Thursday, November 29, 2012

The More Things Change

When I was in High School.. way back when.. there was a policy.. It focused on the entire separation of church and state concept. You know the one that was NEVER mentioned in the constitution? Anyway, they refused to allow us to have a Bible Study on campus. While all other clubs and groups were allowed this one wasn't. We fought, we petitioned and eventually the battle was won. I was not amongst the winners of that battle because I had transferred to a Private Christian High School, obviously having a Bible Study on campus was no longer an issue. But this battle stuck with me..

The reasoning was that because it was a "religious" group it was violating the constitutional rights of those who didn't believe. Not sure how that could be as it was a voluntary group of students who just wanted to share like minded beliefs. No on was forcing anyone to attend and certainly the school was not mandating it. It was on these arguments that the group won.

Skip ahead a generation, my daughter had a Bible Study at her HS.. and yes since it was a school club, they needed a sponsor and even though the sponsor was a Christian she was not allowed to participate in any way. She was there to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and make sure no school rules were broken, that was it. I had no problem with this.. it would have been nice had she been allowed to participate but I understand the basic rules. The thing is all the kids knew she shared their beliefs and would stand for them. They understood that while she was limited in that room, she was on their side in so many ways. Can you imagine the discomfort and dismay, even discouragement these kids would have had, if the sponsor didn't believe as they did. Say, the sponsor was an agnostic, an atheist.. shoot even a person of another faith.. It would underline them in some very insidious ways.. they would know.. they would fear sharing things.. and yes many might stop coming..

Now Vanderbilt University has instated a policy that requires religious student groups to accept leaders regardless of their faith, even requiring Christian groups to allow atheist leadership. The school has outrageously compared these Christian groups to segregationists. There is a petition being sent to Vanderbilt that says..

"To: Vanderbilt University
You have compared Christian student groups to segregationists because they want the same rights as other Christian organizations in America — the same rights the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed this year — the right to use faith-based criteria when selecting leaders. We demand that you immediately reverse your new policy that discriminates against these students."

If you want to support the rights of these individuals, if you want to ensure that everyone's Constitutional rights are secure.. that yes even Christians are allowed their faith.. you can go HERE to sign the petition.


Friday, November 23, 2012

A Chance of a Lifetime!

Such an exciting opportunity! My oldest daughter whom for web purposes I refer to as Word Girl has been given the opportunity to spend her summer in Peru. Yes Eight entire weeks discovering the mysteries of the rainforest! She will be traveling with Operation Wallacea

Where she will be PP101 Biodiversity Monitoring in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Research Assistants on this project will be based on the research ship and will need to be prepared for the hot and humid conditions of the Amazonian rainforest. Whilst some respite can be found on the boat where the fan-cooled cabins, showers and food provide a retreat from the tough working conditions, the main reward is the opportunity to see and work with such a huge range of birds and animals, including the larger, and more rare, animals such as pumas, primates and tapirs.

 There is a large team of mainly Peruvian researchers based on the research ship with nine different research programmes running. Research Assistants signing up for the various projects will help on all the projects over the course of their stay. There is a strong research atmosphere on the boat with teams coming and going at all times of day and night on various research tasks.

 Research tasks which require volunteer manpower include:, spotlight surveys for caimans and diet studies of this species (which necessitates capture of the caimans through noosing), transect surveys for the abundant Pink and Grey River Dolphins and an elusive population of manatees at this site, mist netting surveys of the bird communities utilising the forest understory, transect counts of wading birds, point counts of macaws as indicators of forest fruiting, gill net surveys of
fish communities, standardised searching surveys to characterise the amphibian communities, land based transect counts of primates, large mammals and game birds as indicators of levels of exploitation, checking 20 camera traps run at a variety of habitats and depending on water level. In addition to these surveys there are dissertation studies where assistance may also be required - for example assisting with behavioural data observations on the primate species.

After her "official" trip is over she will be stopping in Machu Picchu to explore the ancient ruins..

Does this sound like the most fantastic of trips? Well I am sure it will be.. Of course there are expenses involved and we have started a fund raising push to help her cover those expenses. If anyone is interested in donating.. please click on our donating button.. It will show here in this post as well as on the side.. Thanks for all your support whether it be verbal or financial


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Get off the computer! and have a Happy Thanksgiving