The Friends of the Western Carteret Library (FOL) will hold its annual meeting Wednesday, January 17 at 7 PM at the Western Park Community Center. This meeting will review past accomplishments, hold an election of officers for 2018, and Mr. Sam Bland will be the guest speaker. All Friends members, persons interested in becoming a Friends member, and the general public are invited to attend.
Sam Bland, former superintendent of Hammocks Beach State Park, specializes in resource management and environmental education, and is certified in Environmental Education. He works with the N.C. Coastal Federation to develop education and habitat restoration programs, and is noted for his outstanding photography. His topic, “Polar Bears,” is a presentation about his 2017 trip to observe polar bears.
Polar Bears, Ursus maritimus, “maritime bears” are considered marine mammals because of the amount of time spent on ice masses, in the water, and have the ability to swim long distances. Their white coats are really transparent hairs covering a black skin, allowing the maximum absorption of the sun’s rays for additional heat. A thick layer of body fat insulates them in the freezing waters of the Arctic Circle, in regions of Alaska, Canada, Russia, Greenland, Norway, and others.
These carnivores mainly hunt seals, but may eat reindeer, Beluga whales, Narwhals, birds, and even berries, kelp, or other plants during the year, however the Polar bear metabolism requires a high fat diet to survive. As scavengers, they have been known to eat garbage and toxic products like styrofoam, plastics, and motor oil found near human populations; their fat layers hold chemical toxins like DDT, PCBs, or other pollutants. They have an acute sense of smell, hearing, and have sight comparable to humans.
Except for pregnant females, Polar bears are active all year not going into hibernation, and are known to exist on their fat reserves to sustain them several months at a time. They are primarily solitary adult animals with an expected lifespan of twenty-five years and are related through their mitochondrial DNA to brown bears. Starvation due to decreasing ice flow and loss of thick ice for denning females is the major concern for declining populations. Some populations as seen in Canada, stay longer on land and are moving inland to feed, causing more interactions with humans.
Mr. Bland is an entertaining, informative speaker, and photographer. He will have some of his local and exotic photographs for sale at the event.
The FOL, 2018 nominations for board officers are: President - Gina Funk, Vice President - Marcie Hopewell, Secretary - Mary Ellen Miller, and Treasurer - Cathie Campbell.
The Friends of Western Carteret Library provide additional financial support and programs for the public and its members. Funds are raised by selling used books at Second Chances, in the library, and other venues. Membership applications will be available at the event.
Western Park Community Center is located on Old Hwy. 58, in Cedar Point. For more information, contact the library at 252-393-6500.