Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

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28 Sep 11

Howling in Hauppauge! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

When you think of Long Island, the first animal that comes to mind is definitely not a Wolf, unless of course you are Teresa DeMaio the Founder and President of Running with the Wolves, Inc. (RWTW).  RWTW will be hosting the 8th Annual Long Island Wolf Expo this Sunday, October 2nd at the Sheraton in Hauppauge from 10am to 4:30pm.

Teresa founded RWTW over 10 years ago, which is a wildlife educational organization that teaches workshops about wolves and other wildlife.  Teresa started the annual wolf expo to raise funds for the Loki Clan Wolf Refuge Center in New Hampshire.  Loki is a place where rescued wolves and wolf dogs can live out their lives in the setting they require.  “I supported them via personal donations and then I thought it would be a great idea to have a Wolf Expo, so I could be able to have much better funding to send to them.  Our 1st Wolf Expo was so successful we continued to away to lend a hand to Loki Clan Wolf Refuge and other wolf sanctuaries we support,” said Teresa.

The Wolf Expo is about wolves, but Teresa has partnered with other wildlife rescue organizations and there will be many different wildlife exhibits and demos at the expo.  People can expect to see, well wolves of course, birds of prey, prairie dogs, desert foxes, reptiles, and a lot of other small wildlife and a beautiful Husky named Astra from Husky House rescue.  Children and adults will get to learn about the wolves and wildlife there, how they can help to protect them and support them.  Education is very important to Teresa and the other organizations there, so people will not only leave in awe of the wildlife they just witnessed in person, but also to have a new awareness about the wildlife too.

When asked, what drives you to continue your work, Teresa responded, “because of my sheer love and passion for wolves and to help educate the public about them.”  Teresa also said, “The most important part of my work is about conservation and teaching about the major role wolves have in our ecosystem.  We strive to teach the public that wolves or wolf dogs do not make good pets. Our belief is that wolves should never be pets. It’s their birthright to live in the wild.”

Teresa works closely with the STAR Foundation, located in Middle Island, which is a federally and state licensed rehab center for all kinds of wildlife from birds of prey, foxes, coyotes, farm animals and wolves.

Working also with many different wildlife rescue organizations that house wolves, Teresa gets to work with them hands on for socialization, feeding, ‘discovery time,’  this is where a wolf can be a wolf – spending much of their time running, playing and just being free.  There’s so much to learn about their behavior and habits, they change so often.  Teresa gets to work with them on a weekly basis and she finds it very rewarding, “they love to have visitors,” said Teresa.  But let’s be clear, Teresa does not own a wolf, nor have a wolf living in her house – she is happy to cuddle with her dogs, you can’t cuddle with a wolf – they are still wild.

For a full schedule of the expo click here.

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30 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Recently we hiked a trail in Manorville, Manorville Hills County Park, which is dog friendly and also has horse trails and mountain bike trails.  This path system is a relatively new addition to the Greenbelt Trail for hikers on LI.  I know what you’re thinking if you are reading this living in Nassau County – Manorville, you’re either saying, “where is that?” or “I am not driving all the way out there!”  First I would say, when you’re on this trail, you really can’t believe you’re still on Long Island – this has to be one of the hilliest trails around – boasting a 150-foot high elevation, (that’s 15 stories high folks), throughout the majority of this 6.5-mile hike we were climbing up some serious hills.  It is well worth the drive whether your 20 minutes away or and hour and 20 minutes away.  When you are at the top of the highest elevation – it’s just beautiful.

The hike will take you approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.  If you do bring your dog be sure you dog is up to a hiking a trail like this.  My dog, who is used to being walked 3 or 4 miles and going on hikes, was pretty tired ¾ of the way through, and was wiped the rest of the day! (But he was all ready for another walk the next day – damn good for an almost 10 year old dog!).

Also since this trail is right smack dab in the middle of the beautiful Pine Barren Region – make sure you wear long pants (covering your hiking boots or sneakers) and spray your pants with bug spray.  This is tick season (all over LI) and I did have to stop a few times to knock ticks of the dog – yuck, (the natural bug spray from Fetch Doggies Boutique I used on him worked pretty well), but the trails are wide enough for the most part that your not walking through brush.  Unfortunately, ticks are par for the course on any and most hikes, parks and even your own well landscaped back yard here on LI.  Be sure to check your dog thoroughly a few times during and after any hike – or even after he comes in from your own yard.

So if you are taking part of the 250-Challenge this will be a great hike to add into your challenge, knock out 6.5-miles, and have a great workout climbing those Long Island mountains! The pictures below don’t do justice to how steep some parts were.

We followed the yellow marked trail from the parking area (square yellow marks on sprayed onto trees) to the orange marked trees all the way through, (turned yellow again about ¾ way through, then back to orange) and this is a loop that will bring you back to the parking area.  We did this without a map of the trail!  However you can purchase a map from the LI Greenbelt and get directions to the park which is off of Country Road 111 (on the north bound side).

We didn’t see too much wildlife during the hike, to my surprise, some birds and a nuclear green colored bug, small lavender colored moths fluttering about, and on our way out a family of deer.

Max taking a rest during hike!

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22 Apr 11

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Earth Friendly Products for Paws

It’s Earth Day, and we don’t normally think of pet products on this day – we are usually thinking of planting, cleaning up and ways we can be more environmentally friendly as humans. Fortunately there is now a big market for earth friendly or green pet products. My own dog happens to have a few of them, and we would love to share some of our favorites – and some cats products too.

100% Biodegradable Green Doggie Bags – waste pick up bags. This is a wonderful product for so many reasons, it’s made right here in the USA. All the packaging is made from recycled materials, and the doggie pick up bags are shelf stable – meaning they are not going to degrade on your store shelf or in your car, but they will degrade in landfills, naturally when exposed to the earth’s elements and micro-organisms in the soil and leaving no harmful residues behind. They also have handy tie handles that made it is easier carry and dispose of properly. This is a wonderful product and you will feel better about picking up after your dog knowing you are using a totally green product – not just putting their waste in a regular plastic bag.

Have a kitty? Then you definitely will want to try Worlds Best Cat Litter™ made from corn!  You heard me.  Corn the wonder product – in my opinion.
The natural benefits of World’s Best Cat Litter™, is that they are a biodegradable, flushable, septic-safe and clumping cat litter that uses whole-kernel corn to deliver outstanding odor control.  Using no synthetic chemicals, clays or perfumes, it clumps quick, scoops easy, while remaining pet, people and planet friendly.  At a recent Pet Socialite event,  World’s Best Cat Litter was debuting their Lavender scented litter -  the fragrance is made of an all-natural oil blend including lavender. The oil blend does not contain any chemicals or synthetic ingredients and is derived from a plant based oil.  This product just might make the humans in your house purr!

Looking for a great way to recycle your old clothes and make your pet comfy as well? Molly Mutt came up with a fantastic idea of making a doggie duvet cover – how is it “green?” Molly Mutt diy (do it yourself) dog bed kits are an exciting new approach to keeping textiles out of landfills. Cover your existing dog bed with the molly mutt dog duvet, or fill it with the old clothes and bedding you’ve got laying around your house. They now have a mesh stuff sack to the product line, to make it as simple as grabbing old textiles, throwing it in the mesh bag, and covering it all up with your new fabulous Molly Mutt dog duvet. By “upcycling” your household leftovers, you save money and help keep textiles out of the waste cycle. They have some beautiful duvet styles to choose from to fit into any décor.

If you just got back from taking your dog on a long hike through the woods, (250 challenge), and now he needs a bath – you will want to check out TropiClean shampoos and conditioners. Made from all-natural ingredients and come in varieties like, Aloe, Berry Clean, Papaya, Kiwi, and Peach to name a few. Tropiclean bottles are made from recycled materials (PCR), post consumer resin. The sleeve labels are made from corn which makes them natural, renewable, biodegradable and 100% recyclable! They also use products and materials made right here in the USA! Not to mention the shampoos and conditioners smell wonderful too.

So while you are out shopping at your local mom & pop pet store, look for more earth friendly pet products, and do so all year long. If we all make one little change in what products we buy for our pets we will make the Earth a better place for all of us, and decrease our carbon paw prints. There are many more options out there too – so ask! Happy Earth Day!

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05 Mar 11

By Nancy E. Hassel,

The Long Island Pet Expo drew in large crowds from across LI on Saturday, March 5, 2011, and with rain in the forecast for Sunday, expects the same turnout.  There is something for every type of pet or animal lover, whether you like dogs, pot bellied pigs, turtles, snakes, parrots and other wild life – this is the best place to see everything under one roof!

If you are thinking of adding a new pet to be a member of your family – there are rescue groups from all areas of LI with pets that are available for adoption from adorable little Yorkie, cats and kittens, amazing American Pit Bull Terriers, wonderful mixed breeds, ferrets and more.  Stop by each booth and get to know your local rescues, you may just find you new best friend.

One of the sweetest, adorable Pit Bulls looking for a Furever home at the Expo.

There are also fantastic educational shows and demonstrations for kids and families alike, like the Rainforest Reptiles Shows and the Birds of Prey Program.  You will also be oohhh and ahhed watching the flyball, dancing dogs, agility dogs, and the famous poker playing dog “Jilli Dog” and her friends. The bleacher stands were packed full of families watching and cheering on the different shows.  If you love cats, there is a cat show going on at the same time – some cat breeds you may have not seen in person before.  Tons of vendors too – if you are looking to purchase pet products for your pets.

If you were not able to make it today, the Pet Expo is taking place on Sunday, March 6 as well from 10am to 6pm at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, NY.  For more details, cost and directions click here.  Be sure to pick up your complimentary copy of the ‘Pet Press’ published by the Long Island Press.

Also see Sunday’s schedule below.

SUNDAY – March 6

Dog Ring

10:30 AM       Agility & Frisbee Demonstrations by Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

11:15 AM       Dog Pals Dog Trick Show

12:00 Noon    Classic K9’s

12:45 PM       Dancing with Your Dogs

1:00 PM         Jilli Dog

1:30 PM         Agility and Flyball Demonstrations by Doggie U

and LI Road Rage

2:15 PM         Classic K9

3:00 PM         Dog Pals Dog Trick Show

3:45 PM         Dancing with Dogs

4:15 PM         Classic K9 Dog Show

5:00 PM         Agility, Flyball & Frisbee Demonstrations by  Doggie U

and LI Road Rage


11:00 AM      Rainforest Reptile Show

12:00 Noon   Petland Discounts Traveling Pet Show

12:30 PM      Birds of Prey Program

1:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

1:30 PM        Dog Pals- How to Use Feeding Time to Train your Dog

2:15 PM        Pet Safe Coalition – “Leave No Animal Behind”

3:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

3:30 PM        Petland Discounts Traveling Pet Show

4:00 PM        Birds of Prey Program

5:00 PM        Rainforest Reptile Show

Cat Ring

TICA CAT SHOW 10:00 am will continue all day until conclusion

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08 Jan 11

By Nancy E. Hassel,

There is a magical place on Long Island if you like nature, birds, and seeing wild animals up close and personal, and no it’s not the zoo, game park or sanctuary.  A nature preserve on the north shore of the South Fork is one of best places on Long Island to observe nature and have wild birds actually land in your hand.  The Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure that many Long Islanders have either never heard of or have yet to visit.  It’s beautiful in every season, but something magical happens when there is a fresh fallen snow.  Maybe it’s the fact that there are less people there and more wildlife walking around.  The birds are always very active, but in the winter they are amazing.  You will never see so many bright red cardinals in one place at one time, and for some Long Islander’s you will see birds you have never seen before at your back yard feeder.

If you are looking for something to do outside with your now cabin fevered up kids, or maybe your kids have never been this close to nature, Morton’s is definitely worth the trip whether you live 5 minutes away or an hour away.  There is no other place that I know of like it.  On any given day your can see families of deer walking around, wild turkeys who are not the least bit scared of you, bunnies, squirrels, red tailed hawks, and of course the birds: chickadees, nut hatches, blue jays, tons of cardinals, sparrows and many other species, who will literally greet you at the entrance. It’s quite a spectacle.


The first time I ever went, I was with family members and it was a freezing cold day in February of 2006, we had no idea what the place was or that we would be bombarded by birds, and followed through the trails by them.  It was really funny.  At one point we turned around and there had to be at least 30 red (male) cardinals in on tree.

Pair of Cardinals

There is a trail that leads down to the bay beach, (maybe a mile long), and there is a look out deck equipped with binoculars and the view is spectacular.  Another part of the trail loops around through the woods and you pass and pond with a deck for observing wildlife, and you will also cross over a few short wooden foot bridges.  The variety of the landscape at Morton’s is quite interesting too, from wooded trails, tall pine trees, to a swampy feel near the pond to a magnificent bay beach – there is something to see around every turn.

Snow covered trail

View from lookout deck

If you have never been, or have only visited in the summer, you may just want to pack up the kids in their winter gear and head out for a day trip.  This place will not disappoint – and wouldn’t it be nice to get those kids off of the video games for a day?

This is a nature preserve so there are rules, like no pets allowed, not even your little cute dog – leave him home.  No bicycles, and please don’t liter or take things out of the park.

Directions and all info can be found here.  More photo’s below.

Hungry little Tufted Titmouse

White Breasted Nuthatch

Black-capped Chickadee deciding which sunflower seed to go for!

Another Chickadee

Slide show here: