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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Environmental Education

ECO Fiction Writer's Blog Episode Two

Gray Whale Stranding Episode 2.

Would you like to go on a journey with me to faraway places—one that takes unexpected twists and turns? You don’t need to pack a thing or purchase a ticket. I will be your guide as we travel through time and space, meet fascinating people, and gain a different perspective as I research and write my newest eco adventure,
Whale’s Lament (working title). All you need to bring along is your curiosity and imagination and, of course, internet access. To receive my Newsletter with links to new episodes: subscribe by email: cldatnow@me.com. To begin reading “A Writers Journey: A Whales Lament,” visit my blog on: mediamint.net.
Send Your Questions and Ideas to cldatnow@me.com—they are most welcome
Our Journey begins in Nahoon, Alaska as Alysie Muckpa searches for the gray whale, she has named Natsilane:

Chapter One. Episode 2
The breakers swirled around the inky shadow in broad circles, then drained away as if sliding sideways from a submerged rock. As the shadow wallowed closer, Alysie could make out a huge, streamlined body and narrow head. Leaping off the boulder, she raced closer to the shoreline.

Storm Alaska, Claire Datnow
Storm Clouds Icy Point Straight Alaska (Boris Datnow)
There was something about its sluggish movement that made goosebumps prickle her arms. As if she were in a nightmare, Alysie could not turn away. “Calm down, get a grip!” she chided herself.
The body kept on rolling closer. The pull of the receding waves sucked it back pulled it forward. With each incoming breaker she could see the shape more clearly: the hump on its back, the line of knobs along its spine, its paddle-shaped flippers and broad tail. Push-pull, forward-backward. The ocean rocked the mighty whale in its arms, sending
it closer and closer to shore where it would be stranded, trapped, unable to move its great body back into the water.
Alysie rushed into the churning ocean. Above the drumming of the waves slamming on shore and the thunder rumbling around the cove, she screamed “Natsilane stay away! Stay Away!” Pursing her lips tight over the tip of her conch shell she blew with all her might. Nothing happened. She blew again, AAAARRRRRUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! The wind tore the sound around the bay. But the incoming tide had Natsilane in its grip. As if she could shove a forty ton whale back into the ocean, she stood there with her hands outstretched. Still the whale kept on coming.
Dragging her eyes away, Alysie squeezed them shut and sent up a prayer to the Tlinglit warrior, Blackfish, who rode on the back of a whale.

Tlinglit Totem Pole, Claire Datnow
Tlingit Totem Pole Hoonah Alsaka (Boris Datnow)
A sour odor, like a shred of rotting fish, slammed into her. With a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, her eyes flew open . . .
To read the next episode: Subscribe to cldatnow.
Send Your Questions and Ideas to cldatnow@me.com—they are most welcome

To inspire you along the way here are ideas, travel destinations, and books to enjoy.

Travel: Boris and I visited Alaska in 2019. The villages and towns we explored inspired the background to this story. We are planning to visit Baja California in February 2022 where gray whales migrate to the lagoons to mate and have their calves.
Documentary: Life Among Whales, streaming on PBS, narrated by Robert Payne.
Books: Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
Ice Whale by Jean Craighead
Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelley
Articles: The Last Whaling Station in America http://www.lakata.org/arch/whaling.html
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (and an exceedingly long list of other resources)
https://hakaimagazine.com/features/are-we-on-the-verge-of-chatting-with-whales/

Subscribe to my newsletter and blog at mediamint.net to read the next episodes.








Eco Fiction Writer's Blog Episode One


Claire Datnow's Writing Adventures

Would you like to go on a journey with me to faraway places—one that takes unexpected twists and turns? You don’t need to pack a thing or purchase a ticket. I will be your guide as we travel through time and space, meet fascinating people, and gaining a different perspective as I research and write my newest Eco adventure,
The Whales Lament. All you need to bring along is your curiosity and imagination— and, of course, internet access. To begin this journey subscribe by email to: cldatnow@me.com

Note: The Whales Lament is the second book in a proposed cli-fi trilogy. Red Flag Warning: An Eco Adventure, first book in the trilogy, can be purchased from
Amazon or downloaded on Kindle.

DSC_0905
The Whale's Lament (Boris Datnow)
Our Journey Begins: Nahoon, Alaska as Alysie Muckpa searches for the gray whale, Natsilane:

Part One.
It is late spring on Chichagof Island, Alaska and the air and the water are warming. The bears have wakened from their long winter sleep. And all eyes gazing out to sea for the most graceful giants the gray whale. It is here they begin and end the longest migration of any mammal, 12,000 miles from the summer feeding grounds in the icy waters of the Arctic to their breeding grounds in the warm lagoons of Baja, Mexico—and back again with the changing seasons. This migration can take two to three months. Gray whales normally travel alone or in small groups. They surface only for a quick spout of air and breath before disappearing into the ocean. Instead of teeth, gray whales have baleen which is like a thick comb with long hairs. Diving down to the muddy bottom, they scoop up sediment form the ocean floor filtering out mud and trapping plankton and krill to eat. In the seventeen and eighteen hundreds whalers in search of oil hunted gray whales to near extinction. In 1946 and international treaty was singed to provide oversight and management of whale hunting. But it was under the protection of the Endangered Species Act in 1974 and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAH) careful management that the eastern pacific gray whale has recovered to a sustainable population. Today, nearly 24,000 gray whales continue their annual migration along the coast of North America, giving humans a glimpse of these majestic creatures that live in the deep. However, many factors still threaten gray whales including: vessel strikes, disruption of their migration routes, and entanglement in fishing gear. The whales that lived in the Western Pacific are no longer seen along the Asian shores. Baleen whales are acoustic animals and can communicate across entire oceans using vocalizations. Every species of whale speaks a unique "language" and scientists are still trying to learn what information whales communicate to one another.

DSC_1005-SAI-focus
Spouting Whale, Antarctica (Boris Datnow)
Chapter One. Nahoon Alaska on Chicagof Island in the early spring.
Shading her eyes from the glow of the rising sun, Alysie Muckpa stood alone on the rugged cliffs gazing out to sea like a sailor longing for the sight of land
. The wind tore at her hair, unraveled her braids and whistled in her ears. The night before, she had dreamed she was riding high on her whale’s back, with her black hair flowing behind her . . . steering him through the towering waves. With the dream still floating in her head, she had crept out of the house, carrying a backpack with snacks, water, a rain poncho, a flashlight, and her special whorled shell prepared to stay on watch even even if a storm broke.
Alysie ignored the gulls screaming by on near-gale gusts
, and the plovers bobbing along the shore. The peregrine falcon winging swiftly across cliffs; the waves sloshing into the tide pools alive with hermit crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. On any other day, she would have lingered to marvel at the rainbow of creatures in the pool. On that day she kept her eyes focused on the ocean, searching for the misty spray of a whale or its dark shadow lurking beneath the water.
Something in the curve of the waves caught Alysie’s attention. A thrill tingled down her spine. Raising the binoculars to her eyes, she gasped in surprise. SUBSCRIBE to read more about what happens next.

To inspire you along the way here are ideas, travel destinations, and books to enjoy.

Send Your Questions and Ideas to cldatnow@me.com—they are most welcome

Travel: Boris and I visited Alaska in 2019. The villages and towns we explored inspired the background to this story. We are planning to visit Baja California in February 2022 where gray whales migrate to the lagoons to mate and have their calves.
Documentary: Life Among Whales, streaming on PBS, narrated by Robert Payne.
Books: Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
Ice Whale by Jean Craighead
Song for a Whale by Lynn Kelley
Articles: The Last Whaling Station in America http://www.lakata.org/arch/whaling.html
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (and an exceedingly long list of other resources)




Eco Mysteries and Earth Day

Celebrate Environmental Literature in the Time of Covid-19

Coincidence or Serendipity? Three historic events this April have coincided with a personal event that's meaningful to me and, hopeful, to my reader. This month marks the tenth anniversary of the BP oil spill, the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Wow! What are the chances of that happening? Could this be the universe reminding me of my passion for writing eco mysteries is important and should continue? I might also mention the strange coincidence of our stateroom # 1918, on our recent cruise to Antarctica, which coincided with the Spanish flue epidemic—and hinted at the Covid-19 pandemic. By sheer luck, the virus missed us, but infected the passengers on the next cruise—but that is a tale for another blog.
Read More...

How to Become a Citizen Scientist

Citizen Science Projects

When I began researching and writing my eco mystery series, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six, I did not fully anticipate the number of dedicated environmentalist I would meet along the way. I did not anticipate that I would encounter inspired and determined conservationists from all walks of life finding ways to protect the rich biodiversity of our state. Nor did I realize that had taken the first step toward becoming a citizen scientist.

Book Cover Piping Plover Eco Mystery

Read More...

Earth Day Migratory Bird Day

Helping Birds Along the Way

On a perfect spring day, citizens celebrated the first
International Migratory Bird Day at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens’ Earth Day festival. At the Media Mint Publishing Booth, visitors learned that birds fly thousands of miles from their wintering areas in South America and the Caribbean to their summer nesting sites in the United States and Canada. A Piping plover, for example, can travel over a 1,000 miles from the Caribbean to the breeding areas in northern United States and Canada.

Media Mint Publishing Earth Day Read More...

Women's Hall of Fame

Alabama Women's Hall of Fame
Our
midsummer jaunt with friends of the Cosmos Club began with a visit to The Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in Marion, Alabama, located on the historic campus of Judson College.
Visit to Judson College
Visit to Judson College, Alabama

As we stepped into the beautifully restored A. Howard Bean Hall, rows of
gleaming bronze plaques, honoring Alabama’s most outstanding women, welcomed us in. Pausing before the inscriptions on the plaques, we discovered the significant contributions each one of them have made to our state and nation. Read More...

Green Ribbon Schools Award

Alabama Green Ribbon Schools
On a day filled with sunshine, it was my pleasure and privilege to attend the celebration recognizing the three schools and a university as Alabama Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners for 2015.

Green Ribbon Shirely Farrell
Shirley Farrell, State Dept. of Education, with Liz Ellerson of E.A.T. South (Boris Datnow)

Congratulations to the winners:
Auburn University
Bluff Park Elementary School, Hoover City Schools 
Lincoln Elementary School, Talladega County Schools
Lincoln High School, Talladega County Schools Read More...

Connecting to Nature with Apps

Green Apps for Outdoor Classroom Adventures

If you are an environmental educator — teacher, nature guide, or parent— you will find this lesson plan,
Eco Detective Nature Hunt, exciting. In my Eco Mystery series, The Adventures of The Sizzling Six, six feisty teens solve an intriguing eco mystery in order to save an endangered species. Now students can create their own eco mysteries with the new “green” apps. These inspire kids to go outside and observe nature closely. In other words, outside time and screen time do not have to be mutually exclusive. Instead of battling to keep kids away from gadgets, why not use technology to encourage kids to explore outdoors? In this blog I outline a way to use nature-based apps that enhance kids’ experience outdoors, and then arouse their curiosity to learn more through reading and research. 

Read More...

Alabama Biodiversity in our Hands

EEAA Annual Conference Alabama’s Biodiversity: It’s in our Hands!

The theme selected for the 2015 EEAA Annual Conference, Alabama's Biodiversity: It's in Our Hands, could not be more stimulating and relevant. The presentations and field trips at the conference highlight our state’s amazing biodiversity.
Scot Duncan, author of Southern Wonder, will be the key note speaker. In addition, pre-conference, day-long workshops provide an overflowing cornucopia of resources for teachers, thanks to Shirley Farrell, Gifted Specialist, Alabama Department of Education. Read More...