Preparing For August 21

Solar eclipse update…

La Paz Group

8187625485_8f1546a1da_o-1260x708 Solar eclipse of November 13, 2012 as seen from Australia. Photo © Romeo Durscher on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flickr through a Creative Commons license

Thanks to Cool Green Science for this set of instructions for North American viewing of the sun’s near-disappearance:

Where will you be on August 21, 2017 when the solar eclipse passes through North America?

Here’s a guide to viewing opportunities, including Nature Conservancy preserves where you can catch the spectacle in beautiful surroundings.

Solar eclipses can be viewed from the earth’s surface about two to four times a year, but they aren’t viewable from all parts of the earth’s surface and the path of totality (the places on Earth from which viewers can see the total eclipse) is only about 50 miles wide. Eclipse 2017 stands out because the path of totality cuts a wide swath through the United States and all of…

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Devil’s Pet

Imagine meeting a snarling black beast with a gaping mouth and strong gleaming teeth in the dead of the night! You could meet such an animal on the Australian island of Tasmania, now the only home of the animal known as Tasmanian devil. It was once abundant in mainland Australia. But when the Aborigines came, the dogs they brought, the dingos, ousted the devil from the mainland.

The spine-chilling research of the marsupial, its jet black appearance and bad temper made size of a small dog- 75cm high at the shoulder-but it can look and sound incredibly fierce. Its monstrous screech like that of a hyena has made people sometimes call it the Tasmanian hyena.

Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil has powerful jaws and teeth and can devour its prey completely- bones, fur and all. The massive jaws have a gape of 120 degrees giving it a threatening look. Although it is believed that the animal gapes more out of fear and uncertainty than out of aggression, a naturalist when asked if the Tasmanian devil was as ferocious as it looked, replied, “Maybe, maybe not.”

The Tasmanian devil prays on birds, small mammals, and insects and also eats dead animals. It hunts mainly at night and spends the day in a cave or in the hollow of a log.

The female gives birth to 30 young called ‘imps’ at  a time. Each is slightly larger than a grain of rice. They are carried in a pouch on the mother’s belly for 5 months, after which they are left in the nest, while the mother is away feeding. Imps become independent after about 28 weeks.

Syedna’s wishes to plant 2 Lakh trees has got an overwhelming response from the Community


• 30,000 trees planted in 14 days by Dawoodi Bohra Community Members, Bandra under the leadership of Janab Abialibhaisaheb Husamuddin.
• More than 100 trees were planted in a factory area at Panvel MIDC to make the industrial area green and beautiful.
• More than 600 trees to be planted all over Bandra in Public and Private Space.
• 2 Lakhs trees to be planted all over the world in total for better Environment.

Tree Plantation Drive by Bohra Community Members

Tree Plantation Drive by Bohra Community Members

On 1st June 2017 Mumbai Head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, His Holiness Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin Saheb (TUS) has wished that 2 lakhs trees be planted all over the world for a better environment.

All over the world community has come together for this philanthropic act and till date, they have planted more than thirty thousand Trees in a span of 14 days.

Tree Plantation Drive

Tree Plantation Drive

On 4th June 2017 in the scorching heat and fasting Dawoodi Bohra Community from Bandra under the leadership of Janab Abialibhaisaheb Husamuddin had travelled to Panvel MIDC to do tree plantation in one of the fellow member factory and more than 100 trees were planted to make the industrial area green and beautiful. Soon all over Bandra, more than 600 trees will be planted in private and public space.

Also as per Syedna Saheb instruction this year they are not only going to plant the trees but will also maintain and look after the trees.


(A Press Release)


Do you know that some ants keep ‘cattle’, small insects called aphids, which they ‘milk’ (stroke with their antennas) to feed on the sugary substances the aphids exude?


aphids insects ants reproduction of nature
Image courtesy-pixabay

Ants are social insects. That is, they live in colonies, containing from a dozen to a million individuals. They have a caste system in which some ants are workers, some males, and other females. Among the workers, there are some which have big heads and strong jaws. These are the soldiers which guard the nest. Females and males have wings when they swarm out of the nest to mate but are wingless at other times. After mating, the queen ant flies off on her own. She lands and crawls off to excavate a nest after pulling off her wings. Never again she will see the daylight. She lays a few eggs which will develop into workers. When the larvae hatch, she feeds them with her salivary secretions. The queen lives off her fat and on her shrinking flight muscles.

ants- Public Domain Pictures


When the first adult ants emerge, they are sterile females or workers who set at once to forage for food, both by themselves and for the future young. The queen may live for 15 years throughout an egg-producing machine, which the workers guard and feed diligently. Some of the eggs will hatch into reproductive females and males who will eventually fly off to establish their own colonies.

There are 3500 species of ants. Big, stiffly-moving carpenters ants riddle the woodwork of houses with galleries, like termites. Harvester ants live on plant seeds. In the tropical jungles live ferocious columns of carnivorous army ants which are constantly of the march. They are wholly blind and can only feel their way, yet they can clear the countryside of insects, birds and even small mammals which are luckless enough to come in their pain! Slave-making ants raid the nests of other ant species and carry away the pupae. When these become adults they help with the work of the colony. Some slave-makers have become so dependent on slaves that they cannot feed themselves or dig a nest without help.

Here comes the Spring

As Earth revolves around the Sun and spins on its axis, the seasons change. As it gets brighter and warmer, the days lengthen and animals and plants become active again, after months of lying dormant because of the cold. Birds return from their annual winter migration. Green shoots and flowers appear everywhere. Spring is in the air!

Spring, Navroz

Spring, Tree, Flowers, Meadow, Wood, Forest, Sun

For Hindus, Basant or Vasant Panchami falls on the 15th of February and marks the end of winter. It is the start of the long festive season which kicks off with Holi in March. Yellow is the good fellow, symbolizing the golden Sun. The goddess of wisdom and purity, Saraswati, is worshiped with flowers and food offerings colored yellow by devotees wearing yellow clothes!

Navroze is the spring festival for those of Persian origin. It is also New Year in Iran, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It is celebrated by Iranians and Parsis in India and by the Kurds. The word itself means ‘new day’ in Persian and the festival marks the beginning of the solar year in the Iranian calendar.

Before the New Year, on the last Tuesday evening of the ‘old’ year, people build a fire and jump over it. As they jump they whisper, ‘My yellow goes to you, your red comes to me.’ To them yellow the symbol of weakness and red the symbol of health.

The house is given a thorough ‘spring cleaning’. Wheat, barley, and lentils are soaked ten days in advance so that the sprouts are three to four inches in height by Navroze. The Parsis observe traditional rituals and partake in splendid feasts. It is in fact, a very elaborate thanksgiving for God’s bounty.

Volcanic wonder

Africa is a huge draw for wildlife enthusiasts. One of its gems is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the heart of the 8,292 SQ, m-park is the remnant of an ancient volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater, said to be the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world.

Ngorongoro_2012 05 29_2286

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main feature of the NCA is its large, unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera. A dominant feature of the Ngorongoro Caldera is Lake Magadi, a shallow soda lake that supports large flocks of flamingo.

The crater itself is 610 m deep and 260 SQ m wide. The natural enclosure in a haven for a rich variety of wildlife- the endangered black rhino, giant tusked elephant, wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle. One can also find a number of crater lions- a sub-species that is largely inbred. Flocks of pink flamingo throng Lake Magadi at the center of the crater. Outside the crater, the grassland is home to cheetahs, lions, spotted hyenas and jackals.

Flamand rose Ngorongoro Tanzanie

Apart from the wildlife, archaeological research in the area has indicated evidence of early human evolution, including footprints of early hominids dating back, 3.6 million years. Tourists on safaris can visit Masai settlements in the conservation area- the tribal folk grazes their cattle in the crater, unmindful of the presence of the lions.

Standing Tall

Do you know how the beautiful mountains of South India, the ‘Nilgiris’, got their name?  In the mid- 19th century, a species of tree soaring 65m tall, with a smooth steel-blue bark, was planted in these mountains on a large scale, to meet the locals’ requirement of fuel wood. The tree was a native of Australia, a species of eucalyptus called the blue gum. The blue-tinged foliage and trunk of this tree gave the Nilgiris their characteristic color.

Trees, gum tree, Eucalyptus, Australia, Nature

Trees, gum tree, Eucalyptus, Australia, Nature

In Australia, eucalyptus, especially ones that have a smooth bark, are called gum trees, because the trees exude a sticky resin. There are 600 species of eucalyptus growing in a variety of habitats, ranging from the snow-clad Australian Alps to the semi-arid desserts. Since eucalyptus are fast-growing, resistant to drought and provide useful timber, over 200 species have been introduced all over the world, including India. In fact, millions of eucalyptus trees have turned the treeless wastelands and semi-arid areas of Rajasthan and Punjab green.

Eucalyptus trees have a number of uses. They provide oil and tannins besides timber. The trees are planted for their shade and to prevent soil erosion by the wind and rain. Koalas feed solely on eucalyptus leaves and the honey possum lives on the nectar of eucalyptus flowers. Less than a dozen of the eucalyptus species are exploited for their oil. The oil is extracted from the leaves by steam distillation. Eucalyptus oils are used in medicines, perfumes, and disinfectants.  Some eucalyptus produce oil rich in cineole which is an important ingredient in ointments, inhalants, lozenges and gargles. Others contain phellandrene used in disinfectants and liquid soaps. Piperitone or peppermint eucalyptus lend their icy coolness to synthetic menthols.  Perfume manufacturers use oils with citronella, which has a pleasant fragrance.

The giant mountain ash or eucalyptus regnans is the tallest hardwood tree in the world. It towers to a height of 100 meters or more.