Good morning! I am writing a very brief blog post this morning to celebrate three specific numbers associated with my sabbatical project:
1,000 – Engageyourstudents.org, the website I have created to track the progress of my project’s objectives and to be a home to the complete and published rocky shore curriculum has already reached 1,000 hits!
4 – This morning I “googled” the following words: rocky shore curriculum. Engageyourstudents.org came up fourth in a list of 117,000 results!
1 – Although not yet complete, the Rocky Shore Marine Science Curriculum for elementary educators has one complete cover page – special thanks to Adam Kelley (illustrator) and Kirsty Walker (designer) for creating this incredible cover!
Although I have many more lessons to write, many more schools to visit, and many more objectives to carry out before my sabbatical is through, I find it extremely important to recognize and be thankful for each accomplishment, big or small.
If you hike or even take brief strolls in New England’s deciduous forest, you have definitely walked by a hobblebush. This plant is humble and common, yet in May produces beautiful bright white blossoms. Its leaves also change color throughout the year, from a brilliant green in the spring to a reddish-purple in autumn. The publishing company Hobblebush Books and Hobblebush Design out of Brookline, New Hampshire identifies well with its name – it is a humble business that could be easily missed, but is accurately recognized as truly amazing when discovered.
When searching for a design company for the creation of the rocky shore curriculum, I was reading Poetry Showcase: an anthology of New Hampshire poets edited by our state poet laureate, Alice B. Fogel. Admiring the book design at the same time I was enjoying the content, I discovered it was published by Hobblebush Books. A few emails and one meeting in person later, this talented independent press agreed to help me create a rocky shore curriculum that we hope will assist educators and students throughout the state and beyond!
Today I visited Kirsty Walker, president of Hobblebush Books and Design, to discuss the layout and process of creating the curriculum. Kirsty is a great and talented individual to work with, and I am extremely happy that she will be in charge of the design of the curriculum. She asked me my expectations of when I wanted to see the curriculum completed, and I was hesitant to answer as I was not sure if my expectations were unreasonable. I suggested that it would be great to reflect on Christmas morning that the curriculum part of my sabbatical was completed, and thankfully she was confident that it was a reasonable request!
Here is an outline of what we will be doing over the next few months:
I will be typing up lessons, one at a time, and sending them to Kirsty for editing and design purposes.
I will be sharing my lessons with the New Hampshire Sea Grant program, the Seacoast Science Center, and the New England Aquarium to help with revisions and editing.
I will be gathering images from both Adam Kelley, the main illustrator for this project, as well as from the Seacoast Science Center.
Kirsty will be working on designing all the lessons together along with other complimentary pages, and creating one pdf file with all the content, as well as individual pdf files for each lesson.
I am so thankful for Hobblebush Design, who is “dedicated to publishing books that feature a unique voice and make a difference.” When all is said and done, I am confident that this curriculum will make a difference, and with Hobblebush’s touch, will be unique, professional, and beautiful.
If you’re going to make a book, you need a talented illustrator to make great pictures to go with it. The PERFECT illustrator for the free rocky shore ecosystem curriculum I am creating for educators is on the job – Adam Kelley.
The sea stars really aligned when I found out about Adam. I contacted a publishing company in New Hampshire a couple of years ago to see if they would be willing to help me make the curriculum. They quickly recommended Adam as an illustrator who would be a good fit for the project, and is he ever! Despite my choice to go with a different publisher (Hobblebush Design), Adam readily agreed to continue to collaborate on this project.
Adam describes his three passions on his website as being “science, art and education.” He has taken his passions and talent and worked with SEVERAL incredible institutions – the Georgia Aquarium, the Connecticut Science Center, the Smithsonian, the Perot Museum, the Franklin Institute, McGraw-Hill and more!
The best thing about Adam, however, is his character. I’ll be honest with you – I was quite nervous meeting him for the first time. I figured an accomplished illustrator like Adam might have an air about him which suggested my project and I were beneath him. Was I ever wrong! Adam is not only enthusiastic about this project, he is one incredibly kind and down-to-earth guy who loves his family, his work, and nature.
As you may have guessed, I am extremely thankful for Adam, his abilities, and his willingness to work on this project. He is going to be creating an amazing cover page and spot illustrations for the rocky shore curriculum. Stay tuned as I will be providing more updates on our collaboration in the near future.