What do Sharks and the Volkswagen Beetle Have in Common?

Since 1988, Discovery Channel has aired a week-long series of feature television programs dedicated to sharks, usually running in July or August.

How do you work the VW Beetle into Shark Week? With a wireframe Beetle shark cage, of course! (Source: autoblog.com)

Volkswagen plans to take a big bite out of this year’s Shark Week, which airs on the Discovery Channel network August 12-16.

This is Volkswagen’s first year as presenting sponsor for the acclaimed programming event, which has carved out its place as must-see television for millions of viewers worldwide. The unique partnership unites the two across multiple platforms, with Volkswagen offering viewers a chance to dive deeper into the Shark Week experience.

“The biggest task for us was how to integrate VW and Shark Week without it just being tacked on,” said Scott Clark in a story on AdAge.com.

“We tried to find the similarities between sharks and the Beetle, but there weren’t a lot. Instead we took the fun and playfulness of the Beetle on land and brought it under water.”
So how do you work Beetle into Shark Week? With a wireframe Beetle shark cage, of course!

Volkswagen and Discovery Channel have worked closely together with marine biologist and shark expert, Luke Tipple, and his engineering team to create a one-of-a-kind “Volkswagen Beetle Shark Observation Cage” that will put viewers in the driver’s seat as it cruises along the ocean floor.

“Shark Week has a loyal and enthusiastic following of fans, and we’re thrilled to partner with Discovery Channel on this 25th anniversary special,” said Justin Osborne, general manager, marketing communications, Volkswagen of America, in a news release.

Building the wire Beetle shark from the ground up. (Source: autoevolution.com)

“We wanted the integration to be authentic and fit naturally with the Volkswagen brand, imprinting our signature style on Shark Week. The Beetle shark cage plays on the silhouettes of two of the most iconic images, the shark fin and the Volkswagen Beetle.”

It looks like how it sounds, metal bars looking just like the outline of the new Beetle turned into a shark cage, complete with wheels.

The design, construction, and submersion of the Beetle shark cage will be unveiled for viewers in a series of three, one-minute segments during Shark Week programming.

To play up the connection, the German automaker is offering “Shark Bites” video playlist and timeline photos for its Facebook page.

“Discovery Channel and Volkswagen share a great partnership and we are extremely proud to have them as a presenting sponsor for our 25th annual Shark Week,” said Scott Felestein, senior vice president, ad sales, Discovery Channel.

“We’re thrilled to offer Volkswagen the opportunity to showcase their innovation and creativity to our loyal Shark Week viewers, helping to increase awareness of their brand.”

Volkswagen’s social media sponsorship will enhance fans’ online Shark Week experience with new viewing choices including a simultaneous broadcasting application with audio syncing to the TV programming.

On-air elements include “Shark Bites,” vignettes that celebrate the greatest moments from past Shark Weeks, and “Sneak Peeks,” short segments began the week of July 17 that look ahead to this year’s 25th Shark Week.

Volkswagen is going to take a big bite out of the 25th anniversary of Shark Week. (Source: usatoday.com)

The Volkswagen Beetle Shark Observation Cage will certainly put viewers in the driver’s seat as it cruises along the ocean floor.

Details

Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Volkswagen’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Website: vw.com

Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications is the world’s number one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.7 billion cumulative subscribers in 209 countries and territories.

Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through more than 147 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and Science and Investigation Discovery.

Website: corporate.discovery.com

Please Note: This is the second of a two-part series on Shark Week

Part 1: Shark Week 2012

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Worth Pondering…
Sharks are as tough as those football fans who take their shirts off during games in Chicago in January, only more intelligent.
—Dave Barry

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Shark Week 2012

Launched in 1988, Shark Week is gearing up to celebrate its 25th year anniversary, with new specials such as “Shark Week’s 25 Best Bites,” which will “look back at the greatest breaches, brushes, and bites with the ocean’s apex predator.”

The great white shark has both fascinated and frightened humans since its ominous presence first became known. (Source: Discovery Channel)

The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week celebration has received considerable attention in the United States and around the world, with various groups joining in to promote the plight of the shark.

This year’s Shark Week airs on the Discovery Channel network August 12-16.

Following are a few of the 100 shark facts that Discovery Channel has listed on their web site, in keeping with Shark Week.

Food Chain. Like lions on land, sharks are at the top of the food chain in the underwater jungle, and their eating habits affect the populations of all sea life below them. Without large sharks, octopus populations would jump, which would then decrease the number of lobsters, since they are one of the octopus’ favorite snacks.

Great White Sharks. The great white shark has both fascinated and frightened humans since its ominous presence first became known. These powerful fish can kill a person with a single bite, but not necessarily because they want to eat us. Studies suggest surfers and flailing swimmers remind the great white of other prey that it would normally go after. Nonetheless, each year one or more encounters with a great white usually are reported in the U.S., since the Great white shark habitats can range from depths of 4,000 feet to well above the surface.

Shark Senses. Sharks have quite a few more senses than humans. One comes from lateral line organs, which act like an internal barometer. When solid objects glide through the water, they create waves of pressure that a shark can feel with the sensitivity of a physical touch. By sensing these pressure waves, a shark can detect both the movement and direction of the object!

Great hammerhead sharks have large mouths and strange hydrofoil-like heads with bulbous eyes on either side. (Source: Discovery Channel)

Great Hammerhead Sharks. Great hammerhead sharks look like oceanic bulldozers, with their large mouths and strange hydrofoil-like heads that end with bulbous eyes on either side of the “hammer” tips. The unique head is actually an evolutionary adaptation that allows for superior water navigation. The largest of all hammerheads, weighing up to 1,012 pounds, they may be found close to the surface inshore as well as offshore to about 262 feet.

Inner Ears. You can’t see a shark’s ears, but that doesn’t stop it from being able to hear you from more than two football fields away. That’s because sharks only have inner ears, which they use to track the sound of their prey from lengths of more than 800 feet.

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark. Common to coastal waters, the Atlantic sharpnose shark selects its water depth based on the seasons. During the summer months, it usually is found at depths of 42 feet or less. When the upper layer chills over the winter, the sharks often retreat to 90 feet or more below the surface. Like a perfectly designed surfboard tip, its long, pointy snout matches the rest of the shark’s streamlined body. Sightings of the 4-foot shark are common off the coasts of South Carolina, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico, where it may be found throughout the entire year, as some surfers have discovered.

The Atlantic sharpnose shark selects its water depth based on the seasons. (Source: Discovery Channel)

Sensory Genius. Underneath the fearsome killer instinct and razor-sharp teeth is an ultra-sensitive machine that nature has tuned to perfection. A shark’s body is bristling with sensory organs, listening, feeling, and responding to an underwater world humming with activity. Their famed ability to detect even a whiff of blood is just the beginning. Sharks have ears and eyes similar to humans, as well as electrical receptors that can detect a struggling fish or Earth’s magnetic field. A line of pressure-sensitive cells runs down each side of their body as well, letting them know if anything stirs in the waters nearby.

Shortfin Mako Sharks. Shortfin mako sharks have been called “the peregrine falcons of the shark world.” Their torpedo-like bodies and biochemistry make these the fastest of all sharks. Many attain speeds up to 22 miles per hour. One shortfin mako was even clocked swimming at 43 miles per hour. These sharks live in tropical and temperate offshore waters, most often from the surface to depths of 490 feet. They are found worldwide, most commonly in the western Atlantic from Argentina up to the Gulf of Mexico.

Shark Attacks. Of the average 30 to 50 shark attacks reported each year, only five to 10 prove to be fatal. So while being bitten by a shark is rare, dying from a shark bite is even rarer.

Bad Rap. Jaws wasn’t the first time sharks have been given a bad rap. The Greek historian Herodotus described how sharks defeated an entire Persian war fleet. Sharks “seized and devoured” the hapless Persian sailors after rocks on the shore of Athos “dashed the ships to pieces.” Herodotus did not seem too broken up by the event, but it began a trend of portraying sharks as ruthless, cold-blooded killers.

Details

Shark Week 2012

Dates: August 12-16, 2012

Website: dsc.discovery.com

Please Note: This is the first of a two-part series on Shark Week

Part 2: What do Sharks and the Volkswagen Beetle Have in Common?

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Worth Pondering…

Mack the Knife

Oh, the shark, has pretty teeth, dear
and he shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has MacHeath, babe
and he keeps it, out of sight
When that shark bites with his teeth, dear
scarlet billows start to spread
Just a gloved hand, has MacHeath, babe
and he never shows a single drop of red

—Berthold Brecht as sung by Bobby Darin

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Consumers Digest Rates Komfort Travel Trailer as “Best Buy”

Goshen, Indiana-based Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. announced that their Komfort 2410RK Rear Kitchen travel trailer was rated a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest.

The rating appears in the publication’s May/June 2012 issue and is online.

Please note: You must be a subscriber to access Consumers Digest’s Current Issue.

The Best Buy title is awarded to less than 3 percent of the products competing in any particular category.

In the magazine’s “Road to Recovery” article, Komfort was cited as the one product among dozens that “delivers all of the amenities that you’d expect from a premium travel trailer, but with more space for a lower price than other models deliver.”

The Best Buy product recommendation was a combination of product features, performance, and price, according to a news release.

“Komfort stood out and rose to the top in what we deemed premium travel trailers,” said Rich Dzierwa, editor of Consumer’s Digest.

“Komfort was the least expensive of the travel trailer products reviewed, based on quality of construction, features, use of space, and ease of towing.”

Research procedures for product evaluations are “comprehensive and diligent from the start, Dzierwa added, noting that the magazine is designed to serve consumers by helping them spend their money wisely.

Dutchmen RV Komfort trailer was named a Consumer’s Digest “Best Buy”

“Komfort is a premium travel trailer at a midline price. This is not a cookie-cutter RV,” said Rob Groover, general manager for Dutchmen’s Infinity, Komfort, and Dutchmen product lines. “There’s nothing like it on the market, especially in this price category.

“Komfort models have higher insulation values than anything in their class, making them ideal for extended camping in most types of weather. Inside, modern interiors feature leather furniture with simple, contemporary lines and fresh decors with premium flooring,” Groover added.

“A crowned ceiling increases headroom. Outside, Komfort stands out with a sleek, aerodynamic front fiberglass cap and contemporary graphics.”

Komfort Model 2410RK specs include:

  • Unloaded Weight: 6,627 pounds
  • Cargo Capacity: 1,773 pounds
  • Length: 29 feet, 4 inches
  • Height: 11 feet, 6 inches
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Fresh Water Capacity: 52 gallons
  • Waste Water Capacity: 42 gallons
  • Gray Water capacity: 84 gallons
  • Furnace: 30,000 BTUs

Details

Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc.

Since 1988, Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. has been a leader in the recreation vehicle industry.

Dutchmen RV produces various brands of towable recreational vehicles that are sold throughout the United States and Canada.

Dutchmen RV Komfort Model 2410RK

Dutchmen RV brands include the Denali, Komfort, Infinity, Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Voltage, Rubicon, Aerolite, Coleman, Four Winds, Grand Junction, Lakewood, and Dutchmen brands.

Dutchmen Manufacturing, Inc. is a Thor Industries, Inc. company.

Address: P.O. Box 2164, 2164 Caragana Court, Goshen, IN 46527

Phone: (574) 537-0600

Website: dutchmen.com

Consumers Digest Communications, LLC

Address: 520 Lake Cook Road, Suite 500, Deerfield, IL 60015

Website: consumersdigest.com

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Worth Pondering…

If you go as far as you can see, you will then see enough to go even farther.

—John Wooden

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Fleetwood RV Introduces New Excursion Models

Decatur, Indiana-based Fleetwood RV, Inc., a leading producer of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles, announced the addition of two new floor plans for its compact Class A diesel pusher, the Excursion.

Both floor plans boast contemporary layouts featuring the latest in décor and design, including a mid-coach Whirlpool 18 cubic foot residential refrigerator and wrap-around kitchen.

“We listened to our customers in creating these two new floor plans for our compact Excursion diesel,” said John Draheim, President and CEO of Fleetwood RV, Inc. in a news release.

“The blending of kitchen function and design in the new 2013 Excursion models give buyers more options for maximizing space and storage.”

With extra large windows to enjoy your surroundings, both the 35B and 35C Excursion models feature a spacious galley design with polished Volcanic Series solid-surface countertops, vertical pullout pantry and provide just enough room to let chefs roam.

Showcasing contemporary interior décor throughout, both models also include a massive 170 cubic feet of interior storage, dwarfing coaches of similar lengths. The company’s innovative Hide-A-Loft option, with an incredible 650-pound weight capacity, gives customers more sleeping capacity without sacrificing additional floor plan space.

The open floor plan design of the 35B Excursion makes it great for entertaining family and friends with the hide-away dinette table and chairs plus free-standing euro-recliner to expand seating. A breakfast bar with two swivel chairs adds to the charm of this model. The 35B bedroom features an additional bedroom slide-out for increased wardrobe storage.

2013 Fleetwood RV Excursion 35B

The modern characteristics of the 35C Excursion highlights a conventional extending dinette with deep credenza that doubles as a convenient computer workspace. Adding to the already spacious countertop is an extended oversized flip-up countertop for unprecedented counter space. The 35C bedroom also features additional bedroom slide-out for maximum storage. A sofa bed is also included for increased sleeping capacity.

Fleetwood RV’s Excursion is built on the durable Powerbridge chassis construction utilizing the Freightliner XCS Series Chassis and equipped with a 300HP Cummins ISB 6.7L engine with exhaust brake, providing exceptional performance for the open road.

2013 Excursion starting MSRP: $175,747

2013 Excursion models (33A, 35B, 35C) Chassis details include:

  • Model: Freightliner XCS Series
  • Engine: Cummins ISB 6.7L
  • Transmission: Allison 2100 MH 6-Speed w/ Electronic Shifter
  • Alternator: Delco Remy 160 Amp
  • Torque: 660 lb-ft @ 1,600 RPM
  • Horsepower: 300HP
  • Fuel Capacity: 90 gallons

2013 Excursion 35B/35C Weights, Measurements, Dimensions, and Capacities include:

  • Overall Length: 36 feet, 9 inches
  • Overall Height (with A/C): 11feet 10 inches
  • GVWR: 26,000 pounds
  • GCWR: 30,000 pounds
  • Hitch Rating Weight: 10,000 pounds
  • Fresh Water Holding Tank Capacity: 88 gallons
  • Grey Water Holding Tank Capacity: 60 gallons
  • Black Water Holding Tank Capacity: 32 gallons
  • Propane Tank Capacity: 28.2 gallons
  • Water Heater Tank Capacity: 6 gallons

Details

2013 Fleetwood RV Excursion 35C

Fleetwood RV, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles. The Company has one of the best and longest standing distribution networks in the industry and boasts some of the industry’s most recognized and iconic brand names such as American Coach and Bounder. Fleetwood RV is headquartered in Decatur, Indiana, which is also its principal manufacturing location.

Factory Tours: Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m.

Address: 1031 U.S. 224 East, Decatur, Indiana 46733

Phone: (800) 322-8216

Website: fleetwoodrv.com

Worth Pondering…

Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.

—Henry David Thoreau

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EverGreen Introduces Two New Ever-Lite Models

Middlebury, Indiana-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC announces two new floor plans in its Ever-Lite line of travel trailers.

The new 2013 Ever-Lite floor plans include:

  • 30RLW-DS
  • 30KIS-DIS

The lightweight, easy-to-tow Ever-Lite is the first product EverGreen RV produced when the company began manufacturing RVs in 2008 and has remained the flagship brand ever since, according to a news release.

There are currently 10 travel trailer floor plans in the Ever-Lite line. Eight of these designs are deep slide travel trailers.

EverGreen also produces Ever-Lite Select, Element, and Ascend travel trailers. Another EverGreen product line is i-Go travel trailers and fifth wheels.

The Model 30RLW-DS Ever-Lite travel trailer is a deep slide model with two entry doors and a slide-out lounge and dinette. It features captain-style lounge chair seating in the rear of the coach and a mid dry bath. The sleeping area is separated from the rest of the coach by the bathroom and has its own entry door.

The Model 30KIS-DIS Ever-Lite travel trailer is also a deep slide model, and features EverGreen’s new kitchen island. A slide-out dinette and couch on one side with a slide-out kitchen on the opposite side leave room for groups to mingle around the kitchen island, making it ideal for entertaining. This floor plan also comes with a rear dry bath.

The “EverGreen Difference” starts with quality construction, according to the news release.

Instead of using wood like so many other RV manufacturers, EverGreen utilizes composites throughout the structure of each Ever-Lite coach to create a more durable and lightweight camper. The use of composites creates an RV that resists the occurrence of rot, mold, and mildew that destroys other campers as they age.

EverGreen’s specially engineered Compositek construction is vacuum laminated to a fully welded aluminum frame in a seamless, one-piece system.

To help RV owners with the continually rising cost of gasoline, Ever-Lite is built lighter for better fuel efficiency. This lightweight construction also enables the Ever-Lite to be towed with smaller, more fuel efficient tow vehicles such as mid-sized SUVs. In fact, ComposiTek construction yields a camper that is 15 to 20 percent lighter than other brands, the company noted.

Details

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC was founded in December of 2008 with the premise that the recreational vehicle industry needed a new generation of innovative, sustainable, eco-friendly, green travel trailers and fifth wheels built like none before.

Ever-Lite 30KIS-DIS interior with kitchen island

The vision of EverGreen is to use sustainable eco-friendly, recyclable, composite materials to replace wood and produce higher quality, longer-lasting products that are fully equipped, yet lightweight.

EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is the first RV manufacturer to achieve the TRA Certified Green Emerald Rating for its eco-friendly Ever-Lite travel trailers and fifth wheels.

Address: 10758 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540

Phone: (574) 825-4298

Website: goevergreenrv.com

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Worth Pondering…
We must have courage to bet on our ideas, on the calculated risk, and to act. Everyday living requires courage if life is to be effective and bring happiness.

—Maxwell Maltz

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Good Sam Announces 2013 Rally Dates

The Good Sam Club has announced dates for the organization’s two scheduled rallies in 2013.

The first event will be held April 11-14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Balloon Fiesta Field, according to yesterday’s news release. The second rally is scheduled for Syracuse, New York, at the New York State Fair from June 13 through 16.

“Many club members and RV industry personnel have been asking about our 2013 Rally schedule,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of the Good Sam Club and Camping World Inc.

“In 2012, we expanded our rally schedule to make the events accessible to more members. After the terrific response we got from both members and exhibitors at our 2012 Louisville Rally last month and at our Phoenix rally earlier this year, we determined that we would schedule two Rallies in 2013.”

Good Sam is still accepting reservations for the last of the three 2012 Rallies presented by DISH, to be held in Daytona, Florida, at the Daytona International Speedway, November 2-4. Entertainment at the Daytona Rally will feature country superstar Reba McEntire and American Idol’s Katharine McPhee.

See you in Albuquerque! Photo taken from Petroglyph National Monument overlooking Albuquerque. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“With an exciting location like the Daytona International Speedway, the outstanding entertainment, not to mention all of the great rally activities, we are expecting a big turnout and a great time for all of our guests,” said Lemonis.

Details

Good Sam Club

The world’s largest organization of recreational vehicle owners, the Good Sam Club is committed to making RVing a safer and more rewarding experience for its 1.2 million members.

Founded in 1966 by Trail-R-News, a small California RV magazine, Club members originally promised to help fellow travelers on America’s highways.

Today, Good Sam’s halo and broad smile continue to signify friendliness among RVers and an eagerness to serve, although on a much larger scale.

Nearly 1,500 grassroots Good Sam Club Chapters from Anchorage, Alaska, to Okeechobee, Florida, get together for RV campouts, good times and community service.

The Club’s state and provincial organizations host RV gatherings called Samborees that likewise promote RV fellowship and philanthropy, only on a larger scale.

And the ultimate RV event, the Good Sam Rally, is held three times per year and brings together thousands of RVers from across North America to listen to RV experts, shop for RV headlights, tailpipes, and everything in between.

Plan now to attend these rallies.

Hundreds of worthy causes benefit from the fundraising and volunteer efforts of Good Sam members, from Adopt-a-Park and Adopt-a-Highway to Dogs for the Deaf and Serious Fun Children’s Network.

Phone: (800) 234-3450 (toll free)

Website: goodsamclub.com

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Worth Pondering…
I am part of all that I have met

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro

Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades

Forever and forever when I move.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Dry Your World with ProDriPole

ProDriPole is designed to maximize the removal of excess moisture from the air.

New to the retail market in 2012, the ProDriPole is a technically advanced moisture absorber ideal for use in recreational vehicles, holiday homes, and boat cabins, especially during winter storage.

It can also be used in storage areas holding valuable items, such as classic cars, and in the home, in problem areas or during periods of renovation.

Excess moisture can result in damp and condensation, leading to mildew and mould growth and that recognizable musty smell. The ProDriPole allows you to prevent damp and condensation related problems in a convenient and effective manner.

The ProDriPole lasts for up to six months, depending on surrounding conditions, compared to other moisture absorbing systems which may only last between two and three months, according to a news release.

The number of poles required varies according to application; guidance can be found on the website given below.

To use simply remove ProDriPole moisture absorber from its packaging and use the hook provided to hang it in the area you want to protect from damp.

ProDriPole contains 1kg (2.4 pounds) of anhydrous calcium chloride flakes, which are very effective for humidity control. This means there is no water already attached to the calcium chloride, meaning it has maximum absorption potential.

Each calcium chloride molecule can absorb six molecules of water before the flake turns into a liquid. Even in this liquid state, the calcium chloride continues to absorb moisture from the air until it finally drips through to the bottom part of ProDriPole where it is stored.

As the liquid drips through, you will be able to see it build up in the bottom part of the moisture absorber.

Simply leave ProDriPole in place until the liquid level reaches the join between the top and bottom part of the pole. Then dispose of and replace with a new pole.

ProDriPole uses a specially developed, breathable laminate which allows moisture vapor in. However, once the moisture vapor is in, it is trapped in ProDriPole and neither moisture vapor nor liquid can escape back into the atmosphere. ProDriPole is a completely sealed unit.

A single pole starts at £22.00 (US$34.00) and is currently available for purchase.

ProDriPole is 75cm (29.5 inches) tall, 11.5cm (4.5 inches) wide and 4.7cm (1.8 inches) deep.

Currently there is only one size of ProDriPole available.

Details

ProDriPole

ProDriPole is part of Protective Packaging Limited, set up to serve the retail market and individual customers who want to prevent damp problems in various applications, such as caravans, boats, or problem areas in the house.

Size: 75cm (29.5 inches) x 11.5cm (4.5 inches) x 4.7cm (1.8 inches)

Cost: £22.00 (US$34.00)

Protective Packaging Limited

Address: Dane Road Industrial Estate, Sale, Cheshire, M33 7BH, UK

Phone: 0161 976 9689

Website: prodripole.co.uk

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Worth Pondering…
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

—George Bernard Shaw

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Dragonflies Habitat: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, NM

With its wide variety of habitats ranging from the Pecos River and saline sinkholes, to ponds, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is an ideal place to find dragonflies.

Four short (less than 0.5 miles each) and two longer (1.5 – 4 miles) hiking trails are available adjacent to the wildlife drive or Refuge headquarters. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Its location in eastern New Mexico puts the Refuge within the range of many eastern, western, and southern dragonfly species.

There are close to 100 species at the Refuge, but most are uncommon or only found in areas that are not open to the public.

The visitor center has a guide available to assist in identifying the dragonflies that are found along the Refuge tour route. The species included are those that are common and easy to find.

Many dragonflies can be approached at close range. Since dragonflies are small, you may wish to use binoculars to see some field marks.

If a dragonfly flies off before you can identify it, don’t worry. Generally, if there is one individual of a species, there will be more in the area. Also, since most dragonflies have small territories and it probably will show up again nearby.

Plan to attend the Dragonfly Festival, September 7-9, 2012. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The best time to observe dragonflies at Bitter Lake is on sunny and hot days. They do not like cool temperatures or rain, and even clouds will make some species take cover in bushes. During the summer the best time of day is usually mid-to-late morning before the typical afternoon winds pick up. Since the temperature can be over 100 degrees, be sure to wear a hat, sun screen and LOTS of water—and remember to drink it!

Friends of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Friends of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge sponsor an annual Dragonfly Festival the first weekend following Labor Day (September 7-9, in 2012). This year’s festival marks New Mexico’s centennial and the 75th anniversary of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo Tips

The refuge offers excellent nature photography and wildlife viewing opportunities. The eight-mile wildlife drive is one of the best ways to observe wildlife. If you enjoy dragonfly watching, try taking the short Dragonfly Trail within the first one mile on the auto drive.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Details

Operating Hours: Open year-round; visitors center open 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday; tour loop open 1 hour before sunrise-1 hour after sunset

Location: From Roswell, east on Highway 380 about three miles, north on Red Bridge Road, and east on Pine Ridge Road to refuge, following directional signs; OR north on Highway 285, and east on Pine Lodge Road to Refuge, following directional signs
Please be aware that using a GPS to locate the entrance to Bitter Lake NWR will take you to a dead end road

Admission: Non-fee area

Primary Wildlife: Migratory waterfowl and sandhill cranes—primarily a winter resting and feeding area, great variety of wildlife

Habitat: 24,520 acres on the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert changing to grass and shrub community and includes playa lakes, marshes, man-made lakes, and 700 acres of cultivated crop land

Straddling the Pecos River, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is truly a jewel, a wetland oasis inhabitated by a diverse abundance of wildlife species. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Address: 4067 Bitter Lake Road, Roswell, NM 88201

Contact: (575) 622-6755

Website: fws.gov/southwest

Friends of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Website: friendsofbitterlake.com

Dragonfly Festival: September 7-9, 2012

Please Note: This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Part 1: Birding Hotspot: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, NM

Worth Pondering…
A happy life is not built up of tours abroad and pleasant holidays, but of little clumps of violets noticed by the roadside, hidden away almost so that only those can see them who have God’s peace and love in their hearts; in one long continuous chain of little joys, little whispers from the spiritual world, and little gleams of sunshine on our daily work.

—Edward Wilson

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Birding Hotspot: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, NM

UFO sightings may have put Roswell, New Mexico, on the map, but at nearby Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, strange creatures are more than visitors.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Visitor Center can be seen in the distance. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They inhabit odd sinkholes, playa lakes, seeps, and gypsum springs fed by an underground river.

Straddling the Pecos River the Refuge consists of an assortment of water habitats. Numerous seeps and free-flowing springs, oxbow lakes, marshes and shallow water impoundments, water-filled sinkholes, and the refuge namesake, Bitter Lake, make up these unique environments.

Scattered across the land are over 70 natural sinkholes of different shapes and sizes. Created by groundwater erosion these water habitats form isolated communities of fish, invertebrate, amphibians, and other wildlife.

Located where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the more biologically significant wetland areas of the Pecos River watershed system. Established in 1937 to provide wintering habitat for migratory birds, the Refuge plays a crucial role in the conservation of wetlands in the desert southwest.

The Refuge falls into three distinct areas along the Pecos River:

  • The 9,620-acre Salt Creek Wilderness to the north protects native grasses, sand dunes, and brush bottomlands.
  • The middle unit features refuge headquarters and the auto tour, which winds among lakes, wetlands, croplands, and desert uplands.
  • The southern part of the refuge belongs exclusively to wildlife and is closed to all public access. Here refuge croplands support tremendous flocks of wintering birds.
Solitude and contentment that is Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

About 10 miles northeast of Roswell, Bitter Lake is truly a jewel, a wetland oasis providing habitat for thousands of migrating sandhill cranes, Ross’s and snow geese, and about twenty duck species such as pintails, mallards, canvasback, gadwall, shovelers, and teal.

Arriving in November, most sandhill cranes, snow geese, and other waterfowl depart in late February for their long flight to breeding grounds in the north.

An 8-mile, self-guided auto tour around the lakes starts at the visitor center near refuge headquarters.

Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge is designated by the American Bird Conservancy as a Globally Important Bird Area.

At first glance, you might see only the 10,000 or so wintering sandhill cranes and 20,000 snow geese. But take a deeper look.

The Refuge also protects and provides habitat for some of New Mexico’s rarest and unusual creatures such as the least shrew, Noel’s amphipod, least tern, and Roswell spring snail.

Barking frogs nestle in limestone crevices or burrow in gypsum soils. Their yapping chorus can be heard in June and July. These odd frogs, found in New Mexico only in Chaves, Eddy, and Otero counties, join other wildlife, some of which are relics from millions of years ago when the refuge was once a Permian shallow sea.

Within the sinkholes and springs, tiny native fish thrive, like the Pecos pupfish, green-throat darter, and the endangered Pecos gambusia.

Pecos pupfish males change from dull brown to iridescent blue in breeding season.

Courting greenthroat darter males rival them in brilliance, transforming from olive to emerald green with reddish fins.

The White-faced Ibis is one of more than 350 species of birds that inhabit Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most of the Refuge’s 24 fish species are native to the Pecos River drainage waters.

In summer, the interior least tern nests on refuge salt flats, the only place this endangered species breeds in New Mexico. Snowy plovers, killdeer, avocets, and black-necked stilts raise their chicks as well.

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-part series on Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Part 2: Dragonflies Habitat: Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, NM

Worth Pondering…
I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather heave birds than airplanes.

—Charles Lindbergh

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Facts about Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick-borne diseases including Lyme can attack virtually any system in the body.

The “bulls eye”-like rash in this picture is the typical symptom of a tick bite that produces lyme disease. (Source: healthalternativesonline.com)

Some of the first symptoms may include a flu-like condition, with fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, achiness, and fatigue. Other symptoms can include pain in various joints and muscles, neurological problems, heart involvement, problems with vision or hearing, migraines, low-grade fever, or other symptoms.

Lyme disease is often mistaken for other illnesses since the symptoms often mirror other medical problems, such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, and Alzheimer’s disease. In some cases, Lyme disease patients can become paralyzed and/or comatose.

Lyme and other tick-borne disease symptoms may come and go and be replaced by new symptoms. Symptoms may be subtle or pronounced.

Approximately 60 percent of patients with untreated infection may begin to have intermittent bouts of arthritis, with severe joint pain and swelling. Large joints are most often affected, particularly the knees.

Approximately 10-20 percent of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that last months to years after treatment with antibiotics. These symptoms can include muscle and joint pains, cognitive defects, sleep disturbance, or fatigue. The cause of these symptoms is not known.

Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted through the bite of a deer or blacklegged tick infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks typically get the bacterium by biting infected animals, like deer and mice. (Source: erwinadr.blogspot.ca)

Your risk of acquiring a tick-borne illness depends on many factors, including where you live, what type of tick bit you, and how long the tick was attached. If you become ill after a tick bite, see your doctor.

Basic information about Lyme and tick-borne diseases (TBDs):

Lyme and tick-borne diseases are prevalent across all states and most Canadian provinces. Ticks do not know geographic boundaries. A person’s county of residence does not accurately reflect their total TBD risk, since people travel, pets travel, and ticks travel. This creates a dynamic situation with many opportunities for exposure for every individual.

Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis because there is no definitive diagnostic test yet. Spirochetal infection of multiple organ systems causes a wide range of symptoms. Familiarity with its varied presentations is essential to recognizing disseminated Lyme disease. The medical practitioner should be experienced to make a proper clinical diagnosis.

Fewer than half of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bite. In some studies this number is as low as 15 percent. So if you never saw a tick on your body, it doesn’t mean you are TBD-free.

Fewer than half of patients with Lyme disease recall any rash. Although the “bulls eye” red rash is considered the classic sign to look for, it is not even the most common dermatologic manifestation of early Lyme infection. Atypical forms of this rash are seen far more commonly. It is important to know that the Erythema Migrans rash is a clear, unequivocal sign of Lyme disease and requires no further verification prior to starting six weeks of antibiotic therapy. Shorter treatment courses have resulted in upwards of a 40 percent relapse rate.

There has never in the history of this illness been one study that proves even in the simplest way 30 days of antibiotic treatment cures Lyme or tick-borne diseases. However, there is a plethora of documentation in medical literature demonstrating that short courses of antibiotic treatment fail to eradicate the Lyme spirochete and other tick-borne bacteria.

This billboard was errected on the outskirts of Blenheim, Ontario by Chatham-Kent Public Health. Reduce the risk, target ticks! (Source: lyme-disease.halifaxhrm.com)

There is no test currently available to determine whether the bacteria organism is eradicated or the patient is cured.

There are five subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi, over 100 strains in the U.S. This diversity is thought to contribute to Borrelia burgdorferi’s various antibiotic resistances.

Lyme is the number one tick-borne illness in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are 24,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year, but the CDC also states that past figures may have been underreported by tenfold. International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) believes newly diagnosed cases of Lyme may occur at a rate five times higher than the number of new AIDS cases.

Be TickSmart™ Stay TickSafe!

Note: This is Part 3 of a 3-part series about Lyme and tick-borne diseases

Part 1: Tick-Borne Diseases Are No Walk in the Park

Part 2: Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips

Worth Pondering…

We, the artists, make the stuff they sell and they’re like ticks on our backs, sucking the life out of us.
—Malcolm Wilson

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