Etymology of Appalachia

Etymology of Appalachia

Recently my good friend Ethan got me back into brewing. Unfortunately, since brewing whiskey is still illegal on such a small scale, we went with the second best drink; cider. Since I work in a Makerspace, I knew I had to come up with a fun label. What would be a fun apple pun/label?

For many of the Pittsburghers reading this, you might be wondering, “but isn’t it pronounced apple-lay-sha?” How you pronounce this mountain range shows a lot about your personal ideology and history.

The Animal's Lawsuit Against Humanity: Literature Appetizer

The Animal's Lawsuit Against Humanity: Literature Appetizer

This is one of my favorite pictures of my father. Last week while my family was in Florida Dad asked me if I wanted to go and see the animals he saw earlier that day. Being that I love exploring ecoregions with my dad, we stepped outside to the local pond.

We saw at least a half dozen types of birds (including egrets), fish, and mammals. But in the pond, my father told me, was a red eared-slider turtle that got close to him earlier that day. We went to the same location and within a minute this little turtle came up real close.

Ramp Hollow: Literature Appetizer

Ramp Hollow: Literature Appetizer

What’s the unifying story of Appalachia? What common theme can you find time and time again in these mountains? Many people would answer coal. And while that is a big part of the story, Ramp Hollow: the Ordeal of Appalachia by Steve Stoll showcases an even deeper story: one of the privileged taking from everyone else.

In terms of who has privilege, we often base the conversation around skin color and gender, and understandably so. Many people are denied jobs or pay based entirely on race and gender. But privilege can come in many other forms, and although hardships can be different, often they “rhyme.”

Can a native species become alien?

Can a native species become alien?

Last fall I was fortunate enough to visit the Association of Science and Technology Centers conference in Hartford, CT. While walking with some coworkers to dinner we found a beautiful owl stunned and walking on the road.

We did our best to guide it off of the road where it could rest on the sidewalk. Some local police officers came and told us they would make sure this owl got back “to where it belonged.”

I had been in this city less than 24 hours, but was I more ‘native’ to this cityscape than this owl? When does one become native? Can you lose that title?

The Tenacious Librarians of the Mountains

The Tenacious Librarians of the Mountains

How do you picture a librarian? Who I picture is the first librarian I knew. She was an old, small woman who had the biggest smile and warmest eyes. Even though I hated books, and even more reading, whenever I was dragged to the public library by Mom this librarian would give me the space I needed as an introvert. But after 15 or so minutes of me pretending to search for a book, she would walk over with one of those huge books with tons of pictures and short facts (mostly about dinosaurs). I would pour over those books, looking at timelines and how big the teeth were of each dinosaur.

Tenochtitlan: an Architectural Wonder in the Aztec Empire

Tenochtitlan: an Architectural Wonder in the Aztec Empire

Imagine yourself being told by a divine power to cease wondering through the dense jungles, as you have done so for generations, and found a city where an eagle perches on a cactus. You search with your tribe, until you see such an eagle. However, it is located on an island on the middle of a lake. How do you design the city so that it thrives in such a unique environment? Welcome to Tenochtitlan.

Practical Beauty: Aquaponics Theory Applied

Practical Beauty: Aquaponics Theory Applied

When I first heard of aquaponics, I wasn’t impressed at first. This was still in my freshmen year of Allegheny when I was first discovering my love for environmental topics. In those early years in Meadville, I was more focused in the giant ideas rather than small scale practical solutions. “What’s the big deal about fish and plants?” was one of the many questions I had about it. By the time my sophomore year came around, I was actively and excitedly teaching about it in a local elementary school.

Literature Appetizer: The Geography of Childhood by Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble

Literature Appetizer: The Geography of Childhood by Gary Paul Nabhan and Stephen Trimble

I hated being outside growing up. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and watch Dragon Ball Z and play Super Smash Brothers Melee. But even my childhood self, who had great opposition to the outdoors, still holds the places I grew up near and dear to my heart.

I remember waking up every morning seeing the ridge line. I remember the trees in the back yard where I would run under when it was too hot. I remember walking out on Mammoth Lake when it was frozen with my dad and sister.