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#NatureZen and Photography

NatureZen: Challenge Accepted

NatureZen: Challenge Accepted

Before we get to the City Nature Challenge results, we have a request: Contribute to our Birding Big Day! What better way to care for the Old Forest than by highlighting the creatures who depend on it? Last week, the Conservancy staff did a Birding

NatureZen: Nature, Together

NatureZen: Nature, Together

words and photos by Melissa McMasters Most of the time in this space, I share photos and stories about the wildlife I’ve encountered. But there’s another element to nature exploration that makes it even richer: experiencing it with other people. Next weekend Memphians will have

NatureZen: The Spring So Far

NatureZen: The Spring So Far

words and photos by Melissa McMasters I love everything about spring. The pastel color palette, birds hoarsely coming back into song, pollen-dusted bees emerging from wildflower blooms…spring contains enough treasures for an entire year. Because the season unfolds slowly at first, I often find myself

NatureZen: Love Nests

NatureZen: Love Nests

words and photos by Melissa McMasters A silly joke I used to make in my pre-birding life was that on particularly wind-blown days, my hair looked like it had been constructed by the Avian Homebuilders’ Association. (I know, I know…I won’t quit my day job.)

NatureZen: The Fluffy Stuff

NatureZen: The Fluffy Stuff

words and photos by Melissa McMasters Even before this week’s snowfall, I’d been thinking about how despite not being a big fan of the cold or the gray skies, winter is my second-favorite season to go birding. While the near-daily arrivals of new species and

NatureZen: Birds With Snacks (Part 2)

NatureZen: Birds With Snacks (Part 2)

words and photos by Melissa McMasters Last year at this time, inspired by the piles of baked goods strewn around our office, I wrote about what some of the birds in our area like to eat in the winter. It seems like as good a

NatureZen: Not From Around Here, Are You?

NatureZen: Not From Around Here, Are You?

words and photos by Melissa McMasters Until this month, my experience with flamingos was limited to lawn ornaments and residents of zoos and aviaries. I wasn’t sure I’d ever see an American flamingo in the wild. Though they turn up in South Florida every now

NatureZen: Dog Day Symphony

NatureZen: Dog Day Symphony

NatureZen: Dog Day Symphony words and photos by Melissa McMasters, except where noted There’s no sound that takes me back to childhood quite like a cicada song. As daylight waned on a summer evening, my grandma would finally deem it cool enough to get into her

NatureZen: A Field Full of Cheer

NatureZen: A Field Full of Cheer

words and photos by Melissa McMasters I love a field of sunflowers as much as the next person (although probably not as much as a bumble bee does). But for me, the bright floral stars of midsummer are not sunflowers but their much more diminutive

NatureZen: The Next Generation

NatureZen: The Next Generation

NatureZen: The Next Generation words and photos by Melissa McMasters At some point every spring, the soundtrack of the woods changes. There are fewer birds layering their songs over each other in pursuit of attracting a mate or warning away a rival. Filling in these