as a benefit of membership in the organization with which the journal is affiliated. In most cases (24 of 34) a newsletter is also received as part of the membership package (Table 3). Dues structures vary tremendously among the various organizations, with a variety of (sometimes imaginative) membership categories. In the following summary of 12 of the most frequent types of membership categories, I show sample size, median values, and ranges (in parentheses).

  • Student/Senior/Limited Income (n=37): $14 ($5-20) = MAS Student level
  • Regular (n=9): $20 ($15-35)
  • Individual (n=28): $25 ($10-30) = MBNA subscription rate
  • Family (n=30): $30 ($20-40) = MAS Basic level
  • Library/Institution (n=10): $30 ($15-45)
  • Sustaining (n=26): $40 ($20-500)
  • Contributing (n=14): $50 ($15-60) = MAS Donor level
  • Business/Corporate/Donor (n=6): $75 ($30-100) = MAS Business level
  • Supporting (n=8): $75 ($25-100) = MAS Supporting level
  • Patron (n=8): $300 ($50-2,000)
  • Life (n=33): $450 ($100-1,000)
  • Benefactor (n=4): $750 ($150-5,000)
  • Income and Assets:

    Among the 32 State organizations that I was able to find in the online Melissa data lookup for non-profit corporations, the median annual income was $30,385; 13 reported incomes of less than $25,000, while 3 reported incomes exceeding $500,000. Michigan Audubon Society topped the list at $2.6 million {1}. Two other organizations with incomes of greater than $500,000 were the Georgia Ornithological Society and the Maryland Ornithological Society.

    Nineteen organizations reported assets ranging from $31,400 to $10.7 million, with a median value of $207,000; Georgia Ornithological Society, Maryland Ornithological Society, and Michigan Audubon Society all reported assets in excess of $1 million, with MAS topping the list {1}.

    {1} Income and asset figures for MAS represent the sum totals for operations in the Lansing office as reported under four different Tax I.D. numbers.

    Table 1: State and Regional Bird Journals.
    Alabama Birdlife, Bird Observer—The New England Birding Journal, Bluebird (MO), Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society, Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society, Chat (NC, SC), Colorado Birds, Connecticut Warbler, Delmarva Ornithologist (DE), Elepaio (HI), Florida Field Naturalist, Indiana Audubon Quarterly, Iowa Bird Life, Journal of Louisiana Ornithology, Kansas Ornithological Society Bulletin, Kentucky Warbler, Kingbird (NY), Mississippi Kite, Loon (MN), Maryland Birds, Meadowlark (IL), Michigan Birds and Natural History, Migrant (TN), Nebraska Bird Review, New Jersey Birds, NMOS Bulletin, Ohio Cardinal, Oregon Birds, Oriole (GA), Passenger Pigeon (WI), Pennsylvania Birds, Raven (VA) Redstart (WV), South Dakota Bird Notes, Utah Birds, Washington Birds, Western Birds (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, WA).
    Table 2: Organizations Publishing State Bird Journals.
    Alabama Ornithological Society; Audubon Society of Missouri, Brooks Bird Club (WV); Carolina Bird Club, Colorado Field Ornithologists; Connecticut Ornithological Association; Delmarva Ornithological Society (DE); Florida Ornithological Society; Georgia Ornithological Society; Hawaii Audubon Society; Illinois Ornithological Society; Indiana Audubon Society; Iowa Ornithologists’ Union; Kansas Ornithological Society; Kentucky Ornithological Society; Louisiana Ornithological Society; Maryland Ornithological Society; Michigan Audubon Society; Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union; Mississippi Ornithological Society; Nebraska Ornithologist’s Union; New Jersey Audubon Society; New Mexico Ornithological Society; New York State Ornithological Association; Ohio Ornithological Society; Oklahoma Ornithological Society; Oregon Field Ornithologists; Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology; South Dakota Ornithologist’s Union; Tennessee Ornithological Society; Texas Ornithological Society; Utah Ornithological Society; Virginia Society of Ornithology; Washington Ornithological Society; Western Field Ornithologists; Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.
    Table 3: Newsletters of State Organizations that Publish Bird Journals
    Badger Birder (WI), Cardinal (IN), CBC Newsletter (NC, SC), Cerulean (OH), COA Bulletin (CT), D.O.S. Flyer (DE), GOShawk (GA), Horned Lark (KS), IOU News (IA), Kestrel (KY), Kestrel Express (NJ), LOS News (LA), Mail Bag (WV), Minnesota Birding, New York Birders, NOU Newsletter (NE), PSO Pileated (PA), Scissortail (OK), Snail Kite (FL), Tennessee Warbler, VSO Newsletter (VA), Wings Over the Prairie (IL), WFO Newsletter (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, WA), WOS News (WA), Yellowhammer (AL), Yellowthroat (MD).