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Bird Walks

Usually about 6 a.m. a group of people meets on the front porch. Once fortified by a cup of coffee, we set off to survey the island’s bird life. Continued…

Posted in Rutledge Marine Lab.

Marine Life On A Star

I’ve taken up residence on Star Island for the summer as the island naturalist. These first few days have been busy setting up the tanks, putting things together, and unearthing all kinds of treasures stored away for many winters. I hope to have most of the displays in shape and the tanks at least partially stocked by Friday. There’s a big regatta and we’ll have over 300 guests that day. Even though this isn’t the main event, I want to have the place ready for visitors. Then I’ll have one week to work on programs before the first conferees arrive.

Birding has been interesting. The thickets are filled with warblers in the morning. You can’t see any of them but what a chorus they make with their tremolos. Offset by the tenor squawks of the gulls soaring overhead. On the mainland I would never get up early enough but now I’m up and out by 5:30 or so. I’ve also seen my first indigo bunting, some eider ducks, and sandpipers.
Botany is more of a challenge since so many of the rare species here are grasses and nondescript weeds. I know the big obvious ones but have always overlooked the grasses. Now I have a full-fledged meadow across the path so I’ll have lots to identify.
One of the tasks that’s been put to me is a habitat survey of island plant and animal life over the course of the season to help with land-use planning. It seems daunting but there are specific areas of concern and a lot of research has already been done and is available here in the lab.
I almost had a nice flounder this morning for the tanks but it slipped out of the trap while I fetched water to put it in. At least the trap works, I had been expecting crabs not fish. I plan on diving this afternoon to collect. It’s pretty warm today.

Posted in Rutledge Marine Lab.

Environmental art/populist science

Ever since I saw her TED talk I’ve been a fan of Natalie Jeremijenko’s work. This clip gives you some idea of the time and trouble needed to work in the public domain.

It’s a great piece of expressive art, beauty, and science. I hope she found the sites and can do a longitudinal study.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Shapeshifting Soapstone at Haworth Library

I just finished setting up my first showing of the soapstone carvings I’ve been doing annually for the past six years. They’ll be at the Haworth (NJ) Library throughout September.

Here’s what I wrote about it for the show:

Posted in Uncategorized.

User experience lessons from the classroom

For the past few months I’ve been teaching high school science in a public high school. Its providing fertile ground for experimentation with various UX approaches. So far, the lessons learned seem very applicable to communicating anything.

Attention is precious — and fragile. If you can catch it, however fleetingly, don’t waste it. Don’t overwhelm the channel and don’t get sidetracked. Stay on message and reward users each time you deliver a new piece of information. Make them feel valued and smarter each time they engage with you.

Teaching or brand-building takes thousands of interactions — any one of which can go awry and derail the process. You need to always deliver incremental value with the promise of more on the next interaction and never assume understanding or agreement without testing. And be prepared to start from scratch each day.

Simple lessons really, but hard in practice.

Posted in UX.

Positive Youth Development and the Beloved Community

What Is the Purpose of Youth Ministry?

The past decade has seen significant new developments in both church youth programming and developmental psychology as mega-churches have applied and advanced organizational development theories and developmental systems theorists have focused on the mutual interplay between individual and context. Continued…

Posted in Research.

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What is emergent design?

Emergent design is evolutionary. It manifests itself in practice with constant evaluation and feedback moderating the strategic imperatives.

Emergent design holds both emergence—the bubbling up of new phenomena from the random interaction of individuals—and design—the planned progression of events towards a goal—in a dynamic embrace that maintains a higher level view of the process, and thus transcends the apparent duality by facilitating the interaction between the two approaches. It seeks to reduce the friction points that inhibit the free flow of information and to allow for experimentation towards a goal, so that product development is more like the leaves of trees reaching for the light than central planning.

Emergent design is an expression of the dynamic interactive processes of ecology on a micro, macro, and generational scale. It is also the mechanism for growth in an ecological growth economy. It contains The Cathedral and the Bazaar, The Spider and the Starfish.

Posted in emergence.