Sunday, September 29, 2013

Peru State (#23) vs Benedictine U (#10), NAIA Game of the Week

While the final score (44-41) did not favor the Peru State College Bobcats, the game itself certainly lived up to its billing as NAIA Game of the Week.

In fact, in my twenty-one years of helping with statistics in the press box, I do not recall
a more exciting or well-contested game. 

A beautiful early-fall night at the Auburn High stadium added to the fun for the fans from both teams.

I posted some photographs from this thriller. 
Most of my time got devoted to using my binoculars to help with the statistics team in a crowded room in the press box that included in addition to the statistics team, radio announcers for both PSC and Benedictine, Ted Harshbarger, and the person operating the video camera.

Consequently,  I spent most of the game perched atop two metal chairs so that I could follow the game over the tops of heads.  

I enjoy the energy of the press box and took pictures of the activity and the view.  But watching the crowd also, and especially last
night, adds to the enjoyment.

Nothing like well-coached teams, national rankings and winning records to generate enthusiasm.  

I look forward to next Saturday's game in Falls City, which begins at 1:00.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 Plum Creek Literacy Festival

Saturday, September 28, I attended the Plum Creek Literacy Festival at Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.

I have attended this festival many times, including when Ted Kooser (2004-2006 US Poet Laureate) gave the keynote speech.  Of the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, Kooser wrote, "This is one of the premier children's literature events in the country."

Each year, the organizers bring in a stellar group of writers, illustrators, and educators.

This year, one of my favorite YA novelists gave presentations, Neal Schusterman, whose novel Unwind my Children's Literature class read this summer as part of the focus on YA Dystopian Fiction, which I plan to offer again this summer.

Named Book One for Nebraska Teens (2010-2011), the novel is in the final stages for film production, which will please

After an hour at Neal Schusterman's presentation, I talked briefly with Neal and got a picture with him to make my students jealous. Then I headed to Kenin Henkes session, "The Bird in My Mind."
Henkes has won, among other things, a prestegious Caldecott Medal in 2005 for Kitten's First Full Moon.  And he also read and talked about one of my favorite of his picture books, A Good Day.

The conference program features Henkes' beloved mice who populate many of his books.
I enjoyed Kevin's presentation a great deal, especially his discussion about the sophistication of art in Picture Books and some of the techniques he utilizes.  

Having stood for an hour for Kenkes's
presentation--all the sessions drew substantial crowds--I rushed to make sure that I got a seat for the joint presentation of Eric Rohmann, author and illustrator, and his partner and collaborator on a variety of projects, author Candace Fleming

Rohmann, a multiple Caldecott winner, also used the cover of the new book the two created, Oh, No!, for the festival's T-shirt at the top of this page.  

I enjoyed a great deal their discussion of the genesis of the story--a trip the two made with their son--and how the two developed both the story (Fleming) and the illustrations (Rohmann) about their Asian animals in the story.

I look forward to sharing the book and the presentation with my Children's Literature class this spring, when we will also read Unwind.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quick Trip to Valentine, NE

 Hotel Greeting for SCEA Meeting

Smith Falls State Park

On Friday morning, September 13, I left Peru for Valentine, NE, around six and a half hour from here and north of Broken Bow.


 Friday evening, I took part in an SCEA (State College Education Association) meeting with old friend and new ones.  Our meeting concluded Saturday before eleven, and I found myself elected as Lead Negotiator for our upcoming, next fall, negotiations for a new two-year contract.

I posted some photographs, a couple of which will get published in The Voice,  from the productive meetings.

 Cowboy Highway Trestle Bridge over the Niobrara River

Instead of driving back right away, and for 6.5 hours, I remained in Valentine, a place in Nebraska I had never visited.  

As the set of photographs on Flickr (Take the time to give the slideshow a quick look)
indicate,  I saw some beautiful country on a spectacular afternoon.

At The Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, I drove through the sanctuary--the air smelled of spearmint--but did not see Elk
or Buffalo.  

The sights and the numerous Prairie Dogs entertained me considerably.  And while in the preserve, I took the metal stairway down into a ravine to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Fort Waterfall.  

 An aquifer spring feeds the stream that creates the falls, as happens at the next falls I visited.

Next, I drove to Smith Falls State Park and went to see, well, Smith Falls, the highest waterfall in the state and a splendid place, loud too.
I concluded my busy afternoon with a pleasant walk on the recreation trail east of Valentine along the Cowboy Trail that now reaches from Chadron to Norfolk.  

As I discovered, the trail goes over the old trestle bridge, one of the couple hundred bridges the trail crossses. 

In the middle of the bridge, my footsteps
startled a perching Peregrine Falcon, and these birds enjoy heights.

When my wife and I next visit our children in Colorado, we will drive along Highway 20 from Valentine to Chadron and enjoy the beauty of the Sand Hills area of the state.

Loss of a Peru State Campus Fixture

For the past twenty years, I and many, many others took great pleasure from the autumn colors of a Maple Tree between the Fine Arts Building and the Old Library.

Unfortunately, the tree failed to produce foliage this past spring, and a large limb broke off, so the tree posed a danger to the campus community.

We will all miss this Maple Tree's refulgent spring canopy and its dazzling fall displays. 

I created a brief slide show that includes taken over the past few years and the tree's removal completed today, September 23, 2013.

Twilight on the Tallgrass Prairie 2013

As I have for many years, on Saturday evening, September 21, I took part in the Audubon Center's Twilight on the Tallgrass Prairie Festival.

The festival took place at Spring Creek
Prairie Audubon Center close to Denton, Nebraska, an area of some 350 acres of Burr Oak woods and grasslands.  Check out the  preceding website, for the center organizes many interesting events, from bird watching to plant and animal identification.

At my station, Feathers and Petals, youngsters learned about birds and wildflowers.  I brought along small photographs of birds and flowers to include in their festival books.  

And they stopped often to color in bird and plant coloring books I brought along. 

Many also listened to bird songs on my Bird Identiflyer, songs associated with many of the bird pictures, something with which adults also enjoyed playing.

While attendance Saturday was light, youngsters and parents stayed for longer at the station to color and write. And as the photographs suggest, we had a good time on a beautiful prairie evening.