ALICE HENDERSON NEWSLETTER

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


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


Copyright ©  2020 by Alice Henderson. All rights reserved.

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