Tuesday, April 26, 2016

FILM: Love Thy Nature

If there every was a film with a message resonant with the Natural Connections Project, this seems to be it.  I'll be heading to MIT to see it tonight.  I will add my personal impressions later.  

Love Thy Nature

2014 (not rated) 76 minutes
Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30 pm in 26-100
A FREE event with the MIT Outing Club

From the press pack:

Short Synopsis:

We’ve lost touch with nature. This disconnect hurts our health, dulls our spirit, and threatens our future. Narrated by Liam Neeson, Love Thy Nature is a cinematic journey through the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. And it shows that a renewed connection with nature is key not only to our well being, but also to solving our climate and environmental crises.

Medium Synopsis: 

We’ve lost touch with nature. This disconnect hurts our health, dulls our spirit, and threatens our future. Narrated by Liam Neeson, Love Thy Nature is a cinematic journey into the beauty and intimacy of our relationship with the natural world. With mesmerizing artistry and fascinating details, the film explores how nature nourishes us. Neeson is the voice of Homo Sapiens — our collective humankind — who, in the past few thousand years, has come to believe that we are separate from nature. This mind-set has caused us to disrupt billions of years of evolution, causing a mass extinction of species and threatening the survival of the human race. 

Love Thy Nature shows that a new era of connectedness with the natural world is key to ensuring our species’ future. This era might just be dawning: A new science called biomimicry taps into nature’s four billion years of R&D for some of the most brilliant cutting edge inventions, pointing to a new highly advanced technological age — The Biological Revolution. In the medicine, doctors are unveiling new findings on the role of nature in sustaining and healing the human body. And experts have discovered that just spending time in nature promotes healing, emotional stability, connectedness, and even neurological health in children. 

Through Sapiens’ journey, the film reveals how a relationship with nature ignites a sense of meaning and wonder so profound that it touches us at the very core of what it means to be human. 

Traversing the globe, Love Thy Nature shares the dazzling spectacles of our planet while revealing how a deeper connection with nature transforms us as people and communities. And that transformation inspires us not only to restore our ecosystems, but also our human family, and ourselves.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mount Feake Riverfront Cemetery, Waltham MA

The Mount Feake Cemetery, along the Charles River in Waltham MA is a hidden gem among the rich collection of historic garden cemeteries in the Boston area.  It was a wonderful place to explore on a relatively mild (upper 30's) and extra sunny Monday December 30th.  Smaller, and with fewer large structures than Mount Auburn Cemetery (the granddaddy of them all), it has something that Mount Auburn doesn't: a dramatic and expansive riverfront.  It shares many features:  a rolling topography, winding roads and paths, a varied collection of large trees, with an expansive layout to allow their full appreciation.

The light on this sunny midwinter afternoon was strong, with sharply slanting shadows.  The river widens out here, with mini-bays adding visual interest.  The photo below is taken looking out from peninsula made by one of these small bays.

Here is one of the more elaborate monuments, a certain Mr Shepherd.  The statue has suffered the same fate as busts in a park above Rome, where the noses have been vandalized away, along with some of his fingers.  It is a well-executed statue that looked good in the afternoon light.

A large square stone erected by the Waltham Watch Factory commemorates D. H. Church, Master Watch Maker and Innovator, and his wife.  The historic watch factory buildings are still standing, across the river (photo below).  I thank Sheldon Brown for posting a link to an 1881 Scientific American article on the Waltham Pocket Watch in his journal from August 14, 2007.  We miss you Sheldon.

Parking in Waltham center, such as in the municipal lot near Ristorante Maracellino, the Mount Feak Cemetery can be reached by a pleasant 1 mile walk along the Blue Heron Trail (paved).

On the way back along the path, these Canada Geese were walking, nearly single file, on the river ice, marching to shore for the evening.  The receding sunlight lit the scene in a magical and memorable way.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day, Easter, Spring

Thanks to Beverly Snodgrass, for this link to a short video showing beautiful and moving scenes from the place we call home: Creation Calls . Take a 6 minute video tour. Then today, Earth Day 2011, be sure to get outside if you can.

The visuals are from the BBC Planet Earth Series, the soundtrack is an original song by Brian Doerksen. The beauty of nature around us is always moving and inspiring. Happy Earth Day, Easter, and in celebration of however you connect to the living universe. In reverence, joy, awe, and gratitude.

Link to Creation Calls video is here: CREATION CALLS

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Victory Garden Update - Peas are Up!

Sure glad to see the peas sprouting up, after two weeks! Looking closely, I spotted one fearless adventurer poking above the soil. Over the next days, many others broke through, beginning to define the three short rows. The folded leaves were very small, but with miraculous structure, like the tiny fingers of a baby.

Tiny two-leaved lettuce seedlings also created a delicate green sparkle. The six larger "Ruby Red" transplants are also getting established nicely (not shown). First pickings of select leaves could begin in only a week or two. Weather has been excellent for seed germination (regular rain) and for growth of cool weather plants. A rain collection barrel, conveniently located alongside the house, near to my front yard Victory Garden, has provided daily water on sunny days.

Checking my seed collection from previous years for early season planting possibilities, I found some Kohlrabi seedlings from 1998. I took a chance on these, planting about 5-10 seeds in six different places. A fun and unusual vegetable to grow. Using intensive planting techniques this year, to make the most a small sunny garden plot. Similar to "Square Foot Gardening", only more free form.
The potatoes haven't yet arrived. I was hoping to get them in the ground this Patriots day, but it looks like that will have to wait until next weekend. In the back garden, the hellebore flowers have been putting on a wonderful show, despite being under snow at the beginning of April.
Email JOE@NaturalConnectionsProject.com for more information about the Victory Garden Community or for an invite to our first Victory Garden Club Spring Party (tentative date - Sunday May 1). If you enjoy these posts, you can enter your email address in the box to the right to receive notification whenever new material is posted.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Victory Garden Update

The average last frost date for Arlington is about May 15. On the morning of Saturday April 9, a shimmering frost did shine from my Victory Garden in the Morningside area of Arlington. Garlic shoots though provided a shot of early spring optimism - another great reason to plant garlic in the Fall, around about Columbus Day (October).

Inspired by the sunny day, and buds on the trees, I brought home a small haul of herbs (rosemary, parsley), kale, and lettuce seedlings from Pemberton Farms garden center (Mass Ave in North Cambridge). To their credit, they only stocked seedlings likely to survive planting at this time, and also had the average last frost date posted at the cash register. Prices pretty reasonable too, this basketload only set me back about $10.

I divided a huge thyme plant and planted the herbs, lettuce and kale. I have few things to offer to other Arlington Victory Gardeners:

1) Plenty of thyme cuttings that I placed in water - many have roots already.
2) Three kale seedlings - good for soups, salads, great early season crop.
3) Thanks to online research and expert selection by my "Head Gardner", Sally Naish of Light and Shade Garden Design, I'll have some certified organic seed potatoes to share later this week. Decided to try potatoes again after mixed results in the past, before our soil had been built up by years of organic enrichment - frequent compost and chipped leaves every Fall.

Email JOE@NaturalConnectionsProject.com for more information about the Victory Garden Community or for an invite to our first Victory Garden Club party (tentative date - Sunday May 1).

This week I learned that the Menotomy Gardeners Email List will be having a garden swap soon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Victory Garden Club 2011

Garlic planted last Fall in our Arlington Victory Garden emerged several weeks ago, shoots poking through the 1-3" snow cover from the April Fools Eve snowstorm. Glad I missed planting peas the previous weekend, if they had sprouted the snow would have probably done them in. But on Sunday, April 3 the soil and weather were fine for this year's first sowing: two types of snap peas and a hopeful early try for a mesclun mix. If anyone would like some of the pea seeds I have plenty to share - see below.

Pushing back the layer of chipped leaf mulch, I was delighted to find this spry wriggler in the soil layer.

While planting, I was cheered by spring squill volunteers, scattered along the gravel path surrounding our front yard Victory Garden.

This year the Arlington Natural Connections Project is hosting an informal "Victory Garden Club". We'll start out with a social gathering to share seeds, maybe seedlings, plans and hopes for our 2011 Victory Gardens. As the season progresses we can share produce, water each others gardens during vacation times, share tips, recipes and salsa, outsmart wily gophers, and devise creative ways to foist off those overgrown August zucchinis on unsuspecting Arlingtonians.

Email INFO@NATURALCONNECTIONSPROJECT.COM for more information or for an invite to our first Victory Garden Club party. This year, you can know for CERTAIN where at least some of your food comes from. Happy Home Gardening in 2011 to all!

For another interesting local gardening project see: Cooperative Learning Project at Robbins Farm Park. Especially interesting for anyone interested in gardening as part of a cooperative group or if you might not have space to garden where you live.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Arlington Natural Connections Website Now ONLINE!

The Arlington Natural Connections Project is pleased to announce that our website is now available online at


The home page currently features our "Scenes of the Season" photo calendar, with pictures showing seasonal changes in Arlington (and nearby) in 2010.

Check in often for ideas about connecting to nature, in Arlington Massachusetts. You may also consider signing up for updates from our Arlington Natural Connections weblog.

The mission of the Arlington Natural Connections Project is to promote a sense of connection to the natural world at the local level by combining an artistic and natural science approach.

The Arlington Natural Connections Project is grateful for funding provided by the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.