Thursday, December 7, 2017

Plum Creek Literacy Festival, Fall of 2017

As we have for the past few years, Dr. Gina Bitner took ten students to the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, where we all enjoyed the speakers, the banquet, and the chance to get books signed.

Thanks to another Student Enhancement Grant, the students got to purchase a book and then get that picture book or novel signed by either the author or the illustrator, sometimes both at the same time.

The festival brings to Concordia University a rich array of authors and illustrators who emphasize in their presentations not only their artistic excellent but also the processes each pursues where to illustrate a children's book or pen a Young Adult Novel.

This rich experience--one that provides a friendly atmosphere that allows students to talk with the people who inspire them--proves eye opening for many of the students, especially those who plan to pursue a teaching career, the reason Gina Bitner and I focus on Elementary Education and English Majors.

At the 2017 festival, in fact, I talked with Wendi Buggi, a high-school English teacher who attended the conference in 2014.

I posted photographs for this year and past years of the students and their experiences at this wonderful event:


Blog Pages for past events:


Monday, December 4, 2017

John Janovy, Jr, Speaks at PSC

 Dr. John Janovy, Jr, visitedPeru State College on Wednesday, December 6, at 11:00 in the CATS Conference Room--everybody enjoy this special event; students and others filled the room, as these photographs illustrate.

The following description of John's keynote address last spring for the Alpha Chi National Honor Society National Convention highlights the knowledge and enthusiasm you can expect this Wednesday at 11:00 in the CATS Conference Room.
Keynoter Dr. John Janovy intrigued the audience at the Saturday evening gala. His talk, "Life Lessons fro a Parasite," merged biological truths from his 40-year career as a parasitologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with social and cultural truths by analogy and metaphor.

Incorporating humor, frequent references to popular culture and scientific evidence to underscore his key ideas, Janovy illustrated why he was an award-winning faculty member and a productive writer in multiple genres

On Wednesday at Peru State, Dr. Janovy Spoke about "Writing Books and Drawing Pictures," something that he does with considerable success.

The following video of 24 minutes, catches highlights of John's presentation as well as his insightful interaction with people in attendance:


As his webpage underscores, John pursues with great passion all his interests, from parasitology  to detective fiction.

Dr. Janovy's visit was another of the College 101 events that have included appearances by Nebraska poet Carol Carpenter, artist and writer Reuben Ironhorse Kent, and an all-day excursion to Kansas City that included visits to the WW I Museum and the Jazz and Negro Baseball Museums. 

Special thanks to VPAA Dr. Tim Borchers and both Alpha Chi and the Creative Writing Series for making these visits possible

Saturday, November 4, 2017

ICCL Conference in Nassau, Bahamas, November 1-4


I uploaded photographs from the International Conference on Caribbean Literature in Nassau this early November. These photographs appear on Flickr--you can easily download original-sized images, as many as you like.

I also offer videos:

Mr. Patrick Rahming: "The Three Stages of Self-Discovery"

The String City Violinists and Bahama's National Anthem sung by Tonique Brown:

Dr. Christian Campbell:

Arlene Nash-Ferguson: "Dis me Naa!"

Haldane Chase: "Errybody Gat  Somethig to Say...Voice, Place and Identity in Bahamian Popular Music"

Some of us stayed at the hotel the final night of the conference to enjoy the Bahamian Banquet and the music that followed. And Swift managed to play along with the band.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Jane Yolen at Concordia University

I have for the past few years taken students in the fall to the Plum Creek Literacy Festival.

This spring, the organizers tried something new on 18 March. They hosted a special
breakfast event, something I hope will continue in the years to come.

The breakfast featured an appearance by Jane Yolen and her daughter, with whom Jane collaborates on a number of projects. 

Linda and I enjoyed the presentation a great deal and purchased a couple books. 

I met Jane Yolen around fifteen years ago in Ft. Lauderdale, at an ICFA conference where she raised money for the James Tiptree, Jr., Award.

As she said to me, "We are getting old." I did not know until her presentation, however, that we share a passion for "all things  birds."


Monday, May 1, 2017

Indian Cave Spring Festival and Arbor Day at The Keeping Room

As I have for the past multiple years, I arrived at Indian Cave State Park at 8:00 in the morning to begin my contribution to the annual Spring Festival.

And as has happened for more years than I care to remember, rain fell and temperatures dropped throughout the 5 and 1/2 hours of my stay.

But despite the chill, enthusiastic youngsters--including the park ranger's daughter pictured
above--and parents visited my station in the tent. I conducted a variation of my Feathers and Verses presentation, giving out photographs and coloring material while playing bird songs for those interested. 

We all enjoyed a lot of fun in the wet chill. 

And on Friday and Saturday, I went to my Arbor Day presentation at The Keeping Room in Nebraska City, a wonderful place to enjoy lunch and look at (or purchase!) some beautiful antiques and other offerings.

I send special thanks to Kelly Bequette for inviting me back. 

This time around, my presentation included video and photographs from my night last year spent in a blind along the

Platte River where I viewed  with Dan Holtz Sandhill Cranes at the Rowe Santuary; in addition, I showed a short video and photographs from my Greater Prairie Chicken adventure with Linda at the Big Blue Ranch.

Then for the first time, I shared a hundred or so photographs of Florida birds--oh, and Manatees.  

I posted a collection of photographs from Indian Cave and the Keeping Room.

I enjoyed sharing and talking about the images and look forward to the next Arbor Day and hope for better weather.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sandhill Cranes with Dan Holtz, March 2016

Last late March, as a retirement gift to my friend Dan Holtz, I treated him to an unusual experience: we stayed for around fifteen hours in a blind along the Platte River to view the arrival and the departure of the Sandhill Cranes.

As the photographs show, we saw the cranes pretty much up close and personal.

The images do not indicate, however, that we spent one long and uncomfortable night listening to crane music, for the temperature dropped below freezing in the damp along the river.

But the morning exit of the cranes made the discomfort from the chill almost worth the price of admission.

I took pictures, and Dan helmed the movie camera. I made two short videos, attempting to capture the huge number of birds and the stunning sounds that filled the air.

Evening with the cranes:

I had wanted for years to watch the cranes departure, for they leave in huge numbers and pretty quickly:

In the morning, fortified by the car heater and a cup of good coffee, Dan and I visited Don Welch, one of the state's premier poets; Don passed away a couple months later, so I am glad we got to say hello.