What a wonderful solstice/yule/Christmas I had! I hope you did too! I had a few random small thoughts and things to share so this post is going to cover a few topics.

Solstice:

I got curious since I now live at only 1 degree north what the actual difference was in daylight between the summer and winter solstice is where I live. This year the answer is 8 minutes and 40 seconds. That is it. This got me thinking about solar calendars and lunar calendars. That 8 minutes difference is really hard to notice. I would makes sense therefore to measure the passing of time by the moon, since that is something you can track and actually notice. This was a total “ah ha” moment for me. I have tended to live in places where the solstices and equinoxes were a big deal because, well, they were noticeable. You can tell the days are longer or shorter. Here, not so much. It makes sense that a lunar calendar would dominate here.

Walk Your Talk:

I started a new tradition a few years ago. I love gifting to people, but it can be hard to come up with an excellent heartfelt gift every year. So every other year I have decided to donate in the name of my family to charities. It can be overwhelming all the work that needs to be done. There are so many causes, so much work that needs to be done. You can’t do it all so don’t try. Pick something. Last time I donated I picked helping people, this time helping endangered species. As most of you know while I was in Hawaii I was involved with a volunteer organization helping one small reef. This won’t save the world’s coral reefs but it made a difference to that one. If we all just figured out what it was we could do, how much money and time, and picked a cause, we could make a huge difference. So now that I am in a new place where the effects of deforestation for palm oil production are huge and right in your face, I am very focused on being an education consumer. That’s what I mean, you can be overwhelmed easily trying to focus on everything that needs to be done. Pick something. Have that be your cause. And then if you have room in your life for another one, add one more. But don’t feel like you need to champion every cause. Burnout happens.

Trees:

Earlier this month I did some field work in Singapore. We had extra room on the boat so my boss invited along another professor, some students and my husband also came. While I was working on the stations, Everyone was enjoying the area. The other professor we brought with us is in forestry and he was having so much fun checking out this area that is normally closed. My husband should have a naturalist. They were geeking out over insects and he was asking about different plants. I loved having them along! When we got back the prof. looked up on of the trees we had seen and discovered that it is actually critically endangered in Singapore. It is a relative of the jack-fruit and breadfruit. He contacted his colleague who is an expert in cultivation of native plants. We passed along the GPS coordinates and she went out a few weeks ago and collected several seedlings that will hopefully help in reestablishing the species on the island! I am so happy I was able to help! In a year or so when the seedlings are ready for planting we are arranging to have one planted on our campus.

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