Commentary #89: “He’s a disabled Gulf War veteran with a new purpose: Save birds nearly wiped out by pesticides”

Injured veteran finds purpose

Vallieres shows an owl to a veteran during a demonstration at the New Hampshire Veterans Home. Found on CNN.

Around the middle of April, I stumbled upon a fascinating headline whilst browsing CNN.com, as I do nearly every day:


Robert Vallieres served our country. He came home from the Gulf War broken, and nearly died. He’s battled a traumatic brain injury (TBI), chemical exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among other things.

However, he’s channeled his recovery into volunteering with the New Hampshire Audubon Society.

He’s helping to track and rehabilitate peregrine falcons and bald eagles.


What started it all? His son, who was three at the time. He asked his dad what type of bird he saw. Vallieres bought a bird identification book, binoculars, and they started learning together near their home in Concord, New Hampshire.

In the newspaper, he saw an ad for a birding trip in the state’s White Mountains. He signed up. What stunned him was when a falcon grabbed a bird in mid-air. And it helped him appreciate and enjoy the outdoors – Using all your senses.

Unable to work, the New Hampshire Audubon Society was looking for volunteers to count and track peregrine falcons and bald eagles. Both were nearly wiped off the map due to the pesticide DDT, now banned, which killed unhatched chicks in the 1960s.

The New Hampshire Audubon Society was thrilled to have Robert come on boarding. With his military training, a lot of the same skills applied to counting and tracking these birds.

“Finding rhythm or purpose in life besides myself,” says Vallieres, “Not to get stuck on myself, to have an outlet and be semi-physically fit.”


In addition to volunteering, Robert built a nesting box for kestrel falcons in his yard. It worked. He now has breeding pairs.

He also works to rehabilitate birds for Wings of Dawn, a local wildlife hospital.

He also takes birds to the New Hampshire Veterans Home monthly. The home was so impressed with Robert that they applied for and received a grant to get dozens of binoculars for residents to observe the birds on the property. They also purchased more bird feeders so the less-mobile residents can experience the visitors.

He still struggles with migraines and painful scar tissue. Seeing birds take flight, however, helps him lift his own wings.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth

Commentary #86: “Reforestation Drones Drop Seeds Instead of Bombs, Planting 100,000 Trees Per Day Each”

Reforestation Drones

Image found on Return to Now.

This is a really intriguing idea. I first saw this story on Facebook, through Return to Now.

The U.K.-based BioCarbon Engineering (BCE) has developed a relatively simple, two-step process for accomplishing this:

  1. Send the drones into the target area to create a detailed, 3-D map.
  2. Send the planting drones back to the mapped site to fire “agri-bullets” into the ground.

In addition, the engineering firm has committed to biodegradable seed pods, and planting multiple species simultaneously. That is awesome!

In June 2017, BCE planted 5,000 trees in one day in coal mine-ravaged Dungog, Australia. The company has also worked in South Africa and New Zealand. They also started working in cyclone-ravaged Myanmar, working to replace destroyed mangroves.


Other websites have published similar accounts within the last year:


For more information, check out the links below:


What do you think about using drones to help fight deforestation and climate change? Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #161: “Way in the lake, Lipnik Park in Ruse, Bulgaria” (Reblogged)

I feel at peace when I’m surrounded by nature, especially water, trees, or both.

This photo also symbolizes a path. A path, a journey to the other side.

We are all on our own journeys. The good thing? We can choose our paths. We have that choice. No one can take that away from us.

I’m constantly inspired by nature and landscapes. This particular photo looks like it was taken in autumn, when the leaves are changing colors and the trees are changing seasons. Here in Virginia, we don’t always experience four seasons. But, the trees do. I like to think so, anyway.


What’s your favorite season?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Way in the lake, Lipnik Park in Ruse, Bulgaria

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Getting Personal #147: “The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy” (Reblogged)

I love sharing Just Wunderlust’s photos often. No matter what photo it is, each one evokes emotion or some sort of connection. Sometimes, seeing these photos spark a daydream, or even a potential writing prompt.

Seeing this photo today made me think of several things, aside from the obvious, “Oh, wow, that’s absolutely gorgeous!”

I started thinking of the road that leads to this area. The characters that live there, both real and fictional. It reminded me a little bit of Beauty and the Beast, but my imagination ran a little wild earlier today. I love it when that happens, especially when everyday life and the normal routine can become so repetitive and dull.

The fog looks so ominous around the beautiful mountains, kissed by early snow.

What are their winters like?

Do tourists come?

Do the children enjoy the snow, the winter?

I’m sure it’s cold, but undoubtedly beautiful.

Italy is such a beautiful country, from what I’ve heard. I hope to be able to visit, someday.

As the fall weather is finally starting to settle in, here in southeastern Virginia, I’m enjoying the crisp air, the changing of the leaves, and the coming holidays. We’ll blink and Thanksgiving will be here in a flash. But, I do love one good snow every year – It turns the whole world white and beautiful!

What’s your favorite season? Why do you love it?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy

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Getting Personal #136: “Sunflower Sunset, Dreamland, Kentucky” (Reblogged)

I love sunflowers. They make me happy! They’re not my favorite flower, but seeing photos of them make me think of sunshine, birds chirping, quiet, and peace. And I love sunsets, too.

Seeing this post also made me think of the TV show Smallville, which Al and I are currently binge-watching on Hulu. It’s one of the shows that Al grew up watching. Plus, it lasted an entire decade, from 2001-2011. It’s been funny to catch certain cultural references, and reminisce about the technology, hairstyles, glasses, and more.

The show is set in Kansas, and this is in Kentucky, but it makes me think of farms, country living, and more.

What’s your favorite flower?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Sunflower Sunset, Dreamland, Kentucky

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Getting Personal #108: “Untreusee, Germany” (Reblogged)

I love posting photos from Just Wunderlust every so often. Their photos never fail to take my breath away!

This photo from Germany was no exception! I love seeing color in photographs. The colors here are just brilliant and striking!

I looked up Untreusee, having never heard of it. It’s a lake in Germany, near the eastern border with the Czech Republic.

Now knowing it’s a lake, this photo makes me think of my church youth group trip to Sherando Lake when I was in high school!

Water has an immense calming effect on me. I need to be around water more often, I think.

What about you? What types of nature calm you?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Untreusee, Germany

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Getting Personal #103: “Maroon Bells, Colorado Matthew Eaton” (Reblogged)

BigMouseWorld

Image Credit: Just Wunderlust

via Maroon Bells, Colorado Matthew Eaton

Seeing this image of the Colorado mountains this morning took my breath away.

It reminded me of how beautiful nature is.

How beautiful our own country is.

Our National Parks.

Traveling.

Wanting to get back to nature, and sooner rather than later.

My sister-in-law, Savy, painted a canvas for me last year that I’m going to hang in my office. It reads:

“Let her sleep for when she wakes she will move mountains.”

Image Credit: SavyArt

What about you? Are you moving mountains today?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth