Archive for Monday, October 4, 2010


Tap into Lawrence environmental groups

October 4, 2010


Fall makes me think of meetings, of my father putting on corduroys and sweaters and my mother a skirt, a blazer and hairspray. They often carried notebooks and pens. They left me in the evening to learn something, to have important discussions, to take part in some community somewhere. Knowing they cared made me feel somehow secure in the world.

Like them, I now leave my own house every month for the Jayhawk Audubon meeting. At one meeting, I learned about the increasing conservation needs of Kansas’s greater prairie chicken. But the meetings aren’t always about birds. Another night, we wound up in the parking lot looking through telescopes at Venus, our moon and even the moons of Jupiter. Another night, I learned about dark matter from KU professor of astronomy and astrophysics Bruce Twarog, a man so passionate about his subject that he leapt into the air like a popcorn kernel and made the rest of us leap in response.

In addition to Audubon, I’ve also attended meetings of the Wakarusa Chapter of the Sierra Club. Participation in both of these clubs has enriched my life in so many ways. I’ve met other like-minded people who have since become some of my best friends. I’ve become more informed about local environmental issues and tramped my local watersheds and bioregion. With Sierra Club, I’ve visited the local water treatment plant, sanitation plant and landfill, and in the process, got a much more literal sense of my impact on the local landscape. With Aubudon, I’ve participated in the Christmas Bird Count, the May Birdathon and field trips that have helped me ground myself in the region by marveling in the beauty and habits of its other-than-human inhabitants.

Incorporated in 1905 in honor of naturalist John James Audubon, the National Audubon Society arose in response to a call from Forest and Stream editor George Bird Grinnell to halt the massive slaughter of native birds. Now nearly 500 chapters exist across the United States.

The Sierra Club had its first meeting May 28, 1892, in San Francisco with founder and first president John Muir presiding. Founded in response to the national park idea, Muir and his fellow members established the club when it became evident, as KU historian Donald Worster says in his book “A Passion for Nature: the Life of John Muir,” that land conservation was a “legitimate and necessary part of American democracy.” The club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters across the county.

The greatest thing about both of the local chapters of these clubs is that they wholeheartedly welcome members of the community to attend and participate at any level:

Here are some other local environmental clubs that also welcome new members:


devobrun 7 years, 7 months ago

Felt like I was reading about attending the Unitarian Fellowship, or some other collegial group of worshipers. Open your hymnals to page 57 and join hands to sing the praises of St. John Muir and St. John James Audubon.

I never knew religion could be so vibrant, so rewarding, so fun. And I can even receive salvation and redemption from my guilt by saving birds and opposing Big Oil.
I left the church because it was so proscriptive and old fashioned. My guilt was not assuaged by Jesus. But in this new world of guilt, I find salvation from my sins in joining environmental organizations. And there are so many like-minded people with me. It is joyful, almost holy.
I'm giddy.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 7 months ago

Thanks, Kelly, for reminding us that nature is often experienced best with others. Unlike Mr. Curmudgeon above, who got up on the wrong side of the bed, I think it's refreshing that there are folks who still like to just take walks in nature and share their stories about what they have seen. I've attended some of the Jayhawk Audubon meetings and found the presentations informative and the folks friendly, and their walks a blast.

As to devo's beyond-the-pale bitterness/sarcasm, all I can say is:

take a hike.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 7 months ago

Hmmmm.... ignoring and even supressing reality, not using facts is clearly the strategy of the climate deniers, not the great preponderance of responsible scientists who have carefully and competently documented the connection between the huge release of geologically fixed carbon and increasing temperatures.

No amount of name calling changes the empirical evidence that continues to accumulate.

I suggest that you join devo in taking a hike together--it's a fantastic time of year to get out there.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

Clearly, it's much easier for you to just lob the most widely encompassing ad hominem attack than it is make any attempt to understand the science involved. But you don't care about science, just your precious ideology, finely honed in your isolated, paranoid little world.

kernal 7 years, 7 months ago

lawrenceguy, I can't imagine what it must be like living in your head. Do you ever go outside and look around you?

Ken Lassman 7 years, 7 months ago

Never mind the facts. Never mind that the Koch brothers make Al Gore look like a pauper and have bankrolled the deniers and thrown misinformation around like candy, dumping a new truckload out every time the facts are cleared up.

And you just keep unwrapping that candy...

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