Upcoming Events !


Presentation Topics


Each presentation is $175, with possible additional travel charges for places outside of Chicago and the immediate vicinity.  Several of these talks can be adjusted to whatever audience level is necessary.  I welcome any input from teachers/facilitators about tie-ins they would like to have to their current curriculum, including vocabulary.


Animals, Like You – This is for PK-5, and we adjust the goals slightly to suit the level.   We look at lots of different animals and groupings of animals to find what we have in common.  The visual aids also suit the level as well as the complexity of what we are comparing.  For example, how we move, talk and eat for younger kids, skeletal systems, binocular vision, what different animal qualities are attributed to humans for older kids.  These topics can be customized to compliment your curriculum. 30-45 minutes.


Walk Around the Block – Our group takes a walk around one block near the school/facility to discuss the presence of nature in our daily lives.  We look at urban streets to discuss things like population, pavement, pollution, litter and transportation, and how the delivery of our resources affects all of us.  We look at residences and yards to discuss ways urban people can encourage the natural world.  We keep a list of all insects and animals we see, and look at the things that help a wild animal survive in an urban area.  We also will learn to recognize local birdcalls and night sounds (crickets/tree frogs).  The goal of this is to help people realize how much nature is in our cities, and how we may take that for granted because it is part of our everyday lives.  Ideally, each member of the group has a moment to interact with nature (identify a bird, recognize a plant, be able to say �I already do that� when we point out ways to help nature.)  This is a favorite, and is wonderful for helping people to pause and really take notice of their surroundings.  As a tie-in to the Found/Nature Art Activity, it is a good time to collect materials.  60 minutes.


Walk Around the World – The goal of this is for us to identify and deeply comprehend our interconnectedness with the rest of the world.  We focus on several aspects of this.  Nature connections include migration routes, non-native species, spread of disease (West Nile virus).  Economic connections include looking at where we get our food, our other possessions, where and how we do our work.  Lifestyle connections include consumerism and garbage, media, personal and national history.  This talk includes props and visual aids, and I prefer to decide with the teacher/facilitator the specific points beforehand so we have relevant tie-ins to the curriculum.  Ideally, the students will take some aspect of interconnectedness and launch that into a language arts or social studies project.  60 minutes.


Found/Nature Art Activity – We use materials from the natural world, or things we have found, to make art.  Audience is encouraged to gather materials beforehand, and I bring some items, as well as examples of how natural materials have been transformed into art for millennia.  This activity can include recycle-arts materials as well, but I make sure we have natural materials on-hand.  45-60 minutes.


The Journey of Writing and Publishing – I spent eight years working for an educational publisher, which prepared me to become a publisher myself.  However, many of the other jobs and hobbies and education I had before that were just as crucial to my journey.  We discuss this and then open up the session to specific questions from audience members about their own writing and publishing agendas. 


Use Your VOICE – For older teens and adults. This is a system of templates that I have created by piecing together concepts that help you focus and articulate what you want to achieve.  Each letter of VOICE provides a visual way of looking at and organizing your goals.  This is a great system for people who have the big picture in mind, but stupefy when considering the first step.  2 ½ - 3 hours (please speak with me specifically about the fees.)


Creating Solutions – This presentation series will start with the release of my next title, Light. (Fall, 2007)  This talk is for older teens and adults.  The main goal of this discussion is to demonstrate how our minds can get so attached to our concepts of right and wrong, that we prevent ourselves from creating solutions to the many challenges that face us on a daily basis.  I introduce some abstract concepts, such as sustaining paradox (sustaining right and wrong in the mind) or inverted empathy (what would it take in your life to �walk a mile in their shoes�), to rouse the audience from their routine ways of thinking.  I present a few newspaper articles that we dissect progressively to see how ambiguous, just in the scope of an article, our standard for morality can become.  We seek to invert our presumptions so our minds open up to imagination and creative thinking.  We will use examples of real world problems to elicit discussion, and the more polarized the problem, the better, but the goal is not to exert answers onto each other.  This is one of my more provocative talks, because people are passionate about what they think, adamant about what they (think they) know, and correct in feeling whatever they feel.  So I offer this talk with the caveat that you be willing to suspend all of that for the length of the discussion.  Who are you willing to be? 60 minutes – can be extended for an additional fee.






Lots of wonderful gift items for all ages !