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Showing posts from 2018

Raising Up a Fire: Stoked on Conservation?

Published 8/17/18 by Aldo Leopold Foundation   Like most environmental educators and park interpreters, I have a strong commitment to sharing wild places with others. The beauty and wonder of our public lands create the perfect setting to share and nurture a land ethic with learners from all walks of life. For me, it is more than just a vocation, though—care for people, land, and communities infuse every part of my life. Every day, I work to foster intimate relationships between people and their landscape both in my professional and civic life. During 2014, I was fortunate to learn from and become one of the Land Ethic Leaders during a special session of the Aldo Leopold Foundation ’s program hosted in Grand Teton National Park at the Murie Center. The experience stoked the fierce green fire within me to keep the land ethic alive and give voice to the Murie’s ecological wilderness values. Stoke, passion, adrenaline, enthusiasm are driving the desire for bigger, higher, and faster outdo

Raising Up a Fire: Rekindling the Land Ethic

The culture of 'more' is eating away at our culture. This attitude of bigger, higher, faster, is galvanizing the outdoor recreation community to create a new definition for the word 'stoke'. Recent editorial pieces in High Country News met this phenomenon head on. Upon reading them, it was important to share them with the Land Ethic Leader community of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. They are always seeking current pieces to deliberate and discuss with those whose land ethic is always evolving. And in return, they generously invited me to craft a response to Linck 's and Geltman 's pieces. Enjoy: Raising Up a Fire: Stoked on Conservation? The Land Ethic Now it is crucial to revisit Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic . An ethic always is built on the premise that we are all members of a community of interdependent parts. Leopold is wise to offer the Land Ethic which "broadens the boundaries of the community to include the soils, waters, plants, and animals, or coll

Reframing, Rethinking, and Re-inspiring Professional Training

How well do your professional development trainings leverage the collective wisdom and experience of the participants, foster a culture of excellence, encourage creativity, and nurture communities of practice? Reframing how we conduct river and water management trainings can reinspire trainers, engage emerging professionals, and motivate long-time career professionals all while having some fun along the way. Although it may not explicitly be in one’s job description, many times experienced professionals are asked to become trainers. As trainers they are expected to be good facilitators, educators, and interpreters even though that may not be their primary expertise. Trainers who leverage the wisdom of formal educators, professional interpreters, and practiced facilitators can create learning experiences for their staff and colleagues that are highly effective and relevant, while also creating space for innovative leadership within their organizations and agencies. In order to r

The Summer it Was Difficult to be Brave

Crystal River near Carbondale, Colorado on August 1, 2018. Photo by Sarah R. Johnson As the sooty smoke fills the air on day 29 of wildfire in the Roaring Fork Valley, one 12,588 acre wildfire is 90% contained and another grows to over 1300 acres in only a matter of five days sending its smoke over the ridge east into our community. Black ash ridden mud slides into the rivers and streams are inevitable when it finally rains. The Crystal River flows at 4% of average today. Colorado River flows into Lake Powell forecasts are dismal and nearly irreversible. Prolonged high daily temperatures have lasted longer than previous summers anyone can remember; and no significant rain in months. So restrictions result: voluntary fishing closures are in affect, watering restrictions are in place, and fire bans have been enforced for more than a month. Too often throughout the day, I view the fire incident information website looking for updated maps. Upon finding the county air quality monitoring re

Feathers, Dead Baby Birds, and Eggshells: A Most Authentic Investigation

It is not often that an outdoor science educator has unlimited unstructured time at a nature preserve with a small group of only six 8-12 year olds who are stoked on exploring, asking tons of questions, and creating their own possible explanations. I was blessed with this experience and it has left a visceral impression with me that will last a long time. Taking careful consideration of the evidence On the second day of our Adventure Scientists day camp we began the day heading out to a new area of the nature preserve we hadn’t yet explored. The students practiced their habits of a scientist recalling the skills we had learned the previous day. Utilizing their hand lenses and new language of “I notice…”, “I wonder…”, “it reminds me of…” they set out exploring the grassy peninsula stretching into the lake and the thick willows. There was not a time limit set, only some geographic boundaries. They began to find delicious smelling orchids, interesting textures of plants, and a few cr

My Dreams for My Country, Its People, and Its Landscape

On this January 15, 2018  Martin Luther King Jr. Day , the public storm is becoming stronger than most are comfortable to bear. People are deeply hurt and angry leading them to become more and more frustrated and distant from each other. People are ashamed and embarrassed of their country’s leadership and are feeling more isolated and lonely. People are feeling scared, confused, anxious, and are becoming bewildered, discouraged, and overwhelmed. This is America, the great wide-open country with opportunities for entrepreneurial possibilities and endless potential for all. This is the place where all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, 242 years after this American spirit was eloquently articulated , all do not experience this welcoming land of the free equally, with dignity, or a fair chance at pursuing happiness. It is with strong faith and hope, 55 years after