Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Update

International Environmental Policy

I know, I know….my blog has been neglected for a few weeks now. Right after the trip to Berry from my last posting I started a two-week block course on International Environmental Policy. It was a great course but I had no life for its duration. Between going to lectures and tutorials and preparing for the next day, I’d say I spent an average of twelve hours a day on the course. That was pretty exhausting as you can imagine and Brian started saying that it was only people still on their feet at the end of the course who would get High Distinctions.

Bushfires

It’s bushfire season in Australian and I find it a bit surreal to have days where the air is literally thick with smoke and people just go about their business as if nothing were wrong. Only a few small fires have been anywhere near Canberra though. The smoke blows in from Victorian fires and from the Blue Mountains in NSW.

Tasmania

Off to Tasmania soon with our friend Chris for a cycle tour around the island. Unfortunately, there are bushfires in Tasmania as well and we’ve already had to alter our planned route to avoid them. Yes, we’ll be very careful and plan to steer clear of any dangerous spots. Should be cooler in Tasmania than it is here as it’s much further south. It’s been in the low nineties for a few weeks now and January is supposed to be even hotter. I still have trouble referring to December as summer.

A New Home :(

Sad face because we have to move out of our lovely apartment…and have not yet settled on a new place. Our apartment is owned by the ANU and we can only stay for 12 months to make way for new incoming international students. Fair enough, but we are having trouble finding anything anywhere near as nice or in as great of a location. And every place we go to look at has fifteen other people viewing it who are desperate to find a place to live. Hoping that works out soon after we get home from Tassie.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Berry Rotary

We just had the most wonderful Rotary weekend! I'd been invited to speak at the Rotary club of Berry-Gerringong along with another scholar here, Dharini from the UK, and the club hosted us for three days of sightseeing. I expected the weekend to be fun but it surpassed all expectations!
We took the train to get there and were met by two Rotarians who spent the day showing us around the area. We went to a local park and saw Fitzroy Falls (below) and went on a walk and then on a drive through Kangaroo Valley, and had a stop for some shopping in the little town of Kangaroo Valley (where we visited a little pottery shop and acquired a new teapot and four teacups with leaves on them and treefrogs in relief climbing up the sides of the cups and sitting on the lid of the teapot - some of you will know of our love for handthrown teapots...) Then it was on to tea with more local Rotarians and a bit of down time before speaking at the club.


Fitzroy Falls

The meeting was great and again I was very pleased with the positive reaction to my research and the overall environmental awareness of the members. It seems that there is a real buildup across the country right now and Australians are identifying climate change and environmental threats as the most pressing issue facing the future of Australia. Appropriate given the Stern Report identifying Australia as the country that would be most seriously affected by climate change given the predominance of primary industry (agriculture and mining, both of which are heavily dependent on water in a country known for drought conditions). Climate change would further impact water supply, hence a sense of urgency (in citizens, NOT the Howard administration) to address climate change.

Brian and I stayed with the current club president, Noel Marshall, who lived for about 30 years in the US as an engineer in Silicone Valley. We all got along terrifically as he is very interested in sustainable housing design and has solar hot water heating and rain catchment for his entire water supply. Here's Dharini, Noel and I at the club meeting.



The next two days were just as jam packed as the first and we felt like royalty. On Friday we were treated to a private ocean cruise on a rescue boat, operated by who else but a local Rotarian. Then we went to a little town called Kiama on the coast where I spotted dolphins in the bay! My first sighting ever....


Captain Jenn

Then the next morning we were treated to nice long four hour bushwalk with another club member, Col, up to a place called the Drawing Room Rocks. They drove us to catch the bus absolutely exhausted which I'm sure was their goal from the beginning!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sustainability Research

I have been meaning to give a better description of my research here, so here is a good summary from my thesis abstract and info I put together for the Rotary district conference.

Awareness and concern about environmental issues has grown rapidly in recent decades. In 2004, 57% of Australians age 18 and over (8.6 million) stated that they were concerned about environmental problems. However, I'm not convinced that awareness is enough because relatively little action is being taken individually or collectively to solve environmental problems. Out of those 8.6 million people concerned about the environment, only 13% formally registered an environmental concern (via a letter, telephone, demonstration, signed petition or some other means), and 29% donated time or money to protect the environment. But 65% of people with environmental concerns took neither of these actions (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2004).

What is needed, I would argue, is widespread "ecological literacy" as a handful of well trained environmental professionals will not be enough to effectively "manage" the planet. It is the collective impact of all of our actions that lead to depleted resources and global warming. So by ecological literacy, I am referring to not only knowledge and awareness, but skills and ability to take action based on one's knowledge. That is what is lacking. Beyond awareness, people need concrete examples of how to minimize their impacts on the environment as well as institutions and infrastructure that support and encourage a sustainable lifestyle.

My research is looking at ecological literacy within the university setting, which is often referred to as Education for Sustainability. At a basic level, I am looking at whether undergraduates at the ANU are familiar with the concepts of environmental sustainability, if they have heard about the concept in their coursework, and whether they think that it is relevant to their lives and field of study. And further, I am looking at what factors lead them to environmentally responsible behavior. Is hearing about environmental issues in a classroom enough to make them take the bus to campus or buy locally grown food? I am guessing that hearing about environmental problems is not enough by itself, but it is of course, the beginning of ecological literacy.

As a bit of background the ANU along with hundreds of other universities worldwide have signed the Talloires Declaration, a ten point action plan on how to move toward becoming a more sustainable campus. One of those points is to educate students about the concepts of sustainability.

In order to see if this is happening, I've just completed a survey of undergraduates at the ANU and while I don't have answers to all of my research questions yet, here are some of the interesting preliminary results. 73% of respondents think that all students should be exposed to the concepts of sustainability through formal education but, only 28% think that there is adequate teaching of such issues in their coursework. This represents a great opportunity for universities, as institutions that educate society's future leaders, to increase the awareness, knowledge, and technologies to create an environmentally sustainable future.

The more I read about these issues, the more I think that I should become an environmental psychologist because these behavior change issues and how people become good environmental citizens are so interesting! I'll be working on this thesis until February and I'm about halfway through the essay at the moment....its going really well!

Sustainability Learning Community Organic Garden

Plans to start an organic garden on campus are finally coming together! We just received official approval from the university to go ahead with the garden. So last Monday we had a working bee to get the beds prepared. We have a really lovely site overlooking the lake in an unused back lot of the university, behind a university childcare facility.

We offered pancakes and eggs to anyone who wanted to come out for the working bee and started the day at 8am. We decided to put the bed in a large abandoned sandbox as it already had wooden edging to act as the box for the garden. Its about six feet by ten feet and we'll only have the one bed at first as an experimental plot. So we dug out a fair bit of the sand and pulled out the weeds and then the university garden crew delivered compost mixed with topsoil. Then we built a rabbit fence out of chicken wire about a meter outside of the bed. Had a bbq lunch and finished at three! Now we'll be ready to plant the seedlings we've started in pots in a few weeks when exams are finished and everyone has a a bit more time on their hands.

Here are a few photos.


Before (child care center in background)


The daycare kids come to visit. We hope to have them involved with starting their own seeds and helping with the garden where possible.


After. Okay not terribly exciting...yet!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rotary District 9710 Conference

I just had a great weekend at the Rotary District 9710 conference!

I was asked to be the guest speaker at the Rotary Foundation Luncheon on Saturday and it was really an excellent experience! It was by far the best speech that I have ever given (and to over one hundred people). I spoke about my relationship to Rotary, the importance of the Foundation's educational programs, my studies and research at the ANU, and my future goals.

The response to the speech was very positive and I am continually impressed by the level of Australian's understanding of and respect for environmental issues. I've been asked into several clubs to speak as a result of the talk, and into a local high school classroom!

As I said in my speech, the more I learn about Rotary, the more impressed and inspired I become by the generosity and enthusiasm for service displayed by Rotarians around the world. The international nature of Rotary gives me hope when I think of the global issues we face because solutions to environmental problems must extend beyond borders. Educational programs like the Ambassadorial Scholarships are so important because they allow collaboration with international colleagues on global issues.

In my speech I suggested that clubs do more to promote the Preserve Planet Earth Initiative of Rotary by considering some of the following activities:
  • creating urban gardens and green spaces
  • recognizing local businesses that have implemented environmentally sound practices
  • supporting environmental education programs
  • encouraging sustainable transport and energy policies

I also suggested that given the fundamental nature of protecting planetary life support systems and the natural resource base upon which human well-being depends, pursuing environmental sustainability could be the next initiative of Rotary International! The current international initiative of eradicating polio from the world has almost been accomplished!

So thanks to District 9710 for a lovely weekend and a lot of inspiration!

Tackling Global Warming Cheaper Than Ignoring It

Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth yet? As I said before, if you haven't seen it, stop what you are doing and get to the nearest theatre! And I might add that Who Killed the Electric Car would also be more than worth your while.

Can we finally agree that climate change is no longer a debate?

Economist Sir Nicholas Stern has concluded that mitigating global warming could cost around 1% of global GDP if spent immediately, but that ignoring the problem could cost between 5% and 20% of global GDP. The 700-page study represents the first major report on climate change from an economist rather than a scientist. I think its a little strange that a collective group of 2500 scientists have been jumping up and down warning of climate change (the issue is no longer even debated by scientists), but it takes an economist to get people (and some governments) to take notice.

Stern's report calls for the introduction of green taxes and carbon trading schemes as soon as possible, and calls on the international community to sign a new pact on greenhouse emissions by next year. The UK government is taking the report seriously and both major parties are proposing new green taxes. Stern points out, however, that any action will only be effective if truly global.

John Howard has taken the mature stance of "we won't do it unless everybody else does it first." And the US, the world's biggest greenhouse polluter has referred to the report as a "contribution to the body of knowledge on climate change" while Tony Blair has said that the last remaining argument for inaction in the face of climate change has been demolished.

So folks, now is the time to make some noise. Show your support for sustainable transport and energy policies, demand a new administration, write letters, make phone calls, tell your friends and join the International Day of Action on Climate Change.

I'd like my kids to have a healthy planet and its up to us to prevent governments with ties to big oil and corporations with zero sense of social responsibility from spoiling that future.

Border Searches for Sandwich Spread?

Rumors have been in circulation as of late that the ever popular Australian yeasty spread Vegemite has been banned from the US because it contains folate, a B vitamin approved as an additive for just a few foods, including breakfast cereals.

While media reports have claimed that American border officials were confiscating Vegemite from Australians as they entered the US, the FDA insists that there is no ban on Vegemite.

Apparently commercial import of Vegemite has been banned for some time because of the folate content, but travelers are free to bring Vegemite into the country for personal use.

Good thing...that could have been the end of friendly relations between Australia and the US.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Kayaking

We just joined the ANU Mountaineering Club so that we can go kayaking on a regular basis. Thursday evening we went out on Lake Burley Griffin and paddled around with the group for an hour or so. On the lake is the place to be to see the sun set! The group will meet every Tuesday and Thursday for an evening paddle and we're looking forward to it as the days get warmer. Next week we're taking the boats into the pool to learn to roll before being able to go on longer sea kayaking trips in the coming months.

Oh, and the Rotary District Conference is next weekend in Bateman's Bay, a lovely holiday town on the coast, and I'm the speaker for the Rotary Foundation Fundraising Lunch. Not feeling nervous about it amazingly enough...not sure if that's a function of becoming more comfortable with public speaking or just not having the time to think too much about it!

ANU Ranked 16th in the World!

The London newspaper, The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) ranks the top twenty universities in the world and ANU is number sixteen!

Guess I made a good choice! The full list is available here....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Times_Higher_Education_Supplement

One really cool thing that's happening here right now is coming out of the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems where they've developed a new type of solar cell called the "Sliver Cell" which uses dramatically less silicon (2 wafers to produce 140 watts of power as opposed to the 60 needed in conventional solar panel). As silicon is the most expensive component of solar panels, this could make them much more affordable. New applications could also include:
  • Transparent Sliver Cell panes to replace building windows
  • Flexible, roll-up solar panels
  • Solar powered aircraft, satellite and surveillance systems

Monday, October 02, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Run, don’t walk, to the nearest theater and see this movie!

To sum up its importance, Roger Ebert wrote: “In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.”

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060601/REVIEWS/60517002

Sunday, October 01, 2006

va•ca•tion: a time of respite

The McMillin’s came to visit for two weeks in early September including Brian’s parents, sister and niece. I had a two week mid-semester holiday and we both really needed to recharge our batteries and not think about work and studies for a while. And of course, it was wonderful to see faces from home midway through our stay here.


Jenn and Teagan on Mt. Ainslie

Just after the above photo was taken we went to find some kangaroos, or hop-hops as Teagan affectionately named them. We spent the first couple days showing the family around our favorite spots in Canberra including Lake Burley Griffin, Mount Ainslie and our favorite pubs. Then we got in the car and drove halfway to Melbourne, spending the night in the gourmet food and wine region of Milawa. Visited a fabulous winery, Brown Brothers, and an apiary/meadery with mead nowhere near as good as that from Warblers Roost Meadery :) Wondering what mead is? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead

Then off to Melbourne with our first stop being Phillip Island and the Koala Conservatory. This was perhaps one of the best parts of the trip because we got to view a koala up close in its natural habitat.



The conservatory has elevated boardwalks so you can see the koalas (usually sleeping) in the trees. While we were there though, a mama with a baby on her back climbed down out of a tree and walked along the whole length of the railing as we followed along giggling with glee. Did I mention that they are absolutely adorable?



That same evening we went to the Penguin Parade where you sit on the beach and at dusk watch the little penguins come out of the sea from their day of fishing to return to their burrows. They are so fascinating as the waddle ashore in little groups squeaking to each other and being social before they return to the next solitary day of fishing. Here’s a photo, but it’s not mine, as you are not allowed to take pictures.



The next day we met up with our friend Chris in Melbourne and drove out on the Great Ocean Road, which stretches along the southeastern Victorian coast. The road covers some of the most photogenic coastline in the world, because of its dramatic natural rock formations. The following photo is of Heather and I at the Twelve Apostles, a series of limestone stacks just off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.



After spending the night in Port Campbell we drove back to Melbourne and spent an evening there before flying to Cairns the next day. Cairns is in far north Queensland so we really covered some territory in this trip!

We spent the next week in Port Douglas in a lovely three bedroom townhouse privately owned by a local couple who were fabulous hosts. They helped us arrange our travel and were always there to wave goodbye and welcome us back from our days of sightseeing.

We were staying just off of Four Mile beach in Port Douglas, a tourist town that reminded us of Lahaina, Maui where we lived for a winter.


Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas

We spent a day in the outer Great Barrier Reef where we all got to go snorkeling and Carl, Heather, Brian and I all tried scuba diving for the first time. Great fun as you can imagine and the reef was spectacular!

The next day we drove up into the Daintree and Cape Tribulation where two World Heritage sites meet. Here one of the oldest rainforests on the planet, the Daintree, meets the coastline of the Great Barrier Reef. The Daintree Rainforest contains 30% of the frog, marsupial and reptile species in Australia and 65% of Australia's bat and butterfly species. 20% of bird species in the country can be found in this area. All of this diversity is contained within an area that takes up 0.2% of the landmass of Australia.

We took a cruise on a solar powered boat up the Daintree River looking for saltwater crocodiles and saw mostly small ones, the oldest being about six years old and still pretty small.

We also visited the Daintree Tea Plantation and had a tour of this family run tea farm. Brian and I are becoming quite the tea connoisseurs so it was really fun to see how the tea is harvested, dried, oxidized and sorted. We think our next big journey may be a trip around the world in search of the best teas!

There was a day of horseback riding on the beach and through the Daintree rainforest. My horse Bo, tried to eat everything in sight so I was constantly yelling at him to stop and keep moving as directed by our guide.


Heather, Jenn, Jan and Brian

Our second to last day in Port Douglas started off with Breakfast with the Birds at The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary. This was great as all these tropical birds come and poke around while you’re eating. Here’s me with two Rainbow Lorikeets.



Our last day in far north Queensland was spent on a gondola traveling over the Daintree Rainforest to get to the village of Kuranda for an afternoon of wandering. We returned via the scenic railway with some fabulous views of waterfalls and a great stop where a guide explained the “bush tucker” and medicines of the Aboriginal people.

From Cairns we flew to Sydney where we had two days to explore the city before the McMillins flew home. We went to the Sydney aquarium which was the best aquarium we’d seen and spent the last day riding around on the Sydney Explorer bus, seeing the sights of the city (including the opera house) and feeling pretty exhausted as you can imagine.


Sydney Opera House

So there you have it…the highlights of our trip around eastern Australia. It seems like we did so much but when you think about it, this place is so huge that you can barely make a tiny dent in two weeks. But we tried!

Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability

If you are still reading, then I imagine that you like me enough to hear about my recent trip to the Australasian Campuses Toward Sustainability (ACTS) conference in Ballarat, Victoria. After we returned from the above holiday, I had two days before getting back on a plane and flying to Melbourne for this conference.

It was actually a great experience and I met lots of people involved in sustainability initiatives in campuses around the country. I presented a paper entitled Learning Communities: Toward a New Model of Education for Sustainability in Higher Education describing my initial research last semester on how to get the concepts of sustainability to all undergraduate students. Hoping that this will lead to a published paper. I’ll talk more about this and my current research project at a later date because I’ve already rambled on enough I think!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuggeranong Rotary

Several Rotary events this week...

Tuesday evening I spoke at the Tuggeranong Rotary club for their 18th anniversary meeting. A nice time all in all but the meeting was three hours long! My host club, Canberra Sunrise, specifically decided to have their meetings at 7:30 am so that the meetings are automatically kept to one hour so people can get to work. Now I see the benefit of that! Granted it was an evening to celebrate...

Here I am exchanging club banners with their president.



Oh, and a good opportunity came out of that evening. One of the members came up to me after my talk and as a federal Parliamentarian, he offered to arrange a meeting with the Minister of the Environment for me! How's that for connections? I hardly knew what to say and have to put some serious thought into that.

Saturday evening was another Rotary event...Canberra Sunrise every year sponsors a program for high school students, the Model United Nations Assembly or MUNA. They bring students from all over Australia to Canberra to model UN sessions. On Saturday we had a great dinner at ANU with a number of diplomats and commissioners visiting from the local embassies. We were seated with the American contingent and met a woman from the US embassy who told us all about the public service and her job here. Quite interesting.

So its been a busy week and school is going well. Trying to put the final touches on my outline and plan out my methodology for my masters research essay before we head off on our travels over the two week holiday in September.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I met Jane Goodall!

You cannot imagine my excitement when I heard that Jane Goodall was speaking at the ANU and that there was a special lunch afterwards for students to get to chat with her. She of course, is the famous primatologist who lived in the forests of Gombe National Park in Tanzania studying chimpanzees in the longest field study of any animal species in their natural surroundings.

She spoke about her studies and time in Gombe and how she has now decided to leave the forests that she loves so much to address the issues that are threatening those forests, namely human population and consumption. So she has started the Jane Goodall Institute with the mission of advancing the power of individuals to take informed and compassionate action to improve the environment of all living things. She speaks 300 days out of the year.

Her talk was entitled Reason for Hope and in it she discussed the habitat destruction in Africa and elsewhere, the day to day struggles of humans in those areas that are causing such destruction, and the use of chimpanzees in medical testing. She discussed the nearly identical DNA structures of chimps and humans, and told stories about their personalities, emotions and lasting family relationships. Yet with our incredible similarities, we still make a distinction between them and us that legitimates our "use" of them.

Her reason for hope (and this is the part that I wanted to hear) lies in the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of a growing number of young people around the world who are finding out about the environmental and social problems and want to do something about it. For this reason she has started the Roots and Shoots program to get youth involved in service-learning projects that promote care and concern for animals, the environment, and the human community.

Her speech was positively inspiring and she kept a packed lecture theatre captivated for the hour. The lunch was a nice chance to ask questions though I didn't really get to spend any time with her. As you can imagine she is one popular woman and I merely had the chance to say hello, thank her for her work and have a friend snap a photo.



http://www.janegoodall.org/

http://www.rootsandshoots.org/

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Bike Story

Brian recently decided that he "needs" a new bike. Now I say "needs" because in our possession in Australia we currently have a tandem, two commuter bikes of not the best quality, and a junker bike that Brian rescued from the side of the road but hasn't touched since. So as he commutes to work daily, he thought a new bike would be a nice new toy.

He wanted another Bike Friday (foldable and packable like our tandem) and had started to think about having one made (in Oregon) and getting it shipped here, an expensive and time-consuming process, or having it rushed to be made and shipped to Cleveland so Brian's parents could bring it over in September. Then I remembered that on the Bike Friday group ride we did back in May, a guy stopped us and said he had a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket in his garage that he wanted to sell. Since I didn't know how to actually get a hold of this guy, I sent some emails to the BF organizers here and asked if they knew how to contact him. That same afternoon we went out for a ride around the lake on the tandem and as we were stopped at the top of a hill looking out at a great view of the lake, who bikes past us but that very same guy. So I yell out, "hey are you the guy with the Bike Friday in your garage?" and he stops and says yes he still has it. That was yesterday and today we went over to his place to look at it and brought it home. Got a great deal and it included the travel case. It's a super nice bike and the same color as the tandem. Very exciting.

Oh, and just to make the story a little cooler, the guy we bought it from is Michael Milton, the fastest Australian skier ever (and on one leg!). By fast I mean 132 miles per hour on skis, well one ski. He's got a great story...see http://www.michaelmilton.com/

So everybody's happy and there is now one more bike in our living room. Here's a photo.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Office Mates

Last week we had an international lunch where all of the postgrads brought food from their home countries. It was so amazing...such good food! This photo was taken in our office after the lunch when we were all pretty happy, obviously.



Represented here: US, Indonesia x 2, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Australia, Papua New Guinea and India.

I brought spinach artichoke dip with pita bread as that's what I bring to every potluck. Also noteworthy...I tried kangaroo stew. Most of you will know that I am a vegetarian, but I thought I should probably try it at least once. It was chewy and a little gamey and I am reminded that I just don't really like meat anymore.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Second Semester

Nothing incredibly exciting to report as I'm back at it for second semester. I'm full time again but it doesn't seem like it, yet. Half of my semester is dedicated to independent research which is slowly solidifying and besides that I'm now doing a course called Greening of Business. The other course I'll do as a block course in the spring (Nov-Dec) and it will be International Environmental Policy. So the only course I actually have to go to at the moment is Greening of Business from 4-7 on Wednesday evenings. I'm working on coming up with a schedule for research so I don't whittle my days away doing nothing.

I think I've also managed to transfer programs from a Master of Resources, Environment and Society to a Master of Environmental Science. The requirements are very similar and I only switched because Environmental Science is a bit more self explanatory and mainstream.

As for other bureaucratic business, I've only just discovered that I have to go through the university ethics committee for approval to do research (interviews) on humans. Talk about red tape. I have to complete this horrendous document of fifteen pages detailing my plan for participant recruitment, consent, interview questions, legal considerations, confidentiality, and you get the idea. Then I have to make fifteen copies of it! Wouldn't be such a problem if I had more than a day to think all that through. As you can see I've decided it would be much nicer to update my blog than dive into that project...

Back to work.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rotary

First, I want to say thanks for all of your kind words and thoughts after the bike incident. Bruises are healing and I'm feeling better though the wrists and knees are not yet one hundred percent. Back in school now after the holiday (and back on the bike) so I'm just trying to take it easy and keep the typing to a minimum. Not easy considering I'm to start writing a 15,000 word essay now!

Had a lovely evening earlier this week at the Rotary club of Ginninderra where I spoke about myself and my studies. Played a bit of Rotary trivia to see how much they knew about Cleveland and Arch Klumph and the Rotary Foundation...quite a bit actually. And I gave away Cleveland Rotary pins as prizes. When asked what they knew about Cleveland, answers included the Indians, home of a Ford motors plant, home of a president of Rotary International, it's on a big lake, and that Medina is 45 minutes southwest of Cleveland.


Jenn and President Sandra exchanging club banners

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Teagan

Had to share the cuteness...this is my niece Teagan and she is coming to visit in September!


Teagan

Ouch

Well my week was going quite well until Thursday. I got excellent marks in all of my courses and was enjoying my time off. So Thursday I was off to get groceries and had an afternoon of baking cookies planned. Did my shopping and loaded up my backpack and panniers and was on my way home when I had my first bike accident.

I was riding along a short stretch of sidewalk to get on the bike path when a giant black SUV came out of a parking garage and smack! I only saw the vehicle when I was right in front of it and I remember thinking, "oh, they'll see me" and swerving and then realizing they weren't going to stop in time. Next thing I know I'm face down on the drive seeing my bike tires spinning a few feet away and milk pouring out of the panniers. The woman driving (a little Asian woman who had to sit up straight to see over the dash) was very distraught. Another cyclist appeared on the scene and spent the rest of the day with me as I was toted around by the woman who hit me to no less than four separate clinics to see a doctor who sent me to get my wrist x-rayed, then back to the doctor. I would have bet money that my wrist was broken but it's just sprained and is now wrapped in a bandage and hurts like crazy. Other than that just scrapes and bruises. And Buck the bike is a steel tank...almost no damage.

So our trip to Sydney for the weekend is off and I'm operating with one hand. I have one more week of holidays to recover and am fine all in all. It could have been so much worse. Thank goodness I don't have to go into writing my thesis with a cast!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Brian's Buddy

Kangaroos at the campsite in Jervis Bay were very friendly and would eat out of your hand. This one was Brian's favorite.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Weekend at the Beach

Had a lovely weekend getaway to Jervis Bay on the southeastern coast. Here are a few photos.


Sophie, Jenn and Sarah

I've been trying to get a good Kookaburra photo for a while now. I like this one. It's known as a Laughing Kookaburra and people say it sounds like human laughter, though I think they sound like monkeys. The birds raise a wild chorus of crazy laughter as they go to roost in the treetops at dusk and wake everyone just as dawn breaks, so regularly that in the hinterlands of Australia they are know as the "bushman's clock."

Does anyone else remember the children's Kookaburra song?

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry, merry king of the bush is he,
Laugh, Kookaburra, Laugh, Kookaburra
Gay your life must be.


Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gumdrops he can see,
Stop, Kookaburra, Stop, Kookaburra
Leave some there for me.


Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see,
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
That's not a monkey, that's me.




Laughing Kookaburra


Crimson Rosella


Sunset on Murray's Beach

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sustainability and Ohio Cities

A recent, nation-wide study ranked Cleveland 28th and Columbus 50th out of the 50 largest U.S. cities on sustainability. The study, completed by SustainLane, a media and research organization based in San Francisco, ranked cities based on 15 criteria, including public transit, city parks, planning, farmers markets, and air and water quality.

The study highlighted Cleveland’s well-developed public transportation and revitalization and historic preservation efforts as important assets to sustainability. Also, Cleveland was the least traffic-congested city in the study.

However, Cleveland ranked below average in air quality, tap water quality, parks, and local food and agriculture. The city’s tap water was found to have 19 contaminants, with four over recommended EPA levels.

The study credits the City of Cleveland’s “Sustainability Program” and suggests that to complement historic downtown redevelopment, Cleveland should encourage the development of more parks, farmers markets, and clean technology. Since the study has been done, Cleveland has added another farmers market.

From: http://www.greaterohio.org/media/sustain_rankings.htm

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Holidays

Well, I've finished the semester and survived! No small task, let me tell ya. I worked harder this semester than I ever imagined I would have to. Certainly I knew grad school would be tough (though Brian's brother Keith in Cleveland says his masters program is easier than his undergrad...grrr) but I wasn't prepared for just how much work there would be. I loved it, but my four courses were very demanding. I wrote about 20,000 words total.

I do expect next semester to be slightly easier as I won't have that period of adapting to a new country, home, and university! That should help!

So I now have four whole weeks to myself. I'm got them booked up with naps, relaxing, reading(for pleasure), and baking cookies. We also have a trip to Sydney and a ski trip planned but I'm honestly most excited about doing nothing at all. Also planning some Rotary speaking with local clubs.

Next semester I'll do two courses and a major research essay of 15,000 words, looking like it will be a case study of implementing the concepts of sustainability across the campus. Not sure if I'll be able to look at operations and management and curriculum as that may be a bit too broad, but I'll most likely start with a look at how well the uni is getting the concepts of sustainability into the curriculum and how it could do it better. By that I mean, is the university preparing future leaders to understand that we operate within the limits of a finite biosphere. Ultimately, nothing will really matter that much if we don't have a functioning life supporting environment. So my argument is that universities have a responsibility to prepare students to make environmentally friendly decisions both now and in the future and in order to do that they need to be modeling sustainability themselves.

ANU is hands down the number one university in Australia for sustainability, ie. energy efficiency, recycling, composting organic waste, and using greywater to irrigate lawns. There is also an undergrad degree in sustainability and 70+ courses with sustainability as a core theme. Pretty exciting stuff and should be good fodder for my case study.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Great Green Debate

You may remember that I mentioned I was planning a debate for World Environment Day, which was on June 5th. Well I'm proud to say it was a huge success!

I planned it with two other people as part of the group I've been organizing, the Sustainability Learning Community (SLC). The evening started off with drinks and dinner for about 60 people including members of the SLC and the debating teams.

The theme of the debate was that Australia's Response to Global Warming is Sufficient and each team had three debaters. It was so much easier to get the negative side on board than the affirmative! The negative side included a member of the legislative assembly for the green party, a climate scientist from ANU, and an ANU student. The affirmative side included a Liberal senator (remember liberal here refers to the conservative side of the coin), an economics professor who at end declared that he didn't believe a word of what he'd just said, and an ANU debating club student. A student chaired the debate and the head of my school was the honorary adjudicator.

We didn't plan on having a winning or losing team but the adjudicator asked for a show of hands by table as to which side won. One table put their hands up for the affirmative! Not surprising considering it was billed as a green event.

It was really a delightful evening, both interesting and entertaining. 140 people came and the hall was full. In fact, the head of the school has requested we do it again next semester!

Sunsets

We often spend our Sunday afternoons at the National Library eating cheesecake in the cafe and reading. These photos are from those rides home.


Sunset behind Black Mountain



Moon over Lake Burley Griffin

Autumn on Campus

It's not really autumn anymore but as I mentioned earlier, my blog has been neglected and I wanted to put up a few photos of the colors.

It's technically winter now and though it does get quite cold overnight and in the mornings and evenings, the days are lovely and feel like spring. It gets down to about 30 F overnight and there is now frost on the grass in the morning and even ice on the puddles. The ride to school is chilly but its almost always sunny with blue skies throughout the day and probably reaches 50-55 F during the day. And though the autumn leaves have all fallen, the city is still green as eucalypts don't lose their leaves. There is something odd however, about bundling up before going out in June!


Sullivans Creek and Black Mountain


University Avenue

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

a story...

The American consultant was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied only a little while.

The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then L.A. and eventually NewYork City where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But, what then?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."

"Millions...then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

You can kiss...



Ha ha! Just couldn't resist that one.
Yass is a town just a few miles north of Canberra.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Neglected

Oh, my poor neglected blog. Not to mention my husband and my house...
I've been plodding away on all of my essays and presentations and it all should be done by about the second week of June. Then we are taking a well deserved holiday. Other students at uni keep commenting on the excessive amount of work we seem to have in my department. I love it though; it's all fascinating. Though sometimes it's hard to remember that I'm here to learn and not just to pump out work for the sake of work. When I focus on that, it's all much more enjoyable.

Anyone heard of Google Trends? It's at http://www.google.com/trends and you can put in a search word and see where in the world that word is searched for the most. So if you type in "sustainability" you will find that Canberra, Australia is the number two city in the world for the most searches on "sustainability." Crazy eh? As I'm writing a major research essay on the need to incorporate the concepts of sustainability into our educational systems (all levels of course, but I'm focusing on Education for Sustainability in the university), I like to think that I have a small part to play in that :) Melbourne is the number one city and a US city doesn't even show up until number eight. Any guesses? Answer at the bottom.

Went to a very nice Rotary lunch the other day with the scholars in the area and our host counselors. Quite nice. My host is off to the US and Canada for a two month holiday with his wife. They've just retired and are busy remodeling the house and traveling. Lovely people.

Oh, and to answer the question from Janet's blog comment...no, I have not yet said that I'm from Canada.

We've now set up web conferencing so we've been able to chat with family at home. Brian's family had a reunion and we of course couldn't make it so we set up the web conferencing and I even "met" some of his cousins for the first time. And we got to play virtual peek-a-boo and blow virtual kisses to my year and a half old niece...so cute!

A: Portland, OR.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bike Friday Canberra

We went on our first Bike Friday group ride this weekend. First ever and first in Australia. Quite nice. Though we did manage to cover a little distance (55 km on Saturday and 35 km on Sunday), it was mostly some peddling between coffee stops and sightseeing. And though it rarely rains here, we had to set off in a downpour on Saturday morning. Glad we didn't talk ourselves out of it though as we saw some new parts of Canberra and got to know some local cyclists. And the sun was out by early afternoon. Hopefully there will be some photos of this soon.

I've noticed a funny thing. It's fairly obvious that I'm either from Canada or the states, but no Australians ever ask if I'm from the US. They always ask if I'm from Canada, assuming that I won't be offended if I'm an American. It seems they think a Canadian, on the other hand, might not like to be confused with an American. I take my fair share of good natured criticism as "the American" but rather enjoy being able to add my perspectives. Australians are pretty well aware of world events...they are certainly more aware of what's going on in the US than Americans are of what's happening in Australia. How many of you knew that in 2003 massive bushfires raged through the capital, destroying hundreds of homes on the outskirts of the city? I think the whole world would have known had Washington been on fire. For that matter, how many of you knew what city is the capital of Australia (before I came here anyway)?

Anyway, here's an interesting bit on the bushfires if you're interested in further reading. Damage is still visible everywhere once you leave the city, mostly in charred trees.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canberra_bushfires_of_2003

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Holidays Come and Gone...

Well my two week Easter vacation is over and I must say, it didn't feel much like a vacation! After returning home from Melbourne, I spent most of my time working on essays. I managed to get quite a bit done without the interruption of always having to run off to class though.

On Saturday I was in Sydney for the day for a Rotary regional scholar orientation where we talked about responsibilities as scholars and how to give effective presentations. The best part of the day was meeting the other scholars in the region and getting to know the others here in Canberra.

Here's a funny story. I was talking with a woman from London who is studying international relations at the ANU and we were talking about bicycles and I mentioned my dollar bike and she said "that's you! I've heard about you, you're famous!" Apparently word has gotten around that some girl got a bike for one dollar and it's big news. Funny, eh?

You might be thinking that we must have enough bikes by now, but you'd be quite wrong. On the way home from a shopping trip the other day, we saw a number of random things on the curbside from someone who had recently cleaned house, including a bicycle. Well we just couldn't let it go to the trash now could we? It's a lovely 1970's model cruiser that we'll keep in our shed out back in case we get company.

The other interesting part of the day was hearing inspirational stories about the accomplishments of past Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars such as Billy Campbell, president of Discovery Channel, U.S. He has a cool job! Other notable Rotary scholars include Paul Volcker Jr, Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Carter and Reagan; Bill Moyers, Journalist; David Mulford, US Ambassador to India; and Roger Ebert, Film Critic.

Other than that I'm still working on planning my global warming debate which is coming together quite nicely.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ANUgreen

Moving to Australia is a big deal. The logistics of it occupied most of time before leaving but once I arrived here it hit me that I had to come up with a research topic as 25% of my masters degree is research and the other 75% is coursework. As I'm kind of a big picture environmental issue person, I expected to have some difficulty in deciding what to focus on. Most people look at very specific things like ant behavior in x type of soil during drought. No thanks.

So I started talking with lecturers and professors to get some ideas of who's working on what and what sounds interesting. Amazingly enough, a research project has amazingly come together quite nicely and painlessly. There is a new initiative on campus called Learning Communities. The idea is to get students outside of the classroom working on projects with students of other disciplines. ANUgreen, which is the campus environmental management organization, is heading up a Sustainability Learning Community (SLC) to work on environmental initiatives on campus. You may remember that I was planting trees with this group earlier in the semester. Of course I was interested in this especially after having worked in environmental education last year. And I find that they wanted to get a postgrad involved in the project to do assessment and facilitate projects so I'm now working on an independent research project involving the SLC and I'm going to be trained to assess their outcomes. Which has now suddenly turned into a job and an internship with ANUgreen! Nice thing to add to the CV. The job is only a few hours a week (five to seven) to work on organizing projects and trips and the internship is at the end of the semester to write up my findings, which I'll have to do anyway in a 5000 word essay for my research project. And they're both paid. Neat, eh?

Currently one of the big things I'm working on is a debate for World Environment Day on 5 June on the topic of Australia's response to climate change. I'm even trying to get local politicians involved along with students and academics. Wish me luck on that one! I'm also organizing a field trip to a local organic farm and a chance for students to talk with gardeners as there is interest in starting a garden plot on campus.

So if you hear me saying how ridiculously busy I am in personal emails (or more likely, don't get any personal emails at all) you'll know why!

Melbourne

Had a long weekend in Melbourne and stayed with our friend Chris who lives a stones throw from the coast. Lots of fun even though I was sniffling and recovering from a cold for most of the weekend. Had some nice bike rides along the coast, went to the Vic Markets and the Melbourne Museum, ate lots of good food, helped Chris pick out his new apartment, and wandered through downtown. Oh, and met Chris's parents. Hi Chris's mum!

Here's me in downtown Melbourne on a bridge over the Yarra River. In case you are wondering, Brian is indeed here in Australia with me even though he refuses to make appearances on my blog right now. He's camera shy but I'll work on him :)



Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Snowy Mountains


The hike up...



Snow Gums still recovering after 2003 bushfires



Brrr... Jenn wondering what was this guy thinking??



Rocks at the top



Tenacity

A fun weekend, thought quite chilly obviously! We're off to Melbourne tomorrow for a long weekend. I've got a (much needed) two week holiday starting this weekend. Yeh!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Roo and Joey

Here are some photos of kangaroos at Kosciusko National Park in the Snowy Mountains from my field trip last weekend. Is the little joey in the pocket the cutest thing ever or what?





The kangaroos in the campground expect to be fed so they would come and check you out and promptly leave if you had nothing for them.



I'll put up some photos of the Snowy Mountains soon, but don't expect photos of the wild and free Snowy River. Most of it has been diverted for Snowy Hydro power generation. In fact, the river was only allocated one percent of its original flow. So while Snowy Hydro bills itself as clean, renewable energy, it's had a pretty significant environmental impact in that not much lives in the Snowy anymore. It's all been diverted west for irrigation. Quite a contentious issue here with farmers, grazers, irrigators, the power company, the national park, and downstream towns all having quite different opinions on where the water should go. At least it's one less nasty coal fired plant...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Food

Food is always a subject of interest when in a foreign country and while the food here is certainly not that different from the food in the US, there area few notable things. One is that there is Asian food EVERYWHERE and this makes me very happy. I'm not talking about Chinese food like you know it either. I'm talking Asian noodle houses with Thai,Vietnamese, Malaysian....
My new favorite thing is Laksa, a spicy noodle soup in coconut curry broth with fried tofu puffs. I don't remember ever seeing it in the states, but I've had it in just about every noodle house around. Mmmmm......

Not surprisingly, the one thing we don't have so much of here is Mexican food. Our American neighbors warned us not to eat at any of the "Mexican" restaurants around because the food is terrible and certainly not like anything from Mexico. But we stumbled on a new place that had only been open for a couple months so we thought we'd give it a go. We each ordered burritos, bean and chicken respectively, and we were quite surprised to find that each of our burritos had a distinctly curried flavor. Now I for one LOVE curry, but it was unexpected in a burrito. Brian's chicken was actually covered in curry sauce and I think the flavor in mine was coming from the beans. The place was right next door to an Indian restaurant.....come to think of it, the window to the kitchen was on the wall shared with the Indian place....

This isn't related to food but I realized yesterday that the Australian accent has stopped sounding so foreign and unique, and now I spend less time listening to accents (which I quite enjoy) and actually listen to what people are saying :) Not that I wasn't listening before of course, its just less novel now.

Oh, and I'm off on a field trip this weekend to the Snowy Mountains (you could watch the Man from Snowy River this weekend and pretend you're there with me!). There is a major hydroelectric plant there and we are going to have a look at the human ecological interactions happening there. Should be fun. Photos and stories to come....

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Potluck

We had a very nice potluck this week as a going away party for the Japanese family in our apartment building. He finished studying and they are going home so we had a potluck in the back yard to say farewell. It was really the first time that we were able to get together with all of our neighbors and a couple we met for the first time. Here are a some photos of the event, one of the adults and one of the kids in the building.





We got to try foods from all over and Brian got to try kangaroo and thought it was quite good. We brought a bottle of Australian mead and that was lots of fun to share. And its a great conversation piece as we make mead back home in the US.

I mentioned before that our apartment building is quite a multicultural place with families from all over the world. There is a Korean family who feed the possums almost every night. The possums here are different from the ones in the US though. These are really cute and fluffy. I just happen to have a photo!



So there is a running joke that the Korean family feeds the possums every evening, but the Brazilian guy a couple doors down keeps saying that when it gets fat enough, he'll be eating it!

Rotary Scholars

The chair of the district 9710 scholarship committee organized a dinner the other day for all of the scholars studying at the ANU to finally meet each other. The others are from Japan, England, and Korea, and there is another American who was working for the state department in DC before coming here. They are ALL studying international relations because apparently, this is the place to be for that field. I hear that all of the best researches and professors worldwide in international affairs are actively recruited to come here.

Actually, the university is well known for its environmental activities as well and for having what is probably the "greenest" campus in Australia. And it is perennially regarded as Australia's best university. So I feel like I chose the right place in terms of the best program; its blending of social and environmental sciences is quite unique (and the major reason I decided to come here). I am meeting great people in my field and learning so much!

So, anyway it was great to meet the other scholars but I am definitely the oldest by a couple years :) Ah well, with age comes wisdom right?

Also, the local district has funding this year to offer an outgoing ambassadorial scholarship for the first time in quite a few years. So, I'm actively telling all of my friends on campus that they should apply!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Boating and Bushwalking

Last weekend was quite a full weekend and I've been recovering from it ever since! Saturday morning I spent at Lake Burley Griffin helping out the Canberra Sunrise Rotarians at Dragon Boating. Picture long boats with an ornately carved dragons head at the bow and a tail in the stern and 12-18 paddlers lining both sides of the boat plus a drummer to keep time for the strokes and a helmsman. Rotarians were responsible for timekeeping in the 200 meter race so I spent the morning with a stopwatch and lots of anticipation! It's tiring to be constantly waiting for the gunshot to signal the start of the race, and then hoping that all of the timekeepers start at the same time....not very high tech timekeeping. But it was fun and a nice way to spend some with the local Rotarians. And by the time we had perfected our technique, our shift was over.

Now Sunday was the really exhausting day...our friends were going rock climbing at Booroomba Rocks in nearby Namadgi National Park. So we got a lift with them so that we could spend the day hiking while they were climbing. We planned a route ourselves the night before and then confirmed with the ranger at the visitor center in the morning that it would be a good hike. Our friends left us at the visitor center to walk to meet them at the rocks and we took off on the 13 kilometer adventure up to the top of Mount Tennent at 4537 feet (1383 meters) and then down the other side. We started early enough so the day was cool and the hike to the top was quite easy really, except for the last kilometer which was STEEP, and hot by then. We were plodding on up to the fire tower at the top and as we round the last corner I see a friend from uni and some others I know from my courses! How funny that we have only a handful of friends here and yet we run into one at the top of mountain with no one else in sight! Had lunch at the top and then made our way down the other side which started off easily enough, but soon we were in open bushland in the blazing sun for several kilometers. That part was flat but it was close to 100 degrees and very tiring by that point. The sun here is noticeably hotter. By the time we got to the last kilometer we were just about out of water and had another stretch of uphill to reach the car park where our friends car was. Needless to say, we were very happy to get there and our muscles have been recovering ever since. Feeling fine now, but postponing further bushwalking for cooler days.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Special Delivery

There was a knock on the door the other evening and I open it to see a delivery man with a giant potted plant in his arms...it was this beautiful peace lily from Jan, Heather, and Teagan (my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and baby niece.) So thoughtful! And what's funny is that I had just said to Brian a few days before that the apartment really needed some plants!



News from the land where swans are black, mammals lay eggs, and trees keep their leaves but lose their bark.

So much to tell as the first two weeks of uni have flown by and we’ve passed the one month mark of our stay already! A note about the title of this post…it’s referring to a quote that early explorers made about Australia and what a strange land it can be. A photo of a black swan follows, the stringybark eucalyptus sheds its bark, and of course, the platypus lays eggs.



School is going well now that I have all of my courses worked out. I’m taking four which is a bit of a heavy load but I would really like to finish the year with a masters if at all possible. That means I’m taking three courses now and the fourth is an independent research project. Next semester I’ll be taking two courses and the other two will be research units for a total of eight courses over two semesters. I’m now enrolled in Environmental Policy and Planning, Water Resource Management, Human Ecology (study of the sustainability of human interactions with the environment) and an independent research project which is still coming together. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed coming back to the university after five years away, having to get accustomed to a new system, similar of course, but still with a much different assessment system and I would say, higher expectations of it’s students. That of course could be a function of this being postgraduate work, but even the upper level undergraduates here are expected to take on independent research.

I really like my department which is the School of Resources, Environment, and Society. We have morning tea together every Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. and most lecturers will even let their students out a bit early from classes scheduled until eleven, as morning tea is rather sacred. Yesterday, there was an all day outing for new students in the department to see some of the sights around Canberra and meet some environmental professionals working in the field. Here is a photo from the top of Mount Ainslie of me with three of my office mates. Did I mention that I also have my own office space? It’s a large room that has a number of desks and computers in it, but it’s very spacious and I don’t know what I would do without it! I spend a lot of time there between classes and on my days off (unfortunately.) Liz is enrolled in the same program as I am and we have a lot in common. We’ve had no trouble making Australian friends and in fact spend very little time with the Americans that we do know.


Kim, Jenn, Liz, and Deazy

Here's a photo of the view behind us, Parliamentary Triangle, which is essentially the center of the city, without us in the way.



On another note, I went to the local Rotaract meeting this week. Rotaract is a Rotary sponsored service club for young people ages 18 to 30. I was planning on looking them up once I got settled in but they had a booth on campus during orientation week and I happened to run into them there. As we were introducing ourselves at the beginning of the meeting, I said my name and that I was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from District 6630 in Cleveland, Ohio and I heard a squeal and a clap from across the aisle and a girl says, “I was on a Rotary youth exchange there!” When we got to talk after the meeting I found out that she lived in Warren, Ohio for a year in 2002. How funny is that? She loved the experience and has just recently found Rotaract and is happy to be able to be involved with Rotary since she feels they gave her so much. Small world.

Mob of Kangaroos

Had a lovely ride around Lake Burley Griffin today. Here is a photo of a nice view of one small part of the large, meandering lake.



Every time we leave the house we see something new and exciting. Lots of birds and I won't bore you with all of the photos I have taken of the various types, but it is certainly worth a photo when we see a mob of kangaroos in the distance. This photo was taken at some distance of the mob (yes, that's the technical term) of grey kangaroos on the Royal Canberra Golf Course. We estimate no less than forty or fifty, though you can't see them all here.