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#NatureZen and Photography

NatureZen: Rose-Colored Glasses

NatureZen: Rose-Colored Glasses

Words and photos by Melissa McMasters One of the great joys of spending years getting to know the same patch of land is developing a familiarity with the way it changes with the seasons. I know that I’ll usually hear the first “fizz” calls in

NatureZen: Heavenly Hummingbirds

NatureZen: Heavenly Hummingbirds

Words and photos by Melissa McMasters In medieval times, the word “gorget” (from gorge, the French word for “throat”), referred to a cloth wrapped around a woman’s neck and head. Over the years, it evolved to describe the metallic collars worn by knights and soldiers to

NatureZen: Slow It Down

NatureZen: Slow It Down

Words and photos by Melissa McMasters At the end of a string of chaotic days recently, an Instagram scroll brought me to a gentle reminder. In the Northern hemisphere, we’re heading into the shortest days of the year, and therefore the most darkness. As animals, our

NatureZen: Could It Be…Actual Fall?

NatureZen: Could It Be…Actual Fall?

words and photos by Melissa McMasters Every year after the calendar tells us that fall has officially arrived, we experience a few days of glorious crisp temperatures followed by the cruel return of heat and humidity. The meme about Memphis’s twelve seasons begins to recirculate

NatureZen: How to be Punctual

NatureZen: How to be Punctual

words and photos by Melissa McMasters As part of last year’s NatureZen holiday card rollout, we introduced you to the calligrapher flies, tiny flower-loving creatures whose markings look like intricate doodles. This time we’ll go on a short survey, starting with the punctuation mark butterflies.

NatureZen: All Eyes on Me

NatureZen: All Eyes on Me

words and photos by Melissa McMasters One of the things that fascinates me most as a naturalist is the ways animals have evolved their appearances over time to suit some specific purpose. Last summer, we explored how moths camouflage themselves to blend perfectly into their

NatureZen: The Dragonfly Olympics

NatureZen: The Dragonfly Olympics

words and photos by Melissa McMasters A few weeks ago, I participated in a global community-science project called the Odolympics, named for Odonata, the taxonomic order containing dragonflies and damselflies. Like the Great Backyard Bird Count or a BioBlitz, the Odolympics harnesses the time and energy of

NatureZen: Happy Bee Day to You

NatureZen: Happy Bee Day to You

Words and photos by Melissa McMasters Today is World Bee Day, an international effort to convey the importance of bees to our food systems and to the diversity of life on our planet. One of every three bites of food we eat is dependent on

NatureZen: The Elusive Indigo Bunting

NatureZen: The Elusive Indigo Bunting

Today’s guest post is by Steve Adelman, a writer who is an up-and-coming outdoorsman after living the majority of his life in major cities. He can be found most Sunday mornings at Overton Park with his wife, Michele, and their dog, Milton.  I had never