Deer at recess; Stranded in Kanab; A brain-eating mantis - High Country News (2024)

Posted inNovember 13, 2017: Solace and PerspectiveHeard Around the West

Mishaps and mayhem around the region.

byBetsy Marston

It sounds far-fetched, but some deer are so habituated to people that they have been seen jumping over children on the playground at Missoula, Montana’s Rattlesnake Elementary School. Still, a recent encounter shocked school employee Jenn Jencso: A deer crashed through the passenger-side window of her car, breaking the glass and landing inside the vehicle, hooves flailing. A 5-year-old eyewitness described what happened next: “The lady … jumped out, and when she turned around, the deer was driving her car away. It hit a mailbox … so she got back in and she told the deer, ‘Get out now.’ It got out and ran away.” That account is slightly dramatized, but Jencso said she did have to “push the deer back over” in order to halt her moving car. Finally, it “fell out of the car and ran away.” Jencso told the Missoulian that she likes deer, but they’re getting out of hand. “It’s so dangerous how many deer we have. They’re like feral cats.” Though even feral cats don’t go in for carjacking.

Deer at recess; Stranded in Kanab; A brain-eating mantis - High Country News (1)

If a river could speak, what would it say? Perhaps that it’s horrified by the industrial and household waste dumped into it every day, and that it wishes it could demolish the dams that keep it from flowing freely to the ocean? Jason Flores-Williams, a Denver lawyer and advocate for the homeless, believes rivers need to speak out, and that if a corporation can be found to have the same rights as a person, then so can an ancient waterway. This September, he filed suit in federal district court on behalf of the Colorado River ecosystem, charging that the state of Colorado and Gov. John Hickenlooper, D, violate the river’s right “to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored, and naturally evolve.” Because “the river cannot appear in court,” as The New York Times observed, an environmental group called Deep Green Resistance is filing the suit “as an ally, or so-called next friend, of the waterway.” Though Reed Benson, chairman of the environmental law program at the University of New Mexico, said the lawsuit may be a “long shot in more ways than one,” he added, “I don’t think it’s laughable.”

“Sweetheart, this doesn’t sound right,” said Helena Byler, 78, as her husband, Gerald, kept driving their rental sedan down an increasingly rocky dirt road. The Texas couple, who were visiting Kanab, Utah, had gone out Sept. 26 just for a day trip to Lake Powell. Her husband pooh-poohed her worries: “No, it’s OK,” he reassured his wife; he was following the directions from a GPS-mapping app. But it was far from OK, reports the Denver Post: The road deteriorated and eventually a tire popped, leaving the couple stranded. They attempted to walk out, but Gerald’s leg hurt too much, and so Helena went on alone. A rancher spotted her six days later, lying on the road, and search-and-rescue found her husband. Both were dehydrated and in need of hospitalization; they’d gone almost entirely without food, and the only water they drank came from muddy puddles. “It’s an amazing story,” said Kane County Chief Deputy Allan Alldredge, but Helena Byler had the last word: “See, us women know better.”

Consider the praying mantis, the helpful insect that eats harmful bugs. It is also the only insect that can stare back at us, swiveling its triangular, alien-looking head to scrutinize us with unnerving awareness. Its 3-D vision helps the mantis focus and also “to jump as unerringly as a cat,” reports The New York Times. But the insects display a chilling predilection: They kill birds. James V. Remsen of the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University and his colleagues have documented 147 cases of mantises killing birds in 13 countries — warblers, sunbirds, honeyeaters, flycatchers, vireos and European robins. Hummingbirds are their favorite, though, and they regard our outdoor sugar-water feeders as self-service restaurants. Tom Vaughan, a photographer living in southern Colorado’s Mancos Valley, couldn’t believe his eyes when he spotted a black-chinned hummingbird at his feeder, being dangled upside-down by a three-inch-long praying mantis: “The mantis was clinging with its back legs to the rim of the feeder, holding its feathered catch in its powerful, seemingly reverent front legs, and methodically chewing through the hummingbird’s skull to get at the nutritious brain tissue within.” All the while it fed, Vaughan added, the mantis “was staring at me.” Bird-eating mantises are almost always females, and the most voracious like to multi-task: feasting on a hummer while copulating with a male. These dinner dates can last several hours and sometimes conclude with the male becoming dessert. That the insects have learned to hang out near hummingbird feeders signifies “another step in cognition,” said Remsen. “We’re lucky praying mantises aren’t our size.”

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write or tag photos#heardaroundthewestonInstagram.

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As an expert in public speaking, I can provide you with information related to the concepts used in this article. Public speaking is the act of delivering a speech or presentation to an audience with the goal of informing, persuading, or entertaining them It is a valuable skill that can be developed through practice and preparation.

Introduction to Public Speaking

When delivering a speech, it is important to capture the audience's attention from the beginning. This is achieved through an attention-getter, which is a specific strategy used to grab the audience's attention . The attention-getter should be the first component of the speech introduction and should hook the audience in immediately . It can be a surprising fact, a compelling story, a rhetorical question, or any other technique that piques the audience's curiosity .

Organizing the Speech

Organizing a speech is crucial for clarity of thought and effectiveness. A well-structured speech helps the audience understand the message and perceive the speaker as reliable and credible There are various ways to organize a speech, but a common approach is to use an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction sets the stage for the speech, the body contains the main points and supporting evidence, and the conclusion wraps up the presentation by summarizing the key takeaways and providing a strong ending, such as a call to action .

Introductions and Conclusions

The introduction of a speech serves the purpose of gaining the audience's attention and getting them interested in what the speaker has to say . It should be engaging and relevant to the topic of the speech. The conclusion, on the other hand, provides a summary of what the audience was supposed to have learned or been persuaded to do during the presentation . It is the last opportunity to motivate the listeners and should end strongly with an impact statement or a call to action .

Tips for Effective Public Speaking

  • Practice: Rehearse your speech multiple times to become familiar with the content and improve your delivery.
  • Use visual aids: Visual aids such as slides or props can enhance the audience's understanding and engagement.
  • Maintain eye contact: Establishing eye contact with the audience helps build rapport and keeps them engaged.
  • Speak clearly and confidently: Project your voice, articulate your words, and use appropriate body language to convey confidence.
  • Connect with the audience: Tailor your speech to the needs and interests of the audience to establish a connection and make your message more relatable.

Remember, public speaking is a skill that can be developed with practice and experience. By applying these concepts and techniques, you can become a more effective and confident public speaker.

Deer at recess; Stranded in Kanab; A brain-eating mantis - High Country News (2024)
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