Maggie's Minute: A Colorado Humanities Update

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Maggie's Minute: A Colorado Humanities Update, July 2015

... go wandering forth in all directions with every wind...*

The Father of America’s National Parks John Muir advised us to “climb the mountains and get their good tidings,” and June—Great Outdoors Month—was the time to begin a summer of it in Colorado.Another naturalist and conservationist, Enos Mills, who has been proclaimed the Father of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, said that imagination lights the path of education, and isone of the greatest inheritances of each individual. He urged us to visit a National Park “where the fairies live.” As historians, writers, artists, educators, scholars and humanities advocates, we take such words to heart. Since 1916, the National Park Service has worked to preserve some of our greatest natural and cultural resources, and 12 national parks can be found here in Colorado.Perhaps these Rocky Mountain webcams will help us remember the treasures of the mind inspired by Colorado’s wilder spots?

Speaking of treasures of the mind, the imaginations and creative expressiveness of Colorado students always amazes and brings us joy—I wish space would allow me to share with you everything our Writers in the Schools students created this past school year—hundreds of poems written with a rhythm and lyricism that are impressive and deeply moving. Here’s an excerpt from a Grand Junction High School 10th grader’s poem, Mystical Forest:


... for this forest is warm,

and melts the layers of lies

and ice, revealing the truest

man in this mystical forest.


And speaking of the great outdoors, the big tent for High Plains Chautauqua 2015 is going up again Tuesday, Aug. 4 through Saturday, Aug. 8 in Greeley. This year’s theme is The American West: Hope and Heartbreak, and will bring alive such memorable figures from history as Chief Standing Bear, Theodore Roosevelt, George Catlin and many more.

Our VIP picnic for special guests, volunteers, participants and sponsors will kick off this year’s festival with great food by Cables Grill and music by The Hoagies, who swing in the style of Hoagie Carmichael. If you haven’t donated to High Plains Chautauqua yet this year, please take a moment now to call or mail your gift in and be a part of the 2015 HPC VIP team:  (303) 894-7951.

Young Chautauqua students from Weld County, by the way, will also be featured at High Plains Chautauqua, and attending the VIP picnic on Tuesday. After the picnic, three talented young people will open the evening performance by bringing Polly Pry, Doc Holiday and Baby Doe Tabor to life in the way only Young Chautauquans can.

The destiny of the West is written in the headwaters of Colorado, and we’re proud to announce a new Havey Productions film about Colorado’s water and water culture, The Great Divide. Thefilm’s national premiere will be Thursday, Aug.6 at 7 pm at University of Denver’s Newman Center. Proceeds from ticket sales will help us distribute the film to Colorado school and public libraries statewide. After the premiere in Denver, the film will tour additional cities throughout the state, including Alamosa, Carbondale, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley, La Junta, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs and Sterling.

Student Literary Awards! Our 12th annual Awards honoring Colorado students was a great success again this May. Winning Colorado Letters About Literature students wrote to 13 authors, from A.A. Milne and Jodi Picoult to Harper Lee and Walt Whitman. 11 drawings and paintings and one photograph took Colorado prizes for River of Words, as did 16 poems. We are also proud to congratulate seven Colorado students who were recognized at the national level for their River of Words poetry—here’s an excerpt from one by a Lafayette 12th grader, No, Not a River:



The patience it takes

to make crafting a canyon your life goal

to erode the infinitely durable

with pure tranquility


We compiled four Writers in the Schools anthologies this year, as well as our Student Literary Awards anthology of Colorado Letters About Literature and River of Words winning works. Theymake great gifts, and are available to the public through our online store.

Colorado Book Awards 2015! The awards celebration was also another wonderful time, held this past June in Aspen in the heart of Colorado’s prized alpine outdoors. Awards were presented in 14 literary categories, including Andrew Gulliford’s adventure anthology Outdoors in the Southwest, Paul Andersen’s High Road to Aspen with photos by David Hiser, and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Fenn’s Encounters at the Heart of the World. As we are every year, we were honored to visit with Colorado’s finest authors, editors and photographers. Many thanks to everyone who made the trip to join us.

Motheread/Fatheread Colorado is holding a three-day training institute in Grand Junction, Aug. 19-21. The institute is designed to prepare educators to hold Motheread classes for parents of young children in their communities. We provide training in the unique Motheread curriculum, certification to teach Motheread, help plan cycles of classes, and provide sets of children’s books. We wish every educator promoting children’s literacy skills and parent engagement could take advantage of this training, but space for the institute is limited. If you or someone you know is interested in attending, please contact Vera Atilano as soon as you can at (303) 894-7951 x12.

Thanks again for your interest in Colorado Humanities programs, and your participation andsupport.

Maggie Coval, Executive Director

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Thank you, John Muir.

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