ALICE HENDERSON NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 2021

Magnificent Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES IS THE BARNES & NOBLE PICK OF THE MONTH FOR MYSTERY/THRILLER!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Barnes & Noble has chosen A Solitude of Wolverines as its Pick of the Month for Mystery/Thriller. The trade paperback hit the shelves on September 29, 2021. 

It’s chock full of bonus material, including two essays I wrote about working with wildlife and the inspiration behind the series, book club questions, and a sneak peak at the second book, A Blizzard of Polar Bears, which will be out on November 9!


INTERVIEW ON DOOR TO DOOR

For the HarperCollins Library Love Fest Door to Door series, I was interviewed along with Blair Braverman, writer and dog musher. We talked of the delight of being in the wilderness. I discussed my upcoming thriller A Blizzard of Polar Bears, as well as working with wildlife, the importance of speaking out for imperiled species and what you can do to help.

You can watch the interview here.


GIVEAWAY FOR A BLIZZARD OF POLAR BEARS

Right now on Goodreads, my publisher is doing a giveaway for A Blizzard of Polar Bears, the second novel in my new thriller series. Wildlife biologist Alex Carter is back, fighting for endangered species in the Canadian Arctic and battling for her life in this action-packed follow-up to A Solitude of Wolverines, “a true stunner of a thriller debut” (James Rollins) and “a great read” (Nevada Barr). You can enter here.

The novel will be released in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on November 9, 2021.


GUEST POST ON BARNES & NOBLE BLOG

I was delighted to write a guest post for the B&N Reads blog. I talk about how I balance the scientific side of my work with the creative.

You can read the post here.


A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES OUT NOW IN PAPERBACK AND HARDCOVER IS 50% OFF ON AMAZON

The gorgeous trade paperback edition of A Solitude of Wolverines with bonus material was just released on September 28, 2021. And you can still get the handsome hardcover on Amazon for 50% off! HarperCollins truly did a beautiful job with all of the editions.


WILDLIFE IN THE NEWS

VAQUITA PORPOISE DOWN TO CRITICALLY LOW NUMBERS

The vaquita is the smallest and most endangered porpoise. Because of illegal gillnet fishing used by poachers in Mexico’s Gulf of California, there are only 10 vaquitas left on the planet. 

Though Mexico has been called on to enforce protection for vaquitas, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an environmental review body under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, has discovered that Mexico might not be enforcing protections.

If you want to help the vaquita, consider donating to Sea Shepherd, a non-profit organization that actively patrols the waters of the Gulf of California and removes illegal gill nets.

Information on Operation Milagro, dedicated to the preservation of the vaquita, can be found here on the Sea Shepherd site.

Photo by Anastasia Taioglou on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

MEXICAN GRAY WOLF

Mexican gray wolves are a genetically distinct subspecies of the gray wolf. A federal wolf killing program wiped out wolves in the U.S. Southwest by the 1930s. In 1976, the Mexican gray wolf was finally protected on the Endangered Species Act. A handful of wolves were captured in Mexico and captive bred and their descendants released into the wild in 1998.

As of 2020, 186 Mexican gray wolves now live in the U.S., and they still need help. Some are being killed or removed by federal snipers and trappers, and this continues to limit genetic diversity. The current wolf recovery program has unfortunately been politicized, which serves to limit where they can be recovered, obstruct wolf releases, and remove protections when there are still too few individuals.

If you’d like to help gray wolves, many non-profits have easy-to-send messages you can send to your representatives and petitions you can sign to encourage their protection.

Here are just a few links to get you started: Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, Natural Resources Defense Council

You can also donate to specific wolf funds, such as the Center for Biological Diversity’s Wolf Defense Fund.

Photo by M L on Unsplash


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

SOME ORCAS CAN SPEAK DOLPHIN

A group of orcas who had been spending time with dolphins incorporated dolphin language into their own communications, using more click trains and whistles as the dolphins do. This fascinating study, published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America shows that orcas were not only able to learn the different language but were motivated to do so while being among their dolphin social companions. 


GREEN TIP

Many electronics still use electricity even when switched off. Some do this by displaying clocks, others aren’t actually off but are in a stand-by mode so they are ready when you press the power button on a remote.

Electronics that go into this kind of standby mode are computers, gaming consoles, microwaves, DVD players, stereos, and many others. Plugging these devices into power strips and then shutting off the power strips will save electricity and therefore help the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released from energy consumption.

Also, many gaming consoles have a setting that makes them power down completely rather than going into a stand-by mode. This can be selected in the console’s power settings.

Photo by Jorge Ramirez on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

Light pollution is a serious problem today. It disrupts the natural Circadian rhythms of wildlife and humans alike. Many people also don’t realize that migratory birds use the stars to navigate. In areas where few or no stars are visible, bird mortality increases as birds lose their way.

You can help by replacing dusk-to-dawn lights with motion-activated lights and encouraging your workplace to turn off its lights at night.

You can also contribute to the Globe at Night project, which records dark sky levels. It’s simple to contribute — just step outside and use easy star charts to see if certain constellations are visible to you. Then simply upload your result via the internet. For instance, right now in October, viewers are asked to find Pegasus.

Photo by Alice Henderson


EXPLORE THE WORLD

Back in 1932, Karl Jansky, a radio engineer, was tasked with finding radio sources that might interfere with transatlantic communication. He built a huge antenna, and noticed that one strange signal kept passing overhead each day. He realized he was picking up radio signals from beyond our solar system: the passage of the Milky Way’s core! 

I’ve long been captivated by radio astronomy, so last fall I built a radio telescope. I use it to listen to storms on Jupiter and solar bursts and record the passage of the galactic core. But I also get all sorts of interesting radio signals called “tweeks” coming from distant thunderstorms. 

The center of the above chart, taken from my own readings, shows where one of these “tweeks” occurred. Click below to listen to its strangely musical, otherworldly sound.

“Tweeks”


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2021 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


JULY/AUGUST 2021

Photo from my travels: Rainbow over Banff National Park, Canada

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

INTERVIEW ON READING AND WRITING PODCAST

I had a fabulous time being interviewed on the Reading and Writing Podcast. We talked of wildlife work, the inspiration behind my new thriller series, and how I got started writing.

You can listen to it here.


A BLIZZARD OF POLAR BEARS IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!

You can now pre-order the second book in the Alex Carter series! It will be available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on November 9, 2021.

Fresh off her wolverine study in Montana, wildlife biologist Alex Carter lands a job studying a threatened population of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic. Embedded with a small team of Arctic researchers, she tracks the majestic bears by air, following them over vast, snowy terrain, spending days leaning precariously out of a helicopter with a tranquilizer gun, until she can get down on the ice to examine them up close. 

But as her study progresses, and she gathers data on the health of individual bears, things start to go awry. Her helicopter pilot quits unexpectedly, equipment goes missing, and a late-night intruder breaks into her lab and steals the samples she’s collected. She realizes that someone doesn’t want her to complete her study, but Alex is not easily deterred. 

Managing to find a replacement pilot, she returns to the icy expanses of Hudson Bay. But the helicopter catches fire in midflight, forcing the team to land on a vast sheet of white far from civilization. Surviving on the frozen landscape is difficult enough, but as armed assailants close in on snowmobiles, Alex must rely on her skills and tenacity to survive this onslaught and carry out her mission.

For more information, please click here.

You can pre-order from a variety of sites:


GIVEAWAY FOR HANDSOME PAPERBACK EDITION OF A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES

Over on Goodreads, my publisher is giving away 100 copies of the handsome paperback edition of my thriller A Solitude of Wolverines, an action-packed novel featuring an intrepid wildlife biologist dedicated to saving endangered species who relies on her survival skills to thwart those who aim to stop her. 

The paperback has bonus material including some essays I wrote about working with wildlife, a section with book club discussion questions, and a preview of the next book in the series, A Blizzard of Polar Bears,, which comes out on November 9.

The paperback will be available in bookstores on September 28, 2021.

Click here to enter!


A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES IS ON SALE!

Right now my thriller A Solitude of Wolverines is on sale in both hardcover and ebook.

You can get the gorgeous hardcover edition for 50% off on Amazon! HarperCollins really did a beautiful job with it. Click here for the Amazon hardcover sale.

The ebook is also on sale right now. It’s $1.99 on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, GooglePlay, Apple Books, and other ebook sites.


WILDLIFE IN THE NEWS

VICTORY FOR COOK INLET BELUGAS

Belugas who live in the Cook Inlet in Alaska have been dealing with increasingly industrialized waters due to offshore oil and gas development. 

While 1300 belugas lived in this area as recently as the 1980s, today only 300-400 of them remain. In 2008, they were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

However, the National Marine Fisheries Service allowed Hilcorp Alaska LLC to undertake seismic blasting and boat noise, which has devastating consequences on the whales.

Recently a federal judge ruled that Hilcorp’s activities were violating environmental laws by allowing this detrimental noise to continue.

Photo by Saanvi Vavilala on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO

Yellow-billed cuckoos are elegant, slender birds that are excellent at staying hidden. Their favorite food is caterpillars, and they’re one of the few birds who eat hairy ones like tent caterpillars.

They will call out in response to thunder and are known in some parts as “the rain crow” because of this.

They lay their eggs at staggered times so that the oldest chick is ready to fledge as a new egg is hatching.

Unfortunately, because their riparian habitat in western North America has been converted to housing and farmland, they are in a steep decline there. Nighttime migrators, they also collide with cell towers, buildings, antennas, and wind turbines.

They are currently a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Photo by Maria Stewart on Unsplash


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

SPERM WHALES LIVING IN THE CARIBBEAN HAVE THEIR OWN DIALECT

Researchers working near the island of Dominica have discovered that sperm whales there use a different dialect. Researchers studied sound patterns called codas, which are series of clicks and pauses made by the whales, and learned that the codas spoken by Caribbean sperm whales differed from the codas spoken by whales in other geographical areas, suggesting that they have their own unique dialect.

Photo by Julia Daga Duarte on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

PROVIDE A BUG HOTEL

Pollinators and other invertebrates love a cozy, safe place to rest. Consider providing them with individual rooms by hanging a bug hotel! It’s always fun to look each day and see who’s checked in.

You can make your own by drilling a variety of different sized holes in wood, or order them specially made from stores.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

COUNT BUTTERFLIES

You can contribute your own data to a census of butterflies in North America. Join the North American Butterfly Association this summer in a one-day butterfly count in your area.

You can click here to see a map of all the areas where counts are happening or contact them to start a new count in your own area.

It’s a great way to spend a day outside, watching for these colorful and charming insects.

Click here for instructions on how to get started!

Photo by Alfred Schrock on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

LISTENING IN ON BATS

The bioacoustic study of bats is a fascinating field. When bats echolocate, they send out sound pulses that reflect back to them when the pulses hit obstacles or insects. 

These pulses are so loud that they can actually deafen the bat, so their middle ear muscle contracts to separate their ear bones as the pulse goes out. The muscle then relaxes, reattaching the ear bones, so that the bat can hear the returning tone.

I use a variety of field recorders to study bats. Because most of these pulses are higher than what the human ear can hear, I then examine the recordings visually, looking at spectrograms, such as the one above.

Each bat species has a unique echolocation pulse, varying in frequency, shape of the pulse, time between pulses, and other factors. This allows me to determine what species was near the recorders and what they were doing when recorded, such as sending out search pulses for prey, or zeroing in on an insect, or getting a drink.

For example, you can see this behavior in the image below. A Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis) is using search phase calls, followed by steeper pulses indicating an approach to water, and then a drinking buzz as the bat skimmed the water to drink. Pulses in the drinking buzz look double because the call is echoing off the surface of the water. More than one bat is represented in this spectrogram. You can see the other individual highlighted in the white box, and recognize its other search phase pulses throughout. 


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2021 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


MAY/JUNE 2021

Photo from my travels: Brown bears fishing for salmon, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

A BLIZZARD OF POLAR BEARS IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!

You can now pre-order the second book in the Alex Carter series! It will be available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on November 9, 2021.

Fresh off her wolverine study in Montana, wildlife biologist Alex Carter lands a job studying a threatened population of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic. Embedded with a small team of Arctic researchers, she tracks the majestic bears by air, following them over vast, snowy terrain, spending days leaning precariously out of a helicopter with a tranquilizer gun, until she can get down on the ice to examine them up close. 

But as her study progresses, and she gathers data on the health of individual bears, things start to go awry. Her helicopter pilot quits unexpectedly, equipment goes missing, and a late-night intruder breaks into her lab and steals the samples she’s collected. She realizes that someone doesn’t want her to complete her study, but Alex is not easily deterred. 

Managing to find a replacement pilot, she returns to the icy expanses of Hudson Bay. But the helicopter catches fire in midflight, forcing the team to land on a vast sheet of white far from civilization. Surviving on the frozen landscape is difficult enough, but as armed assailants close in on snowmobiles, Alex must rely on her skills and tenacity to survive this onslaught and carry out her mission.

For more information, please click here.

You can pre-order from a variety of sites:


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

I was delighted to appear on Another Terrible Podcast by Comics on May 16, with fellow writer Jeff Strand. Our host, Eerie Diamond, was amazing and asked some great questions. We had a blast.

You can watch the interview here.


NAPPING BIBLIOPHILE FACEBOOK AUTHOR Q & A AND GIVEAWAY

I’ll be doing a Facebook author Q & A and giveaway on the Napping Bibliophile on Wednesday May 26, 2021 starting at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Come on by to ask me questions about wildlife and writing, and learn about how awesome wolverines are!

The Napping Bibliophile Facebook page can be found here.


WILDLIFE IN THE NEWS

MISSOURI POPULATION OF EASTERN HELLBENDERS GRANTED ENDANGERED SPECIES STATUS

The Missouri population of eastern hellbender salamander was at last granted endangered species status under the Endangered Species Act.

Hellbenders are the largest salamanders in North America, reaching lengths more than two feet. They dwell in clear mountain streams in the northeast and midwest of the U.S. Unfortunately, they have vanished from much of their historical range due to habitat destruction, climate change, and a number of other factors.

In Missouri alone, 77% of the hellbender population has vanished, so these protections are much needed. However, hellbenders have no national protection.

Read more about the decision here

Photo by Tierra Curry / Center for Biological Diversity

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

FIREFLIES

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see the dazzling, magical display of fireflies on a warm summer’s night, you’ve likely been enchanted just as I have. 

Fireflies use these luminescent displays to attract mates. Males employ a unique pattern to flash to females, who will flash back if interested. 

But these captivating displays could soon die out. Fireflies are being decimated by habitat destruction, light pollution and pesticides. To read more about these fascinating insects and their plight, click here.

You can help them by contributing your own firefly observations to Firefly Watch, run by Mass Audubon.

Photo by toan phan on Unsplash


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

THE ELUSIVE GREENLAND SHARK

The longest lived vertebrate on earth is thought to be the elusive Greenland shark. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the oldest Greenland sharks may be over five hundred years old. 

They are huge, reaching twenty-three feet in length. Rarely seen, they dwell in the very cold, deep waters of the North Atlantic around Iceland and Greenland. They may swim as deep as 7200 feet beneath the surface. They are currently listed as near-threatened.

Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

Hummingbirds are starting to arrive in areas as they migrate. If you enjoy putting out hummingbird feeders, instead of using pre-made nectar bought in a store, which can contain harmful dyes, make your own simple sugar solution for them.

Simply mix 1/4 cup of white, refined sugar per every cup of water. (Don’t use honey, which can cause fungal growth. And don’t use natural or raw sugar, as these  contain levels of iron that can harm them.)

The easiest way is to boil the water, then add the sugar so it dissolves. Completely cool the mixture and then fill your feeder.

Be sure to regularly clean your feeder every few days to be sure the mixture doesn’t collect mold.

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

LISTEN TO FROGS

This spring and through the summer, help scientists conserve amphibians by volunteering for Frogwatch USA.

Just listen to the calls of frogs and toads for only twenty minutes a week and then share your data!

Click here for more information.

Photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

The concertina is a bellows-driven free-reed musical instrument that interestingly was invented independently in both Germany and England. In 1829, the English version was introduced, and in 1834, the German version came into being.

I’ve recently taken up the 30-key concertina, and am very much enjoying it. Lately I’ve been diving into Irish folk music and playing reels, jigs, and barndances. 

My particular concertina is a recreation of a model made in the early nineteenth century. It’s “bisonoric,” meaning that when I press a button, a different note sounds when the bellows are pushed or pulled.

Photo by Alice Henderson


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2021 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


ALICE HENDERSON NEWSLETTER

MARCH/APRIL 2021

Photo from my travels: Near Carcross, Yukon Territory, Canada

This stunning section of teal blue lakes outside of Carcross is incredible to behold. The town of Carcross, short for Caribou Crossing, also has a curious one-square-mile sandy area called the Carcross Desert, which isn’t actually a desert at all, but the sandy bottom remains of an ancient lake.

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES LISTED IN MYSTERY SCENE MAGAZINE

A Solitude of Wolverines was included in the Spring 2021 issue of Mystery Scene Magazine under Aunt Agatha’s list of best books of 2020!

To read more about the issue, click here.


TALK FOR FRIENDS OF THE SOUTH END LIBRARY IN BOSTON

I gave a talk on March 2, 2021 for the Friends of the South End Library in Boston. We discussed wildlife and writing and had a blast!

The recording of the event can be viewed here.


Q & A WITH FELLOW AUTHOR DEBORAH KALB

I was delighted to do an author Q & A with fellow writer Deborah Kalb. She asked some great questions!

You can read the Q & A here.


INTERVIEW AND REVIEW IN MONSTER LIBRARIAN

I’m honored to have been interviewed for Monster Librarian. The same interviewer also gave an incredible review of my thriller A Solitude of Wolverines after it was released, so it was wonderful to have this follow-up interview!

You can read the interview here and the review here. A note to readers: A Solitude of Wolverines isn’t horror — it’s a thriller.


WILDLIFE NEWS

JUDGE ORDERS U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE TO SPEED UP BAT DECISION

A federal judge has ordered the US Fish & Wildlife Service to speed up the process of determining if the northern long-eared bat should be upgraded from threatened to endangered. 

This bat has suffered a 99% decline in the eastern U.S. and mid-Atlantic states, as well as in eastern Canada. White-nose syndrome, a disease that is taking a massive toll on bat populations, is largely to blame, brought on by an invasive fungus introduced by humans.

The current listing allows much of the habitat-destroying activities within the bat’s range to proceed. This would no longer be the case if the bat is upgraded to endangered status.

You can read more about the bat and this decision here.

Photo by Al Hicks / USFWS

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

SOUTHERN RESIDENT ORCAS

Southern resident orcas travel extensively along the west coast during the winter and early spring, spending their summers in Puget Sound and the San Juan islands. They have a completely different culture from transient orcas. They speak a different language and only eat fish, while transient orcas eat mammals. 

Unfortunately, the Southern Resident orcas are starving because of lack of salmon, and are injured by boat traffic and water pollution. They are down to only 74 individuals. 

For years, the National Marine Fisheries Service has delayed finalizing expanded critical habitat for the orcas. This habitat still has not been designated.

So what can we do to help? Write to your senators and representatives and urge them to uphold the Endangered Species Act and put these vital protections in place for the Southern Resident Orcas.

Photo by Dick Martin on Unsplash


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

THE MARVELS OF THE GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUS

Just in case you didn’t think these octopuses were fascinating enough, they have nine brains and three hearts. Two of their hearts are used specifically to pump blood to the gills, and a third heart circulates blood to the rest of their body. 

While they have a central brain that controls their nervous system, they also have additional brains in each of their arms. These nerve cells take care of movement so that each arm can work with a mind of its own, all for the central purpose of locomotion and finding food.

Photo by Brent Storm on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

Spring is around the corner, and it’s a great time to consider planting native pollinator-friendly plants in our gardens. Butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds can all become welcome visitors to our yards.

The Pollinator Conservation Resource Center at the Xerces Society has excellent resources for finding native plants for your area.

Click here to get started!

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

This month, you can help the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project by collecting long-term data on larval monarch populations and milkweed. 

It’s a great opportunity to get outside in your area and help a species that is in decline. Training is all online, and you can participate from anywhere in North America. Two virtual training sessions are scheduled — one on March 27 and one on June 12.

Read more about the project and how you can contribute here.

Photo by Sara Codair on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

My project this month has been exploring the world of extra low and very low frequency radio (ELF/VLF), sometimes referred to as “natural radio.” 

I can listen to the pops, crackles, and musical pinging of lightning storms thousands of miles away. Fascinating sounds also come from the magnetosphere, such as the “auroral chorus,” which occurs during magnetic storms and can sound similar to birds singing or sweeping whistles.


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2021 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


ALICE HENDERSON NEWSLETTER

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

Photo from my travels: Arctic Circle, Yukon Territory, Canada

I was ecstatic to cross north over the Arctic Circle while exploring the gorgeous Canadian Arctic. While I was there, I watched the tundra change from the greens of summer to the golds and reds of fall, to the soft hush of winter white.

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

FOR A LIMITED TIME, A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES IS 50% OFF

For a limited time, my thriller A Solitude of Wolverines is 50% off on Barnes and Noble and Amazon! It’s the first book in a suspense series featuring an intrepid wildlife biologist who’s dedicated to saving endangered species…and relies on her superior survival skills to thwart those who aim to stop her. 

Click here to get the hardcover from Barnes & Noble

Click here to get the hardcover from Amazon


A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES NAMED ONE OF THE BEST READS OF 2020

I am overjoyed that my thriller A Solitude of Wolverines has been included on a number of lists for the best read of the year:

Sisters in Crime Australia included A Solitude of Wolverines in their Best Holiday Reads list

Aunt Agatha named it as one of the top 10 books for 2020

Author Terry Shames named it as a favorite read of the year on her post for the 7 Criminal Minds blog

It was included in Thoughts From A Page’s Holiday Gift Guide.

A Solitude of Wolverines is included on “Finding the Perfect Gift for your Book Loving Friends 2020” in the Buzz Magazines

Author James Ziskin included it in his list of best books of 2020 on 7 Criminal Minds


A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES GETTING INCREDIBLE REVIEWS

I am over the moon at the reviews that have been coming in for A Solitude of Wolverines.

The Library Journal declared that “Fans of ecological fiction will enjoy the juxtaposition of the natural environment with the best and worst of human nature in this exciting backwoods thriller.”

It got a fantastic review on the Book Reporter.

Monster Librarian raved about it.

The Bookalicious Babe gave it an amazing review.


TALK FOR THE SOUTH END LIBRARY

I will be giving a talk on March 2, 2021 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time for the Friends of the South End Library in Boston. Anyone can join in on this virtual talk. Click here to sign up.


WILDLIFE NEWS

MANY SPECIES DECLARED EXTINCT IN 2020

The Revelator (from the Center for Biological Diversity) has released its yearly report on species that were declared extinct in 2020. You can read it here.

Among the losses are 65 North American plants, 22 species of frogs, 32 species of orchids, more than 20 species of fish, two bat species, the fascinating smooth handfish (which walked upon the ocean floor with unique hand-like appendages), and many others.

Photo: A blue poison dart frog (D. tinctorius azureus). Another type of poison frog, the splendid poison frog (Oophaga speciosa), has been declared extinct. Photo by Zachary Spears on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

PACIFIC MARTEN

The Pacific Marten is a member of the weasel family that lives in forests.

Due to loss of habitat and damage from wildfire, their population has plummeted to less than 100 individuals and less than 7% of its historical range.

In October 2020, after being sued by a number of conservation organizations, the US Fish & Wildlife Service finally listed the Pacific marten as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but much must be done, and soon, to implement plans to save this species before it disappears.

Photo by USFS


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

AMAZING MIGRATORS

Despite their small size, hummingbirds undertake a stunning migration. One can migrate 1,245 miles without a break.

Arctic Terns are champion migrators. They alternate spending summers in the Arctic and Antarctic. Over their 30-year life spans, they can travel as far as three round trips to the moon!

Hummingbird photo by  James Wainscoat on Unsplash

Arctic tern photo by Kiril Dobrev on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

Monarch butterflies are vanishing, but you can help! Their caterpillars can only be raised on milkweed, and you can help by planting native milkweed in your area. 

Now is the time to get native milkweed seeds ready for spring planting. Seeds need to be cold stratified, so place them in a wet paper towel inside a ziplock bag and put them in your refrigerator. 

After 3-6 weeks, take them out and place 1-2 seeds in small peat pots or egg cartons. Water them and place in a sunny window. The plants should sprout in about 10-15 days. 

In spring, plant them outside to attract gorgeous monarch butterflies!

The Xerces Society (an awesome non-profit that supports invertebrate conservation) has an excellent resource for finding native milkweed seeds here

Photo by Erin Minuskin on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

Monitor the Sky At Night

Did you know that birds use the stars to navigate while migrating? Darkness is also important to maintain our health and save on energy consumption. But light pollution is a real concern. 

The Globe at Night is a citizen science program aimed at monitoring light conditions. You can see how well your city is doing and you can easily submit your own observations on light pollution from your computer or smart phone.

Click here to participate.

Photo by Alice Henderson


EXPLORE THE WORLD

I’ve long been fascinated by the stars, and I love to spend evenings outside gazing up. I bundle up in my coat, get out my star charts and red flashlight, and lose myself in the myriad wonders above. Whether I am peering through a telescope, using binoculars, or simply gazing up with the naked eye, I am always filled with delight.

One of my favorite things to do is astrophotography, from photographing breathtaking nebulae to images of the Milky Way and planets.

Photo of the Lagoon Nebula by Alice Henderson


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2021 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020

Photo from my travels: American pika in Glacier National Park, Montana

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES IS NOW AVAILABLE!

My thriller A Solitude of Wolverines is now out! It’s available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook versions. If you would like a physical copy, please consider supporting a local bookstore during these difficult times. You can search for one here.

For ebooks, you can order it on the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, GooglePlay, Apple Books, and more..

Click here if you are an Audible listener.


AMAZON EDITORS’ PICK FOR BEST MYSTERY, THRILLER & SUSPENSE

A Solitude of Wolverines was selected as an Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense! 


A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES NAMED TOP 5 PICK FOR NOVEMBER ON BUZZ READS

I am delighted that Buzz Reads included A Solitude of Wolverines in the Top 5 Picks for November!


PODCASTS AND INTERVIEWS GALORE!

I was thrilled to be a guest on a few podcasts, be interviewed by magazines, and have a virtual book launch. If you’re interested in hearing about wildlife research, real life stories from the wilds, writing, and my inspiration behind my new series, please tune in to the following!

Thoughts from a Page podcast

The Inside Flap podcast

Author Stories podcast

Interview in The Big Thrill

Virtual Book Launch through Copperfield’s Books

Interview in Mystery & Suspense Magazine

Interview in Mystery Scene Magazine


NON-FICTION ARTICLES

Addressing both the plight of wildlife and the importance of having accurate science in fiction, I just wrote two articles:

“10 Species Under Immediate Threat Due the Climate Crisis and How You Can Help!” on One Green Planet

“Why Using Accurate Science in Fiction Is So Important” on CrimeReads


WILDLIFE NEWS

BAD NEWS FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

It’s been a tough time for wildlife and the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists have been trying to get the wolverine listed on the Act since 1994. Repeatedly USFWS has refused and repeatedly federal judges have ordered the Service to reexamine the science, as wolverines are clearly disappearing. 

Less than 300 now remain in the lower 48, as they have vanished from most of their former territory there. As recently as this fall, USFWS had once again been ordered to make a decision on the wolverine, and once again, they refused, leaving this imperiled species without protection from climate change, overtrapping, off-road winter recreation, and habitat fragmentation. You can read more about the decision here.

Grey wolves were also dealt a major blow when they were removed from the Endangered Species Act in late October. These wolves only live in 10% of their former habitat. Now it will be down to individual states to protect wolves, and historically this is not a promising outlook. If you would like to urge your governor to protect wolves, this form makes it easy.

Wolverine photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash. Wolves photo by Yannick Menard on Unsplash.

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

AMERICAN BURYING BEETLE

Insects are dying off on apocalyptic levels.  

Bumblebees are vanishing. Monarch butterfly populations are plummeting. And the American Burrowing Beetle is not being spared. 90% of their population has been lost. 

While originally listed on the Endangered Species Act in 1989, for decades the oil and gas industries have applied pressure to have those protections removed. Due to climate change, remaining beetles in the southern Plains are not faring well.  

Though the species continues to decline, on September 3, 2020, The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service downlisted this beetle from endangered to threatened. To make things worse, this new ruling also allows oil and gas companies to develop in the beetle’s sensitive habitat in Oklahoma.

If you want to make your thoughts known about this downlisting, submit comments to the USFWS here or call 1‑800‑344‑WILD. You can also write letters to your representatives! Encourage them to support the Paw & Fin Act, which will restore and strengthen the Endangered Species Act.

Photo by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

THE HOWLING WEREWOLF MOUSE!

The grasshopper mouse, also known as the werewolf mouse, lives in the deserts of North America. It is carnivorous, dining on insects, scorpions, centipedes and even snakes, and is immune to certain types of venom. It stalks its prey by night, sneaking up on it, and howls to defend its territory. Click here to listen to the howl!


GREEN TIP

Winter is coming and many areas are experiencing drought. Putting out a heated bird bath will grant birds access to fresh water throughout the cold months. 

A number of heated bird baths are available. Call your local bird food store for recommendations.

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

It’s dipping into winter, and that means it’s time for FeederWatch! Run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, FeederWatch is a great way to contribute to science from the comfort and warmth of your own home.

Simply put out bird food a couple days a week and count the birds who visit for a slice of time that you choose. That’s it! And you’re doing a service for the birds and science.

It runs from November 14 through April 9. You don’t have to count every week, and it’s okay if you start later into the season. Just record what you can and send in your data! Even if you can only record once! There’s even a mobile app to make the counting and data logging that much easier. To participate, click here.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

If you’ve been spending a lot of time indoors lately, feeling cooped up, why not take up a new hobby? I’ve long been fascinated with learning languages. As an undergrad, I studied German and Tibetan, and in grad school I translated stories from Medieval Welsh. Right now I’m delving into Polish, which I think is a gorgeous-sounding language.


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2020 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


ALICE HENDERSON NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 2020

Photo from my travels: the massive bear aptly known as 747 fishing in Katmai National Park, Alaska. This year, 747 was crowned champion of Katmai’s Fat Bear Week, being deemed the fattest bear of the year.

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH

I’m excited to announce that Copperfield’s Books will be hosting a virtual book launch for A Solitude of Wolverines on October 29, 2020 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, will be joining me in conversation, followed by a Q & A session.

I’m excited to announce that Copperfield’s Books will be hosting a virtual book launch for A Solitude of Wolverines on October 29, 2020 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction, will be joining me in conversation, followed by a Q & A session.

To register for the event, click here.


OCTOBER READING LISTS

A Solitude of Wolverines is on several reading lists for October. Bustle has included it in their Most Anticipated Books for October!

Hasty Book List has included it in their list of books to be on the lookout for in October.


GUEST BLOG FOR THE POISONED PEN

My guest blog is up on The Poisoned Pen! I talk about wildlife research and my inspiration for writing my upcoming thriller, A Solitude of Wolverines.

You can read it here.


GERMAN EDITION OF A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES

I’m very pleased to say that HarperCollins will be publishing a German edition of A Solitude of Wolverines under the title Wild. It’ll be out on March 23, 2021. I love reading novels in German. Right now I’m reading Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front), and I’m thrilled that my own work will appear in the language.


APPEARANCES AND INTERVIEWS

I am honored to be featured on quite a few amazing podcasts and blogs this month:

● My guest blog for The Poisoned Pen will appear October 7.

● I’ll be on The Inside Flap podcast on October 25, 2020!

● My essay “Bringing Accurate Science to Fiction” will appear on CrimeReads on October 27.

● I’ll be the guest blogger on October 27 for 7 Criminal Minds.

● In addition, I will be interviewed by A Mighty Blaze on October 27, the publication date for A Solitude of Wolverines.

● The Thoughts From A Page podcast will air my interview on October 30.

● On November 4, I’ll be interviewed on the Author Stories Podcast.

● I’ll be interviewed for the Reading and Writing podcast, airdate TBD.


WILDLIFE NEWS

PYGMY RABBIT POPULATION DRASTICALLY REDUCED

The deadly blazes decimating the western U.S. are destroying critical populations of endangered species. Pygmy rabbits weigh in at only a pound, have a limited breeding season, and rely on sagebrush for their winter food. 

A number of factors have led to their decline, including conversion of sagebrush habitat to agricultural and grazing lands, invasive species, wildfire, and oil and gas development. Recent fires in Washington destroyed half of their population in that state, and now only fifty are estimated to have survived there. Read more about it here.

Photo by United States Bureau of Land Management

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

BATS

Bats are a beneficial and integral part of our ecosystems. They pollinate plants we rely on for food, such as bananas, guava, mangos, figs, peaches, agave, and more. They also help us keep mosquito populations in check. 

But bats are experiencing alarming decline in the U.S. Pesticide use is part of this, but an invasive fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is causing white-nose syndrome, a disease that kills bats. Struggling to breathe, bats repeatedly wake up during hibernation cycles and venture outside in the winter to feed when very little insects are available. There is a 90-100% fatality rate in many hiberacula.

First discovered in New York State in 2006, this deadly fungus has now spread across the U.S. at alarming rates. You can help slow this spread by avoiding caves, or thoroughly cleaning any gear or clothing that has made contact with a cave. In addition, you can reduce outdoor lighting and put up bat houses as a welcome, safe place for bats to roost.

You can read more about white nose syndrome here.

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

HUMPBACK WHALES GO MONTHS WITHOUT EATING

Whether they live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, humpback whales go 5.5 – 8 months per year without eating. In the north, they fill up on krill off the coast of Alaska, then head south to breed in warm tropical waters. In the south, they venture to Antarctica to catch krill, then head north to warmer waters, where they fast while breeding.

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

Many shampoos, body washes, dish soaps, and facial cleansers contain palm oil. Palm oil plantations have led to rainforest destruction and are one of the biggest threats facing the Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran rhino, tigers, elephants, and many other species. Fewer than eighty Sumatran rhinos exist in the wild.

If you don’t want to use a product that uses palm oil, avoid these names:

Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Cetyl A
lcohol
Fatty alcohol sulphates
Isopropyl or Isopropyl Palmitate
Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye

Look for brands that specifically say they are “sulfate-free.” Many of these brands are also cruelty-free, so double bonus!

Photo by Tarryn Myburgh on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

You don’t have to hike deep into the woods to provide valuable information on birds. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology is looking for people to contribute to their Celebrate Urban Birds project.

Just observe birds in your own neighborhood and send the data to the lab. You only have to watch for 10 minutes at a time on three separate days. It’s as easy as that! Plus you can connect with a community of like-minded people.

Read more about the project and how you can contribute here.

Photo by Steve Harrris on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

This fall I embarked on building a radio telescope. I’ve long been fascinated by this field of astronomy, and after years of reading about it from the sidelines, I decided to build one myself. It’s strong enough to pick up solar bursts, the passage of the galactic plane, and storms on Jupiter. Now late at night, when I’ve finished writing for the day, I’m up recording and listening to Jovian storms, some of which sound like crashing surf, and others like popping popcorn. It’s a wonderful new pursuit, and I can even share my data with NASA’s RadioJove project.


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.

Copyright ©  2020 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.


AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

Photo from my travels: Crowfoot Glacier above Bow Lake, Banff National Park, Canada

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

ADVANCED PRAISE FOR A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES

I’m honored to have received some incredible praise from writers who read advanced copies of A Solitude of Wolverines, including Nevada Barr, Douglas Preston, and James Rollins:

“What a treat! Alice Henderson has delivered a treasure of a novel—and, to readers’ delight, a promise of more where this came from. Her depiction of the natural world in all its beauty and terror is spot-on. Into this she weaves a cast of characters both original and fascinating, as well as a heroine who does the unbelievable, yet one can believe it.  A great read!” (—Nevada Barr, New York Times bestselling author)

A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson is a thriller with a heart, a riveting story of conspiracy, murder, and wilderness survival that will keep you turning the pages. Vivid characters, a pulse-pounding plot, a fascinating wildlife-conservation background, and beautifully realized settings make this an exceptional read. This is the first book in a series about wildlife biologist Alex Carter; I can’t wait for the next one.” (—Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling coauthor of Relic and Crooked River.)

A true stunner of a thriller debut. Both a mystery and a survival story, here is a novel written with a naturalist’s eye for detail and an unrelenting pace. It reminded me of the best of Nevada Barr, where the wilderness itself is as much a character as the feisty wildlife biologist who must solve a crime in a remote town where no one is talking, and everyone is a suspect. It’s so fraught with excitement and wondrous details that it demands to be read in one sitting and savored afterward. Don’t miss it.” (—James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey )


Click here to pre-order the book now. It comes out in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on October 27, 2020.


ENTER A GIVEAWAY TO WIN A COPY OF A SOLITUDE OF WOLVERINES!

Want to win a free copy of my thriller, A Solitude of Wolverines? My publisher, William Morrow, is giving away 100 copies! A Solitude of Wolverines is the first book in a thrilling series featuring a wildlife biologist who courts trouble as she saves endangered species. Click here to enter before September 6.


HARPERCOLLINS AUTHOR EXTRAVAGANZA

I was delighted to speak about my upcoming book, A Solitude of Wolverines, in a HarperCollins author showcase for the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association! Click on the image above to hear seven different authors talk about their new books. I was delighted to join fellow authors Nancy Pearl, Natalie Zina Walschots, Simon Stephenson, Alyssa Cole, Nancy Jooyoun Kim, and Sue Miller. 


WILDLIFE NEWS

POLAR BEARS FACE GREATER DANGER OF EXTINCTION THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough has revealed that all 19 subpopulations of polar bears are likely to become extinct in the next 80 years if anthropogenic global warming continues unchecked.

Shrinking sea ice will force bears to fast for longer periods of time, and they will have to resort to less nutritious food they find on land. Mother bears will be unable to nurse their cubs for the regular healthy amount of time and cub mortality will increase.

Bears will ultimately starve.

Read more here.

Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

SOUTHERN MOUNTAIN CARIBOU

Southern mountain caribou are a unique species of caribou who have adapted to life in the mountains of western Canada and the lower 48, and are one of the most endangered mammals in North America. 

For years conservation groups have sought legislation to save these amazing creatures. Human-caused habitat loss, degradation due to old growth logging, motorized recreation, and climate change caused their population to dwindle to an alarming mere handful in the U.S. A desperate attempt to save them was carried out when the remaining few were transported to a protected area in British Columbia.

In October 2019, the US Fish & Wldlife Service finally ruled that they were endangered, AFTER the last mountain caribou was gone from the US.

If you’d like to help, click here for ideas.

Photo of barren ground caribou by Alice Henderson


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

KOALAS AT CRIME SCENES?

With unique whirls and loops, every koala has its own fingerprints, just like humans. The fingerprints of koalas are so similar to those of humans, in fact, that Australian police have worried that koala prints might contaminate crime scenes. 

Photo by Lynda Hinton on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

Up to a billion birds die annually from striking window glass in the U.S. alone. They crash into windows both during the day (when they see reflections that look like part of the sky) and during the night (when they are lured by lighted windows). The good news is that you can help prevent this. To help with nighttime collisions, draw curtains over your windows at night.

To prevent daytime strikes, place decals, stickers or a product like the American Bird Conservancy tape  on the OUTSIDE of windows. Many of these products are translucent from the inside, and opaque to birds on the outside. There are myriad other solutions, too, such as screens, netting, and one-way transparent film. Go here to learn more, including how to treat a bird that has collided with your window.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

Longing to travel to exotic places but feeling locked down because of the pandemic? Travel on your computer to incredible Kenya, and help scientists identify and track giraffes and other animals on this important landscape.

Click here to learn more about the Wildwatch Kenya project.

Photo by elCarito on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

I hope you were all able to gaze at stunning Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 as it approached earth during July, putting on a memorable show. I spent early mornings and evenings out photographing it, gazing in wonder. 

Photo: Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 at Lake Tahoe by Alice Henderson


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!


Copyright ©  2020 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.


JUNE/JULY 2020

Photo from my travels: at the Arctic Circle, Yukon, Canada

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS

SECOND ALEX CARTER BOOK COMPLETED!

I just turned in the second novel in my Alex Carter series to my editor! My new series features a wildlife biologist who faces danger while working with endangered species.

The first novel in the series, A Solitude of Wolverines, comes out in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook on October 27, 2020 from HarperCollins Publishers. You can find links for pre-order here.

I absolutely love writing this series!


WILDLIFE NEWS

SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION

A new study entitled “Vertebrates On the Brink as Indicators of Biological Annihilation and the Sixth Mass Extinction,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that the populations of 515 species of vertebrate animals, including birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, are now reduced to 1000 individuals or less.

We’ve already lost more than 400 vertebrate species in the last 100 years alone.

To learn more about the extinction crisis and the steps that we can take to stave it off, check out the Center for Biological Diversity’s Saving Life On Earth plan, which you can read about here.

Photo by Zoë Reeve on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

AMERICAN PIKA

The American pika is a small relative of the rabbit that lives at high elevations in the mountains. Despite its terrain being snow-covered for most of the year, it does not hibernate. Instead, it gathers forbs and grasses during the summer and dries the vegetation in piles in the sun. It survives on these throughout the winter. Charming and vocal, pikas bound around in talus slopes on the sides of mountains, delighting anyone who’s lucky enough to see them.

However, as the climate warms, pikas are being forced higher and higher up mountain slopes to escape the heat, which can kill them. But when they reach the top of a mountain, there’s nowhere higher to go and populations die out.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been petitioned numerous times to grant protections to the pika, but so far, it has not taken action.

Photo by Alice Henderson


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

Page from Alice Henderson’s nature journal


If you’ve ever been out in the moonlit forests of the western U.S. and heard a haunting, warbling song coming from the trees, then you have likely heard the common poorwill, the smallest member of the Caprimulgidae or night jar family. A group of poorwills is known as an “addiction.”

One of the most interesting facts about the poorwill is that it is the first known hibernating bird. During cold weather, it can enter a torpid state for days or even weeks, lowering its heart rate, breathing, and body temperature. The Hopi word for the poorwill means “the sleeping one.”

Photo by Connor Long


GREEN TIP

Want to provide a safe drinking station for pollinators in your area? Fill a container with pebbles or glass beads and pour in just enough water to reach the top of the pebbles. Now butterflies and bees can land on the rocks and sip away without risk of drowning.

For more ideas on how to help pollinators, the Xerces Society has some great resources here.

Photo by Alice Henderson

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

Looking for something interesting to do from home that will also help the planet? Scientists on Zooniverse are always looking for volunteers for a variety of projects you can do from your computer or mobile device. Want to count elephants in Botswana? Look for elusive mountain zebras in South Africa? Or identify and classify manatee calls? These projects and so many more await you! 

Read more about the program here.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash


EXPLORE THE WORLD

If you’re feeling cooped up without the ability to travel right now, consider delving into nature close to home. For years I’ve kept a nature journal when I’m out in the field. Wanting to sketch and paint more, I recently took a nature journaling class through the Cornell Bird Academy. I truly enjoyed it, and learned more about watercolor techniques and scientific illustration. I recommend it! To learn more about this and other offerings from the Cornell Bird Academy, click here.

Page from Alice Henderson’s nature journal


Thank you for subscribing and reading, and I will see you next time!


Copyright ©  2020 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.


ALICE HENDERSON NEWSLETTER

APRIL/MAY 2020

Photo from my travels: Glacier National Park, Montana

Photo by Alice Henderson


LATEST PUBLISHING NEWS


UPCOMING RELEASE

The first book in the new Alex Carter suspense series will be published in hardcover by HarperCollins in October 2020. The series features a wildlife biologist who courts trouble as she saves endangered species . . . and a mysterious killer who buries his dead in the land she helps preserve—a fast-paced, action-driven tale of suspense with the atmosphere and propulsive tension of works by Jane Harper, C. J. Box, William Kent Krueger, and Nevada Barr.

Read more here.


Authors Share How Apocalyptic
Fiction Can Be an Antidote to Panic

Looking for something to lift your spirits in this challenging time? I’m honored to have contributed some thoughts to this article in The Portalist, which asked authors how we can maintain hope in dark times. Read it here.


The Library Journal’s Preview of Upcoming Thrillers

I’m in good company this month, listed in the Library Journal with other writers of suspense. Take a sneak peek at some great upcoming novels here.


WILDLIFE NEWS

WOLVERINES IN THE NEWS

With fewer than 300 wolverines left in the lower 48, conservation groups once again sued U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to review the science and grant wolverines protected status under the Endangered Species Act. In 2016, a federal judge ordered USFWS to examine requests to list the species, but there has been no forward movement, hence the new suit.

For more information, see the press release here.

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

SPECIES SPOTLIGHT

VAQUITAS

The world’s most endangered marine mammal, a small porpoise called the vaquita, has only 10 individuals left on the planet. Illegal gill nets, set out by poachers to catch another endangered species, the totoaba fish, entangle the rare vaquita. Sea Shepherd, a non-profit organization, patrols the waters of the Upper Gulf of California in an effort to remove the gillnets, but it’s a dangerous and difficult process to find the hidden nets. The gillnet fishing must be stopped or this magnificent species will vanish.

If you’d like to read more about Sea Shepherd’s mission to save the vaquita, visit them here.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash


INTERESTING WILDLIFE FACT

The hyrax is the closest living relative to the elephant, and is also related to manatees and sea cows. Vegetarians, they live in twenty-five countries in Africa in a variety of habitats ranging from savanna to rainforest to alpine zones at altitudes as high as 14,000 feet. They make a variety of interesting vocalizations.

Hyrax photo by Captureson Photography on Unsplash/Elephant photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash


GREEN TIP

The monarch butterfly is an amazing species that makes an epic yearly journey from the northern U.S. and Canada into central Mexico. Millions used to make this migration, and millions overwintered in groves in California. But now the monarch is experiencing a drastic population reduction, with an 80% drop in Mexico and a 90% drop in those California sites. But you can help! Monarchs require milkweed to raise their colorful caterpillars. If you plant milkweed native to your area, along with other plants they rely on for nectar, you can help these beautiful butterflies.

Read more about monarchs here.

You can find references for native plants here.

Photo by Erin Wilson on Unsplash

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

Speaking of monarchs, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has a wonderful Western Monarch Milkweed Mapping program. Just photograph milkweed plants and monarchs and submit your photos. This can help identify important areas of conservation for the species.

Read more about the program here.

Photo by Justin DoCanto on Unsplash


Copyright ©  2020 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.

If you would like to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change the address where you receive notification of Alice’s newsletter, please send an email to newsletter [AT] alicehenderson [DOT] com.