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Category Archives: News/ Field Notes

Events, reflections and a seasonal discourse in sensing place.

Capoeira: Social, Environmental & Global

Capoeira: Social, Environmental & Global

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SALVADOR, BA– I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel to the state of Bahia, Brazil. To the pulsing, lively, vibrant city of Salvador. My goals were to take a course in Portuguese, stay with a host family, and learn more about the art of Capoeira right from the source. While these goals were certainly a lifetime opportunity, the deeper realizations from them offer other life changing opportunities not yet manifested.

As I mentioned, Salvador is the birthplace of the art of Capoeira. The Portuguese colonists took with them a tragic slave trade, which lasted longer than any other slave industry in the world. Almost 4 million displaced Africans took with them similar fight dances to Capoeira, which laid the art’s foundation to what it is today. In Brazil, interactions with diverse people groups, the social and political structures, as well as the local sense of place and environment, shaped the art. During the time of Slavery, it was a way to train, stay empowered, maintain a cultural identity, and more. Today, it is an active and growing symbol of freedom, birthed from a resistance to oppression and domination. For a more detailed history of the art itself, click here.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in News/ Field Notes, Reconciliation

 

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Ecology and Culture: 2014 WAEE Presentation

WAEE

STEVENS POINT– This week I’m excited to be a part this year’s annual Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education conference. The conference spans from August 13-15th, and I’ll be presenting on Wednesday at 10 am!

The title of the presentation is “Continuing the Conversation of Cross-cultural EE”. I’ll be speaking about experiences working at Minneapolis Public Schools, covering some thoughts from my past blog entry on Malcom X, and highlighting a video entitled “Ecology and Culture”, posted below. The video is an EE experiment, mixing break dancing and ecological learning. It was a great learning opportunity, and a lot of fun to facilitate.

A special THANK YOU to Conserve School and all the rock-star students who participated to make this happen! It was a blast training with you!

WAEE Annual Conference Webpage

Past post on Malcom X

 

 

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Wading in Water History: San Francisco, Drought, and Hetch Hetchy

 

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SAN FRANCISCO– The reality of the California drought is a stark contrast from the lush upper Midwest. While one chooses between ground or surface sources for municipal water and need not stop to think about lush green grass underfoot, the other dons signs along the road reading “pray for rain”. While Minnesota and Wisconsin thrive in a culture of river and lake recreation, California has a website for the drought, featuring Lady Gaga chiming in to get the attention of the masses. Not only are the communities of the Bay area strained by the drought, but a key fertile agricultural land in our national economy is strained, too. Wine, fruit, and especially almonds from Northern California make their way around the country and the world. While the region had built an infrastructure to cope with such water scarcities, the current drought has the reservoirs at record lows. The drought reaches beyond the capabilities infrastructure and now calls on personal water use. Reflecting on our history in water resources, are we really ready for such a responsibility?

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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in News/ Field Notes, Reconciliation

 

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A Water-friendly… Mall?

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MAPLEWOOD, MN– In a project that’s the first of its kind, Maplewood Mall has retrofitted its parking lot with top-knotch stomwater infrastructure. Although construction projects and improvements on infrastructure are common every construction season, this one holds special significance. Here in Maplewood, the local watershed district, Ramsey-Washington Watershed, and Simon Property Group (Simon Malls) formed a unique partnership. Through what may seem like vastly different spheres of society, the watershed district and Simon Malls, one of the largest land owners in the US, planned and implemented a groundbreaking parking lot innovation. Concerning far more than parking spaces, the new parking lot is designed for stormwater runoff, to keep water where it lands instead of it running off the concrete jungle’s paved surfaces to pick up all sorts of trash and pollution (everything that drips and falls out of cars, accidentally or intentionally). The end result is that the Mississippi River receives water from this area not from the surges of stormwater pipes, but from gradual, stable, and clean groundwater flow. So how did they do it?

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Posted by on July 5, 2014 in News/ Field Notes

 

Beauty and History in the Sylvania Wilderness

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MICHIGAN U.P.– On a recent canoe trip with Conserve School students and staff, we trekked into the UP’s Sylvania Wilderness Area. Being a beautiful vacation destination for hundreds of campers, canoers, and fishing enthusiasts alike, Conserve School is lucky to have such a place practically out its back door. For 5 nights and 6 days we paddled, camped, swatted mosquitoes, and escaped them with refreshing dips in the stunning clear lakes.

Beyond the beauty though, a fascinating history is nestled under the canopy of old-growth hemlocks and maples. Over a hundred years ago, the Ojibwe came to the area from out East, migrating from a prophecy to travel to where food grew on the water. They came and found wild rice, which currently grows in Sylvania, forming magical wildlife hotpots bustling with activity. Sylvania as it exists today became possible through the Michigan Wilderness Act in 1987, which put the area into the 9.1 million acre wilderness system that was previously created by the 1964 Wilderness Act . Before this at the turn of the 1900’s, Sylvania’s early development consisted of individual property-buyers purchasing land around Clark Lake, eventually forming a private fishing and hunting club.

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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in News/ Field Notes

 

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The Apostle Islands Ice Caves: A Winter Hotspot

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BAYFIELD– I recently had the honor to visit the Apostle Islands Ice Caves on the southern shore of Lake Superior. Although treasured for it’s kayaking in the summer, this gem of a place can also be a hot spot of activity in the middle of winter. This can only mean one thing… that the shoreline to the main body of water submitted to the cold and actually froze. This freezing doesn’t happen very often however, which makes it quite an attraction when it does. In the last month, thousands have make the trek to the caves to walk out onto the frozen-yet-noisy sheet of ice. Unlike a typical frozen lake, the deep waters below may influence the ice’s stability even when it’s terribly cold out. The National Parks Service has a great site on the caves, with some culture and history to boot.

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in News/ Field Notes

 

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The Natural and Not-So-Natural History of House Plants

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When learning about plant ecology and plant natural history we often focus our attention outdoors. Well, that’s obvious! But how about our indoor habitats and the plants that help compose them? The lobby, coffee shop, and library plants we stroll past daily all have their own natural histories. These plants bring life to our indoor spaces, and get us through long wretched winters. But what’s more, lets take a look at how the stories behind these plants can inform and enhance our indoor living spaces.They are our living history.

Here’s three common house plants you may see around town this Winter:

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Posted by on January 25, 2014 in News/ Field Notes, Reconciliation

 

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