Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch Speaks Out
In June, Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture was named the Smithsonian Institution’s 14th secretary. Recently, CBS This Morning ran a fascinating feature on Bunch and his new memoir: A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump about the conception, building, and opening of this important museum. Visit CBS News’s website to see the interview, and Avalon’s Dara Igersheim’s post on her experience at a stop on Bunch’s book tour.
Julie Andrews Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
The has selected Oscar/Golden Globes/Grammy/Emmy winner—and Kennedy Center honoree—Julie Andrews for its Life Achievement Award. She will collect her award at AFI’s star-studded gala on April 25 in Los Angeles, to be televised on TNT. Visit AFI’s website for more information.
Invasion of the Yellow Paper Wasp
The Galapagos Conservancy is on the front lines, battling yet another invasion of a nonnative species negatively impacting the Galapagos Islands. This time, it’s the yellow paper wasp, a nasty bug whose painful stings can cause severe allergic reactions in humans—and which is understandably keeping some tourists from visiting the Islands. Additionally, the wasps eat an incredible number of insects, upsetting the food chain, and depriving other Galapagos native animals and birds of their needed food supply. GC is working quickly to resolve the problem—testing various methods of attracting and killing the wasps. Visit GC’s website for the full story, and to see how you can help.
Bringing Gardens to Urban Centers
As part of Pennsylvania’s first-ever farm bill, the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program was created in July, as the governor recognized the importance of urban gardens in providing fresh local products to combat food insecurity and improve access to healthy, nutritious food. Under the program, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society received almost $50K for a tool library, solar panels, battery back-up, and security to be provided at lost cost to area urban gardeners. Visit this local news site for more details. Also, PHS’s 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show was recognized as one of the world’s top events by the International Festival + Events Association. This year’s flower show theme is “Riviera Holiday”, an homage to Grace Kelly. See PHS’s website for full details.
Brady Takes Aim at Gun Lobbyists
We’ve all heard members of Congress blame violent video games for gun tragedies in the US. With so many recent mass shootings, Brady decided to create a satirical video game called League of Legislators, that mocks blaming video games. As described in Adweek, “The platform game asks you to play as a representative attempting to pass gun reform legislation in Washington while dodging gun lobbyists and bribes.” Check out the game on Brady’s And on another front, Brady recently filed an IRS complaint challenging the National Rifle Association’s tax-exempt status—and asking the IRS to determine whether the NRA performs a public service, which is required for that status. You can read about the complaint by visiting Brady’s website.
Cute Sea Otters Are a Critical Species
The Monterey Bay Aquarium places a high priority on saving any marine animals in peril, but its research now shows just how important the adorable sea otters are, and how they must be protected. A vital part of the ecological balance in the oceans, sea otters keep sea urchin populations under control, which, in turn, means more kelp can grow to feed other species. Visit the aquarium’s website to watch a live sea otter cam and to learn more about their key role in the marine ecosystem.
Fifty Years of Impact
Boston’s Pine Street Inn marks 50 years of impact in 2019, with a compelling new video on its website, laying out the dire situation in Boston back in 1969, with civic unrest and the city government supplying little relief. Beginning with a small group of volunteers determined to change the situation, Pine Street initially helped 200 alcoholic men by giving them a place to sleep and help with getting their lives back on track. The video takes us through the evolution of Pine Street Inn and its mission over the years, up to today, as this influential group helps thousands of homeless people find permanent housing.
Good News for Bison
An issue of concern to the National Parks Conservation Association for years is finally being resolved, as the American Indian and First Nations of Canada tribes recently signed a historic agreement to transfer healthy bison from Yellowstone National Park to tribal and appropriate non-tribal public lands. For all the details, visit NPCA’s website.
More exciting events: The American Horticultural Society’s Fall Harvest Festival and Market at River Farm; The Trustees’ winter lights are back at this special event!; Yellowstone Forever’s stunning 2020 calendar now available; Join Pine Street Inn’s Boston marathon team.