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Countries Across the World Work Together to Conserve the Natural World through the IUCN

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is the global authority on the state of the natural world and the measures that are needed to protect it. The IUCN mission statement is:

Governmental and civil organizations (1300 altogether!) work to enhance economic development and nature conservation—the two aren’t mutually exclusive. The IUCN provides a neutral forum for member organizations to be heard, and members vote democratically on resolutions concerning global conservation initiatives. Thousands of experts are involved in their important work, and author Elaine A. Powers is part of the Iguana Specialist Group of the IUCN. Many iguana species are among the most endangered animals and this group looks after the big lizards.

“Influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.”

You might have heard of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Animals whose existence is threatened are listed in the IUCN Red List.Information can be found on those animals, including how endangered the species is and why. Is it threatened or nearly extinct? The IUCN works to see the populations of these animals recover so they can be removed from the Red List.

Iguanas are important for ecosystem health due to their role as seed dispersers for many native plants. These large lizards are threatened by habitat degradation, by human development and the introduction of invasive species. In addition, iguanas are hunted for human use.

The ISG recommends and enacts immediate and effective measures to conserve iguanas globally. The IUCN is a wonderful example of countries around the world working together for conservation.

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Why is there a Gnome in Grow Home, Little Seeds?

Why is this Gnome in a book about seeds?

When you read the tale of the adventurous seeds of the Leon Levy Preserve, Grow Home, Little Seeds,  you learn all about real plants of the Bahamas. The fabulous illustrations by Monique Carroll bring the seedlings to life in a fun way.

When you turn to the Acknowledgements to learn who helped bring the book to life, you see a gnome. Yes, a gnome in blue clothes with a red hat. Why is there a gnome in Grow Home, Little Seeds?

When the author, Elaine A. Powers, researched the plants of the Leon Levy Preserve, she asked the Bahamas National Trust Botanist, Dr. Ethan Freid, what his favorite plants were. 

Dr. Ethan Friede, Botanist at
the Leon Levy Preserve 
Photo Credit: Melissa Abdo

He replied that they were all his favorites.

 “Well, which plants would you like to see in the book?” Elaine asked. He couldn’t decide, but there was something that he did want: A gnome.

Dr. Freid provided valuable information to Elaine as the book was written, and she decided he deserved his gnome. She learned that Dr. Freid had dressed up as a gnome for Halloween and there were photographs! Thus, the gnome who appears in the book—who looks a lot like Dr. Freid—honors him for his work to conserve the plants of the Bahamas.

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The Story of One Tough Iguana: Demo, by Elaine A. Powers, Author

iguana resting on a branchHaving an iguana rescue, I met a lot of iguanas. Some came from people who couldn’t or didn’t want to care for them. (Iguanas come with a lot of responsibilities.) I also received calls about iguanas who had been found in leaf piles, in the middle of the road or worse, from NJ and PA.

One day, I received a call from a crew demolishing a building. They had found an iguana who had been left behind in a tank. Think about that. This iguana had been abandoned long enough for the building to be condemned , for the permits for its demolition to be obtained, and for a crew to be sent over to knock it down.

When the man arrived at my door with the iguana in a box, I didn’t have much hope. The large lizard was listless and very thin—starved—and covered in mud. I didn’t expect it to survive overnight. Sometimes all you can do for an animal is give it a safe place to die in peace, not worrying about predators.

I washed the iguana, gave him a warm, comfortable place, with food, if he wanted. The next day, he was alert and ready to eat and drink! I named him Demo, short for demolition. Demo recovered amazingly quickly and became quite socialized. The young man who had brought him to me came by to check on him and asked to adopt him. I happily agreed. His twin brother adopted his own iguana from me a little while later.

I meet truly wonderful people because of iguanas.

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Elaine A. Powers and Myrtle–NOT a Turtle!

Myrtle, a TORTOISE, lives with Elaine and when Myrtle grew tired of everyone calling her Myrtle the Turtle, one day she asked Elaine to write a book about the differences between tortoises and turtles. Of course, Elaine said yes. (She and Myrtle are best buds.) Here Elaine is pictured reading Myrtle’s book TO Myrtle.

It turned out it’s not just tortoises who love the book–kids do, too. Don’t Call Me Turtle! has fans across America, with little ones telling grownups, “DON’T call him turtle! He’s a TORTOISE!”

A woman reading a book about tortoises to a tortoise.
Elaine A. Powers and Myrtle–NOT a turtle, but a tortoise.