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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Where will the robins go this winter?



Photo by: Taylor

Every April someone will say breathlessly that they saw their first robin: A hopeful sign that winter is ending and soon (but never soon enough) spring will be here.

But, now, in September when the leaves are beginning to fall and winter is knocking on the door, you might wonder, “Where will the American Robin go and what will they do in the deep freeze of winter?”

The answer might surprise you.

The robins in your yard might join together and flock to the south.

Or they might stay right where they are.

According to, robins don’t so much migrate as they do wander. They tend to go south in search of food, but not necessarily. In the winter, when robins can’t get insects and worms, they eat fruits, but not seeds. If your neighborhood has lots of crabapple, hawthorne or late blooming fruit trees, the robins might stay, as long as there is food.

They don’t really have to worry about the cold because their feathers keep them warm. When the thermometer drops below zero, robins puff up their feathers. On the outside they might feel cold, but inside they are a toasty 104 degrees. Even the robin’s feet stay warm with their fast circulation that spreads warm blood quickly down to the tendons that control the feet.

When temperatures reach about 36 degrees, male robins especially begin flying toward their breeding territories.

That’s when the robins actually herald spring because once they are in their breeding areas, they start to sing.

So if you see a robin in winter, don’t worry. But if you hear a robin in the spring, smile. You’ve got some residents who are settling in for the first of their nesting cycles — up to about four a year.

Interesting Things You Need to Know

Six steps to take following a car accident



After a car accident, it’s normal to feel disoriented—even if it’s just a fender bender. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know in advance what steps you’ll need to take. Here are six things to keep in mind should you be in an accident.

1. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If you or any passengers are injured, call 911 or have someone else do so.

2. Move to safety: If your vehicle presents a hazard to other drivers and it can safely be moved to the side of the road, do so.

3. Notify the police. Even if it’s just a fender bender, it doesn’t hurt to inform the police. If they aren’t able to come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the police station afterwards to fill out an accident report.

4. Exchange information. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver.

5. Document the accident. Do the following:

• Write down the time and location of the accident
• Write down how it happened
• Take down the license plate number of the other vehicle (or, even better, take a picture of it)
• Get the names and badge numbers of any emergency personnel
• Get the names and contact information of any witnesses
• Provided you’re able to do so safely, take pictures of the damage

6. Notify your insurer. You can do this right away or in the hours that follow. The earlier you make the call, the faster your claim will be processed.

The last step is, of course, getting your vehicle repaired. Your insurer may recommend one of their preferred auto repair shops or auto body shops. While these may be good and reputable garages, know that you have the right to choose where you get your vehicle repaired. Even if it’s just to fix a few dents, going to an auto body shop you can trust is the best option.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Five benefits of employee volunteering programs



What if planting trees, running a 5K or preparing a meal for a homeless shelter was all part of a day’s work? Employee volunteering programs give staff the chance to escape the office for a day and help out in the community. Such programs benefit employees, employers and the community. Here are five key advantages they offer.

1. Boosting morale. Employee volunteering programs provide employees with rewarding experiences, allowing them to simultaneously feel proud of themselves and their company. Teams that partake in such initiatives together become stronger and more cohesive.

2. Developing skills. Volunteering is an effective way of building leadership, teamwork, collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills.

3. Enhancing company image. Customers and clients appreciate companies that make a positive difference. Increased visibility in the community is an excellent way to encourage new business.

4. Attracting the best talent. Companies that volunteer in their community become more attractive to potential employees. This is especially true of the younger generation, who highly value volunteerism.

5. Making the community better. Whether the initiative is cleaning up litter, improving the lives of those less fortunate or making an elderly person’s day, employee volunteer programs make communities better.

When companies adopt employee volunteer programs, they reap major rewards for themselves and their employees. Making a positive impact on the community at large is just one of the many advantages of these programs.

A recent Gallup poll found that companies who took part in employee volunteering programs increased profitability by 16%, general productivity by 18% and customer loyalty by 12%.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Depression in dogs: signs and treatments



A 2013 British study found that one in four dogs experiences depression. Given its prevalence, dog owners should be aware of how this health issue is identified and treated.

Recognizing depression in dogs
Most often depression in dogs is triggered by a major life change such as a move or a new pet, partner or baby in the household.

Dr. John Ciribassi, past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, explains that depressed dogs become withdrawn and inactive, their sleeping habits tend to change and they no longer participate in activities they once enjoyed. It should be noted, however, that such symptoms could also indicate a medical problem. For this reason, dogs who seem depressed should be seen by a veterinarian as a first course of action.

Treating the condition
Depression in dogs is usually short-term, lasting from a few days to a few months. Typically, dogs just need some extra attention during this time. Ciribassi recommends keeping them engaged, having them do the activities they enjoy and involving them in slightly more exercise than usual.

However, sometimes depression in dogs is a more serious matter, particularly following the loss of an animal or human companion. In such cases, it’s best to form a treatment plan with a veterinarian. Note that the earlier the issue is brought to a veterinarian’s attention, the more successful the treatment is likely to be.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

A brief guide to winter camping



Winter camping isn’t as daunting as it may seem. With the right preparations, novice and experienced campers alike can hole up in a warm, cozy tent on snow-covered ground.

Much of the gear you need for winter camping is the same as what’s required for summer camping (a tarp, a knife, waterproof matches, fire starter, a flashlight, a first aid kit, kitchen items, personal items, etc.). There are, however, a number of other things you’ll need in order to deal with the cold and snow. Here are some of the basics you should take with you when winter camping.

• A four-season tent, a sleeping bag rated for winter camping and an inflatable sleeping pad.

• Warm clothing that stays dry (that means no cotton: consider synthetic or merino wool), as well as hats, gloves and other winter apparel.

• Waterproof boots that provide solid traction.

• Hand and toe warmers.

• A foam pad to put under your sleeping pad for extra warmth.

• A small shovel to clear snow on your campsite.

• Portable power packs (electronic equipment loses power faster in cold weather).

• Meals that are quick and easy to make since cooking and cleaning in mitts can be a challenge (for instance, freeze-dried meals for which you just add hot water).

While the above list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a great place to start. The only thing that remains is to set aside a weekend, choose a park and book your site.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Three types of courses that will get you outdoors this winter



Instead of hibernating indoors wishing for the warm weather to return, get outside this winter. Taking an outdoor class will help you load up on vitamin D and keep you active all season long. Here are three types of courses you can try.

1. Skiing
Take ski lessons so you can hit the slopes with the whole family. If you’re not an adrenaline junky, head away from the hills and instead learn to cross country ski. Not only will you get plenty of fresh air, but you’ll also reap the benefits that come with getting a great workout.

2. Winter hiking

Whether you want to take small, easy hikes or go on weeklong mountaineering adventures, take a class to prepare yourself. You’ll learn about the equipment needed and the clothing required to enjoy the quiet of the winter wilderness. Experienced guides will show you how to get traction with your boots and when to use snowshoes. You’ll also learn how to stay safe on the trails.

3. Birdwatching
If leisurely strolls through the woods are more your thing, take a birdwatching class to see rare local birds. An ornithological guide will teach you how to spot birds in their natural habitat and teach you how to help preserve their environment.

A few other courses that will get you outside this winter include ice skating, ice climbing, snowboarding, kite skiing and snow yoga. As long as you dress warmly, winter is the perfect time to soak up some rays while learning something new.

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Interesting Things You Need to Know

Classes that will help you overcome your shyness



Is your shyness getting in the way of you moving up in your career or stopping you from making new friends? These three classes are sure to boost your confidence and may be just the ticket you need to meet new people and make strides, both professionally and personally.

1. Improv
Improv’s basic philosophy is “yes, and” which means that in order for a scene to run smoothly, participants have to accept the other person’s idea and build on it. Instead of declining invitations for fear of not knowing what to say or how to act, learning to say “yes, and” will encourage you to accept opportunities that come your way and make the best of them.

2. Dance

When you’re learning how to dance, you don’t have to worry about knowing what to say, you just have to let yourself move to the music. Learning steps and performing a dance routine in front of an audience will give you a sense of confidence and achievement you didn’t know was possible.

3. Public speaking
Even people who aren’t usually shy can have trouble expressing themselves in front of others. Public speaking classes teach you to have effective communication skills, voice your opinion in a concise manner and debate respectfully. These skills are important to advancing many types of careers and will help you in social situations too.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that shyness isn’t necessarily a fixed trait. It’s entirely possible to learn the skills needed to be more outgoing. The above three classes can help.

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