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Anne Runyon <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 2 Jan 2010 17:48:12 -0500
text/plain (149 lines)
Hi Molly and all.

Taking the time to model (as you do for your son and your parents did for 
you) and being "rich" enough to have a microscope ... and art supplies .. 
and some natural areas you can use freely ... for the child to explore ... I 
think this is what best enables children to stay "forever young" and engaged 
nature and art. My feeling is that the home is where most of our best 
experiments as children occur. School is great (for me at least it was) but 
it was at home that I had freedom to repeat whatever interested me for as 
long as I wished ... over time, between school, chores etc of course.

I am encouraged to see a shift occuring (even in my southern American town 
of Garner where sport fields dominate the scene) in such things as play 
ground designs recently. Our new White Deer Park features a lovely small 
"green" nature center - with solar and geo-thermal features, and recycled 
and local materials - and a playground with two great log and tire see-saws, 
and a hand pump for creating your own creek to play in (rain water collected 
in cystern feeds the pump) and many trails and a big sunny grassy area 
bordered with wildflower and low grasses edging the second growth wooded 
acreage of what was one a farm and stream. We love it!

Not everyone can afford to live in the special remote places that some of 
you all do. But we can all enjoy, and work to manage the natural areas close 
to our more urban cities and towns. I suspect that in the long run they may 
prove to be the most valuable because they are the places where most of our 
next generation can learn,play in and explore. If we maintain them as 
beautiful, healthy, semi-wild areas ... perhaps our kids will grow to love 
... and not need to "Drill, Baby Drill" ... or over-build the wilder spots 
to death.

Best,  Annie

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mehling, Molly Gail Mrs." <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 4:51 PM
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Now THIS is a child prodigy...

> Although I have been a silent observer on this listserv, this last 
> interchange reminded why I stepped quietly into this community. This has 
> been a fascinating discussion!! - although, I have only been able to catch 
> bits and pieces.  Bob's story and a couple of the other's have touched on 
> a problem that I, like many of you, have dedicated a career to changing - 
> getting raw science and nature out to the public especially the young 
> ones.
> I am a mother, practicing scientist, college educator, and photographer 
> (in awe of illustrators).  For some reason, I never lost my childish 
> curiosity for science, nature and art - despite attempts by the academic 
> and professional systems to stifle it.  Maybe it was because those 
> activities were rooted so deeply in my neural networks: my mother was an 
> elementary science teacher and my father taught art to all ages.  Most 
> importantly, they shared their life's work by involving me on a regular 
> basis.
> My son is now 3 and my passion for science/nature/natural history AND 
> conveying that through creative means has never been so strong.  We fill 
> our home with images and books of "real" nature and try to minimize 
> cartoon representations.  He learns words like "hypothesis", 
> "photosynthesis" and "plecopteran". He accompanies me during field 
> research trips and has spent some time at the microscope.  I am 
> continually amazed by the thoughtfulness of his questions and his ability 
> to understand complex concepts that it took me a couple bio classes to 
> comprehend.  He challenges me in so many ways, often more so than the 
> college students I have taught.
> For me, this motivation translates into capturing science and nature - the 
> less captured and less charismatic - in images so I can share scientific 
> knowledge that is typically locked away in white papers.  Personally, I 
> think this sharing of nature - not just the penguins and polar bears, but 
> the local, the abundant and the not-so-cute nature - is key to a 
> stretching our planet's resources to serve our children.
> So here is a thanks to you all for following your passion so that little 
> ones like mine can learn about nature through your expressions!!  And, 
> I'll hope for and work on the same endeavor so there are visual 
> representations of real nature available for educating.
> Happy New Year!
> Molly
> Molly Gail Mehling, M.En.
> Research Associate & Doctoral Candidate
> Miami University Zoology Department
> Oxford, Ohio 45056
> "Let us see how high we can fly before the sun melts the wax in our 
> wings." - Sir Arthur Eddington
> ________________________________________
> From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- 
> [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Robert Golder 
> [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 3:17 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [SCIART] Now THIS is a child prodigy...
> It is exactly fifty-one years ago. I'm six years old. I'm in first grade 
> reading class with the Alice and Jerry reader. The children are sitting in 
> a circle, and the teacher asks me to read the text on the next page. The 
> color illustration in the book shows two children, a boy and a girl, on a 
> hill. Of course the boy is taking the lead (the girl slightly behind him). 
> The boy points to a flying bird, which is clearly a meadowlark. The text 
> reads:
> "Look Alice! Look, look! See the _____."
> And in place of a word to end the sentence, there is a black-and-white 
> line drawing of the meadowlark.
> So I read out loud: "Look Alice! Look, look! See the meadowlark."
> The teacher interrupts me: "No, Bobby! Not 'meadowlark.' Say: 'BIRD'."
> "But it's a meadowlark," I reply. "You can clearly see the black V-mark on 
> the yellow breast."
> "The other children may not know that, Bobby. So we say: "BIRD."
> The teacher and I argue a bit but in the end she makes me say "bird." And 
> then I somehow realize, in my six-year-old frame of reference, that the 
> text I'm reading assumes that I, and all other six year olds, don't even 
> know how to spell "bird," much less know how to recognize a meadowlark. 
> And my teacher has bought into this system.
> So that was my introduction to the visualization and interpretation of 
> scientific information. As you can imagine, I got into trouble in art 
> classes too. Colored outside the lines a bit, moved the crayon in various 
> directions: you know the type.
> Bob Golder
> New Bedford, MA, USA
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