Saturday, May 29, 2021

Treasures in Your Pocket

This image spoke to me today. We all should have treasures in our pockets. A li'l something tied to nature, to the outdoors, to our wild.

This Memorial Day weekend, go out, explore, find treasures, and be wild as you become a little closer to nature. It is what gives you life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Becoming a Solutionary

I recently read the 2016 book The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries and it led me searching for more and to author Zoe Weil as well as one of her many TED Talks below.

The idea of being a "solutionary"is good food for thought. What is a solutionary? In short, someone who looks for solutions to problems. In long (from Zoe's Weil's Institute for Humane Education) website :

As a teacher, isn't that our ultimate job--to help build and grow critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaborations, and compassion skills in our students? To help them see ways to solve relevant and important problems that affect us all? It reminds me of my belief that innovation is what will help us solve our world problems--environmental and more.

Operating on the "MOGO Principle" (which is short for "Most Good & Least Harm" to selves, others environment), Zoe talks a lot about being a humane educator and what that means as we inspire our students to see the effects of ours (and their) choices and working to create change on a systemic level. Given it is our students who will be creating solutions and our future world, we want and need to help develop their skills as innovators--as smart, conscientious choice and change makers.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Mr. Greg's Ospreys

Books are sacred to me. They are magic in your hands, taking you places, becoming gateways of inspiration, enjoyment, insight, and knowledge. Picture books have the added bonus of delighting your senses with the illustrations. Plus they act as colorful invitations, opening up new worlds and perhaps even future passions.

That is the hope of "Mr. Greg's Ospreys," a picture book written by Laura Callahan, Jill Waldman, and Patrice Boone and illustrated by Christine Willliams. All four Maryland residents, they created the book to not only to share Mr. Greg's story and the importance of the work he does, but with the hopes to inspire future generations to become conservationists and environmental stewards. The book outlines a year in the life of Mr. Greg, from July to the following August, as he tends to the ospreys along the river. Throughout the book you learn a lot about the life of ospreys as well as the many things Mr. Greg does to keep the ospreys safe in their natural habitat.

Being related two 2 of the 4 collaborators of the book, I scored an invitation to their outdoor book signing at Patuxent River Park last weekend. (Numbers were limited due to Covid restrictions at the time the event was organized.) 

There, we got to celebrate in their successful launch of the book AND meet Mr. Greg. 

Mr. Greg is both a character in the book AND a real person. Mr. Greg is Greg Kearns, a Park Naturalist and master bird bander for nearly 4 decades who has been overseeing the osprey nesting site program he started in 1984 on the Patuxent River at the Jug Bay Natural Area. He spoke at the signing of his longevity in the area and how osprey numbers in the 1970s and early '80s were quite low. He referenced ornithologist Roger Tory Peterson (known for his 1934 "Guide to the Birds," the first of many field guides he'd later come to write), mentioning birds as an environmental litmus test of the health of an area.

Several decades ago, the low number of ospreys indicated that Jug Bay--the largest freshwater tidal area in Maryland--wasn't doing exceptionally well. Just like eagles, osprey populations were severely impacted by DDT which thinned the eggshells of these birds. Yet now, with the help of osprey platform towers along the Patuxent River to help them find a place to build their nests, the osprey population has grown and been restored because of humanity and the help of these man-made platforms. Mr. Greg estimated that 400 osprey pairs are now thriving along the 115 mile river.

As if on cue while Mr. Greg was telling us all of this, we all got to see the swooping chase take place over the river backdrop of an osprey chasing an adult eagle. This was only one of the many ospreys who decided to make an appearance at the book signing. It's as if the ospreys knew we were talking about them. 

One could argue that Patuxent River Park is a secondary main character in the book to Mr. Greg. It is here in these wetlands that the real life story of Mr. Greg and the ospreys takes place. In addition to having an observation tower and multiple places to hike and picnic, there is an area in the park called the Rural Life Museum with several historical out-buildings and guides present to share the past. Additionally there are campgrounds and canoe rentals. Perhaps a favorite, though, is their very impressive Osprey Cam (which you can view here) which Mr. Greg also maintains.

Prior to writing their book, Laura, Patrice, Jill, and Christine accompanied Mr. Greg on a osprey banding boat trip down the Patuxent River. While bird banding, Greg places identification bands on the hundreds of osprey chicks that hatch in the spring in order to track the chicks when they migrate and return. While on this boat trip, the ladies took photos and learned of the many duties Greg has managing the osprey sanctuary. From there, the 4 of them put these stories on paper and over time, Mr. Greg's Ospreys was born. 

And who knows, after reading their work about Mr. Greg's work, maybe future conservationists will be inspired to do what they can to take care of nature!

Roger Tory Peterson Quote from; all other pictures taken at the book signing on May 15, 2021.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mark Your Calendars

By day, I am a technology specialist and my world has a lot of digital components. But I'm still a tried-and-true "paper" girl when it comes to things like my lesson plan book and my calendar. Additionally, I'm a list maker who takes great pleasure in crossing items off. I like to see it all in front of me--as if in doing so, "it" all will magically make more sense. "It" being "life," of course! (I'm sure there's something in there about "control" as well, but I digress!)

I've recently found new inspiration in the digital calendar world--I've looked long and hard over the years and I did not think it would ever happen. I found an online calendar that not only syncs well across devices but also integrating my Apple and Google calendars nicely AND has an element of cute to it!! (Being a highly visual person, I have an extreme need for color, cute, fun fonts, and more.) But, I think I found nirvana in Artful Agenda--especially with all of that, plus inspirational daily quotes, and lists that give you the ability to cross them through. Add in, they have a Facebook group called "Arfully Obsessed," and it was there I got the idea to use my "Meals" section as a gratitude journal. It really hit my sweet spot and it has become my first stop every morning as I get organized for my day ahead. 

So of course, in my process of making it my own, I've been adding other elements to it too, because this calendar has become my latest obsession! I added some of the dates that our Diversity Director at school sent our way to create a separate Diversity-Equity-Inclusivity calendar in my master Google calendar, and found these 3 exceptional resources so I'll always know which months honor different cultures or what specific days are noteworthy.

That, in turn, inspired me to go on the hunt for an environmental of "eco days," so I could be in the know if it was International Day for Biological Diversity (which is today--May 22nd) or World Environmental Day (coming up ahead: June 5th). The beauty of this one is that if you click on a date, you can automatically add it to your iCal. Additionally, each calendar date has some detailed information about what is specific to that environmental date. Yes, I'm in love! 

So, if you too can get a little excited by random bits of knowledge, your calendar just may need these items!!! 

Have I ditched my physical calendar or notebook? No. But, I am finding I can live more harmoniously in both the paper and digital calendar worlds!!

Images from and

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Diversity Surrounds

Keane State College in New Hampshire is a US Department of Education Green Ribbon School (2017), on the Princeton Review to 375 Green Colleges, and listed on Sierra Club's list of most eco-literate colleges. It's know wonder they know something about sustainability and biodiversity.

This became eminently more clear in Dr. Dottie Morris' fifteen minute TEDxKeene Talk on May 17th, 2017. Dr. Morris is the Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Keene State College. In this roll, she knows a bit about diversity. Her style is engaging as a story teller, and message is strong:

In nature, we adore diversity. The colors of the fall, the sparkling of light on the water, the variety of trees, flowers, animals across the planet.
Biodiversity makes for a healthy environment and a thriving habitat.

Yet, as people, we still fall short on that mark when it comes to diversity. 

Difference is not something we should fear. We need to learn from nature and the greatest takeaway is that diversity is essential. She makes a powerful point: division is NOT the answer--it's socially constructed. Made up. Gender. Race. Class. I love her quote: "We have been snookered, we have been bamboozled, we have been fooled." 

Think of our polar partisan politics. Think of our siloed social media feeds. Particularly in the US, now more than any point in my own personal 5 decades, we are more divided than ever before. Yet, as Dr. Morris points out--in order to be sustainable, we NEED diversity. Of thoughts. Of Beliefs. In our community. We are interrelated and part of each other. It is through creativity in ourself and our works collectively in the world. Innovation NEEDS our diversity of thought. As Dr. Morris points out: "Diversity is the mother of innovation." She goes on to say that we live in a highly complex world. Because of that, we need those different views and vantage points. There really is no room in a world of problem solving for narrowness of thoughts. We, as people, are the perfect picture of "together we can accomplish more."

Just as the natural world needs biodiversity to thrive, we too need diversity as a national and global community.

Video from, photo of Dr. Dottie Morris from, quote image created at

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

"Why We Swim" by Bonnie Tsui

Not terribly long ago, I had a couple long weekend stays visiting my daughter. There were certain parameters to the hotels I chose to stay in. Free wifi. ✅ Breakfast included. ✅ Good proximity. ✅ Indoor pool. ✅✅✅

The latter was truly the first and foremost of importance. Especially in the wintery and early spring months where the outdoor temps (of both air and water) were too chilly, and an indoor pool was paramount. 

Fitting too, some of my poolside reading was Bonnie Tsui's 2020 book Why We Swim. I've talked a lot in the past about #BlueMind and how my backyard pool is my home away from home (see here and here). Hydrotherapy is indeed one of my greatest escapes and mental equalizers. It's where I can move with ease (regardless of achy knees or hip acts up). It's where I fully unplug and have moving meditations, achieving total Zen moments. It's where I have no problem being "that crazy bouncing lady in the pool, even with a mask" if the pool starts getting crowded here in Covid America--I don't care. It is truly my happy place, and I will not be deterred from being there!

Here are some of the other great takeaways I got from Bonnie Tsui's book:

🏊🏻‍♀️We are "land creatures with an aquatic past." (page 5)

🏊🏻‍♀️With approximately 70% of the planet being water, it's not a surprise that 40% of the world's population lives less than 60 miles from a coast. 

🏊🏻‍♀️She referenced Charles Tomlinson's poem "Swimming Chenango Lake." I didn't know this poem and looked it up. They both reference swimming as "moving in the embrace of water, but mindfully" (Tsui, page 36), being free and in the flow. 

🏊🏻‍♀️On page 54, while visiting Iceland, she mentioned "swimming as liturgy." Later too (page 65) she quotes Kim Chambers: "The water has been my teacher. It is my come to the water and feel cleansed." Swimming indeed strikes that chord for me--it becomes a place of worship and one of my closest moments to God, higher power, spirituality and self-awareness. It has me at "Buoyancy, floating, weightlessness. Freedom." (p. 74) Renewal comes in that water! As does escape.

🏊🏻‍♀️I'm a splasher who is constantly in movement, maybe more in a water aerobics kind of way. But even so, this strikes me: "For many swimmers, the act of swimming is a tonic, in that old-fashioned sense of the word: it is restorative, a stimulant, undertaken for a feeling of vigor and well-being." (page 62)

🏊🏻‍♀️Swimming is forgiving with an agelessness to it. Because of the water, you can do things there that you (well, maybe me) can't always do on land. The water resistance and weightlessness makes it possible to keep you moving, pain free, in a multitude of ways that other on-land exercise can't. Add in too, it reminds us how to play. (page 110)

🏊🏻‍♀️"After experiencing awe, we are more likely to help others and to be relaxed and satisfied with life." (page 102)

🏊🏻‍♀️"Swimming is the second most popular recreational activity in America, outranked only by walking." (page 109)

🏊🏻‍♀️She quoted Wallace J. Nichols (Blue Mind author) stating that "Being around water provides a sensory rich environment with enough 'soft fascination' to let our focused attention rest and the default-mode network kick in." (p. 221) It's like being mindful and mindless simultaneously. "wimming was an ideal time to ruminate, to noodle for noodling's sake, to compose in one's head." (p. 222) Yes! Yes! Yes! No doubt, being in and under the water, and how sounds shift in those moments (as does light on the water) can bring about a meditative state where you are one with your own space and place.

🏊🏻‍♀️"There is a seductiveness to water. From afar, it gleams and glistens, a shiny liquid jewel. It is inviting. It swirls, fans, and coalesces, embracing you. It holds you and yet cannot be held by you. When we immerse ourselves, something is awakened." (page 248) This feels like poetry in motion, and my pool experience every time. 

Maybe it's all of these reasons why I not only had hotel pool aqua bliss, but why the book also spoke to me. As I look back on my reflection here, it could perhaps been seen as a romantic love affair with water and ode to eau. It's interesting too how the pool became a true adult passion and later discovery. I think it just goes to show you that beauty and wonder are there, always to be discovered. May you discover yours, in whatever form it takes!

Pool Image from my camera. Book cover from

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Happy Mother's Day 2021

“My mother is my root, my foundation. She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.” 
—Michael Jordan

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!
Spend some time outdoors today! Preferably with the people you love!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

World Password Day: May 6, 2021

Life never fails to crack me up. A couple months ago I had run across the concept of the first Thursday of May as being the annual date of World Password Day. Who knew #PasswordDay was even a thing, and has been since 2013 when it was crafted by Intel to build better password and privacy habits. Great, I thought: this is a perfect topic for a blog post, and it made it on my ever-growing list of environmental, edtech, and innovation topics to be sure to hit this year. 

Well, around about the time I was sitting down to write about this, I got an email indicating that I had a potential identity fraud situation in the works, and one of the very things I needed to do (aside from submitting the necessary paperwork) was go in and change up some passwords. 

Life is serendipitous like that! "Luckily" I had all these resources already set aside awaiting World Password Day.

First off, do you see any semblance of you in this list, as shared by Tony Vincent: 

If you do, it's time to get to work changing passwords.

Another good place to look is here: Wikipedia's List of the Most Common Passwords. Wikipedia does have its purpose from time to time.

According to this article on #WorldPasswordDay 2020 from the InfoSecurity Group, 38% of people never change their passwords.We all probably have our own growing list somewhere of passwords and that fear factor of "oh no, I've forgotten mine!" Plus, with devices magically remembering them for us, it's easy to become complacent and just go with the status quo because it's either too hard to remember, we're too lazy, or we just really like the ones we've got! But, all of that makes us ripe for falling victim to hackers out there. Sadly, there's always folks out there who would rather side with evil than with good. All of which creates a mess that we then get to clean up.

So do yourself a favor and take advantage of World Password Day and tighten things up in your digital world with some of these helpful tech tips:

You can also find more great helpers at:

Images from and, password tips created at using information from

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Sights, Sounds, & Science of Cicadas

 Whether you are a bug person or not, it doesn't matter....they're a coming. Especially if you, like me, live in the shaded area of this map: the 17 year cicadas are coming.

Here are some online resources you can use in your classroom to investigate the sights, sounds, and science of cicadas this May!

Images from and