Nature News from GYE #35

This is a special issue of GYE Nature News. Tom and Mary Lou Nicholls, friends and mentors in my life, publish this eNature Report each week as it is published once a week in their town newspaper. As I have told you, I was encouraged to start writing these by another woman who has been a role model for me, Eva Patten, when we were all isolated in early covid times. Tom gave me the opportunity to start co leading trips in Tanzania and ultimatly other places in Africa, helped me learn so much about birds, and together with Mary Lou, have been cheif pranksters in my life! Eva has been inspiring with her joy and how she lives her life.

Thanks, Tom, for this issue of the eNature Report.


 Tom & Mary Lou Nicholls,

Nature Education Center (NEC), Fifield, WI

Enjoying & Sharing the Beauty & Mysteries of Nature & Gardening with outstanding photographs & easily understood information – to help people enjoy the wonders of our natural world while promoting its preservation.

eNature Report No. 235, MARCH 6, 2022

The current Ukrainian flag consists of two horizontal bands of yellow and blue, the colors represent the wide blue skies, and the yellow represents the wheat fields that characterize the country. Blue symbolizes calm, yellow symbolizes joy, both of which are lacking right now as the Ukrainian people are losing their freedom by an aggressor as symbolized in red!

Sunflower in Fifield WI

The sunflower, the national flower, is deeply rooted in Ukraine’s history. According to historical records, the sunflower became deeply embedded in the Ukrainian culture when the Church didn’t ban its oil during Lent. For the unversed, Ukrainian Orthodox Great Lent is a time of abstinence and self-denial from all meat, poultry and their byproducts. The flower is an integral part of Ukrainian tradition and can be found in the yards of village houses or woven into the dresses of women worn during celebrations. Throughout Ukraine’s history, the flower has been used as a symbol of peace. In June 1996, to celebrate Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons, U.S., Russian and Ukrainian defense ministers planted sunflowers in a ceremony at southern Ukraine’s Pervomaysk missile base.


                           From: Fascinating Birds of East Africa by Tom Nicholls

I have seen thousands of migratory white storks on my African safaris but didn’t know it was a National bird of Ukraine—until now! Trying to find out Ukraine’s national bird was quite confusing as there are some unofficial ones that some call the national bird, but I think the most official one is the white stork according to QUORA who states, “The white stork (Ciconia ciconia) is the Official National bird of the Slavic State of The Ukraine”. According to Ukrainian and other European folk belief the stork possesses magical powers to protect and help humans. A family with a stork’s nest on its farm will live in peace, prosperity, and good health. A village with many storks can count on a bountiful harvest. The bird is believed to be capable of predicting the weather: restless behavior indicates the approach of bad weather, standing on one leg, cold weather, and clacking of the beak, a sunny day. In folk tales and legends, the stork always plays the role of a helper of humans. Ukraine really needs their and our help right now!

link below to story of white storks in Ukraine….


Sunflower in Tom and Mary Lou’s garden

below is from:

–The Dalai Lama               February 28, 2022

I have been deeply saddened by the conflict in Ukraine.

Our world has become so interdependent that violent conflict between two countries inevitably impacts the rest of the world. War is outdated – non-violence is the only way. We need to develop a sense of the oneness of humanity by considering other human beings as brothers and sisters. This is how we will build a more peaceful world.

Problems and disagreements are best resolved through dialogue. Genuine peace comes about through mutual understanding and respect for each other’s wellbeing.

We must not lose hope. The 20th century was a century of war and bloodshed. The 21st century must be a century of dialogue.

I pray that peace is swiftly restored ​in Ukraine.

                                                Freedom is NEVER Free!                  

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