A friend of mine recently spent a few days of vacation on the Jersey Shore. She stayed in a particularly beautiful part of our country called Long Beach Island. Located about 25 miles north of Atlantic City, Long Beach Island is no more than 20 miles in length and a half mile wide (at its widest point), and includes a nature reserve located on the southern tip. It is a small community for most of the year, but booms to about 100,000 seasonal residents and vacationers in the summer months.
One of my new year's resolutions for 2013 was to eat healthier. Most people who know me are aware that I am already a healthy eater and I live a healthy lifestyle. I walk my neighborhood as much as possible. I sleep well. I exercise my mind and my body. I enjoy the company of friends. Though I am not a vegetarian, I tend to eat many of the same foods because they taste good and because they are healthy for my body. But there is always room to grow.
I was recently flying across the country and gazing out the window at the beautiful landscapes. I thought about how lucky we are to have this perspective. No bird has ever flown as high as today's commercial airliners. There is no tree high enough for a bear, snake, or monkey to climb to the top to see our world this way either. We as humans are blessed with this vantage because of our technology. If you ever fly in an airplane, be sure to sit by the window so you can see the glory of our Earth from an entirely different perspective.
The mainstream digital age has only been upon us for a short time -- about 25 years. That's not even a blink of the eye in term's of Earth's lifetime when you consider that the dinosaurs walked around our planet for 135 million years! But still, it's enough time to accumulate waste and develop digital practices that are wasteful. While it may be true that cyber-waste is cleaner than the toxins emitted by our cars and the junk that we toss into the trash each day, but all of it is starting to build up in one big digital garbage dump.
PlanetSEED is a large Web site. We have thousands of pages of science articles, labs, experiments, journals, and more, and all of it is available in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish). The majority of our articles were written by the amazing science experts from Schlumberger. And every time I think I have read each article and experimented with each lab, I find another one hidden away that I had not seen before.
Since we started the SEED program in 1998, I have always dreamed of the doors that our program could open - for students, teachers, volunteers, countries, and communities. Now that I am in Ecuador for the first National Teacher Conference, it has never been clearer that we are achieving that dream.
On one level, this workshop is giving teachers resources and support to bring innovative science techniques to their schools. It provides the tools and the confidence teachers need to use technology in their classrooms.
As a long time New Yorker, I have become accustomed to the way nature can grow within a massive city. We have city parks, zoos, rooftop yards, and other spaces designated for nature. Let's face it: the city is no place for a herd of wild horses. So, nature's space has to be carved out of the skyscrapers, streets, and train tracks. It is as important for nature to thrive in the city as it is for those of us who share the space. But every now and then, I see or hear or read about nature's way of growing and thriving within the city beyond its normal walls.
SEED published its collection of 83 math puzzles in one volume earlier this year. The Amazing Puzzle Book from SEED has 170 pages and more than 40 co-authors from around the world! It is also published in seven languages. I have tried most of the puzzles myself and I have to admit that I am often stumped! It's a good thing we have so many math and science experts on our team and within our volunteer ranks!
One of my colleagues on the SEED team sent me the link to this great video yesterday and I want to share it with the SEED community. It talks about the founding of the Science Exploratorium in San Francisco. The concept of a hands-on science museum was novel in the late 1960s. Now they are commonplace, and I am thankful for it.