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How can an octopus be so colorful? 🐙 🌈

Many cephalopods have special cells in their skin tissue called chromatophores, which enable them to change color rapidly. A part of their neuromuscular system, these cells receive signals from the environment than an octopus can use to inform color change. Chromatophores can help octopodes like this one in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary blend in with their surroundings or flash a warning to predators! 

(Photo: NURC/UNCW/NOAA)

Are you excited for World Turtle Day? From tiny, cute baby turtles to massive 1,500 pound leatherbacks, these fascinating animals can be found in almost every ecosystem around the world. Carrying their shells, they’re at home wherever they roam. Human intervention has threatened some turtle species, so please make sure you don’t disturb or distract them, especially nesting sea turtles. Photo of green sea turtles at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge by Daniel W. Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Started going through my head right after I saw the election results last week…

Be brave and be kind.

-The National, “Baby, We’ll Be Fine”

Kuretake brush pen, Winsor & Newton alcohol markers, stencil, and Micron pens on an atlas page.

Many Glacier is considered the heart of Glacier National Park in Montana. Massive mountains, active glaciers, sparkling lakes, hiking trails and abundant wildlife make this a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Photo from last summer at Swiftcurrent Lake courtesy of Tiffany Nguyen.

Be prepared for sunrise splendor at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. It’s a thrill watching the sun paint the sky from the park’s Pinnacle Overlook. Here you have views of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. On clear days, you can even see the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina – a sight that’s 100 miles away! Photo by Volunteer Harold Jerrell, National Park Service.

Happy Winter Solstice, 2016
Photo made while standing at the foot of Rainbow Mountain, Mount Wilson in the distance with the sun about to dip behind Oak Creek Canyon and in the foreground, glowing native plant Desert Needlegrass.


Rainbow Mountains, Sandstone Escarpment
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Spring Mountains Range, Las Vegas Nevada

Voltron Birthdays

Hunk: January 13 (National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, National Drinking Straw Day, National Fruitcake Toss Day)

Shiro: February 29 (National Leap Day)

Pidge: April 3 (National Chocolate Mousse Day, World Party Day, National Find a Rainbow Day, National Tweed Day)

Lance: July 28 (National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, National Get Gnarly Day, National Talk in an Elevator Day, National System Administrator Appreciation Day)

Keith: TBA