Thursday, September 21, 2017

Climate readings for EII

I wasn't planning to assign these readings so early, but this hurricane season kinda requires we get thinking about this sooner rather than later:

You have three readings:

  1. Maine's Climate Future, the 2015 update
  2. Hansen et al 2016. This is, as I mentioned, a difficult read. We'll discuss in class how this and associated work establishes the "models versus analogs" issue in current climate science and policy
  3. Related, two brief news articles on hurricanes, one here, another here

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Assignment: Common Ground Country Fair

The fair is an all-around good time, so you should need no incentive to go; however, the following notes are added to help you along:

Assignment instructions:
  1. You are assigned to go to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Common Ground Country Fair held Friday through Sunday September 22-24 right here in Unity, and then to complete the response paper detailed below
  2. You may get into the fair for free if you volunteer. Be sure to do so well ahead of time. See the MOFGA webpage for details
  3. If you are a MOFGA member you already get in for free. Check to see if your parents have a family membership
  4. For those of you who were planning to go home, or who cannot attend the fair for any other valid reason, such as work or a medical appointment, your alternative assignment is to visit a local or organic food outlet, such as a farmer's market or food cooperative, private kitchen garden, or any other food source that seems likely to be able to give you the provenance information that will be needed, and complete the same assignment as the fair-goers (below). Be careful to actually get the information. Most non fair-goers who fail this assignment do so because they don't get the proper information.
The fair/local/organic food response paper:
  1. Obtain food for a meal at the fair, at some local food outlet, or from a friend's or relative's kitchen garden. Be sure to find out where each ingredient comes from
  2. Make and eat the meal. (If you live in the residence halls and otherwise eat on the meal plan, the meal can just be a snack.)
  3. Describe the meal and track the ingredients geographically and ecologically in a short informal essay. Focus on the food chain. Explain why this was (or was not) a good meal. Humor and/or pathos are optional
  4. Due Wednesday October 4th in class or via email
  5. This is the first check-in opportunity for me to evaluate your writing and critical thinking skills. Be sure to do your best, or you may find yourself getting unexpected remedial attention!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

NASA photos of Irma damage to tree cover on the islands

Click to enlarge.

Captives on the farm

Aimee, Edana, and I hosted two van-loads of first year "Captive" students to our farm in Jackson, ME to learn some sheep care skills. As per the regular protocol for this event, which has been happening for almost a decade now, we added some animal scientist boot-camp and general attitude adjustment material.

You may think you're there to learn how to care for fuzzy sheep, which are admittedly cute. But when the sheep whose hooves you need to trim and whose eyeballs you need to check for signs of parasites turns out to weigh twice what you do, has an attitude of his own, and decidedly negative opinions about you and what you plan to do, a little internal adjustment may just possibly be required.

This may indeed be the moment when you discover whether or not you are really cut out for a career in Captive Wildlife Care and Education.

It is also perhaps the moment when you realize that, in order to properly understand what you are doing, it is necessary to actually use some of that oh-so-boring high school and early college biological science.

Let's face it, if you don't actually care what Haemonchus contortus is, or what causes anemia, or if you can't be bothered to study the physiology of nematodes, life indeed might be a little easier on you and possibly more pleasant. Classes, books, slideshows, the teacher droning on... blah, blah, blah...

But, if that is the case, if that is the person you are, and there's nothing you care to change about that, do you have any business looking after animals?

File all this under "How to change someone's mind."