Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Innovation, Visionaries, & The Henry Ford Museum.

After visiting the Winter Estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford in Fort Myers this June, I'm finding that I just can't get enough of them. Of course, upon doing doing some digging on their individual websites, I'm finding it's a little bit like like getting lost down the rabbit hole…there’s so much there, educationally speaking.

Especially when it comes to the concept of Innovation. 

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan is now officially on my bucket list of places I want to go dive in! 

In the meantime, I'm just going to have to spend hours pouring over their online resources!

If you too are in search of resources innovation, visionaries, and more, look no further!

Where to start--
Your "Must See TV" Innovation Video
from the Henry Ford Museum
A perfect introductory is the curriculum video on the Henry Ford Museum "Teaching Innovation" page. There you will learn some of the traits of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Buckminster Fuller, Rosa Park, and all innovators:

Revolutionary * driven * undaunted *
a dreamer * fierce * brave * & more

You see that they "questioned. Searched. Were unsuccessful. Succeeded magnificently."

You hear modern day visionaries speaking on the underlying traits of innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and change makers.  This video falls in the category (in my mind) of "Must See TV," and I'm thinking along the way as to how I can incorporate it at school!

Where to go next, getting lost along the way in the sea of excellent information--
  • The Curriculum Video above naturally leads you to the "Innovation 101" curriculum. Five 45-minute lessons plans are designed to introduce students to innovation principles. The following modules highlight the topics:
                    1. What is Innovation?
                    2. Traits of an Innovator
                    3. Process of Innovation
                    4. Keys to Innovation
                    5. Innovation, Intellectual Property Rights, & More
                    > Field Trips & Programs for the locals (man, to be local!)
                    > Educational Resources (searchable by topic)
                    > Education at the Henry Ford (including professional develop-
                             ment for educators, The Henry Ford Academy, &
                             Henry Ford Learning Institute 
                    > Competitions & Events
                    1.  What If?  
                            Investigate some of the questions inventors had
                               along the way.
                    2.  Choose 3
                            Find the connection between different combinations of 3
                              artifacts at the museum.
                    3. Visionaries on Innovation
                            Discover the "Personal Perspectives from Leading Innovators"
                              through videos, insights, and articles.
                            You can view by:
                                    > Trait: collaborate, break rules, learn from failure,
                                                  remix, be curious
                                    > Innovator: 25 modern visionaries
                                    > Topic:   agriculture, design & making, energy & power,
                                                 information & communication, social
                                                 transformation, transportation
  • The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation –a weekly Saturday morning CBS show hosted by CBS Sunday Morning Show's own Mo Rocca. The show, now with archives of 3 seasons, showcases present day change makers, solving the problems of today. This video shows a sneak of what's inside the series.

May these resources help you navigate those traits of innovation and inspire you to investigate the wealth of resources that are out there!

pics from and; video image from; video from; final quote from

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 21, 2017: Total Eclipse of the Heart... Um, I Mean, Sun!

It's not on the line of "The British are coming, the British are coming..."
but it's close:

A solar eclipse is coming!
A solar eclipse is coming!
August 21st, 2017, 
to be exact!

Unless you have been living under a rock, this should not be new news. It's been all over social media and news networks for a good month!

Given the trajectory and the tilt of the Earth's axis, all of North America is in prime position to see the sights of this total solar eclipse. (For a bigger map, go here.)  Given that fact, it's come to be known as "The Great American Eclipse. The last time an eclipse trekked across the contiguous United States was June 8, 1918--just over 99 years ago!

Of course, you can't go "just watch" an eclipse. There are certain things you need to do to make sure you have created a safe situation for your eyes due to the intensity of the sun's rays during an eclipse. Here's a great infographic from Crofton Family Eye Center helping you know how to best approach this rare event.

The posters, created by artist, educator, & Astronomer Tyler Nordgren, follow the style of the Works Progress Administration of the mid-1900s. What striking advertisements for a great once-in-a-lifetime event! Visual reminders to help us all remember to mark our calendar for next week!!

Tyler Nordgren

Tyler Nordgren

Tyler Nordgren
Tyler Nordgren 
To do some more digging on the details of this total eclipse, check out, Vox & The Great American Eclipse (both of which they have detailed maps of the track). ISTE also has a list of 7 resources to teach about the solar eclipse. You can also be a citizen scientist through Eclipse MegaMovie 2017.

And then there's NASA:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Winter Estate of the Dynamic Duo: Thomas Edison & Henry Ford

Vacation is such a great time to explore and discover new places. Our June Trip to Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel, & Captiva allowed for just that. We got the visit several beautiful beaches & also got the chance to check out The  J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Thomas Edison & Henry Ford’s Winter Estate.

Although there were lots of highlights, one that really got my mental gears spinning was the Edison-Ford Winter Estate (with 250,000 visitors annually). It was here that I saw (again!) the marriage between technology and the environment (not to mention, a lot of amazing exhibits):

Innovation & Inspiration 

The friendship of these two men led them to wintering together as next door neighbors in Fort Myers. The turn-of-the-century was a time of technology and inventions. Being at the Edison-Ford estates transported me back those 100 years to that dynamic time of innovation. 

In addition to the genius that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford brought with them when they came to Florida, the grounds of the estates themselves became living laboratories. The 20 acres of botanical gardens became outdoor research--a place to investigate edible crops, and investigate chemistry and industry. Edison experimented with bamboo filament for his initial light bulb.

Now, of course, the estate and museum leave you awe-inspired by both the history and magnitude of both men's inventions that completely transformed the life and times of their era. It certainly serves as inspiration to the Maker Movement & STEAM/STEM education today!

It also spoke to me that 100 years ago, these visionaries saw signs of future promise that our leaders today are still challenged with when it comes to alternative energy!

The Environmental Escapades of "The Vagabonds" 

Being outdoors becomes a break from your current reality. That doesn't matter if it's in today's time, or 100 years ago.
During the decade of 1914--1924, Edison and Ford were joined by Harvey Firestone (creator of Henry Ford's tires) and best selling nature author John Burroughs annual expeditions "Into the Wild." Henry Ford saw his Model T as a way to transport not only this quartet to the wilderness, but as a way of bringing a love (and escape) to nature to the everyday man. The "Tin Can Tourist" was invented!

This video, by the same name (published by PBS in April 2011), highlights the time, the friendship of this foursome (who became known as "The Vagabonds," and how nature inspired and revived them. They were the celebrities of the time!

Educational Resources from the Winter Estates

One of my favorites is a book I got there: "The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford" by Suzanne Slade. (Spoiler alert: The secret? Grit, perseverance, stick-to-it-ive-ness!)

The Winter Estates website takes you to some other great resources:

Within their “Our Collections” tab, you can request information, request a photo, find links for other Edison and Ford websites, books and DVD's. I was particularly interested in the link to the STEM Resources for Students & Teachers at website!

They also have an extensive Education Tab on the website with the following categories--many for locals: Edison Ford Home School programs, Emerging Inventors Early Learning Classes; Inventors Summer Camp; School Break Camps, and monthly Garden Tours.

Final Thoughts

Thomas Edison was not a stellar student when young. He did not function well in the regular classroom (possibly an attention deficit kid, prior to that being a diagnosis), only truly thriving when his mother took him out for homeschooling. Henry Ford was a teenage tinkerer who mastered the art of watch repair through his own exploration and investigation. For both, it was through perseverance and failing forward that they ultimately made their mark on history. And it makes perfect sense that these two geniuses of their time would gravitate toward each other.

For a great overview video of the Winter Estates, check out the video on their home page. It might just inspire a visit the next time you are down in the neighborhood of Ft. Myers! You might find yourself channeling these two great inventors, seeing your own mental gears start spinning around your own innovations!
Screenshot from
place to view a super & informative video!

Edison-Ford Winter Estate placard photo from from; book image from;  pictures compiled in the Li-Pix app from my camera while at the Edison-Ford Winter Estates; final photo of Edison Ford Winter Estates video from

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ding Darling & the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

While down in Florida earlier this summer, one of our beach days was spent at Captiva Island We got there by way of driving through Sanibel. In addition to having a glorious day basking in the sun, sifting through shells, and walking the beach. (Not to mention going to the best bookstore ever: Gene’s Books in Sanibel. That totally could have derailed us from that beach day! Nirvana! The perfect place to get a handful of beach reads!!)

I was thrilled to see we were driving right past the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. In the travel magazine I had of the area, I was instantly getting sucked in, knowing that we’d have to do a stop on the way back from the beach!

Having learned about Ding from a book of environmental biographies that I love, I knew a bit about him. Jay Norwood Darling was an avid conservationist during the 1920s to 1940s. Born in Norwood, Michigan and growing up in Sioux City, Iowa on the Missouri River, he had a lot of opportunity out in nature. He became a cartoonist for the Sioux City Journal, later joining the Des Moines Register. He started signing his works “Ding” as a way of short-cutting his last name.

His cartoons of the times did what political cartoons of the time do! He centered much of his work on pollution, wildlife extinction, & his passions of hunting & fishing (& how governmental regulations of these should be adhered). He wanted to pass along his passion of enjoying nature without harming it.

Ding's political cartoons became syndicated in 130 daily newspapers, spreading forth not only his cartoons but his wit and satire. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his work twice: in 1923 and 1942, and was highly revered across country by a multitude of newspaper editors. To see his art (which has copyright restrictions tied to it) go to his gallery by clicking here.

In July of 1934, at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Darling became head of the U.S. Biological Survey (the predecessor to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.) He did approximately $17 million worth of wildlife habitat and established the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. Among his triumphs, he started the Federal Duck Stamp Program, where the monies from the sales of the duck hunting stamps purchased habitats—drawing the first duck stamp!

This, of course, shows he’s a great champion to the environment, but what does this have to do with Florida?

Being a lover of nature, Ding had a winter home on Captiva for many years. His love for the area and for wildlife made it a natural spot to set up a refuge. Especially when you factor in that 250 different species of migratory birds pass through the area and have since been spotted there since it’s beginnings in 1945. Knowing those numbers, I started taking count. I was particularly thrilled when two exotic birds and an iguana greeted us at the gate. Of course, being late mid-day June and the heat of summer (rather than morning, evening or a cooler season), I only got up to a count of 12 different types birds. 13 if you count the mosquito as one!! (I swear, we were swarmed on a 1/3 mile hike in the refuge, with multiples munching on us simultaneously. My husband captured the picture of me running away in escape to get out of the chomp zone….notice that picture was not included! 😉)

Here's an amazing video that captures some of the beauty of the Sanibel & the Refuge, from the Ding Darling Society.

And yes! There’s an app for that!  The Discover Ding app helps make it more interactive once you are there. Likewise, a general QR reader will help you read the signs that are out there at several stops among the refuge for you as well, linking to videos and other pieces of information.

To learn more about the Refuge and Ding Darling, check out these links.

Video from, Map, Ding Darling image from;  Duck stamp pic from; all other photos from my camera

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

A few years ago I read the Jacqueline Kelly book "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate." There I met an 11 year old, nature-loving girl, ahead of her time in 1899, living in Central Texas in a household with her folks, 6 brothers, and her grandfather. It was her grandfather, Captain Walter Tate (a fellow naturalist), that Calpurnia got the lessons she adored--those of the outside world and science (rather than piano lessons and the social norms of the time that her mother valued regarding the "domestic arts.")

All good books need a sequel or a series, and in "The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate" we have book 2.  Now a year older and facing 1900 and on the cusp of her 13th birthday, Calpurnia is back with her scientific notebook and pencil in hand, and a genuine interest in Charles Darwin’s book, “Origin of Species.” She used clues from her natural surroundings & discussions with her grandfather to predict the coming of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane--in a day and age before satellites, radar, and televised weather reports. She wanted to be a scientist or veterinarian, and was learning a little bit in the ways of the lacking women's rights in the year 1900. Especially when she saw that her weekly allowance and future in college differed from that of her brothers.

Yes, Calpurnia is a girl ahead of her time, which is why this book was a natural addition on a booklist of the Women of STEM/STEAM. The overall theme of a feminist pre-teen in the Victorian era was striking, making me very glad my daughter and I are in today's times, not any other early time period! 

Additionally, as I was reading the book this summer, these quotes spoke to me--on behalf of innovation, education, feminism (then and now), and current day nightly news.

From Grandfather:”Remember, Calpurnia, you learn more from one failure than 10 successes. And the more spectacular the failure, the greater the lesson learned.” (page 66-67)

“Why wouldn’t they listen?” Calpurnia hiccupped.
From Grandfather: " 'People often don’t. You can lay evidence before them, but you cannot make them believe what they choose not to.' "  (Also page 66)

"What about learning something new? Granddaddy always said that life was full of opportunities to learn something new about the world, and one should glean all one could from an expert in his field, no matter what that field might be.”  (page 153)

For anyone who likes historical fiction, plucky female characters, and a time before all our modern conveniences infiltrated our homes, both of these books make for a refreshing read.  Additionally, Jacqueline Kelly and Teagan White have a new series of chapter books to introduce Calpurnia to younger readers: "Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet." With the same strength of character and love of nature, there are more turn-of-the-century stories to tell!  Some of the titles include:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Panda Power Plant

Cute goes a long way. China Merchants New Energy Group used that fundamental philosophy when it comes to building their 248-acre solar power plant in Datong, China. The regular grid/array is what people typically picture when it comes to solar farms. That design may be becoming a thing of the past when people start seeing that cute can work.
Artist rendering from Panda Green Ener

Datong's design? A giant panda.  

What else would they have in China?

And what should we call it?  Why, the Panda Power Plant, of course!

The first phase was completed less than a month ago on June 30th & is officially connected to the grid. As the design prints indicate, a 2nd panda is planned for phase 2. When at full construction, it is projected to be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours over a 25 year time period. That  was billion with a B! Of course, in doing so, it will also eliminate a significant amount of coal-produced electricity. The estimate: about a million tons of coal! Overall, that will reduce carbon emissions by a projected 2.74 million tons. That's significant!

So why go cute? To raise awareness about clean energy. 
Especially among young people.

I'd call that brilliant. Based on how this one goes, China Merchants New Energy Group has plans to build more panda-shaped solar plants over the next 5 years. 

To read more about the specifics of the PowerPlant, check out the Panda Green Energy Group's press release.

Images from

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Global Weirding

Katharine Hayhoe is a climate scientist at Texas Tech. 2017 has proven to be a rough year for climate scientists. The turnout at the People's Climate March in DC in April this year definitely illustrated that!

Katharine Hayhoe is also the creator of a 12 episode video series called "Global Weirding." I told my husband, that the series title speaks to me. Of course, he always teases me for being weird with my #eco & #edtech obsessions, so this didn't surprise him at all. 😊 

The series, produced in coordination with her local PBS station & as part of the PBS Digital Studios, first aired Sept. 28, 2016. They are released every-other-Wednesday. Checking out Katharine's bio, you'll see that she's quite involved with a lot of projects and committees! You can also follow her blog on her website too.

It was on her Facebook page where I learned of the "Global Weirding" episode that she shares with those she knows who are "anti-climate change." She shares that the facts & science alone won't serve your goal since those people counter the idea view it as an innate part of "who they are." Hmmm... I'd guess that serves for other political beliefs as well, which also sounds a little bit like dogmatic American politics this year!

Need even more climate science to feed your soul? Here's Katharine Hayhoe's TEDx Talk from 2015. Of course, it was 2 years ago... and the warming data over the last 2 years has indicated that 2016 was the warmest year on record. And 2017 is tracking the same way. So it is still very relevant. In it, she details the fact that climate scientists have found 26,500 indicators around the world of planetary warming. Additionally, Texas has "enough solar potential to power the entire world two times over." Just think of what we all could do!


To check out or subscribe to Global Weirding, go to which will take you to her YouTube channel. She's working away on Season 2 of Global Weirding, so stay tuned for new episodes to air every-other-Wednesday starting this September.

Global Weirding episode from and; TEDx Video from; Global Weirding logo from

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jack Black's "Earth To America"

Because humor is what makes the world go round, and because few do it better than Jack Black, here's a little environmental "blast from the past." (Thank you Facebook "On This Day" for sharing this memory with me and reminding me of this post I shared 8 years ago.) Even though it was originally published on YouTube 10 years ago this July, Jack Black's "Earth to America" is still just as timely as every before!


Video from

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Turning Tires & Trash into Outdoor Furniture in Senegal

My dad worked his entire career, 39 years, as a chemical engineer at the Firestone Tire & Rubber Plant in Decatur, Illinois--even before it was incorporated with Bridgestone. Knowing my dad was involved in the tire making process was a big pride and part of my childhood.
We even had a little "Ta duh da duh da duh" cheer we used to do in the car when driving by the plant.

But, anyone who owns 
(or leases) a car knows
that tires do not last 
forever. They wear out & 
need to be replaced. 

While that was what buttered the bread in my house growing up (given it was my dad's livelihood), that does create a bit of an environmental challenge when it comes to what to do with them at end-of-life. The bulk alone can be a problem, as can the fact that they are made from a multitude of materials. And certainly they aren't biodegradable. Their fumes are hazardous when incinerated, and they leach toxic materials due to their chemical construction which then can contaminate local waters. They also can create additional methane gas issues. Given that, a majority of the states in America ban whole tires from landfills.

Luckily, though, tires can sometimes be put to good use in their afterlife. They can be shredded for playground ground cover or rubber mulch (called "crumb rubber"), made into rubberized asphalt or roadfill... or even floor mats, dock bumpers, or carpet padding. This is the good news, but even with that, there's only about a 35% recycled rate. Probably less in other countries than the US!

All of this creates a challenge, and where there's a challenge, there's a call for innovation.  Insert Senegal here! This video shows how these Senegalese students repurposed 900 tires and 60 tons of garbage to make 400 recycled tables and benches! With over 50 projects like this in Senegal alone, the French Company 3000 Ecomen has put more than 16,000 tires and 17,000 tons of waste to good use. What a wonderful way to educate others on the importance of waste management and recycling. May we all follow suit and be inspired to be as creative as 3000 Ecomen.


Video from; Tire statistics from and; Firestone image from; benches picture from; waste tire pic from

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Living in the World of Over-Packaging

This was the scene on my kitchen floor the other morning, upon tidying up my pantry and fridge. Near-empty boxes that got emptied, items rearranged where they lived on the shelves, and nicely organized. Of course, this is a mere fraction of the food items that live in my pantry. But this is a lot of grocery store, consumer waste.

I've said it before: I'm NOT a fan of packaging. Over-packing, more like it. (My particular pet peeve are plastic wrapped fruit... if only they came in their own natural packaging.  Oh wait, they do!)

I've been writing about over-packaging (and other environmental issues) for almost 10 years now.  And my last post was on how plastic that ends up in the ocean is one of my biggest pet peeves. Yet, we're still here. *Sigh.* There's a frustration that comes with that for me personally.

There's also a false sense of security that we all grasp hold of: "At least I'm recycling all of that over-packaging." Yes... but, it is indeed false. The mantra: "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" is in that order for a reason. Recycling is purposely last--but, we hang our hat on that as though we are Superman, saving our planet. I've written about "wishcycling"before, which certainly falls in the same department.

So what can we do, aside from pulling our hair out and taking yet another bag of Costco-aftermath to the recycle bin??

I think the biggest, most important place to start is at the "Rethink" stage. By starting there, and framing everything else around that, we can begin to make the changes.

Additionally, we vote everyday with our shopping dollars. Like my friend did when she bought me the 4Ocean bracelet. Her hard earned dollars were going for the eco good! By rethinking how we spend our hard-earned money, we will make a difference over time. That can start with us turning our focus toward buying items that are packed in post-consumer waste and boxes made of recycled materials. Likewise, it can also help to offset some of the ways we have created the problems in the first place, like 4Ocean does.

Plus, we can always go forward as eco-activists, bringing our bags and cups, containers, stainless steel straws, and more.

Of equal importance: we can be educating our youth (and the not-so-young), on ways to follow suit. With a growing population of common and shared knowledge toward being sustainability-focused, we can do it... even if it takes 10+ more years to make it happen!

Packaging image from my camera; Rethink images from and

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A 4Ocean Bracelet 4 Me!

I love my friends! They know me, they get me! They know what I'd love, and they are thoughtful gift givers.
This was the note and the package that arrived in my mailbox this spring from a very good buddy and pal and former colleague.

The bracelet is really not just a bracelet. It's everything that is behind it as well. From 4Ocean, the bracelet is made of 100% recycled materials. The beads: from recycled glass bottles. The cord: from recycled plastic water bottles. The vision: every $20 bracelet purchase helps to fund the removal of a pound of marine debris--trash in the ocean that harms the aquatic wildlife.
This video shows the heart of what 4Ocean is all about.

This also just so happens to be one of the environmental issues that truly speaks to me. Perhaps it's because I live near the Chesapeake Bay. Perhaps because I'm a beachy-kind-of-gal. Perhaps because I enjoy eating seafood and don't want my food to be contaminated. Perhaps because I was inspired by the 2010 journey of David de Rothschild's Plastiki to investigate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Or perhaps because it's just senseless and wasteful to use the ocean as a great big dumping ground. I sense it's a little in the "all of the above" category. This infographic, from the 4Ocean Beach Clean Up Handbook, shows just some of what gets me fired up...

...and which is why I'm so inspired by the innovation and activism of companies like 4Oceans. It's also why I smile every time I wear my 4Ocean bracelet and am grateful for the dear friends I have!

Not to mention, this image shows one heck of a great success story:

To follow 4Ocean's blog & get inspired about how to make a difference, click here.

To get information about doing your own beach cleanup, check out 4Ocean's "Ocean Clean Up Handbook."

Video from; my bracelet photo from my camera; infographic from 4Ocean's Beach Clean up handbook; 4Ocean logo from; statistics from

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Little Known Eco Innovations Leading the Way

I've said it before, and I say it often:  It is through innovation that we will arrive at solutions to our environmental issues.

This video from TechnoNerds shows us 4 innovative ways that people have seen an eco-need, and gone forward to do something about it. It's the heart of today's educational trends of #STEM and the maker movement!

May we all be inspired to go forward, thinking outside the box, being problem solvers to innovate, create, and invent!

Video from; Art created at

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July 2017

A birthday is a personal and special day. In part because of it's "one-a-year-ness." But also due to it's significance to our growth and individual history.

The same holds true for our country's birthday--which for me, of course, is the United States of America. Today's America's 241st birthday. A significant day based on heritage, ideals, beliefs, and pride.

I ran across this John Cena video the other day, and despite the fact that it was released last year, it seems even more relevant than ever before.
My favorite part:
"To our motto: 'e pluribus unim;' 'From many, one.' It's even in our country's name. The United States. This year, patriotism shouldn't be just about pride of country. It should be about beyond age, disability, sexuality, race, religion, or any other labels. Because the second any of us judge people based on those labels, we're not really being patriotic, are we?...Remember, that to love America, is to love all Americans. Because love has no labels."
May your 4th of July be safe, wonderful, 
meaningful, fun, festive, and full of love for all.

Video from; image from

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Where Art, "Repurposing" & a Church All Collide

In the category of "green buildings," it's been said that the greenest building is one that's already standing. This is particularly true if that building is not currently being used. By adapting and reusing a building, you give it new life. (Hence it's common name: "adaptive reuse!"

Here's where art, repurposing, & a church collide.

Picture a 100-year old church in Llanera, Asturias in Spain. Abandoned, it could have been just as easy to tear it down. But instead, it was transformed in a unique & unusual way: into a colorful indoor skatepark. Artist "Okuda" San Miguel added geometric shapes & color to transform the church into the newly named "The Kaos Temple" with strong messages of nature:
"In general, for the last few years my work talks a bit about the war between nature's forces and the human being; between modernity and roots. Self-destruction, existentialism, things like that....I like using contradictions which invite people to reflection."

I can only imagine what the experience of skateboarding would be like in this setting!

Other buildings have come about by way of adaptive reuse.  Check them out here:

Images from and; Video from

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Becoming an Eco Activist

To piggy back some of the positive moves I've seen eco-wise in the aftermath of the United States leaving the Paris Agreement, I wanted to promote some small ways we all could become activists. 

Always a fan of infographics, when I ran across the following article, I knew it had a future as a great visual... so I crafted one!

What can you do to make an environmental impact?

Infographic created by me on

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Take Part in #ISTE17 This Weekend--Whether You Are There Or Not!

Football fanatics have the Superbowl.
Soccer fans have the World Cup.
Baseball aficionados have the World Series.
Movie lovers have the Academy Awards, while music lovers have the Grammy's.

If you are an #EdTech Teacher, your ultimate "Superbowl" is the annual ISTE conference.

And ISTE 2017, my friends, is THIS weekend: June 24th--28th, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas!

Man, do I wish I were there!

Disclaimer: I've never been to ISTE, but being a bit of a techno-nerd, it is on my bucket list. I'd be in my own personal nirvana! (Though I will say, that FETC 2016 was pretty darn awesome and a super second place!! And, as a Maryland environmental educator, MAEOE ranks right up there too!)

Typically 18,000+ teachers attend, and the learning and experience are at a global, exponential level. From Expo Hall to Keynotes, to workshops and networking, it's just downright like no other!

Like I said, I'm not going to be there this year either; however, listening to Vicki Davis (aka @CoolCatTeacher) and her "The 10-Minute Teacher" Podcast this week & interview with Peggy George (episode #105: "5 Ways to Participate in #ISTE17 Even If You're Not There #NotAtISTE17), I can be there without being there. That's pretty darn awesome!

If you are like me, and long to be there, you can learn from your couch, computer, car-ride commute, patio, or poolside these next few days ahead.  Check out the following:

And don't forget to check out ISTE resources for 2016 (just replace "17" with "16" to see what you missed last year.   You could have a boatload of professional development between them both and all these resources!  Which, let's be real, isn't that part of how we teachers spend part of our summer?!)

I'd love to hear about your favorite finds as you parallel travel alongside the ISTE Conference--whether you are there or not. I'm certainly going to be making my way along the above links myself!!

ISTE/Coolcat poster from; 10 Minute Teacher Podcast from; Video from