I’ve been reading all sorts of stories and comments about the homeschooling challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Much of it has been how hard homeschooling is, how ill-equipped parents feel, and how it is not going so well. When I heard that one parent was ripping the “my child is an honor student” bumper sticker off her car, I thought I’d share a few thoughts. We homeschooled our two children in the 80s and 90s, back when it was still rather new to … [Read more...] about Homeschooling During the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Few Thoughts from a Veteran Homeschooling Parent
Blog: Dave Van Manen
A friend of mind, an avid hiker who gets out on Colorado's trails very often, recently shared with me a couple of photos he took at Lake of the Clouds in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. The photos are of the same scene, taken ten years apart. The first photo was taken in 2013, the second one in 2023. I was shocked when I first saw these photos. I'm still shocked whenever I look at them. I know these forests, as I've been hiking and backpacking the wilderness trails of the … [Read more...] about What a Hotter World Does to Forests
My country is broken. It is supposed to be governed by a government that is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as President Lincoln said at Gettysburg. The first three words of our country’s Constitution are “We the people.” Our elected officials are supposed to go to Washington DC to carry out the will of We the People. They don’t! Two issues plainly illustrate how our government does not act to carry out the will of the people. First, guns. Based on polling data conducted by … [Read more...] about My Country is Broken
When I finished writing the song Don’t Whine, I just had this feeling that it would become one of our more requested songs – particularly by parents. It was catchy, it was fun, and, I mean, really, don’t all kids whine? My hunch was somewhat confirmed on our way to the Denver recording studio, where we were to begin recording the Healthy Planet Healthy People album, which includes the song Don’t Whine. We made a stop at a grocery store on the way to the studio, and I waited in the van … [Read more...] about Does Anyone In Your House Whine? We have a song for you!
Of all the songs I have written about taking care of the Earth, there is one that stands out as being especially appropriate for preschoolers and kindergarteners. I have probably sung I Am an Earthkeeper more than any other song for young children, and I find that little ones like it as much as any other age group. Truth be told, I have performed this song for people of every age, and it just about always “ works.” But I especially love how young children respond to it. Along with … [Read more...] about My Favorite Earth Song for Preschoolers – A Resource for Educators
Governor Polis’ efforts to bring free, full-day kindergarten to Colorado’s public schools have been in the news quite often the last several weeks. Currently, Colorado only pays for half-day kindergarten. Those districts that do offer full-day kindergarten pay for it with funds designated for other programs, with local property taxes, or by charging families. Polis recently stated, "It's time to make the state a full partner with our (school) districts. We simply need to ensure that kindergarten … [Read more...] about Putting the Garden Back in Kindergarten
I find it serendipitous that, a few short weeks before the 2018 elections, a dire warning has been issued by the International Panel on Climate Change, a warning that should be of major concern to every political candidate, be it for federal, state, or local office. While acknowledging that the negative impacts of a warming planet are already underway, the IPCC says that to avoid catastrophic changes to the Earth’s interconnected ecological and societal systems, we must limit global warming to … [Read more...] about A Couple of Questions on Climate Change for Political Candidates and Policy Makers
The clock is ticking. According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, “a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe,” the clock is the closest it’s ever been to doomsday (https://thebulletin.org/timeline). This looming doomsday has me comparing today’s chaotic politics and other challenges to another tumultuous time in our history, the 1960s. I got my start in this world during the Eisenhower presidency, and started becoming aware of the larger … [Read more...] about Two Minutes to Doomsday!
A Utah Senator says that setting aside this land as part of the National Parks is “a hasty, impetuous action to lock up the area, a step that the people of Utah and the nation would regret for centuries.” A Deseret News article asserts there is “no other place in the state which [has] greater potential for mineral production.” A Moab Times Independent editorial states, “We wholeheartedly agree that Utahans cannot allow vast, potentially-rich tracts of land to be ‘locked’ into reserves that … [Read more...] about National Monuments: Land Grab or Legacy?
I’ve been writing about various facets of the natural world for the newsletter of the Nature education non-profit I started in the Mountain Park in Beulah, my small southern Colorado town, for a long time. The recent issue that was just published begins the eighteenth year of the Mountain Park News. I can recall writing articles on all sorts of birds and wildflowers, bears, trees, mountain lions, pronghorn, bobcat, pleasing fungus beetles, squirrels, owls, biological soil crusts…but, … [Read more...] about Vuja de