Posts from June 2011
June 15, 2011
The Frogs of Baldwin Lake
Early traveler’s accounts of visits to Rancho Santa Anita provide an interesting perspective on the property. Some are quite perfunctory, others romantic nonsense and a few are oddly laden with data whose accuracy is impossible to assess.
However, one account by Mrs. Frank Leslie published in 1877 makes a remark that is quite striking. “Returning we stopped at the little lake, literally in front of Mr. Baldwin’s door, and we were rowed out on his pretty little boat upon its moonlit waters. The shores were lined with little coves in which herons and cranes were rustling about, and a chorus of frogs came in like a hailstorm of castanets.”
Overall Mrs. Leslie’s account strikes one as accurate and the comments of an intelligent woman of the period, unusually so in fact. The scene described would be much the same today but without the boat and perhaps most strikingly, the frogs. What happened to the frogs of Baldwin Lake? A few bullfrogs make a home in the lily pools of the Tropical Forest and are occasionally heard in the evenings. Bullfrogs originally did not occur in the far West so these are probably recent introductions. Presumably like so many other aquatic animals at the Arboretum they were left to make a new life here by their former owners smuggled in by purse backpack or some other container.
When Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published the world was startled by the idea of a world in which birdsong was no longer a part of life in Spring and galvanized the conservation movement. However, we now are apparently living in a world in which the sound of frogs is increasingly absent except in more remote areas.
Apparently the cause is the Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis known as Bd. The Amphibian Ark website discusses the fungus in some detail. While we have no certain knowledge that this is the cause for the absence or frogs in Baldwin Lake, the fungus has decimated amphibian populations world wide.
What, if anything, can be done to restore amphibians to Baldwin Lake remains to be seen. Perhaps, resistant animals will survive and repopulate our remaining wetlands. It is more likely that amphibians will continue to decline. Surviving individuals are infected with the fungus but somehow manage to survive in spite of the infection.
June 25, 2011
News from the Library
Hello all and welcome newcomers:
Many thanks to Jessica Holada, Rayma Harrison, Nancy Beygijanian, Holly Langdon, Ashley Sparks, and Shannon Delaney, our catalogers, who are making lots of items available. This new book list highlights brand new books in the Library as well as great hurdles working through our backlog. Here is a link to the new books (both children’s and others, 388!), magazine articles and websites we’ve cataloged recently.
To sort for just the “brand new” books pick “Descending Order” and “B1 Year”. The sort isn’t perfect, but gives you some since of the new books we’ve added.
If you are interested in any of the items on the lists, just let me know and I can help get them for you.
If you really want to see Susan’s Wacky World of Plants check out the Magazine Articles. That is where the cutting edge knowledge happens.
Here is the list of upcoming books for July-December 2011 for the Reading the Western Landscape Book Group.
Our current book for the July meeting is Mary Austin’s Land of Little Rain.
Here is a link to the books and questions we have finished.
Tell your friends so we can really get this group going.
The Bookworms story time themes and dates for the next six months are below.
The story time is recommended for children ages 3-8.
This is a free program for members and free with admission for non-members.
All sessions will be held Wednesdays at 10 am.
July 7 and 20 The Californians
August 3 and 17 Magnify and What do you See?
September 7 and 21 Working Worms
October 5 and 19 The Plant Children See the World
November 2 and 16 From a Tiny Acorn
December 7 and 21 Vegetables Taste Better Cold
The Arboretum Library hours are:
Open Tuesday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Open Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Open Sundays, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Remember we are circulating to Arboretum staff and members. The circulation period for books is 3 weeks with 2 renewals if no one else wants the item. You can renew by e-mail, phone or in person. The circulation period for current magazines is 3 days with 2 renewals if no one else wants the item.
Our Botanical Information Consultant (for plant advice) is available Tuesday-Saturday, Frank.McDonough@Arboretum.org, or 626-821-3239.
For up to the minute Library News, check us out on the Arboretum’s Facebook Page.
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