Deer Hunting Poem on Milwaukee’s NPR 89.7 WUWM

I stopped by the 89.7 WUWM Lake Effect Studios last week to record a poem about sitting in the woods and feeling certain that everything you hear is a deer – until it isn’t. Give a listen to my deer little ditty Orange Blaze of Glory. Don’t worry, it’s not graphic, in case you’re one who doesn’t eat meat.

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Here is the view from my tree stand on the first snow of the season.

 

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Milwaukee Plein Air Painting Gallery Opening

Last winter I happened upon an artist painting the frozen Lake Michigan shore. I admired her method and introduced myself, asked if I could take a few pictures. The painter is Lynn Rix and I’m pleased that this chance interaction gradually led to her art show opening this Thursday evening at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center alongside fellow plein air painter Pamela Ruschman. I’m excited to see their work on the walls at Schlitz Audubon and you should come check it out too.

Complete gallery opening details here.

Here is another photo I posted last winter when I happened upon Lynn, taken at the same time.

Jim James of My Morning Jacket Registers Youth Voters with HeadCount

This is a story I wrote about HeadCount‘s The Future is Voting Tour, which swung through Milwaukee with Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Christopher Porterfield of Field Report, and Linqua Franqa. HeadCount is a non-partisan voter registration organization that registers voters at concerts. Give a read here.

Jim James Backstage

Tamarack Colors Are In-Season

Tamaracks offer a fantastic luminescence when struck by the afternoon sun. The nature of lovely fall trees in Wisconsin.

Thinking About Photographs and Creative Projects

I spent yesterday morning taking pictures of explorer Eric Larsen at Riveredge Nature Center. Due to climate change, he’ll likely be the last person to ski to the North Pole. That’s a strange feeling, sharing company with someone who will be the last to do something – and he’s not old. Right now, Eric is currently traversing Wisconsin via foot, bike, and kayak, while raising funds for Riveredge summer camps, a venture called WisconsATHON.

I took the above picture as Eric was getting his equipment together to begin paddling the Milwaukee River. In the morning I took photos of Eric on his bike, with him art directing where I should be located, which angle, what to focus on, the differences between placement due to light and shadow, et cetera. This was a really interesting experience, as he spends a lot of time setting up his own shots when he’s out solo exploring. I appreciated hearing the reasons behind his choices.

I’m not a photographer, but I would say I dabble, mainly to provide visual support for my words. As a person who sees stories and ideas and tries to render them, one really separates genres to their own peril. We have so many storytelling options available: words, pictures, audio, video, that they can all work in concert if done well. That’s part of the reason I consider myself a multimedia journalist, although I often tell people I’m a writer for sake of simplicity.

I mentioned to Eric my disappointment that a publication decided to pass on some of my researched fact-based poems. These pieces are a combination of journalism and poetry – not the familiar confessionalist works consumed by a writer’s feelings. The response was the usual “Oh it’s poetry and we don’t publish poetry – unless you’re a poet laureate.”

I’m not surprised, getting anyone to read poetry is never-ending missionary work – so many people have a lifelong aversion due to the reading they were assigned in high school. Also, in creating work that straddles genres, many people will not immediately join you for the ride. Humans seem to like placing things into neat compartments, classifications. Until something becomes its own genre, its own compartment, many people don’t know what to do with something.

“The only thing better than a ‘no’ is a ‘yes,” said Eric. “With a ‘no’ at least you can move on to the next thing.”

A great point, a “no” means the waiting is done. On to the next.

Exploring the Trails at Riveredge Nature Center

This was my first full week in my new position as Marketing & Communications Manager at Riveredge Nature Center. Riveredge has about 10 miles of trails on 379 acres and getting people outdoors and engaging with nature is central to the Riveredge mission. Join us on Instagram if you’d like to see pictures celebrating the seasons in Wisconsin! In this one below, I got photobombed by leaves swirling in the autumn wind.

Highlights from the SEJ Conference

This past week I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to attend the annual Society of Environmental Journalists Conference, which took place in Flint, Michigan this year. Thanks to the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research for offering scholarships to college students in the region.

Participants took part in educational seminars, brainstorming sessions, spoke with scientists, and acquainted other colleagues, editors, and publishers in the field. Tours were offered throughout the region, and I elected to visit the Pigeon River Country State Park. We saw three bull elk – a first for me!

In Downtown Flint, the Mott Foundation Building stands as essentially a cathedral of Art Deco design.

I walked around a little and explored the immediate surroundings. Some parts of the city still have an eerie ghost town vibe. I didn’t take this sign up on the invitation to walk in.

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WALK-INS. Flint, Michigan.

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Another shot from the Pigeon River Country. The Michigan woods are quite lovely in fall.