You are invited: Salamander Party and Book Launch Event!

Join us March 10th at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier Vermont to celebrate all things salamanders!

We will have a lively and interactive presentation for families, featuring scientists and naturalists sharing how to get involved in this year’s in year’s salamander migration.

Bear Pond books will be on hand to share books all about amphibians (including the newly published Salamander Sky) and yes, there will be salamander cookies!

This is a family friendly event, humans (and salamanders) of all ages welcome. Here is the Facebook Invite. Please let me know if you can come and spread the word!

Can’t make it? No problem! Please see the other events in your area in the column on the right.

Salamander Sky is coming!

It seems virtually impossible. As I sit here during the bomb cyclone winter storm (how have I never heard this expression before?), awaiting -45 degree wind chills expected this weekend, salamanders seem far, far away.

And yet. The snow will melt. The earth will soften under cool spring rain, and the delightful spotted salamanders will make their slow and steady journey to pools and ponds by our house.

Luckily, this salamander crossing season is different. It coincides with the publication of my new picture book, Salamander Sky, releasing to the world on March 2, 2018 with Green Writer’s Press. The fabulous illustrator is Meg Sodano, and I can’t wait for readers to see her incredible paintings of April, salamanders, and the night sky.

Salamander Sky is the story of 10 year old April, who waits impatiently for the night that her mom will take her out to help the salamanders cross the dirt road by her house.  She wants to help these vulnerable creatures, who only come out on a few nights, and lumber along our roads. Come along with them, and learn how you can help salamanders in  your area survive this crossing, and feel good in the process.

Salamander Sky is available for pre-order at your local bookstore (best choice!) or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

We are hosting a book launch and salamander crossing party at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont on March 10th from 3-5:30, and we will have presentations from naturalist Sean Beckett and Elizabeth Morse from the Center for EcoStudies about salamander migration, vernal pools, and citizen science (AND Salamander cookies!) as well as copies of the new book for sale.

Other upcoming events include:

  • Bridgeside Books Reading: March 17th, 10:30am, Waterbury
  • Kellogg Hubbard Library, March 24th, 10:30am, Montpelier
  • Educator event, Bear Pond Books, TBD

Are you a librarian, book seller, parent, or teacher? Here is some information about what Salamander Sky has to offer:

  • targets many of the Next Generation Science Standards for elementary school students, including life cycles, wetland habitats, diversity, adaptations and human impact
  • communicates a strong conservation message
  • geared toward preschool through elementary school aged students
  • models first hand exploration and investigation in nature
  • addresses human impact on the environment and encourages active participation in solutions
  • provides a resource for science teachers, environmental educators and parents to introduce inquiry to students
  • inspires engagement and curiosity
  • focuses on a vulnerable and often unnoticed species of amphibians that inhabits much of the Eastern United States
  • embraces diversity and promotes women in science

Please be in touch if you would like to schedule a reading, a workshop about citizen science, or a writing workshop with your organization, class, or group!

Back to high winds, freezing temperatures, and the bomb cyclone. I’m waiting for the salamander sky (feels like years away!).

Project Based Learning with The Order of the Trees

I’m excited to share something I’ve wanted to make for a long time. As a former teacher, and current professional development coordinator, I spend a lot of time researching and planning project based learning experiences with teachers. I wanted to create something that could be used as a guide for a project based learning unit based on my middle grade novel, The Order of the Trees, published by Green Writers Press in 2015. 

This website is a working draft of those plans. It can be used while reading the book with students either aloud or in small groups, or it can be used after the book has been read as a culminating, immersive, integrated project.

It is my hope that I can add a student work page to the sites and feature student projects. Please share any work, feedback on the plans, questions or ideas with me! We are in this together. Also, I would be happy to Skype into your classroom to discuss projects with students, or answer their emails.

I hope you find this useful! Weebly is an easy website builder that teachers and students can use to create media rich, beautiful sites pretty quickly. I think that each project having an online home like this could provide a bridge to at home learning and a great way for families to stay connected to project work.  Google sites are also a good tool for this. Often, it helps teachers and students to have an online home for projects. Teachers can easily share curated links and resources this way.

Please let me know if you have any questions, ideas for this unit, or any thoughts about this tool.

“Love is like a tree, it grows of its own accord, it puts down deep roots into our whole being.”
— Victor Hugo