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Archive for the 'Education' Category

Missouri Conservation

September 7th, 2007

    We’ve been so busy lately!  For some reason September brings a sense of urgency for getting things done, and catching up where we have been behind.  Maybe the dwindling daylight hours tell us that the year will be winding down in a few months… Fall is almost here and Winter is coming.   The weather has finally changed and we’ve had 2-3 days of rain.  The trees were really showing the stress from the summer heat and drought, but this should refresh everything. Between school and home projects I’m also planning for the Fall hunting season.  Not sure how much I’ll be able to get out this year, but it will be the Lab pups first season… I have to get him on some birds!  Maybe I can meet some other hunters and work together…  My other goals over the next couple of months involve property maintenance and “habitat management.”  Most of which is human habitat!  But there are many grassy areas and wooded borders I want to manage not only for wildlife, but also erosion prevention, etc. 

     Conservation has little to do with preservation when it comes to habitat and wildlife management.  It’s more about sustainability and stewardship of resources, including striking a balance for resource needs and environmental needs.  I think of myself as an ardent conservationist more than an environmentalist.  Some people think in terms of preservation whenever “the environment” is brought to mind.  I can see that… we have many special places that we should preserve for future generations. 

Yet I think it is more than simply preservation.  As the human population grows, I think we must consider not only the impact we will have on the environment, but also consider the resource needs  we will have.  I believe we can work to achieve balance, and that stewardship and management of resource sustainability over time will best serve the needs of humans and the environment.  

Education is critical, especially in developing nations and third-world countries where industrialization is expanding at a rapid pace.  The technology that is now available can be very destructive in the wrong hands, but concurrently it can be very beneficial, especially where people need assistance and struggle for survival.    What do you think?  And how do you view conservation and environmental stewardship?

     On the topic of conservation,  while I was browsing the Missouri Department of Conservation website for information, I came across a wonderful new tool they have called the Missouri Fish and Wildlife Information System (MOFWIS).  This is a searchable database containing information and pictures of more than 900 Missouri species of fish and wildlife… I checked a few species out and the system works pretty well.  You can even search by life history, geographical location (county), habitat, etc.  

I really think the Missouri Department of Conservation does an amazing job with technology and providing education and resources to Missouri citizens.  We have one of the strongest conservation agencies in the country.   The monthly Missouri Conservationist is a wonderful magazine as well.  The pictures are beautiful and the articles are always very informative.  If you’re a Missouri citizen, the magazine is free, and out-of-state subscriptions are only $7 per year!

Rain, Bass and Growing Up

March 10th, 2007

Daddy was proud yesterday. Well, twice actually. The day started out warm and I took advantage of the weather while getting lots of outdoor work accomplished. The young one came home after a half-day at kindergarten and had a picnic on his playset. I got the tools and chainsaw ready to cut the trees on the dam, while he wanted go fishing. Then, what do they say about the weather in Missouri? Oh… “Stick around, it’ll change.” I think they say that everywhere… But of course it began raining gently and we went to the barn.

He still wanted to go fishing… “You want to fish in the rain? By yourself at the pond?” I asked. He answered with a resounding “Yes!” I was proud of him, not only because he didn’t mind the rain, but also because he could finally fish at the pond, mostly by himself. He has made such wonderful progress at swimming lessons over the last six months. I’ve been taking him twice a week since last October, and he finally can swim and stay afloat… and loves the water. So when he asks to go to the pond, I can finally say “Okay!” and know he’ll be safe, and can get himself out. I still want to be within sight distance, but I can be in the barn now and check on him. It’s a big step, because we wouldn’t let him down there by himself until now.

Oh I almost forgot… the other day we released the minnows, do you know what he did? I was busy with the bag of fish and he said, “Daddy… do you think I can walk across this log?” (I’m trying to let the fish out…) “Ah… well probably, I’m sure you can….” I look up and he’s halfway across a little log in the corner of the pond! Now this is about 12 feet long, across water that’s 2-3 feet deep! So I quietly watched him… lest he fall in if I say something! There he is, an apple he was eating in one hand, and balancing with the other… he was really concentrating, the picture of childhood… and he made it! He jumped with excitement at the other end as I clapped for him. He had asked to walk across before and I always said “No!” because it was winter, cold, etc. But I told him that was really terrific…. “Can I do it again?” he says. “Well, I’m SURE you can… but not right now… ” That could have been a Norman Rockwell painting, it was so cool! So anyway, my other proud moment? I think this is three or four… okay I’m proud of him all the time!

But this one is neat… I’m working away in the barn and he walks up with a smile on his face, and a nice fat fish on his pole! He caught a Largemouth Bass and walked up to the barn to show it to me! His eyes beamed with pride as he said, “I caught it all by myself, and I didn’t even need your help!” I was so happy for him… when he went to the pond I really hoped he would catch a fish. After taking his picture, we took it back to the pond and let it go. The last few weeks have shown a change in his youth… he is not the same six-year old of just a few months ago. Our relationship has changed… he has changed. He’s growing up.

First Largemouth Bass caught all by himself

Carnival of Education!

January 31st, 2007

fountainpen.gifWhat the heck is a blog carnival?!   Well, a blog carnival is simply that- a festive, fun-filled blogging and reading experience!  But it is so much more- truly a collaborative writing effort where bloggers and sites with similar interests host a “carnival” of content on a periodic basis.  The blog carnivals are a wonderful way to gather theme-oriented content in a single reading experience, with creative layout, graphics, and links to articles and other sites.   Last week I was browsing and found the “Home of the Carnival of Education,” a blog called The Education Wonks…  a really informative blog on current issues in teaching and education.  As it happens, I had written a short post about my son titled Kindergarten University a few days before, and although I didn’t even know blog carnivals existed until then, on a whim I submitted my kindergarten post.  And today it was included by Carol at The Median Sib , hosting this week’s  Carnival of Education, a wonderful mix of education content (thanks for including me!).  

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You can find out more about blog carnivals at the main website BlogCarnival.com.  Their About page is very informative. Who knows, maybe I’ll start or join a blog carnival and host it here!

Kindergarten University

January 23rd, 2007

Kindergarten isn’t what it used to be… that is probably an understatement. I have few memories of my kindergarten experience, other than naps, playtime and snacks for a few hours a day. I must have been deprived!

Not any more… these days schools have robust and vibrant kindergarten programs to capitalize on the creative, intellectual and physical growth of children at an early age. Many programs differ among communities, but they share the common goals to help increase readiness for later educational attainment. Sometimes however, in our zeal to help our children grow and “be whatever they want to be,” I think educators and administrators are too focused on metrics, standards and programmatic curricula.

I am not taking anything away from our local school and teachers- they are wonderful. The learning environment is rich and the experience and social development our child receives is so important. He looks forward to going to school, loves his teacher and is learning everyday- what parent could ask for more? Well, how about sometimes… less? Within the rich learning environment of today’s kindergarten programs are assessments, tests and quizes, and a day to make any high school student exhausted. He is up at 6:00 to make the 6:50 bus, a 45-minute ride to school, then a myriad of classes to include recess, music and PE, and then back on the bus to arrive home at 3:20 (if the bus is on time.) For a 6-year old, an 8 and 1/2 hour day is a lot! I wonder if there is a national “norm” for what is expected from kindergarten, or the length of the school day at an early age? We are asking much of our children to expect attentive concentration and academic performance that only a few years ago was part of a 1st or 2nd grade curriculum.

But now is not then, and these children will be challenged to learn much as they grow and develop in our society. Be that as it may, we are wise to remember how much we ask of them. Driving to school is one method to shorten the day, and I am fortunate to be able to do so. He loves riding the bus, but sometimes when he seems a little tired, or the morning rush is simply not worth it, we slow down a bit- add 45 minutes to the day and ride together enjoying the morning. Today we shared a sunrise as he sang and pointed out the sights of the countryside. After school? He’s off to swimming lessons…

“Today… is gold that covers hills and dell, and rich are they who use it well. (Pearl Phillips)”

Sunrise Driving to School

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