An ‘On The Origin Of Species’ For Artists

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I was in music class once and started crying. I was in a music class in college and the professor played this aria called “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s Norma sung by Maria Callas.

We were studying it in class, and when she played the recording for the first time, it was so beautiful that I started to tear up; I started crying. I was having a moment and looked down at my desk so people would not see.

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Boise Earth Day Poetry Reading (Photos)

I got to curate and be part of an amazing poetry reading this past Saturday: an Earth Day 2018 poetry reading at The Cabin.

It featured nine local poets (Catherine Kyle, Rachel Murphy, Amanda Rich, Hannah Rodabaugh, Ruth Salter, Daphne Stanford, Elena Tomorowitz, and Tessy Ward) and Rena Ashton (educational director of Zoo Boise). They read poetry and essays about nature and conservation.

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Why I Will Always Love Pests & You Should Too

There is a part of me that will always love pests like pigeons or houseflies or starlings. It’s the part of me that thinks the maligned often have their own value, their own stories to tell when we get to know them.

After all, I once was that person in school. I was teased, as so many kids were teased, as being without value to my peers.

So when I see a maligned animal species that people have assigned as being without value to them (often through very little thought or speculation), I see myself in it.

Besides, there is something respectable, even heroic, in the scrappy survivor.

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Well, It’s Wildfire & Forest Fire Season Again In The West

I love the arid, mountain landscapes of the west. I love the native wildflower and animal species that live in mountain ecosystems. I love the aridity of the desert. I love its total lack of humidity and 100+ degree heat.

But with the aridity of the western landscape comes fire season with its forest fires and wildfires.

Last summer there were forest fires burning in Idaho and two adjoining states at around the same time. The smoke from all of them was blowing down into Boise. For weeks, the city was ensconced in a hazy layer of burning, lung-clogging smoke.

This is normal.

It’s like that in every state in the west.

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Passenger Pigeon!

The Cabin Idaho asked me to teach a writing camp for kids this summer in conjunction with The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey. Yesterday afternoon I and two awesome Cabin staff (Katie & Ashley) met with the education coordinator at the center for a tour and planning session.

I mentioned that I found the book A Feathered River Across The Sky about the extinction of the passenger pigeon deeply moving and was planning a writing activity around passenger pigeons and other extinct bird species.

The education coordinator mentioned that though they deal primarily with birds of prey, they had a passenger pigeon in their specimen collection.

Naturally, I got super excited when he mentioned that we also might be able to swing by the specimen collection to view it.

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