ARCTIC STORIES by adventurer and award-winning nonfiction author Peter Lourie

peter-lourieWriting about the earth’s wild places for twenty-five years led me to the Arctic.  In 2004, Dr. Paul Shepson from Purdue University wrote me into his National Science Foundation grant—he was measuring various pollutants in the Arctic atmosphere using a big red helium balloon. Every spring “Shep,” as he’s known by friends and colleagues, takes a few graduate students to Barrow, Alaska, literally the top of the world and the most northerly town in the United States. The only way to get there is by boat or plane.

On my first trip, his students launched the big balloon during polar sunrise in March, and I captured the story in a kid’s book about climate change called  Arctic Thaw.  I soon returned on another NSF grant, this time to capture multimedia stories of native people, scientists, and local residents living and working on the North Slope. We presented a range of videos that capture the Arctic environment, how it is being studied, how it is changing, what the impacts might be, and, most importantly, what life in this beautiful part of the planet is all about.

p-l-booksI went on to write Polar Bear Scientists and Whaling Season for Houghton Mifflin’s Scientist in the Field series.

Now, returning twice to Barrow this year on NSF grants, I’ve embarked on the most exciting work of all—helping Iñupiaq Eskimo students in the Barrow schools tell their stories and the stories of their elders using the tools they love: iPhones, GoPros, audio and video recorders. They are telling stories of the world they know, the world of whales, walrus, caribou, wolverine, polar bears, seals, and disappearing ice.

The Arctic, a bellwether for climate change, appears to be warming at a rate more than twice that of the planet as a whole. One of the main reasons is that as the sea ice melts, it impacts the reflectivity (“albedo”) of the surface and accelerates the warming. The impact of this warming is likely to be profound, including a loss of habitat for a wide range of species reliant on the nature of the ocean/sea ice interface, and changes to ocean circulation and climate.

The Iñupiat have lived in this part of the world for thousands of years.  Their cultural knowledge is rich and deeply ingrained in their daily lives.  In the long dark nights of winter as folk sit around coffee machines preparing for the spring hunt by sewing bearded seal-skin umiaks, people swap stories about animals and ancestors.  They laugh and they cry about all the changes happening to their environment. Visiting scientists rely on this personal and cultural knowledge of the Iñupiaq guides and elders whom they enlist in their scientific work.

The beauty of the Arctic, its precious and fragile nature, its critical role in maintaining a stable climate for the planet, and its rapid rate of change must be conveyed to the general public. My project with Iñupiaq kids in Barrow will do just that. We’ll soon be launching a website to highlight the digital stories that Barrow students produce so they can put a human face on Arctic life.

Their locally produced stories will be tales from the heart of the Arctic. With any luck we’ll create a digital record that will be around for generations to come.  And when there is much less sea ice and even some of the animals have disappeared, we’ll be able recall what it was like here since the beginning of the planet.

Peter Lourie has authored dozens of award-winning nonfiction titles to help young readers explore the world. A true adventurer, he has traveled to all kinds of wild places to research his books—from the cloud forest of Ecuador in search of Inca treasure , to Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya on the Ethiopian border, to Tierra del Fuego, and the jungles of Rondonia, Brazil. Learn more at www.peterlourie.com.

Posted in Peter Lourie | Leave a comment

Jewell Parker Rhodes, a Coretta Scott King Author Award Honoree, shares insight into her middle grade book Bayou Magic, set after the BP oil spill

jewell-rhodesI’ve always loved Louisiana—its people, culture, and landscape. I’d just finished writing Ninth Ward, a novel about the human and environmental disasters caused by Hurricane Katrina and the levees breaking. To my horror, the evening news was filled with images of the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion—flames leaping, fire boats spraying water, plumes of black smoke, and crude oil falling like rain and spreading over the Gulf waters. Eleven rig workers died in the explosion and more than two hundred million gallons of crude polluted the environment. To date, the Deepwater Horizon Spill is the worst oil disaster in history.

Researching Bayou Magic was hard. Traveling to the Gulf, I could see firsthand how fisheries and animal habitats were deeply scarred and ruined recreational visits to the Gulf as well as hundreds of local businesses.

bayou magicI wanted to create a heroine who uses her intelligence and magical powers to rescue her community from environmental catastrophe. Madison Isabel Lavalier Johnson (Maddy, for short) was born. Maddy is a symbol of hope and my personal praise-song for all the young people who care about being good stewards of our air, land, water, and the Earth’s natural resources.

Louisiana, in particular, has always been subject to severe weather and environmental damage.  Natural disasters are unavoidable but human-caused disasters may be more easily averted if we learn from the past. You, dear reader, and your generation will have the on-going challenge of balancing the use of natural resources with safety for humans, animals, and the planet.

For me, the legend of Mami Wata was a perfect counterpoint to the oil spill. Mami Wata,  “Mother Water,” was the name given to African water spirits in the pidgin English slave traders used. There are countless folktale variations regarding the spiritual powers and gifts of half-fish, half-human Mami Wata.

Mermaid legends abound throughout all cultures. For me, this tale spoke of such love, loyalty, and community. Symbolically, too, it affirmed the cultural contributions, present and future, that Africans would make to American culture.

It is remarkable and wonderful that in a time of need—to save the Bon Temps community and its environment—Maddy calls upon the grace of mermaids, her spiritual ancestors.

In Maddy, I poured all my love for young people who seek, each and every day, new and better ways to care for our earth.

I encourage each of you to honor your folktales and myths. I know there are thousands of other cultural stories that inspire loving care for our planet. Use and retell those stories like Maddy did. Spread the word. Caring for our earth is a sacred trust.

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of six adult novels and several books for young readers. She has received many awards for her work, including an American Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award for Ninth Ward. Jewell is also the Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Her awaited middle grade title is Towers Falling. Learn more at jewellparkerrhodes.com.

 

Posted in Jewell Parker Rhodes | Leave a comment

SNIFFER DOGS by award-winning children’s author Nancy Castaldo (who met some very talented canines)

nancy-blogBack in 2012 an unusual news story crossed my path. Dogs were brought to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York to help scientists study the moose population. Dogs? Moose? I read on. These dogs were special—they used their noses. That was certainly a different tool for these wildlife biologists!

Having grown up in New York State and working in environmental education, I was well acquainted with the plight of our moose population. By the 1980s it was nonexistent, but recently it had begun to climb. Scientists wanted to find out the scoop on the moose. And in order to do this they needed to study their poop. Funny, right?

Poop, or scat as it is spoken of in polite scientific circles, can tell us a lot about an organism. And these dogs had the nose for finding it! And so began my research. Who were these dogs? Were there others? And, most importantly, how did they do this?

I found out there were other dogs helping conservation scientists. Tucker, a lab mix, sniffed out whale scat in the ocean.  Tia was on the trail of invasive snails in Hawaii. The best part of these stories was that the dogs were all rescue animals, given a second chance.

sniffers-blog

Those initial stories made me even more curious. (All scientists and nonfiction authors know that every question ultimately leads to more questions.) I had a great time researching this book. Meeting dogs who could sniff out a single human tooth in an open field or recognize a  change in the sugar levels of a human’s blood was an adventure.

What began as a spark of an idea from a local news article led me down an extraordinary research path and ultimately to the publication of Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World.

My upcoming book, The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and Why There’s More of Less To Eat Around The World, is a very different topic but required just as much sniffing around on my part. Instead of dogs, I visited gardens and seed banks as far away as Russia. Hurrah for research!  It introduces us to new elements of the world and makes life exciting!

Nancy Castaldo is the author of a dozen books for young readers—most of her writing is non-fiction with a strong focus on the natural world. Her titles have received many awards and honors, including a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children and the New York State Outdoor Education Association’s Art and Literature award. To learn more about Nancy and her books, visit www.nancycastaldo.com.

Posted in Nancy Castaldo | Leave a comment

MY NEW OFFICE by Dan Gutman, pop-author of The Genius Files and My Weird School series

dan-blog-2015In August, my wife and I moved from our house in the suburbs of Philadelphia to the wild streets of New York City. We did it for two reasons. One, our youngest is in college now and we didn’t need as much space. Two, we were bored to death living in the ‘burbs and longed for the big city, where we met back in 1981 and lived before our kids were born.

It wasn’t until after we moved that I realized there was a third reason—we dramatically lowered our carbon footprint.

Our 1890s-era, three-story Victorian house was pretty to look at, but it was an energy hog. I replaced the windows, but they still leaked heat in the winter and cold in the summer.  The rooms were poorly insulated. Even if they hadn’t been, a single-family house simply gobbles up more energy than an apartment, where you share walls with other apartments. According to The Department of Energy, apartments use about half as much energy as freestanding houses.

Now we live in a little two-bedroom apartment in across the street from Central Park, which has essentially become my office. We don’t have central air conditioning anymore. We have three new energy-efficient units that I can turn on and off to cool individual rooms as needed. I always thought it was crazy to cool off the whole house when often we would be using just one room.

We also drive a lot less now. We got rid of our gas guzzling minivan, and we rarely use our little Honda Civic. Mostly, I ride my bike or take the subway everywhere in the city. When I have a school visit outside of New York, I take a train or bus and somebody picks me up at the station. Switching to public transportation, I’ve learned, can reduce your daily carbon emissions by more than 4,800 pounds annually—that’s more than you can save by weatherizing your home and using energy efficient light bulbs and appliances combined.

So I feel pretty good about lowering my carbon footprint. On the other hand, we sold our house to a family that moved from a little apartment in Philadelphia to our three story energy-hog in the suburbs. This being green stuff is hard to do! But I’m doing everything I can.


MissionUnstoppableDan Gutman
 is the author of over 120 books, including the My Weird School series, The Genius Files series, and the Baseball Card Adventure series.  You can visit his web site at www.dangutman.com, check out his Facebook fan page, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter @dangutmanbooks.

Posted in Dan Gutman | Leave a comment

RESEARCHING ECOMAZES: 12 EARTH ADVENTURES by award-winning New York author-illustrator Roxie Munro

roxieThink about where you live and where you have traveled—most of us have visited or lived in more ecosystems than we think we have. While working on EcoMazes:12 Earth Adventures, and now, reflecting afterward, I realize that, although I do not consider myself a naturalist at all (and I live right in the middle of a huge city, with one house plant and a view out of my 10th floor window of a few ginko trees along the avenue), I have visited almost all of the ecosystems covered in the book.

Of course, ecosystem is a broad term—walk along a crowded street in the bustling city or wander alone in a forest filled with birds and other critters, and you are in a community of living things in a specific physical environment—an ecosystem of one sort or another. It can be as big as the earth (the biosphere) or as small as a pond, with particular species of frogs, fish, ducks, plants…

Researching EcoMazes was great fun. In the two years I worked on it, I tramped through rainforests in the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific, saw polar bears on ice floes and lichen on the tundra on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago high above the Arctic Circle, glimpsed reef sharks in Tahiti, and picked wild mushrooms in a southern Sweden conifer forest.

roxie travels

I have visited deserts in the United States, Mexico, and Tunisia. Climbed Mount Whitney (an alpine area) in the Sierra Nevadas, a volcano in Stromboli (Italy), and a smallish Swiss mountain; canoed along a bayou in the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta and the Everglades, and splashed in the waves off the Outer Banks. Lived in Hawaii and snorkeled in the coral reefs. Visited vast grasslands and prairies on huge Texas ranches. I grew up in the wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the great estuaries of the world, and camped out in Maine and West Virginia in temperate deciduous forests.

EcoMazes coverWhen I started EcoMazes, most of these earlier trips I did not remember, or even realize were relevant. But, in doing research and learning more about biomes, habitats, and ecosystems, it was exciting to realize how many I, and I’ll bet you too, have experienced. It is so important for all of us care about, to preserve, and to conserve our wonderous earth—our only home—and everything it contains.

Roxie Munro is the author-illustrator of more than 40 nonfiction books for children, including the KIWi Storybooks nonfiction series and the Inside-Outside Books, for which her New York City title received the New York Times Best Illustrated Award. App-users also enjoy her Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure and Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure, among others. Learn more about her exciting work at www.roxiemunro.com.

 

Posted in Roxie Munro | Leave a comment

Top children’s non-fiction author Melissa Stewart shares a few secrets behind the writing of her award-winning book Feathers

When I began writing Feathers: Not Just for Flying, my goal was to create a book that would inspire readers to see and appreciate feathers in a whole new way. I had plenty of great information, but I knew that if I wanted to intrigue readers, if I wanted to ignite their natural curiosity, I had to connect with them. I had to make the information relevant to their world and their lives.

But figuring out how to do that was no easy task. In fact, it took more than three years.

During that time, I thought deeply and wrote and revised. Draft after draft after draft. Some of those drafts were good, but not good enough. My readers deserved more.

On three separate occasions, I realized that revising my existing manuscript wouldn’t get me where I needed to go. I bravely hit the delete button and started from scratch.

And then one day, inspiration struck. I latched onto the idea of comparing feathers to familiar everyday objects, such as blankets and umbrellas, sunblock and sleds. That’s when the writing finally came to life.

Why did I keep toiling away for so long? Why didn’t I just give up and move on? Because I had an idea that I felt compelled to share. And for me, that idea was part of a bigger message, the message at the heart of every book I write. More than anything, I want children to understand that the natural world is full of beauty and wonder, magic and mystery. It’s a very special place that we need to preserve and protect.

As Richard Louv so aptly brought to light in Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, many, perhaps most, American children are disconnected from the natural world. This is tragic for kids because nature can be a sanctuary for young people with difficult lives. But it’s even more tragic for our planet because if children don’t learn to love and respect nature, they won’t grow into adults who are committed to saving wildlife and wild places.

Climate change. Water shortages. Dwindling natural resources. These are important issues now, and they will become even more important in coming years.

If we want to guarantee a habitable world far into the future, it’s critical for today’s children to have experiences that encourage them to become environmental stewards. My hope is that the books I write will motivate children to ask questions about the world and then go out in search of answers. If one of my books inspires a child to pick up a rock and look underneath or to chase after a butterfly just to see where it’s going, then my job is done.

Melissa Stewart has written over 150 science books for young readers, receiving numerous awards for her work. Her research travels have included Costa Rican rainforests, the African savannah and swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. Explore her world of books at www.melissa-stewart.com.

 

Posted in Melissa Stewart | Leave a comment

ELEPHANTS NEVER FORGET… AND WE SHOULDN’T EITHER by best-selling children’s author, television writer-producer and SCBWI leader Lin Oliver

Lin on safari with husband Alan Baker

I recently returned from a three week safari in Botswana, a beautiful country in Southern Africa where the dawns break pale lavender and the golden sunsets fill the sky with flaming orange clouds. In other times, people used to go on safari to hunt and kill wild animals. I would never do that. Never. The purpose of my safari was just the opposite—to observe African animals in their native habitat, to admire them, to pay them my deepest respect.

Every day, we’d go out with a licensed guide in our four-wheel-drive jeep and roam the bush. We were lucky enough to see many of the native species as they went about their day: lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, impala, hippo, hyena, kudu, baboon, crocodile, monkey, birds of prey like vultures and eagles, and birds of beauty like storks and lilac-breasted rollers. But of all the creatures we saw, it was the elephants that touched my heart the most. These gentle giants made me feel how closely we creatures of the earth are bound to one another.

The African elephant is the largest living land mammal on Earth. When you observe one up close, you are awed by its massive size. As a relatively small two-legged creature, at first I didn’t feel like I had much in common with the elephant—those grey wrinkly giants spraying water and dirt on their backs with their muscular trunks, gobbling down 300 pounds of grass and bark a day, flapping their ears to keep cool in the blazing African heat. But the more I sat and observed the elephants, the more I lost sight of the external differences between us. They began to feel so human to me. Or maybe I began to feel more elephant. I couldn’t help but immerse myself in their experience, their communities, and yes, their feelings.

photo by Alan Baker

As a mom myself, the first thing I noticed was the way they care for their young.  Elephants travel in maternal herds, with the young calves always on the inside, being guarded and protected by the other females. The matriarch, or dominant female, is the backbone of the family. You can actually see the elephants interacting with one another, sharing duties. If a calf becomes orphaned, the others will adopt it. If they come across the bones of a dead elephant, they will stop and fondle them, in what seems to be a process of grieving, or at least, remembering. In so much of how they behaved, I saw our human behavior at its best.

That made it even more shocking to discover that the African elephant—these wonderful, sensitive, robust creatures—are in grave danger, largely from two sources. The first is the destruction of their habitat. Elephants require a great deal of space to graze and find sufficient food. As the population grows, and as industrialization spreads, their habitat is being eroded by human development. Simply put, they are running out of land to find food so that they can survive.

The second threat to the elephant population are the huge scale losses they have suffered at the hands of poachers, who slaughter them for their ivory tusks. Many societies admire ivory for its beauty and for its supposed medical uses (although there are no proven medical benefits from ivory). Consequently, there is a huge demand for ivory, and illegal poaching is still prevalent. We have evidence of poachers engaging in mass shootings of herds of elephants, of using poisoned arrows, of cutting off the elephant’s faces to retrieve their tusks which are partially embedded in their heads. How cruel! How useless! How unthinkable!

Elephants are crucial to life in Africa. They are known as a keystone species, which means they play a critical role in maintaining a whole environmental community. Known as the “megagardeners” of Africa, elephants dig water channels for other animals, disperse tree seeds, and clear grasslands for firebreaks. If they disappear, the ecology of Africa, as we know it, will be severely compromised.

And think of it. The extinction of elephants means that none of you will have the opportunity to see and experience for yourselves the wonderment that these creatures provide.

No. No way. That can’t happen.

Say to yourself, “That won’t happen, not on my watch!”

To protect the future of the elephant we have to do four things:

photo by Alan Baker

(1)  Stop the ivory trade.

(2)  Protect the elephants’ environment to give them adequate room to feed and survive

(3)  Make and enforce the strongest possible anti-poaching laws

(4)  Let everyone know how important elephants are in our world, and how we have to protect these intelligent, emotional, social and necessary creatures.

You can help with this.  Check out organizations that protect wildlife, like the World Wildlife Fund or The African Wildlife Foundation.  Donate some money, no matter how little, to a group that protects elephants and other wildlife.  Read about elephants.  Tell everyone you know about the poaching problem.  Write to people in power.  Speak up!

Remember that everything you do makes a difference.

Oh, and if you ever get a chance to see elephants in the wild, and I hope you do, please tell them I love them.

Lin Oliver is a children’s book author and writer-producer of television series and movies for children. With Henry Winkler, she writes the New York Times best-selling book series, Hank Zipzer: World’s Best Underachiever, which is also a hit television series on the BBC. She is also the author of the Who Shrunk Daniel Funk books, Sound Bender and The Shadow Mask, middle grade novels she coauthored with Theo Baker. Her latest works are the Here’s Hank chapter book series (with Henry Winkler) and the highly praised Little Poems for Tiny Ears, illustrated by Tomie dePaola. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Learn more at www.linoliver.com

 

Posted in Lin Oliver | Leave a comment

LET’S ALL GO SMALL by best-selling illustrator and funny guy Jim Paillot, who has festooned over 60 kids’ books with his clever artwork

I’m a pretty small guy. As a kid I was always the shortest guy in class. From kindergarten right on through high school. You know those signs at carnivals that say, “You must be at least this tall to ride this ride”? Those signs were my arch enemy. Here’s a little tip: you can gain an extra inch in height if you wear extra long bell bottomed pants to hide the fact that you are on your tip toes when the carnival ride gatekeeper measures you. I’d like to tell you that one summer I hit a miraculous, crazy growth spurt and finally made the basketball team but this is real life.

I think you get the picture—I was little.

I’m still a small guy. But here’s what I have learned to embrace as I grew up. Small actions can make a big difference. I’m not talking about how planting a seed can bring forth a mighty, majestic oak tree. That’s true but that’s not what I am talking about at all. I’m talking about how if you see someone who is having a bad day you can step up and remind that person how wonderful they are. Sometimes people need to be reminded about what their soul already knows. That’s the kind of small act that can bring about big changes. You could help a friend with their homework, plan a community garden, go to a local shelter and walk dogs or help a neighbor bring her recycling to the curb. Small actions to you and I might be huge for the one you are helping.

You can make a world of difference no matter where you are. When I think of the world I am in I imagine that I have a direct impact on roughly the area around me as far as I can throw a rock. That’s the part of the world I have a little control over at any given moment—a circular perimeter based on how far my voice and actions can reach. And that circle follows me where ever I go. I try my best to be kind and polite to people, animals and our planet in my “as far as I can throw a rock” world. In that small world, I can pick up litter, help old ladies carrying groceries, rub dogs’ tummies, recycle, plant flowers for bees, conserve water and mostly just try to be a good guy.

I figure that if everyone made these small differences in their own “as far as I can throw a rock” world then this planet would be a pretty GREAT PLACE TO LIVE! You can tell I mean it because I wrote it in all caps—the tallest letters in the alphabet.

Jim Paillot is the illustrator for the funny My Weird School series by Dan Gutman and the popular Secrets of a Lab Rat series written by Trudi Trueit. He has illustrated more than sixty books. Among other awards, Jim was the recipient of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize for his artwork for the Grubtown Tales books written by Philip Ardagh. To see more of his work go to www.jimpaillot.com or www.drawger.com/paillot/

 

Posted in Jim Paillot | Leave a comment

A NIGHT INSIDE A CAGE by Israeli children’s author-illustrator Miri Leshem-Pelly

It’s nighttime in the Israeli desert, and I’m inside the sand foxes’ cage! When I entered, the foxes were curious about me, but now that their food has arrived, they ignore me completely and for a short, scary moment, they start fighting each other over the food. A few minutes later, one of them is happily eating the meat, while the other one runs to a distant corner and starts digging in the ground to bury a piece he managed to snap. I’m busy taking pictures and almost forget I’m in a zoo, feeling like I’ve witnessed a glimpse of true wildlife.

This exciting experience happened when I was researching my book Lon-Lon’s Big Night, about a sand fox cub who lives in the Israeli Negev desert.

For my next book, I chose a very different habitat—the Jordan River, in the green Galilee mountains. The main characters of that story are two river otter cubs. Over the course of the research, I was invited to join a nature researcher on a day of field research, as he went looking for otters in the rivers of north Israel. I was disappointed when he said, “Don’t expect to actually see otters today.” What are we looking for, then? I wondered. To my surprise, I ended up feeling just as excited as he was… when we discovered otter droppings! Who would have thought?

So, again, in order to see river otters and take pictures, I was allowed inside the otters’ yard in a zoo. I even got to open their sleeping box to discover four sweet cubs (and one angry mother).

So… why do I do this?

As you can probably guess by now, I really love wild animals and nature. Israel is blessed with a wide variety of species, as the meeting point of three continents and several different climate zones, all packed into a very small territory. But the small area means that the population of each species is limited and many animals, such as the Negev sand fox and the river otter are facing the danger of extinction. I use literature to turn a spotlight onto some of these interesting creatures.

It is important for me to research thoroughly, so I can “get inside” the animal’s skin while writing and illustrating: I want to see the world through its eyes and feel the world through its senses. My goal is to create authentic and interesting animal characters, which can capture children’s imagination and maybe even inspire them to take part in nature preservation in our country and around the world.

Miri Leshem-Pelly is an Israeli author-illustrator of 13 children’s books, mostly about nature and animals. Her book Lon-Lon’s Big Night was published in English by the American publisher Milk & Honey Press. Among her other titles are Luty & Tery the Otter Cubs and the 7-book non-fiction series “Pitzponteva” (Tiny-Nature Professor). She is the Regional Advisor of the Israeli chapter of SCBWI. Take a look at her website: www.mirileshem.com/english/english-books

 

Posted in Miri Leshem-Pelly | Leave a comment

2015 A4ED team supports global conservation to the tune of over $11,000!

It’s that time again! Time to express thanks and kudos to our annual A4ED team and celebrate our collaborative success.

Going year-round was a good thing. Participants did A4ED visits over several months and each generously donated money from their speaking fee to a conservation organization selected by a student vote. Across the country, tens of thousands of young readers took part in this special life experience!

MEET OUR 2015 PARTICIPANTS (click links to see photos and blurbs from our events): Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Barbara Gowan, Barb Rosenstock, Brooke BessesenConrad Storad, Dan Gutman, Debbie Dadey, Deborah Heiligman, Elissa Brent Weissman, Jennifer Swanson, Jody Feldman, Linda Boyden, Linda Crotta Brennan, Miranda Paul, Molly IdlePatricia Newman, Polly Holyoke, Sandy Asher, Suzanne Slade and Terri Farley. Happy fact: more than half the team has participated multiple years.

Together, school-by-school, dollar-by-dollar, we donated over $11,000 to non-profit organizations nurturing wildlife, humans and habitats in every corner of the world. Add that sum with previous years and our total A4ED contributions stretch to an impressive $44,121!

Words of gratitude from just a couple organizations that received support:

“Your proceeds are an outstanding achievement! Thank you so much. Let the children know every penny counts to us.”

“This is wonderful news! Thank you so much for the donation, and please thank the kids too.”

ORGANIZATIONS AIDED IN 2015: Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, For the Love of the Lake, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Greenpeace, The Honeybee Conservancy, Hug-It-Forward, Humane Society of the United States, Marine Mammal Center, Messinger Woods, Plastic Pollution Coalition, The Sierra Club, Ocean Conservancy, Pets Without Partners, Phoenix Zoo Conservation Fund, Rainforest Trust, The Safina Center (formerly Blue Ocean Institute), Southwest Monarch Study, Tifft Nature Preserve, Viva Vaquita, Wild at Heart, Wildlife Conservation Society and The Wolf Sanctuary of PA.

It is a privilege to be part of the Authors for Earth Day coalition, to work in unity with writers and artists who are not merely recognized for their talent, but who are dedicated to reaching their readers, speaking to them, empowering them, and giving them tools to attain a brighter future. Please encourage book-lovers and educators to connect through our A4ED Facebook and our extraordinary multi-author A4ED blog.

As we prepare for next year, we extend our humble gratitude to everyone who has helped this coalition grow. It takes a village.

Brooke Bessesen, A4ED Director

Posted in A4ED News | Leave a comment