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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

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TOOMEY: Winter is in full swing across the northern plains. The winds are blowing, the snow is falling, and trees are a-poppin'. At least, that's what the Lakota Sioux calendar assumes, since this month's moon cycle is called "cha na po pa wee" or popping tree moon.

(Horn and drums continue)

TOOMEY: When temperatures fluctuate from chilly to downright freezing, tree trunks can crack in weak spots, and the resulting sound is so loud it's been likened to a rifle shot. It's made enough of an impression, at least on those living in the area, to name a moon after it. Most native peoples in North America divide time based on the number of days from one new moon to the next. There are about 13 new moons every year, and the Lakotas give them names that describe the season and nature's effects. In fact, Popping Tree Moon also goes by the name Frost Inside the Tipi Moon. Not surprising, since average temperatures in the northern plains often hover in the single digits.

(Drumming, singing)

TOOMEY: And that's this week's Living on Earth Almanac.

(Drumming and singing continue up and under)



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