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Rich Bard

Rich Bard photo courtesy of Rich BardRich Bard is a wildlife biologist who began his career as a zookeeper. Having spent most of his adult life moving around the country working with various wild animals, he settled near the coast of Maine in 2004. Amid the striking beauty of this remote region, he passes the time with his family, hiking, snowshoeing, gardening and watching the tide ebb and flow.

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Leave The Trail Behind
Explores the ecology, wildlife and quirky weirdness of nature—and the challenge of trying to live a life of substance in this materialistic world.
A Frog Blog
Thursday, 19 September 2013 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Frog photo by Hamed SaberI'm standing in the dark, eyes closed, brow furrowed in concentration. For five long minutes, I remain as still as possible. I'm listening to the chaotic chorus of croaking frogs from a nearby wetland and I don't want to miss a single note of this pastoral symphony. A cough, a foot shuffling in the sand on the road shoulder, even the sound of my pant legs rubbing against each other can mean I may lose some important data.

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Project (NAAMP) enlists volunteers who each "adopt" an amphibian survey route. Several times a year, depending on where they live (it's three times here in Maine), they drive a mapped route, stopping at ten predetermined locations to listen for frogs and record which species they hear. Read on…

Ghost Traps Haunt Our Beaches and the Ocean Floor
Monday, 15 July 2013 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Lobster Trap Washed Up on Maine Beach photo by Rich BardThere is a certain stretch of beach that I walk regularly. Being part of a naval base, it is closed to the public, but I have permission to do shorebird surveys there. Only once in three years have I seen another person’s footprint in the sand, most likely from a boat that landed there.

As I walk slowly along the sandbar, focusing on identifying and counting birds, I could easily forget about the outside world of man, except for one problem: the tons of trash that wash up on the shore of this otherwise pristine little paradise that I have all to myself. Read on…

Winter in Maine
Thursday, 21 February 2013 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Maine Winter photo by LoriIt's almost the end of February. Still the dead of winter in Maine. Night time temps regularly dip below 0º. Nothing but snow and ice as far as the eye can see. Skin gets all pasty white from lack of sun. (Not being the most racially diverse state in the US, most Mainers start the winter fairly white anyway.) People resort to desperate measures to help them through the rest of the winter: TV, alcohol, garden catalogs, full-spectrum lighting, ice hockey, you name it. Read on…

Life on the Edge
Thursday, 03 January 2013 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Snowshoes photo by GrongarDonning my snowshoes, I leave the plowed, shoveled and accessible world that we humans carve out of the winter snows. Each snowfall is cleared from what is “in bounds” for human use during the winter—and the plow banks and piles of snow grow taller each time. Anything outside of that maintained boundary is by necessity off limits—unless, of course, like me you put on your snowshoes. Read on…

Never Miss a Chance for an Ecological Lesson
Sunday, 07 October 2012 00:00  |  Written by Rich Bard | Blog Entry

Fall Leaves photo by Ctd 2005 “Look at that,” I say to seven-year-old Max as we linger in the back yard on an autumn afternoon. “Those two are both maple trees. That one’s already lost almost all of its leaves, but this one has barely started to change colors. Why do you suppose that is?”

“Can you push me on the swing now?” comes the non-sequitur reply. So much for the open-minded wonderment of youth. I never even got to my other point about why maple trees lose their leaves before the oaks even start to change colors. Read on…

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Eco Tip

Buy or Make Green Gifts. No need for an orgy of conspicuous consumption at each holiday or anniversary. Show your love for the planet by making your own gift from recycled materials or giving the most valuable gifts of all—your time and caring. More tips...

Eco Quote

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. — Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732  More quotes...