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City Creatures Blog

As urban populations grow, and contact with nature becomes more constricted, is our psychological and social well-being in jeopardy?  Are healthy ecological communities, biological diversity, and even wilderness compatible with urban areas?  An extension of our City Creatures project, this blog explores how cities can be remarkable places that offer opportunities for intimacy, connection, and transformation with other species, and with one another, in our shared urban habitats.  

To request guidelines for blog post submissions, please email gavin@humansandnature.org


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City Essentials: 6 Things to Pack When You Move There for the First Time

1. Today’s Forecast – The one you can only receive out in the backyard, in your bare feet (or maybe in those old garden shoes by the back door), your first cup of coffee in hand: a daily open air assessment of shifting winds, damp promises of rain in the air, and clear notes ... Read More »

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K’yak’yali (Bird, Eagle)

Olo Nelson says we can go in and see her. Nelson says he will take us in. I think I can see her through the bars, watching, unsure of the strangers here.

Deep in the heart of Zuni Pueblo land, we enter the eighteen-foot tall building only by permission of Nelson, the aviary keeper for the pueblo. ... Read More »

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Of Peregrines and People: Banding Milwaukee’s Falcons

The large falcon bears down on us with intense fury, aiming herself like a missile at our heads. Our squadron of volunteers, wearing hard hats and wielding brooms, fends off her attack. She veers away abruptly, talons menacing. Thwarted but consumed with rage, she pivots to come at us again. We had provoked her in ... Read More »

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Happily Ever After? Translocation as a Solution to Human-Wildlife Conflict

Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock! I rapidly pound on the window that looks out onto my tiny city yard, bordered by the alley. As I’m getting ready for work, I spot my current arch-enemy: a juvenile squirrel that is determined to destroy my recently-planted flower boxes. “Ha! I’ve caught him red-handed!” I think to ... Read More »

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Mind the Gap

Hi folks,

Your friendly neighborhood Peregrine/editor, here. The human Gavin Van Horn will be out of the office until July 25, so the City Creatures blog will be on temporary hiatus for the month of July. We have some strong pieces ready to go when he returns.

The blog is still open to submissions during that time.

If ... Read More »

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Home(page) On the Range?

Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site, a few miles from Comstock, TX along the Rio Grande and the Seminole/Presa Canyon

June 3-4, 2015

This past year I took a job at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York—sorry, I live “on” Long Island, as the locals say, not “in” it. I’ve learned that making a ... Read More »

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A Bird in the Hair

I am feuding with a red-winged blackbird.

Yeah, I know it seems unlikely. You think I am exaggerating. Judge for yourself.

I like to run in the mornings. My usual route takes me over a bridge that spans Salt Creek. Four times now, when crossing this bridge, a red-winged blackbird—let’s call him Bub, short, of course, for ... Read More »

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For Whom the Toad Calls

“Pleeeease.” “Pleeeease.”

“Pleeeease.” The high-pitched trill of a toad floods the night. Harmonizing with the burbling pond waters, the call proclaims that spring is here, despite cold mid-April temperatures.

I want to go inside and get warm, but he braves the cold of the pond, persistently calling to attract a hoped-for lady love. This fellow’s tireless calling ... Read More »

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The Many Dilemmas of the Practicing Scientist

Stagnating in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Georgia Avenue, I see a poster on the back of a Ride On Bus that denounces animal research. I avert my eyes. I try to focus on my pranayama practice and breathe deeply from the diaphragm. The rubber mouse on the dashboard springs to the rhythm of the idling ... Read More »

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Some Remove

We commonly attribute personal significance to objects—an ex-lovers T-shirt, for example—and, for me, some animals and plants possess a similar totemic power, calling to mind a particular emotion or experience. During a short art and writing residency in the Catskills (the Platte Clove Artists-in-Residence, run by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, NY), two ... Read More »

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