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    Archived pages: 1265 . Archive date: 2013-12.

  • Title: Backyard Nature with Jim Conrad
    Descriptive info: .. SPRING.. |.. SUMMER.. FALL.. WINTER.. Bug-eaten Leaf Awards.. Be an environmentalist.. Free weekly newsletter.. NATURALIST NOTES:.. *.. Jim's Naturalist Newsletter Archives.. Spring Comes to The Desert.. Loess Hills/ Lower Mississippi Valley.. Sierra Nevada Foothills of California.. FUN READING:.. One Year in a Gray Squirrel's Life.. One Year in a House Sparrow's Life.. Walks  ...   Help Jim fund this site.. Jim also has a soft spot for Mexico.. If you do, too, you might enjoy the following:.. *.. Traditional Mexican Markets.. A birding trip through Mexico.. Notes/ Plants Animals of Yucatán.. Notes/ Plants Animals of Mexico.. YERBA BUENA: Word-Snapshots from a Clinic In Southern Mexico.. Environmental Group:.. Adopt this Site..

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  • Title: Jim Conrad
    Descriptive info: photo by Eric Chaffee © 2012.. Main field of interest:.. Teaching nature-study techniques, and philosophizing about why understanding nature is so important.. Education:.. M.. Sc.. in Botany, B.. in Biology Geology.. Background:.. Born in 1947, Jim grew up on a small tobacco farm in western Kentucky, in the southeastern USA.. After college he served as a naturalist in a Kentucky state park, then for three years worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St.. Louis.. While there he collected plants for taxonomic research in several Latin American countries.. Then he began his main career as a freelance writer focusing mostly on topics relating to natural history.. For his work he has traveled in about forty countries, in the process publishing over 200 magazine articles and stories, and six books.. His most popular books are.. MEXICO: A Hiker's Guide to Mexican Natural History.. and.. The Maya Road.. Jim lives an experimental life, one in which he explores the possibilities of living an enriched existence in which he can contribute to society, but also live a life that is simple, very inexpensive, and relatively easy on the environment.. If you'd like a glimpse into that life,.. click here.. You might guess that Jim has strong opinions about many things.. You can read some of  ...   In early 1997 Jim became an Internet-connected hermit/naturalist in the forests and fields of southwestern Mississippi.. During this time he dedicated himself fully to advancing.. environmental education.. cross-cultural sensitization.. by establishing appropriate websites.. His first efforts resulted in the creation of the popular.. EarthFoot's Free Ecotour Posterboard.. In 2004, once that website was fully operational, he turned it over to a friend.. Most recently he has developed the.. Backyard Nature website.. , as well as several other online books and sites.. You can download books written during various of Jim's naturalizing trips.. Since 2005 Jim has wandered a bit, in the process depositing onto the Internet information about nature in.. California's Sierra Nevadas.. , Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains, Kentucky's Bluegrass Region, and the Mexican states of.. Yucatán.. ,.. Querétaro.. Chiapas.. ,.. At this time Jim is in southwestern Texas.. Help Jim keep this site running with a donation of any size:.. Each week Jim issues his.. Naturalist Newsletters.. They consist of several pages about the plants and animals he has interacted with that week, and maybe a little philosophizing.. If you would like a free subscription,.. You can.. review all previous newsletters.. on the Web.. You can write to Jim.. by clicking here.. Return to HOME PAGE.. This page was last updated on..

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  • Title: 101 Things to Do This Spring
    Descriptive info: 101 Nature-Oriented.. Things to Do This.. Check out Naturalist Jim's.. Naturalist Newsletter Page.. on.. Facebook.. On various trees, shrubs and herbs see if you can always.. figure out exactly where the leaves are.. Our.. How Can You Decide Whether Something is a Leaf or Not?.. Page can help you here, especially with the question of whether something is a leaf or a leaflet.. Probably you've watched Robins.. catching earthworms in your lawn.. Lie on the lawn and see if you catch as many as the Robins do.. If you have chiggers or redbugs in your area you might want to spread a plastic sheet below you.. Find a caterpillar and notice its six black.. jointed legs.. immediately behind the head, its stubby, mid-body legs called.. prolegs.. and its end ones called.. anal prolegs.. Caterpillars Other Insect Larvae Page.. shows these.. If you.. find a birdnest.. , determine whether it is a.. scrape, platform, cup, adherent, pensile.. or.. pendulous.. nest.. Nest Page.. can help you with that.. Find the scientific name of a plant or animal.. by using the.. Google Search Engine.. and typing in its common or English name.. Once you have the name, use Google to find a good etymology site dealing with Latin and Greek roots, to help you understand what the scientific name is saying.. Visit our.. On the Beauty.. of Scientific Names Page.. If you have a moist, junky basement,.. look for Daddy-long-legs.. , pictured and described on our.. Harvestman Page.. Look for animal tracks in mud.. You should be able to identify at least dog tracks, as drawn on our.. Mammal Tracks Page.. You may want to review the book.. Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America.. available at Amazon.. com.. Look for simple and compound eyes on an insect.. , as described in the eye section of our.. Insect Design Page.. Build a.. solar cooker.. using an old TV satellite dish as described at our.. Solar Cooker Page.. On tree twigs, look for.. lenticels, buds.. leaf scars.. , as described on our.. Woody Twigs Page.. Read Naturalist Jim Conrad's short online book.. Walks With Red Dog.. , about being with a dog in the countryside.. Find a weed and try to identify it.. by using Iowa State's.. Weed-Identification Page.. If you have a moist or wet place outside,.. look for a snail or slug.. On either of them, locate the two tentacles atop the head, and the two stalked eyes below the tentacles.. Our.. Snails Slugs Page.. explains things.. If your neighborhood has outcropping sedimentary rocks, or if there is rounded streambed gravel available,.. look for fossils.. Fossil Page.. If you have a scanner, read over our.. Tips on Using the Scanner for Documenting Plants Animals Page.. , then.. start identifying and scanning all the insects in your neighborhood.. Keep your scannings organized so you can browse them the way you would a good insect collection.. Check out our.. Insect Profiles Pages.. to see how we've organized our scannings and pictures.. In moist, shaded, undisturbed places,.. look for mosses.. in their spore-producing condition.. Using the diagram on our.. Mosses Page.. , identify a moss's.. calyptra, capsule, stalk, leaves.. rhizoids.. Wander around looking at.. how the blossoms of different plants are arranged.. Classify each arrangement type according to whether it is a.. spike, raceme, corymb, panicle, umbel, cyme, scorpioid cyme.. , or something else.. Blossom Arrangement Page.. can help.. Identify just one thing in your backyard -- maybe a bird or a garden flower or an insect -- and then.. use the.. Google search engine.. to find out all you can about it.. You'll just be.. amazed.. at what you can learn!.. List all the ecological niches you can identify in your backyard.. Backyard Niches Page.. can get you started.. Once you've made the above list,.. write down each species you can identify using each niche.. , and describe what the organisms are doing there.. Find a composite flower.. (described on our.. Composite Flowers Page.. ) and, if it has these parts, identify its.. ray flowers, its disk flowers, the receptacle.. , and the.. achene.. s.. Among the birds in your neighborhood, see if you can identify these behaviors.. outlined on our.. Bird Behavior in Our Backyards Page.. :.. Establishing defending territories; family raising.. , and;.. communal behavior.. Dig into the leaf litter in a forested park or beneath a hedge to.. find white strands of fungal hyphae.. Hyphae Page.. Look very closely at any sand or streambed gravel you can find.. Try to.. see tiny crystals.. Minerals Page.. Especially if you have a magnifying glass you should at least see glass-like quartz crystals.. Look for migrating Chimney Swifts.. If you see some, learn more about them at the.. SwiftWatch Page.. , and consider helping to conserve this wonderful species.. Look for a wild-growing fern.. In the suburbs sometimes they may grow in the shade beneath shrubbery on the north sides of house.. They like moisture so many backyards may not have any.. If that's the case, maybe you can find one at a local park.. If you find one, look for spore-producing.. sori.. , or fruit dots, as described on our.. Fern Page.. Order a geology map.. for your state at the USGS.. State-wide Geologic Maps Page.. Find a fruit.. of any kind and decide what kind it is.. Fruit Page.. can help you decide whether it's a simple, aggregate or multiple fruit, and if it's a simple one (as most fruits are) what kind of simple fruit.. If you have a special interest, such as birds, wildflowers, spiders, or whatever,.. consider joining an e-group.. at the.. Yahoo Groups Page.. Just go there, type your subject into the search box, and if you see a group you like, join it.. Find a plant with spines or thorns.. and try to figure out why it has them.. Remember that plants evolved long ago when often large herbivores such as bison, wild horses and mastodons wandered the land.. Of course we have a nice.. Plant Spines Page.. Become an official frogwatcher.. For details go to.. Frogwatch USA.. If you have tomato plants in your garden,.. find a tomato flower.. and notice how its anthers are grown together as shown on our.. Tomato-flower Page.. Mark a flower and day after day watch how the ovary expands, the stamens and corolla shrivel and fall off, and finally the ovary becomes a tomato.. , then start i.. dentifying and scanning your neighborhood's trees..  ...   in your basement or in the garden, among the shrubs or among some weeds, and see if the spider is there.. Is the web an orb web, sheet web, or some other kind? Check out our.. Spiders Page.. and our.. Spider Silk Page.. Put out a birdbath.. for birds and other critters.. It doesn't have to be a real birdbath, but could be something like a turned-upside garbage can lid.. The water should be no deeper than an inch.. Keep a list of the species who visit.. Find the star-shaped pith in an oak twig.. , as shown on our.. Woody Twig Page.. Start a rock collection.. rock section.. can get you oriented.. In the night sky, learn these constellations:.. The Big Dipper (Ursa Major), The Little Dipper (Ursa Minor), Leo the Lion, Boötes the Herdsman, Hercules, Corona Borealis.. Draco the Dragon.. If you see a bird collecting worms or other food for nestlings, watch where the food is taken,.. locate the nest, and watch it until the nestlings leave (Don't get too close or you'll upset the family.. ) Check out our.. birdnest page.. At night and with a flashlight,.. sneak up on a stridulating cricket.. and watch it sing.. Find a lichen.. Lichen Page.. , and figure out whether it is.. crustose, foliose.. fruticose.. If you have a camera, about 5 feet from the birdbath, put a box or some other structure large enough for you to hide in.. After the birds become accustomed to this.. wildlife observation blind.. (maybe a couple of days), go inside, then take a close look at what visits the birdbath.. Birds can count up to one, so you may need a friend to go with you to the box, you get inside the box, then your friend leave.. The birds will see one person go to the birdbath, and one return, so then they'll know the coast is clear for them!.. In your basement or some other damp, slightly junky place,.. look for thousand leggers.. Are they centipedes, millipedes or maybe sowbugs? Our.. Centipedes, Millipedes Pill Bugs Page.. can help you decide.. Look for squirrels.. around your house or in the local park.. What kind of squirrels are they? Our.. Squirrel Page.. may be able to help.. Find a line of ants.. and rub your finger across their trail.. What happens? Can you figure out why?.. Find a feather.. and identify these parts of it:.. shaft, vane, barbs,.. barbules.. Feather Page.. Find out where your house's water comes from.. Does your town have its own well, or take water from a reservoir or river? If your water comes from a reservoir or river, does the water seem clean to you, and free of chemical pollutants? Are you content with your water situation? If not, what are you going to do about it?.. Find out the geological age of the land on which you live.. You may need to consult a geology map of the kind described on our.. Geological Processes Page.. Look for fungi.. When you find a fungus, figure out what kind it is.. Fungus Section.. List all the butterflies in your neighborhood.. Butterfly Page.. You can review the.. Find a grass flower.. and, referring to our.. Grass Flower Page.. , identify.. a spikelet, the glumes.. a floret.. You may need to use a pin to separate the various parts, and a magnifying glass.. Participate in an important research project by making phenological observations.. -- notes about seasonal things, such as when plants flower and fruit, birds nest, frogs croak, etc.. , at the.. USA National Phenology Network.. Start a Nature Study Notebook.. , either on paper or on your computer.. The Nature Study Notebook section on our.. Tools Page.. offers some pointers for getting started.. Get involved.. with local efforts to save the environment and meet others who enjoy learning about nature.. Get Involved Section.. , which gives links to environmental groups on the Web.. Learn to identify Poison Ivy.. One way to do this is to go to the Google.. Images Page.. , type Poison Ivy into the search box, then look at the various thumbnail pictures showing Poison Ivy.. List all the birds in your neighborhood.. The how to birdwatch part of our.. bird section.. Once you have your birdlist,.. note next to each species' name what kind of beak it has.. Various beak types are described on our.. Bird Beaks Page.. And once you have some birds listed,.. listen to their songs.. at the US Government Patuxent.. birdsong page.. Find a.. gilled mushroom.. and key it out.. at Mycokey.. com's.. KEY to fungus GENERA.. Look for bats.. at dusk just as it's getting really dark.. They are more thick-bodied than birds and flutter instead of soar or glide.. bat page.. , too.. After learning to identify Poison Ivy,.. crush and smell several leaves of herbs, shrubs and trees.. Do some odors strike you as chemicals the plant is using to keep insects and other animals from eating it? If this interests you, look at our.. Plant Chemicals used in Defense Page.. On trees, shrubs and weeds,.. look for galls.. as described on our.. Gall Page.. Maybe the.. Gallery of Common Galls Page.. can help, too.. Browse some online, nature- and science-oriented technical journals.. We have a list of some at the bottom of our.. Scientific Journals Page.. Pull up a clover plant in a yard that isn't too sterile because of chemicals, and.. look for the nitrogen-fixing nodules on the roots.. Our Roots with Nodules section at the bottom of our.. Root Types.. Page should get you started.. In a garden flower, figure out the different parts.. Locate the.. stamens.. (pollen-producing male part, consisting of filament and anther),.. pistil.. (female part that will mature into a fruit, consisting of stigma, style and ovary),.. corolla.. calyx.. Standard Blossom Page.. will help you.. Check out the.. Frequently Asked Questions.. about.. Global Warming.. provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).. Search for a member of the Mint Family.. Mint-flowers Page.. Several weeds and garden flowers and herbs are mints.. When you find a flowering mint plant, notice its.. square stem, opposite leaves.. , and its.. fruits divided into four nutlets.. Often mints.. smell minty.. Subscribe to the weekly.. naturalist newsletter.. issued by this site's producer, Naturalist Jim Conrad.. Report Broken Link.. Return to the HOME PAGE.. Cite this page as:.. Conrad, Jim.. Last updated.. Page title:.. Retrieved from.. The Backyard Nature Website.. at..

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  • Title: 101 Things to Do This Summer
    Descriptive info: Go for Naturalist Jim's.. One book to help you is.. The Sky Observer's Guide: A Handbook for Amateur Astronomers.. Hunt around for a Tree-of-heaven, or Ailanthus.. Read about it in the middle of our.. Plant Chemicals Page.. , and see the special glands at the bases of its leaflets.. When you find one, smell of its glands and look for ants visiting them.. Find a gilled mushroom and key it out.. When you.. eat fried chicken, pay attention to the bones.. and realize what part of the chicken's body you are eating.. You might want to compare your chicken bones with those of the pigeon at our.. Bird Bones Muscles Page.. Web rings.. are linked-together Web sites dealing with specific subjects.. If you have a special interest, such as birds,  ...   the bread, then put it into a jar with a top on it so the bread won't dry out.. Each day look at the bread.. In a few days you should find one or more kinds of fungus established on it.. Fungus spores are just about.. everywhere.. is nice.. Look for Chimney Swifts.. in the summer sky.. At.. http://www.. stategeologists.. org/.. , click on your state in the US map and visit your state's Geological Survey Web Site, where you can.. learn about your state's geology and order geology maps.. Mammal Page.. Capture, identify and then release a rodent.. by using one of the non-violent traps described on our.. Rats, Mice Voles Page.. Pay attention to the warnings about getting bitten or clawed, as well as about not upsetting the rodent..

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  • Title: 101 Things to Do This Fall, or Autumn
    Descriptive info: 101 Nature-Oriented.. use a.. search engine.. naturalist newsletter.. org.. On fallen leaves,.. look for a leaf-spot fungus.. such as the one shown on the leaf at our.. Imperfect Fungi Page.. On a tree twig where the leaf has recently fallen,.. locate the leafscar, bud and bundle scars.. During the fall, some bird species may be passing through your area that during the summer and winter are not present.. See if you can.. identify these transitory migrant birds.. You'll need to examine distribution maps for the birds you identify, using.. such as those available at Amazon.. Find an acorn.. -- an oak-tree's fruit.. If you're not sure sure what to look for, see the Water Oak acorn in the nut section of our.. Simple Fruits Page.. by finding members of each of them.. Find a pine cone.. and look for its seeds.. Conifer Page.. shows a typical pine cone with some seeds next to it.. Compost fallen leaves in plastic garbage bags.. as described in the yellow box on our.. Composting Page.. Notice that most but not all.. fallen leaves display bilateral symmetry.. as described mideway down.. one of our Leaf Pages.. lenticels.. (tiny windows in twigs that let in air) as described on our.. Collect animals sounds on your computer's hard disk..  ...   Spider web.. -- one of the most common webs seen in this part of the world.. One is shown on our.. spider-silk page.. -- fourth from the top.. If you have a camera, about 5 feet from a birdbath, put a box or some other structure large enough for you to hide in.. Birds can count up to one, so you may need a friend to go with you to the box, you get inside the box, then your friend leaves.. In a local woods,.. look for a coral fungus.. such as the one on our.. Corul Fungi Page.. While eating an.. apple, locate the seeds and remants of the flower's calyx and stamens.. , as shown halfway down our.. Fruity Orientation Page.. Look for a gilled mushroom.. cap, stalk, gills, ring.. Among fall's fallen leaves,.. some are leaves but others are actually leaflets.. Figure out which is which.. We have a special page on.. Put a flowering plant next to your computer and on the Web go to the.. World Wide Flowering Plant Family Page.. , and see if you can figure out what plant familiy your plant belongs to.. If you need help figuring out the parts of the plant, go to the Flowering Plants Section of our.. Backyard Plants Page..

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  • Title: Things to Do This Winter
    Descriptive info: 70 Nature-Oriented.. Build a simple, inexpensive solar cooker.. as described at SolarCooking.. for next spring, as described on our.. If you have a camera, about 5 feet from a bird feeder, place a cardboard box or some other structure large enough for you to hide in.. Birds can count up to one, so you may need a friend to go with you to the box.. You enter the box, then your friend leaves.. Read our daily-updated.. online news feeds from many sources.. on the topic of nature.. Review and consider acquring.. nature-oriented books.. listed on our.. special page.. with links to Amazon.. Once you find one, mark it with a ribbon or other object, then watch it as spring emerges and try to see the adult emerge.. Read Naturalist Jim Conrad's.. Yellow Ribbon: One Year in  ...   from one end of Mexico to the other.. Download here.. To get ready for spring,.. familiarize yourself with the ten most conspicuous insect orders.. Identify just one thing in your backyard -- maybe a bird or a rock or tree -- and then.. of any kind, even if it's at the local supermarket, and decide what kind it is.. Find a woody plant with spines or thorns.. become an official frogwatcher.. If you can find one of those old, out-of-date, 8-ft-wide TV satellite dishes, convert it to a.. , using twig and bark characteristics, and leaves and fruits that may be lying on the ground.. Mistletoe: One Year in the Life of a Gray Squirrel.. , a story in which Mistletoe, though she has many adventures, behaves in ways that a real Gray Squirrel might in nature..

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  • Title: Botany Basics
    Descriptive info: FLOWERING PLANTS:.. What is a flowering plant?.. FLOWERS FRUITS SEEDS:.. flower basics.. flower types to know.. Fruits.. Seeds.. ROOTS:.. Root intro.. Root types.. STEMS:.. Stem intro.. |.. Stem types.. WOODY TWIGS:.. Inside.. Outside.. Leafscars.. Buds.. LEAVES:.. Several topics.. PLANT DEFENSES:.. Spines.. Hairs.. Chemicals.. SPECIAL FOCUS:.. TREES.. identification.. Jim's tree notes.. Gymnosperms:.. What's a gymnosperm?.. Conifers.. The Yew.. The Ginkgo.. Spore-Producers:.. (remember, fungi aren't plants.. ).. Mosses.. Ferns.. Lichens.. Liverworts.. MORE:.. Winter Botany.. Plant Galls.. Gardening.. How plants relate to one another.. Jim's Botanical Field Notes..

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  • Title: Ecology
    Descriptive info: BACKYARD ECOLOGY.. DEFINITIONS:.. What.. is.. ecology?.. From niche to biosphere.. SOME QUESTIONS:.. Why do wild plants animals live in our backyards?.. Why do robins live in the suburbs?.. How do wild plants invade our backyards?.. What eats our wild animals?.. THE BIG PICTURE:.. Niche numbers in our backyards.. The naturalist's joy in traveling.. Some ecological rules to  ...   bottleneck in nature.. Life needs certain things.. Your own effect on the biosphere.. Evolution.. FIELD ECOLOGY:.. Looking for plants animals ecologically.. Noticing.. when.. events happen in nature.. MORE INFO:.. books on ecology.. Jim's Field Notes on Ecology.. THINGS TO DO:.. Backyard composting.. Jim's solar cooking designs.. Browse our direct feed of ScienceDaily Magazine's headlines on plant animal dicoveries..

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  • Title: GARDENING
    Descriptive info: BACKYARD NATURE HOME.. PLANTS.. ANIMALS.. FUNGI.. ECOLOGY.. GEOLOGY.. GARDENING.. TOOLS.. Why bother with Gardening?.. Converting Lawn to Garden.. Information on Seed Packages.. Projects:.. Composting.. Starting Plants in Trays Pots.. Raised Beds.. Sprouting Seeds to Eat.. Canning Garden Produce.. Making the Green Drink.. Gardening Books at Amazon.. MORE GARDEN INFO:.. OrganicGardening.. BackyardGardener.. Ntl.. Gardening Assoc.. Gardening Resources Galore.. a classic garden tomato..

    Original link path: /simple/garden.htm
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  • Title: Fungi
    Descriptive info: BACKYARD.. The Many Kinds of Fungi.. How Fungi Get Their Food.. Hyphae.. Mycorrhiza.. Mushroom Basics.. Mushroom Identification.. Eating mushrooms.. Kinds of Backyard Fungi You Might Find:.. Gill Fungi.. Pore Fungi.. Tooth Fungi.. Chanterelles.. Stinkhorns.. Coral Fungi.. Puffballs.. Cup Fungi.. Bird's Nest Fungi.. Jelly Fungi.. Rusts.. Smuts.. Apple Scab.. Stem Rot.. Brown Rot of Peaches.. Peach Leaf Curl.. Morel Mushrooms.. Anthracnose Disease.. Powdery Mildew.. Blue-green Molds.. Xylariaceous Wood Decayers.. Bread Mold Fungus.. Imperfect Fungi..

    Original link path: /f/2fungi.htm
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  • Title: Backyard Geology
    Descriptive info: BACKYARD GEOLOGY.. (.. FIVE STEPS.. outer space.. to our.. BACKYARDS.. STEP 1:.. Stars produce most.. chemical elements.. Periodic Chart of Elements.. STEP 2:.. Chemical elements combine to form.. minerals.. STEP 3:.. Minerals combine to form.. rocks.. igneous rocks.. metamorphic rocks.. sedimentary rocks.. fossils.. STEP 4.. :.. Rocks are altered by..  ...   We find evidence of all this in our.. backyards.. Generalized Geology Map of the USA.. The Geological Time Scale.. FUN BROWSING:.. Jim's.. Field Notes.. on Geological Matters.. Excerpts from the.. Journal of Geology.. BOOKS AT AMAZON.. COM:.. general geology.. rocks minerals.. GOOD.. BOOKS:.. Return to Jim's BACKYARD NATURE HOME PAGE..

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    Archived pages: 1265