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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.
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 crime scenes (dead animals). That which caught the…

Watersheds Hold Connections: My Water Story

Flying across my headwaters state of Colorado on the spring equinox my forehead is glued to the small oval window of the regional jet. We climb steeply up out of the high mountain valley, turn north and follow the Colorado River upstream toward its source on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. I always request a window seat when I fly as I get to pretend to be a cartographer as I study the diverse landscape of colors, textures, shapes, and patterns that create places. Flying over known watersheds I place myself down in those places that have been part of my life forming me to who I am today carving and creating my story. Water continues to shape and mold the landscape and our being.

Getting to know a watershed is like getting to know a friend. Watersheds are places complete with stories, personality, place names, unique patterns and topography, social norms, distinctive plants and animals, political structures, and most of all distinguishing rivers and tributaries. Wat…

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 our nation’…