Blame it on January.

Are you stressed out?

Well let me just say that we all are.  The other day I decided to fight back and not let the stress get to me.  I went bopping in to work happy and ready to take on everything with the best attitude possible.  Disgustingly over the top happy.  Of course, I ended up walking out that day beaten down.  Well, I am back again and with more strength than before!  “Put your future in good hands, your own.”

So when you are feeling tired, exhausted, stressed and feel like there is too much on your plate; well take a bite and keep going.  Sometimes when you come out the other side of stressful times, if you look back it provides you with motivation that you can do it and you can move forward.  So here is my quick look back to push forward:

I know, it is a horrid picture.  This was my first organizing for a formal Teacher Workshop.  It was the third in a collaborative series with Region 19 and the El Paso Water Utilities Tech2O for K-5 teachers.  The topic was Biodiversity of the Chihuahuan Desert and thanks to some co-workers we made biodiversity interactive and fun.  What I loved about it, was being able to talk about the importance of biodiversity to our world and inspiring teachers to learn more about their own backyards and empowering them to make things happen in their classrooms.  I know some of them have already used the curriculum in their classrooms!  A success. šŸ™‚

I took a little break after the workshop to wind down and have some fun.
 

Heather (my friend and co-worker) and I had the opportunity to attend the Texas Aquarium and Zoo Educators conference in Houston.  We spent a few days at the Houston Zoo and the close by Landry’s Downtown Aquarium.  It was a fabulous experience and I am grateful for the trip!  Probably the best part was interacting with fellow educators and discussing our challenges and how to overcome difficulties.  And to all my outdoors people, the Houston Zoo had a SWOP shop!  It is a place where kids and adults bring in what they find in nature and earn points based on the item and their research knowledge of the item.  They can trade in items for other awesome nature artifacts.  Definitely a place to encourage kids to get outside.  Oh and ps: I wrote on the zoo blog about the trip so to hear a bunch more about it view the blog here: www.epzooadventures.blogspot.com

Rhinos! You can support endangered rhinos in the wild by adopting a Rhino for Valentine’s Day! http://www.rhinos-irf.org/

Look at those eyes.  These two are brothers and boy did we get an up close look.  šŸ™‚

Heather and I enjoyed the nearby park.  Love the big green spaces in the city.  Part of it they even restored to native prairie.

Next up was the first zoo in the country’s Year of the Bat event at the El Paso Zoo!  The United Nations in collaboration with several conservation organizations including Bat Conservation International declared 2012 the Year of the Bat.   The goals of the event were to bring awareness to the plight of bat populations (an estimated 5.5 million bats have died since 2006), rid bats of their negative persona (less than 1% of bats carry rabies) and educate people about local bats and what they can do to help conserve bats.  The weekend started off slow with some cold weather but as the weather warmed up, lots of people came out.  The zoo was full of bat activities and bat speakers.  I am thankful for the collaborating organizations that came out to share their bat knowledge and engage people to attend their parks (Carlsbad Caverns, Franklin Mountains State Park, Hueco Tanks, Insights Museum and UTEP/Centennial Museum). 

Carlsbad Caverns rangers set up an interactive table and gave great presentations!

A local teacher hosts a contest every October for kids to create their own bats.  The bats are then given to Carlsbad Caverns who in turn sell the bats to raise money for their park.  They had over 100 entries in the bat contest last October, and displayed a lot of them at the zoo.  Several students came by to check out their art work on display.  A great teacher that does so much for her students and local organizations is such an inspiration.

Bat Houses!  So the truth comes out… I never built a bat house prior to teaching a workshop on how to build one!  I did a lot of research and there are several plans online on how to build them.  Thanks to David, who helped out and came the day of the workshop to help everyone out as well.  Participants paid $10 to learn about local bats, bat houses and build their own bat houses to take home and hopefully attract some bats.  My plan was to place some bat houses at the zoo, but lately I have been using the one I made for the zoo as a demonstration and tool.  It needs to go up quickly as bats will be returning from migration soon (in El Paso, that is). 

Lots of families enjoyed making bat puppets thanks to Rose.
Guess which one is mine…

So although it has been a rough past month or so, it has been successful.  I am ready again to continue to work hard and do the best I can.  So bring it on world.  I am about to save you.  šŸ™‚

A few upcoming big things:

Kaleidoscope Teachers Conference – attended by about 300 teachers.  I will be presenting a 45 min presentation on how to bring the outside into your classroom.  Excited!

POPPIESSSS! March 31.  A festival to help conserve Castners Range in its present state.  If you cross your fingers Mexican Poppies will bloom this year!  Poppies are out and need a bit more water to fully bloom.  So we need a bit of rain.  We have been planning this celebration for months and I am getting excited for the event to come together.  If you want to volunteer and help out… let me know!

I may have to give a presentation on my thesis research.   Something I have not looked at in three years!  But I would love to rekindle my love for ringtails.  It will give me a good reason to share the love with my bloggies as well!  I LOVE RINGTAILS!

Spring Break Camp and workshops!  I am excited for all of the activities we are going to do! Nature art, geocaching, backyard wildlife, investigating poop, tracks, and of course the addition of conservation and live animals. 

Coolest Conservation Classroom Eveeerrr.  I have some ideas to turn my classroom into an interactive conservation learning area for kids and adults.  If that sparks something in you and you have some ideas, send them my way! 

Until next time… if your stressed, tackle it full force!

Stress shmmesss.

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