This year, the National Park Service has reached an incredibly impressive milestone, and celebrated one hundred years as an agency on August 25 of this year. To help the NPS continue celebrating its centennial, The Manual has devoted a regular column to highlighting one of its spectacular parks each month. In addition to providing general information on the regions themselves, we’ll also catch up with park rangers, area advocates, and anyone who contributes to the preservation and operation of each park. Enjoy!Park name: Everglades National Park (Florida)Area: 1,508,538 acresAuthorized: May 30, 1934Average annual visitors: 997,903As we crack a bottle of proverbial champagne on our inaugural NPS Centennial column, Florida’s expansive Everglades National Park is where we’ll venture to first. Encompassing roughly 1.5 million acres of Florida’s southern tip, the Everglades is a treasure trove for avid adventurers looking to explore the region’s eclectic ecosystems, tropical hammocks, and mangrove swamps. Due in part to the sprawling nature of the park itself, it remains one of the rare national attractions that deserves an extended amount of visitation time to even feel like you’re scratching the surface of what it offers.With its wet season lasting from April to November and a (more desirable) dry season lasting from November to March, Everglades National Park is a constantly shifting environment that offers visitors a dramatically different experience literally every month. To get a true barometer of how exactly the park lives and breathes, we chatted with Everglades National Park ranger, Maria Thomson and Everglades National Park Chief of Public Affairs, Linda Friar.What is your favorite part about being associated with the park?Maria Thomson: I think what I like best is just how much wilderness there is. I believe the Everglades is something like 85 percent wilderness; it just gives people so many different opportunities for activities. The way in which it constantly changes with the seasons is exhilarating. Whether it’s the dry or wet season, the wildlife and scenery change so much and offer much to be explored. It’s also great to see people visit from all over the world just to enjoy the park.Are there any unknown facts you’d share with first-time park goers?Linda Friar: Perhaps to venture off the main park road and look small. Most of the time when people visit the Everglades, they are overcome by how big it is. It’s incredibly important to just stop and be still, be amazed by what’s around. The park as a real subtle beauty to it.MT: Yeah, I’d agree with Linda. Look small and be aware of your surroundings. It’s incredibly interesting to stay off the beaten path. Just explore everything around you and have a sense of adventure.Why is Everglades National Park so important to you? MT: Aside from the fact I’ve been working here for so long and it feels like a part of me, I absolutely love how expansive everything is. Whether you have just a day to explore or you visit for an entire week, there’s so much to do to fill your time. It’s just a really special place.LF: I’d add to that and say that even people who come from all over the country, or the world, to visit the Everglades don’t even realize the park is just one small part of what makes it so great. So much of the wilderness and waterways that make up a large portion of the Everglades are as equally amazing as anything the parks have to offer. What’s so great about working for the park is having the ability to actively preserve it for future generations. All photos courtesy of the National Park Service Editors’ Recommendations To Find Beauty In Yosemite, Just Whip Out Your (Honda) Passport The Best Men’s Trail Running Gear for Warm Weather Book a Last-Minute Summer Camping Trip Just About Anywhere With Pitchup On the Road with Mikah Meyer, the First Person to Visit Every National Park Site in One Trip The Best Men’s Short-Sleeve Button-Downs Shirts Raise the Bar
Knowing and responding immediately to the warning signs of stroke can significantly improve the odds of survival and recovery. To help Nova Scotians recognize such potentially life-saving cues, the province, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, and Cardiovascular Health Nova Scotia — the provincial program responsible for improving care for heart disease and stroke — have partnered on a 16-month awareness campaign. “We are working with our partners to reduce the devastating impact stroke can have on the lives of Nova Scotians,” said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health. “Through this campaign and our efforts to improve stroke care, I know many people who suffer a stroke will live longer, more fulfilling lives.” The five warning signs of stroke are weakness, trouble speaking, vision problems, headache and dizziness. “When it comes to a stroke, the faster you can get medical attention, the better,” said Menna MacIsaac, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia. “We encourage all Nova Scotians to know the warning signs and call 911 immediately.” A stroke is a sudden loss of brain function caused by the interruption of the flow of blood to the brain or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain. Strokes can hinder the ability to move, see, remember, speak, reason, read and write. A recent poll of Nova Scotia adults 18 and older indicates that 65 per cent of Nova Scotians can name at least two warning signs of stroke. This same poll also showed that two-thirds of Nova Scotians would call 9-1-1 or an ambulance if they, or someone they know, experienced warning signs of stroke. The campaign aims to improve those results. The campaign, funded by the Health Department, is part of a provincial strategy to enhance existing stroke programs and services. Modelled after other successful stroke awareness campaigns, it will include television and print materials that will run from mid-July until November 2010. Someone suffers a stroke every 10 minutes in Canada, making it the third leading cause of mortality in the country, with 14,000 deaths annually. Of the more than 50,000 strokes nationally each year, about 1,500 occur in Nova Scotia. More than half of survivors need help with daily activities. For more information on the warning signs of stroke, visit www.heartandstroke.ns.ca/stroke .
The complex relationship between animals and humans will be the subject of a March 22 talk by acclaimed writer and broadcaster Erika Ritter.Ritter will visit Brock to discuss her latest book, The Dog By the Cradle, The Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships. The title refers to the story of a devoted greyhound executed by his master for apparently attacking the man’s sleeping child. Only after he’s killed the dog does he find the dead body of a serpent beneath the infant’s overturned cradle.The book describes humanity’s love/hate relationship with animals, and how our treatment of them veers between empathy and cruelty. It was shortlisted for the Writers Trust Non-Fiction book prize in 2009.Ritter’s Brock appearance is sponsored by the Departments of Sociology and Political Science and the Social Justice and Equity Studies MA program.The book highlights striking contradictions, such as the fact that while we as a society spend millions of dollars on certain animals who we define as pets, we inflict hideous suffering on other animals who we define as food, said John Sorensen, Brock Sociology chair and author of the recently released book Ape. It also touches on the portrayal of animals in literature, views of animal activists, the inadequacies of Canada’s anti-cruelty laws and controversial breed-specific bans on dogs.“Critical Animal Studies is a new and rapidly growing academic field and Brock University is at the forefront of this field,” he said. “Anyone who’s interested in learning a bit more about some of these issues will find Erika Ritter’s talk very informative.”Ritter is a novelist, playwright, essayist and radio broadcaster. Her work includes the Chalmers-Award-winning play Automatic Pilot, the novel The Hidden Life of Humans and the essay collections Urban Sprawl, Ritter in Residence and The Great Big Book of Guys: Alphabetical Encounters with Men.The event is from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Sankey Chamber. Everyone is welcome.Quick link:• Erika Ritter• chapters.indigo.ca — The Dog By the Cradle, The Serpent Beneath