Southern sea otters were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970’s.
Their population is returning to the California coast and with it, scientists are able to gain a better understanding of their important role in the kelp and seagrass ecosystems they inhabit. Turns out the cute sea otters help keep seagrass healthy even in an environment overloaded with excess nutrients from runoff.
The grass is always greener! March marks Seagrass Awareness Month, a time to recognize the importance of healthy seagrass beds in maintaining our ocean’s health.
In places like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, eelgrass – a type of seagrass – provides a primary food source for a variety of marine animals, and protection for others. In addition, seagrasses can help filter pollutants out of the water and prevent erosion, keeping the water column healthy and clear.
Here, otters raft together in Elkhorn Slough, a tidal salt marsh in Monterey Bay, where they provide a critical service to eelgrass beds. Otters help protect these precious grasses by munching on predators like crabs that would otherwise threaten eelgrass beds.
What will you do to make like an otter and protect seagrasses?
The most important thing to remember when working with anything preternatural is Trust Your Gut. Magic is a science of instinct and association. Your eyes and ears are rarely used, navigate by what feels right.
BASIC CONCEPTS TO REMEMBER
1 - The older something is the more attuned it is. For example if a mage has a choice between working with a three year old tarot deck and a thirty year old deck, the older one will always produce better results.
2 - Natural materials are the best mediums for energy. Found wood, stone, feathers, twine. The less people who have touched it the better. I have generally found fallen Elkhorn to be the best readily available material. No human Ivory. You know why.
3 - You work in terms of sunrises. A sunrise is powerful unraveling force, most lesser enchantments will only last one or two sunrises before they have to be rebuilt. This can be designed around but requires extra time and energy.
PROTECT YA NECK
Your eraser is running water. Running water grounds most energies. Always have a bucket nearby.
If you are trying to talk to something, cover your face and be polite. Never say your full name.
Silver for the curses, lead for the spectral, iron for the fae, fire for anything that burns, faith for the demonic (a cross only works for a Christian, a star of david for a Jew, etc)
Magic is a study of balance. All comes at a price.
Photo taken by Theodore Roosevelt himself, of his Elkhorn Ranch veranda.
After his wife and mother died in 1884, only hours apart, Roosevelt became depressed. He moved back to the Dakota territories, where he had built his Maltese Cross Cabin the previous year. Finding the location too busy for his taste, in June 1884 he laid claim to a second ranch, which he called Elkhorn. He left the bulk of the everyday work to his managers and hands, devoting his own time mostly to hunting and writing.
On a chilly morning, photographer Susan Taylor waited more than an hour to capture the perfect pastel sunrise at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. “It’s been my mission and passion to support and photograph America’s parks and public lands since I was young teen,” Susan said. The park honors President Theodore Roosevelt, who fell in love with the rugged landscape of grasslands, forests and rivers and started a cattle ranch at Elkhorn Ranch, which you can still visit today. Photo courtesy of Susan Taylor.
Nyleen Kay Marshall (4) was having a picnic with her family in the Elkhorn Mountains, in Montana, when she disappeared. It was June 25th, 1983, and was last seen around 4 pm, while playing with some other kids. Right before she vanished, a man in a purple jogging suit was seen in the area, but it’s impossible to say if he’s connected to the disappearance.
Nyleen has never been found, but the story that followed her vanishing is a harrowing and surprising one. Three years after she went missing, a letter arrived from Wisconsin from a man who claimed that Nyleen was with him –he referred to her as Kay– and that she was loved and being taken care of. He said he had a good income and was homeschooling the girl. This person also shared details about the case that hadn’t been made public.
Also, investigators received several anonymous calls from a man claiming to be the one who had sent the letter, and they were traced to different public phones in Edgerton, Wisconsin. They claimed the content of the letter and the calls indicated possible sexual abuse against Nyleen, but they haven’t shared why. The person who contacted them has never been identified.
In 1990, Unsolved Mysteries did an episode about Nyleen’s case and someone called saying they believed one of their schoolmates was her. However, it turned out the girl was Monica Bonilla, another missing child that had been abducted by her father in 1982. She was reunited with her mother.
In another tragic twist, in 1995, Nyleen’s mother Nancy was raped and murdered in Mexico.
The Beast of Bray Road is a cryptid first sighted in the late 1980s on a rural road outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin. It is described as a dog-like creature, promptly giving it the alternative nickname “The Werewolf of Wisconsin”. The first werewolf sighting to go public occurred (perhaps fittingly) on October 31, 1999. A young woman named Doristine Gipson, from nearby Elkhorn, was driving along Bray Road near Delavan. As she neared the intersection of Hospital Road, she leaned over to change the station on her radio when she felt her right front tire jump off the ground as if she had hit something. Concerned, she stopped the car and got out to see what it was. Finding nothing on the roadway behind her car, she began to look around. As she peered into the darkness, she suddenly saw a dark, hairy form racing toward her. She did not see what the figure looked like from the distance at which she was standing (about 50 feet) but she did see the figure was quite bulky and she would later compare the form to someone who works out continually with weights. Startled by the oncoming form, and by the sounds of its “heavy feet”, she quickly retreated to her car. She jumped in and was attempting to drive away when the beast jumped onto her trunk. Luckily, it was too wet for the creature to hang on and it fell off onto the pavement. Doristine returned to the site later on that evening with a young girl that she was taking out trick-or-treating and saw a large form on the side of the road. When she saw the creature moving, she ordered the child to lock her door and drove quickly away from the scene.
The Beast of Bray Road: Tailing Wisconsin's Werewolf
The small town of Elkhorn, Wisconsin made national headlines in the early 1990s with reports of a strange, hairy, wolf-headed creature that walked upright and seemed unafraid of man as it stalked the cornfields just outside of town. Journalist Linda Godfrey dubbed the canid sensation “The Beast of Bray Road” after the location of the first reported sightings. Two decades and hundreds of nationwide sightings of similar creatures later, no one has ever proven whether the beast is a flesh-and-blood canine or will-o-the-wisp, demon dog, or a magical werewolf. But the author provides plenty to chew on, with sightings of related creatures, Native American connections, historic lore and a keen-eyed look at possible explanations. Once fully digested, this book just may induce readers everywhere to keep a more careful eye out as they travel lonely country roads after dark.