Monday, March 25, 2013

Kayak fishing growing in popularity Article from The Palm Beach Post

Here's an Article from The Palm Beach Post "Kayak Fishing Growing In Popularity"

We too, are experiencing growth in Kayak fishing on the Yellow River which runs through our log cabin resort and campground, The Natural Gait, located in NE Iowa.

The Yellow River, which empties into the Mississippi River above Marquette, IA, has long been a favorite kayaking spot for families, often stopping along beaches and shoreline to fish.

Join The Natural Gait for our 4th Annual Kayak Event on July 20, 2013 for Kayaking, Music, Food and good old fashioned fun or try Kayak Fishing!  The Natural Gait 4th Annual Kayak Event 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

House "Sodsaver" Measure Would Protect Native Prairie Habitat

Protect Our Prairies Act would limit taxpayer-funded incentives to destroy native grasslands

02-14-2013 // Aviva Glaser

Representatives Noem (R-SD) and Walz (D-MN) today introduced legislation to save America’s grasslands through a national sodsaver provision. The Protect Our Prairies Act, which has the support of eight bipartisan co-sponsors, is common-sense legislation that would reduce taxpayer-funded incentives to destroy vital grassland resources.
Aviva Glaser, Legislative Representative for Agriculture Policy at National Wildlife Federation, said today:
America is at risk of losing one our most iconic ecosystems. Native prairies, along with the wildlife that are dependent upon them, are disappearing at an alarming rate. The Protect Our Prairies Act will help protect this vital resource by promoting management practices that conserve native grasslands.
“Without a national sodsaver provision, we will continue to see native prairie habitats converted to cropland, despite the fact that this vulnerable land is often marginal, highly erodible, or prone to flooding. It’s time we get rid of the perverse incentives that encourage farmers to destroy native prairie for marginal financial gain.
“With this legislation we can protect vital habitat for declining wildlife and save taxpayer dollars while ensuring that some the riskiest land for crop production is kept in grazing use. It is critical that the House Agriculture Committee include this national sodsaver provision in the 2013 Farm Bill.”

The Natural Gait will be at CANOECOPIA The world's largest paddlesport exposition! March 8 - 10, 2013

The Natural Gait will be at CANOECOPIA The world's largest paddlesport exposition!  March 8 - 10, 2013

March 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2013
TNG - Booth F1

The Natural Gait at

119 Alliant Energy Way
Madison, WI

Show Hours
Friday, March 8th 4-9pm
Saturday, March 9th 9-6pm
Sunday, March 10th 10-5pm

See us at booth F1 for your discount!
Can't make it to Canoecopia?

Make sure to join us for the 
4th Annual
July 20th (at the Lower Gait)
Music, Food, Fun, Surprises

Keep an Eye on the Events Page
on our website for updated info
on all of our events!

Start Planning Your Spring or Summer Vacation Now!

Make memories with a trip to The Natural Gait.
Call NOW and make your reservations!

Howard and Donna Bright
1878 Old Mission Drive
Harpers Ferry, IA 52146
877-776-2208 or email us at

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Natural Gait Campground Hosts Wanted

The Natural Gait Campground Hosts Wanted

May - October
Two week minimum commitment

As a campground host, you serve as a "live-in" ambassador for The Natural Gait facility.

* Set an example by being model campers
* Practice good housekeeping
* Obey all campground rules and regulations
* Greet visitors and hand out information
* Clean campsites & pick up litter
* Replace restroom supplies
* Let park staff know about potential problems
* Have your own RV or trailer
* Like people and be courteous, outgoing and helpful to people of all ages
* Physically capable of completing duties
* willing to volunteer varied days and hours

Horses are Welcome!

For more information call 563.535.7314 or email:

The Natural Gait, LLC
The Natural Gait Website
1878 Old Mission Drive
Harpers Ferry, Iowa 52146

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

News Release Global Great Backyard Bird Count Shatters Records

February 21, 2013--From Antarctica to Afghanistan, bird watchers from 103 countries made history in the first global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), February 15–18, 2013. In the largest worldwide bird count ever, bird watchers set new records, counting more than 25.5 million birds on 120,000+ checklists in four days—and recording 3,144 species, nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species. The data will continue to flow in until March 1.

Building on the success of the GBBC in the United States and Canada for the past 15 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, and Bird Studies Canada opened the count to the rest of the world for the first time this year, powered by eBird, a system that enables people to report birds globally in real-time and explore the results online. Bird watchers are invited to keep counting every day of the year at
Common Redpoll by Missy Mandel, Ontario, 2013 GBBC
Cornell Lab director Dr. John Fitzpatrick says:
“This is a milestone for citizen science in so many respects—number of species, diversity of countries involved, total participants, and number of individual birds recorded. We hope this is just the start of something far larger, engaging the whole world in creating a detailed annual snapshot of how all our planet’s birds are faring as the years go by.”

Audubon Chief Scientist Gary Langham:
“People who care about birds can change the world,” said Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham. “That’s why this year’s record-setting global participation is so exciting. Technology has made it possible for people everywhere to unite around a shared love of birds and a commitment to protecting them.”

Other Key Preliminary Findings: 
Top 5 Most Reported Species (reported on highest number of checklists): Northern Cardinal; Dark-eyed Junco; Mourning Dove; Downy Woodpecker; House Finch
Top 5 Most Common Birds (most individuals reported): Snow Goose; Canada Goose; Red-winged Blackbird; European Starling; American Coot
Finch Invasion: A massive number of northern finch species moved into the U.S. including the Common Redpoll, reported in a record 36 states. Scientists believe these periodic movements are related to natural fluctuations in crops of conifer cones and other seeds in Canada.
Hurricane Sandy: The weather system that caused Sandy's landfall also blew some European birds to North America and evidence of this is still showing up in GBBC results. The colorful, crested Northern Lapwing was reported in Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts during the GBBC.
GBBC First: A Red-flanked Bluetail has wintered at Queens Park, Vancouver, and was also reported for the GBBC’s first record ever. This British Columbia bird has been drawing bird watchers from all over the U.S. and Canada hoping to see this rarity. This little thrush is one of the only birds in the world with a striking blue tail and is native to Asia; the other GBBC report of this species this year was from Japan.
For more information, visit

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part thanks to founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.


Pat Leonard, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 607-254-2137,

David J. Ringer, Director, Media Relations, National Audubon Society, Office 212-979-3062 / Mobile 601-642-7058,

Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada,  250-493-3393 (Pacific Coast time),

Article From Great Backyard Bird Count Website

Bird Watching You can watch the birds at The Natural Gait from where ever you might be setting or standing! The birds know they are welcome and safe at The Natural Gait. You can find Bald Eagles soaring above and Mourning Doves walking under the feeders! Many species of birds call The Natural Gait home. Visit Our Website The Natural Gait Birding for More info on Bird Watching

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

[Wren Song] 90 Article The Travelling Wildflife Gardener

What a week! I think I had a very successful talk at the Longwood Gardens Today’s Horticulture Symposium on Friday. I got a lot of positive feedback from both the conference organizers as well as many audience members.

I also got to meet for the first time in person my team member Suzanne Dingwell. I’ve known her for years “online” but it was so exciting to get to spend some time with her during this conference.

And I shared a wonderful lunch with one of my biggest fans, Damon Morris and other members of the Mount Cuba Center staff. All in all a wonderful day!

I’m getting ready for my grand birding adventure in Trinidad and Tobago, such an exciting way to spend my 20th anniversary, but this week I also got invited to participate in a FAM tour to Guatemala, another wonderful birding adventure in such a beautiful place! (A FAM tour is when the tourist bureau or other organizations bring you to their country to familiarize you with the many wonderful things to see so that you’ll help to promote them).

This particular tour will be led by some of the best birders in Guatemala where I’ll get to see many of “our” birds in their winter habitats, as well as get to know many of the gorgeous birds who reside in Guatemala year round. I am so excited! Two tropical birding vacations in less than a month. Yippee!!!

And many, many thanks to the nature angels who have donated so many wonderful books and other supplies to the classroom I’ve adopted to teach them about birds, nature, and other wildlife. You have truly blessed my life as well as enriched the lives of the students in my class (an inner city 4th through 6th grade special assistance classroom who have very few resources for learning. Thank You!!!

By Carole Sevilla Brown
From the Ecosystem Gardening Website

Many People come to The Natural Gait to Enjoy Bird Watching If You Would Like to Be 1 Please Click on Our Website Bird Watching at The Natural Gait

Many people come to The Natural Gait to enjoy bird watching

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wildlife Diversity News Iowa DNR Wasps, Crayfish, Alligators & Crocodiles Facts

Edited by Erica Eaves
Wildlife Diversity News

A Publication of the Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program

Wasps Have Good Hygiene
As humans, we wash up or use hand sanitizer when we feel we might be in a dirty environment. As it turns out, Emerald Cockroach Wasps care about keeping clean, too. Mother wasps will lay one egg on a cockroach- the parasitized insect will become  the larva’s first meal.  As we all know, cockroaches can end up in some pretty grimy places. So to make sure their food source is good to eat, the larva will secrete and coat the cockroach in an antimicrobial liquid. After essentially “sanitizing” their food, the larva can
be sure there’s no danger of fungi, viruses, or bacteria.

Crayfish Suffering From Chytrid Fungus Too?
There has been quite a buzz in the conservation world over the last few decades about a deadly disease-causing fungus. Chytrid  fungus has been responsible for the extinction of more than 300 frog and other amphibian species. There are still many mysteries surrounding this fungus, but a recent study has brought scientists one step closer to understanding why this pathogen is spelling out disaster for amphibians worldwide. Results suggest that crayfish  can also become infected and will act as a reservoir for the
disease– allowing the fungus to persist in water bodies until its preferred amphibian host is present. Crayfish populations suffer some fatalities, but survivors will carry the fungus. This could explain the rapid spread of the pathogen to other water bodies as crayfish are commonly transported as bait, food, or pets.

Alligators and Crocodiles Have a Sensitive Side
These reptiles are dotted with tiny raised black spots. In alligators, these bumps are mostly concentrated on their head, jaws, and mouth– about 4,000 in total. Crocodiles have even more; in addition to being located on their head, bumps are found covering the rest of their bodies. These  bumps have long been known as “integumentary sensory organs”, and although there was much speculation about their function, their real purpose was only recently revealed. A study done by a student at Vanderbilt University demonstrated that these bumps are insanely sensitive– capable of detecting the tiniest of pressure changes. Reasons for being this touchy-feely? Scientists suspect it aids in locating prey, helps young emerge from their shells, and allows the mother to carefully shelter her young inside her powerful jaws.

For More Information Visit Iowa Department of Natural Resources

For The perfect place for a Nature Getaway Come Visit us at The Natural Gait Where nature plays and your heart'll want to stay forever!

News Release: Great Backyard Bird Count Goes Global Feb. 15-18

Bird watchers worldwide invited to participate online

February 5, 2013—For the first time, anyone anywhere in the world with Internet access can participate in the 16th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) February 15-18. Participants simply watch birds at any location for at least 15 minutes, tally the numbers of each species they see, and report their tallies online at The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

This year, anyone visiting the GBBC website will be able to see bird observations pouring in from around the world and contribute their own tallies. Global participation will be made possible thanks to eBird, a real-time online checklist program that the Cornell Lab and Audubon are integrating into the GBBC for the first time this year. The GBBC is open to anyone of any skill level and welcomes bird observations from any location, including backyards, national parks, gardens, wetlands, and urban landscapes. The four-day count typically receives sightings from tens of thousands of people reporting more than 600 bird species in the United States and Canada alone.

"We're eager to see how many of the world's 10,240 bird species will be reported during the count this year," said Cornell Lab director John Fitzpatrick. "We're looking forward to this historic snapshot of birds that that will be reported from around the world. We need as many people as possible to help build the wealth of data that scientists need to track the health of bird populations through time."

Participants will be able to view what others are seeing on interactive maps and contribute their tallies for ongoing bird research and conservation efforts. For the first time, participants will also be able to upload their counts from the field using the eBird BirdLog app for Apple or Android smartphones. To celebrate the new global reach of the count, developers of the eBird BirdLog app are offering regional versions of the app for just  99 cents through February 18. Learn more

Just how big is this year's irruption of northern finches and other species such as the Red-breasted Nuthatch? GBBC reports will help define the answer. Photo by Christine Haines, 2012 GBBC. "This count is so much fun because anyone can take part, whether you are an expert, novice, or feeder watcher," said Gary Langham, Audubon’s Chief Scientist. "Invite new birders to join and share the experience. Once you get involved, you can continue with eBird year round."

"The popularity of the Great Backyard Bird Count grows each year," said Dick Cannings, Senior Projects Officer at Bird Studies Canada, "and with the new features, participation will be even more exciting."

Participating is easy. To learn more about how to join the count, get bird ID tips, plus downloadable instructions, web buttons, and flyers, visit The count also includes a photo contest and a prize drawing for participants who enter at least one bird checklist online. Portions of the GBBC site are also now available in Spanish at

The Great Backyard Bird Count is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

You Can watch the birds at The Natural Gait from where ever you might be setting or standing!  The birds know they are welcome and safe at The Natural Gait.  You can find Bald Eagles soaring above and Mourning Doves walking under the feeders!  Many species of birds call The Natural Gait Home.  Visit Our Website at