A project of the Water Education Foundation. Funded by
grants from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Mid-Pacific Region),
U.S. Geological Survey (California Water Science Center) and
California Department of Water Resources.
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New Tools for Exploring Water – Past, Present & Future
Welcome to a New Year, Project WET Educators! The traditional season of gift-giving and thanks may have ended for you with the removal of lights and storing of decorations. But I’m hoping this Gazette may extend the season for you well into the New Year by highlighting a small treasure-trove of online tools and resources that have been recently released or updated – and can be used with Project WET activities.
The leaf buds on the blue oak outside my home office window are just beginning to swell with new life, even as spring wildflowers and daffodils are already on full display in the yard below. The flowers are all at least 3 weeks early this year, and the sea of green grass around them is already patched with large yellowish swathes of desiccation.
What a year this has been. Even before the shock of a how to function in a global pandemic has worn off, questions of how to deal with the virus, how education should be conducted this fall and how we deal with racial and social inequities in our society have boiled over on our streets and media streams.
“Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next…”
— Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’
I suspect I’m not the only one feeling a bit like Alice after falling through our own rabbit hole in March to enter a disconcerting world of digital learning. I’m sure many of us now have first-hand experience with ‘all the running you can do just to keep in the same place’ and figuring out how to do “as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” You may also have found yourself arguing with our own versions of ”I’m not crazy, my reality is just different than yours” Cheshire cats in regards to wearing masks or debating our course forward until a COVID-19 vaccine is found.
I must admit I was initially feeling very pessimistic for the future prospects for encouraging direct, hands-on learning experiences in a world already fearing bugs, dirt, heat, cold, air quality and a variety of other phobias outside one’s door. Add to that a virus deadly enough to be declared a global pandemic reinforced by two months of mandatory stay at home orders and one has to wonder how hard it will be for people to directly engage with the world outside ever again. But, pessimism has given way to marvel at the ingenuity on all the ways educators and parents have found to modify and adapt to the online learning environment, including the continued use of Project WET activities with their students!
“A rainbow of soil is under our feet; red as a barn and black as a peat. It’s yellow as lemon and white as the snow; bluish gray. So many colors below. Hidden in darkness as thick as the night; The only rainbow that can form without light. Dig you a pit, or bore you a hole, you’ll find enough colors to well rest your soul.”
“If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.”
It has been a heck of a summer of fire, heat and weeks of varying densities of smoke filled air painting what visibility we have had with a garish light one can imagine on some plane of Hell. But six months from now, our focus will likely turn from fires to floods – if decent amounts of precipitation fall. You’ve probably heard people wondering why anyone would live in or is allowed to live in these places – or news of people leaving the state after experiencing one of these events.
It is hard to believe it has been over 30 years since the release of a movie that became part of the “linguistic code talk” of the time period, but some of us have been dating ourselves by firing off lines like “No more rhyming, I mean it!” and getting looks of confusion rather than the expected reply of “Anybody want a peanut?”For those unfamiliar, “The Princess Bride” was a modern, fractured fairy tal
Crazy weather patterns or not, life is resurging – springing back – in the plant world around us. Yes, our evergreen neighbors have been active throughout the winter, hoping to take advantage of the dormancy of their deciduous relatives to catch a bit more solar energy in what is usually our wettest season of the year.