Congress passed the Homestead Act in 1862, and President Abraham Lincoln signed it. Homesteaders had to build their home and plow at least 20 acres for crops to “prove up” the claim to get full ownership of the property. Then even the poor could own land if they worked hard enough.
When schools aren’t open–no field trips, no biology classes– nature-loving city kids don’t need to feel deprived–they’ve got piegons! They don’t need to go that far to watch nature in action–the windowsill or sidewalk edging can show you wildlife in action, as pigeons forage for food and male pigeons display, strut, and coo in hopes of finding a mate.
Artist Deborah Milton and I traveled to the wild islands of British Columbia to experience the habitat and life of the Kermode bear, a rare subspecies of the American black bear that often produces creamy white cubs. They are not albino; their eyes and skin are dark. This rarity lives only in this temperate rainforest.
The inspiration for book topics can come in surprising ways. When U.S. Navy Seals Team Six killed El Quida leader Osama bin Laden, the crew included a military working dog. When people learned a dog was involved in the raid, they wanted to learn everything about it–what breed, gender, and what work such dogs do.