DUBLIN, NH: Four Weeks Later

Although I returned to Dublin on May 26th, three weeks after my initial departure, it took me a week to settle in, get organized, and recalibrate.

Perhaps the best way to celebrate the extraordinary proliferation of biomass in the month of May is to juxtapose some photographs. Check out these before and afters:

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

While traveling West I observed the pace of Spring in different regions of the country. But my only real marker for contrasting the changes (after all, I was just passing through) is my home place in the Monadnock Region of Southwest New Hampshire.

The vastness of the North American continent is extraordinary. And despite globalization, interdependence, and the Internet, the variety of landscapes and habitats (though surely not what it once was) is remarkable and inspiring. I enjoyed every landscape. I never tired of observing the scenery. In the Midwest, on my bicycle and from the car I observed the intimacy and diverse topography of what at first glance seems relatively flat. There are rolling hills, rises and bends, watercourses and levees, glacial marks, sand dunes, and all manner of geomorphological intricacies. And when the landscape is inescapably flat you have the everchanging and enchanting great sky. Every region has it's unique beauty and there is so much more to discover. The Mountain West is dynamic and daunting. There was way too much for me to take in. The daily bicycle rides literally grounded me in a discipline of sensory awareness, taking the landscape in at a reasonable pace and scale.

And the I fly home in one fell swoop, on a night flight from San Francisco to Boston. I peeked out the window just a few minutes before landing, but other than those brief glimpses of Eastern Massachusetts I saw nothing. What a contrast. We sacrifice way too much in our worship of speed. 

I am glad to be in one place for awhile. I am savouring the slower pace of watching the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. 

 

 

 

Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

BOZEMAN, MT to SEATTLE, WA

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and drive. And then drive some more. It's 680 miles from Bozeman to Seattle. I decided to take on the challenge. I stopped halfway on the road between Coeur d'Alene and Spokane. The Spokane Centennial Trail connects both cities. On a sunny Sunday in May the trail is busy. It's a pleasant ride along the Spokane River with glimpses into the foothills.  

After the ride I began the long, but scenic trip across Washington State, from the Eastern foothills to the flat dry semi-arid Cascade rain shadow, through the Wenatchee hills, into Snoqualmie Pass and then finally into Seattle. 

My spirits were similarly buoyed while listening to the final innings of a game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets light hitting shortstop hit a game winning single, ending a five-game losing streak. After so many years of being a Met fan, and so many years of mediocrity, moments like that yield a special kind of happiness. The Mets radio announcers, Howie Rose and Josh Lewin engage in very entertaining dialogues. They are witty, informative, and refreshing. They understand that announcing baseball is about way more than statistics and play by play. Rose and Lewin are excellent storytellers, and they know that the narrative of the New York Mets is central to many peoples lives For me, it's a story about place, and my own origins on Long Island, and before that Brooklyn and before that (the grandparents) Russia.

Rose and Lewin have somewhat similar backgrounds and they embody much more than baseball when they excitedly announce Tejada's game winning hit. How wonderful to be listening to a Mets broadcast on an Ipad while rambling through eastern Washington. 

All thoughts of baseball and the Mets drifted away as I drive through the Cascades and entered the magical realm of the majestic Pacific Northwest. 

Over the next few days we'll be busy with moving logistics and other tasks. Watch this space for a forthcoming final "musing" about the landscape of my journey. 

Oh yes. Two final photos. The first is from the bike path in the Spokane Valley. the second is from the apartment where I'm currently staying in Seattle. 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

BADLANDS, SD to BOZEMAN, MT

I'm really pushing it now, trying to get to Seattle by the end of today. Some scattered impressions follow. Then check out more Badlands excellence.

Early morning walks through Badlands trails. Layers upon layers of deposits indicating diverse climates and landscapes, from inland seas to subtropical lowlands, from prehistoric dogs to alligators.  It's all here. You just have to know how to observe.

Lunch at a natural foods cafe in Spearfish, South Dakota. Nice blend of the old and new west here. Unpretentious and interesting. Rode my bicycle through town and then up route 14a into the hills.  

Long drive through northeast Wyoming and Eastern Montana. Miles of green hills. Spring is downright verdant here. Too many casinos, though. 

Listened to some climate denial radio for a few moments. The latest brilliance is the notion of agenda driven science. The most important curricular challenge for our nation's schools, K-Gray is teaching an understanding of how to detect bias and propaganda. We are desperately in need of clear thinkers.  

Drove through a driving rain just west of Billings. In the mountain pass east of Bozeman it turned into signifianct snow. Back to rain in Bozeman. Hard way to end a 600 mile drive.

image.jpg

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

WORTHINGTON, MI to BADLANDS, SD

South Dakota has the most billboards of any state. They were very distracting. Great! Something to read! It's been nearly forty years since I've driven cross-country. The billboards reflect the changing times, perhaps none more so than Wall Drug. As a child travelling west with my parents (over fifty years ago) I was abosolutely fascinated by the Wall Drug signposts. They were scattered on roads throughout the west, hundreds of miles from Wall's. The signs were small, cute, and cleverly corny, with sparse (if any) graphics. Each sign would promise some great prospect. I remember being very disappointed when we arrived at the destination as Wall's was the ultimate tourist trap. I'm sure it still is and I won't be going there. However, there billboards are a twenty-first century version of the same concept. They are bigger. they gave gauge illustrations. And they advertise how Wall's was once featured in People Magazine, or how you must visit the T-Rex park. There were too many such billboards to review here. I was particularly amused by the "twenty-four hour toe service." My toes, I thought, could definitely use some service! Probably I should also tell you about the sign that asked whether I was "corn-sidering coming" to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. 

I left the interstate at Chamberlain to get a close up view of the Missouri River and to pay a brief visit to the Atka Lokata Cultural Center. I didn't stay too long because I wanted to maximize my time in the Badlands.

 

image.jpg
image.jpg

Let's skip the rest and get straight to the Badlands. I took a twenty-five mile bicycle ride along the main loop road. The combination of eroded land forms, geological layers, and contemporary prairie is staggeringly beautiful. Every corner yields a dynamic new perspective, and to experience it all on a bicycle was utterly joyous. I'll just let the photos do most of the talking.

I ran into a couple of long-haired, tattoo covered, sixty something dudes, who recently retired, and packed their small motorcycles onto a funky looking RV, headed toward Alaska. They came from Cape Cod. They were extolling the virtues of their trip. We had a great conversation. There are so many different versions of hitting the road. For me, it's a bicycle and a guitar in a Prius.

I took most of these photos while walking around at sunset, not while on my bicycle.  The juniper grove is on an oasis near Cedar Pass, the most moist section of the park. April and May is the time of maximum rainfall so the landscape is probably at its greenest.

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
1 Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

WISCONSIN DELLS, WI to WORTHINGTON, MI

I'm sure that Wisconsin Dells could easily lay claim to the Water Theme Park capital of the world. There are so many of them. And they have rousing names. Why not spend a few days at Mount Olympus? You can slide and slosh to your heart's content. Or maybe imagine yourself as a carbon molecule trapped in an infinite loop of circulating water park water. 

image.jpg

I ambled in to a small cafe/diner in downtown Baraboo, Wisconsin. It was one of the nicest small town eating establishments I'd ever seen. Wooden booths with lovely lamps. Very cozy. Breakfast was excellent, too.

The Wisconsin Dells reflect the confluence of three geomorphological regimes. Devil's Lake State Park (see below) is a relic mountain range, older than the Appalachians. It's covered with glacial debris. Just north is the drumlin, moraine, glacial physiography. Just south is the flatter glacial flood plain. Maybe this is geomorphogical physiotherapy!

 

 

image.jpg

Buddy Haffaker, the executive director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation told me this. I had a terrific one hour meeting with Buddy who described the mission, history, and strategic approach of the organization. The facility is LEED Platinum. So now if someone asks you what Sweetwater Music and the Aldo Leopold Foundation have in common, you'll know what to tell them. Buddy is pictured below along with some of the fittingly attractive buildings.

 

image.jpg
image.jpg

I got on the bicycle and cruised around the road that runs through the heart of the sanctuary. Rose breasted grosbeaks flitted around, along with numerous sparrows and yellow throats. This is an amazingly diverse and intriguing landscape. From Leopold's preserved shack, depending on which way you look, you'll see sandy wetlands, forests, and streams. The landscape is rich with mystery and beauty and a haven for wildlife. It looks like a place that would inspire one of our greatest conservationists. It also looks like a place that should be almost smack in the middle of a continent. I will take Meine's biography of Leopold off the shelf when I return home. It's sat there for far too long. The photos below are a small sample of the extraordinary variety of habitats. Check out the shack, too.

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

The temperature was cool and pleasant (mid 50's). By the time I reached the western edge of Wisconsin, it turned muggy and very warm, a balmy 82. Wisconsin is replete with long bicycle trails. You can spend an entire summer cruising the Wisconsin landscape on your bicycle. I thought at least I should spend an hour on one of the state trails. There are signposts for these trails on I90. I exited the interstate near LaCrosse and followed the LaCrosse River for five miles, observing the coulees and bluffs. Midwest topography is way more interesting when you get off the Interstate.

 

image.jpg

I crossed the Missisippi at LaCrosse (Der!). What a magnificent crossing. The river is so wide. The bluffs are majestic. The islands are intricate. I'll have to get Twain's Life on the Mississippi off the shelf as well. Glad I remembered that little ditty that helped me spell Mississippi without looking it up!

NPR Minnesota warned of severe thunderstorms with the possibility of tornados and they were coming my way. Yikes! For the rest of the afternoon I listened to storm reports and kept an eye on my Ipad Weather App with the radar maps. Amazingly, I completely dodged the storms (sheer luck) except for one three minute downpour. I was totally engrossed in watching the sky, anticipating my route, listening to storm reports, while weaving my way through and around the precipitation. By the time I reached Albert Lea, Minnesota the storm threat had passed. At twilight I observed misty, feathery, shadowy clouds, floating through some huge cumulus to my north, catching the last glows of a dipping and darting setting sun. It was a soft, soothing, yet ominous light. Huge wind installations punctuated the landscape, appearing as if alien life forms getting ready to settle the planet. 

By Worthington, Minnesota, I decided I had enough startling beauty. I studied the map of South Dakota and then fell asleep to the Portland Trailblazers and San Antonio Spurs. 

1 Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

GRAND HAVEN, MI to WISCONSIN DELLS, WI

It was a cool, cloudy, and dynamic morning on the shores of Lake Michigan. We had a short window in between showers so Mark Van Putten and I seized the opportunity for a morning bike ride. I followed Mark on one of his daily loops, a neat little run through iconic Michigan backyards, river channels, old industrial artifacts, and farmlands. I never knew that flat could be so lovely. And flat it will be (mainly) for the next thousand miles. 

I was pleased to see a mural on the outskirts of Grand Haven. 

image.jpg

I imagined how much fun it would be if graffiti art became ubiquitous on silos, barns, and tractors across America. Maybe some day.

If graffiti art represents the twenty first century, then surely old railway structures represent the nineteenth century. Here's an industrial gothic railroad storage facility.

 

 

image.jpg

Jim Harrison's novella "The River Swimmer" describes a young man who essentially lives with fish and swims very, very long distances. It takes place on a river in Michigan. I wondered if it might have been upstream from here.

 

image.jpg

Near the end of the novella, the river swimmer swims to Chicago!! To do so, he would have to swim across Stupendous Lake Michigan, the remarkable fresh water sea. I'm still in awe of the size of the lake. In my parochial Northeastern mentality, all I can think to say when I stand on the shore (using my best Yiddish accent) is "Who Knew?" It's one thing to see the lake on a map, or to fly over it. It's another to stand on the shore. I booked a ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee, so I could experience the great expanse of the inland sea, but midway through our bike ride I received an automated call notifying me that the trip was cancelled due to predicted high seas and winds. 

 

image.jpg

Wherever you ride, you encounter modest industrial activity. You need some crushed limestone?

 

image.jpg

Juxtapose this with the new sustainability industries. Just a few miles from here there's a green roofing company.

image.jpg

And just another reminder of how flat it all is!

image.jpg

With the ferry cancelled, I had to rearrange my route. I wanted to avoid Chicago traffic as much as possible so I headed south, picked up I80 (ugh!) just east of Gary, battled trucks and aggressive drivers until Joliet where the road thinned out a bit. I turned north near LaSalle, Illinois and travelled the straight highway to Wisconsin.

I love moving through weather fronts. There's a big High in the Southern Plains pumping warm air northward. Michigan hadn't gotten the memo as it was on the northern edge of the warm air mass. That explains the cool showers. By the time I reached Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary Indiana, the temperature rose to 86. It felt great!

And then somewhere north of Rockford, Illinois the temperature plunged to 64 in the space of two miles.  

I pushed on to the Wisconsin Dells where I found an out of the way river lodge, enjoyed the Wednesday special dinner at a local pub (Perch, Baked Potato, and Cole Slaw) with an Amber Ale, and fell asleep to the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma Thunder. 

I woke up on the Wisconsin River. I'll study it for awhile before driving over to Aldo Leopold's shack.

 

 

image.jpg
1 Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

VAN WERT, OH to GRAND HAVEN, MI

Driving west from Van Wert, I observed hundreds of wind power installations. I'm curious to know how much energy they produce. Once you reach the state line of Indiana, there is no more wind power. Is Ohio more windy than Indiana? Hmmmmmmm.

My first destination was Sweetwater music on the outskirts of Fort Wayne. They are a huge mail order firm and I've bought many musical instruments and paraphernalia from them over the years. I was hoping to try out some keyboards in their showroom. I did so and that was great fun. However, the highlight of the trip was completely unexpected. It turns out that their facility is LEED PLATINUM, the highest such green designation of the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). It is the only such commercial building in Indiana. 

Delvin Wolf, my sales rep there for many years gave me a terrific tour. The campus features Google style recreation facilities, a huge automated warehouse, music studios, showrooms, an excellent cafeteria, a place where you can get haircuts, a fitness center, and a spectacular, state of the art theatre, as well as meeting rooms for workshops, company trainings, and other educational possibilities. Plus, they are expanding and will have a huge new addition ready to roll in a few weeks. The CEO, Chuck Surack, is clearly a very innovative and progressive business man.

The geen features are impressive. They include a very interesting cooling system that involves making ice, storing it, and then using it to cool the building. The materials are all non-toxic, recycled, and mainly locally sourced. The air and light flow is outstanding. I was similarly impressed with all of the building signage. There are numerous interpretive displays that clearly and attractively explain how and why the building is green. A building tour is an education in sustainability. Congratulations to the Sweetwater folks for helping to lead the way!

I departed Sweetwater and departed North to Grand Haven, Michigan where I am visiting my friend Mark Van Putten, the former CEO of the National Wildlife Federation and now the principal of Conservation Strategy. We took a short bike ride around town and out on a few jetties, a great introduction to Stupendous Lake Michigan. We plan a longer ride this morning and pictures will follow in tomorrow's posting.  

See below for a few pictures of Sweetwater. First comes the automated warehouse.

 

image.jpg

Lots of boxes moving around conveyor belts, all carrying musical equipment!

 

image.jpg

Green signage.

image.jpg

The showroom area comes next

image.jpg

And finally the theater.

 

image.jpg
Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

ALFRED, NY to VAN WERT, OH

The Alleghenies are surely the most underrated hills in the Appalachians. I drove through their Northern flank while listening to "On Being" interviews with Brian Greene and then Janna Levin. I enjoy listening to these great minds discuss the insignificance and elegance of human existence. If the Alleghenies are a backwater, than surely so is the Earth. There are much busier places in the galaxy.

I stopped at Presque Isle State Park for a morning spin. From this peninsula you can look back on the bay side and see Erie, PA, explore lagoons in the middle of this narrow crescent, or walk the beach on the Lake Erie side. I've spent very little time on any of the Great Lakes. I must say they are more than Great, but rather stupendous inland oceans. North America once had a great internal sea. So many permutations of landmasses and water. Erie, PA is at the confluence of old Pennsylvania oil, canals, railroads, and Great Lakes shipping. It was a terminus for the original American West. 

The bike path traverses the peninsula. There were lots of people out on this sunny but brisk morning.  The first photo looks back on Erie. The second is a lagoon. And a third is a glimpse of the Great, rather Stupendous Lake.

 

 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

An hour later I arrived at Austinberg, Ohio where there is a parking place for the Western Reserve Greenway, a forty mile path, straight as an arrow, that cuts through forest, farmland, and small towns. It was cloudy and cool with an increasing threat of rain. I rode for an hour. The same landscape would have seemed so dull in a car. But on the bicycle it was interesting and compelling. The bicycle provides a perfectly scaled pace for getting to know a place. I feel as if I can stop almost anywhere, get on the bike, and enjoy a ride. 

The parking lot in Austinberg adjoins a mini-mart, a greasy sandwich shop and a dance hall! 

 

image.jpg

It is an awfully straight ride, isn't it?

 

image.jpg

And thanks so much to Ohio Parks and all the people who had the vision to develop this bike path.

 

image.jpg

The path is notable, too, as crucial to the Underground Railway. There are numerous plaques along the way, turning the bike path into a hands-on historical museum. Jeffersonville, Ohio was a bastion of abolitionists. Hooray for good interpretation!

 

image.jpg

After these two rides, I headed south and picked up US 30 across Central Ohio. After weaving through some shallow hills and meandering rivers, I arrived at flag as a pancake, bigger sky farm country, finally stopping amidst a grouping of windmills in Van Wert, Ohio where I stopped for the night. 

On the radio, I've been alternating between NPR, sports talk, and surfing local college stations. As for my own music selections, I've wanted road music, and thus far I've played Springsteen's new album, the Byrds sing Dylan, and the Dixie Chicks. Pistol Annie's are up next. I'm typically more of a jazz listener. On the road, I'm compelled to listen to songs about and from America. But there are many days of travel ahead. So who knows what music will enter the field?

As for music, my first destination this morning is Sweetwater Music. I've gotten a lot of musical equipment from them over the years and I'm thrilled with anticipation to visit their showrooms in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Older NBA Basketball fans will know that the Detroit Pistons moved from Fort Wayne. I have a childhood memory of watching the Fort Wayne Pistons playing the Rochester Royals.

1 Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

DUBLIN, NH to ALFRED, NY

In his novel The English Major, Jim Harrison describes a character who departs for a cross country road trip. He brings with him a fifty piece wooden jigsaw puzzle featuring the United States. Whenever he crosses a state border, he tosses the piece for that state out the window. I have no such puzzle, but today I viscerally tossed New Hampshire and Vermont. I left home early Sunday morning. It was a soft and clear sunrise. It's difficult to leave when each Spring day brings a new landscape surprise.

 

image.jpg

Every fifteen minutes I'd wonder about something I might have left behind. There are so many ways to manifest separation anxiety! 

However I was soothed by a wonderful radio interview on the NPR show "On Being" between Krista Tippett and the physicist, Leonard Mlodinow. They were discussing "randomness and choice" a subject I think about regularly. There are so many twists of fate that contribute to your present actions and future outcomes. I've always taken a Taoist view on this. There are waves of events that are mainly out of your control. The challenge is in knowing how to ride the wave. Strange advice from someone who has never ridden a surfboard.

Within an hour and a half I was high in the Vermont hills. I got out of the car briefly during a cold front squall, a vigorous atmposheric wave. I was pelted by small balls of ice. The hills are still surprisingly bare, but the first signs of vernal photosynthetic wildflowers are beginning to show. I love the concept of vernal photosynthetics, the Spring wildflowers that appear before the canopy shades the I forest understory.

My inclination was to stop at Little Falls, New York where I would ride the Eric Canalway, a long bike path that is mainly complete between Albany and Buffalo. However I was deterred by a driving rain. Once the shower passed I began checking my maps for another likely place to ride. I chose the section between Weedsport and Jordan, a nondescript, but interesting section of the trail. I was delighted to discover several fields of white trilliums, interspersed with pockets of skunk cabbage. 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg

I stopped at a sign post. It turns out that Jordan, New York prior to 1910 was a bustling town. Barges would line up on the way through the canal. But the canal traffic demanded a deeper and bigger channel, so the canal was rebuilt several miles north of here, and the town of Jordan lost it's mojo. The bike path runs parallel to the old canal and you can see the beautiful and ambitious stone walls that line the canal, and the abandoned channel is filled alternately with grassy parkland, swampy wetlands, and cultivated gardens. I can see how much fun it would be to bike the length of the Canalway, as there is such an interesting mix of old towns, ecology, and history. 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg

I continued my drive and decided to stop in Alfred, New York for the night. Alfred is a pleasant university town with two colleges, Alfred University, a statuesque campus with exceptional brick building and several small castle like structures, and SUNY Alfred, with sufficient brick, but built in the 1960's SUNY style. Does anyone like 1960's architecture? 

I gave a talk at SUNY Alfred two summers ago. It was a sustainability conference that attracted folks from all over New York and Pennsylvania.  

Alfred is in the Allegheny foothills, with long sweeping plateau-like hills, converging around plush valleys. 

I watched the last few innings of the New York Mets and Colorado Rockies (Let's Go Mets) and then began reading Wallace Stegner's 1953 classic, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, the story of John Wesley Powell and the "second opening" of the American West. I'll be in the west soon and there can be no better guide than Wallace Stegner.

 

1 Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

On the Road

Early tomorrow morning, I'm driving to Seattle. I haven't driven across the country since 1977. Why am I doing this? My wife, Cindy just took a wonderful job in Seattle. She's the founding director of a new Masters program in Urban Learning. As our daughter and granddaughter live there, it's a terrific move for our family. We'll eventually return to New Hampshire. We rented a small, lovely "green" apartment in Belltown. I'll be going back and forth until October.

Cindy wants her car, I'd like to have one of my two bicycles in Seattle, and I'd like to have my guitar there as well. I have some open space in my schedule and I have to be in San Francisco for a Commonwealth Club event later in the month. So I figured that I would drive to Seattle. I mean, why the heck not? 

I plan to drive 8 hours a day, do some work for a few hours, and take a daily two hour bicycle ride. I am, thrilled to explore the country this way. And I'll be visiting a few friends and college campuses on route. 

I'll be writing daily posts about the trip, mainly reporting on the bicycling. Tomorrow my goal is to ride for a few hours on the Erie Canal bike path.

I can't think of a better way too celebrate turning 64.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.

Musings Description

selfie.JPG

This section might contain just about anything—thoughts about engaging books, comments on the weather, daily observations of the natural world, or connections to people, places, and ideas.

Comment

Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, a passive house student residence, as well as comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan. Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. Bringing the Biosphere Home, (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and philosophical contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013),“Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects. Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It’s a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception. Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth. Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.