Vintage viewfinders inspired this studio in Australia

April 20, 2022 by  
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“This little building is a soft gesture of curved timber sitting aloft, generously hugging an expansive view of The Hazards,” said Matt Williams Architects. “A place for quiet reflection, solitude and respite for our beautiful clients.” It’s a tiny home , a studio apartment and a refuge. Whatever you call it, Dolphin Sands Studio’s unique architecture along the Australian coastline was inspired by the shape of vintage slide viewfinders.  Related: Solar panels power this sleek, net-zero t iny home on wheels The clients, a couple of artists, are living in the tiny home until their main house is completed. At which point, the Dolphin Sands Studio will convert to a guest house for visitors. Located on Tasmania’s eastern coast, the home and the window placements are oriented to take in views of the surrounding Great Oyster Bay and Freycinet Peninsula. Upon approach, visitors will see the outdoor shower and hardwood deck. Furthermore, the home is elevated on stilts to accommodate the dune landscape and insist on minimal site impact for the structure.  While exposed to the elements, the structure offers shelter, allowing in copious natural light and cross-ventilation. Designed by sustainable-architecture firm Matt Williams Architects, the focus for a minimalist design made of locally-sourced materials was in alignment with the client’s goals. Inasmuch, the driveway, the water tank for both household use and fire fighting, electricity and wastewater were all designed to minimize disturbance of the land.  Additionally, materials for the home were carefully considered to avoid concrete and work in conjunction with the land. The pathway from the road contours around the existing dunes. The effort to raise the home allows plants to grow without impact. Inside, oriented strand board lines the walls for a minimalist vibe. Black limestone pavers used for flooring add contrast and contribute to the well-insulated envelope of the home. “The design brings the experience of living in a beautifully crafted physical artwork that inspires all aspects of our life,” commented the clients. “We love the feeling of calm and the fact that the space grounds us in the natural surroundings. The studio gives you a feeling of reverential respect for the vision and craftsmanship mixed with joy and wonder. Living in the space is our personal meditation.” + Matt Williams Architects  Photography by Adam Gibson

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Vintage viewfinders inspired this studio in Australia

Earth Day and how you can make a difference this year

April 20, 2022 by  
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Earth Day 2022 presents another opportunity to honor and protect our precious planet. From picking up trash to getting involved politically, there are a million ways to take action against pollution and animal endangerment, increase knowledge and understanding, and protect the resources that surround us. As stewards of the land, it’s our burden to share, and Earth Day is a catalyst to ignite action. Make a plan to get involved this week. Then, make a plan to diversify your efforts once the organized celebrations subside. According to EarthDay.org, the primary organizer of Earth Day events worldwide, this year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet.” While many of the environmental protection goals repeat over the years, this year’s theme “is focused on accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change , and to activate everyone – governments, citizens, and businesses – to do their part. Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable.” Related: Greta Thunberg to release ‘The Climate Book’ this fall The hope is that every level of citizen and organization will find unity in efforts towards effective action. EarthDay.org states, “The goal of EDO’s campaign is to push aside the barriers erected by the ancient, dirty fossil fuel economy and their co-conspirators – old technologies of centuries past – and redirect attention to creating a 21st century economy that brings back the health of our planet, protects our species, and provides opportunities for all. EARTHDAY.ORG’s campaign is focused on reframing the conversation, accelerating action, and bringing us together to understand that this is within our reach if we work together.” So what can you do? The possibilities are limitless! Join a local event Organizers in communities across the country and around the globe make it easy to join forces with action in progress. You can find an existing event or register your own event on the  EarthDay.org database . Participate in a community cleanup, plant trees, initiate a recycling program, change your purchasing habits,  install rainwater barrels , walk to work or incorporate pollinator-attracting plants into your yard. These are just a few ideas! Take action towards a green economy In alignment with Earth Day 2022’s specific theme, consider the financial aspect of climate change, land management, agriculture,  food  and products. How does your dollar affect what businesses do?  Today’s businesses are quick to understand the balance between profits and processes. Consumers hold the power to keep these businesses focused on clean manufacturing, fair treatment of workers, quality material selection and  energy efficiency . We need to hold all businesses to a higher standard or take our money elsewhere.  Hold government accountable From city councils to federal decision-makers, getting involved in government decisions is not only a way to make your voice heard and perhaps shift the focus if needed. It’s also part of your civil responsibility. Start or sign a petition, attend a meeting about land or resource management in your area, or write to your congressperson.  Act clean On an individual level, there is much you can do to honor Mother Earth in your everyday life. Consider where you can make cuts in your energy consumption. Turn off lights when not in use, lower the heat a degree or two, install a programmable thermostat and turn down the  water  heater or move to an on-demand system. Look for Energy-star certified appliances and replace all light bulbs with energy-efficient LED options. Insulate the windows, walls, water heater, outlets, cracks — everything! In addition to conserving energy, create  renewable energy  through solar panels, wind, hydro or geothermal. You can also reduce your  waste  through conscientious shopping choices, recycling and reuse. Consider joining a Buy Nothing movement in your area, too. To preserve air and water quality, select cleaning and self-care products void of harsh chemicals and made from natural ingredients.  Earth Day 2022 events As mentioned above, there are countless events scheduled to bring attention to the needs of the  environment . For example, several areas of New York City are participating in Car-Free Earth Day, where streets will be closed to cars.  On the opposite coast, the 11th Annual Green Generation Project Showcase brings together the Long Beach community. Organizers say, “The purpose of the Green Generation Project Showcase is to highlight and recognize student projects representing a wide variety of disciplines that explore sustainability concepts and/or solutions.” Show your love of nature by joining the Hug-a-Tree Challenge between 12-1 p.m. PST to “help establish a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most photos of people hugging trees uploaded to Instagram in one hour.” You can even virtually participate in EarthyUniversity’s online geoscience presentation and discussion regarding living in harmony with nature.  If climate anxiety has taken hold, join in the Earth Day Meditation, where the goal is to, “ Meditate & send healing to our planet & all of its inhabitants, experience individual healing benefits, and connect with like-minded communities in an optional guided share.” Via EarthDay.org Images via Pexels

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Earth Day and how you can make a difference this year

Recycled shipping containers make up this off-grid retreat

January 31, 2022 by  
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When homeowner Rosie dreams, she dreams big. Yet her home is anything but. Totaling only 60 square meters, her off-grid home is made from shipping containers, creating an environment that transports her into nature. Dubbed Ahurewa, the home sits in a protected area of New Zealand’s Mahakirau Forest Estate. Rosie was able to buy a 23-acre parcel of land in the preserve following the sale of her home in Auckland. As such, Rosie is an appointed guardian of the land through an agreement with the QEII National Trust. Related: Dvele prefab, off-grid homes are dedicated to the environment Four shipping containers were fitted together to make up the main living spaces within the tiny home . It features a kitchen, a single bedroom and bathroom, sitting areas and a library with reading area.  Because Ahurewa is completely off-grid, each system was selected to provide comfort and efficiency. Solar power is produced by a row of panels on the roof. A fifth shipping container houses the inverter and battery storage, as well as functioning as a mudroom to transition between the outdoors and the main part of the house.  Two 25,000-liter water tanks sit outside the home. Water inside the home functions like any other house. The toilet flushes and is diverted into a black tank equipped with a worm-composting septic system. Greywater is similarly diverted and filtered. The home is tightly insulated with natural eco-insulation for energy-efficiency . A small wood-burning stove supplements heating needs. The wood stove also features a built-in oven in case the home runs out of gas for the primary oven in the kitchen.  The modular design of the tiny house allows for expansion at a later date if Rosie decides to add on or build up. Each cargo container is placed to provide views from every window. All of the units surround a central outdoor deck and large doors open up the indoor space to the outdoor area. Natural light streams into one side of the home in the morning and the other side in the afternoon and evening.  Throughout the space, natural materials like wood are used from floor to ceiling, all working in conjunction with the industrial theme throughout the interior design . + Living Big in a Tiny House  Images via Living Big in a Tiny House

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Recycled shipping containers make up this off-grid retreat

Put this tiny home Cabin One anywhere

December 23, 2021 by  
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Cabin Spacey’s Cabin One is a prefab micro-apartment you can put anywhere — on an apartment building roof or in the mountains. It comes pre-wired for lighting with heated floors and towel racks, a skylight and a membrane roof. All you need is a place to put it. Where should you quarantine next? We wish we didn’t have to ask that question, but the truth is that the pandemic has given many people the opportunity to choose where they hunker down. Where better than the Cabin One ? The Cabin One is created with spruce timber frame construction and cellulose insulation. It also has its own ventilation system. You’ll notice it has a bathroom, but the bed sits on top of storage space like you’d see in a tiny apartment in a city. The rest of the cabin, from the kitchen to the living area, is all open to the bedroom area. It’s a comfy setup for a couple on vacation or downsizing to a tiny home. Related: Go glamping in Canada at this mirror cabin The Cabin One has 25 square meters of space inside, which means just enough for a cozy wood-paneled retreat, whether that’s your main abode or a vacation getaway. The cabin can be customized with many details, equipped with solar, or taken off-grid. The designers will work with your architect to prepare the paperwork needed for a permit, depending on where you want to locate the home. Renewable raw materials were used to create the cabin. It also has a prefab construction, so you can have the whole thing finished and delivered on site without the mess and waste of on-site construction. A foundation must be in place with ready wiring on delivery of the Cabin One, which is delivered by crane onto the waiting base. “We have reduced the complexity of the construction industry to three important elements: comfort, quality and user experience,” said Designer Simon Becker. “We do not think in square meters, we think in features.” Large windows, including a big slider door on the side, give the Cabin One a more expansive feel than many tiny homes. It creates the feeling of a modern, backwoods cabin. A small sink and induction burner give the kitchen surface a streamlined but functional feel. At the far end, past the loft bed, you’ll find a cozy bathroom with ceramic tiles . We love the thick overhang on the end of the 10.10 meter-long interior, which both protect a bit from weather and serve as a pleasant design element. The Cabin One is 3.43 meters wide, with a total height of 3.69 meters, so there’s plenty of head room as well. The Cabin One model starts at $120,300. If you’re looking for a backyard studio apartment or a tiny vacation home, this is one to consider. + Cabin One Images via Cabin Spacey

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Plug and play Pod is a tiny room that’s assembled from a box

December 8, 2021 by  
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Autonomous has created a new building kit for a 98-square-foot, one-room building called the Pod . It is so simple the average user could set it up in one day in their backyard, often without a permit, as it is free-standing and assembles from a box. Pod is something you can use as a backyard office, guest house, yoga or writing studio. Pre-wired and equipped with air conditioning, heating and lighting, Pod is unique in backyard setups because it’s more than walls and windows. This is a plug-and-play solution to the space and privacy issue so many people faced during the pandemic . Pod is plugged into a power source and contains electric outlets within it. Related: These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused “Pod offers a more efficient, affordable and scalable way to expand housing for our growing population,” said Autonomous Founder Duy Huynh. “Everyone should have the space they need to be creative, to work and play and to expand the idea of home beyond the limits of a static building . With Pod, we wanted to offer more living space to people who didn’t want to move or deal with the hassle of an expensive remodel.”  Monetization was also at the forefront of designers’ minds with this project. Pod can be transformed into a profitable Airbnb rental or a remote workspace that saves on working or office rental costs. You could even set up a Pod as a workspace and rent it to someone in a location where co-working spaces are hard to come by or more privacy is needed. Pod ships free across the U.S. and comes with assembly instructions. The foundation can be installed without a concrete base. Elevated feet of the Pod can be adjusted to the right height on uneven surfaces and can cope with up to four tons of weight. Pod has walls made of plywood, a wood frame, foam insulation, plus bitumen and composite wood coating. The materials can handle any weather a normal house would. Integrated ventilation is also included in the design. Early birds ship February 2022 and other orders will begin shipping March 2022. + Autonomous Images via Autonomous

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Plug and play Pod is a tiny room that’s assembled from a box

Solar tiny home C2X by Nestron comes with smart systems

December 8, 2021 by  
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Tiny home construction just got a lot easier with the plug-and-play prefab C2X from Nestron. All plumbing, electrical and other smart systems come preinstalled in this tiny home , which includes electric heated floors, smart tablet and a standard-size washing machine. Nestron designed its Cube 2 series to be packed with amenities and mobile as well. It’s a zero-carbon , self-supplied energy optionally solar home that comes in a one or two-bedroom configuration. All Nestron homes are termite-resistant as they’re not made of timber, and since they’re not built on site you won’t have to deal with construction waste, pollution or environmental damage from the build. You can simply move your Nestron tiny home wherever you want it and start using it immediately. All sewer, electrical and smart systems are ready to go on delivery. Related: These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant C2X has heated towel racks, an invisible stove, range hood and even a sofa bed for extra guests. It’s 35 square meters with outdoor ambient light strips and a double-door refrigerator.  Nestron suggests using this mobile tiny home as a vacation home, but you could put it to all kinds of uses, including a backyard guest suite or small apartment. The C2X stands apart as the newest model in the Cube 2 line with its long living room window to let in more natural light, which has been raised to also ensure more privacy. All Cube 2 line tiny homes come fully furnished, so no need to worry about how to fit traditional furniture in this super efficient space. You can optionally add the solar power system for renewable energy and A/C, plus a smart toilet and other smart devices like projectors and security cameras. Prices start at $98,000.   + Nestron Images via Nestron

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Solar tiny home C2X by Nestron comes with smart systems

Check into Moliving’s tiny homes and mobile hotels

October 27, 2021 by  
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Much has changed in the real estate and hospitality sectors in the past several years. The business models have shifted towards meeting demands and providing solutions for remote accommodations. A company called Moliving has brought a solution to the table that addresses these demands and more.  Moliving units are basically tiny homes or portable hotel rooms. The idea is to provide relatively on-demand units that offer flexibility and eco-friendly lodgings to meet traveler demands and trends. Related: Tiny mobile dwelling celebrates local Shinshu larch in Japan  The cabins are each around 400 square feet and feature two outdoor decks for additional living area. The king bed can be converted into two twin beds. They can be customized using an innovative paneling system, making them an option for a variety of environments , from the beach to snowy mountains.  Once an individual or company is ready to provide land for the Moliving units, the company builds them in alignment with the client’s needs. The units are locally prefabricated to reduce transport emissions, and they provide on-site accommodations within months, instead of the years it typically takes to build a new hotel or row of cabins. In addition, if demand drops in the area, the Moliving units are easily moved to another location with minimal site impact .  Each Moliving Unit can be fully self-sufficient or hooked into the primary utilities on the land. They can be placed for off-grid use where they rely on solar panels and lithium battery technology to store energy. To minimize fresh water consumption, a gray water recycling system is available. UV technology offers a solution for sanitization with minimal water requirements. Smart technology like hands-free electronics and a seamless tablet control integration provide the modern amenities expected in upscale accommodations. “Companies have tried repurposing RVs, using shipping containers as hotel rooms, but early on it was clear to us that no one has been able to create the luxury hotel experience customers crave with the mobility seasonal owners actually need,” said Moliving CEO Jordan Bem. “So we started over and created a product entirely from scratch that’s tailor-made specifically for the hospitality industry . Moliving is a true ultra-luxury hotel solution that can be quickly and efficiently relocated to achieve peak occupancy year-round.” + Moliving   Images via Moliving  

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Check into Moliving’s tiny homes and mobile hotels

These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused

September 22, 2021 by  
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The pandemic showed us all how close anyone can come to having nothing. Many people are much closer to losing everything than they even want to know. Monarch Village, created by Studio 804, offers a shelter solution to meet the needs of unhoused people and families. Everyone deserves a clean, safe place to live. And when someone is transitioning between permanent living situations, temporary housing like Monarch Village can be a real lifesaver. Studio 804 worked through the pandemic to build 12 clean and comfortable housing units. These units provide the privacy and safety people need to live well. Related: LEED Gold apartments provide supportive housing in Los Angeles These private housing units are different from the large, open-style housing that shelters traditionally provide. Each unit is a tiny home that shares a covered patio area. The units are built around a community vegetable garden and a spot that will soon become a butterfly garden. There’s also a large public space just north of the garden . Monarch Village’s main building houses a cafeteria where meals are served to the entire shelter population. The food is prepared and served with a farm-to-plate concept. Each tiny home has enough space to sleep four people in two separate sleeping areas. There’s also a full bathroom and kitchenette in each unit, and one is fully ADA accessible. Students of Studio 804 built the furniture and cabinetry for each home. Studio 804, a not-for-profit corporation, offers hands-on design and build experience for students. Graduate students from the University of Kansas Department of Architecture join the program to further their studies and learn more about the innovative building solutions that can create a better future. Students here work on all aspects of design and construction over a nine-month academic year. Built to meet USGBC LEED Platinum sustainable design standards, Monarch Village is Studio 804’s latest completed project. Used shipping containers form the structure of the tiny homes, repurposed materials are used throughout the project and passive strategies address heating and ventilation concerns. + Studio 804 Images courtesy of Studio 804

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These shipping container tiny homes provide for the unhoused

ESCAPE to this eco-friendly tiny living community in Tampa

August 11, 2021 by  
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Tiny living has become much more than a fad. It’s a way of life. Entire tiny living communities exist now, including the Tampa Bay Village. This community is designed to be eco-friendly. It’s a true community where outdoor spaces and chores are shared by all. ESCAPE Homes has introduced their first mid-century modern tiny home, built specifically for the expansion of Tampa Bay Village. ESCAPE Tampa Bay Village debuted in spring 2020. Soon, it’s expected to increase fourfold. The community will include a large pool and expanded outdoor living spaces. Dan Dobrowolski, founder of ESCAPE, says that business has “grown exponentially” as a result of COVID-19 . The village was designed to serve as a blueprint for a post-pandemic world, a community that provides eco-friendly tiny homes in a beautiful neighborhood setting. Related: These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant “The opportunity to work remotely, reduce the carbon footprint and still live in a beautiful home for a fraction of the cost, has energized people to consider tiny living,” says Dobrowolski. People of all ages and walks of life have come to ESCAPE Tampa Bay Village. They’re attracted to affordable living, simple upkeep and the community spirit of the place. The homes here have outdoor decks, and each home has its own space. These cozy, tiny homes are perfect for full-time living, but they can be vacation homes as well. The neighborhood is less than an hour away from Orlando , and it has easy access to the downtown Tampa area. Surrounded by the lush tropical landscape, these lovely tiny homes have everything homeowners need and no excess. Each home has plenty of windows to let in natural light, and there are many outdoor spaces for everyone to share to enjoy the Florida sun. The simple construction and minimalist design of each of these tiny homes create a modern, streamlined look that feels perfectly at home against the tropical plants and tall shade trees. But what makes these tiny homes so eco-friendly? Aside from tiny living’s inherently smaller footprint, ESCAPE’s homes also include energy-saving features such as LED lighting and thermopane windows. Some even incorporate solar power. + ESCAPE Tampa Bay Images via ESCAPE

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ESCAPE to this eco-friendly tiny living community in Tampa

In Our Nature delves into animal life from the Serengeti to US

August 11, 2021 by  
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“In Our Nature,” a new six-episode digital series, takes viewers to settings in  Tanzania  and the U.S. and features gorgeous animals and fascinating info about their lives. And you can watch it free on YouTube. Three of the hosts talked to Inhabitat about their new series — favorite moments, what they learned and why viewers should care. Joe Hanson is a biologist and the creator and host of PBS Digital Studio’s  It’s Okay to Be Smart ; Trace Dominguez is a science communicator, and the producer and host of PBS Star Gazers, Uno Dos of Trace; and Emily Graslie is a  science  communicator who worked as the Field Museum’s chief curiosity correspondent, for which she created more than 200 episodes for the natural history-themed YouTube channel The Brain Scoop. Here’s what they have to say about “ In Our Nature .” Related: Los Angeles is the largest US city to be certified as a biodiversity haven Inhabitat: How did “In Our Nature” come about, and how did you get involved? Joe Hanson: The project came about originally as a digital program alongside PBS’ broadcast series  “Life at the Waterhole”  and I was involved in developing our series from the outset. During pre-production we embraced the opportunity to create a top-quality nature  education  series designed specifically for audiences that primarily watch YouTube and other digital video platforms rather than TV or streaming services. I worked with my production team from It’s Okay to be Smart to create a format and story approach that would feel native to YouTube but allow us to present top-quality nature filmmaking at the same time. We immediately thought of Emily Graslie and Trace Dominguez as co-hosts thanks to their awesome track record making creative and high-quality educational videos.  Emily Graslie: Joe Hanson approached me about this series back in January and I was immediately hooked on the premise of looking at ecosystem  health  in such a holistic manner. And, it’s not very often a YouTube channel gets the opportunity to film an international, high-quality nature series, so being a part of this has been really special and rewarding. Trace Dominguez: “In Our Nature” came about when Joe Hanson reached out to me about working on a new kind of  nature  show. I’ve known Joe and Emily for years yet, incredibly, the three of us had never worked together! We all agreed that nature documentaries are incredible, but needed a bit of a refresh. Traditionally, documentaries try to bring attention to individual animals, or single ecosystems. They often eschew discussion of human influences or exploring the wider parallels across continents, or the delicate web of connections running across different species. I was super interested in the challenge and thanks to our group of admirable nerds I think it worked out swimmingly (pun intended). Inhabitat: What have been the most exciting parts of making this show? Hanson: Filming a nature series in the Serengeti ecosystem is as good as it gets. This was my first time in Africa , and even though I knew I would see some awesome things, I wasn’t prepared for just how MUCH awesome stuff we would see. I was simply blown away by the richness of life, at scales big and small, in this place. We also saw herds of wildebeest that stretched to the horizon and over 100 elephants in one grassy clearing. There was just so much of everything. I think it speaks to just how valuable wild places like this really are, not just for the life they contain, but also for the effect they can have on us. Graslie: Filming for  Episode 3  in the Andrews Forest in  Oregon  came with all sorts of adventures — but ascending 140 feet up a Douglas fir to examine how scientific instruments stories in the canopy can teach us about things happening on the forest floor was the most thrilling. Getting into a drysuit to snorkel in the forest’s streams to follow that cycle into the water was a close second. It was freezing!! Dominguez: The most exciting part, for me, has been working with Joe and Emily; full honesty! Plumbing the depths of the collections at the  California  Academy of Sciences is great and all (that place is an amusement park of nerdery), but this business is often pretty solitary. Getting to work with such excellent science communicators has been a privilege. Inhabitat: What about the most challenging parts? Graslie: I’ve helped coordinate plenty of filming shoots, but this was the first time doing it during a global  pandemic . Lots of decisions and potential ideas were up in the air because there was so much uncertainty around vaccinations and travel. At the same time, everyone else – our crews and filming partners – were more or less in the same boat, so we all just learned to go with the flow and support one another as best as possible. Dominguez: The most challenging part of “In Our Nature” is the hardest part of  any  science project: the execution. We can have ideas and plans to tell giant stories, but actually capturing  animals , ecosystems, and humans all together  at the same time and in the same place  is extremely challenging. Inhabitat: What’s your favorite episode and why? Hanson: It’s hard to pick just one! Our episode about  animal culture  is a real favorite. Scientists are starting to appreciate how widespread and varied  culture  is across animals. And my hope is that will change how people look at conservation. Because it’s teaching us that we aren’t only saving animals themselves, or even just the places they live. We are also preserving their ways of existing and surviving in those places. And those ways of existing are often irreplaceable if the animals were to disappear, even temporarily. Graslie: I’m really proud of the work we put into  “Are some species more important than others?”  – in part because of the partnerships we developed with the Intertribal Buffalo Council, and Oglala Lakota Parks & Recreation. The ITBC is doing critical work to reintroduce  bison  to tribal lands across the country for reasons that are environmental, cultural, and spiritual. Oglala Lakota Parks & Recreation welcomed us to participate in a sacred buffalo dance ceremony they usually only hold once a year, and later invited us to film their herd. Dominguez: I think my favorite episode might be Emily’s episode about  nutrient recycling . When you get enough bio-nerds together they will inevitably start to geek out about  whale  falls, carrion eaters, and decay. With both Joe and Emily together on this show it was inescapable that we’d see a decomposition chapter in this series too; I was riveted! So many different organisms benefit when one huge African animal kills another, or when an ancient  tree  comes crashing to the ground. The parallels between these massive herds of wildebeest and the rotting of giant ancient trees were through-lines I never would have made without help, but once they were side-by-side they were so similar! Inhabitat: I’m especially intrigued by animal culture. What were the most surprising examples you found? Hanson: This example didn’t make it into the episode, but I was really surprised to learn just how deep and significant whale culture is. It may even be influencing speciation. Groups of orcas possess culture in how and where they  hunt , as well as how they vocalize. They specialize to such a degree that they only mate within these cultural groups, which some scientists believe is or already has led to the creation of several subspecies of orcas. So culture and behavior are capable of driving evolution, which is pretty special. Dominguez: Animal culture is something I’ve spent a lot of time learning about. I studied behavioral psychology in undergrad, and find intelligence, social interaction and the culture that comes out of that fascinating (in both humans and non-humans). Ultimately, the story of white-crowned sparrows passing on their song cultures won out. Not just because of the story itself and how it affects the lives of the sparrows, but it’s also kind of a meta-cultural story on top of that. There are stories about the  researchers  carrying on Baptista’s legacy, the story of Baptista himself, and the exploration of how human noise impacts other species. Inhabitat: Tell us a couple of memorable things you learned from “In Our Nature.” Hanson: Dung beetles navigate by the  sun  and stars. They are tiny, smelly astronomers. That will never not blow my mind. Graslie: I love Trace’s story in “Are humans the only animals that have culture?” on the white-crowned sparrows in  San Francisco , especially how fast those birds changed their songs during the times when traffic noise was lessened during the COVID-19 shutdowns. I was also completely blown away by Joe’s facts in  “This is the REAL circle of life”  episode about dead wildebeest providing, like, 10 blue whales’ worth of nutrients when they die crossing the Mara River. Dominguez: One of our goals for this series was to help people see that ecosystems don’t exist in a vacuum; instead  ecosystems  across the world have parallels and even influence each other. I don’t typically cover a lot of these huge biology and environmental stories so working with Emily and Joe really opened my eyes in how to tell these stories and really emphasized their importance.  Inhabitat: Why is it important that the world knows about Serengeti animals? Hanson: This area is the cradle of humanity, and our species has been interacting with this ecosystem for tens of thousands of years. But today, humans impact the  Earth  to such a degree today that there really is no corner of the world that we haven’t changed in some way. But the Serengeti ecosystem is proof of just how rich and beautiful wild nature can be if we protect it, let it be, and minimize our impact and influence wherever possible. That’s a hefty challenge, but it’s hard to work to save what we don’t know about. That’s why we share stories like these. Dominguez: Giraffes, zebras,  lions , elephants and hyenas have been the protagonists, antagonists and everything in between in stories across the world, but even though people know these beautiful animals exist — they rarely understand the ecological nuances that they fit into. We’ve all seen incredible videos of giraffes lumbering across the savannah, but they’re rarely depicted holistically, or as a complete story of the animal. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about “In Our Nature”? Graslie :  I promise it’s some of the best science/nature content on all of  YouTube !!! Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than this. Dominguez: “In Our Nature” is one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on; I’m really proud of what we’ve done with it. Watching it will open your eyes to stories you might have missed before, and while it’s great on a phone, the footage just sings* on a giant screen. That said, no matter where you watch, you’re going to see stories you’ve never seen before! * just like the white-crowned sparrow! + In Our Nature Images by Joe Hanson, David Schulte, Emily Graslie, In Our Nature

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In Our Nature delves into animal life from the Serengeti to US

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