Posted tagged ‘urban nature contest’

Urban Nature Contest Winner!

December 19, 2012

Out Walking the Dog is pleased to announce that Megan Draheim of Washington, D.C. is the winner of our first Urban Nature Contest.

The entry was selected at random with the help of, who else, the dog.

Esau and a batch of contest entries.

Esau with a few contest entries.

Megan is a wildlife biologist who works on the social dimensions of conservation biology with a special interest in urban biodiversity and human-wildlife conflict.  Her doctoral research focused on social conflict over coyotes in suburban Denver. Megan writes the blog Our Urban Jungle. Here is her description of nocturnal encounters with urban wildlife, often occasioned by having to walk the dogs:

It’s always nice to get a reminder of how lucky I am to live in an urban area that’s so rich with wildlife. Since many critters stay hidden during the day, some of my favorite sightings (and “hearings”) have been late (very late) at night, especially if I’m out walking dogs. For example, I never would have been out right after an ice storm at 1:30 in the morning if it weren’t for the dogs, but that’s how I saw my first wild coyote. We had been slipping-and-sliding up and down our hill on an abbreviated walk, and when I put them inside I went back out with some pet-friendly “salt” to lay down on our front walk. The dogs had pushed open the door and were watching me through the storm door, when suddenly their ears pricked up and they started to stare intensely at something behind me. I turned and saw this gorgeous coyote trotting up the hill across the street from our house — just gliding along effortlessly (as a reminder, the dogs and I had not been nearly as graceful trying to navigate the sidewalk moments before!).

Just a few nights ago I heard a red fox calling late at night (for those of you who have never heard a red fox, they can sound eerily like a woman screaming), and a month or two ago a red fox flew across the street in front of us, going from one wooded area behind some houses towards a park a few blocks away.

We’ve seen deer aplenty, of course — deer peeking out of neighbors’ backyards, deer grazing on front lawns, deer ambling across streets. And opossums and racoons. But my favorite late-night sightings are the wild predators who share our neighborhood. It’s a different way to experience urban wildlife, when they can take more ownership of the land than in the middle of the day when there are lots of people around. And it’s a reminder that we do share the land with them — it is theirs just as much as it is ours.

Thank you to everyone entered. The entries have been such a pleasure to read that I plan to share more of the stories over the course of the next day or two.

And congratulations, Megan. Your copy of Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature and New York will go in the mail today. Enjoy!

Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature and New York

Win a Prize in our Urban Nature Contest

December 7, 2012

Out Walking the Dog announces our first URBAN NATURE CONTEST!

Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature and New York


Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature and New York
edited by John Waldman, Fordham University Press

This newly published collection on a subject close to my heart features essays and articles that explore the relationship between nature and New York City. Writers include Robert Sullivan, Betsy McCully, Christopher Meier, Tony Hiss, Kelly McMasters, Dara Ross, William Kornblum, Phillip Lopate, David Rosane, Anne Matthews, Devin Zuber, and Frederick Buell.

Out Walking the Dog is proud to have a personal connection to the book through this painting by Charlotte Hildebrand.

Painting by Charlotte Hildebrand

Painting by Charlotte Hildebrand.

Out Walking the Dog originally commissioned the painting to illustrate Urban Hawk Snatches Chihuahua?  In that post, we pondered the line humans like to draw between meat animals and pet animals, and the reactions of city dwellers when one of our more revered wild animals, a red-tailed hawk, ignores our distinction. The illustration was spotted on Out Walking the Dog by the editors of Still the Same Hawk, and appears (in black-and-white, but still looking fine) as an illustration to Robert Sullivan’s essay, My Time Spent in the Nature that People Would Rather Not Think About.


Send me a description of an encounter you’ve had with urban wildlife. This may be as simple or elaborate as you like. You may write a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a poem, a dialogue, a haiku, whatever strikes your fancy.  Be sure to include your name and mailing address, so that, should you be the lucky winner, I can mail you your prize without delay. Send via email to:


One winning entry will be selected at random.  All entries will be read with interest, but interest will have no bearing on your chances.


Entries must be received by Tuesday, December 18th at 7 PM.

The drawing will take place later that night or the following morning. The prize will be mailed via Priority Mail on December 19th. This means that, if the United States Post Office does its part and if you reside in North America, you’ll probably receive the book in time for Christmas.  (I will send the book anywhere in the world, but no guarantees of when it will arrive.)


December 18th is around the corner, folks. So get those entries in, and please help me spread the word.

Good luck!

(Did you know you can follow Out Walking the Dog on Twitter and Facebook?)

%d bloggers like this: