2020 Fall Foliage Report

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The local meteorologist may be tricking us into thinking summer is back again, but there’s no question that fall has officially arrived. Parents and children are starting to find their back-to-school routines, assorted pumpkins are being placed on front porches, seasonal flavors have returned to coffee shops and, of course, the greatest indicator of them are the changing fall colors.

If you would consider yourself an autumn enthusiast, you’re likely visited Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report. If not, there’s no better time to become familiar with an outstanding state resource.

Each year, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism provides the latest updates for finding the best fall colors. Regardless of your mode of transportation (hiking, biking or riding), you have the opportunity to see all of the changing leaves that your heart desires.

According to the latest report, counties around the state appear to be evenly split between beginning and moderate peak colors. Expectations show that northern counties will reach their peak in the first or second week of October, while southern counties will follow in the second or third week of the month. If you’ve been longing for a road trip, now is the time to start planning – with as much or as little effort as you’d like!

Travel Wisconsin put together a guide for 11 scenic drives to take advantage of when the leaves are turning. We were excited to see that one drive is not far from the Wisconsin Lions Camp. Did you know that three of the state’s highest points are right here in Central Wisconsin? Take in the fall foliage from a different perspective by driving along the Hilltop Tour.

If you don’t consider yourself to be a follower, you can always come up with a fall foliage trip of your own. Our state is chock-full of scenic highways and rustic roads, so we are confident that finding a unique journey shouldn’t be a trying task.

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Wisconsin. Don’t forget to open your eyes and take all of the beauty in. From all of us here at Lions Pride, enjoy your seasonably warm fall weekend!

Autumnal Equinox 2020

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Photo Credit to the Wisconsin Lions Camp

We don’t have to tell you that the days are getting shorter and the temperature has been getting much crisper. (Yes, we’ve already seen frost advisories over the course of a few nights!) Although the changing weather is evident, it may still be hard to believe that this upcoming Tuesday, September 22, officially marks the first day of fall and the Autumnal Equinox.

If you’re anything like us, you may be wondering, “What is an equinox?” We know that it was probably an important lesson in middle school, but we all have a lot to remember. So, how about a lesson refresh?

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the word “equinox” is derived from the Latin word aequus, which means “equal” and “night.” During the equinox, day and night are roughly the same lengths of time or equal.

Equinox, of course, happens twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. The Earth orbits on the tilt of its axis at 23 ½ degrees. On the day of the equinox, at approximately 8:31 am CST, the Northern and Southern Hemispheres will trade places in receiving the sun’s light more directly. We don’t have to tell you that starting next week, the sun will begin to rise later, and dusk will come sooner.

Fall seems to be a season favorite for Wisconsinites because it means the return of football, cool, crisp weather and pumpkin spice everything. We especially love this time of year because we always enjoy watching the changing leaves that surround the Wisconsin Lions Camp.

What is your favorite part about fall? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Autumnal Equinox from Lions Pride!

Celebrating the Grandest Generation

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Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane. Close your eyes and think back to a few of your greatest childhood memories. Are there a few people who play recurring roles? We’re guessing, yes. More than likely, you’ll see your siblings, parents, cousins and, of course, your grandparents. Sunday, September 13, is Grandparents Day, a day to celebrate the grandest generation.

We know what you’re thinking: another day that I have to remember to put a card in the mail? Not exactly. Believe it or not, this observation was not created to help inflate the sales of flowers and greeting cards. Marian Lucille McQuade, the community leader behind the holiday, wanted Grandparents Day to be focused on family; a day to connect the generations.

There are three main purposes behind the observance:

  1. To give people a day to honor grandparents
  2. To allow grandparents an additional opportunity to show love to their children’s children
  3. To help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance that elders can offer

She wanted Grandparents Day to be a family day. She envisioned family reunions and community event participation, but she probably didn’t imagine a pandemic.

2020 has certainly been a challenging year for celebrating holidays as we’ve seen many special days come and go. However, it is still possible to honor your family lineage while protecting those closest to your heart. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Schedule a story hour

We all loved bedtime stories as children, but does anyone truly outgrow a good story? Schedule a time to talk over the phone or video chat with loved ones to talk about the family’s matriarchs and patriarchs. Take turns sharing your favorite moments together, whether they were tender or hilarious. Give your story hour participants a heads up, so they have time to think back on the best moments.  

  • Recreate a famous family recipe

Every family has one secret recipe. The weekend is the perfect opportunity to dust off the cookbook and look back at the entrée or dessert that everyone still talks about to this day. If you’re feeling extra generous, you may want to share the dish with friends or other family members. After all, who doesn’t love homemade goodies?

  • Start building a family tree

What better way to celebrate than by piecing together your family history with your immediate members? Share unforgettable memories of those who have passed and talk about how family members’ lives have changed over the generations. Visit PBS to start building your family tree today.

  • Celebrate those who have left too soon

Sadly, not all of us are lucky enough to have living grandparents, but everyone can celebrate their memories by reliving the good times by paging through old photo albums or visiting their memorial sites. If you are active on Facebook, consider temporarily changing your profile picture to one with a grandparent.

National Grandparents Day is a wonderful opportunity to honor legacy and show gratitude to a truly grand generation. How will you celebrate the occasion?

Happy Grandparents Day from Lions Pride!

Ways to Appreciate the End of Summer

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We probably don’t have to tell you that Monday, September 7, 2020, (Labor Day) is the unofficial end to summer and the beginning of autumn. There’s no question that these cooler days have been feeling quite fall-like, but this year has been different than those we have experienced in the past. There were days in 2020 that felt like they were never going to end, yet the summer seemed to fly by, leaving many of us wondering, “Was I able to get out and enjoy it?”

You’re not alone in this feeling, but believe it or not, there is still time to get out and make the most of the fleeting season. Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy all that summer has to offer:  

  • Take a hike at a state or local park
  • Create a bonfire and toast a marshmallow
  • Enjoy an afternoon fishing at your favorite river or stream
  • Watch the sunrise or set (depending on whether you’re an early bird or more of a night owl)
  • Grab a blanket and pack a picnic lunch
  • Stay up late and catch a firefly light show
  • Take off your shoes and walk barefoot through lush green grass
  • Sit outside and admire the stars. There’s nothing quite like a clear night sky to remind us about the big, beautiful world we live in

The forecast shows that aside from a small chance of isolated thunderstorms on Sunday, it’s supposed to be a gorgeous weekend. We’d like to remind you to get out and enjoy the unofficial end to the Wisconsin summer, but always remember that it will be back again in no time at all.

Our office will be closed on Monday, September 1 in observance of the holiday. From all of us at Lions Pride, we’d like to wish you a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

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Photo Credit to Dave Hoefler

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

-Author Unknown

If you’ve lost a beloved animal, you’ve likely seen heartfelt poem aptly named Rainbow Bridge. Tomorrow, Friday, August 28 is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. What better day to commemorate the animals we’ve loved and lost?

Anyone who has connected with a cherished animal knows that humans and animals can endure an unbreakable, indescribable bond. Our furry companions are always there when we need them most, hold no judgment, and have a natural ability to provide loving support.  If you’re looking a way to honor your special pet, might we suggest these ideas:

  1. Pass the time looking through photos

    Whether you have a printed photo album or just an extensive media library on your mobile device, look through your photos to remember the good times you two shared together. You may want to consider printing one your favorite pictures to always have the memory nearby.
  2. Help another animal

    If you’ve lost a pet sometime in the recent past, consider helping another animal. This may mean adding a new member to your family or volunteering at your local animal shelter. Remember that welcoming a new furry member into your life doesn’t mean that you are trying to replace an old friend – it just means that your heart has more love to give.
  3. Tell a story about one of your favorite memories

    One of the best parts of creating a blog is having the option to engage directly with our readers. And, we can all participate with this celebration idea. We’d love to hear a story about one of your dear pets. Tell us about the special connection you and your animal shared in the comments below.

Those of us who have had the privilege of loving a pet know firsthand how tough it is to lose them when the end inevitably comes. That’s the trouble with animals; the time together is just never long enough. But don’t forget that their memories will always live in our hearts.

Happy Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day from Lions Pride!

No Fans at Indy 500

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Many of us will agree that summer 2020 is unlike any summer in recent memory. Although we may still be able to go out and soak up plenty of Vitamin D, there’s likely a lot of people we’d like to see and various events we’d love to attend.

The latest national event seeing drastic changes is the Indianapolis 500. There were six times in history where the race was cancelled due to war, but the first time, no fans will be in attendance watching the race in real-time.

The Indy 500 originally scheduled for Sunday, May 24, was postponed. In June, Indianapolis Motor Speedway made plans to reschedule the event for August and drop the maximum capacity down 50% (approximately 175,000 fans.) They were hoping the situation wouldn’t change, but the pandemic had other plans. Since the June 26 announcement, Marion County in Indiana has seen positive cases of coronavirus triple and positivity rates double.

Penske Entertainment Corp president and CEO Mark Miles says that he hopes fans know that they’ve done everything possible to continue the race with an audience. Still, they were committed to putting the health and safety of the community first for the very beginning.

Officials recently concluded that the 2020 race happening on Sunday, August 23, will be closed to the general public. Fortunately, those who had purchased tickets will be credited for the 2021 race and retain their seniority.

We’ve seen it time and time again this summer, but coronavirus has been the ultimate party crasher. Here at Lions Pride, we’ve had to cancel or postpone our favorite events like the Sporting Clays Fundraiser, our annual meeting and the Friendship 100.

What events and activities have you personally been missing this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

We know that 2020 has anything but a typical year but remember that we’re all in this together, and we will get through the uncertainty in due time. Hang in there!

Ideas to Protect the Honeybees

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If we were to ask you about your favorite summer creatures to watch, how would you respond? You’ve probably witnessed squirrels quickly scurrying up trees to escape the neighborhood dog, heard birds whistling original tunes and happily watched playful chipmunks playing with one another. There’s no question that summertime is the perfect opportunity to observe the wonders of nature, but there is one small but mighty creature that you might not always remember to add to your watchlist – the honeybee.  

Did you know that you have a bee to thank for every one of three bites of food you consume? Approximately 80 percent of all worldwide pollination is done by the combination of both wild and domestic honeybees. Sadly, the population is in great danger. According to US National Agricultural Statistics, the honeybee decline has decreased from about 6 million hives in 1947 to 2.4 million hives in 2008 (a 60 percent drop.)

Next Thursday, August 19, is National Honey Bee Awareness Day, a day created by beekeepers to promote and educate the public on the bee industry. Whether or not you use honey as a more natural alternative to sugar or just enjoy the delicious taste, now is your chance to help the world’s greatest pollinators. While there are a few factors beyond your immediate control; here are a few ways you can work to protect the dwindling bee population:

  1. Plant bee-friendly flowers

    According to the Honeybee Conservancy, one of the greatest threats to bees is the lack of safe habitats. Consider planting a garden filled with bees’ favorite flowers. Here are a few plants to keep in mind. Remember that you don’t need a lot of space to make a difference!

  2. Avoid pesticides in your garden

    Honeybees have susceptible nervous systems that can be disrupted by synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. When treating your garden from pests, try to avoid using synthetics and instead more natural solutions. Click here to read about gardening alternatives to pesticides.

  3. Create a bee bath

    Like all living creatures, bees can work up a thirst after a long day of hard work. Though, they have a bit more of a challenge because they can’t just turn a faucet. Add a bee bath to your garden to easily give bees a fresh water source. All you need is a shallow dish, plant pot, stones and fresh water. Create yours today!

  4. Support your area beekeepers

    When out shopping for produce, don’t forget to buy local! Area beekeepers and farmers are much more likely to promote bee-supporting practices than large commercial producers. Start a conversation when visiting your next farmer’s market.

These are only four of several ways that you can help save the honeybees. How will you help? Let us know your buzz-tastic ideas in the comments below.

Happy Honey Bee Awareness Day from Lions Pride!

Fun Facts About Homemade Pie

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Is it just us, or has this week been downright autumn-like? The low 70-degree days we’ve been seeing has been a welcome change, compared to the previous excruciatingly hot weather. The cooler temperatures allow us to make a couple pleasant changes, like turning off the air conditioner, opening back up the windows and baking something delightful in the oven.

Last Saturday, August 1, was Homemade Pie Day. Although we may be a few days behind, we don’t think it’s too late to celebrate. Let’s commemorate America’s favorite homemade dessert with fun facts to raise your Pie-Q:

  • Apple pie is often promoted as an American staple, but the first written Apple Pie Recipe is actually believed to have been written in England in 1381.
  • Pie is most commonly known as a dessert, but up until the 19th Century, fruit pies were seen as a popular breakfast item.
  • In 2008, Crisco and the American Pie Council surveyed Americans on their favorite types of pieces:
    • 19% prefer apple pie.
    • 13% prefer pumpkin pie.
    • 12% prefer pecan pie.
    • 10% prefer banana cream pie.
    • 9% prefer cherry pie.
  • 1 out of 5 people admits having eaten an entire pie by themselves.
  • Not all pies were not just for eating. The wet bottom molasses pie known as the Shoo-fly Pie was used to attract flies from the kitchen, though the origin may never be completely known.
  • There is a theory that your favorite pie is an indicator of your personality. If you love:
    • Apple pie, then you are independent, realistic and compassionate.
    • Pecan pie, then you are thoughtful and analytical.
    • Chocolate pie, then you are loving.
    • Pumpkin pie, then you are funny and independent.

What is your favorite type of homemade pie? Let us know in the comments below!

Take this cooler weather as an opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen, making your favorite pie. Happy Homemade Pie from Lions Pride!

Observing International Day of Friendship in 2020

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You are likely familiar with the phrase, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” right? We know that this saying is typically used to describe star-crossed lovers, but in today’s current environment, we think it also works to describe the way people are feeling about their beloved friends.

We don’t have to tell you that life has seemingly changed overnight due to COVID-19. Many people are choosing to eat in, postponing family gatherings and other significant events and avoiding contact with close friends. Although saying no to getting together may be a wise choice to stop the spread of the virus, there’s no denying that continually making these decisions have been difficult, particularly the last one. Friendship is one of life’s greatest blessings, so not being able to spend time with those we love is challenging, to say the least.  

One way to get through the foreseeable future is to start by celebrating International Friendship Day, which happens each July.  

The holiday was first created in 1958 (previously known as World Friendship Day) by the World Friendship Crusade to foster a culture of peace and friendship. Over 50 years later, in 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30 as International Day of Friendship. The idea behind the celebration was the message that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can work to inspire world peace and build bridges between communities.

Now you might be wondering, how can we observe International Day of Friendship during a pandemic? Don’t worry! We have a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create a photo collage of special memories of you and your friend and then frame it to deliver an extra special gift. The happy memories will likely inspire you to plan your next adventure when life has settled down.
  • Send a small gift of flowers, chocolates, or cookies to let a friend know that you are thinking about him or her.
  • Put your creativity to work by crafting a handmade item such as a knitted scarf, homemade salsa or special care package. There’s never been a better time to try a new hobby!
  • Write a post on Facebook or your favorite social network to brag about your best friends. Your status update could include all of the reasons you enjoy being their friend or something as simple as saying, “I miss seeing you!”
  • Honor a friend with a donation to their favorite nonprofit organization. Consider donating to Lions Pride and designating your gift for the Wisconsin Lions Camp. It is, after all, the place where hundreds of friendships are made each year.
  • Try to call, text or email your friends to let you know that you’re thinking about them and feel so lucky to call them friends.

We know that we may not be able to see our friends as often as we like given the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t tell them how we feel. How will you celebrate your friends today?

Happy International Day of Friendship from Lions Pride!

The 2020-2021 Council of Governors Meeting

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We are nearing the end of another month, and it may be somewhat hard to believe that it is already time for the new Wisconsin Lions District Governors to meet. The entire MD27 Council of Governors is scheduled to meet this Saturday at the Hotel Mead & Conference Center in Wisconsin Rapids.

The first meeting of the 2020-2021 Lionistic Year will be an exciting one as it will be filled with lots of information and, for many of us, it will the first time that we are able to see friends in person. The day will begin with the call to order, introduction and opening remarks, the approval of the agenda and last July meeting minutes, followed by the ratification of all previous action and minutes.

Afterward, the new District Governors will hear brief reports from nearly 30 district chairpersons. Yes, we know that sounds like a lot of reports, but remember they only meet four times each year, so there’s plenty to discuss.

As the meeting continues the DGs will listen to MD27 and state committee reports. They will also hear from many of the State Lions organizations, including Lions Pride.

We are looking forward to seeing our fellow Lions in person but want to ensure everyone stays safe during the pandemic. At this time, we recommend the following safety tips:

  • At this time, it is believed that COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person. Avoid close contact with others by maintaining a distance of at least six feet.
  • Consider wearing a cloth face cover when in the presence of others, just in case the social distance is hard to maintain. 
  • Remember to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds.)

We are thrilled to be able to see the friendly faces of friends, even if they are partially covered by masks. We know there are smiles underneath. We’d like to wish all of our new DGs a safe, productive weekend and a successful year!