The annual Dermestidarium tradition is back! These ornaments are made from the (real!) skulls of domestic Coturnix quail, raised humanely for meat on small farms in the United States. They are given several coatings of real silver metal (new this year), sealed in a clear lacquer to make them extra durable, and have a black ribbon to hang from.
And because the holidays are about giving, $5 from each sale is donated to charity. This year's recipient is Conservation Canines
, a nonprofit project of the UW Center for Conservation Biology that combines some of my favorite things: rescue dogs, science, and wildlife conservation! This group trains rescued dogs as scat (poo!) sniffers, going out into the backcountry to gather important scientific data used in conservation research of all sorts. Visit their website for more info, or see a photo heavy recent article about them here: Shelter dogs get a second life as poop-sniffing scientists
If you know me personally at all, you've probably heard all about my rescue dogs, and if you haven't, just know that I'm a firm believer that shelter dogs - even ones with behavior challenges - deserve a chance at a good life and loving home. It makes me happy to see this group taking "difficult" dogs and giving them a purpose, and a serious bonus to see them contributing to conservation science.