October2017

Yellowstone Supervolcano: solving world problems in one fell swoop

OMG—Time to freak OUT!

OMG—Time to freak OUT!

A recent tweet by Seattle’s KING 5 News shared a story about the Yellowstone Supervolcano, the headline of which is sure to get people to read the article because that’s what a good headline does: it sells news! And once folks have read the article, many will probably still panic. The article suggests that the gurgling volcano under the Yellowstone is expected to blow much sooner than originally expected. And it could wipe out life on the planet.

But before you reach for the antidepressants, remember that this volcanic event would—quickly and efficiently—also take care of Kim Jong Un, terrorism and all the other unsavory world problems, of which there seems to be no shortage.

Here’s a particularly interesting excerpt from the article:

“About 630,000 years ago, National Geographic reported, a powerful eruption shook the region and created the Yellowstone caldera, a bowl 40 miles wide that forms much of the park.”

Odd. I knew National Geographic has been around a long time, but I didn’t realize the organization has been around for 630,000 years!

Again, before you freak out, you should know something that wasn’t stated clearly in the article: An eruption destroying life on the planet will not likely happen any time soon. The article states that “…more research is necessary before definite conclusions can be drawn.”

Here’s a link to the article.

Yellowstone supervolcano may blow sooner than thought — and could wipe out life on the planet

I’ve oft-stated that when the supevolcano does blow, I want to be standing knee deep in the Firehole River, tight to a feisty 12″ trout. I don’t want to be 700 miles away, with time to learn that the blast is fast approaching.

DSC_1156

Yellowstone Supervolcano: Bring it on, bitch

Have a nice day!

Conservation Education: The Blue River Explorer Hike

BlueRiverExplorerHike-logo

About a year ago I received an email from Greg Hardy, President of the Gore Range Anglers (Colorado) Chapter of Trout Unlimited, asking if I would be interested in working on a project he had conceived. I had previously designed a logo for the chapter in May 2016, which is how Greg came by my name. This new project Greg had in mind was of considerable scope, not only from the standpoint from which I would be involved, but as a whole. Greg’s vision, to be called the Blue River Explorer Hike, was loosely modeled after the National Park Service Junior Ranger program. Through a series of interpretive signs to be placed along the Blue River Trail in Silverthorne (Colorado), Greg’s goal was to educate visitors—kids, and adults alike—about the Blue River Watershed. It’s a complex watershed that supplies a vast amount of limited water to not only the local area, but the greater Denver area well beyond Silverthorne.

The signs would include graphic-intensive information ranging from What Trout Need and What Trout Eat, to How Watersheds Work, and How We Measure Water, plus more; all pertaining to the Blue River Watershed. As a Trout Unlimited Life Member, it sounded to me like a very worthy project. Of course I was interested.

And so began many months of phone calls and back-and-forth emails. I was sent information in text form (some of it written on restaurant napkins) and tasked with taking that information, paring it down and communicating it in as visually pleasing and simple a manner as possible, because—as we all know—people like looking at pictures more than reading words (says the long-winded author of this blog).

Sign-WhatTroutNeed

Sign-WhatTroutEat

HowWatershedsWorkSign

HowWeMeasureWaterSign

BlueRiverWatershedSign

In addition to the signs, I also designed an Activity Booklet that kids (and big kids) will receive for free when they register for the Blue River Explorer Hike at the Silverthorne Welcome Center. The booklet contains word search games, crossword puzzles, coloring pages and other fun stuff suitable for ages 4 and up, so be sure to stop by when you’re in Silverthorne and register for the hike. Note: Be sure to do this during spring, summer or fall, as the signs will likely be buried under (hopefully) several feet of snow during the winter months.

The Blue River Explorer Hike Activity Booklet

The Blue River Explorer Hike Activity Booklet

The entire project, given the scope of it all, went very smoothly. At least it did from my standpoint. As I worked away on the illustrations and sign designs, Greg was busy with adult stuff and orchestrating the entire thing: rounding up sponsors and grant money to cover the cost of production, printing, construction and placement of the signs, etc. This was no small task given the organizations and entities involved.

Greg Hardy cutting the ribbon, flanked by the Mayor of Silverthorne (right) and

Greg Hardy cutting the ribbon, joined by the Mayor and representatives from the Planning Department and Town Council of Silverthorne, as well as members from Copper Mountain Environmental Foundation and the High Country Conservation Center.

The man behind it all, Greg Hardy.

The man behind it all, Greg Hardy.

While I live 1,288.8 miles from Silverthorne and wasn’t able to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony on September 11, 2017, I’m very proud to have been involved in this grass-roots project (and pleased to have Olive the Woolly Bugger participate as a sponsor). I hope that, with the help of Trout Unlimited chapters elsewhere, similar programs will be duplicated on watersheds throughout the country. Every watershed has a great many demands placed upon it, from agriculture and municipal requirements, to recreational usage that includes, among other things, fishing. Anglers certainly are (or should be) aware of conservation issues facing their local waters, but the general public isn’t always as keenly dialed in on such matters. Because water is not an unlimited resource it is imperative that the public learn about the complexities of each watershed so that we may all become conservation-minded stewards as we go about our lives.

Here’s an article commemorating the ribbon cutting ceremony from the Silverthorne city website: http://www.silverthorne.org/Home/Components/News/News/691/26

The article also contains a couple of videos, which I’ve extracted here for your viewing pleasure:

Thank you to all the individuals, businesses and organizations involved the successful completion of the Blue River Explorer Hike project. Especially, thanks to Greg Hardy for your passion and vision, and for reaching out and involving me. Just remember, there’s no “t” in Kirk. 😉