Sunday, August 17, 2014

Home!

We’re home!  One year and 4 days after leaving on August 12, 2013 for Costa Rica, our year adventure has come to a close.  We will be processing what we’ve learned and the experiences we’ve had for months, if not years.  We still owe a few posts about the Arctic, which are coming.



We are all ready to be home, though not because we’ve grown tired of traveling.  Jamie and Jason are so looking forward to seeing friends, as are we.  But it’s also just time for us to move to the next chapter of our lives.  We never found ourselves wishing for the trip to end sooner than it did, but neither did we want it to continue longer than it has.


Thank you to all who have followed us, there’s likely a few more posts to come over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Arctic - and some glacier research

We just spent almost two weeks Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the very far north.  We were actually only about 800 miles from the North Pole.  Not only was there no night, but the sun won't go down for any part of the day until the end of August (conversely, in the winter there are almost 4 months of no sun).

We'll be doing some posts about our experiences there, but if you'd like to see our pictures, check out the Svalbard entry (it's the last one) on the Photos page of our blog.

Also, we had dinner with a great group of people on their way to Ny-Ă…lesund, a remote research station on Svalbard.  I connected with Peggy McNeal, a middle-school science teacher from El Cajon, California, who is part of the PolarTREC organization.  PolarTREC is a program in which K-12 teachers spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions.

Peggy, via PolarTREC, was connected with the Svalbard REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) team, a group of scientists and college students doing research on glaciers in Svalbard.

Dinner with the Svalbard REU team
They are now in the middle of their research.  Check out Peggy's blog, they are doing some really cool stuff and having some amazing experiences, including a very close encounter with a polar bear!  (look at her August 1st and August 2nd entries).

The Clever Dutch and How They Manage Water

This is a post we also did for The Wilderness Classroom.

Have you ever tried to build barriers to protect a sandcastle from waves on an ocean beach? At a much bigger scale, this is the same problem The Netherlands faces (The Netherlands is sometimes called Holland and people from the Netherlands are the Dutch).  Almost half the country is either below sea level or less than 3 feet above sea level.  The three largest cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague) are all in these low-lying regions.

Building a sand castle in a flood prone area
While in the Netherlands, we visited the Zuiderzee (pronounced zow-der zay) Museum, to see an exhibit about floods in Dutch history.  We were amazed at the number of serious floods the country has experienced. To protect their country from floods, the Dutch have built many dikes, barriers, and pumps. 

List of serious floods in Dutch history at Zuiderzee Museum

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meeting Mother Earth

This is a story about our trip in our local St. Louis Park magazine.  It includes a letter we wrote at the end of the article.  We did the first interview for this back in November last year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Video Trip Summary (through Africa)

Here's a 2 1/2 minute video we created for the St. Louis Park School Board and community.  It provides a good and quick summary of some of the interesting experiences we had on the first 2/3 of our trip.  We made it just after arriving in Africa in late March.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Europe

As planned, we are spending this summer in Europe.  For much of the summer we are traveling with or meeting family and dear friends, and are taking a break from frequent posts.  In late July we will be traveling to Arctic Norway (Lofoten and Svalbard), and plan on posting about our experiences there.  We do regularly put our latest photos up on our photo page, and you can always find out where we are on our "Where are we now" page.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our Picky Eater and Climate Change: Part Two

This is a follow-up post that Lauri did on the ClimateMama website to a post she did back in September/October.  The original post can be found here.

Also check out a post that Jason did about our vegetarian experience.

By Lauri

I wrote a post in October, 2013, about our son, Jason, and how he convinced our whole family to be vegetarians for a month.  We accepted his challenge; now that we've gone "veg" for a month in India, it's time for an update on our Jason-inspired project.

Our family at the Taj Majal in Agra, India
Click here to read the rest of the post on the ClimateMama site.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

Black Rhinos: A Success Story in Namibia

Here's a post we did for The Wilderness Classroom about rhinos in Africa.  This was really interesting for us, because while in Vietnam we met with an organization, ENV, that is trying to stop the demand for rhino horn that is causing rhino poaching in Africa.  While in Namibia, we met with an organization that has successfully protected black rhinos over the past decade.  And this organization is affiliated with the Minnesota Zoo!

Save the Rhino Trust entrance
Black rhino




Monday, June 2, 2014

Food & Trees for Africa

Here's a post we did for The Wilderness Classroom on a great organization, Food & Trees For Africa, we connected with while in South Africa.  Read more to learn about two of their programs and how they help people and the environment.


Jamie carrying a tree to be planted, near Johannesburg, South Africa

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Peter Hobart fundraising

When we were back in Minneapolis around Thanksgiving, one of the things we did was give presentations at Peter Hobart, Jamie and Jason's elementary school.  Jamie and Jason asked the kids of Peter Hobart to help them raise money for the Children's Eternal Rainforest, the first place we visited on our trip, and a place that is very special to them.

Well, the kids in Peter Hobart's GLOW program (which Jamie is part of) took up the challenge and earlier this month, organized a school fundraiser that raised $1100!

We are all so excited about what they've done, so proud of them, and thankful to be part of such a great community.

Here's a video Jamie and Jason did to kick off the fundraiser.



And you can click here to get to the video thank you that Jamie and Jason sent to the kids of Peter Hobart.  This was on Peter Hobart's home page for a couple of weeks towards the end of the school year.

It just goes to show that kids can make a BIG DIFFERENCE in the world.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Elephants Everywhere

We’ve seen lots of African elephants on our trip — in South Africa, Namibia, and especially, Botswana.  Did you know that elephants can snorkel?  That sometimes they eat soil?  Here is a link to a post Lauri wrote for The Wilderness Classroom about elephants.

And after you read the post, be sure to watch the short video we put together that shows a snorkeling elephant and some elephants eating soil.


Africa Animals Slide Show

Here's a slide show of most of the animals we saw in the wild in southern Africa.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mafura, Miombo and Mozambique

Here's a post Lauri wrote for The Wilderness Classroom about an interesting visit we had with a new business in Inhambane, Mozambique.  We spoke with Ana Alecia Lyman of Bio Oleos, who is trying to revive the mafura trade in Mozambique with a soapmaking venture.

Click here to learn about mafura and miombo.

Jason & Jamie with Ana Alecia Lyman of Bio Oleos



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Africa Mystery Photos - Week of May 5-9

We didn't have Internet access for the first few days of this week, as we're now in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, on the border between South Africa and Botswana (also close to Namibia).




Monday, April 28, 2014

Africa Mystery Photos - Week of April 28-May 2

We'll be doing 2-3 mystery photos a week.  You can check back at the end of the week to this link, as we'll add more to this post during the week (if we can - sometimes we don't have Internet).






Click here to guess this animal.













Click here to guess this animal.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Africa Mystery Photos - Week of April 21-27

Because of all the fantastic animals we're seeing in Africa, we figured we'd start doing mystery photos again.  But we're going to do them a bit differently.  Jamie and Jason are going to write the clues, and we're going to try and do 2-3 photos every week.



Click here to see the clues and guess the first one.









Click here to see the clues and guess the second one.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Coral Reef that Recovered from Bleaching

Here's a post we did on The Wilderness Classroom site about a coral reef in India that recovered from a 1998 bleaching event, and why it recovered.  It is a continuation of the great conversation we had with MD Madhusudan of India's Nature Conservation Foundation.