Sometimes it better, sometimes easier, to start with endings than beginnings . . .
With Shelton Johnson
I sat in the amphitheater at Zoo Atlanta listening to Shelton Johnson. He was the keynote speaker for the 6th Annual Keeping it Wild (KIW) Gala, and is a national park ranger and author of Gloryland. As I listened to Shelton, one row back from me I heard the rhythmic breathing of a six year old girl. Shelton’s passionate story-telling and cadence of that small child’s breathing mentally and spiritually took me outdoors.
I imagined being at Yosemite National Park, the source of many of Shelton’s stories. The adults–I was there too–were up late quietly looking up at the sky filled with distant stars and a crescent moon. We had tucked the children away in the tents and we could hear the distinctive breathing of each child, like different signatures on many pages.
So to beginnings. KIW hosted a wonderful gala. It began with a reception filled with people from so many cultures eating from their bamboo plates. Later, more guests filled their plates from a buffet with cornbread, black-eyed peas, and more.
In the amphitheater, the latter part of the evening, I felt love and joy seeing so many people of color listening to Shelton tell his stories. The Buffalo soldiers also drew me in. I cried when one of the soldiers stepped forward and affirmed Shelton in honoring the ancestors. Towards the end, a young woman strummed her guitar singing. We sang along with her about fighting pollution.
I hope that KIW continues to grow and expands their good work. I may not always express my feelings in the moment but my heart was bursting and full last night, full of Yosemite National Park.
When I drive down Ponce de Leon, I think about conquest and the migrant workers waiting in front of Baskin Robbins. Juan Ponce De Leon. on the behest of Spain became the provisional governor of Puerto Rico and later colonized Florida during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Fast forward to 2010, and men of Spanish descent lean on walls and street lights hoping that a contractor will pull up in a pick-up truck offering them work. After they’ve worked in the heat of the Atlanta sun on buildings all over the city, sometimes contractor pay the workers and sometimes not. These men have no legal recourse because they are illegal immigrants.
Exploitation. Spain. 16th century. United States. 21st Century.
I have been linked to the Nature Blog Network for several months now and it is one way of discovering nature blogs and learning about traffic at your own blog.
According to the website the network is “a nexus for the very best nature blogs on the net. If you’re looking for outstanding blogging about birds, bugs, plants, herps, hiking, oceans, ecosystems, or any other natural topic — or if you blog on those topics yourself — this is the place for you!”
As noted, it’s a great way to get to know about other nature blogs. As a novice, I am interested in birdwatching so 10,000 Birds, linked to the network along with many other blogs, appeals to me.
In addition, Nature Blog Network is an analytic that tracks the number of hits to a nature blog linked to the website. For example, on August 4, 2010 Ugly Overload averaged 2549 views per day ranking it as the #4 blog on the network. Click on the orange tab to the right of the rankings on the Top List page and more analytic statistics pop up. From May 11 to June 10 Ugly Overload had 78.272 views at the blog.
The Nature Blog Network is one of many statistical tools that can help a blogger figure out how many people you are reaching. Another options is Google Analytics, which can drive viewers to your site, while providing statistical data on google word searches. And when blogging using WordPress, specific data on your blog are available including your top ranked blogs.
Based on my searches at Nature Blog Network there isn’t much diversity at the site. If you are blogging about nature from any perspective of diversity, then consider linking your site to the network.