Archive for September, 2013

Women Traveling Solo Workshop at Southlake

Hostelling International at Southlake

No travel partner? Don’t let that hold you back! Traveling alone as a woman can be a powerful, emboldening experience. However, safety is a consideration and Suzan Schnitzius of Hostelling International USA will address this and other issues in Women Traveling Solo this Friday evening, October 4, at 6:30 pm at our Southlake store.

You want your trip to be memorable for all the right reasons. That takes some pre-trip planning, preparation and luck. And luck, as they say, favors the prepared. Suzan will help you learn how to plan, prepare, pack and travel smart. Please bring your questions about travel, foreign and domestic for our speaker. We’ll have sample lists of what to bring on your trip and how to pack it.

Suzan Schnitzius loves to travel. She grew up vacationing around the United States with her family and has continued her travels as an adult. She’s been to the 48 continental states and plans to visit Alaska and Hawaii in the near future. She has also journeyed to Italy, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Mexico and Canada, sometimes as a woman traveling solo. She has a degree in Peace Studies and believes that travel is a wonderful way to build peace between individuals which, in turn, will help to bring peace between nations.

Please join us on Friday evening and take the first step toward a journey of a lifetime.

Bob Jones Nature Center October Fund Drive

Bob Jones Nature Center October Fund Drive

The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is named for the patriarch of the Jones family, John Dolford “Bob” Jones, a former slave who bought a 60 acre farm near the headwaters of the Trinity River system after the Civil War. The family eventually acquired almost 2000 acres. Today, much of the Jones property is now under Lake Grapevine. But in the 1990s, the City of Southlake purchased part of what remained as park land, and then created the Nature Center and Preserve, and restored a portion of the Cross Timbers ecosystem. In the Spring of 2008, the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve opened as an education center that included access to acres of Cross Timbers habitat on the U.S. Corps of Engineers land and almost 20 miles of trails.

The Cross Timbers ecosystem is a mix of prairies and forests that forms a boundary between the Eastern forests and the Southern Great Plains. Today the land is home to Coyotes, Bobcats, Foxes, Wild Turkeys and White-tailed Deer. The skies above the Cross Timbers are on the Central Flyway, an aerial highway for migrating birds traveling to and from Central and South America. The forest lands are dominated by Post Oak and Blackjack Oak trees, with a mix of Eastern Red Cedar, Black Oak, Black Hickory, Ash and many other species. Preservation of the Cross Timbers ecosystem has lagged behind others like the Edwards Plateau or Blackland Prairies, making the Bob Jones Center especially valuable not only as a favorite destination for the community but also as a living laboratory for environmental science.

Hiking, equestrian trails, birdwatching and geocaching are popular activities at the Bob Jones Center. There are also educational programs for all ages: Ecotherapy classes help strengthen our bonds with Mother Nature; teachers can attend the Urban Ecology Field School and learn new ways to integrate ecology into their classrooms; and there are classes on nature photography, composting and even a book club.

We hope you will join us in supporting this Southlake treasure by making a donation to the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve cash register fund drive at our new Southlake store. For more information about Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve please visit their website.

Bob Jones Nature Center October Fund Drive

What We’re Reading September 27, 2013

On this week’s menu we have fabulous photographs from the 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, why Facebook is for boasting and why that’s good, 35 scientific concepts that can make you smarter, and we finish off with some eye candy: a Kaleidolapse video of Barcelona. Enjoy!

Hi Hello by Ben Canales (USA)

Hi Hello by Ben Canales (USA)

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich has announced the winners of the 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition and posted the photos of the winners, runner-ups and highly commended entries on their website. These images are breath-taking and make us wish that we really could hitchhike around the galaxy and beyond. It’s worth remembering that we are among the first generations of humanity to see such images of our universe. We’re ready for a trip to the McDonald Observatory!

Facebook is for boasting and that’s a good thing

Facebook is for boasting and that’s a good thing, according to 3 Quarks Daily’s Colin Eatock. “Facebook isn’t the first device our culture has employed to work around or subvert the prohibition against boasting. For the great and famous, there are publicists for hire, who will spread the word of their clients’ glory far and wide. The literary accomplishments of authors are proudly presented on the flaps of dust-jackets for all to read. Also, wealthy philanthropists may donate millions of dollars toward the construction of public buildings and other projects – which are then duly named after the donors.”

“At its best, Facebook’s boasting function offers a breath of fresh air – permitting an openness and honesty of self-expression that is still tightly proscribed in many other social contexts. If there’s something good happening in your life that is genuinely of interest to your friends, you do both them and yourself a service by speaking up about it. (And if your friends aren’t genuinely pleased to learn of your joys and achievements, then maybe you need some new friends.)”

The Focusing Illusion – Mark Lennihan/AP

The Focusing Illusion – Mark Lennihan/AP

Daily Good’s 35 Scientific Concepts that will help you understand the world bridges the gap between academic discoveries and our everyday life. Last year asked 200 of the brightest minds on the planet what they felt were the most important scientific concepts of the modern era. The answers were compiled in a book This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking. Aimee Groth has selected 35 concepts from the book to help us get started. These concepts help us see our own cognitive biases and, hopefully, move toward a better understanding of the world and our interactions within it.

We leave you with a Kaleidolapse video of Barcelona. Kaleidolapse combines time lapse photography and the elegant and complex symmetry of a kaleidoscope. If you’re lucky enough to know Barcelona, you may be able to recognize some the landmarks in this mesmerizing video.

This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Come Join Us At Our Housewarming In Southlake!

We invite you to join us at our Housewarming!

Whole Earth Provision Co. is having a Housewarming to celebrate the opening of our newest and largest store in Southlake Texas. We’re planning special events and lots of fun every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the month of October and the first weekend in November. The store is located at 321 State Street in Southlake Town Square across from the post office.

Every weekend we’ll be hosting in-store games and drawings, and you can take a spin on the ever popular Prize Wheel – every spin wins! There will be special presentations on Women Traveling Solo, Geo-caching, and Birding in Southlake; and Backpacker Magazine’s Get Out More tour will make a stop at Southlake. You’ll also have opportunities to meet reps from some of Whole Earth’s favorite companies and to meet members of Whole Earth’s home office staff.

During the month of October, the Southlake store will be holding a cash register fund drive to support the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve. For each $20 or more donation you make to the fund drive, Whole Earth will add $20 to your contribution. Get more details here.

We hope you’ll stop by for a visit during our Housewarming celebration. We’re looking forward to meeting you, showing you around our beautiful new store and having fun together.

Here’s a schedule of our Housewarming events.

Southlake Housewarming

What We’re Reading September 20, 2013

This week we were amazed by a photo of a Freshwater Jellyfish. It raised a lot of questions, some of which were answered in our first article. Described as voracious, prodigiously reproductive and potentially immortal, there’s a lot to know about Jellyfish. Then, up popped an essay on the ancient Bristlecone Pines whose author wondered, in passing, how a 4800 year old being experiences time. While our last article doesn’t address the question of Bristlecone awareness, it does take a look at how humans experience time: how it speeds up and slows down for us every day and throughout the course of our lives. Hope you enjoy these great stories in this week’s What We’re Reading!

Moon Jellyfish photo by David Hall

David Hall from Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest

For those of you who follow us on Facebook, you may have seen the photo and video taken by Whole Earthling Jesse of a Freshwater Jellyfish at Quarry Lake in Austin. Freshwater Jellyfish? Who knew? So the next day when Arts and Letters Daily posted a link to a review of Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean by Lisa-ann Gershwin, we took the plunge. Jellyfish have been around for at least 550 million years. They don’t so much die as de-grow, unless eaten by sea turtles and other predators, and they’re taking over. All is revealed in Tim Flannery’s review in The New York Review of Books.

The world’s oldest living trees – Bristlecone Pines. Photo by Nick Paloukos

The world’s oldest living trees – Bristlecone Pines. Photo by Nick Paloukos

Bristlecone Pines are survivors, like Jellyfish, but survivors with a single home – the White Mountains of California. “It is not surprising that it took science so long to find the Bristlecone Pines. These trees rank among the most isolated organisms on Earth. They have spent tens of millions of years crawling away from the planet’s fertile havens, the mild climates and nutrient-rich environments that encourage biodiversity. Not content with the solitude of thin mountain air, these ascetic trees anchor down in nutrient-bereft dolomite, a grey rock that most plants cannot abide. Their muscular roots octopus around underground boulders, forming a base that can keep them rigid and standing for thousands of years after death.” Ross Anderson’s The Vanishing Grove in Aeon takes us for a visit to the oldest trees on our planet and reveals a surprising link between Dendrochronology and Astronomy.

Time - Warped by Claudia Hammond

Our stories on Jellyfish and Bristlecone Pines are dealing with Time as measurement – Jellyfish fossils show us that they’ve been making themselves at home in the sea for 550 million years. The oldest living Bristlecone Pine, Methuselah, has been growing on a mountain top for 4800 years. But Time can be more than measured, it can also be experienced. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings points us to Claudia Hammond’s Time-Warped – Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age and Gets Warped on Vacation.

This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

The North Face Speaker Series 2013

The North Face Speaker Series - Dean Karnazes

The 2013 edition of The North Face Speaker Series is returning to Austin on October 7th. This year’s speaker is Dean Karnazes, ultramarathoner, author and “Super Human,” or so says Stan Lee, who, as the creator of Spiderman and other super heroes, should know one when he sees one.

Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, without sleep for three nights. He’s run ultramarathons across the Gobi, Atacama, Death Valley and the Sahara deserts, the last in 120 degree heat, and a marathon to the South Pole in frigid minus 40 degree temperatures. Ten times he has run a 200 mile relay race, solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. In 2006, he ran 50 marathons, in all 50 states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the New York City Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat and he’s run coast to coast averaging 40 to 50 miles a day. Karnazes is also an open water swimmer, climber, cyclist and surfer.

The North Face Speaker Series - Dean Karnazes

Along the way, he visits schools speaking with students about the importance of getting outdoors, being active, and healthy eating – “I used to eat junk food, but now I don’t. Hey, people change.” His mantra: “Get off the couch, get healthy, hit the trails and go the extra mile.” He’s an inspiring speaker for all ages, focusing on going beyond one’s perceived limitations to be the best that one can be. Karnazes speaks from his own experiences on how to deal with adversity, overcoming obstacles, setting and reaching lofty goals, and the importance of teamwork even in solo endeavors. Be sure to wear your running shoes. You’ll probably want to run all the way home.

The North Face Speaker Series - Dean Karnazes

If you would like to meet Dean Karnazes, there will be a VIP reception at 5:30 pm at the Stateside. Tickets for the reception are $20 and proceeds will benefit Westcave Preserve.

Free seating is available for Karnazes’ presentation but you must register.
Reserved seating is also available for $8.

Running Adventures from Earth’s Seven Continents – Dean Karnazes
October 7, 2013
Doors 6:30 pm – Show at 7 pm
Stateside at the Paramount Theatre 719 Congress Avenue, Austin TX

This event is for all ages.
All seats must be reserved including free, reserved and VIP reception.

For reservations:

The North Face Speaker Series - Dean Karnazes

What We’re Reading September 13, 2013

Discovery is the watchword for this week. Look what we’ve found: photos from one of the largest caves on our planet, filled with wonders; the publication of a book that seems to have risen from the ashes of an author’s life like a phoenix, and the latest, literally far out development in the field of archaeology. It’s all here in What We’re Reading.

Hang Son Doong / Mountain River Cave  |  Getty Images

Hang Son Doong / Mountain River Cave | Getty Images

Hang Son Doong or Mountain River Cave in Viet Nam was first explored four years ago and is now known to be one of the largest caves on Earth. Located near the Laotian/Vietnamese border, the cave includes waterfalls, giant formations, cave pearls, and, most surprisingly, a rain forest. One section of the cave’s roof collapsed and the rain forest invaded complete with monkeys and Flying Foxes. The cave just hosted its first tourist group who rappelled down 80 meters to the entrance and spent seven days and six nights traversing the length of the cave. The Huffington Post has photos of the marvels of Hang Son Doong.

The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor

The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor

For fans of the British writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, Thursday was a red letter day. The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos was published in the UK. American readers will have to wait until March 2014, unless they travel across the pond or avail themselves of the internet. Leigh Fermor is considered to be one of the great travel writers of the twentieth century. His best loved books, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, recount his adventures walking from London to Istanbul in the 1930’s. While Leigh Fermor did finally arrive in Istanbul, the literary journey ended in Transylvania. And when he died in 2011 at the age of 96, all hope was lost that a further volume would carry the journey to its end. William Dalrymple, a great travel writer in his own right, tells us how The Broken Road came to be.

Interstellar Archaeology  |  Photo courtesy W.M. Keck Observatory

Interstellar Archaeology | Photo courtesy W.M. Keck Observatory

Scientists used to scan the skies for messages from alien civilizations. Now they are looking for their ruins. “In the context of interstellar archaeology, the problem is that we have no analogues in our experience for what advanced cultures might create. Patience is the byword as the effort proceeds, the same patience that Heinrich Schliemann’s successors have used to master the art of sifting through rubble, with careful digging and delicate brushwork sweeping aside soil to uncover the shape of a fragmentary artefact. Interstellar archaeologists are tasked with sifting through gigabytes of data, not layers of soil, but the principle is the same.” Paul Gilster in Aeon introduces us to a new discipline, Interstellar Archaeology, in Distant Ruins.

This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Gear and Go Tour – Austin Westgate

Gear and Go Tour

For 40 years Backpacker Magazine has been encouraging readers to head out for backcountry adventures all across North America. As a part of their 40th anniversary celebration, they’ve launched a new tour – Gear and Go. The tour has 20 stops across the country and Austin is on the schedule!

Justin and Patrice La Vigne will be at Whole Earth Provision Co. in Westgate on September 18th at 6:30 pm to help outdoor enthusiasts to plan, dream and do their next big adventure. The event will begin and end with an interactive “base camp” where you’ll be able to touch, try on and test out the latest gear. The La Vignes will share their wisdom concerning trip planning and gear selection. Special guest Melissa Gaskill, a local Backpacker Magazine contributor, will discuss great Hikes in Texas, including some close to Austin.

Justin and Patrice La Vigne are avid hikers. They’ve explored 30 National Parks, hiked 28 of the highest peaks in the U.S. and 175 miles of the Long Trail. Their biggest accomplishment to date was to thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 141 days in 2011. They also love kayaking, biking, climbing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. You can follow their adventures as they travel across the country on the Gear and Go Facebook page.

Please join us in welcoming the La Vigne’s on Wednesday September 18th at 6:30 in our Westgate store in Austin.

Gear and Go Tour

What We’re Reading September 6, 2013

What do Pangolins, untranslatable words and giant concrete arrows have in common? They’re the subjects of this week’s What We’re Reading. Why do the Italians have a word for the mark left on a table by a cold glass and we don’t? What are those giant concrete arrows pointing westward from New York City to San Francisco? And what exactly is a Pangolin? To learn more, read on!

11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures by Ella Frances Sanders

11 Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures by Ella Frances Sanders

Translators know that sometimes it takes a string of nouns, adjectives, adverbs or even participles to translate one word into another language. For example, the Japanese have a word komorebi. In English, komorebi describes sunlight that filters through the leaves of a tree – one word in Japanese, nine in English. Daily Good posted Eleven Untranslatable Words from Other Cultures by Ella Frances Sanders, an intern at Maptia, who gives some entertaining examples. Whole Earthlings should keep an eye on Maptia. It‘s a work in progress that hopes to build “the most inspirational map in the world” to record and share “our most memorable experiences in every corner of the globe and build the ‘home’ for places online.”

Core77  |  Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Jul 2013

Core77 | Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe | 18 Jul 2013

If you were to come upon one of these giant concrete arrows while hiking in the deserts of the American West, you might find yourself wondering if perhaps there was an element of truth in the old Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. It certainly looks like the remains of one of Wile E.’s schemes to catch that infuriating bird. Who else could possibly have used such a thing? Well, as we discover at Core77’s What Are These Giant Concrete Arrows across the American Landscape? – it was the U.S. Postal Service.

Scott Hurd

Scott Hurd

A Pangolin looks as if it leapt off a page of a medieval bestiary. Like our Nine Banded Armadillo, it uses its armor and its incredible flexibility to roll into a protective ball when faced with danger. The Pangolin is an animal of great presence and mystery, so it’s no wonder that Alice Otterloop of the comic strip Cul-de-Sac wanted to dress up as one for Halloween. In Africa Geographic, photojournalist Christian Boix tells the story of Roxy, a Pangolin rescued from the rare animal black market.

This is yet another installment in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Celebrating Marie

Whole Earth Home Office with Social Media Maven, Marie!

Whole Earth Home Office with Social Media Maven, Marie!

Last week we said our fond farewells to our Maven of Social Media, Marie. She is moving on to exciting new adventures in California. And in true Whole Earth fashion, we had a party to say goodbye. Our ice cream social was filled with hugs, tears, shared memories and many, many good wishes.

Marie began her career with Whole Earth eight years ago as a staff member at our North Lamar store in Austin. She became a Buyer’s Assistant and later led Whole Earth’s venture into the realm of Social Media. Her enthusiasm for the fast moving world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms was infectious. She read white papers, studied the acknowledged leaders in the field for ideas, got caught up in the heady world of SXSW Interactive, and thrived as the face of Social Media for Whole Earth.

As anyone who has met Marie will tell you, she glows with energy, intelligence, good humor and beauty. Her interests are many: design, fashion, photography, climbing, acroyoga, dancing and, in general, having a grand time at work and at play. She will be greatly missed.