Sunday, November 11, 2012

I love octopuses. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I've stood transfixed by their octopus's grace and perfect ease with the water and rock environment. Octopuses are among the most intelligent of invertebrates (animals without backbones). All animals are intelligent, Plants too, but when I recognize something that matches a quality of human intelligence, I feel especially connected. The octopus can play, problem solve, learn, remember, and communicate. Their intelligence can be likened to that of dogs and cats. This video shows you their amazing ability to camouflage. -->

Monday, November 5, 2012

This is the reason I create interpretive panels. I recently completed an interpretive panel for the Guckenberg-Strum Preserve, owned by the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

People have been sending me wonderful items about foxes and other animals. Here is a funny story about a red fox in Germany. Notice how different this fox looks compared to our gray fox.

Reuters – A fox looks for food along the edge of a farmer's field in a file photo. REUTERS/Andy Clark
Fri Jun 12, 10:39 am ET
BERLIN (Reuters) – A fox has been unmasked as the mystery thief of more than 100 shoes in the small western German town of Foehren, authorities said Friday. A forest worker stumbled upon shoes strewn near the fox's den and found a trove of footwear down the hole that had recently been stolen overnight from outside locals' front doors. "There was everything from ladies' shoes to trainers," said a local police spokesman. "We've found between 110 and 120 so far. It seems a vixen stole them for her cubs to play with." Although many were missing laces, the shoes were in good condition and their owners were delighted to reclaim them, he said, adding that no reprisals were planned against the culprit. (Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fox Songs


I live in gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) territory. often, when I come home at night, I am greeted by the fox's bark. If you think foxes are generally quiet, they are. However, it is always a treat to hear the call of a wild animal. In this video, you'll hear several kinds of fox calls from different species. You can see why the scientific name of the gray fox means cinnamon-silver.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Have a look. A client just sent this brief Fox News video about the opening ceremony at a Nature Preserve in Menasha, Wisconsin. It shows a clip of a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an interpretive panel I recently designed for the land trust there.

Trailside Panel created for the NE Wisconsin Land Trust. It's at the Stroebe Island marsh in the Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Photo from National Geographic: Osprey ready to grab a fish.
Ospreys are hawks with specialized attributes that enable them to catch and carry fish. When an osprey dives beneath the water's surface, its long talons and strong toes grab a fish's back, while spiky scales on the undersides of their feet create grip. In this Osprey Catching Fish video, you can watch its great effort to free the submerged wings enough to take flight, and you can see it maneuver it's prey so the fish faces forward in an aerodynamic position. Then, as the osprey clears the water, it'll shake like a dog to release heavy water. All effort must go toward escaping the deadly watery realm with its dinner.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Telling a Better Story: Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails

In April, Jenny Rigby, of Acorn Group, and I developed and presented a webinar for American Trails, Telling a Better Story: Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails. Although we donated our time to design this program, there is a fee to view it because the webinar is a fundraiser for American Trails. Take a look at the webinar, and pass it on to others. For free, you can read the detailed answers to the questions participants submitted--and learn a lot!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Facebook Page:

Why Interpretive Panels Are the Best Buy for Your Money
Why should anyone, in these tough times, spend money on trailside signs? If you want more people to know your trail, to use it, and to care about it, interpretive signage is the single best investment you can make. Here's why:

·      Informative signs can increase your trail's usage.
Want users to talk about your trail at dinner tonight? Interpretive signs give a trail an identity and make the experience of using the trail more enjoyable and more memorable. The more associations visitors have with your trail – vista points with catchy names, a bit of curious history, a game they enjoyed playing – the more frequently it will come to mind, and the more others will hear about it.

·      Interpretive signs can make your trail more accessible. Invite a broader and more diverse audience to your trail, and make them feel welcome. Even very simple gestures can accomplish this: images showing an under-represented group enjoying the trail; a welcome message in multiple languages; trail length and specifications that help people with disabilities determine whether they can use the trail. Interpretation clustered toward the start of a trail, or around a small loop, gives users something to do while resting, and can make a short walk feel like a worthwhile accomplishment. 

·      Attractive signage automatically encourages stewardship. Whether trail users read interpretation or not, the mere presence of attractive, professional quality signs give visitors a strong impression of high value. Studies have shown that even when visitors have learned nothing from reading interpretive signage, they consistently attribute a higher value to a site with a sign than a site without. Users who value your trail will be good stewards.

·      Signage turns your trail's users into advocates and volunteers. Well-crafted interpretive signs show visitors why your trail is important and why it should matter to them. Now that you have users on your side, signs can also communicate threats to your trail, direct users to take action, invite new volunteers, and turn fans of your trail into advocates.

·      Trailside signs are an investment that lasts.
Quality interpretive signs last for a long time. A good fabrication firm will guarantee the product for 10 years, and signs will often endure the elements even longer than that. During all that time, your signs are working as silent advocates for your trail.

Erica Fielder Studio has been designing interpretive signage, trailside panels, and displays for the great outdoors since 1983. We offer original artwork and engaging text at an affordable price, and we take your sign project from idea to installation.

I like Erica Fielder Studio’s personal commitment to producing the best product with unique art that draws the visitor in.
— M. M, Director, Mendocino Land Trust

Watch for announcements for Telling a Better Story: Best Practices for Developing Interpretive Panels for Trails. This will be shown on the American Trails webinar site, April 26, at 10:00 AM, PDT. American Trails does charge a fee to view this webinar so go to their site for more information: