Condor and Hornbill on Aviary Fence

Tracy Aviary is installing a new feature for kids of all ages to see how they measure up to the world’s great birds. The first two birds, an Andean Condor and a Southern Ground Hornbill painted by Chris Peterson, were delivered last week by Gr8West. They are part of a long fence where a dozen more life-size bird paintings will allow visitors to spread their wings to see how they measure up.

The addition of the large bird painting cutouts is the latest initiative of our ArtParks Project. Since 2008, Gr8West has partnered with the Aviary to provide art and the close interaction with birds to foster creativity and learning about nature.

Insert Heads Here. Pelican drawing by Tony Poulson

With initial funding from the Salt Lake Education Foundation, students from Dilworth Elementary and Lincoln Elementary contributed some decorative elements and design ideas. A variety of children groups have participated since then. Today, thanks to the leadership of Tim Brown, the Tracy Aviary has considered children in its design as it has evolved and constructed new exhibits and spaces.

In addition to the dozen birds we are working on now, we’re also creating some large posing stations for visitors to take snapshots at, including a 10-foot tall pelican (see Tony’s drawing).

Come on down and see whats happening with the birds!


The Creativity Crisis

by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

July 10, 2010

For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went  wrong—and how we can fix it.

Here’s a glimpse of the article:

“Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put into homeroom. The argument that we can’t teach creativity because kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process. Scholars argue that current curriculum standards can still be met, if taught in a different way.”

Click here for the whole article.

Powdered Dancers in "Tandem " position

The male attaches to the female using the claspers at the end of his abdomen. He stands watch while she deposits her eggs in the slow water of the eddy. Should she be threatened by a predator, he will fly off with her.

Powdered Dancers (Argia moesta) are members of the family Conenagrionidae (pond damsels) and are fairly common in the Southwest U.S.

I took this photo submerged in deep mud and brown water from recent flash floods in a eddy 15 miles upstream on the Colorado River from Moab Utah.

My new hobby: identification of local dragonflies:

Canyon Rubyspot

Sooty, Powdered (male/female)

and Blue Fronted dancers

Blue Ringed dancer

Flame Skimmer, Eight-spotted Skimmer.

Widow Skimmer.

Black saddlebags

Striped meadowhawk.

Terry Tempest Williams

The Progressive

AP Photo Gerald Herbert

25 June 2010

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

—Upton Sinclair, Oil!

The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater got it right in an improvisational satire of a coffee disaster spill in the BP boardroom. “Don’t worry,” the CEO says to his fellow corporateers as more coffee cups tip over in the chaos. “It’s a small spill on a very large table.” And then the prescient remark from an underling: “Sir, I think we’re underestimating just how much coffee got spilled.”

It’s hard to take in the scale of the oil hemorrhage of Deep Horizon. An estimated 60,000 barrels a day translates into 2.5 million gallons of oil gushing from the depths of the sea every twenty-four hours since April 20, 2010.

But at this point in the ongoing tragedy, the blame game is not productive. Because of our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels, we are all complicit in the black, fetid ooze seeping into the wetlands of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida—killing pelicans, drowning turtles, and destroying the oyster beds and family businesses of fishermen and women.

How much suffering around the world will have to take place, how many wars must we start before we begin to see this chain of addictive behavior for what it is –madness?

How many people killed, how many communities destroyed, how many ecosystems ravaged, how many species lost, before we will begin to see this dark open wound gushing from the depths of the sea as our own? Continue Reading »