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Plant of the Month:
Bristlecone Pine


Tide Pools

Home:
Links to Animals

Quiz: Test Your Knowledge!


Wildlife Viewing

Home:
Links to Plants and Animals

Plant of the Month:
Bristlecone Pine

Quiz: What Animal or Plant Are You?

Quiz: What Celtic Tree Are You?


Ocean Animal Database

Fun Facts About More Than 56 Animals


General Information

Home

About this Site and Interesting Links

About This Site

The purpose of this site is to inspire visitors of all ages, but especially children, to view and study nature. The site has 3 main focuses: a description of California tide pools and the unique creatures found there, profiles of the life and symbolism of more than 115 selected animals and plants found primarily in California and Nevada, and a database of facts about ocean animals.

The site is written and designed by myself, Sherry Weaver Smith. I work as a grant writer for a science education nonprofit, and I am a Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry in 2008. I am also an at-home mother to a girl born in the fall of 2003. My husband and our daughter live in California. My husband participates in the site by sharing the photography duties and generally putting up with my quest to hike or drive to a variety of strange locations to find wildlife that may or may not be there at the time. Our daughter now goes along with us though her happy talking often scares the animals.

Previously I worked in product management for a healthcare database product, and earlier in my career, worked for a non-profit involved in assisting street children in the Philippines.

Published Poetry

I have written two poetry collections, a full-length one for sale and a free micro-chapbook:

Land Shapes: Selected Haiku Poemsavailable for purchase at Richer Resources Publications

Charing Cross available for free at the Origami Poems Project

I have written the following poems appearing in publications below:

"Daily Breath: Hospital, the Philippines, 1995," in Arizona Literary Magazine 2008 Winning Contest Entries, available for purchase at Amazon

Haiku, "morning fog," and "forest path" in World Haiku Review, August 2010

Haiku, "comet tail," in World Haiku Review, January 2010

Skating haiku in Mariposa, Spring 2013

Haibun, "Chambered Nautilus" in Haibun Today, March 2010 edition

"Imprint," in the January 2010 edition of The Seventh Quarry, Swansea, Wales, UK

"Chain Link Fence," in California Quarterly, Fall 2009

"Forest Children" and "An Absence of Landmarks" in Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine (web edition), the Winter 2009 edition

"Fairy Tale of Manila," in To Topos: Poetry International. Poetry and Poverty Edition, Fall 2008, Oregon State University

Rosary beads haiku in Mariposa, Fall 2009

Snowy dusk haiku in Mariposa, Spring 2009

Two haiku in the Seventh Annual Ukiah Haiku Festival Winners, an anthology, Ukiah, CA

Sakura blossom haiku, an Honourable Mention winner in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2009

"Crossing Grasslands," in California Quarterly, Fall 2008

Wildflower haiku in Mainichi Daily News, the English version of the Mainichi Shimbun in Japan

"Four Blackbirds" in Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Volume 29, #2, Long Island, NY

"Salvage" in In Our Own Words, Burning Bush Publications, Santa Rosa, CA

"Homage, Panmunjon, South Korea" in Through the Eyes of Many: An Anthology, Livermore, CA

Three haiku about the Raiders football team in the Contra Costa Times

Two haiku about trick-or-treating in the Contra Costa Times

"Failing to Document You" in The High Plains Register, Cheyenne, WY, 2008

"early May morning" and "tin houses and mud paths," two haiku in Sixth Annual Ukiah Haiku Festival Winners, an anthology, Ukiah, CA

"Prospecting in the River's Valley," in The Gathering 9, the anthology of the Ina Coolbirth Circle, Concord, CA, available for purchase at this link.

"Shades of a Landscape" in The High Plains Register, Cheyenne, WY, 2007

"Beneath Bent Pines" in Benicia Historical Museum Anthology: Love Poems Honoring an Early California Romance, Benicia, CA, 2007

Cemetery garden haiku in The Heron's Nest, a haiku journal, online, September 2007, print, March 2008

"Embarcadero" in Monterey Poetry Review, Monterey, CA, Winter 2006

"Floating Palmettos" and "How the Wind Found Its Story" in Unbound: An Anthology, Livermore, CA, 2007

"Mother's Day in a Sutter Creek Churchyard" in Remember the Future: An Anthology, Livermore, CA, 2006

Writing Contest Awards

I have placed in the following poetry competitions:

Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry, 2008, for "Daily Breath: Hospital, the Philippines, 1995," a first-prize poem winner in the Arizona Authors Association annual contest

Charlene Villella Award for Poetry, 2010, for "Six Houses Around the World," and 1st place, short poem, Pleasanton Poetry & Prose Festival, for "Fishing," 2nd place, short poem, for "The Blue of Herons and Lizards," and 1st Honorable Mention, long poem, for "Imprint"

First Place, California State Poetry Society monthly contest, Experimental Poetry, for "Chain Link Fence"

First Place, Las Positas Anthology Annual Poetry Contest (2008) for "Homage, Panmunjon, South Korea"

First Place, Left Coast Eisteddfod (2009) for "Imprint"

The Charlene Villella Award for Poetry, tied for first place with "Grove at Mission Santa Ines," the Pleasanton Poetry, Prose and Arts Festival (CA)

Third Prize, the Dancing Poetry Festival (2008) held at the Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco, for "Grove at Mission Santa Ines"

Third Place, Modern Category, for "blue leaves" haiku and Honorable Mention, All Topics Category, for "thresholds" haiku, Ukiah Haiku Festival (2009)

Honourable Mention for my sakura blossom haiku in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival Haiku Invitational 2009

Honorable Mention, the Burning Bush Poetry Prize, for "Salvage, Aid Worker Report, Tondo, Manila, the Philippines"

1st Honorable Mention, Journeys category, Ina Coolbrith Circle Poetry Contest, 2009, for "A Crossing in Manila"

5th Honorable Mention, California category, Ina Coolbrith Circle Poetry Contest 2009, for "Self-Storage"

Second Place, Monthly Shiki Kukai, for my haiku about harp song. This haiku later placed 12th overall for the year out of around 1,000 haiku.

First Place, "About Ukiah" category, Ukiah Haiku Festival (2008), for "early May morning"

Honorable Mention, Traditional Haiku category, Ukiah Haiku Festival (2008), for "tin houses and mud paths"

1st Honorable Mention, California Category, Ina Coolbrith Circle (Fall 2008) for "Holiday in the Mojave"

Best of Show, Gold Award, Alameda County Fair (2007), for "Failing to Document You"

Silver Award, Alameda County Fair (2013), for "Congo Journey"

Silver Award, Alameda County Fair (2013), for "Water for the Banyan Tree"

Second Place, California State Poetry Society Haiku/Tanka Competition, July 2007

Silver Award, Alameda County Fair (2007), for "Jewel Box Ballerina"

Silver Award, Alameda County Fair (2006), for "How the Wind Found Its Story"

Honorable Mention, Alameda County Fair (2008) for "An Absence of Landmarks"

Honorable Mention, Alameda County Fair (2009) for "A Crossing in Manila"

2nd Honorable Mention, California Category, Ina Coolbrith Circle (Fall 2006) for "Embarcadero"

1st Honorable Mention, Journeys Category, Ina Coolbrith Circle (Fall 2006) for "To Reach San Rafael"

2nd Honorable Mention, California Category, Ina Coolbrith Circle (Fall 2005) for "Mother's Day in a Sutter Creek Churchyard"

Website Award

The Busy Educator Award
http://www.glavac.com

Awarded in August 2004 by www.glavac.com to this site for serving as useful resource for Busy Educators

Pieces Published on Other Sites

I have written the following pieces on other sites.

"Sedona, Arizona: Chapel of the Holy Cross": A short essay regarding our family's travel to a "place of the spirit" published by EnVisionChurch

Four Tools for Science Fair Success
This article profiles the successful science fair programs at two schools. It appears in Science and Children, a journal of the National Science Teachers Association that circulates amongst 20,000+ elementary school teachers. Membership in NSTA is required for viewing.

Teacher's Guide to Science Projects
This guide helps teachers to guide their students in completing inquiry-based projects while they simultaneously plan easy-to-organize science expos. The guide appears on the website of Science Buddies, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing tools for teachers, students, and parents to achieve science fair success.

"Cemetery Garden Haiku"
This issue of the The Heron's Nest Haiku Journal contains my first published haiku. I write mostly free verse, but I have become very interested in trying to write haiku. I lived in Japan in the early 1990s, and I love the spare beauty of haiku. However, I always struggle to rein in my tendency to be verbose!

"Embarcadero"
This issue of the Monterery Poetry Review contains one of my poems and a short biography.

"Twelve-Inch Hike"
A description of my daughter's and my "hike" in a 12-inch circle, submitted to Gary Bogue's nature column in the San Ramon Valley Times and received a hummingbird book prize

"Snowy Art from Foam Peanuts"
My contest-winning craft idea posted at Funplaydates.com

"Is Your Baby Crawling Yet?"
This article is the "All About Baby" feature on the Mommy Tales website and encourages parents to discover their babies' personalities rather than focusing on milestones.

"Creating an Effective Index"
This article, published in the Devil Mountain News, summarizes a presentation regarding indexing made by Nancy Mulvany to the East Bay Chapter of the Society of Technical Communicators.

"Satisfaction Survey Results"
This chart, published in the Devil Mountain News, presents results of a satisfaction survey conducted by the East Bay Chapter of the Society of Technical Communicators.

"2007 Press Release Regarding Celtic and Nature Advent Calendar"
This press release, picked up by Catholic PR Wire, publicizes my site's Celtic and Nature Advent Calendar.

"Advent Candle Craft Idea"
Enhance the meaning of Advent with this simple, inexpensive craft and activity published on Catholicmom.com.

"Essay Regarding a Special Christmas Ornament"
A piece about a modest bell ornament that honors my Uncle David. Appeared in the Contra Costa Times, December 2006

Interesting Links

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/jollygreengranny/index.html
A photographic diary of wildlife in a small village in England. Finely-detailed photography and frequent updates.

http://www.earth-cards.com
Website for a company that produces nature cards featuring crisp, colorful photography and fascinating facts regarding California wildlife. Definitely useful to those of us trying to identify a bird, the site showcases photos of approximately 40 birds, and in many cases, there are up to five photos of each bird.

http://www.glavac.com
A guide for busy educators, both professional educators and parents, to the resources of the World Wide Web. The site features educational website and product reviews.

http://www.wildlifehebrides.com
Site dedicated to the wildlife of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The wildlife top ten section profiles island creatures such as the corncrake (a bird with a haunting call), and the red deer.

http://www.redrockcanyon.blm.gov/default.asp
Site focused on the Red Rock Canyon area a short drive from Las Vegas. Red Rock Canyon is an accessible area to begin to discover the Mojave Desert.

http://www.seaotters.org/
Information on sea otter biology and conservation at this offical site for Friends of the Sea Otter, an organization founded by one of my idols, California conservationist Margaret Wentworth Owings.

http://www.morro-bay.net/birds/
The official site for the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, held every January in Morro Bay, CA, on the Central Coast of California. I have attended this festival 4 years in a row, and the field trips were outstanding, enabling me to see my first Mountain Plovers, Burrowing Owl, Brant Geese, and others.

http://www.nature.net/
Friendly forums regarding topics such as birdwatching, "name that animal," reptiles and amphibians, and others. I have posted many identification-related and other questions here, and the community is helpful and friendly.

Designed and written by Sherry Weaver Smith; last modified 1/31/10.