Monday, April 13, 2009

Earth Hour

The main reason I suppose, that my blog has been neglected as of late, is that I've been wrapped up in planning this year's Earth Hour event at ANU (one of the same reasons my blog was neglected this time last year).

The first big event of the year on campus was Celebrate Sustainability Day, another event that began last year. Both CSD and Earth Hour were really terrific last year and I started 2009 wondering how in the world I could do it again.

Long story short, lots of planning, lots of stress and lots of help later, they were both super cool events once again. I give you Earth Hour in pictures:

The evening began with three performances by the School of Music - a solo clarinet, a jazz trio and a brass quintet. Below, the crowds are just starting to arrive in time for the free BBQ.

The next hour of music was Brazilian Samba by a group that came all the way from the Blue Mountains, King Parrot Samba.

Next, a candle dance by the Samoan Youth Group.

Then the Vice Chancellor himself came out to launch Earth Hour at 8:30pm. He awarded prizes to the child care centres who'd participated in our energy saving poster design competition and then launched the hour with a countdown.

At 8:30pm sharp, all of the lights went out in the surrounding area (can you say headache trying to make that happen?). Then off to the side, West African drumming group, DrumAssault, started playing accompanied by a fire show. It was a pretty cool effect.

At 9:30pm the lights came back on and the music ended. All in all, it nearly matched the epic candle display we put on last year. And more people attended - we estimate 700!

Click HERE to see all of the photos from the event. All courtesy of Stuart Hay, ANU Photography.

Oh, and I nearly forgot - that giant inflatable planet earth that appears in the photos - I purchased it and had it shipped from the US just for this event and during lights out it was stolen! Can you believe it? I never thought I'd see it again, but the very next day I received a very apologetic and very embarrassed email from a senior resident tutor in one of the colleges who'd confiscated it from students who I'm sure thought they were very clever. The world is now safely back in my hands. Whew!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Weekend with Wade

Looking back at my blog archives, I notice that around this time last year blog posts were also few and far between. The beginning of the first semester always signals a crazy time at work for me and I've just emerged from planning a series of major events. I hope to put up a few posts this weekend so you can at least see what I've been up to during my absence.

The first and most exciting newsworthy event of recent weeks was the visit of my longtime friend Wade. Wade and I went to college together and met when I nabbed a last minute spot on a geology field trip to Death Valley, California. I wasn't enrolled in the course and didn't know anyone in it but someone had dropped out and the spot was offered to our biology class. I jumped on the chance and ended up making some incredible friends; Wade being the most enduring. We then studied together in Costa Rica and traveled in Central America. Now he's got one of the coolest jobs ever, coordinating SCSU's study abroad program in a castle in Northern England. I will get there for a visit one day!

Wade spent three weeks in Australia and we got him for a long weekend in Canberra. The three of us had a ball catching up, eating amazing food, cycling, seeing the sights (Parliament, the National Gallery, the National Library, etc.) and showing off our local marsupials.

The photo highlights:

The three of us at Parliament House.

Brian and Wade under the iconic flag pole, Parliament House.

My attempt at getting Wade the best Aussie photo souvenir I could - sporting an Akubra with kangaroos in the background.

Thanks for a great visit Wade!