Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:37
By Kath Tibbetts
I saw an article headline the other day stating that one in three children has never climbed a tree ... in fact, 60 percent of them would rather do just about anything but go outside. It got me thinking.
I was the kid who never climbed the trees at the local park. Afraid of hurting myself, I'd watch the rest of my cohort scramble up, dangle from, and jump off trees fearlessly, while I'd shuffle off to the swings. It's not that I didn't want to climb, I was simply petrified.
In the sixth grade, my folks started sending me to nature camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. For one week a summer, I would camp out on mountain ledges and swim in gorges. By the end of my first week, I had scaled and rappelled down a 100-foot rock wall. And I felt like a champion. At that camp, I learned how to build fires, maintain a compost pile, and simply be comfortable in the wilderness.
Unfortunately, today's average child is not exposed to the type of experience I had in the White Mountains. In fact, children are spending half as much time outside as their parents did when they were children. Richard Louv, journalist and author of Last Child in the Woods, says, "The child in nature is an endangered species."
In the Ithaca area, we're fortunate to have several groups working to combat this issue. I reached out to Tim Drake and Jed Jordan of Primitive Pursuits, a local nature-based education organization ("Get Out and Stay Out" is one of their tongue-in-cheek taglines), to get their take. They told me that they see their work as a sort of "cultural intervention" aimed at bringing a necessary and healthy relationship with the natural world back into our modern society.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:08
By Joe Romano, Marketing Manager
You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
— Doug Floyd
If you've ever sung karaoke with other people, you may know the experience. You get up to sing, oh, let's say, "Don't Stop Believin,'" by Journey. Everyone up on stage has a slightly different sense of the pitch, the cadence, and the timing. Some hold notes longer; some start them sooner. The four or five of you, all trying to sing the same thing, don't quite pull it off. Worse, when you try to adjust to get in unison, you end up even farther out of sync. The whole scene usually devolves into one in which each singer just starts wailing louder and louder until all in attendance are left feeling kind of bruised, and as for the song, well, you might just stop believin' altogether.
If, on the other hand, the singers are practiced in the art of harmony, everyone in the room will have a very different experience. Each singer will occupy their own vocal space and, though they're all singing different notes, perhaps even different words, they will have each found their own voice in the song, all the while remaining in unwavering relationship. These singers have found harmony, each singing a different song in time with the others. Those in attendance feel uplifted, because the space resonates with connection, and engages even those who are not singing. This is the nature of cooperation. We are not asked to all become the same when we cooperate; we all bring our very different voices, different lives, and different needs.
Monday, 01 September 2014 14:47
The rocks are not so close akin to us as the soil; they are one more remove from us; but they lie back of all, and are the final source of all. ... Time, geologic time, looks out at us from the rocks as from no other objects in the landscape.
— John Burroughs
By Joe Romano,
Issues like fracking, protecting our local biodiversity, whether local wine should be sold in supermarkets, whether Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) should be stored in the Seneca salt caverns, which neighborhoods get funding for what, supporting local farmers, and the role of the colleges up on the hills of our community seem like issues of the moment here in Ithaca. But actually, all of these things were caused by the same factors and each had its genesis over 360 million years ago.
You may be looking down at your feet and scratching your head, wondering how that is possible. Well that's a perfect response. In fact, look down at your feet right now, because that's where the answer lies.
Imagine that it's 410 million years ago. The continents have yet to differentiate and drift apart. High sea levels have flooded this part of what will become the North American continent, so you're standing under warm ocean water very near to the Earth's equator. A collision with the landmass that is now Europe has created a long mountain range on the scale of the Himalayas that rise above the water just to the east of this undersea Ithaca. The water around you is teeming with life. At your feet are seashells and skeletons of sea creatures that form a limey mud that will eventually become limestone.
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By Alexis Alexander,
I'm thrilled to announce that Blue Sky Mission Club will perform at our annual Springtime Dance Party in the Parking Lot on Thursday, May 21. As every Ithaca dance-lover knows, May is the month when the outdoor music-and-dance season begins in earnest, brightening our lives as the rich bounty of local talent fills the streets and parks throughout the region. What...