Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference, SUNY New Paltz

There were a lot of intriguing sessions listed in the program.

Despite a freshly sprained ankle, I had a remarkably good time at the 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference at SUNY, New Paltz.  I drove to the conference wearing flip flops and with an ice pack strapped tightly around my left foot.  Once I got there, I never iced it again because I didn't want to miss anything.

All the sessions I went to were really good and helpful to me.  They gave me fresh markets to pursue, great ideas for school visits and different perspectives for developing quality books.  The faculty was quite diverse.  There were authors, editors, illustrators, digital media developers, app developers, the publisher of a daily app newspaper, the owner of an independent bookstore and a librarian from a major library.  It was interesting hearing how publishers are adapting to the changing and evolving digital world. 

David Aguilar did an excellent job of story telling with his captivating  account of the  "Big Bang."  I was fascinated watching the 3-D printing demo and totally amused when they scanned and printed out Roxie Munroe's head.  It was a weekend to make new writing friends and catch up with old ones.  I made it a point to sit with new people at every meal.  The first night we had a wonderful buffet dinner outside.  It featured the potato martini--mashed sweet or white potatoes in a martini glass with toppings.  It was such a creative idea and perfect for a conference of creators.
This 3-D printer melted plastic at 240°C
Roxie's head and shoulders were scanned..

The 3-D printer made little Roxie......
....and these too.  The skull and hinge (corner of hinge is on right)  had moveable parts.

What a shame this didn't come out right!  One man's junk was another man's treasure (see top photo).

By Sunday night, after a weekend of neglect, my ankle was as bloated as a bullfrog.   I discovered ice cold shower water (foot only!) worked wonders to reduce pain and swelling.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Hazen Park, Avon

black bear track!
This coming weekend I'm driving to the 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference at SUNY, New Paltz.  Last year, I had a great time and I was glad I went.  I expect this year to be even better.  The conference has quite a collection of sessions on new media which sound intriguing.  I am also eager to see the 3-D printing demo.  It fits right in with my background and interest in cutting-edge technology and science.

A couple weeks ago, we hiked to the Heublein Tower via Hazen Park in Avon, CT.   The trail started out at a gradual incline and got very steep near the top.  It was quite exciting when Walt discovered the fresh bear print in the mud.  Bears are often spotted in Avon.  I would have loved to have spent more time looking for other prints, but I was busy as the host of a whine and mosquito tasting.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Elizabeth Park, Hartford/West Hartford

great blue heron
I wrote a short editorial about climate change that was published on May 27th.  It led to a weeklong  email exchange with my "fans."  Lol.   I really appreciated that not once did the subject of politics or Al Gore enter the conversation.   Those that I exchanged emails with were highly educated in physics, chemistry and meteorology.  Although they were skilled in their fields, no one was a climate scientist.  Another "fan" sent me Jehovah Witness pamphlets and a note. Yep, quite the week.
male mallard duck

Ninety-seven percent (actually 97.1%) of climate scientists believe burning fossil fuels is causing climate change. They believe we need to cut our carbon emissions to stop the climate from warning.  The sooner we take action, the better.
IF THEY'RE WRONG We will have reduced carbon in the air and invested in wind and solar technologies.


Those that believe the climate is changing from natural causes, think the warming won't continue.  They think the oceans will cool and CO2 will drop all by itself. 
We will have lost valuable time to reverse spiraling CO2.


On the outskirts of the city, we stopped at Elizabeth Park to see roses.  For the most part, the yellow ones were the only ones in bloom.  In less than ten minutes time, we spotted the great blue heron at the pond, perched like a statue.  It waited there for a long, long time.  I was thrilled to be so close. As I watched the heron, the mallards coasted by.  I could see fish in the water and thought for certain the heron would try and nab one, but it remained silent and still.
great blue heron