MAY 22, 2014
I'm loving the work that I'm doing with H2O for Life... I only wish it was a little warmer here in Minnesota. It doesn't quite feel like summer yet. You can learn all about H2O for Life on the website: http://www.h2oforlifeschools.org/. Right now I'm writing curriculum (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12) for students in schools across the country to investigate local water issues that are affecting their community and implement some sort of change. It will be piloted in a few Minnesota schools next academic year, and hopefully across the country the year after.
I haven't gotten out to do much exploring yet because it's been rainy and cold since I got home. This week has been nicer but I've had work every day. Hopefully this weekend I will have some time to get out and take some pictures of our lake - we have a momma loon nesting out on the little island right now. So exciting!
Both the farmer's market in the town where I live AND the farmer's market in the town where I work aren't starting up until late June. When they do open, I'll be sure to check them out, take some pictures, and talk to some people - and pass what I've found along.
JUNE 17, 2014
I hope all is well back in RVA! I heard you guys are having a heat wave today... I'm a little jealous. Mid 70's and thunderstorms here all week.
This weekend was opening weekend for three farmer's markets in my area, but it was a total wash. Thunderstorms all weekend with damaging winds & hail. Some towns have even seen tornadoes, though that's in the Southern portion of the state, far away from me!
Hopefully next weekend I'll get you some photos & info about the farmer's markets here in Minnesota. Until then, I'm sending along some photos of the wildlife & sunsets I've been enjoying in my backyard.
JULY 17, 2014
I’ve spent the past two weeks at H2O for Life working on a big interview project. The town that H2O for Life is based in takes its name from a large lake - White Bear Lake. Unfortunately, this lake is suffering from the lowest water level it has ever seen. While the lake level has dipped low in the past, a combination of drought and over-pumping from the underlying aquifer has caused a serious disruption in the ecosystem. H2O for Life has started a campaign called Race to Reduce (which you can like on Facebook here!) to encourage community members and businesses in the area to adopt water conservation strategies in their daily life.
My role in this Race to Reduce campaign is an interview project. I am meeting with mayors, Chamber of Commerce board members, environmental sustainability groups, superintendents, business owners, residents who have lived on the lake for 50+ years… the list goes on and on. Each interview provides a new and different perspective on the issue of a declining water level in White Bear Lake and the role that we can play in a solution. The interviews will be published on the H2O for Life website and the Race to Reduce Facebook page - stay tuned!
The farmer’s markets here in Minnesota are lively and fun. Minnesotans really enjoy their summers, because the winters are so long and brutally cold. Live music, cooking demonstrations, lots of food vendors, but also a lot of non-food vendors as well. Crafts, soaps, and paintings have all been featured at one point or another. The kids play an interesting role in the farmer’s markets out here, because instead of being entertained at a craft station, the kids run their own stand. At one farmer’s market, kids taught market-goers how to create a simple fruit salad. At another, the kids instructed others on the creation of a simple rubber band bracelet. It was so fun to see kids empowered and confident at a venue as large as a farmer’s market.
My time in Minnesota is almost up! I’m heading out on the evening of July 30…. in a car….. all the way to New Jersey. One week at the beach and then back to Richmond. I’m enjoying my final weeks kayaking on the lake in front of my house, exploring local waterfalls, and of course, riding horses. Can’t wait to be back in Virginia!