The English Learners' Blog

A blog for English learners and their teachers everywhere, initiated in 2010 with the contribution of students from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. More about me on the On-line Profile below. Welcome!

Learn More from Giving

The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.

Each person who chooses to pledge will make this statement publicly, along with a letter explaining their decision to pledge. At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.

If you are interested in learning more from giving, here are the quick links to all of the Chronicle of Philantropy blogroll:

Give and Take
News and notes from the nonprofit blogosphere

Fund raising tips, tricks, and advice

Social Philanthropy
Exploring the use of social media for social good

Government & Politics Watch
Tracking the intersection of politics and philanthropy

Profit and Purpose
Examining the relationship between business and charity

Money and Mission
Discussing the world of nonprofit finance

Layoffs and Mergers
A digest of cutbacks and changes at nonprofit groups

Conference Notebook
Updates from notable events in the world of philanthropy

What are the new faces of luxury?

According to this article from Fortune, “The recession hasn’t killed the good life entirely; it’s just put a renewed focus on value, quality, and story.” Click the link to read more about an iconic fashion house, a fine wine brand, exquisite time keepers, a designer’s world and green-profile cars. We have to wonder about the new faces of day-to-day luxury in our old Europe…

Filed under: 4►LIFE, ■ Charity, ■ CNN Money, ■ Fortune, ■ Giving, ■ Luxury, ■ Perfumes, ■ Site Scout

Strong Marks & Tough Characters in the Wild

How do you leave your mark on

the world surrounding you?



There are a lot of  signatures in the wild, many more than on paper. That is because animals can sign on wood, earth, even  underground, through air or water, in a nutshell, by channels that may involve any of and all the senses.

The wildlife surrounding us is extraordinary! That’s why I’d like to thank my biology students for the great presentations they had this semester.

This post was inspired by an Animal Planet documentary on the smelliest animals on Earth. Have fun reading it!

Here are some photos of ten of the most odiferous animals. Take a look & choose the top three that can leave the strongest smelliest signatures ever known.

ALASKA ZOO Musk-ox Calf

The musk ox is a large hoofed mammal with up-turned horns, a massive body and a short tail. They live in social groups, where the adults work together to defend and nurture the young. When threatened by a polar bear or wolf, the adults form a protective circle around the younger members of the herd.


Beluga whales are often found around the Arctic seas, and migrate when the sea freezes over. They often travel in groups, also known as pods, and live mainly in shallow waters which sometimes are barely deep enough to completely cover them.

Beluga whales are almost forty percent blubber which insulates them in the cold Arctic waters. This blubber also helps to streamline their body which enables them to move more quickly through the water. Also, when Beluga whales dive, their blood circulation decreases, allowing them to conserve body heat.

Beluga whales are also known as “sea canaries” because they are very vocal. They make sounds that range from clicks and high pitched whistles to bell-like sounds. These sounds can be heard above water.

Red Fox Cubs

Adult red foxes usually live alone except during the mating season in January and February and when raising young.
Instead of sleeping in a den, an adult fox usually curls up with its fluffy tail over its nose and feet to protect itself from the cold. In the winter, sometimes the snow will cover them in a blanket which insulates them from the wind and cold weather.


Wolverines are fierce and entirely under-estimated predators. Read more on these animals on Deleene’ blog, Wild Muse. I was pleased to discover that this blog was a finalist in the run for the Research Blogging awards 2010, so it’s worth checking if you’re a wild life fan. 🙂


The North Pacific is home to five species of salmon and steelhead, a migratory form of trout. Each kind of salmon is known by different names: Chinook (king), sockeye (red), coho (silver), chum (dog), and pink (humpback). All are commercially valuable, but the Chinook were the prize of the Columbia River system. On the Water is the site where you can read more about the Columbia river salmon.


Stink bugs have 5-segmented antennae and shield-shaped bodies.

Some stink bugs are pests of cultivated plants, and their feeding not only damages the plants, it also damages or disfigures fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and helps spread plant diseases.

Stink bugs get their name because if handled or otherwise disturbed, a stink bug will release a stinky odor from glands on its thorax.


Skunks are legendary for their powerful predator-deterrent — a hard-to-remove, horrible-smelling spray. A skunk’s spray is an oily liquid produced by glands under its large tail. To employ this scent bomb, a skunk turns around and blasts its foe with a foul mist that can travel as far as ten feet (three meters).

Skunk spray causes no real damage to its victims, but it sure makes them uncomfortable. It can linger for many days and defy attempts to remove it. As a defensive technique, the spray is very effective. Predators typically give skunks a wide berth unless little other food is available. (Info taken from the National Geographic site)

American Beaver

Beavers are more than intriguing animals with flat tails and lustrous fur. American Indians called the beaver the “sacred center” of the land because this species creates rich habitats for other mammals, fish, turtles, frogs, birds and ducks. Since beavers prefer to dam streams in shallow valleys, much of the flooded area becomes wetlands. Such wetlands are cradles of life with biodiversity that can rival tropical rain forests.

Besides being a keystone species, beavers reliably and economically maintain wetlands that can sponge up floodwaters (the several dams built by each colony also slows the flow of floodwaters), prevent erosion, raise the water table and act as the “earth’s kidneys” to purify water. The latter occurs because several feet of silt collect upstream of older beaver dams, and toxics, such as pesticides, are broken down in the wetlands that beavers create. Thus, water downstream of dams is cleaner and requires less treatment.

Tasmanian Devil

As comical as it is, the familiar Looney Tunes portrayal of a Tasmanian devil as a seething, snarling, insatiable lunatic is, at times, not all that far from the truth.

Tasmanian devils have a notoriously cantankerous disposition and will fly into a maniacal rage when threatened by a predator, fighting for a mate, or defending a meal. Early European settlers dubbed it a “devil” after witnessing such displays, which include teeth-baring, lunging, and an array of spine-chilling guttural growls.


Many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills protruding from their own snouts or bodies. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal’s skin. Porcupines grow new quills to replace the ones they lose.

Hyena Pup

Wherever you go on safari in Africa, don’t be lulled into thinking these animals are like domestic dogs! If you stick your arm out your vehicle window, a hyena is capable of snapping it off with one bite. They have powerful jaws and teeth specially adapted to splintering and crushing bones.

While a lion or leopard is unlikely to enter your safari tent, hyenas have been known to take a bite out of sleeping tourists.

Every living creature can find itself in situations in which it can leave strong marks in its environment.

Choose the strongest olfactory marks the animals above are known to leave.

And last, but not least, what are the strengths that make you noticed?

Filed under: 6►THEME CHEST, 6▼ Questionnaires, ■ Biology, ■ Perfumes

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