Thursday, December 18, 2008
My friend Jonathan, the refuge manager at Canaan Valley NWR, has been working diligently on an initiative he cooked up called the Teddy Project.
WV Public Broadcasting features the Teddy Project in a recent radio broadcast.
The Teddy Project is a partnership between FWS and the Arts Institutes, where student animators partner with a National Wildlife Refuge to create a short video featuring a cartoon Teddy Roosevelt and his friend Puddles. Dozens of these cartoons have been produced thus far, bringing arts students and viewers closer to the NWR system and Conservation.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
It all might seem a losing battle. But Mr. Bateman was nevertheless on his soapbox this week after revelations that the Oxford Junior Dictionary has replaced "beaver" - and friends such as the "heron," "porcupine," and "kingfisher" - in its pages with new, plugged-in alternatives.
This can't stand. Watch for more news on this at the Children and Nature Network.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I also know that I needed something to say to my six year old when we walked home from the library in April—no leaves to offer shade, the bank’s LED sign reading eighty-four degrees—and he turned his ingenuous face to mine to ask, "Mama, is it supposed to be so hot?"
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I grew up in the east, learned to ski in the east, and worked for the ski business in the east. Some of my most memorable ski runs were in the east.
Ski the East.
You want isolation and powdery glades? Have you ever been to Jay Peak, just five miles from the Canadian border? Jay Peak had more than 400 inches of snow last season. And Jay Peak had powder — I saw my skis disappear in it — last weekend.
You want craggy, adrenaline-charged challenges? Have you stepped off the Sugarbush resort’s intimidating Castlerock chair, where the trails are rocky, bumpy and will get you airborne? Have you stepped off just about any lift at the no-frills Mad River Glen, home of the “Ski It If You Can” bumper stickers?
Friday, December 5, 2008
The Thought Kitchen tipped me on this one.
In earlier, less technically advanced eras, this approach would have been far-fetched. Material goods were inherently difficult to produce, find, and ship. They were rare and precious. They were closely associated with social prestige. Without important material signifiers such as wedding china, family silver, portraits, a coach-house, a trousseau and so forth, you were advertising your lack of substance to your neighbors. If you failed to surround yourself with a thick material barrier, you were inviting social abuse and possible police suspicion. So it made pragmatic sense to cling to heirlooms, renew all major purchases promptly, and visibly keep up with the Joneses.
That era is dying. It's not only dying, but the assumptions behind that form of material culture are very dangerous. These objects can no longer protect you from want, from humiliation – in fact they are causes of humiliation, as anyone with a McMansion crammed with Chinese-made goods and an unsellable SUV has now learned at great cost.
Furthermore, many of these objects can damage you personally. The hours you waste stumbling over your piled debris, picking, washing, storing, re-storing, those are hours and spaces that you will never get back in a mortal lifetime. Basically, you have to curate these goods: heat them, cool them, protect them from humidity and vermin. Every moment you devote to them is lost to your children, your friends, your society, yourself.
It's not bad to own fine things that you like. What you need are things that you GENUINELY like. Things that you cherish, that enhance your existence in the world. The rest is dross.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Immersing ourselves in the natural world distances us from the minute-by-minute demands of our busy days, and helps us appreciate the beauty around us. Parks also provide opportunities for physical activities that promote heart health and reduce stress. It turns out that "slowing down to smell the roses" is more than just folksy advice.