Tag Archives: book

This Fine Piece of Water: Reflections Part II

Reflections Part I can be read here.

Adriaen Block and the First Explorers

            I can’t help but state that I found this part the least interesting of the book so far, and I kind of see it as pointless to learn about who explored the Sound.  I guess my apathy comes from the fact that the explorers didn’t discover the Sound, since the Native Americans had been living there sustainably for many years.  I do, however see the value in learning about how they navigated and how they mapped different areas.  Overall, I am sympathetic to the Native Americans in that the explorers came in, bringing deadly diseases with them, and exploited the natural resources of the area, especially beavers.  It’s amazing to me that a population could be reduced so quickly, and the prime example is when Block complained that some of the Native Americans would only take what beavers they needed, and no more.  That is the definition of sustainability, scoffed at by the explorers.  The explorers also tricked the Native Americans into selling their land, when they thought they were only selling the rights to use the land.  “They had no notion of private property; ownership of land… would have been as incomprehensible as ownership of the wind or clouds.”  And so, by exploiting resources and Native Americans, the explorers decimated the populations of beaver and people alike.

 

The American Mediterranean

            I found this chapter to be interesting because it discussed the trade routes throughout all of the different towns I am familiar with.  I believe that because these are towns I know, my interest was held where otherwise I would be disinterested.  I enjoyed reading Yale President Timothy Dwight’s recounts of travels, and I appreciated learning about the sealing and whaling industries that operated out of the Sound.  As someone who does really care to learn about history, I was interested to learn about the effect that the Embargo Act of 1807 had on the shipping industry in the Sound, and how that shaped the self-sufficiency of each town.

 

The Industrial Age

            This chapter summarized the rise of industry in Connecticut.  It was interesting to see how the Embargo Act contributed to the growth of Connecticut manufacturing, and how people like Eli Whitney, the Porter brothers and Aaron Benedict contributed to the industry.  As industry boomed, so did the population, especially in cities.  This of course contributed to wastes, both industrial and biological, and pollution of the rivers upon which the cities and mills were built rose.  The description of the need for sewage treatment was an interesting one, and the government’s pattern of investigating a problem but failing to follow through with appropriate solutions was evident in the recognition of the need for treating wastes, but the failure to appropriately do so.

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A book?

For my MS in Science Education/Biology, I did a special project instead of a thesis.  I wrote a week’s worth of workshops to help elementary school teachers learn science content.  It was a great experience, especially since I aligned my project with the state standards, so I really understood what I could expect from my students when they get to high school.  It was also great when, last spring, a colleague and I ran a modified version of these workshops with our district’s 4th and 5th grade teachers.  I really enjoyed working with other educators, and the enthusiasm of elementary school teachers was wonderful.  I’m used to critical science teachers!

So now I’m working on a second MS.  This one’s in Environmental Education, and I’m really enjoying the program.  I’m already thinking about my special project, because I can do it at any time and not just at the end of my studies.  For the last week or so I’ve been contemplating writing a book.  This book would combine my skills and experiences as a science educator with my environmental interests.  I’d love to write a book full of activities for families to use to explore their local food systems.  This would be an informal educational book with activities for families to experience together, but it could also be useful for homeschoolers, teachers, or green groups.  My book would include science activities (my area of expertise), field trip ideas, and activities for crafts, gardening, and simple recipes that bring families together to learn about where their food comes from.  The book would incorporate an exploration of local foods with environmental aspects, small family farms, and science activities.  I’m really excited about this.

When I first started thinking about writing a book, I didn’t think I could do it.  While I enjoy writing, I’m far from a trained writer.  How would I convey everything I want to about the environment, farming, science, and local food, while bringing families together? Finally, I got the idea to compile a series of activities.  That’s what I do! I am completely comfortable writing activities, and once I started thinking about it, there were a lot of ideas floating around in my head.  I think I can do it.

I still need to speak to my advisor about it, but now I’m thinking I might want to write this book even if I can’t use it for my special project.

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Filed under Food, Gardening, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sustainable Living