Story Preservation Initiative®

Preserving the Stories of Our Lives by capturing the voices, words, and meanderings of artists, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, and eyewitnesses to history. Listen, learn, and be amazed! WEB: www.storypreservation.org

Posts from the ‘Naturalists / Environment’ category

AUDIO UP! Dayna Baumeister – Looking to Nature for Sustainable Design

 

Click on links below to listen to Dayna’s story.  Guaranteed, you’ll love it.

Dayna Baumeister is the co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute and a big-time advocate for bringing the principles of Biomimicry into the classroom.

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul. The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. Dayna works tirelessly to bring systems thinking into the school system.

The Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is a new project-based learning experience and competition for students in grades 6-12. Piloted for the first time in 2018, the program challenges students to work in teams to devise a bio-inspired solution to a problem associated with climate change adaptation or mitigation. In 2019, 78 teams submitted projects for consideration by the judges. Stated one judge, “We would be wise to add these (and other) smart kids to the brainstorming table for countless issues we currently face. Their creativity, enthusiasm, ability to look to and be in awe of nature, and refusal to be daunted gives me hope for a more sustainable world!”  

Dayna’s fascination with the natural world began with daily forays into the woods and mountains around her childhood home in Colorado. Since, she has fused a lifelong fascination with nature into a career that began after she received a B.S. in marine biology from New College in Sarasota, Florida. After several years exploring the intricate relationships of coral reefs, she turned in her wetsuit and headed back to the mountains. She earned an M.S. in resource conservation and a Ph.D. in organic biology and ecology from The University of Montana in Missoula, where she specialized in the dynamics of positive interactions among animal and plant life.

Cover photo: Barn Owl in Flight, Luc Viatour; Wikimedia Commons

For more, go to: www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.  Donate = ❤  (-:

 

Stories Matter

AUDIO UP!! Charles Yarish – Fueling the Future

Photo courtesy of Peter Morenus /UConn

Dr. Charles Yarish heads the Yarish Seaweed Marine Biotechnology Lab at the University of Connecticut at Stamford, Ct. and is a pioneer in the field of sustainable seaweed aquaculture, otherwise known as seaweed farming. Yarish is nothing short of bullish on seaweed, and kelp aquaculture in particular, and it is no wonder why. The benefits of seaweed are enormous. Some seaweed species take CO2 out of the atmosphere at 5X the rate of land-based plants and it is a sustainable food source for humans and animals. Nori, a red seaweed, provides more protein than soy, more vitamin C than orange juice, as much heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids as many fish, as well as minerals like iodine, zinc, and magnesium – all with no need for agro-chemicals, fertilizer, or antibiotics. Kelp species could well be the biofuel of the future. Initial feasibility studies suggest that an acre of kelp can produce 2,000 gallons of ethanol, five times the amount derived from corn. This just keeps getting better!

With Yarish’s help, seaweed farming is experiencing a small boom in Maine, Southern New England, and Alaska and it is predicted to grow significantly over the next several years. Kelp farmer Bren Smith, formerly a traditional fisherman, contacted Yarish after hurricanes Irene and Sandy devastated his shellfish beds. It was Yarish who introduced him to kelp farming. Smith has gone on to found the non-profit GreenWave whose mission it is to create jobs and protect the planet; grow good, local food for communities; and to make a living on a living planet.

Click on links below to listen to Charlie’s story.

For more, go to: www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.  Donate = ❤  (-:

 

 

This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

Audio Up! Eben Bayer – Are Mushrooms the New Plastic?

Click on links below to listen to Eben’s story.

Eben Bayer is the co-founder of Ecovative Design. He is a mover and a shaker in the field of biotechnology, using natural materials to solve important environmental challenges. Named one of Forbes 30-Under-30, Bayer and his Ecovative team have successfully developed a process that uses mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, to grow materials that replace plastics, with a focus on plastic packaging material.

Eben is an advocate for disruptive technology, defined as “one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.” And there is no better place to start the thinking process behind disruptive technology than with young people.

SPI recorded Eben’s story in late August 2019 with upload to SPI’s grades 4-12 Learning Lab coming soon!

Bayer, who grew up working on his family’s Vermont farm, is a pioneer in leveraging mycelium—”nature’s glue”—in mushroom materials to drive sustainable innovation in the industrial sector. Using biology to upgrade existing products and processes, Ecovative has commercialized products into multiple industries including a formaldehyde-free core for engineered wood & insulation; eco-friendly furniture; and home compostable protective packaging, as well as GIY (grow-it-yourself) materials for innovators, students, and educators.

For more, go to: www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.  Donate = ❤  (-:

 

 

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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

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AUDIO UP! Ben Kilham – In the Company of Bears

Click on links below to listen to Ben’s story.

Ben Kilham is a bear biologist who, for decades, has “studied wild black bears in a vast tract of Northern New Hampshire woodlands. At times, he has also taken in orphaned infants–feeding them, walking them through the forest for months to help them decipher their natural world, and eventually reintroducing them back into the wild. Once free, the orphaned bears still regard him as their mother. One of these bears, now a near 20-year-old female, has given him extraordinary access to her daily life, opening a rare window into how she and the wild bears she lives among carry out their daily lives, raise their young, and communicate. Kilham’s unique findings now interest bear researchers worldwide.”

His dedication to black bears has made him such an expert that China asked for his help with the giant panda, a collaboration that inspired the recently released documentary “Pandas.”

Ben’s work with bears, however, is just part of his story. Ben is dyslexic, which, for years, kept him from pursuing an advanced degree. As a result, his work and rare insights into the social and emotional lives of bears went largely unpublished. With the support of wildlife preservationist George Schaller (whose story is also included in the Story Preservation 4-12 Learning Lab), Ben enrolled in a doctorate program at Drexel University where he completed his course of study and now holds a Ph.D in Environmental Science. In a review written about In the Company of Bears, Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of The Dyslexic Advantage write, “Kilham perfectly exemplifies how much the world has to gain from the exceptional insights of dyslexic individuals, who often possess a special talent for finding order hidden in the complex patterns of the real world.”

SPI recorded Ben’s story in late July 2019 with upload to SPI’s grades 4-12 Learning Lab later this fall.

 

For more, go to: www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.  Donate = ❤  (-:

 

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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

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AUDIO UP!!! Sherri Mason – Leading the Charge on Microplastics

Click on links below to listen to Sherri’s story.

Story Preservation recorded the personal narrative of Dr. Sherri A. “Sam” Mason on July 22nd on the campus of Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont.

While there has been much study and media attention focused on the spread of microplastics into our oceans, Sam has emerged as a leader in the small but growing study of their affects on lakes and rivers far from the coasts.

In 2018, The Heinz Family Foundation named Dr. Sherri Mason as the recipient of the prestigious 23rd Heinz Award in the Public Policy category. She is recognized for her groundbreaking research identifying the presence of microbeads and microfibers in fresh water, and for raising awareness of the potential impact of microplastics and associated contaminants on the food chain and human health, resulting in state, federal and international policy change.

Her work has drawn international attention to the threats posed by microplastics in freshwater and led to the enactment of the federal Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. Other countries are following suit. The Canadian and New Zealand governments banned microbeads in early 2018, and the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries are rolling out bans on microbead-laden products over the next two years. To date, 448 brands from 119 different manufacturers have promised to remove plastic microbeads from their products.

Dr. Mason is also using her expertise to expand her focus to include the presence of microplastics in drinking water. In March 2018, the results of a study conducted by Dr. Mason analyzed bottled water from nine countries — the U.S., China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya and Thailand — and found that 93 percent showed some contamination from microplastics, or plastic debris less than one millimeter in length. Microplastics have also been found in samples of sea salt, freshwater sediment and even in air samples.

She currently serves in the role of Sustainability Coordinator at Penn State University, Behrend.

For more, go to http://www.storypreservation.org and please consider making a donation to Story Preservation Initiative.   Details can be found on our website.

 

INTRO TO RECORDING:

PLASTIC IS EVERYWHERE:

MICROBEADS AND MICROFIBERS:

LEGISLATION:

TAP AND BOTTLED WATER STUDIES:

WHY WE NEED MORE SCIENTISTS:

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This recording and all accompanying materials, as uploaded to our Learning Lab site, were made possible with funding from the Dorr Foundation, Portsmouth, NH.

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Mary Evelyn Tucker ⎥ Religion and Ecology

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Image from Religion and Ecology, Island Press, 2014

This is a talk that spans 13.8 billion years – from our cosmic origins to our place in the Earth’s ecosystem. Happy to say audio is up!

The relatively new alliance between religion and ecology is based on the belief that religions are a primary source of values in any culture and the environmental crisis that we face is fundamentally a crisis of values.

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University, where she teaches in a joint master’s degree program between the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies.  She directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale with her husband, John Grim.

While environmental issues are most frequently viewed through the lens of science, policy, law, and economics, in recent years the moral and spiritual dimensions of this crisis are becoming more visible.

“Our current ecological challenges are such that they require the insights of the world’s religions to awaken moral passion and concern,” Tucker says. “And these voices are needed now.”

Her concern for the growing environmental crisis, especially in Asia, led her to organize with John Grim a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard (1995-1998). Together they are series editors for the ten volumes from the conferences distributed by Harvard University Press. In this series she co-edited Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard, 1997), Confucianism and Ecology (Harvard, 1998), and Hinduism and Ecology (Harvard, 2000).

After the conference series she and Grim founded the Forum on Religion and Ecology at a culminating conference at the United Nations in 1998.

Books include: Ecology and Religion, John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, Island Press, 2014 /  The Emerging Alliance of Religion and Ecology, University of Utah Press, 2014 / Worldly Wonder, Open Court, 2013

For Mary Evelyn’s full bio and additional information on projects and publications, go to: http://www.emergingearthcommunity.org/mary-evelyn-tucker

Information for this post was taken from numerous sources, including the Emerging Earth Community website.

To listen to Mary Evelyn talk about the alliance between religion and ecology, click on links below (run time 34:00):

Deepika Kurup

UPDATE!  AUDIO UP!!

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With Deepika Kurup one of Forbes 2015 30 Under 30,  2014 Stockholm Junior Water Prize Winner, and a Google Science Fair award winner (along with much else), Deepika is working on a prototype to quickly, easily, and safely purify drinking water for use in developing countries.

 

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From an earlier post:

First up in the New Year!

Here’s 17-year old Deepika’s story (so far)  ~

On family trips to India as a child, Deepika Kurup often saw kids like herself forced to drink dirty water — as a result, at age 14, she became determined to find to a way to ensure that everyone has access to safe drinking water. For an 8th grade project, the Nashua, New Hampshire teen invented a water purification system that uses a photocatalytic composite and sunlight to clean water — an invention which earned her recognition as America’s Top Young Scientist in 2012.  And that’s just the beginning.

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Deepika at the 2013 White House Science Fair

Access to clean water is a global crisis. “One-ninth of the global population lacks access to clean water,” she explains “and 500,000 children die every year because of water related diseases.” On the trips to India, her immigrant parents’ native land, Deepika saw the struggle for clean water first hand: “[My parents] would have to boil the water before we drank it. I also saw children on the streets of India… take these little plastic bottles and they’re forced to fill it up with the dirty water they see on the street. And they’re forced to drink that water, because they don’t have another choice. And then I go back to America and I can instantly get tap water.”

Her early investigations into water purification methods found that many of them were expensive and potentially hazardous. “Traditionally, to purify waste water, they use chlorine, and chlorine can create harmful byproducts,” she points out. “Also, you have to keep replenishing the chlorine, you have to keep putting chlorine into the waste water to purify it.” She wanted to invent a new way to clean water that would be both cheap and sustainable.

Deepika came up with the idea of using a photocatalyst — a substance that reacts with water’s impurities when energized by the sun — that also filters the water. The combination of the reaction and the filtration can remove most contaminants for a fraction of the cost of chlorine purification. She determined that her system reduces the presence of coliform bacteria by 98% immediately after filtration and by 100% within 15 minutes. Another advantage is that her catalyst is reusable: “a catalyst doesn’t get used up in the reaction,” she says. “Theoretically you can keep using my composite forever.”

Deepika’s efforts have already been widely recognized — in addition to being named America’s Top Young Scientist in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, she was also the recipient of the 2013 President’s Environmental Youth Award and the 2014 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize.  In 2015, she was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 2015 “30 Under 30 in Energy” and received the National Geographic Explorer Award.

Deepika is looking forward to taking her research from the lab to real life: “It’s one thing to be working in a lab, doing this, and another thing to actually deploy it and see it working in the real world. So that’s one of my steps in the future.”

To listen to Deepika’s story, click on links below:

Stories Matter

Make Way for Sy!

AUDIO UP! on this fabulous recording.   It’s impossible to not love and be inspired by Sy!  

Photo by Paula Gordon

Photo by Paula Gordon.  Used with permission.

To research books, films and articles, Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire and bitten by a vampire bat in Costa Rica, worked in a pit crawling with 18,000 snakes in Manitoba and handled a wild tarantula in French Guiana.

She has been deftly undressed by an orangutan in Borneo, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels and dolphins in the Amazon. She has searched the Altai Mountains of Mongolia’s Gobi for snow leopards, hiked into the trackless cloud forest of Papua New Guinea to radiocollar tree kangaroos, and learned to SCUBA dive in order to commune with octopuses.

smontgomery_soulofanoctopusSy’s 20 books for both adults and children have garnered many honors. The Soul of an Octopus was a 2015 Finalist for the National Book Awards. The Good Good Pig, her memoir of life with her pig, Christopher Hogwood, is an international bestseller. She is the winner of the 2009 New England Independent Booksellers Association Nonfiction Award, the 2010 Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Henry Bergh Award for Nonfiction (given by the ASPCA for Humane Education) and dozens of other honors. Her work with the man-eating tigers, the subject of her book Spell Of The Tiger, was made into in a National Geographic television documentary she scripted and narrated. Also for National Geographic TV she developed and scripted Mother Bear Man, about her friend, Ben Kilham, who raises and releases orphaned bear cubs, which won a Chris award.

Sy writes for adults and children, for print and broadcast, in America and overseas in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible at what she considers a critical turning point in human history.

“We are on the cusp of either destroying this sweet, green Earth—or revolutionizing the way we understand the rest of animate creation,” she says. “It’s an important time to be writing about the connections we share with our fellow creatures. It’s a great time to be alive.”

She speaks frequently at schools and museums, libraries and universities.

She is a 1979 graduate of Syracuse University, a triple major with dual degrees in Magazine Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in French Language and Literature and in Psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Keene State College in 2004, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Franklin Pierce University and also from Southern New Hampshire University in 2011.

 

 

 

Citizen Activist ⎥ American Landscape Painter Susan Swartz

Susan with Louis Psihoyos, Director of The Cove and Racing Extinction

Susan with Louis Psihoyos, Director of The Cove and Racing Extinction

RACING EXTINCTION

As taken from Susan’s website:  Environmental activist and landscape painter Susan Swartz explores the landscape through potent colors and richly layered abstract paintings. With her evocation of coastal splendor and mountain drama, Swartz follows in the tradition of the great German painters, 19th century Romantic sage Caspar David Friedrich, and 20th century icon Gerhard Richter. She is inspired by the intersection of art, nature and spirituality.

Swartz’s distinctive style has been recognized with solo exhibitions at the Kollegienkirche in Salzburg, Austria; the Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C in 2011; the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah in 2010; and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2008. Her works are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Springville Museum of Art; Utah Museum of Fine Arts; and the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In 2005, Swartz was published in the Gibbs Smith collectors book Painters of the Wasatch Mountains alongside Wasatch Mountain School artists Maynard Dixon, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. The same year she was honored by the Harvard Divinity School for a career that continues to blend artistry and faith. Swartz was the Official Olympic Environmental Artist for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Landscape of Resonances 009

The underlying energy and tension to Swartz’s work hints of her complex relationship with the natural world. Her decade long struggle with mercury poisoning and Lyme disease transformed her as an artist and as a citizen. She now works from a place of impassioned reverence for the earth, and of fierce determination to inform and educate.

Partnering with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Louie Psihoyos and Dr. Jane Goodall on a number of their environmental campaigns, Swartz also supports the vision and production of documentary films  that seek to shed light on social and environmental injustice.

Films touched by her include Academy Award-winners and nominees, as well as Sundance Film Festival award winners.

Swartz serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Divinity School and is the co-founder of charity-based The Christian Center of Park City  She is on the board of the Utah Film Center and a founding member of the documentary film organization Impact Partners.

American Author and Naturalist ⎥John Hay

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A rare interview made available to us through a Friend of Story.  

Kearsarge Valley Magazine’s Library of videotaped interviews, stretching back some 25 years,  has been made available to Story Preservation thanks to the generosity of Friend and Supporter, Gail Matthews. 

Gail is the former producer and host of the Yankee Cable Network program, Kearsarge Valley Magazine.  Segments were filmed by Will James, the founder of YCN. In ways similar to Story Preservation, Kearsarge Valley Magazine featured interviews of people from all walks of life with interesting stories to tell. Many of Gail’s stories complement those in our collection.  We’re in the process of transferring the videos from VHS format to DVD.

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First up, American author, naturalist, and conservation activist, John Hay.

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Here’s some background, taken from the Brown University Special Collections Library where his papers are archived, as is the photo of one of his journals, below.  The journal is, what one would call, the real deal!

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.00.30 AMJohn Hay was born in 1915, ten years after the death of his famous grandfather and namesake, John Milton Hay (1838-1905), a Brown alumnus (Class of 1858), poet and diplomat. Clarence L. Hay, father of the younger John Hay, was an archaeologist who, after doing some exploration in Mexico, served as curator of Aztec and Mayan civilizations at The American Museum of Natural History in New York. He was also an amateur botanist.

Clarence L. Hay married Alice Appleton, and the younger John Hay was born at the Appleton family estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The younger Hay was raised in New York City , attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire and had the privilege of spending his summers at The Fells, his late grandfather’s estate on Lake Sunapee.

Hay attended Harvard, and on graduation worked as Washington correspondent for The Charleston News and Courier. Just before going into the army, Hay apprenticed himself to Conrad Aiken, the poet, who was then living in Brewster, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Hay divided his time in Brewster between clearing land and writing poetry. Before leaving for the service, Hay bought what he thought was 10 acres of land on the top of a nearly treeless hill, close to Aiken’s home called “41 Doors.” He spent some of his tour of duty in the Army as an associate editor of Yank, the army newspaper.

After his discharge, he and his new wife, Kristi Aresvik Putnam, settled on what turned out to be Hay’s 18 acre lot to raise their family, which eventually numbered four, on Cape Cod. Hay worked as a freelance writer and reviewer, and privately published a book of his poetry. His love of the Cape and of his grandfather’s land in New Hampshire led him to combine observation of nature with his writing skills. This resulted in a 1959 publication entitled The Run, almost immediately recognized as a classic in the field of nature writing. John Hay continued to observe and to write, but he was also an activist and an educator. He taught at Dartmouth from the early 1970’s into the 1980’s. He had previously co-founded the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History with other local educators in 1954 and helped to establish its many outreach programs. He served as the Museum’s second president and held that post for 25 years. He joined the Brewster Conservation Committee, persuading the town to take over 200 acres of salt marsh by eminent domain, to ensure that some land on the rapidly developing Cape remained in public hands. His many honors include selection as Phi Beta Kappa poet at Harvard in 1963, and the John Burroughs Medal in 1964, garnered for his book The Great Beach. He was named conservationist of the year by the Massachusetts Wildlife Federation in 1970. In 1991, the Orion Society established the John Hay Award, given annually to an author who excels in addressing the relationship between man and nature, environmental education and conservation, in his honor. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests named him Conservationist of the Year for the second time in 1993.

John Hay's Grandfather's Summer Home / The Fells, Sunapee, NH

John Hay’s Grandfather’s Home / The Fells, Sunapee, NH

Through his books, his poetry, his college lectures, the museum and his life, John Hay has spread the message that man is only part of nature, not in control of nature. He died in Bremen, Maine on February 26, 2011.

Other upcoming videos made available to Story Preservation by Gail Matthews / Yankee Cable Network:  Naturalist / Writer, David Carroll; Poet, Maxine Kumin; and New Hampshire’s forever favorite, Babe Sargent.  And that’s just the beginning!

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Tech transfer underway.  Check back soon for video upload!

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