Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Check Out These Three

Rich Stevenson – NC Waterfalls

I finally met Rich Stevenson last week at the opening for a photo exhibit at Gallery 86. I was already familiar with Stevenson's fine website devoted to NC Waterfalls (http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/)

In addition to his gorgeous photography, he provides driving and hiking directions and detailed descriptions for each waterfall. The site is as close as you’ll find to a exhaustive listing of North Carolina waterfalls. Rich is a great guy who has done a great work collecting this information and sharing it with the world, via the web. If you’re planning a waterfall trip, maybe looking for a falls you’ve never visited before, then his website is the place to start.

The Gallery 86 show includes photographs by Rich Stevenson and other members of the Southern Appalachian Photographer’s Guild. It continues through August 23. Gallery 86 is located at 86 North Main Street, and is open Monday-Saturday 10-5. (828-452-0593)

If you go, be sure to find the photograph that Rich took at Max Patch one snowy winter day. Simply amazing!

Kathryn Stripling Byer – Here, Where I Am

Recently, I stumbled upon a relatively new blog, Here, Where I Am, from Cullowhee’s own Kathryn Stripling Byer, who has been North Carolina’s poet laureate since 2005. Of course, the blog maintains the same high standard of all her previous work.

There’s a story to how I found her blog. Last winter, on a visit to see some Maud Gatewood paintings at the Asheville Art Museum, I caught the last few minutes of a talk and reading by Kay Byer. One poem in particular reached out and grabbed me, and stayed with me. I kept meaning to request a copy of the poem, but never got around to it. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I did a web search and found that it was posted on this new blog. The poem is Last Light and anyone who knows and loves the "spirits of this place" would enjoy it.

Also, Kay’s 2007 appearance on North Carolina Bookwatch, can be viewed by following either of these links:

http://video.aol.com/video-detail/north-carolina-bookwatch-kathryn-stripling-byer/2468693000

http://www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch/author_az/2007/kathryn_sbyer.html

It's well worth watching.

Gary Paul Nabhan – Zahner Lecture

All summer long, I’ve been reading the announcements for the events of the Zahner Conservation Lecture Series at the Highlands Nature Center in Highlands, NC. Every time, I have wanted to attend. Each program sounded like it would be fantastic, but I never made it up the mountain.

That’s going to change this week. This Thursday night, August 7, at 7 P.M., the program will be "Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Restoring Diversity to Our Farms" with author Gary Paul Nabhan. Among his many honors, Nabhan received a MacArthur Fellowship ("Genius Grant") and the John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing.

It was many years ago that I became acquainted with Nabhan’s work. He was a co-founder of Native Seeds/Search, an organization devoted to preserving agricultural diversity in the Southwest. His life as an ecologist and writer has taken many different directions. One of his books on my shelf is Cross-pollinations: The Marriage of Science and Poetry:

A pioneering ethnobotanist, Gary Paul Nabhan credits the arts with sparking unlikely scientific breakthroughs and believes that such "cross-pollination" engenders new forms of expression that are essential to discovery. In this highly readable book, he tells four stories to illustrate this idea. In the first, coping with color blindness in art class leads to his career as a scientist; in the second, ancient American Indian songs, when translated, reveal an understanding of plants and animals that rivals modern research; in the third, a poem inspires an approach to diabetes using desert plants; and in the fourth, a coalition of scientists and artists creates the Ironwood Forest National Monument in the Sonoran Desert.

According to the news release announcing the Thursday lecture:

Nabhan will speak about his latest book, "Renewing America’s Food Traditions." The book is a beautifully illustrated and a dramatic call to recognize, celebrate, and conserve the great diversity of foods that gives North America its distinctive culinary identity that reflects America’s multicultural heritage. Nabhan will offer up rich natural and cultural histories and folk traditions associated with the rarest food plants and animals in North America. He highlights the success stories of food recovery, habitat restoration, and market revitalization that chefs, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and foresters have recently achieved. Through such "food parables," Nabhan and his colleagues build a persuasive argument for eater-based conservation.

Over three decades, he has worked with more than a dozen indigenous communities on cross-cultural initiatives to revive indigenous foods to prevent diabetes, to restore ancient agricultural landscapes and to honor traditional knowledge.

Zahner Conservation Lectures 2008 at Highlands Nature Center, 930 Horse Cove Road, Highlands, 828-526-2602

Sounds like a winner to me.

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