Dear Readers and Followers,
You may have wondered what has happened to me. I haven’t been blogging much this past semester. My writing energies have been directed toward completing a book I began 25 years ago: Saving the Lake. I am excited to tell you that it is available now on Amazon. This book is definitely about education, but it’s a very personal education story. And in this case, my American classroom was outside, in the woods of northern Wisconsin. Here’s what the back cover says:
A string of freshwater lakes nestled on a 2200 acre woodland preserve in Langlade County, Wisconsin, had been the summer setting for my family for four generations. I wanted to write about this natural environment, weaving experiences from my childhood with knowledge of the natural world, but I was an English teacher and it had been years since college biology. I needed to educate myself.
Armed with identification keys, mosquito netting, a camera and a notebook, I stepped into the Wisconsin woods to learn first hand about the lakes and the forest and to observe the changes in this woodland environment as the summer progressed. But it was grief that powered my quest, and some matter of the heart as much as ecology that I was seeking to understand.
This book is a memoir of family and place, a story of loss and recovery and learning to let go.
The summer of study and reflection chronicled in this story was funded by a 1993 Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship Award.
If you teach in Indiana, you know about the Lilly grants. Every year, the Lilly Endowment (the philanthropic arm of the Lilly pharmaceutical company) awards grants to teachers so they can pursue a passion that will renew and refresh their spirit. The spillover to the classroom is just that: renewal. For most people, a Lilly grant is life-changing. It certainly was for me.
My Lilly grant took me both back in time and forward in time. This past September, I returned to the Northwoods with my brother, to revisit the places we had known and loved as children and as adults. Suddenly, there was an epilogue to this story, and I took the manuscript out of the family trunk.
My amazing colleague Amanda Cox, with whom I have collaborated for years on science topics and science writing, urged me to publish the book. She produced the beautiful drawings that accent each chapter and helped me with the technicalities of independently publishing on Amazon. Have a look!