A monthly compendium of random wisdom for the natural world and beyond
February 1 Sun rise 7:37am, sunset 5:44pm. Salt Lake temp averages 46° F. / 31°, with five days of rain.
February 2 Though among the driest of states, Utah is home to many types of wetlands, also called riparian zones (places where precipitation gathers): swamps, mud flats, salt marsh, aquatic plant beds, forest wetland, bog and wet meadows. Utah’s largest wetland area surrounds the Great Salt Lake in Davis and Weber counties. Wetlands are important because, like a sponge, they soak up any excess water to prevent flooding. They also filter out many pollutants before they get into the water supply.
February 3 Though cold and flu viruses may be transmitted when touching a contaminated surface, far more common is direct contact. The cough, sneeze or even talk of a sick person can propel droplets up to six feet.
February 4 New Moon, 2:03pm. National Hemp Day. In Utah, a card is no longer required to possess hemp extract containing less than .3% THC.
February 5 Chinese New Year (see article, this issue: Year of the Pig.)
February 6 Fresh parsley and carrots can help curb doggy breath. If your pet likes them, offer them daily.
February 7 February is the best month for observing bald eagles in Utah. You can see the eagles, and learn more about them, tomorrow at Farmington Bay.
February 8 CATALYST reader Eugene Hecker, age 94 and a veteran of WWII, sent us this note to share on handling snow that sticks to shovels and clogs snow blower chutes: “When the wife is not looking, sneak into the kitchen and petty pilfer her cooking spray. Spray this on your dry snow shovel. Do it to the front and back. Spray the snow blower’s chute and all of the moving parts. Hurrah, the snow will not cling any more. (Popular Mechanics says WD40 will work, too.)”
February 9 National Read in the Bathtub Day. What a fine wintertime activity (with or without prior outdoor activity)! What do you like to read in the bathtub?
February 10 Researchers placed two hamster wheels in a natural setting to see if wild animals would run on them voluntarily. The critters came in droves. Over three years, more than 200,000 animals—including mice, shrews and frogs—used the wheels. The study concluded that “wheel running can be experienced as rewarding,” and is not just a byproduct of rodential incarceration.
February 11 Tempt yourself with a fun and sensible electric bike—then drop hints to (or buy for) your favorite Valentine. Try Salt Lake E-Bikes or Wasatch Touring.
February 12 Celebrate Darwin Day with an outing to the Natural History Museum of Utah.
February 13 Spider milk? Female jumping spiders of the species Toxeus magnus nurse their young with a milky substance that contains sugar, fat and about four times the amount of protein as cow’s milk. Spiderlings nurse for around 40 days, and can’t reach maturity without it.
February 14 On this day in 1870, Utah women acquired the right to vote—a right revoked by U.S. Congress in 1897 after Utah became a state. https://bit.ly/2rN1mDd
February 15 Participate in Audubon’s Great Backyard Bird Count, through the 18th. Beginners to experts are invited. birdcount.org
February 16 Say “thank you” to the almonds you eat. To grow one almond requires 1.1 gallons of precious California water.
February 17 Random Acts of Kindness Day. Being kind (helpful, forgiving, considerate, or humane) boosts your serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being). Kindness leads to many good things like better relationships, improved self-esteem, compassion, happiness, future success, and good mental and physical health.
February 18 “Presidents Day. Of the first five U.S. presidents, three died on July 4: Adams, Jefferson and Monroe. Interesting Presidential facts: https:// www.ducksters.com/biography/uspresidents/president_fun_facts.php
February 19 Full Snow Moon, 8:53am. This is the U.S.’s snowiest month. Named by Northeastern Native American tribes before Colonial times, when the moons were a way of tracking the seasons. Also called the Hunger Moon, as hunting became very difficult.
February 20 Hoodie-Hoo Day: The purpose of Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day, as it is properly termed, is to “chase winter and make ready for spring,” which is exactly one month away.
February 21 According to UNESCO, as of 2018, about 2,500 languages (and thus their cultures) are currently at risk of extinction within a few generations.
February 22 Over half (53%) of female entrepreneurs and business owners are former Girl Scouts.
February 23 In the February garden: Prune your roses and fruit trees. Water evergreens. If the soil is dry enough, in a sunny spot plant peas, spinach and radishes. And you can start planting seeds indoors! Find lots of resources by searching “catalystmagazine.net starting seeds indoors.”
February 24 Clean Out Your Bookcase Day. Give your books some love by organizing them in a way meaningful to you (our friend Erin sorts hers by color!). Recycle those that no longer “spark joy” (Marie Kondo).
February 25 Not all of Utah’s house wrens fly south for the winter. Some have been found hunkering down in glove compartments of abandoned cars, old shoes, shelves, mailboxes and tin cans.
February 26 At least 500 versions of Cinderella have been found around the world, in both Eastern and Western cultures, with the earliest known version from Greece, 7 BC. Folklorists classify Cinderella as “persecuted heroine.”
February 27 Anosomia is the loss of one’s sense of smell. Hyposmia is the increased ability to smell. Some people are hyposmic for just certain smells. The many causes for either syndrome include genetics and head trauma.
February 28 Sunrise, 7:08am, sunset: 6:18pm. Salt Lake City’s February temps climb to the 50s °F and maybe even 60, with three whole days dipping below freezing.