The Scout Report -- Volume 26, Number 15

The Scout Report -- Volume 26, Number 15
April 24, 2020
Volume 26, Number 15

General Interest

Theme: Forestry

Revisited

In the News

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General Interest

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Shakespeare & Beyond
Language Arts

The Folger Shakespeare Library has a well-earned reputation for its excellent (and enormous) collection of resources relating to the Bard and the early modern period in general, and their blog Shakespeare & Beyond is no exception. Here, visitors will find "original writing, updates, and insights by a variety of contributors, complemented by great audio, video, and photos," written for readers from all backgrounds. True to its name, the blog includes nods to history, literature, pop culture, and related topics readers may not ordinarily relate to Shakespeare. In addition to posts written by Folger staff, many are contributed by a variety of experts such as theater professionals, Shakespeare and history scholars, and even food writers. Recent posts include where to find a (temporarily) free online stream of Macbeth and other ways to view Shakespeare classics, an interactive quiz matching the Bard's characters with their prose, and even the history of hedgehogs in Shakespeare's work. Other posts feature excerpts from books discussed on Folger's podcast, Shakespeare Unlimited (featured in the 4-28-2017 Scout Report). Shakespeare & Beyond's extensive post archives date back to 2015, offering ample material to intrigue and entertain its new readers, and those interested can subscribe to be notified of new posts via email. [JDC]

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Stairway to STEM
Science

Launched in 2018 by Pellet Media, Stairway to STEM provides "resources for autistic students and students on the autism spectrum transitioning from high school to college, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields." Contributors offer insight on a range of issues (from "navigating a syllabus [to] building collegiate support systems,") with the aim to "help autistic students realize their capacity for success as they transition to college environments and beyond." The site categorizes its resources by audience, focusing on students, families, and educators. For example, the Students page contains resources on topics such as socializing and well-being (under the Core Issues subsection), as well as posts such as "Tips for Autistic Students: How to Read Academic STEM Articles" and a "series of interviews with professors or program directors who are actively welcoming autistic students into their STEM programs or lead autism-specific initiatives at the college level," (under All Student Content). Additionally, the site contains multimedia resources, including two E-Books (available for download by making a free account) and a Podcast with 12 episodes (as of this write-up) covering topics from "Bridging Communication Differences" to "Campus Life." Finally, the Forums tab leads to a discussion board where users can browse topics of interest to students, parents, or educators. Users with a free account can contribute to these discussions, too. [EMB]

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Yankee Candle: Making Scents of Emotions
Science

A burning flame, a base note of fresh cut flowers, and an insight into the brain's chemical processing: there is more to a candle than one might think. The interactive data project Yankee Candle: Making Scents of Emotions explores these connections "between smell and memory." Noting that Yankee Candle's "whole business is selling memories and emotions packed into glass jars," the project uses the company as a launching point for psychological and scientific revelations. For example, the project details the sensory processes that connect smells and memories, explains connections between colors and scents, and reveals the complexities of scent profiles (notably, 25 percent "a quarter of all candles use a 'musk' scent as their final impression,"). Toward the end of the piece, readers are invited to explore data themselves by toggling over information broken down by location, season, and time of day, among other categories. The concluding remarks to the resource center its purpose: "whether or not you buy into the idea that the connection between smells and emotions implies an emotional significance to candles for sale, it's interesting to look at such a wide and varied product line finely tuned to connect with consumers on an emotional level." The project is housed on tidbits, a website dedicated to "exploring a few interesting ideas and the best ways to visually explain or explore them," operated by designer and developer Jonathan Larson. [EMB]

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Cork LGBT Archive
Social studies

Recognizing Cork, Ireland's "long and rich history of LGBT activism, community formation and development," the Cork LGBT Archive is on a mission to preserve and share elements of this history. This mission is all the more important due to the fact that LGBT history has been underappreciated and underrepresented in traditional historical accounts. Under the Browse Items tab, users can view the archive's almost 200 items (as of this write-up) that range from event posters to informational pamphlets. Materials are also catalogued under Browse Collections (including collections such as Team Cork Gay Games, which details an international LGBT athletic competition) and Browse Exhibits (including collections such as Gay Sweatshop 1980 Cork, which details an LGBT theater group). The archive also houses a Blog that covers related elements of Cork's LGBT history. For example, a recent post discusses "The Struggle for LGBT Workers' Rights Ireland." Cork LGBT Archive was created by Orla Egan, an activist and historian, and has received significant contributions from the Arthur Leahy collection. [EMB]

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Catalogue of the Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection
Arts

Time-travel as far back as the second-century and enjoy "the textile-making traditions of Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indian subcontinent, and the Byzantine heartlands," with the Catalogue of the Textiles in the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection. Launched in 2019, this digital publication was edited by Gudrun Buhll and Elizabeth Dospel Williams and represents a long collaboration to make this first-of-its-kind catalog of approximately 260 Byzantine textiles. The collection includes images of hangings and curtains, alongside a series of related essays. Currently, 10 essays are available online, covering the history and artistry of the textiles. Full catalog records include, for example, accession numbers, dates, measurements, techniques and materials, and provenance. Additionally, records contain detailed discussion sections that describe each piece and citations to related research. Some records also include an exhibition history. Images can be zoomed and manipulated to focus on small sections of each textile, using the controls at the lower left-hand side of the image. Those interested in learning more about the collection process and the Catalogue of Textiles exhibition's purpose will want to explore the About the Project section. [DS]

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Theme: Forestry

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Urban Forestry Toolkit
Science

Close your eyes and try to picture yourself in the middle of a forest. Where are you? Perhaps you are in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest or California's Redwood Park, or maybe Pittsburg, Pennsylvania's Urban Forest? While traditional notions of forestry often exclude urban settings, the Urban Forestry Toolkit provides resources to bring tree canopies to cities. The resources within the toolkit "are designed to help community managers and advocates in jurisdictions of all sizes to determine their current situation and be guided through a process at their own pace to reach goals of comprehensive urban forest management." The toolkit's 17 steps take users from start (Assess) to finish (Sustain). Each step has a range of supporting content, from statistics to studies to samples. For example, the seventh step , "Planning: Best Practices in Urban Forestry" (under the Plan tab), includes examples of cities that have successfully created and implemented urban forestry plans. The toolkit is a project of Vibrant Cities Lab, a collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service, American Forests, and the National Association of Regional Councils, on a mission to help individuals "discover how healthy tree canopy can enrich their own community and help guide them as they build an effective urban forestry program." [EMB]

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TreeGenes
Science

TreeGenes provides tools and data "to manage the flood of information resulting from high-throughput genomics projects in forest trees from sample collection to downstream analysis." Data is generated from a combination of sources, including the NCBI Genbank, PLAZA, and user suggestions. With connections to these federal databases, the resource curates data for over 2,000 species and nearly 200 genus. The genomic and phenomic information can be viewed on the Species page, which offers the option of conducting a search or browsing the samples. This information can also be found on (and downloaded from) the Data page, or filtered on the Search page. If visitors do not find a species they are looking for on the site, they may use the contact form to submit requests. In addition to data, TreeGenes houses other forestry resources. For example, the Community page hosts information about forestry-related jobs and conferences. On the Literature page, readers will find more than 25,000 articles from a diverse set of publications with records "connected to authors, species, and associated data." Finally, the Tools page links to genetic map repositories and other data submission applications. TreeGenes is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [EMB]

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Botanical art and artists: How to draw and paint leaves and trees
Arts

Nature is a source of inspiration for many artists, but how scientifically accurate are the depictions? As the collection's name suggests, "How to draw and paint leaves and trees" provides "tips and techniques for how to draw and paint botanically correct trees and leaves." Whether you are an amateur artist or a seasoned professional, you will find resources to support your artistic endeavors. Scrolling down the page, visitors will find information on famous botanical artists, suggested books on botanical art, and a plethora of embedded videos walking individuals through drawing and painting trees and leaves while maintaining botanical integrity. To easily navigate to the videos section, users can click the "Video TIPS - Drawing and Painting Leaves" link in the green box at the top of the page. Videos cover topics such as "Painting Leaves in Different Seasons" and "How to Paint a 3D Leaf." The site was created by Katherine Tyrrell in 2015, who credits her background in education as inspiring her "to support those who want to learn about botanical art and illustration." [EMB]

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YourForest
Science

Guided by a desire to better understand the natural world, inventory forester Matthew Kristoff launched Your Forest in 2017. The podcast is structured as a conversation between Kristoff and guests, who discuss "the things [they] love about the natural world and [their] work to protect and preserve it." In doing so, Kristoff hopes to "challenge our ideas of sustainability," and push listeners to think about the reasons for and results of our actions towards our planet. Recent episodes have covered the scientific stories housed in tree rings (see Episode 82, "Travel Back in Time with Trisha Hook") and the impact of wetlands on maintaining healthy ecosystems (see Episode 81, "Bogged Down with Ducks Unlimited: National Boreal Program"). As of this write-up, there are more than 80 episodes are available. Installments range in length, but are typically over an hour. Readers can find the full collection of episodes at the link above or on popular streaming services such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. [EMB]

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Forest Inventory & Analysis One-Click Factsheet
Science

Readers interested in exploring the forestry statistics about their home state may enjoy this Forestry Inventory & Analysis Factsheet. The resource provides "a brief overview of forest resources in each state based on an inventory conducted by the FIA program in cooperation with each State forestry agency." Factsheets were created using data from the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis database. To explore the data, toggle over the map and click on a state, or use the dropdown bar in the lower left-hand corner to select a state from the alphabetized list. A link at the bottom of the page also provides a text-only version of the site. Once users have selected a state, they will be able to analyze and download state-specific data, including forest land ownership statistics, acreage estimates, and usage of forest resources. Readers should note that the data used were collected between 2016 to 2019, with data added as the site is updated. Those interested in archived versions of the data can find information under the Backpage tab. [EMB]

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Revisited

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Future Library: 2014-2114
Language Arts

Last featured in the 04-07-2017 issue, Future Library (described as "living, breathing, organic artwork,") brings together forestry, ecology, and creativity.

"A forest in Norway is growing. In 100 years, it will become an anthology of books." Future Library is a unique, ongoing project headed by Scottish artist Katie Paterson that incorporates art, literature, and the natural world. As part of this project, a team planted 1,000 trees in Nordmarka, a forest outside of Oslo, Norway. The plan? To tend to these trees until the year 2114, when they will be cut down and made into books. In the meantime, every year until 2114, a writer will donate a text to be published in one of these books in 2114. As Paterson explains, this project, which will be passed along to a new group of people every ten years until its culmination in 2114, centers on a philosophy that is central to both forestry and urban planning: that individuals and communities create things today that will ultimately benefit future generations. On this website, visitors can learn more about the Future Library project, view related photographs and a short video about the project, and follow news and press coverage related to the project (including information on the writers who have contributed to the project thus far).

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In the News

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Compassion, Community Shine in the Time of COVID-19

Property owner tells restaurants to pay employees, not rent during coronavirus pandemic
https://abcnews.go.com/Business/property-owner-tells-restaurants-pay-employees-rent-coronavirus/story?id=69683850

NBA star Kevin Love donates $100,000 to help Cleveland Cavaliers arena workers impacted by coronavirus
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kevin-love-donates-100000-cleveland-cavaliers-workers-coronavirus-nba/

Young woman helps 'terrified' elderly couple get food, inspires others to pitch in
https://www.today.com/health/young-woman-helps-terrified-elderly-couple-get-food-inspires-others-t176131

Met launches "Nightly Met Opera Streams," a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the coronavirus closure
https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/

Audible: Stories Help
https://stories.audible.com/start-listen

Yoga for Uncertain Times
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLui6Eyny-Uzy-b0MKzL2EfaTqB0ppgK06

As we face the uncertainty and adjustments necessary in an unprecedented time, the news cycle is dominated by COVID-19 stories. In addition to stories that are informative, sad, or perhaps an equal combination of the two, there are many stories of resilience, kindness, and selfless acts — neighbors helping neighbors, frontline workers making sacrifices to keep us safe, and businesses and individuals finding creative ways to do their part. This month we highlight news stories that bring a much needed smile, sources of connection and entertainment in a sea of social-distancing, and a reminder that there is always good to be found, even in difficult times. Following some of these news stories, readers will find a few resources that provide entertainment or endorphins from the comfort of your home. All of us at Scout hope you continue to be well and healthy! [EMB]

The first link highlights a story by Ella Torres for ABC News about an Arkansas investment company that waived rent for restaurant tenants to ensure that employees are paid during restaurant shutdowns. The second link leads to a story by Christopher Brito for CBS News that discusses NBA star Kevin Love's pledge to help cover the salaries of arena workers during the NBA's suspension, a generous choice also made by multiple other players, including Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo. At the the third link readers will find a story by Samantha Kubota for Today that spotlights a woman's random act of kindness: buying groceries for an elderly couple who worried about going out into the large grocery store crowd. Since the story's publication, many grocery stores have created a dedicated shopping time for older patrons, as well as those who are at high risk. Readers looking for a night at the opera from the comfort (and safety) of their couch may enjoy the fourth link, which leads to a schedule of the Metropolitan Opera's new free live-stream series. The fifth link connects to Audible (a digital audiobook platform), where the company is granting free access to materials perfect for children and teenagers (available in six languages) during the COVID crisis, declaring "for as long as schools are closed, we're open." Finally, the sixth link directs readers to a playlist of instructional yoga videos from the popular YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene focused on coping with the stresses of uncertain times. The series offers 34 workouts perfect to get your endorphins pumping without leaving home.