Paolo Soleri, creator of counterculture architectureal wonder, Arcosanti, has died

Paolo Soleri whose signature architectural Arizona community combined his love of design with his passion for sustainability, has died.

Soleri, a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice, put his ideas about the cons of urban sprawl and the necessity for simplicity into practice by building Arcosanti in the Arizona desert. Using the principles of his coined beliefs, arcology (blending architecture with ecology), Soleri put them into practice at Arcosanti, his living laboratory located 67 miles north of Phoenix. The unique bee hive buildings in this compact community opened in 1970 and remains a viable neighborhood with more than 50,000 visitors every year.

Soleri believed that, in order for nature to survive, the human population must minimize its footprint on the planet. Soleri envisioned 5000 residents at Arcosanti, but the actual population never exceeded more than a few hundred people. Some of the features of the buildings at Arcosanti are the use of concrete poured on site, ceramic tiles made on site, and a large patio that has 12-foot swinging glass doors that can be closed to accommodate the greenhouse effect.

Soleri studied with Franklin Lloyd Wright, moving from Italy in 1947 to work with Wright at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ.

Soleri, who was 93, died yesterday and was buried at Arcosanti.

City Of Ann Arbor 2013 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums: Planning for Change In Our Community: Transportation Options

Thursday April 18, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This fourth and final Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum on Transportation Options.

Speakers include:

• John Hieftje, Mayor, City of Ann Arbor
• Erica Briggs, Project Manager, Clean Energy Coalition
• Nathan Voght, Economic Development Specialist, Washtenaw County Office of Community and
Economic Development
• Eli Cooper, Transportation Programs Manager, City of Ann Arbor
• Michael Benham, Strategic Planner, AATA

City Of Ann Arbor Sustainability Discussion

Wednesday February 20, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

The format of this session will be less structured and more conversation-based than the monthly community forums. Join the discussion with City of Ann Arbor staff and other community members to explore issues related to the local economic vitality in a conversation/discussion-style format.

Key concepts and questions from the February 13th Sustainable Ann Arbor Forum on economic vitality will be the focus.

City Of Ann Arbor 2013 Sustainable Ann Arbor Forums: Planning for Change in Our Community

Wednesday January 9, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This first in a series of four discussions (held monthly and ending in April) centers on Sustainable Systems, including the impacts of current and predicted weather changes in the community and on the City's constructed and natural infrastructure. Building on the public forums from last year, the 2013 forums will focus on planning for change in the community.

A think tank of local stakeholders, including University of Michigan faculty, representatives from community organizations, and city commissioners, join City of Ann Arbor staff and the public to discuss local sustainability concepts and efforts--past, present and future.

Teen Stuff: Young Naturalist Awards Offer Cash Prizes

The Young Naturalist Awards is an annual contest put on by the American Museum of Natural History that encourages scientists in grades 7 - 12 to explore a natural science question by making observations and reporting their findings. It is an essay contest that is designed like a scientific study, focusing on the fields of Biology, Ecology, Earth Science and/or Astronomy.

Entries may be submitted on the AMNH website from December 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013. Twelve cash awards, two for each grade level, will be awarded to the authors of the winning essays. The winning entries will be published on the Museum's website. Up to 36 finalists will receive a cash award of $50 and a certificate of recognition. Up to 200 semifinalists will receive a non-cash award and a certificate of recognition. The teachers of the top twelve winners will receive classroom resources and a free Seminars on Science course.

The AADL has many resources for those looking to enter the contest, including books on studying nature and exploring space and astronomy. We also have the Academic OneFile database available at all of our branches and available remotely to AADL cardholders, where you can find articles from many peer-reviewed journals in science, social science, and the arts for in-depth, scholarly research. The Stapp Nature Area is a great place to observe nature and it is adjacent to our Traverwood Branch.

For more information about the Young Naturalist Awards, including Rules & Regulations, How to Get Started and much more, please visit their website.

Controlled Burns in Ann Arbor’s Natural Areas

Wednesday, October 10 | 7:00-8:30 PM | Downtown Library | Multipurpose Rom

Prescribed or controlled burning is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, or prairie restoration. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for foresters. Controlled burning also stimulates the germination of some desirable forest trees, thus renewing the forest.

The Autumn 2012 Burn Season is upon us! Join us as the City of Ann Arbor's Natural Area Preservation staff discusses what controlled burns are and why they are used in Ann Arbor's natural areas. This presentation is recommended for anyone interested in helping with burns, as well as anyone simply interested in learning more about why and how they are conducted.

Research Scientists From the United States Geological Survey: Wednesday, September 19th at 7pm

Join us at our downtown location on Wednesday, September 19th at 7pm when four members of the United States Geological Survey will talk about their latest research on the Great Lakes.

Dr. David Warner, a Research Fishery Biologist, will discuss the USGS Deepwater Science Program spanning Great Lakes ecology, ecology of invasive species and remote sensing in ecology.

Dr. Bruce Manny, a Research Fishery Biologist, will speak about his work designing, researching and monitoring activities to restore spawning and nursery habitat for valued native fish species in the Huron-Erie Corridor.

Joseph Baustian, a Research Analyst, will discuss his work in the GLSC Coastal Ecosystems Branch currently focused on restoring coastal marshes in the Great Lakes basin.

David Galbraith, a Geographic Information Systems Specialist, working in the GLSC Coastal Ecosystems Branch, will speak about his work investigating the landscape ecology of invasive wetland flora.

Grown in Detroit

Detroit is a city that has been reviving itself for decades, as new generations bring new life to the city. With the city’s growth has also come growth in urban agriculture, as people are turning vacant lots into fertile land. Some call it the greening of a gray city.

The documentary film Grown in Detroit focuses on a group of students at Detroit’s Ferguson Academy for Young Women, a high school for pregnant teens, as they work in the school's urban garden and learn how to grow nutritious food for their children. One of only three schools in the country for this population, the curriculum focuses on helping these teens care for themselves and their children, and uses urban farming as a means to teach them.

The students featured in Grown in Detroit are at first underwhelmed by the amount of physical labor required for farming. The teen moms eventually realize that they can profit from the food they are growing, as well as provide nutritious food for their children and themselves, all stemming from the fruits of their labor. It’s a beautiful film that places an eye on this unique opportunity happening for these girls -- right here in Detroit.

In addition to being available on DVD at AADL, the film is also available for instant online streaming to logged-in AADL cardholders here! You can also watch it on the Grown in Detroit website, where you pay whatever denomination you want in order to view it.

Composting

The comforting reality is: you cannot fail at composting. Nature’s whole impulse is to break down organic substances and in her service are gazillions of bacteria, fungi and crawly critters. It will happen slowly without any intervention. For the purposes of a gardener, or just your average recycler, it is very useful to speed up the process and that is where this lovely book comes in to tell you how.

I have read all the books in our collection on compost and more besides (ok, I love the stuff) but, though they all individually have merits, all you need is Composting by Bob Flowerdew. With a name like that you’ve got to trust this guy. A small, handsome book, in this case less is more, and he says it all succinctly and clearly and gets it right.

Everyone can compost. Initially it takes some effort to get set up, but then it is painless. You can take your yard scraps and weeds, your kitchen scraps and garbage, that inedible zucchini you overlooked in the garden which grew to baseball-bat length, your leaves in the fall and, if you are lucky enough to find a source, manure from animals that eat grass, and turn it all into rich, ‘black gold’, which will enrich your soil and actually inoculate it against pests which like to attack what grows in your garden. It will make your vegetables and bushes and flowers grow beyond belief and give you a rich medium for your houseplants and seedlings. Add to that the fact that you keep all of those things out of the waste cycle. Everything wins! Besides it is magical to watch and participate in the life cycle of nature.

The best apologist for compost turns out to be Walt Whitman. His poem, “This Compost” is a beautiful statement about the efficiency with which the Earth will transform waste to fertility.
“Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient, It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions.”

"Tales of the New World"

From time to time, the desire or the time to commit to a full length novel just isn't there; this is where short stories come in. The best selling point of short stories is that if you are not particularly interested in one story, you can move on the the next without the guilt that can come with putting an entire book to rest without consideration.

Tales of the New World is a collection of ten short stories by PEN/Faulkner Award winner Sabina Murray. Some of the stories are firsthand accounts and others outside perspectives of exploring new lands around the world. Murray delves into the complex world of writing historical fiction focused on recognized historical figures. A few well-known explorers are represented in this compilation, including Magellan and Balboa, as well as lesser known explorers, such as English-born Mary Kingsley.

While there is a definite tone of bleakness and isolation, Tales of the New World offers a fascinating glimpse into the perspective of world explorers, with fictional tales of adventure tinged with strife.

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