Pete Seeger, Planter of Seeds


Phillip Hoose and Pete Seeger, 1996

In the fall of 1954, Pete Seeger began his long-running column “Appleseeds” in Sing Out! Magazine. He dedicated it to “the thousands of boys and girls who today are using their guitars and their songs to plant the seeds of a better tomorrow in the homes across our land.”

He was indeed a planter of seeds, seeds that germinated as individuals and small groups with backbone and heart.

I knew him best through his central role with one of those groups, the Children’s Music Network.

READ MORE of Phillip Hoose’s article, “Singer Seeger’s Legacy Extends Throughout Maine and Across the Generations.”

Save the Red Knot! Sign the Petition!

B95 (Photo by Christophe Buidin)

B95 (Photo by Christophe Buidin)

If you have read the book Moonbird by Phillip Hoose, you know that one individual bird has had incredible staying power while his species is under great threat.  You can help the Red Knot.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to protect the Red Knot rufa under the Endangered Species Act. Doing so would not only benefit the Red Knot, but other shorebirds since many other species have similar long migrations and are declining due to habitat pressures. But in order for The FWS to follow through on this recommendation to turn into a real listing your help is needed.


Thanks to the Friends of the Red Knot for initiating this petition.

B95 Spotted in Rio Grande

B95 in Dec'13 (Photo by Allan Baker)

B95 in Dec’13 (Photo by Allan Baker)

Patricia M. González of the Global Flyway Network in South America sent author Phillip Hoose this astounding news about B95…

“This afternoon Allan Baker, Luis Benegas and myself saw B95 in the shores of Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego.  It was a great surprise as last year we did not see him in the area. Allan managed to get few pictures when the bird went ahead from the flock of about 110 knots. It was a nice luck as we don’t have many pictures of B95 in basic plumage. The flag is fading but still is possible to recognize the bird because the color band combination with a black band in the right lower leg (from 1995) and an newer orange band in the lower left leg (from a retrap in Rio Grande).

This was a great news for Rio Grande city as you probably know B95 was declared natural ambassador of this city and they will build a monument with his story.”


List Red Knot as a Threatened Species?

Moonbird Photo by Jan van de Kam

Moonbird Photo by Jan van de Kam

Readers of Phillip Hoose’s bird biography, Moonbird: A Year of the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 will cheer to hear that the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the red knot as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Read the release below and note the address for public comment.  You can make a difference for B95 and his descendents!

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List Red Knot as a Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act

Declining food supply and habitat are seen as threats for a remarkable shorebird that migrates thousands of miles each year
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a proposal to list the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a robin-sized shorebird that annually migrates from the Canadian Arctic to southern Argentina, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  The proposed rule will be available for 60 days of public comment.
“The rufa red knot is an extraordinary bird that each year migrates thousands of miles from the Arctic to the tip of South America and back, but – like many shorebirds – it is vulnerable to climate and other environmental changes,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “In some areas, knot populations have declined by about 75 percent since the 1980s, with the steepest declines happening after 2000. We look forward to hearing from the public with any new scientific information as we consider the proposal.”
After an exhaustive scientific review of the species and its habitat, Service biologists determined that the knot meets the definition of threatened, meaning it is likely to become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The knot, whose range includes 25 countries and 40 U.S. states, uses spring and fall stopover areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Changing climate conditions are already affecting the bird’s food supply, the timing of its migration and its breeding habitat in the Arctic. The shorebird also is losing areas along its range due to sea level rise, shoreline projects, and development.
A primary factor in the recent decline of the species was reduced food supplies in Delaware Bay due to commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs. In 2012, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted a management framework that explicitly ties horseshoe crab harvest levels along the Atlantic Coast to knot recovery targets. The Service’s analysis shows that although the horseshoe crab population has not yet fully rebounded, the framework should ensure no further threat to the knot from the crab harvest.
International, state and local governments, the conservation community, beachgoers and land managers are helping ensure knots have safe areas to winter, rest and feed before or along their journey to the Arctic. These partners assist knots in a variety of ways, including managing disturbance in key habitats, improving management of hunting outside the U.S. and collecting data to better understand the knot.
In many cases, the knot’s U.S. coastal range overlaps with those of loggerhead sea turtles and piping plovers, as well as other shorebirds. Conservation actions underway to benefit those species’ coastal habitats will also benefit knots.
The bird is one of the longest-distance migrants in the animal kingdom. With wingspans of 20 inches, some knots fly more than 9,300 miles from south to north every spring and repeat the trip in reverse every autumn. While migrating between wintering grounds at the southern tip of South America in Tierra del Fuego and breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, the shorebird can be found in groups of a few individuals to thousands along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
Studies in Delaware Bay show knots nearly double their weight at this last major spring stop to make the final leg to the Arctic. One bird, called B95 from his leg flag, has been nicknamed the Moonbird, as researchers estimate his 20 or more years of migrations are the equivalent of a trip to the moon and at least halfway back.
Other knot populations winter in the southeast U.S., northwest Gulf of Mexico and northern Brazil. New information shows some knots use interior migration flyways through the South, Midwest and Great Lakes. Small numbers (typically fewer than 10) can be found during migration in almost every inland state over which the knot flies between its wintering and breeding areas. Other subspecies of red knot, including C.c. roselaari that migrates along the Pacific Coast to breed in Alaska and Wrangel Island, Russia, are not included in this proposal on the rufa red knot.

As required by the Endangered Species Act, the Service plans to publish a separate proposed rule identifying critical habitat for the red knot before the end of 2013 and expects to make a final decision on both rules in 2014.
The proposed rule, in response to a court-ordered deadline, is available for public comment through November 29, 2013. The agency requests a variety of information on the knot, from population trends to genetics and distribution.
Comments may be submitted through the following methods:
· Federal Rulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting information on docket number FWS–R5–ES–2013–0097.
·U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2013–0097; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, Virginia 22203.



Moonbird Spotted in Canada!

B95 (Photo by Christophe Buidin)

B95 (Photo by Christophe Buidin)

B95 continues his miraculous journey!  The rufa red knot, nicknamed Moonbird, was spotted in Mingan archipelago at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in northern Quebec by Yann Rochepault on August 2nd, 2013.  Mingan is a stop-over spot on the red knots’ flight from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego.

“This means he made it through another breeding season in the Arctic, and, given the date, it means he’s probably a dad once again,” said Moonbird’s biographer, Phillip Hoose, “Now those are genes worth having!”   Read more ay

Hoose Reports from Delaware Bay

This report came via email from author Phillip Hoose who is on Delaware Bay banding shorebirds and hoping to spot B95, the subject of his award-winning book, Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95.

“Two young Quebecois biologists—Yann Rochepault and Christophe Buidin– snapped these photos yesterday morning at Fortescue Beach on the Bay’s Jersey Side.

B95 Christophe Buidin

‘It seems like B95 is continuing his publicity tour!’ said Charles Duncan of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

I was there yesterday; I missed B95 by about an hour.   He has made four appearances now, on three different beaches.   All who have seen him—five folks in all—comment that he looks great; in good plumage, already getting chunky, and vigorous in feeding.   His breeding plumage is part-way in.   He arrived early this year, as did many birds.

B95 Yann RochepaultFive key crab spawning beaches were completely restored from the work of Sandy—a local coalition of private and public entities raised 1.4 million and purchased 35,000 cubic yards of sand from a local mine.  They trucked it in hundreds of loads and finished spreading it just before the crabs began to spawn in late April.   It worked beautifully:  all five beaches are well used by spawning crabs now.   Theres a feeling of optimism down there this year, despite roadways narrowed by towering heaps of sand, and Katrina-like destruction of beach houses.  B95, who keeps returning no matter what, is a great symbol of hope.”

Let Flood Tide Run

IM PH Penguin 1209“When I know I’ve found a story to tell I let the flood tide run in me for a day or so and just let myself be soaked with love for the idea. In those dawning hours I’m blindly in love with the idea…Then I sleep on it. I try to put it away for a little bit…I am so excitable that I know I need a day. If my idea can survive those stages, I explore it with all I have.” -Phil Hoose

From the fantastic article in Horn Book, “Narrative Nonfiction: Kicking Ass at Last” by ELIZABETH PARTRIDGE.

Band for the Birds

Professor Ernie Bond of Salisbury University declared this combo of authors Olivia Bouler and Phillip Hoose, the “best band to ever play for the birds!” at the Green Earth Book Awards.

Bouler & Hoose at Green Earth Book Awards

Bouler & Hoose at Green Earth Book Awards

Readers and bird lovers should locate a copy of the wonderful conservation title by Olivia Bouler, Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf and follow her on Facebook.

51DMxkLboQL._SX225_Olivia wept when she heard about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, a place where she spent many vacations with her cousins and grandparents who live in Louisiana and Alabama. Knowing birds were going to suffer during migration and nesting season, she decided to take action. Olivia gave bird drawings to those who donated to wildlife recovery efforts, thus raising $200,000 to date.

Her story has appeared on the Today Show, CBS Evening News, Mobile Press Register, The Guardian (UK), BBC, AOL News, Newsday, USA Today, and Larry King Live. Her children’s book, Olivia’s Birds, was released for the one year anniversary of the oil spill.

Olivia has been named 2010 ASPCA Kid of the Year, Audubon Artist Inspiring Conservation, Disney Friend For Change, Dale Earnhardt Legend of Leadership, and A White House Champion of Change.

Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf and Phillip Hoose’s Moonbird were both honored at the recent Green Earth Book Awards.

Animals Do Their Part

Phil Hoose (Photo by John P. Cleary, Herald Bulletin)

Phil Hoose (Photo by John P. Cleary, Herald Bulletin)

Author talks to elementary students about shorebirds, preserving nature
By Dani Palmer 
The Herald Bulletin

FRANKTON, Ind. — Frankton fifth-grader Hannah Smith had no idea what a red knot was until author Phil Hoose stopped by.

Hoose was at Frankton Elementary School on Thursday morning to talk to the students about shorebirds, along with a few of the animals they encounter and the importance of preserving nature.

The hero of his latest book, “Moonbird,” is a red knot shorebird named B95.

Hoose said he wants the kids to “feel some empathy and respect for them, preserve their habitat for them and to love birds” that actually have “rugged lives.”

“Caring is at the core of all of it,” he said, adding developing a philanthropic nature while young can really make a difference.

Fifth-grader Aden Steigerwalt said he thinks it’s important to be knowledgeable about nature and take care of it.

“Animals do their part, we should do ours,” he said.

Frankton Elementary has worked to raise money for the Nature Conservancy, an organization that works globally to protect ecologically important lands and waters, for 18 years now, raising more than $20,000 for the Adopt-an-Acre program.

Phil Hoose (Photo by John P. Cleary, Herald Bulletin)

Phil Hoose (Photo by John P. Cleary, Herald Bulletin)

Ken Kakasuleff, a fourth-grade teacher who helped get the program started, said students raise money through jar wars, in which each grade collects coins in 5-gallon jugs to build up points. Students can put bills in another grade’s jug to subtract points and the grade that receives the most gets rewarded with a party.

“It generates a lot of enthusiasm and they know it’s for a good cause, what it’s for,” Kakasuleff said.

The school completes jar wars the week of Earth Day or Arbor Day and students study nature as they do it.

Hoose has worked with the Nature Conservancy for 36 years now and was in the area to make some presentations for the organization. He said Frankton is well-known for its conservation efforts and that he was happy to stop by to spread awareness and teach the kids about animals they may not have known exist.

B95 is “bionic.”

Hoose said 55 percent of red knots die in the first year of their lives and the rest live to be about 7 years old. B95 is 20 years old, the oldest of his species ever.

“He’s become world, world famous, this bird is,” Hoose said. “This guy is something special.”

B95 has flown more than 350,000 miles, he said, which equivalents the distance to the moon and nearly halfway back. Red knots fly from the bottom of the world to the top each year, through hazardous weather like hurricanes.

“I think it’s cool for a bird to fly like that,” Steigerwalt said, comparing B95 to a rocket.

Before he left, Hoose donated four of his books to the school’s library, signing each copy for the students.

As for B95, he was last seen May 28, Hoose said, and it’s unknown if he’s still alive. But if he is, he’s probably in Chile right now where a big flock has been reported.