Fantastic Finds from My Corner

by Elizabeth Pass, Cohort VI
for the August 2022 issue of Headwaters Highlights

August has always been an odd month for me. It feels like it’s a neither-nor month: it’s neither summer nor fall. It’s still hot—and depending on where in the US you are, it can be the hottest month of the year—but it’s the month that signals the beginning of Fall. Stores are stocking and advertising back-to-school merchandise and specials; farmers are getting ready for harvest season; teachers are preparing in earnest for their classes; students are returning or organizing to go back to school. I’m even beginning to see the squirrels start their annual burying of nuts all over my backyard.

To make up for my neither-nor attitude toward August, I’m offering a couple of the most interesting finds I’ve seen in a while.

Rocks, Rocks, Rocks

Most of us are familiar with various flora, fauna, and wildlife apps and probably use many of them. However, we may not be as familiar with the rock, crystal, and mineral apps. In an article by Rock Seeker, “Best Rock and Mineral Identification App for 2022,” he reviews and lists the Pros and Cons of what he considers the best apps of 2022 for rocks and minerals. I’ve given a brief annotation for each app. Search on your phone in your Apps for the one (or ones!) you want.

Smart Geology – Mineral Guide, Best free app for minerals; easy to use; easy interface

Minerals guide: Rocks, Crystals & Gemstones, Advanced search functions (autocomplete, voice search); can work offline; also provides definitions, characteristics, and examples

Geology Rocks – Handbooks of Rocks, Great for researching and learning about rocks and minerals once you already know what they are

Geology Toolkit Premium, This app has a cost to download—$7—but is certainly worth it. More than a rock and mineral identification app, although it’s fantastic for that. It’s a large resource of information for rocks, minerals, and even fossils!

Stone – Crystal Identification App, Very clean, minimal user interface; great images but gives no names so it’s great for learning to identify crystals and practice crystal identification by sight

Birds, Birds, Birds

The Audubon website is so large that it’s hard to grasp all the information it has.

Here are two interesting items on the site about climate change and its effect on birds:

Screenshot from by Elizabeth Pass, July 30, 2022

Survival By Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink – Thanks to 140 million observations from Audubon scientists, other scientists, and birders, we can see how climate change and humans impact each species’ range. And as they report on their site, “Birds will be forced to relocate to find favorable homes. And they may not survive.” The model shows specific species at three different temperature scenarios, and during different seasons.

Also on this page, you can search their “Bird and Climate Visualizer” by bird species, state, zip code, temperature and/or season.

Screenshot from website, August 1, 2022. Chipping Sparrow, Photo by Roger Baker/Audubon Photography Awards

Find the information on Virginia here: How Climate Change Will Affect Virginia’s Birds

– Elizabeth Pass, Cohort VI, July 2022