Below The Salt News

Honoring Creativity · Pondering Possibilities · Sharing Knowledge · Valuing Usefulness


Heather D

Why Zoos?

Some time ago, I wrote a post about a co-worker’s successful captive breeding project at the zoo where I am a keeper. One of the first comments was from someone who was saddened about the animal being hatched into captivity. I explained… Continue Reading →

A Cool Thing Happened at Work: Baby Chinese Crocodile Lizards

It’s no secret that I love my job. Becoming a reptile keeper at the Knoxville Zoo last year was a dream come true. Incredible things happen there every day, and I’m so honored to be a part of it. We… Continue Reading →

Cave Woman’s Musician of the Day: Cereus Bright

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone here. I write book reviews often enough. Those require some thought, but usually they aren’t terribly difficult. I have an easy time with those mostly because I write books myself. I can verbalize… Continue Reading →

Ten Things I Don’t Want to Hear Two Days Before Christmas

Here is my Ten Things I Don’t Want to Hear Two Days Before Christmas list: I have a Christmas lunch at work/school/preschool tomorrow. What would you like to make?  I need to start my Christmas shopping. Can you take me… Continue Reading →

Christmas Spirit, It’s Free

Christmas can be a tough time of year. I know this from experience. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the demands on our time, bank accounts, sanity. For many years, I have struggled to hold onto any kind of genuine… Continue Reading →

Featured Book: MIXED FEELINGS by Olivia R. Burton

I read a lot of galleys. A lot of them. My dream is to discover the next big thing before they’re actually, you know, the next big thing. Everybody loves to have a good “I knew them when” story. Sometimes… Continue Reading →

Who Doesn’t Love The Fair?

I don’t.  There.  I said it.  I don’t like the state fair. When the family packed up to make our annual trek, I tried hiding under the couch but someone spotted me.  I tried to beg off for financial reasons…. Continue Reading →

Success In An Elusive F2 at The Knoxville Zoo

Once upon a time, an interesting species of turtle became extinct. Last seen in 1908, the Arakan Forest Turtle, Heosemys depressa, disappeared and was never seen again. (This seems like a sad story, but stick with me.) About 100 years later, in… Continue Reading →

How to Raise Gun-Free Boys

When my husband and I first started talking about having children almost two decades ago, one of our concerns was the pervasive violence in our culture. Seeing boys barely old enough to write their names pretending to blow one another… Continue Reading →

Remembering Lonesome George

In 2012 the world lost something unique.  I wanted take a minute to remember Lonesome George. He was the last of his kind, the sole representative of the Pinta Island subspecies of Galapagos tortoise.  A $10,000 reward was offered to anyone… Continue Reading →

Drinking Lessons, For A Tortoise

I’m a zoo girl. One day a week, it is my privilege to work with critically endangered turtles and tortoises. One of them is the Radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), a species native to Madagascar whose numbers have dropped by half in… Continue Reading →

About That Easter Bunny…

There are lots of things I love about Easter. It’s a time of renewal of both spirit and nature as the earth comes alive again with the promise of Spring. It’s the pinnacle of my family’s faith, this year to… Continue Reading →

Thanks, Mr. Bill!

Sometimes you only think you’re taking one for the team. It’s Spring Break. I know. Technically, it’s not even Spring. I don’t get to make these decisions.  When given an entire week of nothing, I’ve learned it’s good to plan at least… Continue Reading →

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