Change: The Slug and the Lizards

For those facing change . . .

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There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse!  As I have often found in travelling in a stagecoach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.  ~Washington Irving

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It is fitting that I am sitting in my dining room tapping away at the computer, working on various things and still blessed to be connecting with nature.

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I came downstairs yesterday having just awakened and saw something moving so slowly across my carpet. Upon closer inspection I saw a slug–at least I thought it was a slug. You decide. I watched its slow progress for a bit, lifted it gently up in some tissue paper, and set it free. It’s probably living another day to conquer someone’s tomatoes as I type.

That very afternoon I noticed that a green lizard was living his/her life like it was golden in a little triangle of an ecosystem by my door of earth filled with some shrubs. It’s also the spot where plenty of water drains when it rains. The next day I saw a few lizards out in the sun near my little safari. The lizards were also moving at such an incredible speed.

As many changes creep up on me like the slug and whiz by like the lizards, I continue to do my best to embrace all aspects of life. Slow motion and fast forward–the bumps and bruises have been time well spent, and lessons learned.

Photos by Dianne Glave

 

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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   

 

Hatched from the Same Egg: A Jarid Manos Interview

I’m excited because the second edition of Jarid Mano’s book Ghetto Plainsman is out and available at amazon.com and your local bookstore. Jarid is also busy with Restoration Not Incarceration, a program for teens that is part of the Great Plains Restoration Council.  

When I opened up Ghetto Plainsman I was struck that he was often asked, “What are you?” I get that too. I remember being in an elevator in Century City in Los Angeles. Some guy blurted out, “What are you?” I don’t remember what I said but was disturbed by that intrusive moment with a stranger. Jarid also looks like people in my family. Genetically we could be hatched from the same egg. Culturally too.  

Read more . . .  

Emdangered Fort Worth Prairie Park

DIANNE: Hello, my brother. Jarid, how about we interview one another? You first.  

JARID:  That sounds good. I love that mutual.  Hope it’s all going down good out there in the ATL! You know I can’t wait to come back there.
D: When you come to Atlanta, you can be the tour guide so I can see the city through your eyes! Ok, how come you can’t keep your shirt on? I don’t see what that has to do with the plains.
J: Hahahaha…   You know, we crazie like that.
D:  We . . .  ha?! I keep my shirt on. Based on the “What are you?” question, what does being and feeling different define how you have related to the environment, nature?
J:  It seems that a lot of the time, people really want to put things (and others) into boxes, but that is so constraining and diminishing.  I’m not even sure this is done intentionally, it’s just become custom. For example, even the words “environment” and “species” sounds so objectifying, so separating, to me. Like they’re objects. I understand their usage, but on a personal, spiritual tip, it’s Earth and animals to me.    

Evita Tezeno, GPRC Board Member

My organization Great Plains Restoration Council does its ecological work through its social work, and when our Plains Youth InterACTION team is out  working to save the Fort Worth Prairie Park, we know this is a place of refuge, and the wildlife that thrives and flies and migrates and breeds and rests though this place is fam — family. We are proud to produce serious, high value conservation work, with the help of some of your best master naturalists and restoration ecologists, but our personal approach is different.  

Protecting the Earth and our children’s health and future is a civil right and responsibility. And ecology is a cultural and social movement. And animals are now objects and quotas, they are lives and cultures with stories and histories and yearnings that course like a creek through the prairie and our own lives.   

We belong, instead of being separate. Being different, opening new ways of looking at things that may have, beneath them, significant suffering,  sadness, and/or loss, yet immense opportunities for new millennial exhilaration, takes us to a new day where we can begin a deeper healing. In my opinion, without that, we are not moving forward.
D: You currently live in Houston, Texas. What’s it like for you in the city during the spring?  

J: I love Texas. I actually live in both Fort Worth and Houston, though I’m spending more time in Houston now as we develop new programming.  Houston is located in the original coastal prairie of Texas. It’s where the prairie meets the sea, two halves of a whole, the place of original fertility, and where it all began in 1528 when the Moorish slave Esteban the Moor washed ashore on Galveston Island with the ragged conquistadors Cabeza de Vaca, Dorantes, etc. 

Houston has changed dramatically over the last ten years — I think people elsewhere think of Houston as this big, polluted city, but while it still has work to do, I’m finding myself amazed at how livable and beautiful the city is. There are a lot of parks in the city, not least of which is Buffalo Bayou, the river that runs to and and through Downtown. They’ve kept it wild, and it’s like a linear little wilderness right through the city. Texas can get seriously cold during the winter when those frigid winds blow down across the plains from Canada, but winter doesn’t last too long, and we’ll warm up for days here and there even in the middle of the winter when the north winds don’t blow.  In spring, Texas all over bursts with wildflowers backed by lush green grasses, and you can watch them start to ripple northward from Houston to Fort Worth delayed by a few weeks. Also, since we’re less than an hour from the beach, you know we’re back out there in the water in  March, (though the ocean temps might still be a little uhhh cool.). 🙂  

Wild Flowers in the Foreground and Houston in the Background

D: Your book titled Ghetto Plainsman is in its second edition which was just released. Congratulations. Speaking of your book, hat is it like in April, in the spring on the plains?  

J: Thanks. That book took me over 8 years to write. What’s interesting about the plains is that we’re defined by sun, wind, grass and blue sky — and weather. In the winter, it’s a constant battle of the northerly or southerly winds. When a cold front comes down across the plains from Canada, you can track it as it causes a serious blizzard in South Dakota or Colorado and, while it modifies as it passes toward the lower latitude landscapes, you know you’ll be getting at least some very cold temps. In March, the winds pick up, as the increasing solar energy warms things, and by April, while we’ll still have some swings, we’re pretty much into the beginning of the long warm season by then. Neotropical migrant birds are nesting, in late April the Monarchs have come back up from Mexico, buffalo (where they exist, though there are still no truly “wild” buffalo except in Yellowstone and even there they are shot or hazed the minute they cross the Park boundary) will be calving, and out on the western High Plains we’re all looking forward to pronghorn antelope having their babies in May.

Kaiden, Jarid's Son on a Remnant of Coastal Plain on Galveston Island

D: I know there’s a focus on the plains in your non-profit Restoration not Incarceration? Tell us more.
J: Great Plains Restoration Council is the non-profit, Restoration Not Incarceration is our new program in planning and design now. RNI is emerging out of the successful practices and principles of our signature program Plains Youth InterACTION which basically has damaged young people healing themselves through healing our damaged native prairies and plains.  In Fort Worth, with the Fort Worth Prairie Park, our work is largely a preservation issue, since these 2,000 acres on the backdoor of 5 million people are part of the most endangered major ecosystem in North America.  

Restoration Not Incarceration. based in Houston, and addressing the coastal prairie, entirely a restoration issue, as averse to preservation, because there is less than 1% of the original native coastal prairie left and it’s on the verge of extinction. This work is being accomplished in partnership with the Harris County Attorney’s Office, Fifth Ward Enrichment Program, and Katy Prairie Conservancy. We are setting up a program where temporarily incarcerated individuals and probationers can enter a Three Tier program that will a.) provide skills-training, b.) social work in a trust and motivational environment, properly implemented, and c.) work in nature as a therapeutic modality.  We hope to have the first pilot effort up and running, with boots on the ground, by the end of December.  

Part of this initiative is also stimulating new green jobs in wildlands restoration– a whole new sector in the emerging Green Collar Economy.  Carbon pricing alone will be one of the economic drivers, because native prairies soak carbon from the atmosphere and their deep roots can sequester that carbon for 8,000 years or more in the soil.
D: April 22nd was Earth Day. What does the celebrations surrounds this day mean to you?
J: Sigh. I’m like that cartoon I saw once of a seagull looking over a pile of trash on the beach and saying, “What about the 364 other days?” 
D: Let’s shift a little. What does April smell like?  
Sun warming the waxy green out of live oak tree leaves.
D: From an environmental perspective, what’s next for you?  J: I’ve been involved in environmental and social justice work for a long time. GPRC passed its ten year anniversary this past October. It’s taken a long time to grow this non-profit from nothing, and now with my team in place, I am looking to grow exponentially and wield some real health for prairies and people on a scale that was only a dream when I first started.
J: Now it’s your turn.
D: Ah Jarid, we are out of time. Your turn will come. Let’s do this again over the summer. By that time we will be little brother and sister chicks with more to say about the great outdoors . . .  

Photos by Jarid Manos

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Think of the following as pages torn from my journal . . .

It was a busy week. It ran from sharing about Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage to watching a grasshopper to seeing the Braves and the Rockies play at Turner Field.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010: For the first time, I shared at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University about Rooted in the Earth out in August 2010. I focused on African Americans, religion, and the environment, reading the introduction to my religion chapter as part of a Creation Care panel. I shared my “Owl” and “Boy Scouts” blogs on a screen in a smart room. Oh technology! And I closed out by sharing about Outdoor Afro and Keeping it Wild, a blog and organization, respectively, that have been sources of emotional and spiritual support through their work and service. I was grateful three friends–Norman, Jennifer, and Melissa–came out to support me.

Saturday, April 17: Onto the grasshopper–at least I think it was a grasshopper. I was waiting in a parking lot for Toni and Arlinda to arrive to go premium outlet shopping. I saw a lady walk by and she stumbled. The grasshopper–I’ll call him Fred–was big enough for her to feel under her feet as she let out a yelp. As she walked away, I took a closer look at the insect–brown with some green stripes. I kept hoping Fred would hop off. I think he was injured. Or maybe the chilly morning slowed him down.

And then my macabre side came out. There were several small birds hopping about and I thought one would grasp Fred in its beak. I watched for about 20 minutes. Perhaps this didn’t happen because of the grasshopper was almost the length of one of the birds. Pretty big. When my friends came I had to drive away not knowing the fate of the grasshopper: Did he hop away? Was he snatched up by a bird? Did he simply die to become a husk in a few days?

Sunday, April 17: My second time out with the book at Cascade United Methodist Church.

I really enjoyed meeting people and talking to them at Meet the Authors. And Ruth who had her own book and table, pulled people over to my table. Thanks Ruth! I also made friends with Jahbaar, a little boy. His mom had a table too and he was there to help her.

I capped my Sunday off with an afternoon at Turner Field watching the Braves and Rockies. Can you beat weather in the 70’s, sunshine, and Astro Turf on Family Day at the ballpark? Look at that little guy surrounded by the umpires!

It’s been a great week . . . a busy week.

Boys and Bees at the Texaco

Easter Sunday. Most stores closed. So I stopped at the convenience store at the Texaco Gas Station near my house to pick-up a few things.

Photo by Dianne Glave

Photo by Dianne Glave

As I walked out, there were bees buzzing around. There were also teenage boys swatting at and then running away from the bees. I took out my camera and attempted to take some photos of a bees, perhaps bumble bees, buzzing around a bush and dipping into the small flowers laden with pollen and nectar–bee magnets.

One of the boys walked over towards me and said, “Can I take a picture?”

I responded: “Do you you mean, take a picture of you?”

He smiled, “Yeah.”

“Sure,” I said, snapping a picture quickly before he was on the move again.

Photo by Dianne Glave

After taking a few more photos of the bees, I walked over to the boy and his friend and asked, “Why are you swatting the bees?” The boy in the photo said, “Because they get on my nerves.” I said, “Well leave them alone and they will will you alone.”

When I asked them if they liked nature, they both screwed up their faces and said, “No.” the second boy said, “I like basketball.”

The first boy jumped in and said, “My mother is a vegan and a nature freak. I go to Sweetwater Creek though.”

“Well, I do too,” edging back into the conversation. “What do you like?”

He responded: “I like being outside. The lake.”

“Ah,” I said, “So it wasn’t so bad outdoors. Were there basketball courts?” knowing full well there weren’t.

“Nah,” both boys chimed in.

I waved saying, “Give the outdoors a chance. It’s not so bad. And stop swatting the bees. We need them to spread the pollen to fertilize seeds so more plants can grow.”

They said, “Ok.”

We can find nature and conversations about nature everywhere . . . even at the Texaco.

Keeping it Wild’s April 2010 Earth Day Summit

Come out for an Earth Day Summit on Wednesday April 21, 2010 at 6:30p at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. The event is sponsored by Keeping it Wild and Agnes Scott College.  

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Frank Peterman, Laura Seydel, Felicia Davis (Moderator at the Summit) - KIW @ EcoManor

 Learn more at: KIW Earth Day.  

Keeping it Wild has served the community in Georgia since 2005. It was launched “by several Atlanta citizen-advocates who perceived the need to bring together members of diverse conservation communities in order to promote better stewardship for the natural lands in our area.” (keepingitwild.org) Ther goal is to connect “people to the land and to each other in order to protect and restore the natural and wildlands of Georgia and the Southeast.” (keepingitwild.org)   

Check out Audrey Peterman in red and KIW’s service with the community in the outdoors:  

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KIW has been good to me over the years. It’s been a great experience participating in their outdoor outings. When I first moved to Atlanta back in 2005, they were one of the first organizations I connected with in the area. I didn’t know many people but still wanted to get out hiking while feeling safe with a good group of people. I have gone to Sweetwater Creek State Park and Cascade Springs Nature Preserve with them and enjoyed every minute of my time on the hikes.

 On behalf of KIW, I invite you to their Earth Day Summit and their outings! 

  

April Blog Carnival:Diversity and Environmental Blog Submissions

Do you blog for fun? On behalf of a non-profit environmental organization? Are you a nature writer or a scientist? Then the April 2010 Diversity of Science Carnival titled “All Shades of Green” Diversity in Outdoor and Environmental Awareness is for you. You are invited to submit your own favorite blog.

I am Dianne Glave and I am hosting the the Diversity Science Carnival this month. The theme is about all things April: celebration of earth day, arbor day, environmental awareness and all  earthy-eco-related things through the written word of the blog. I am excited and look forward to your submissions using the carnival submission form. If you have questions about blog content contact me at dianneglaverootedintheearth@clear.net. The deadline for submission is Monday, April 12, 2010.

Many thanks to Danielle N. Lee who was kind enough to invite me to guest blog at her Diversity of Science Carnival Blog this month. Check out her blog at Urban Science Adventures!

Hiking: Not That Complicated

I have been hiking on easy to moderate trails for about twenty years now. I started hiking in the Atlanta area by myself until my mother and brother made me promise to stop going out alone. I’ve hiked in Malibu, California, Washington, D.C., and Upstate New York.

If you plan to stick to easy trails, well any trails, find a friend to go along with you. There are also organizations like the Sierra Club that do hiking outings. They even organize nature trips for youth. I get email updates from Keeping it Wild, a multicultural environmental non-profit for outings and an alternative to the larger mainstream organizations. You get to hike in a group and meet new people! I’ve gone on several hikes including Sweetwater Creek and Cascade Park in the Atlanta Metro area.

To hike on easy trails all you will need are:

  • Sturdy comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes/boots
  • A knapsack
  • Water
  • Nutritious snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellent
  • Cell Phone

Also consider bringing (optional):

  • A Camera – for the memories
  • Binoculars – closeups on birds, animals and plants
  • Hiking pole – more for moderate to difficult hikes
  • Rain resistant jacket or poncho – a sudden storm can catch you unawares
  • A little first aid kit – if someone suffers a minor injury
  • A whistle – if you get lost
  • Toilet paper – sometimes you find empty rolls in park bathrooms!

For cold days consider: a cap, gloves, and wool socks. I’m looking to purchasing some of this items in material that wicks perspiration.

I like REI when shopping for some items. The staff is kind to someone like me who often walks in with newbie duh questions!

Please do stretch before and after hiking to avoid and diminish injuries to the muscles.

ENJOY YOUR FIRST/NEXT HIKE!