June 22nd marks the 2013 Kawnivore, a 34 mile canoe and kayak race on the Kansas River from Topeka toLawrence. The event will begin with a le mans start at 9:00 a.m. at the Topeka Coffer Dam (river mile 87) and end at theKU Rowing Boathouse (river mile 53). Savor the final miles of the upper Kaw with channel-hunting, sandbar-dodging and snag-scouting all the while supporting Friends of the Kaw.
Registration is open and can be completed online at www.kawpaddler.com. T-shirts, goodie bags, and post-race meals are provided to all participants. Trophies will be given to all 1st through 3rd place finishers. A handmade Thetis Paddles single blade paddle, an Epic double blade paddle and other prizes are available drawing items to all racers.
If you’re not interested in competing, feel free to come watch the start and finish. Post-race meals are alsoavailable to non-racers at a suggested minimum $5 donation. If you’re interested in volunteering with the event, contact Christina Ruiz at [email protected].
Sometimes when it rains, it pours. This time, it’s a shower of bird books for youngsters.
The latest entry is the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS BIRD GUIDE of NORTH AMERICAby Jonathan Alderfer (National Geographic, 2013). This is an introduction to 100 fascinating birds ofNorth America, organized by region – e.g., eastern, western, southern – and by habitat – e.g., back-yard, city, farm, beach, swamp, river, desert.
Given the limited length of the book – 176 pages – the organization is well done. And the individual species profiles not only have the requisite categories of description, voice, food, habitat, and range (with maps), but also clever factoids on everything from diet, to history, to nesting, display, and preservation.
If the organization is well done, the presentation is less so. The pages are loud, busy, and ultra-bright, with background colors – e.g. yellow, orange, and red – that almost scream. How can the subtleties of some bird colors compete when the background is so bold? Photos of Bushtit, California Towhee, and American Dipper almost get lost.
This is not the author’s fault, however. This design is the pattern for just about all the National Geographic Kids books, be they little volumes on “Weird but True,” “National Parks,” “That’s Gross,” “Big Cats,” or “Myths Busted.”
If you – and your favorite kids – can get beyond the design/colors, you may still get to appreciate other fine parts of the book, including sections on building a bird-feeder or bird-bath, how to draw a bird, and six things you can do to help birds.