Alexander von Humboldt

A Walk on Wachusett

April 2018. “Summer and winter our eyes had rested on the dim outline of the mountains, to which distance and indistinctness lent a grandeur not their own, so that they served equally to interpret all the allusions of poets and
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Guatemala Again: Mountains, Valleys, Fire & Water

February 2018. I was in Guatemala again, almost exactly two years after my last consulting trip here. As I had done then, I was again travelling east from Guatemala City toward the Motagua Valley, traversing a grand and scenic landscape.
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Amazonia At Last

2 July 2017. Our flight from Lima descended through scattered towers of tropical cumulus clouds to the airport at Iquitos. Luckily our luggage made it, and we careened through the crazy streets in one of the ubiquitous “mototaxis” – tricycle
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Sugar Maples, Climate Change, and Ecohydrology in the Sierra de las Minas of Guatemala

February 2016. Guatemala City was covered by a dense fog when César picked me up at my hotel at 5:30 AM. I’d already filled my travel mug with hot coffee, brain fuel for at least part of our drive to
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Another Visit with John Burroughs at Slabsides

May, 2016. A year ago in May, 2015, I visited the rustic retreat and writing cabin of the influential American nature writer John Burroughs (1837-1921) in the Hudson Valley. I wrote about it here, and the story eventually made its way
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In Search of the Sublime with Albert Bierstadt in Brooklyn

February 2016. It was Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14th, sunny and clear. But an Arctic blast on Saturday night had sent temperatures below zero in Central Park, making this the coldest Valentine’s Day in New York City on record and the coldest day
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In Search of the Sublime with Albert Bierstadt in Colorado

July 2015. The word “sublime” isn’t used much these days, but it would have been 150 years ago. America’s westward expansion, and the Civil War, embedded in the context of global exploration and a rapid expansion of science, were challenging the
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The Art of Ecology: Sketching with Cole and Church

May 2015. Even now, in the second decade of the 21st Century, our view of the relationship between humans and nature, and our identity as a society, is shaped by the artists of the Hudson River School, which was the dominant
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The Art of Ecology: Audubon’s Oystercatchers and Other Examples

November 2014. After visiting John James Audubon’s (1785-1851) first home in America, Mill Grove, not far from Philadelphia, I was looking again through his masterwork, Birds of America. When I came to the plate of the Black Oystercatcher, I realized that
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