Archive for January, 2017

  • Fair’s fair: Prescott Regional SciTech Fest returns

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Judy Paris, president of the Children’s Museum Alliance and original organizer of the Prescott Regional SciTech Fest and Dr. Jeremy Babendure, executive director of Arizona SciTech Fest. The fourth annual Prescott Regional SciTech Fest is 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Prescott Gateway Mall, 3280 Gateway Blvd.] ***** How did you get the Prescott Regional SciTech Festival started? Paris: Well, between 2004 and 2007, I’d organized a group of people, all volunteers to start a STEM-based museum for kids of all ages in Prescott. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. So, we had our own children’s science museum. We truly wanted to blend all of the sciences with the arts, so we added an art focus. They went smashingly together. As part of developing the museum — which, unfortunately, closed last June— I met Jeremy and went to a couple of informational sessions he had regarding SciTech fests. Flagstaff has had one for years. I visited that and that’s when I really decided we needed to make the jump for Prescott. STEM-based jobs aren’t only the future of our community but of the globe. I just wanted to show what Prescott actually has, as there are a lot of science-focused hidden treasures here. So much that’s going on locally in

  • The distancing has begun: Considering a virtually reality-free exist-stance

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    The author in a Tuareg headdress. Courtesy photo. By Alan Dean Foster I have nothing against virtual reality. But I worry where it may lead. It’s just getting started and there’s nothing to stop it. The idea that we can put on a pair of goggles and be anywhere, do anything, is too seductive to be disavowed, too tempting to be ignored. Want to be Superman for an hour? Slip on your VR goggles. Always wished to visit Bora Bora? It’s VR time (and you can even eliminate the annoying jet skis in the lagoon). Have a fear of heights but always dreamed of scaling Everest? Move your arms and legs and VR will do the rest. Harmless entertainment, you say? I suppose it is. What concerns me are the inevitable ramifications as both the technology and its acceptance continue to mature. I’m writing this just before Christmas. I love Christmas. The sparkling, chromatic municipal decorations as well as the lesser ones that are purely domestic. The excitement on the faces of children as their parents convoy them through the mall. Even the crowds in the stores, though there’s always a grumpy gus standing in the checkout line complaining to all who’ll listen about how long checkout is taking. I love the crispness and crackle in Prescott’s air and the turquoise-framed view of snow on the San Francisco Peaks and

  • News from the Wilds: February 2017

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris In most years, February in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona is still a very quiet time when mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants remain quiescent, waiting for the combined cues of increased day-length and higher temperatures to end their winter diapause and begin searching for mates and food. But in all years, the first glimmerings of spring’s vivacity begin this month in the deserts and the chaparral of our region. Over the next several months the activity in the lowlands will grow from a hum to a roar and gradually flow up the slopes and into the highest mountains, carpeting the whole of the Mogollon Highlands with flowers, warblers, and butterflies. But, for now, the uplands remain relatively quiet, leaving the naturalist to search for hints of Spring. Bird migrations begin to pick up steam now, as overwintering species such as Northern Goshawk and Townsend’s Solitaire begin the months-long journey that will ultimately end in their breeding grounds as far north as the Arctic Circle. Other species migrate through our region to points nearer to the north, while the last of the migrants will include the neotropical migrant warblers who have spent the winter in the rainforests and dry forests of Central America, and will breed and nest here. The overwintering waterfowl on Willow and Watson Lakes, as well as the many smaller bodies of water will

  • Myth & Mind: The drinking horn full of the oceans

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Myth & MindNo CommentsRead More »

    By Reva Sherrard What is myth? Raven stealing the light, Athena bursting fully-armored from Zeus’ forehead, and so on? Where did these stories come from and why? Well — once upon a time — our primate ancestors lived, ate, loved, and died just like other animals and needed nothing more. Like wolves and chimpanzees, we hunted cooperatively and communicated using indicative vocalizations. Then language happened, and from thinking largely in concrete facts we started thinking in symbols. We made the cognitive leaps from grunting when we saw antelope, to having a specific sound that meant “antelope,” to using it when there were none around. Suddenly we had more to think about apart from whether or not we could run the antelope down; now we were concerned with meaning, and lo, through one of evolution’s stranger vicissitudes the human consciousness was born. Language and the super-complex brains it built gave our sorry, furless ancestors the cooperative and imaginative edge they needed to survive. But now, those complex brains found equal complexity in otherwise straightforward struggles to get food, mate, fight, and resolve fights. Life had a new dimension for which meat and copulation alone were not enough (well, for some of us). We needed to find a working truce with the loneliness and fear that go hand-in-hand with speculative thought; we needed not just physical but psychological strength to outwit death

  • Prescott Peeps: Sharon Nordyke

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Prescott PeepsNo CommentsRead More »

    Who are you and how did you first get involved in the community? I’m Sharon Nordyke, and I helped found Chalk It Up!, the Electric Light Parade, and the Pandemonium Steel Drum Band. … I came to Prescott for a fire inspector job with the city in 1981. That, itself, was very community oriented. One of my favorite things about my long career there was researching children’s museum’s and building a hand’s-on exhibit for the “Learn Not to Burn” program, which was held in the old Ponderosa Plaza. There was tremendous support from the chief, who budgeted the money to help build many interactive exhibits like a giant smoke detector that kids could crawl through. Kids were bused there for fire prevention week. I also performed with the concert band and orchestra at Yavapai College, followed by a long tenure with the Prescott POPS Symphony. I’d come from a background of playing French horn for many years. Getting involved with musical groups and performing helped me get to know the community.   So you were involved with the community from the outset. What inspired you to create new events and groups in town? The inspiration to bring an event to the city has always been motivated by my interest in sharing an exceptional experience I have had elsewhere. In the case of the Holiday Light Parade, I was sitting on

  • Get Involved: Professional Writers of Prescott and Prescott Creeks

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Get InvolvedNo CommentsRead More »

    Professional Writers of Prescott Who are you and what do you do? I’m Katherine Caccavale and I’m the vice president of programming and public relations for the Professional Writers of Prescott, which has been around since 1978. We’re a community-oriented group of writers of various levels and skills. We gather for monthly meetings, and the group sponsors three or four professional weekend workshops each year that our members are entitled to attend. Typically that’s the biggest expense of the club — bringing in professionals to help with our craft. … We have many published writers, some nationally known, and we’ve also got people who still have their work in-progress on their desks. We all work together and have a couple of networking meetings per year. I was new to the group about four years ago and people took me under their wing and shared the ups and downs of their writing. It’s really nice to involved with people at various levels. We’ve got people who’re fairly well known as a lot of people who are really talented. Some of our writers work with publishers and some are self-published. … Our members write pretty much everything. There are a lot of fiction writers, and we’ve got poets, freelance writers, creative-nonfiction writers, grant writers who are looking to expand their repertoire, and some children and young-adult writers, too. A lot of our

  • Plant of the Month: Fremont Cottonwoods

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By Mara Trushell With a height that can reach 130 feet and a trunk that can span over four feet in diameter, Fremont Cottonwoods (Populous fremontii) are giants within riparian ecosystems. These glorious trees are common along lake shores, rivers, and streams in Arizona from 150 – 6,000 feet elevation. The grayish bark is thick and furrowed at maturity and massive trunks support extensive branches that spread into broad, open crowns. Cottonwoods not only have a noteworthy visual presence; they also have a significant ecological role. Whether an individual tree or an expansive forest, it’s the entire tree, from root tip, to canopy structure, to seed capsule, that supports a rich habitat, complete with food and shelter. The life of a cottonwood begins within moist soils. With substantial amounts of consistent water, these fast growing trees soon reach their full potential. Intricate root networks stabilize the soil along stream beds, and saplings offer leaves that are a food source for many mammals. As cottonwoods reach maturity a multitude of flowers are produced in long-stranded catkins, just before the leaves fully emerge from their buds each spring. Both male and female flowers are obscure but develop into long catkins. Female flowers develop seeds with attachments of soft cotton-like puffs that catch the wind and carry them off to spread the next generation further afield. Summer brings dense foliage that attracts a

  • Bird of the Month: Dark-eyed Junco

    By Maxine Tinney As winter approaches in central Arizona, the common Dark-eyed Junco sometimes congregate along with other sparrows and warblers in coniferous forests. They may be seen pecking in leaf litter or searching for food in the underbrush. In backyards with feeders, they’re hopping and foraging on the ground for millet, sunflower seeds, and corn. A sudden movement or flash of noise may send the flock flying to nearby trees flashing their bright white tail feathers. In general, the Dark-eyed Juncos have a pale pinkish bill, gray/black heads, gray or brown backs and wings, gray/brown/pinkish flanks, and gray necks and breasts with a white belly. The Dark-eyed Junco species (Junco hyemalis) of the sparrow family in Yavapai County may consist of at least five recognizable populations or subspecies based on different sizes and colorations, genetics of the birds, how the bird communicates, and the frequency of hybridization. The smallest subspecies is the Oregon with dull gray or black head, reddish brown back and pinkish brown flanks. The Pink-sided subspecies has a blue-gray hood with blackish lores around the eyes and extensive pinkish-flanks. The slate-colored varies from pale brown to slate gray, while the gray-headed and Red-backed have a well defined rufous mantle on their backs. The Red-backed also has a bi-colored bill with the top being blackish and lower mandible being pink. Most Dark-eyed Junco will retreat northward as

  • What about BOB? A good backup comes up front

    By Paolo Chlebecek You hear a report from the news that an impending crisis is heading your way. You have only moments to react. What do you do? Far too often these days, we hear of various instances all over the world where people must flee their homes to avoid serious consequences. Sadl,y many are not prepared for such events and thus suffer more than they might’ve. Can you avoid the last minute panic? If you had to go now, what would you grab? Many people say photos or photo albums. But is that practical with all of the digital media now prevalent in these times? Does your smart phone have all of your data? I have often extolled the virtues of off-site backups of your data. While there are many to choose from, there are only a few worth mentioning. Carbonite and Mozy, while not the only ones, are among the most recognized and reliable on the market today. I have been using them faithfully for backups and restoration of data for years. There are others to be sure — Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive from Microsoft, iCloud, and Evernote to name a few. In any case, it’s time, my friends, to stop what you’re doing and make a choice. Thankfully, if you have either an Android or Apple smartphone, there’s a built in backup that you can use right

  • Vegetable of the Month: Parsnips

    By Kathleen Yetman The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable closely related to parsley and carrots that has been cultivated and eaten for thousands of years. Parsnips are indigenous to Eurasia. Documents show that they were cultivated in both Greek and Roman times. Like carrots, parsnips are a biennial plant, meaning that it produces seeds in it’s second growing season. Most farmers grow parsnips like an annual, only until the taproot has reached a good size. Here in the Greater Prescott Area, they are planted throughout the summer for a continuous harvest in the fall and winter. Parsnips are best in the winter, when the cold temperatures keep them crisp, crunchy, and sweet. The edible taproot is white or cream-colored and frequently grow up to a foot in length when left to mature, which generally takes about four months. Nutritionally, the parsnip is a good source of vitamins C, B, E, and K as well as potassium, manganese and magnesium. They also have a decent amount of dietary fiber and folate. Parsnips have a sweet flavor similar to carrots. They can be eaten raw, but are usually served cooked. Parsnips are typically roasted along with other vegetables and many people aren’t sure how else to prepare them. They are actually quite versatile. Some alternative ways to eat parsnips: boiled and mashed along with potatoes, sautéed and drizzled with maple

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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