Category Archives: restoration

Upcoming Urban Forestry Renewal Interview

My first interview will be with Michael Dugan, the Forestry Coordinator of Openlands. The organization is a Chicago based non-profit working to renew urban ecology through the simple act of planting trees, an act which also not only builds greener communities, but also unites communities.

I would like to explore the social justice implications of urban forestry initiatives and connect this to the notion of a larger, nation-wide reforestation initiative and how this could resonate within the American consciousness.

Is planting a tree a revolutionary act? I think so, but I’d like to hear what a person who does it for a living thinks.

 

Aziza Chaouni and The Fez River

Hello Friends,

I recently stumbled upon a TED talk that I found particularly interesting. It discusses how a civil engineer named Aziza Chaouni helped develop a project in which the river that bisects the city of Fez, Morocco is being revitalized after years of being used as a dump as well as being physically covered over with concrete slabs. It seems like Iowa City and other river cities that have neglected their rivers could see this as inspiration to increase walkability while improving the overall health of rivers in communities across America.

Here’s a short transcript of what Aziza has to say about the Fez River Restoration Project:

“As the project progressed and received several design awards, new stakeholders intervened and changed the project goals and design. The only way for us to be able to bring the main goals of the project ahead was for us to do something very unusual that usually architects don’t do. It was for us to take our design ego and our sense of authorship and put it in the backseat and to focus mainly on being activists and on trying to coalesce all of the agendas of stakeholders and focus on the main goals of the project: that is, to uncover the river, treat its water, and provide public spaces for all.”

 

Do you think projects like the ones that Aziza helped bring to fruition would work here in Iowa and across the United States? Would projects like this even get people excited to walk or bike more often in cities and towns?

Indigenous Iowa breaks ground on Earth Mother Camp, an environmentally progressive think tank

Indeigenous activist Cheryl Angel speaks at the site of the new Earth Mother Camp. Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann.

Indigenous Iowa, a social and environmental justice organization rooted in indigenous culture, welcomed the first visitors to the Earth Mother Community Education Camp near Williamsburg, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The ceremony began with a song to welcome water protectors from Oceti Sakowin, a camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Cedric Goodhouse was

invited to start the ceremonial fire, setting positive intentions for the camp. There were speeches by Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous Iowa and Meskwaki speakers at the ceremony.

Click here to read the full article.

Dugan Project Idea

I have chosen to utilize poetry as a means of exploring human efforts to both decimate and restore American woodlands. Whether or not I will hone in on a specific wilderness, I have yet to decide.

I would like to try out a new approach to free-verse poetry through the use of what I’ve decided to call “layered poetry.” Of course, all poetry has multitudes of layers, both in language and content, though what I refer to is the physical form of the piece.

I would like to print each page on translucent paper, which I hope will provide a more striking and direct dialogue between the pages, as the poem in it’s entirety will be visible to the reader before flipping pages.

This will allow the reader to directly participate in the dismantling of the language, as each page turned removes language from the greater visually-represented dialogue. Ideally, this act can translate to an “emotional deforestation” of the reader’s experience.

However, this experience remains pertinent to the single act of each individual reading. The final presentation of this will prove challenging. Perhaps this is where collaboration comes in?

– Jack

Dawson Davenport Project Idea 2017

I was thinking about creating a cartoon, in the meskwaki language. (subtitled in english) The story would be about the environment, possibly a meskwaki story. There are many reasons i want to do this. one is that i would be able to work with my old job, the meskwaki language department, and theyd be thrilled that im doing this. another reason is because i want to give it to the school as a donation, and to possibly make this something long term, so that i can use it to help teach our language and also teach the children about the environment and environment issues. There are so many educational components that would come of this, as well as preserving my language. The idea I had was along the lines of Dora the Explorer. Have words of the day, for example, tree; or what type of tree it is. Or things like why trees are important and its role with oxygen. I am sure there are many meskwaki stories that can be taught as well, as our culture and traditions sometimes are connected to nature. Like planting and gardening. The possibilities are endless. And i think that this project can teach everyone as well.

Biomimicry! Looking to Nature for Design Solutions

thebee_termitemoundandtentventilation_med
Guys! This is really exciting! For a ceramics class, we have to make a piece emulating a concept I’ve never heard of, biomimicry. Basically this term means modeling technology after nature. They have innovative solutions and designs for agriculture, architecture, medicine, energy, transportation, and even communication!

There are so many examples of products/services listed at  https://biomimicry.org/biomimicry-examples/#.WBudRS0rK70

some examples are: learning from mosquitoes to create “a nicer needle”, or learning from prairies how to grow food in resilient ways, modeling a bullet train after a king-fish, learning from the texture of whale’s fins about how to create efficient wind power, even learning from termites how to create sustainable buildings!

Check out this website!

Creek CNP Outline 11/2/16

Creeks of Johnson County

Theme: Restoration and Conservation and reconnecting with the land

General storyline: The four seasons will be analogous to the development of the destruction of our land and resources and will be threaded together with my families land and the waterway running through it juxtaposed with the greater area surrounding it. Spring is a time of birth and great opportunity and I will explain how the land we see today was shaped by natural process and then utilized as a partner by the Native People of The Americas. Summer is a time of agitation and preparing for the future survival in winter. I will use this verse to illustrate where man went wrong and what we still do wrong. Fall is a time of reflection and will be used to promote possible solutions to our wrong-doings as well as how we impact the entire globe all of its inhabitants. Winter is a time for huddling together and staying alive or being left in the cold to freeze to death. This will be an opportunity to predict what will be of our future if we stay on our current trajectory or if we merge together as one and begin to respect nature as a fellow, not a foe. As Thoreau said, “Alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear, it is never too late to give up our prejudices.”

Main characters: Creek Hoard, Old Man’s Creek, Mother Nature

Interviews / Research: I will be interviewing a few scientist from campus to attain a clear understanding of what has happened as well as what my come in the future, as well as possible solutions. I will also be interviewing my family members to get an idea of what the land means to them. Research will be done to gather historical information about the area and what it has been used for in the past.

Arts Medium: I will write and read live a prose poetry, essay and short story. I will also include a visual medium and Music for thought throughout the reading.

Old Man’s Creek: Seasons of Change

creek
When brainstorming ideas for CNP, a wave rushed over me and suddenly I had an abundance of ideas and a single topic to thread them with. However, when peeling back the layers of the onion, I realized that my single topic was actually just a metaphor for a much larger paradigm. I came in to this project knowing I wanted to tell the story of my land and what it means to me and my family; furthermore, I wanted to effectively explain why I am so hurt by state of the environment. I knew this was going to be difficult to explain all of the emotions, memories and thoughts pertaining to such a story, but I never thought I would be able to actually do the piece, and myself justice in just one semesters worth of work. This philosophy has now changed.

Moving forward, my piece will no longer be merely about one family or one plot of land, rather, it will encompass a myriad of issues both contemporary and historical, as well as predictive. When I imagine presenting my piece, I imagine a conglomeration of Thoreau style writings, pointing out the things that are innate to me and missed on most. I see a narrative that is Leopold like in its threaded connection to all that is around. Stylistically a mix between a TED talk, Moth Radio Hour and Def Jam.

A complicated story to tell but an important one. We all must grapple with our pasts in order to correct our futures. When all is said and done, hopefully this piece will inspire real, lasting change.

Thoreau said, “I went to the woods because I wished to deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” This is my goal and state of our union is my Walden.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood”

leo

Go Leo!!
Here is the link to his new documentary “Before the Flood” where he travels and talks to other countries about the United State’s big oil addiction. “The climate change documentary sees the Oscar-winner traveling around the world, giving an address an the U.N. and meeting with the likes of Pope Francis and Elon Musk”
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/trailer-leonardo-dicaprio-climate-change-doc-before-flood-933167