If you were outside at night earlier this week, hopefully you noticed the full moon. It was gorgeous. I referred to it as a Hunter’s Moon yesterday and the people I was talking with looked at me a little puzzled. They had never heard the term Hunter’s Moon. To me, it was another sign of society losing touch with its past.
A Harvest Moon traditionally is a full moon that appears in September. September’s Harvest Moon refers to the time of year after the autumnal equinox when crops were gathered by many Native American nations. This year the Harvest Moon occurred September 14th.
For before recorded history, Native Americans harvested corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice at this time of the year. It also refers to the Harvest Moon’s very bright appearance and early rise. Early American farmers appreciated this moon because it allowed them to harvest into the night.
A Hunter’s Moon is the full moon that appears in October. It is the next full moon after the Harvest Moon. Native Americans used this period to begin hunting deer, elk and bison that were heavy from summer grazing and because they were easier to see in fields that were now getting bare of much vegetation.
A Hunters Moon is brighter than other nights of October. It provided hunters with the opportunity to stalk prey at night. Due to its orange or red tint, Native Americans also referred to it as a Blood Moon. It was also known to many tribes as the Travel Moon because many tribes started moving to their winter camps. Another name was the Dying Grass Moon obviously due to the dying off of summer vegetation with colder weather.
Native Americans, as well as many other hunting cultures for thousands of years, knew that this moon signaled the coming of winter. Hunting was considered a special and sacred part life and living. Without the fall hunts, these people may not have survived until spring. October 13th was the Hunter’s Moon for 2019.
Enjoy your fall!
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Getting Rid of Plastics
Here is something new and a potential huge step in environmental cleanup. Research scientists from the Shiv Nadar University in India, have identified two strains of bacteria from the wetlands adjoining their campus that can breakdown and consume plastic. These bacteria possess the potential to accelerate efforts to get rid of plastic waste in the environment.
Two bacterial species, named Exiguobacterium sibiricum strain DR11 and Exiguobacterium undae strain DR14, are capable of decomposing polystyrene, a key component used to make every day single-use plastic objects such as cutlery, disposable cups, and packaging materials.
Polystyrene’s high molecular weight and long chain polymer structure makes it very resistant to degradation. It can stay in the environment for hundreds of years. It is currently produced and used on such a large scale that it is considered a main contributor of plastic pollution.
Up to now, polystyrene needed chemical, heat and photo-oxidation pre-treatments for it to break down. Researchers have found that both DR11 and DR14 are capable of degrading even unmodified plastic.
The researchers found that the bacteria would not eat plastics if easier meals were available, but when placed in an environment where plastic was all they had as a food source; they consumed the plastics quite well. Just imagine a facility where plastics were brought to one location and staged where these bacteria could do their thing and minimize the impact on the landscape. I think that would be fantastic…and maybe a future industry for Beatrice! I hope science keeps finding ways to make our lives better.