Children’s Nature Institute: A Walk, A Moment, and a Little Girl

Have you ever laid in your bed in the early morning between the twilight of dreams and reality? Mentally I crawled out of my sleep remembering the Children’s Nature Institute (CNI).

Many years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, I volunteered with CNI. After the I passed the requisite child abuse and criminal checks and was trained, I graduated to taking 3 and 4 year olds on short hikes, ok we walked really short distances. They were too little to go very far.

I carried a bag full of kid nature stuff to keep them busy on our walk in Topanga State Park. I showed them the poison ivy first–leaves of three stay way from me! I also asked them to leave nature behind before they left the park: flowers, twigs, rocks, and such. We walked a bit and then I pulled out my hand and finger puppets. A bit further, I asked them to stop to listen to a bird. More puppets. We came close to a creek and we stood to look and listen. I handed out stickers of animals to the children. Throughout the walk parents stood on the edges and watched.

One little girl stood out during the walk. She stayed very close to me asking questions. At one point she started talking about her mother who it seemed was away on business. Her father stood close by with a worried wearied look on his face.

I ended those walks at a large boulder. We all–the children and I–clamored on top of the rock so I could read the book Antz to them. The little girl sat next to me, leaning on me as I read. When I finished I asked the children to listen and to look at everything around them and to tell me in a few minutes what they saw.

The girl told me how much she missed her mother. And that her mother would be back tomorrow. I said I know your mother misses you and she will be so happy to see you tomorrow. The girl nodded her little head saying yes and said she would be glad to see her mother. The father looked on grateful, eased about a conversation that relieved the tension he must have been handling in the short absence of the mother.

I turned to the children and asked them what they saw. Little voices shouted out leaves, rocks, twigs, birds, squirrels, and more. We jumped down from the boulder and headed back to our cars, the return route a bit swifter.

Volunteering for CNI was one of the highlights of living in Los Angeles. If there are similar programs near you, check them out. There is nothing more gratifying than working with children.

Predators: Survival of the Fittest in a Busted Paradise?

SPOILER ALERT

To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.    ~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you’ve been on this planet long enough you’ve seen Predator, Predator 2, and Aliens vs. Predators (AVPR). The latest installment is Predators.

 

Beyond the earlier films, Predators is a product of many influences and reflects history. It is  an homage to Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” a short story of humans hunting humans. I think of slaveholders hunting the enslaved in the forests and swamps of the American South up to the mid-19th century. Ultimately, the film is about “survival of the fittest,” a term used to describe one of Charles Darwin’s scientific theories.

The story or plot. A multicultural group is dropped by parachute into what looks like the Amazon. Paradise? I think not. Battle-ready mercenary types–all except for a doctor who is the odd one out–do not know their where-a-bouts.

Soon they learn two things: that this aint planet earth and they are being hunted. How do they know it isn’t planet earth? First, a leaf dropped in water spins as if the gravitational pull is out of wack. Second, the sun doesn’t move. Perhaps in both these instances the rock they are on is no longer spinning on its axis? And third,  they walk to edge of a ravine looking up to see three planets above them with one so close it looks like it could be touched. Perhaps the ravine is the point where the planet broke apart. Are they on a moon? An asteroid? A planet? A chunk of a shattered planet? No matter. They are trapped.

The hunted realize they are being hunted in a jungle of a game preserve. They are the animals. One by one, they get picked off. The first to go are a Latino and African American–both men. The screenwriters and director stuck to the old horror/science fiction trope of killing off the men of color first. A second African American man (Lawrence Fishburne is hilarious) isn’t far behind when he is blasted to pieces by the predators, the hunters.

Throughout the film, one character attempts the philosophical concluding that hunting has alway been primal to humans, what it means to be human. So are those hunted in the movies just as soul-less as the alien predators? Is this a morality tale concerning predation by people of other creatures and the planet earth in 2010? Maybe the filmmakers aren’t that smart. The predators are getting to know the humans.

Homo sapiens throughout time have been aggressive.  Much of the first activity of humans in pre-history was hunting and gathering as means of survival. Farms, villages, towns, and cities came much later. A sly visual reference to this pre-history are the stegasaurus-hunting dogs encountered by the game/humans. Since pre-historic times, in modern times, humans have become the mightiest hunters on the planet.

Sadly, for the people in the movie the tables have been cruelly turned, and they are hunted. Royce, the central character, played by ripped Adrien Brody is the chorus of this Greek tragedy, the narrator of the human/alien murder and mayhem. As the plot progresses, he muses out loud, “We’re being hunted,” “we are the game,” “we are being flushed out and tested.” Duh.

Mud was a critical plot device in the the first Predator, and water and dirt sources of life, show up again in Predators. It will save the humans. If you saw the first movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, then you know what I’m talking about. Mud once again become emblematic or symbolic of life, as one hunter is triumphant over another. Go see the movie to learn the meaning of the mud, and how Royce figures out the Predators’ game.

 

In the end, two survive, a man and a woman. We are left with the image of Adam (Brody) and Eve (Alice Braga), two busted people left to muck it out in  busted jungle paradise. Or have they already been kicked out of paradise, and this alien rock are the wages of sin? Looks like hell to me.

At this point Adam and Eve need to be on a first name basis because all they have are each other:

 

Adam says, “I’m Royce.”

Eve responds: “Nice to meet to meet you, Royce. I’m Isabella.”

He closes with: “Let’s find a way off this *&^*^%* planet.”

Ah, courtship and romance.

With that said, I see a Predators 2 in the works with more stegosaurus-hunter dogs–agains shades of runaway slaves trapped in a tree by a hound–bounding through the jungle, along with a star-studded array of aliens skulking about.  Nimrod Antal–one can only hopes he directs again–bring it.

Where in the World is Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage?

As we get closer to the publication of the book, Rooted in the Earth is going to a few places. Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage will be out August 1, 2010. Maybe you will see Rooted in the Earth out and about in early August.

Today, Rooted in the Earth is feeling kinda lazy. Hiking might be the plan over the weekend.

Can a Year on a Farm Based on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Work?

Barbara Kingsolver with Steve L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food. HarperCollinsPublishers. 2007.    

Barbara Kingsolver says in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food, “Our culture is not acquainted with the idea of food as a spiritually loaded commodity. We’re just particular about which spiritual arguments we’ll accept as valid for declining certain food. Generally unacceptable reasons: environmental destruction, energy waste, the poisoning of workers. Acceptable: it’s prohibited by a holy text.” (p. 67). I say both our land and the food produced on that land must be treated as unequivocally holy! 

 As I began to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I felt that the spirituality and holiness she describes is at odds with who does and doesn’t have accessibility to green places including farms. Certainly, the upper middle- or upper classes could pull off living off the land as an experiment.

I had another response to the book: I realized I shared some of Kingsolver’s ideological and practical concerns about American foodways. Louisiana Voices defines foodways as, “obtaining, preparing, serving food and stories and beliefs about food.”  Perhaps considering some of these concerns could be a bridge to the spiritual and holy when it comes to land and produce.  

Stepping back a bit, Kingsolver describes the purpose of her family’s foodways journey and book: “We wanted to live in a place that could feed us: where rain falls, crops grow, and drinking water bubbles right up out of the ground. (p. 3). She got away from a life in Tuscon where distributors ship in food from far-away places and water is running so low that in the near future it will not support the existing population. Here are the costs: fuel must be purchased to ship the food and when water is diverted to desert places like Arizona someone else has diminished access to water.     

Kingsolver and her family moved from Arizona to the southern Appalachia to live off the fruits of their labor on a farm and limit their purchases to local farmers. The Kingsolver clan made it sound relatively simple: relocate and then experiment on the land for a year.   

 Let’s think it through. “A Year of Food” requires resources, which includes money for expenses, and comfortably owning or renting a working arable farm. Before actually arriving at a farm, the average working- to middle-class family would have to turn on the utilities in a new home–that would be the farm–which could be a challenge. One might ask: Can they afford the gas for the car to make the move? What about motels and food on the way? Can they pay the start-up for some of the utilities? Will they have to physically go and pay with cash or a money order to turn on utilities because of a poor credit rating that does not allow for easy transactions by phone, mail, or the internet? These are real questions and concerns for people living pay check to pay check. Forget actually getting to the point of owning a farm. Most people are not privileged. Kingsolver and her family already own a farm.   

Class is a factor. So too is ethnicity. The farm families around her were probably predominantly white though she is not explicit concerning this point. There is a tension here for me. I grew up in Queens, New York in Rosedale, a working class neighborhood of people of African descent. Later as an adult, I lived in Lawndale, California in a working class Latino neighborhood. I’m not sure if many of the people in either ethic group would readily relate to Kingsolver’s agricultural experiment. Some who work the land to survive might see it as a working holiday. The ethnic disconnect and lack of diversity was problematic, typical of broader environmentalism, including the foodway movements.    

With that said, Kingsolver gives the reader much to think about through her beautifully written prose. Many of her suggestions are achievable without going through the financial duress of relocating and purchasing a farm. Consider two ways or reconfiguring Kingsolver’s experiment for regular folks with finite resources.    

Green tomatoes: it's only June.

  • Farmers Markets: Kingsolver does rely on and support the local farmers market near her farm. You too can do the same since these markets are in many cities across the US. The other benefits are eating local organic foods, and diminishing the fuel used to transport produce. Right now I am in Tennessee and plan to visit the Memphis Farmer’s Market downtown.
  • Indoor Plants and Gardens: The author had a flower garden that was part of the farm. This is not an option for many people live in apartments in cities or townhouses in the suburbs. In both types of housing, keep indoor plants, some that flower for the aesthetics. Consider growing herbs in a box on a window ledge. When I lived in Los Angeles I kept orchids, African violets, and a bonsai. Plants, particularly flowering plants, bring a bit of nature’s beauty indoors, which I find soothing spiritually. Tending, watering, re-potting, and fertilizing plants is a break from hectic modern life. Community gardens in cities are another option working side by side with others or carving out a plot of your own. There are benefits to the physical labor of turning over the soil and weeding the rows of plants. At the end of the season, you can enjoy the produce, the fruits of your labor.

So there is a bridge between Kingsolver’s experiment and incorporating nature into the daily lives of regular people. 

Going a step further, I feel a connection with Kingsolver because of my own environmental concerns. I worry about the planet. I worry about the limits and our dependence on fossil fuels. I worry about how many Americans are disconnected from the land and don’t understand how plants actually get to the supermarket. 

Kingsolver develops a parallel argument: when the oil runs dry, and we have to return small-scale agriculture to sustain ourselves, we will not have the skills to produce much needed food in rural settings. 

Perhaps if we resolve to treat the land and our food as edible holy objects, we can save the planet for our children. 

Photos by Dianne Glave Except the Book Cover 

Eat, Pray, Love: A Reflection on Health, Spirituality, and Geography

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. Penguin Press, 2006.        

But it is my understanding that the health of the planet is affected by the health of every individual on it. As long as even two souls are locked in conflict, the whole world is contaminated by it. Similarly, if even one or two souls can be free from discord, this will increase the general health of the whole world, the way a few healthy cells in a body can increase the general health of the body.    

A Prayer to God by Elizabeth Gilbert (pp. 32-33)              

My Brother in Rome

 Thinking back to my trip to Italy as I read Eat, Pray, Love: African American brother and sister on a journey. My travels to Rome to Florence, and finally Milan with train rides connecting the three cities flooded my mind and spirit with endearing images and sacred moments, some of which you can see in my photos taken in 2004.             

Milan

Elizabeth’s–I will use her first name throughout my reflection because she takes the reader on such a personal intimate journey–non-fiction book is a travelogue. The book is much like 19th century travelogues or journals I remember reading by Europeans traveling through and living in the American South. I am thinking specifically of the actress Fanny Kemble’s journals that decried the atrocities of enslavement in the sea islands off Georgia.       

Elizabeth travels and journals in reverse leaving the US, to see parts of the world beyond the borders of her home in New York. In traveling, Eat, Pray, Love becomes an exploration in geography and spiritual mapping by God that helps Elizabeth towards spiritual, mental, and physical wholeness and fulfillment. The journey takes her to Italy, India, and Indonesia. I was drawn to the first leg of her journey as I remember my own trip to Italy.          

Spiritually and geographically, Elizabeth describes herself culturally as a Christian. She insists “that Christ is not the only path to God.” (p. 14) The path and by extension the many paths are a spiritual metaphor that extends from literally traversing across terrain, part of geography. She begins to trace and even reconfigure her spiritual map: “When you’re traveling in India–especially through holy sites and Ashrams–you see a lot of people wearing beads around their necks.” (p. 1)           

Elizabeth takes us with her to Italy where she falls in “supplication” to the floor in prayer in English and Italian thanking the universe and God. You see she is grateful to be alone in her hotel room without a paramour, a young lover in tow. (p. 9) Perhaps she offered a prayer of thanks because three years earlier she left a marriage and the possibility of a child. This might sound strange to some. Yet she left her marriage–her husband was emotionally remote–choosing to be alone without a husband or child. returning to the young Italian man she left behind in a restaurant, she decided to be alone. But really she wasn’t alone. She sought God and found him, found her.              

Exterior of Coliseum, Rome

 During her time in Italy, Elizabeth also battles depression and loneliness. She eats and eats and eats, a panacea at least in part to what ails her body and soul. She puts on weight; yet when she glimpses herself in the mirror she sees a friend in better mental, spiritual, and physical health. This is thanks to the people called Italians and the geography, the country called Italy.        

Elizabeth is flawed just like the rest of us, making mistakes and experiencing revelations along the way. I recommend reading this book though you may not share her beliefs or understand her choices.    By the close of the book, you could be looking at your own reflection. I did as I remembered wandering the streets of Milan alone without a map, fearless and happy with what little Italian I knew. I spent a short time with people who treated me with love even when I couldn’t count change. Yes, Elizabeth does without a map in Rome!   

  

Parthenon, Rome

          Follow Elizabeth from beginning to end, from sorrow to sorrow, from revelation to revelation, reading beyond my take of her time in Italy, and beginning fresh with India and Indonesia through health, spirituality and geography.          

 

 Photos by Dianne Glave Except the Book Cover            

How I Got Into African American Environmental History!

That's Me on the Right

I have been doing diversity and environment since the  early 1990’s. It started for me in the M.A. program in the History Department at Stony Brook University. When I transitioned to the Ph.D. at Stony Brook, I said to my dissertation advisor that I wanted to write my dissertation on African Americans and the environment. She gave me a blank look and said there was no one in the department, probably the whole country, who could advise me concerning my topic. Well, I forged ahead, struggled really. I finally finished my dissertation with some help from Mart Stewart, an outside advisor on my dissertation committee.   

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 What is African American environmental history? 

Carl Anthony gives us a definition: “African American environmental history is concerned with questions of environmental justice in the past; patterns of exploitation within society that have limited African American access to nature and the fruit of the community engagement with the environment; African American resistance to that exploitation and mobilization to confront environmental injustice; ways that African Americans have acted on the environment and have been affected by it in everyday life; the historical environmental health exposures and risks to African American communities; the role African Americans have played in helping to build sustainable societies. (ASEH News, American Society for Environmental History, Spring 2006, 9)    

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When I began doing the work on African American environment there were no definitions. Even today, if you google African American environmental history, a definition does not pop up. That’s so unlike google.  One of my early efforts in working towards defining African American environmental history was an article on African American women and gardening

In  my personal and professional struggle, I have been an academic for many years. There were few people of color I could count on, and that I knew of who working in various areas concerning diversity and the environment . So my cohorts and primary audience were mainstream academics. I was frustrated and alone, often asked, “Where are the white people?” in my narratives and analyses. 

From Black Enterprise

I still teach. I still think like a historian. In many ways, I still write like a historian. What’s different though is I have more people to connect with now that I’m writing for a broader audience with the upcoming book and my ongoing blog. 

I have Rue Mapp, Jarid Manos, Rona Fernandez, EcoSoul, James Edward Mills, Evonne Blythers, Phoenix Smith,Danielle N. Lee,  Audrey Peterman, Dudley Edmondson, and so many more. And thankfully, I have all of you!

Elizabeth D. Blum on African Americans and the Environment

I have known Ellizabeth D. Blum for several years now. Like many who know her personally, I call her Scout; I’ll have to ask her the origins of her nickname. Elizabeth and I put our heads together on many an occassion as the sub-discipline of African American environmental history began to evolve back in the 1990s. She is an associate professor in the History Department at Troy University. Read her book titled Love Canal Revisited: Race, Class, and Gender in Environmental Activism. Read what she has to say . . .

As an academic, I often have to deal with misconceptions about African Americans and the environment.  One of the most persistent, and most harmful, is a common belief that the environmental justice movement that emerged in the 1980s was “new” and radically different from the “mainstream” environmental movement.  According to these themes, “mainstream” environmentalism focused too exclusively on the concerns of white preservationists – they pressed for parks and protected the spotted owl.  Environmental justice brought the plight of minorities, urban areas, and the health effects of pollution to a lily-white movement, and connected it to the civil rights movement.  Robert Bullard and Dorceta Taylor, two of the foundational authors of the environmental justice movement, propounded these theories beginning in the mid to late 1980s.  Environmental justice activists, including Bullard and Taylor, had vested political interests in these views.  The more “new” the movement looked, the more likely it was to receive much-deserved attention from politicians.  Unfortunately, although additional scholarship has added much to the picture, this simplistic image of environmentalism is one that has stuck.

My point is not that environmental justice advocates are bad or even wrong about the connections of race and class to environmental harm – to the contrary, I have long been a proponent of environmental justice.  My point is that by ignoring history, we ignore the deep roots of a movement and marginalize some of the key players, namely African American women.  African American women have been pivotally involved in urban, civil-rights-connected environmentalism since the late 1800s.  They formed clubs and organizations and worked to clean up cities for health and aesthetic reasons.  They saw their work not as “environmentalism,” but as a part of their ongoing struggle for civil rights.  African American men, especially elites like W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, and other literary giants of the Harlem Renaissance made explicit connections between the poor treatment of human beings under slavery and the poor treatment of the land in the south.  To heal the land, they believed, African Americans needed to be free and equal.  In other words, the ideas of the environmental justice movement aren’t “new” – they’ve been around for around 100 years.  Certainly, that fact makes their ideas no less important or valid.

Another part of the problem here is that academics simply aren’t very good at getting their messages out to a larger public.  That’s our fault, and a longstanding one.  We tend to speak to each other and not to the general public.  However, even within the academic community, some of the excellent historical works out there are not seeping into other fields speaking to environmental justice.   Academics need to start talking to each other, and communicating with the general public in a more constructive way to break down these myths, and give historical actors some of the credit they deserve.

 Elizabeth D. Blum

Audrey Peterman: The Hardest Working PERSON in Diversity and Environment

Audrey Peterman and her husband Frank Peterman have been working, often by themselves, for years encouraging people of color to take in the outdoors through trips to national parks. Their book Legacy of the Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care is a much welcomed and anticipated product of their efforts.    

    

In her own words in this guest blog . . .    

I’ve noticed the word “heaven” a lot in my communication lately. My dear friend Iantha Gantt-Wright, lavishly referenced in our story, Legacy on the Land first introduced the concept of living in heaven while we are here on Earth. I’d mentioned in one of our meditation sessions something about a future in heaven and she shocked me when she said, “Why not live in heaven right now?” Pursuing that thought and consciously living in the present moment, enjoying the glorious activities of life all around me, I do feel that I am living in heaven.
   

But the feeling was intense when I visited Dry Tortugas National Park on Friday, April 23, with a group of friends from across the country, and accompanied by our dearest, longtime friend and committed Community Partner, Park Ranger Alan Scott. I didn’t know how fateful it was, but his friend, Debra Hess, naturalist on the Yankee Freedom, joined us at the dock at Key West on Friday morning, and told us she had devoted her (precious!) day off to accompany us on the trip.    

Is this a gorgeous sea fan or what? But we take nothing off the islands but pictures.

You’ve got to read the chapter in www.legacyontheland.com to learn the fascinating  story of Dry Tortugas, and suffice it to say, the raucous call of a million shore birds as we coasted past Bush Key, and the sight of the magnificent frigate birds floating over the fort, their nine-tip raven black wings distinguished by white head on the females. I held my breath looking for a male, distinguished by his huge, bright red pouch, and didn’t see one. I was confident I’d see one by the end of the day. Meanwhile, some of the females actually came and hovered over the boat, seeming just as curious about us as we were about them.   

Frank Peterman

I could rhapsodize for hours about our time in the courtyard, where we watched a rare Merlin grooming in a tree, with a yellow crowned night heron nearby. One friend and I sat under a tree and talked in front of a bird bath, where a profusion of warblers enjoyed themselves four feet away from us. Several brilliant orange-and-black American Restarts flew by our shoulders, and an intense-yellow prairie warbler flitted by. Later, while I went back to the boat to eat, the others went out and saw the prize of all prizes, a life-list and the Holy Grail for most birders, the Painted Bunting. They said they watched it for many minutes as it fed on orange peel. Frank told one friend who’s new to birding that she’s literally starting at the top.    

Being that close to wild animals, being in the presence of the rhythm of life as it has evolved for millennia, my soul took flight. I cannot even express how being surrounded by nothing but  the sound of  birds’ wings and bird calls remain with me even now, two weeks later.  

So it felt quite tragic when I called Deb on Monday to thank her, and heard her voice literally shaking. It turns out that the very area which we experienced in this most pristine setting may now be in jeopardy from the wayward tide of oil seeping down from the spill.  God forbid, my mind screamed.    

Deb said the park is likely to release official information by today, Wednesday, May 5.    

The suddenness with which our priceless natural treasures can be endangered as a consequence of our own actions is a cautionary lesson. The fact that it happened when the experience was fresh in my feelings makes it poignantly clear to me: How evolved exactly are we when, so many decades after we have known we need to transition to clean energy, we’re digging even deeper into the firmament, with disastrous consequences? The magnificent frigate birds, noddy terns and sooty terns that have nested and bred on these islands for millennia, get their food from the sea. If the water is laden with oil, there’s nothing to warn them. And the first time they dive in, it’s over.   

Frank and Audrey

Since I’m living in heaven while here on Earth, I’m putting all my energy into visualizing the islands remaining just as I experienced them, and praying that the current of oil is miraculously or scientifically (it’s all the same to me) shut off.  Please, let this be a wake-up call. We all have a lot to gain by becoming involved with our natural resources and doing what is necessary to be good stewards. The natural world is relying on us.    

Guest Blog and Photos by Audrey Peterman  

Final Photo from Issues Wire

Inaugural Blog Carnival: Challenges of Doing Diversity and Environment

Welcome to my Inaugural Blog Carnival focusing on the joys and tribulations of doing diversity and the environment.

As an African American woman, it has been a long lonely difficult journey sharing the stories of African Americans and the environment. It has also been one of my greatest joys. My goal in my inaugural May 2010 blog carnival is for diversity/environmental bloggers to share their successes along with their trials and tribulations. We have been doing the good but difficult work of getting the word out about diversity and the environment. I invite and challenge you to come join with me to connect with people and find support in one another. Some are connected and others are not. For those who are connected, continue with me creating community. For those who are not, please do join in.

Please submit your blog at my Inaugural Blog Carnival: Diversity and Environment Challenges. The submission deadline is Friday, May, 21, 2010. The blog carnival will be posted on Monday, May 24, 2010.

Dianne Glave

A Scratch-n-Sniff “All Shades of Green” Blog Carnival

Welcome to the April 2010 Diversity of Science Carnival (DiS) #9  titled “All Shades of Green” Diversity in Outdoor and Environmental Awareness. Details are already available for submissions for the next DiS Blog Carnival #10. Many thanks to Danielle N. Lee who was kind enough to invite me to guest blog at her DiS Carnival this month.   

I am Dianne Glave, your host at the center of the carnival ring of bloggers. Our theme is all things April: celebration of earth day, arbor day, environmental awareness and all  earthy-eco-related things through the written word and images of the blog. There’s some scratch-n-sniff in here too. I am excited about this month’s submissions.   

Each blog highlights the April theme of “All Shades of Green” Diversity in Outdoor and Environmental Awareness. In addition, I asked contributors to describe the smell of April and what they are up to.

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Take a look at the blogs and their responses to my questions:   

Hatched from the Same Egg Interview with Jared Manos. “Sun warming the waxy green out of live oak tree leaves.” The second edition of Jared’s Ghetto Plainsman is available at your local Barnes and Nobles Bookstore.    

   

Anne Jefferson’s More Tributes to Reds Wolman From all Those Who Miss Him. “April smells like mud. And I mean that in a most complimentary way (I study mud).” She is in the midst of the end-of-semester hamster-wheel, trying to stay on top of courses and grading while keeping up with her own research sputtering along.   

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Rue Mapp’s Easter Egg Hunt. “The smell of April is FRESH!” Rue Mapp, the goddess of all things outdoor and afro, just returned from the White House Summit in DC on Outdoor Recreation and the Environment. She will be running a program to connect kids and their parents to the great outdoors this summer.   

   

Danielle N. Lee’s Travelog San Francisco: Protecting the Coastal Bay. “April smells like flowers.” Danielle is graduating with her Ph.D. Learn more at her blog Urban Science Adventures!.    

Boys Scouts Planting a Tree, Cascade United Methodist Church

Rona Fernandez’s Turning Garbage into Black Gold. “The smell of April is green like moist grass after a rain, yellow like daffodils and blue like the sky after a storm. Rona is headed to the Macondo Writers Worship, hopefully to do more nature writing for Brown Girl Going Green blog!   

   

Suzanne E. Frank’s Weeding in the Forest. “April generally smells like freshly turned wet earth, and then, of course, the smell of new mulch that everyone is laying down all over.” Suzanne is busy with aa spate of plant sales and a flurry of planting, as she ends up buying more than  she can possibly fit into her garden beds, but will manage to pack in somewhere. 

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Diana R. Williams’ Sharing Our Stories: After Natural Disaster. April smells like sweet rain, cool and refreshing.” As the president of Candler Women, she just accepted Emory University’s Campus Life Outstanding Student Organization Event Award for the 100 Women at Candler Luncheon.   

   

Kristina Necovska’s A Conversation wth Nalini Nadkarni, “Queen of Canopy Research.”   

Vegetables Just Pushing Up, Organic Garden, Emory University

 Susan Horton’s Everyday is Earth Day for These Women in Science.  

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Sam Lemonick’s A Conversation with Seismologist Kate Hutton.   

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At the Texaco

I smelled something too: April is the sweet smell of the honeysuckle that crept along the fence of the parking lot that was the playground at my Lutheran grade school. I snapped the base of the flower and drainied the sweet honey-taste into my mouth. I blogged April too in Bees and Boys at the Texaco and Sacred Moments: A Baby Owl and Two Strangers in a Parking Lot.   

Cherish the last smells, sights, tastes, and sounds of April.   

PHOTOS BY DIANNE GLAVE