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biotic mandala
After several weeks of unusually cold weather our biome has become unusually beautiful—especially in the Westfield River watershed. The river has frozen over, allowing us to go places we are normally prevented from going. Our non-hibernating mammal neighbors are crossing rivers and brooks, moreover, giving us a chance to gauge the vitality of the biome,...
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The Life Riparian (Cross-posted from Hilltown Families) Riparian is a strange sounding word that denotes “river bank”: the meeting point of river and land. We enter the “riparian zone” when we get close to a river. It is a place we want to be, because it brims with exuberant sounds and smells, and because it...
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The Biocitizen Corps was up to its knees in chilly flowing water again this Fall, catching and inventory the bugs who live in the substrates of our rivers and brooks. River bugs that trout love to eat, & that require cold oxygen-rich water, are the ones we hope to catch, because not only do trout...
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Biokids at Holyoke Dam From this month’s Ripple: Stories about Western Mass Rivers, cross posted from Hilltown Families The land is an organism, wrote Aldo Leopold, the Yale-trained game management specialist, about seventy-five years ago. An organism is alive, and its life is made up of the contributions of disparate organs, each of which would...
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Aesthetic value is a keystone of environmental philosophy. We love, and take care of, things we find beautiful. Biocitizen and HCC professor John Calhoun have made a commitment to work together for a year, walking together, learning, and creating art that is beautiful, that expresses important moments in, and facets of, Holyoke’s biocultural history. You...
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If you know what bugs live in a river, you can gauge its health. So, every year just as Summer slips into Fall, the Biocitizen Corps ventures out and catches some, following EPA protocols, in a national citizen science initiative called “Rapid Bioassessments of Benthic Invertebrates.” Certain bugs need lots of oxygen. The cleanest coldest...
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Alan Lightman, of the physics & creative writing departments at MIT, has published an essay in the NYTs that expresses his fear of “nature” and of dying. It is wonderfully naive, and a perfect example of the collapsing epistemology of industrial capitalism (that MIT has for its entire existence promulgated with brownfield, cancercluster and bankrupt-economy...
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Allow me to give you an Earth Day gift I’ve been trying to wrap up ever since I studied under an eminent Thoreau scholar who, in his first lecture, handed it to me—by saying: “For Thoreau, nature was a symbol.” “A symbol of what?” I blurted, admittedly interrupting but…come on: a symbol? “Of God, of...
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Ah, spring is here, time for serious cleaning of gardens and basements. I’m going to clean Biocitizen of the concept of the “environment,” mainly because, beyond its status as a concept, there is no such thing. What the EPA calls the “environment”—The sum of all external conditions affecting the life, development and survival of an...
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