Living in N. Ireland many people fail to understand why I use Beaver Tooth as my coaching and creative arts logo and identity, as we don't have beavers in our country.  Here's why.  
Years ago when I was working professionally in the outdoor adventure industry, I took my staff team on a days open canoeing down a river just before our Christmas break.  On our journey, I spotted some nice carving hardwood that had been cut down and left by the river.  I got my staff to load as much wood into their boats as possible.  While loading up, one of my staff said to me, "you remind me of a beaver." I asked him why?  He replied, "you like water and you like wood."  That stuck with me.  One of my volunteer staff, who was due to return home to N. America, drew me a beaver caricature beside a canoe and holding a paddle and she gave it to me before she left.  As my wife is from America and we travelled back often, I started to become more and more interested in the beaver.  Also my fur trade era interest, had the beaver at the heart of that industry.  Also at this time I wanted to have a theme for my canoe coaching and craft; like an purpose or ethos.  The beaver was perfect for this and here is what came from that journey:
The beaver is very hard working, it lives in harmony with its environment.  It is competent and confident in the water and displays fineness.  It has razer sharp teeth that regenerate all the time.  It produces a natural iron like coating on its teeth which keeps them sharp and at the cutting edge of ability to do its job.  If something happens to its progress while building its skilful dam and home, it just get back in the game and starts again.  It is resilient and determine to succeed.  In the end, its resilience and skills bring it through to success.
I liked this principle and I wanted to emulate this in my coaching with my students and in my crafts.  For example, to work hard to develop their skills, knowledge and ethos, to be the best they could be.  To personally have limited impact on our working environment and to teach that ethos.  Emulate personal competence and confidence on the water and in the workshop and strive to bring that out in myself and learners.  As the beaver is always sharp and at the cutting edge of its skill, I wanted to be the sharpest I could be and keep myself and others at the cutting edge of the sport. That meant pushing my self and others, staying current by continual personal development. Also I want to teach my learners that if things don't go to plan, it's a journey, not a destination, get back in the game, be resilient, be relentless and determent to work for your goal.  Stay razer sharp and you will achieve what you want to become.  
It gave me a great metaphor to hang my coaching and craft skills, ethos and purpose on and I love it. Most people think it's cool.  What is equally cool, I get to share with them something about an amazing animal that we really need back in the UK to manage our lands and reduce low land flooding.  So if you would like to learn more about the beaver, read the section below. Also, be supportive of re-introducing the beaver into appropriate location in the UK..  
                                                      Facts about Beavers
The Head:
Beavers have a large, wide head.  While submerged, the ears and nostrils have valves that close to prevent water entry.  Fur lined lips close to form a seal behind their teeth, allowing them to hold their breath while they cut, peel, or carry branches underwater.  Their eyes are protected by a third eyelid called a nictitating membrane.   These transparent eyelids protect the beavers' eyes while still allowing them to see.
Beavers' Teeth:
As with all rodents, a beavers' teeth grow continually during their life.  Their teeth are self-sharpening because of a hard orange enamel on the outer side and a softer inner side that wears more slowly. This wear pattern creates a chisel shape.  The outer enamel is orange because iron has replaced calcium. This makes them unusually strong, even among rodents
The Tail:
Broad, black, scaly, and flat. Its length is about 1 ft. (30 cm) with a width of about 6 in. (15 cm).  A beaver's tail serves several functions. It is used as a rudder while swimming, as a third leg while standing upright, as a lever when dragging branches, as a warning signal when slapped on the water, and as a place for the body to store fat for the winter. It is said to taste very good, and at one time was considered a delicacy.
The Feet:
Beavers walk flat-footed (plantigrade).  All of their feet have five digits. The tracks left by the front feet will usually be 2 to 3 in. (5 to 7.6 cm) long, and show only four digits. The fifth digit will sometimes register, but not always. The back feet have webbing connecting the toes, and are used for paddling. The tracks left by the hind feet will usually be 6 to 7 in. (15.24 to 17.78 cm) long, and show five digits.
The Body:
Body length:                                    3 ft. (.9 m) 
Height at the shoulders:                 15 in. (38 cm)
Weight:                                             35 to 66 lbs. (16 to 30 kg) (Heaviest recorded in Wisconsin:                                        110 lbs. (49.9 kg))
Fur colour:                                        Overall brown. The outer layer consists of coarse, long, glossy guard hairs which vary in colour from yellowish brown to reddish-brown to black. Their underfur consists of dense, short, fine hairs that are greyish to brown. The underside of the animal is paler.
Tail length:                                       1 ft. (30 cm)
Tail width:                                         6 in. (15 cm)
Tail colour:                                       Black.
Hold its breath underwater:           10 to 15 minutes per breath.
Beavers are monogamous and mate for life. However, if their mate dies they will usually find another mate. As with other species, offspring from a previous litter may be rejected by a new male.   Males do not fight over females, but when the family unit has been established both sexes tend to be very territorial.  Scent mounds mark their territory and let other beavers know that the area is occupied.  Mating takes place in January or February, and 1 to 9 (usually 4) kits are born in late April to June after a gestation of 105 days. The nutrition the mother receives from her food and her general health help determine the number of kits born.  Before the birth, the female makes a soft bed in the upper room of the lodge for the kits. 
Beavers are herbivores (vegetarians/plant-eaters).  They have a specialized digestive system. Colonies of microorganisms in their intestines digest up to 30% of the cellulose from the tree bark and other woody material they eat. Further nutrients are recovered in the form of faecal pellets that the beaver will re-ingest. Beavers will eat bark from hardwood trees such as birch, aspen, willow, cottonwood, and adler. They will also eat leaves, roots, and twigs from certain trees such as willow and aspen, and water plants of all kinds, along with grasses, and buds. Beavers don't actually eat wood, only the cambium, a soft tissue close to the surface in which new wood and bark grow.  Some of their favourite foods include water lily tubers, clover, apples, leaves, and cambium from Aspen or other fast-growing trees. Most of their favourite herbaceous foods are only available in summer. During winter, their diet consists mainly of woody material such as shrubs, saplings, and branches that are planted underwater in the mud close to the lodge entrance. 
A beaver den can be built in one of two styles, depending on the speed of the river and the fluctuation of water levels.
The simple bank den - dug into the side of a river bank and covered with mud, sticks, and rocks, etc. over the top. Used where the river is too large or flowing swiftly, but has a sufficient level of water throughout the year.  It may have several entry tunnels with at least one above the high water mark. The interior consists of a single chamber roughly 2 ft. (.61 m) wide by 3 ft. (.9 m) long by 3 ft. (.9 m) high.
The lodge den - is a dome shaped construction usually about 10 ft. (3 m) high and 19.6 ft. (6 m) wide at the base.  A large lodge can be as much as 16 ft. (5 m) high and 39.4 ft. (12 m) wide at the base.  Lodges are better suited to slower moving ponds or lakes, and are built using the same material and techniques as dams. 
In areas where the natural water level is too low, beavers will construct a dam.  Once a beaver chooses a dam site, almost nothing can make him abandoned it. They have even been known to incorporate beaver traps in the construction of their dams!  A minimum water level of 2 to 3 ft. (.6 to .9 m) is required to keep the underwater entrance to their lodge from being blocked by ice during the winter. The average height of a dam is about 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall, with an average depth of water behind the dam of 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 to 1.8 m). The thickness of the dam is often around 5 ft. (1.5 m) or more. The length will depend on the stream width, but averages about 15 ft. (4.5 m) long.  The longest beaver dam on record is 2,140 ft, 14 ft. (4.3 m) high, 23 ft. (7 m) thick at the base, found in Three Forks, Montana.
Beavers live in streams, rivers, marshes, ponds, and shorelines of large lakes throughout North America, parts of Europe, and Asia. The beaver is an environmental engineer -- second only to man in its ability to change the landscape for its own needs.  Beavers alter their environment on a large scale in order to provide themselves with shelter and protection. However, this can often be a recipe for conflict with humans.   Beavers flood roads, cut down trees, plug road culverts, and can even cause dangerous flash flooding when one of their dams break.  However, their dam building activity has a very beneficial side.  Beavers build and economically maintain wetlands that soak up floodwaters from upstream, prevent erosion, raise the water table, and create an ecosystem that breaks down toxins and pesticides, purifying the water.  Beavers prefer to dam streams in shallow valleys, by cutting down small trees and clearing brush. Much of the flooded area will become wetlands. Insects lay eggs in wetland environments. Fish, ducks, frogs, turtles and birds feed on the insects and larvae, and other animals in turn feed on them.  The biodiversity of a wetland can rival a tropical rain forest.   About half of the endangered species in North America rely upon the wetlands.
Photo:       Free Stock Photos - Public Domain Photos
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