The pandemic has been prevented me from traveling to Africa recently, but remembering this leopard in Timbavati can still make me smile!
Look at that beautiful shape and the amazing camouflage. Just wow!
The pandemic has been prevented me from traveling to Africa recently, but remembering this leopard in Timbavati can still make me smile!
Look at that beautiful shape and the amazing camouflage. Just wow!
Inspiration – it’s a funny thing. Normally I would argue that an artist should get into the studio and paint, in order to generate their own inspiration, but recently I’ve found myself avoiding the studio and feeling uninspired and unmotivated. What? Really? Yes!
I don’t enjoy working from photos and haven’t been to Africa since September 2019, so my mental library definitely needs topping up. As I’m writing this I realize I need to follow my own good advice, given some months ago, and start watching African waterhole webcams and live safari links. I also have a lot of my own video, taken in Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Maybe now is the time to watch some of it and turn it into memory-jogging clips I can share with you.
So here’s one – a waterhole scene from Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. The snorts and sniffs you hear are impala (mostly out of sight) and you’ll also hear a weird call that sounds a little like a creaky gate but is in fact a grey lourie (go-away bird).
Ah, I feel better already!
Honey badger meets African civet. What happens next?
My copy of The Safari Companion by Richard Estes describes the African civet as “a remarkably unspecialized, basic sort of mammal” that “eats whatever is digestible”, is “poorly equipped to climb or dig efficiently”, and is “relatively slow-moving”. That all makes it sound very unthreatening, but as you’ll see in the video, it has a crest of hair along it’s back that is 4 inches long and can be raised to make it look quite intimidating. Civets are related to genets (and less closely to mongooses) but this is a group of animals which have changed very little in the last 40 -50 million years. You know what they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – so although it may be basic, I guess the civet is doing just fine.
Honey badgers are better known and have a reputation for being fearless and having no natural enemies. It (and the civet) are happy to snack on puff adders – which says almost everything you need to know! Honey badgers love honey and risk numerous stings to gorge themselves on honey and bee larvae. They have very loose skin, which protects them from too many stings, but this also means if a honey badger is picked up by the scruff of it’s neck, it will be able to turn around and bite it’s attacker (as many an inexperienced lion has discovered).
So, to this video, where honey badger meets African civet!
One evening I, my husband, and 4 friends, were sitting around the fire in Botswana. We were on a mobile safari, with Phillimon from Walking Stick Safaris and had planned to spend 9 nights camping in Moremi, Khwai and Savute. Phillimon and his great team took care of everything, so we felt like we were traveling in the lap of luxury, even though we were in tents. We’d eaten dinner and had moved to sit around the fire and had been visited by a honey badger there, but soon we heard a call from the ‘kitchen’ and this was what we saw. I think we all would have bet money on the civet giving in to the honey badgers. But what did happen?
Well, it turns out they both seemed quite intimidated by each other!
Later that night a honey badger raided camp again – climbing into the back of one of the 4x4s, then up and over the 4-foot high wire cage enclosing the cargo area, to see if there were any scraps available. One afternoon in this same campsite a group of 7 or 8 bull elephants appeared, browsing their way through and then out on to the grassy plain, heading for the next tree-island. And on our final night we decided to call an early end to the evening’s fire-watching as calls from lions got closer and closer until we thought they might be in ‘our’ trees.
In short it was a lovely spot with a wealth of wildlife and beautiful views. Ahhhhh…..
Check out The Safari Companion: A guide to watching African mammals by Richard D Estes.
Our mobile safari was booked by Africa Geographic and our safari team were guided by Phillimon from Walking Stick Safaris.
It seems that every camp comes with a hornbill in African reserves. You only know you’ve truly settled in when you see one (or more likely several) of these big-beaked birds bouncing around.
They come in different sizes and colors but the 2 you are likely to see in camps in southern Africa are the yellow-billed and red-billed hornbills. They can be difficult to tell apart. OK I’m kidding – these 2 species, unlike many others, have been given sensible, descriptive names!
They both have the same long eyelashes, the same habit of quizzically angling their heads, and the same ability to pick up the tiniest seeds with their over-sized beaks. They also add a lovely soundtrack, a background conversation almost, to hot afternoons in camp.
One final note – they’d both be absolutely terrifying if they were the size of an ostrich!
This artwork is available on Etsy, priced at $180 with free shipping in the US.
More next time.
For me, black-backed jackals are synonymous with the Kalahari Desert. Their jaunty trot carries them here and there within their territories as they expertly hunt and scavenge, surviving in one of the toughest places on Earth. Then night falls, and their howls pierce the darkness – a beautiful sound, but sharp and cold as the starlight above.
The other image of black-backed jackals that sticks in my head is when jackals converge on an area where lions are feeding on a kill. If there are too many lions and it’s dangerous to try stealing, they wait patiently, curled up under different bushes nearby, until the lion pride moves on. Then they all dash in (along with the sharp-eyed vultures which have also congregated) to grab their share of the meat. They eat nervously, frequently scanning the area in case the lions return. Then, when they’re done, off they trot.
Jauntily, of course!
Both these artworks can be purchased from my Etsy store, and I’ll donate 25% of the price to Cheetah Conservation Botswana.
Until next time, stay jaunty!
On this World Wildlife Day lets look back at some of the good news stories about wildlife from 2020. Yes, there really were some!!
China gave pangolins their highest status of protection, and removed them from their list of approved traditional medicine ingredients.
Colorado voters approved a measure to bring back gray wolves, after an 80 year absence. They will be reintroduced into the southern Rockies in 2022/23.
Much of the world’s wildlife benefitted from our lock-downs and expanded their ranges and activity, while we took more of an interest in our gardens and parks, and the creatures that share them with us. Many of us created space in our gardens specifically to attract pollinators & birds or provide shelter for reptiles and amphibians.
Way to go, people!
Australia reintroduced Tasmanian devils to the mainland after they were hunted to extinction there almost 3000 years ago. Their scavenging should help restore healthy ecosystems.
Good on ya!
The 4th annual international effort to stop the illegal trade in flora and fauna was a success. Operation Thunder 2020, led by Interpol and the World Customs Organization, involved more than 100 countries and confiscated thousands of wildlife products and some live animals.
Several high-profile private zoo owners in the US faced charges relating to their abuse of animals in their care.
Excellent! Hopefully, the public will see these facilities for what they really are, and will decide not to visit them.
France banned wild animals in circuses.
We have far to travel but we know the right trail to take. So let’s get going!
My daily sketches are available on Etsy, with 50% of the sale price donated to African conservation organizations, and free shipping within the US.
If you spend enough time in the African bush, it’s inevitable that you will come across a carcass and, if you’re lucky, hyenas and vultures. Finding a carcass can provide amazing sketching opportunities, as long as you can sit upwind!
Here’s a video I took in South Africa of a hyena and vultures feeding on a dead zebra. Most of the vultures are white-backed but you may see a larger, paler bird, which is a Cape vulture (when the vultures are all over the carcass, look for it standing on the left).
I would happily sit and sketch beside a carcass all day (or until the wind shifts) but usually I’m traveling with other people and weirdly, many of them would rather see a live animals than dead ones. Ah well…
This is the sketch I created after I finished taking the video. Spotted Hyenas (there were 2 at one stage) and White-backed Vultures, watercolor on paper 11×14″
Just for the record, spotted hyenas are very good hunters and are not the cowardly scavengers they are often made out to be – they are one of animals I most look forward to seeing when I’m in the bush. Vultures are true scavengers, feeding only on carrion, but they too are an absolutely necessary part of the food chain. Without vultures, rotting carcasses would pollute waterways and spread disease. In recent years there have been devastating incidents where carcasses have been laced with poisons and in some instances over a hundred vultures (plus hyenas, jackals, raptors and numerous other species) have been killed. Poachers may poison carcasses to actively rid the skies of vultures (whose circling can alert anti-poaching units to the presence of poached animals) or farmers may poison a carcass to kill predators who threaten their livestock. The use of vulture parts in traditional medicine is also a threat, as are collisions with electrical cables. So think better of the vulture – it’s existence saves lives, even if it eats the dead.
To learn more about the vultures of southern Africa, visit Project Vulture.
Join me for more sketches and stories soon.
Its World Hippo Day! And who wouldn’t want to celebrate hippos – those jolly, rotund, playful, animal caricatures? I’ve seen an immature hippo playing in a tiny waterhole with a stick, ducking it under, rolling on it, retrieving it, even tossing it in the air, and obviously having great fun. But, as is usually the case, there is another side to this story, and it involves an intimidating, potentially-dangerous river monster.
During the day, the hippos of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, tend to be in the lagoons, and if you’re in a mokoro (dug-out canoe) your skilled poler avoids them by crossing these areas of deep water quickly, and at the narrowest points. On a typical mokoro-ride as a tourist, you spend most of your time in the maze of narrow, shallow trails (made by hippos as they leave the water at night to graze on land). These channels can be only a foot wide and just inches deep, or they can be 6 feet wide with water a couple of meters deep. They are often edged with grasses and reeds several feet above your head, and in the narrowest channels they push in on you from all sides. The water is clear as can be, filtered by all the vegetation, and the drifting lily pads are beautiful. The sounds can be mesmerizing – rippling water, the swish of reeds, and plops as frogs drop into the water beside you. Then comes a loud bellow or grunt from a hippo, a mocking laugh of a sound, and suddenly you remember the the gaping mouth and the unexpected speed and agility of these huge beasts. For a while you imagine what you would do if one appeared beside you right now. Your heart beats quite a bit faster!
One day I remember that we returned to camp close to dusk, and had to to cross one last lagoon. The beautiful open stretch of water that we gazed at daily from camp suddenly took on a more menacing air. The dark waters merged with the darkening sky. Splashes and explosive grunts were the only clue to the pod of hippos close by. Our poler held us back in the grasses on the edge of the lagoon, watching and listening for a good time to cross, and I wondered if the amazing mokoro trip we had experienced had been worth this anxious last few minutes. Then we took off, smoothly poling through the waters, straight across the middle – where I closed my eyes, envisaging the approaching tidal wave of a plunging hippo. But we made it to dry land, and a lovely can of dry hunters too.
Although I’ve spent many hours on mekoro and in self-paddled canoes (definitely a more treacherous situation given my inability to travel in a straight line for long), luckily I haven’t met a really disgruntled hippo. However, the stories I’ve heard remind me that although messing around in boats might be fine, messing with hippos is something you definitely don’t want to try.
Enjoy World Hippo Day!
The problem, of course, is not bats, or any other species. The real problem is our invasion of every corner of the planet, our relentless exploitation of wild animals, and the confinement of wild (and domesticated) animals in cruel and unsanitary conditions. If we continue on this path we will inevitably face more zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted to humans from animals) and possible pandemics.
The way to prevent this is not the eradication of bats or any other species, it is a long overdue acknowledgement that wild places and the species which inhabit them are essential for the health of the planet. So make a point of telling your friends, family or neighbors that many bat species are endangered, their presence is a good sign of a healthy environment, and they consume billions & billions of mosquitoes!
I tidied a corner of my studio recently and found this piece of writing:
“A watercolor wash is beautiful to look at and satisfying to produce. You take a large brush, submerge it in watery paint then drag the brush across the surface of the dry, dimpled paper until the paint thins and the band of color breaks and cracks. Then you refill the brush with that color-quenching paint, and the white expanse of paper waits for whatever might be… When I’ve been away from Africa too long I feel like the brush which needs reloading with paint. I need to go back, to flood my senses again with the color and sensations of Africa.”
I wrote this many years ago – I’m not sure exactly when – but it still rings true, especially after a year when I couldn’t visit.
Following on from my previous posts, Boraro – Painted Dogs and Three Painted Dogs is Not a Crowd, here is Three is a Crowd-Pleaser. I didn’t originally intend to write a series of 3 posts, but after a little research I found that we humans like thinking in patterns and 3 is the lowest number we consider a pattern (if something happens once we think it’s chance, if it happens twice it’s coincidence, but if it happens 3 times we think of it as a pattern). So maybe my series of 3 posts is not an accident afterall. As IQ Doodle School’s post explains, the Rule of Three is part of “how we think, make sense of, and cluster information”. Groups of 3 are common in our language (ready, steady, go), music (choruses often occur 3 times), plays (3-act structure), art (rule of thirds) and film-making (trilogies).
In art you’ll often come across the Rule of Thirds grid. The idea is to divide your canvas into 9 equal sections and use the lines and intersections to help create a more interesting composition. For example, in landscape paintings you will often see the horizon line one-third or two-thirds of the way up the canvas, rather than half-way. Or, if your painting doesn’t have a horizon line (mine often don’t) then you can use the red dot intersections as guides for where to place items of interest. If you look at my paintings, you’ll see that the animals who are the focus of attention are usually left or right of center and often high up or low down on the canvas (close to the red dot intersections on the grid). After a while this becomes second nature so you don’t even think of the grid when you compose a painting.
In case you’re not convinced, here are 3 more interesting sets of 3’s:
I often use only three colors in a painting. There are 3 paragraphs in this blog post. And African wild dogs have tri-colored coats!
I’ve often seen painted dogs in threes, particularly in the Kalahari. 3 seems an ideal number to include in a painting. It shows multiple animals living together as a pack, without including so many animals that it becomes distracting. My previous post about Boraro – Painted Dogs (which means 3 in Setswana) is a perfect example.
Sometimes when I’ve seen threes, it may have been groups of young females or males who’ve left their natal packs looking for partners with which to form new packs. However, it could also signify a pack in trouble, with few remaining adult dogs, struggling to survive. Fewer hunters means fewer meals and fewer calories. If they have pups they may be unable to spare an adult dog to leave as a ‘babysitter’, allowing other predators to kill their pups. This is critical because raising pups is key to the future growth and success of the pack.
Consistently small pack sizes in an area usually indicate trouble – places where dogs are frequently killed by snares, prone to disease, run over on roads or persecuted by people. So in these cases three painted dogs is not a crowd, in fact 3 is not nearly as big a crowd as they need.
Boraro means ‘three’ in Setswana, the main language spoken in Botswana. My painting compositions often contain 3 animals because somehow it just works (more about this in my next post “Three is not a Crowd”).
A couple of days after I signed this painting, I decided it wasn’t finished. So I added an extra wash of quinacridone gold over the existing gold stripe at the top and, on a whim while I had the brush full of color in my hand, I added shadows beneath the dogs. Even as I painted, I realized the shadows could also be reflections, as if the dogs are standing on wet sand.
Which do you see – shadows or reflections?
My newsletter readers always get to see my art first and this painting was sold as soon as I put it in my July email newsletter. I am donating 25% of the purchase price to Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe.
Boraro – Painted Dogs – was inspired by the greeting card above. Since the start of the pandemic I’ve been painting greeting cards and sending them out to my newsletter readers and Art Safari guests. I paint several greeting card backgrounds at one time, so each set tends to have its own distinct look. Some have traditional washes as backgrounds, some have zig zag lines, some have circular motifs and some, like this one, start with horizontal lines. After the backgrounds are dry I use watercolor and/or ink to add animals, or occasionally people or trees. The cards have been fun to create and have allowed me to experiment, so you can expect to see more greeting card-inspired paintings in the future!
To receive my newsletters and see all my new art before it appears online, just click here. If you add your mailing address you’ll also receive one of my original watercolor greeting cards.
If you’re already a newsletter reader – Thank You! – but if you’re not sure whether I have your mailing address, you can click the Update Profile link at the end of any of my newsletters to find out. Or you can send me an email and just include your mailing address.
We’re now taking bookings for my 2021 Art Safari. There are 6 spaces available and we’ll be staying at the wonderful Kambaku Safari Lodge in Timbavati, South Africa. (Both my 2020 safaris are full but have been postponed until 2021.) The dates are August 26-30. To whet your appetite, here are a few photos from the 2019 Kambaku Art Safaris. See full details here.
The 2021 Art Safari price is inclusive of all accommodation, art tuition, twice-daily drives, meals, laughter and wonderful wildlife!
Remember to get in touch soon if you’d like to reserve your place.
See you soon and stay well.
Every month I make a short video featuring paintings, sketches, studio shots & snippets from my life. May was still a lockdown month but the pandemic was overshadowed by the callous killing of George Floyd, and when I looked at the dates, I found there were long stretches where I hadn’t recorded anything. Here’s May 2020.
We need to support people and wildlife on Endangered Species Day. Everywhere people are suffering physically, financially and mentally from the pandemic and obviously this includes many Africans who work in tourism, wildlife research or conservation.
Much vital conservation work involves people rather than wildlife. Reducing human-wildlife conflict, conducting anti-poaching patrols, or helping rural people find sustainable income-generating opportunities are all conservation activities that help people but also ensure the continued existence of endangered species. Endangered Species Day is May 15, and I hope you will consider helping me support people and wildlife through art.
From May 15 – 22:
~ Every order of my art will include a special free gift, as a thank you from me.
~ Shipping will be free within the US, and half-price to all other destinations.
~ I’ll donate the following amounts to African conservation organizations: 50% from orders of Daily Sketches; 40% from original acrylics on canvas, 25% from limited edition prints; and 30% from original watercolor field sketches.
~ My donations will go to African People & Wildlife (Tanzania), Painted Dog Research Trust (Zimbabwe) and Cheetah Conservation Botswana.
Speaking of endangered species, last month I was able to donate US$2000 to Wilderness Foundation Africa in South Africa, from the sale of Crash – Rhino Poaching in South Africa. I’m delighted when my conservation-themed paintings help fund efforts to conserve species under threat, and South Africa’s rhinos definitely fall into that category. Read more about the painting and rhino poaching here.
Check out my art for Endangered Species Day!
WasteAid has created a Virtual Safari into the Kenyan wilderness!
It’s an immersive experience with science, culture, art, cookery and lots of wildlife to help lift spirits, and to raise money for waste collectors in low-income countries.
The safari route is around Lake Naivasha in Kenya, where WasteAid is working with local partners to improve waste collection and recycling. The entire 75-kilometre route is equivalent to 100,000 steps or 1,000 minutes exercise. Along the way you visit a number of ‘stations’ where you can complete unique challenges. You share your journey as you go, and can win prizes along the route, including 2 of my wildlife limited-edition prints!
The Virtual Safari offers a change of scenery and a fun and educational experience, while helping protect people and wildlife in poorer parts of the world.
The virtual safari opens opened on Earth Day (22 April) and stays open until World Environment Day (5 June).
Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programs and Engagement at WasteAid, says:
“We wanted to create something for people to escape into and enjoy, while raising money for our urgent appeal Waste Collectors Rock! The communities around Lake Naivasha, especially those working with waste, are in poverty and vulnerable to disease – yet at the same time they are surrounded by all this incredible wildlife. We thought it would be fun to support waste collectors in places like this, by sharing the beauty and wonder of the environment they work so hard to protect.”
WasteAid shares waste management and recycling skills in the world’s poorest places and you can help them by visiting Kenya on their virtual safari!
Painting with 1 brush is a great way to learn that every brush, no matter it’s size or shape, can create a variety of unique strokes if you experiment. For a long time I didn’t make much use of my 2 inch-wide flat wash brush, but recently I completed this painting, Elephants Love Oranges, almost entirely with this brush. The width of the brush ensures that I can’t be too detailed, and even rounded shapes like the elephant are made up of lovely, angular brush strokes. It’s great for background washes, excellent for painting thorny vegetation, and wonderful for filling the negative spaces between the branches. After adding a little colored ink on the branches and thorns I decided I was done!
We’re often advised to experiment with color, but experimenting with brushes is equally important. You might even find a brush-stroke that helps define your own unique painting style.
Stay well and keep creating!
Here’s my March 2020 Art video. March was the month the Covid-19 pandemic became a reality for those of us in the US. I tried to continue as normal but this month definitely felt disjointed and I felt distracted. Take a look.
Stay healthy, stay positive, stay put!
Being an artist takes on new meaning in crazy times like these. Initially I felt that continuing to create art was self-indulgent and perhaps even a little frivolous, given the severity of the pandemic. But deep down I know art is far from frivolous. In times of difficulty art can be calming, powerful, beautiful and thought-provoking.
Artists who know the benefits of creativity (and are used to working alone in their studios) are reaching out in this distressing time to help people in their communities who are struggling with social isolation and social distancing. Artists and arts centers are offering free classes online; museums and galleries have virtual tours; and you can join many artists in their studios via live social media events. Creativity at a time like this can be a great healing force. Making something you can use, look at, listen to, watch, read, eat, wear, or even something you just throw away tomorrow, really doesn’t matter. What matters is taking time to make something. Calm your busy mind and be creative.
|Join me every Wednesday on Facebook Live at 2PM EST (7PM UK time) to see me working in my studio. If you can’t watch live, you can see the videos afterwards on Facebook or YouTube.|
There are precious few silver linings to be found in the midst of a pandemic, but there’s one change I hope to see after this is all behind us – a worldwide effort to permanently end the illegal wildlife trade, which has emptied our world of literally hundreds of millions of birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, invertebrates and fish.
It is believed that Covid-19 jumped the species barrier (probably from bat to pangolin to human) as a result of an insanitary wildlife market in China (see links at the end of this newsletter for more details). Assigning blame is futile, but preventing this from happening again is vital. So when life returns to normal, which it will in time, please don’t forget why this pandemic began and remember to support legislation in your own country and around the world which aims to permanently outlaw the illegal trade in wildlife or wildlife parts.
I live 25 miles north of New York City, so we have serious social distancing measures in place here. Nigel and I are only going out to walk the dog or get food. If Covid-19 has not yet reached your community, please take it seriously and follow all official guidance.
I am sending you all the very best wishes. Think how great it will be to hug and kiss your friends and family when this is all behind us!
Stay healthy, stay positive, stay put.
On this World Wildlife Day try imagining a world without wildlife. Why? Because the survival of millions of species (some as yet unknown to science) is in our hands. Quietly and unnoticed by many of us, wildlife is vanishing from the woods, skies, oceans, streams and rivers, plains, mountains and deserts. Some species thrive in our backyards, towns & cities, but around the world many, many, more are declining at a horrifying speed.
As a species we can be destructive and cruel, but we are also creative, caring and extremely powerful. With the right help, we can bring species back from the brink of extinction. America’s Bald Eagle is a notable example.
Life finds a way. That is the well-known saying. But ‘finding a way’ is becoming increasingly difficult for many species as habitat is lost, water and air polluted. So, on this World Wildlife Day, lets make a decision to help wildlife find a way, because a world that is healthier for wildlife is a world that is healthier for us too.
Check out Nature Needs Half.
More next time!
I changed Vines and Giraffes significantly when I was half-way through the painting. It’s not unusual for me to make changes when the background washes dry because I start seeing new things in a painting, but I rarely change anything as late in the process as I did in Vines and Giraffes.
I had completed the background and the twisted vines were well underway when I caught a glimpse of them from the side. Immediately I knew this was a better composition when it was turned 90 degrees, and luckily for me, vines grow in all directions, so I turned the painting around. I had to rethink the giraffes, but they fitted into the new composition nicely and I’m pleased with the contrast between the hard lines of the vines and the soft washes surrounding them.
I drew on the canvas with archival pens to create detail on the vines, to highlight the edge of some of the washes and to create impressions of the giraffe coat markings. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to watermedia (even though I’m using fluid acrylic on watercolor canvas) so had to give myself ‘permission’ to draw on the canvas! It’s not realistic detail I’m after, it’s abstract markings in various colors, which give the painting a level of interest when seen close-up.
I’d be interested to hear what you think of the mix of washes and pen.
My watercolors featured on Artsy Shark last week. If you’re an artist you may know this website, as the founder, Carolyn Edlund’s mission is to inspire every artist to build a better art business. I saw a call for featured artists and submitted my work. In addition to a spot on the website as the featured artist, I also received a nice pdf of the feature too.
Have a read and enjoy my recent watercolors from Africa!
All my watercolors are for sale, priced between $250 and $350 depending on the size. Please take a look and let me know if you would like to own one. I donate 25% from the sale of each one to African conservation organizations.
More next time!
I and my art inspired by Africa have been featured in the beautiful Paws Trails Explorers digital magazine. The article is in the Wild Arts Showcase and focuses on my watercolor and ink work created from life in the African bush. I talk about why sketching from life is so important to me; how I gathered the courage to start; which materials work well and which were disastrous; how my work changed when I connected with conservation organizations; and how my art now benefits those same groups.
To read the Paws Trails Explorers article, click the image above and go to page 92 or you can find it online here at http://www.pawstrails.com/ (Dec 2019 / Jan 2020 Issue #20). The photography in the magazine is quite stunning and I’m delighted to have my art featured in the Wild Arts Showcase section. You might want to consider joining the Paws Trails Explorers mailing list so you receive future issues.