by Rita Goldner

The concept of renewal might be contemplated in the context of Easter, or the Resurrection. Although I give deference to this religious significance, my blog musings, as usual, are about animals and nature. Last month, the illustration to accompany my post was of a pangolin, which some may consider ugly. I find it cute in a weird and interesting way, but today’s animal is undeniable gorgeous, in every way.

Swan by Rita Goldner.jpg

I have been researching Trumpeter Swans to illustrate a work-in-progress picture book by Barbara Renner. These beautiful birds, about three times the size of the swans we’re used to seeing, are endangered, which brings them close to my heart. I’m encouraged by the efforts of the state of Minnesota to raise awareness of their plight, and I applaud education as a solution, as in Ms. Renner’s new book.

The Easter egg (of which I saw a plethora on Easter Sunday, with nine grandkids) is a symbol of rebirth in many cultures. Ditto for bunnies. The word Easter comes from Eastre, or Ostera, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility. Rumor has it that Eastre found a wounded bird, and to save its life, changed it into a hare. But the hare kept its egg-laying ability, and would decorate its eggs and gift them to Eastre.

Somehow, we’ll manage to work some chocolate and some Peeps into all this mythology. Americans eat 600 million marshmallow Peeps, and 90 million chocolate bunnies for the holiday, so I hope you did your share! But I digress, back to the rebirth of endangered species.

Scientists estimate that we lose one species every 60 seconds, and that by 2020, the number of wild animals will decline by two-thirds. Some of that gloom and doom can be mitigated or delayed by donations to rescue foundations, wildlife activist organizations, and credible zoos, like the Phoenix Zoo, which is famous for rescuing the Arabian Oryx from extinction with a breeding program, and then re-introduced herds back into the wild.

I heartily endorse these endeavors, yet I don’t think they’re enough. The permanent solution is education, especially for our younger generation. Toward that end, here are a few tips to teach children (and everyone else).

  1. Loss of wild habitat is the biggest factor. Don’t use products that contain non-sustainable ingredients, like palm oil farmed in rainforests.
  2. Visit wild refuge parks and learn about the wild animals near you.
  3. Don’t pose for pictures with wild animals, interact with them, or take one for a pet.
  4. Recycle in every possible, practical way.
  5. Use eco-friendly alternatives to pesticides. Here are some ideas.

I hope you’re enjoying spring and Mother Earth’s renewal! Please sign up for my newsletter, Orangutans and More, at:

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P.S. Your comments and questions are welcome!


Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water CycleThe Flying Artist, and Rose ColoredTo view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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