A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by a writer from EdSurge, an online education journal. We discussed SSR - sustained silent reading, a practice that I used for 38 years in my high school English classroom. Even though I am retired from teaching, I still believe that SSR is the most important thing I did with my students to help them learn to enjoy reading and become better, more self-motivated readers. The article was published in EdSurge on October 7.
For the past 55 years, Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, has hosted the Nobel Conference, a two-day event that brings in noted speakers who focus on a single topic and examine it from many angles. This year the conference was called Climate Changed - yes, in the past tense. It featured a host of noted speakers and we really enjoyed the thoughtful discussions. Next year, the topic is cancer, and we plan to attend again. What a great idea for a conference.
As part of the 101 Things To Do in RiverTown series that I have been working on this year, I interviewed the owner of St. Croix Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Hudson, Wisconsin. He invited me to take their introductory scuba diving class, so I did. He explained the things I would need to know to operate the breathing system, then took me to the YMCA swimming pool to try it all out. Taking those first few breaths underwater was a weird sensation, but then I got used to it and really enjoyed it. My 101 article on scuba diving will be in RiverTown publications in December.
I interviewed Dave from Eagle Hang Gliding in Lake City and he invited me to go on a tandem hang gliding flight with him. He launches the glider from a cable on the back of his boat, flies over Lake Pepin, and then lands in the water on pontoons he has attached to his hang glider. He has created an incredible system and the flight is a new way of seeing the Mississippi River valley. I'll be writing two articles about this - one on how he created the equipment necessary to launch from and land on the lake, and a second article about the experience of flying with him. These articles will be part of a special magazine published by RiverTown Multimedia in May 2020.
The National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, is a beautiful facility with a dedicated staff that helps visitors understand the environment of the region and how eagles fit into the ecosystem. I recently contacted the center to see about becoming a volunteer and learned that they needed some help writing articles for their quarterly newsletter, Wingspan. We discussed this, and I have written three articles for the summer and fall issues. I am excited to be working with such a fine organization.
One of the interesting things about living in this area is the amount of activity created by the Mississippi River. There is commercial use, recreational use, and wildlife use, and those often involve many agencies along the river. I had the chance to go to Lock and Dam 4 near Alma, Wisconsin, to attend a water safety rescue training session with members of area fire departments, natural resources agencies, and others. The highlight was practicing rescues from boats right at the edge of the dam gates.
Two men from Hastings recently won the national soaring championship in their glider plane. I interviewed them for an article for RiverTown Multimedia and they invited me to meet them at Stanton Airport and take a ride in their glider. It was an amazing experience and I wrote an article about their win. After I flew in the glider, I flew in a power plane alongside the glider and took this video.
Earlier I posted literacy articles about my two oldest daughters - Greta Gardiner and her musical CD and Romney Allen and her work in digital advertising. Today I am posting an article about my youngest daughter Denby and her working writing music reviews for all the bands that play at Red Rocks and other venues in the Denver music scene. See the article about her at Literate Learner.
I had the opportunity to attend the Minnesota Newspaper Association convention in Bloomington on January 24-25. After attending many teacher conventions, it was interesting to go to a convention for another profession and hear speakers with different ideas and concerns. I met a lot of dedicated people who are working hard to put out newspapers in a time when it is difficult to be in this business. The convention reinforced what I have already felt in our own newsroom. I am glad I have the chance to try a new career and experience writing for a community newspaper.
Since taking the job as a reporter with the Red Wing Republican Eagle and RiverTown Multimedia, one of the best assignments I have had is to go out looking around our area for 101 Things To Do. We will be running one story every week for the next two years. Many will be indoor activities, many will be outdoor. We will try to match them to the season as best we can and offer a variety of activities that represent the many things there are to do along the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Click here to see the full collection of articles published so far.
Photo by John Jancik
Dr. Steve Gardiner is the author of five books and over 700 articles.