A High School Class Turns An Image Into An Eye-Catching Table of Contents

(click for larger PDF version)

Levi Wood, a student at Monarch High School in Louisville, Colorado contacted me a while back to use one of my images for his student produced magazine, The Howler.  It was a class project with Levi as the editor-in-chief. I was pleased that he chose this very fluid, twisted, almost corkscrew image, and even more impressed with how he used it, and morphed it into a table of contents. The final result is innovative, imaginative and eye-catching, yet clear and straightforward. Nice you all! And kudos to the class!

Hello Janet!

I wanted to give you the final product of the image as it will look in our magazine to give you some more context. We just finished the magazine this week. I have attached a pdf of the table of contents with your image.

The image is pretty self-explanatory, but essentially we are using the coyote as a frame for the preview images for each story, and each page number is listed to the right of the graphic. The staff list and everyone else in the class who helped produce the magazine is on the left page along with our mission statement. We wanted to do something really different but cool for the table of contents, and when we were looking for images of coyotes we stumbled upon your beautiful pictures and knew they would be perfect.

Thank you so much for allowing us to use your images, they really add a lot to the magazine and we would be happy to send you a copy of the issue! If you have any questions let me know.

Thank you

 

Cityrise, by Jack Kessler

Cityrise

The city rises
Safe-haven for coyotes
Attenborough says

At 91 he should know
He saw cities burning
shattered

But now they rise again
and go global and digital
and within them are rats

Rats are food, for many,
for natives, for immigrants
for visitors, whether they arrive,
by land or sea or air
for coyotes, salmon, raptors

The dangers out-there
once plagued humans
and cities have plagues

but they also have food
and warmth and shelter
and healthcare
and people who love them,
like you —

So welcome to the city
Stadluft macht frei
the old saying said
and now let us all, together, have trees


You and the coyotes are on the leading-edge — the bleeding-edge, it’s sometimes called… — of the future, in Global Cities, according to David Attenborough, in a BBC series Planet Earth, the section of which he calls The Earth —

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Earth_II (2016)

— see the original best via Netflix, with him narrating, Section 6, “E1S6” —-

He is the David Attenborough, now age 91, of “Gandhi” & much other TV and Movies fame… He feels city-expansion has created safe-havens and food-sources attracting wild animals, and that now one of the greatest challenges, for both them and humans, is that both can live together either in harmony or as enemies — for each needs the other, he says…

I’d add only that there is a 3rd factor, needed as well by both the other 2: trees…

[Don’t poison them]

A Pup Called Trouble, by Bobbie Pyron

In 2012, I visited New York City for the first time. I was going there to accept a rather prestigious award from The Dog Writers Association of American (yes, there really is such a thing) for my children’s novel, A DOG’S WAY HOME. The week before I left, I saw a story on national news about a young coyote being chased through the streets of downtown Manhattan by the police and animal control. What in the world, I wondered, was a coyote doing in New York City?

I live high in the mountains of Park City, Utah. Moose, deer, mountain lions, fox, and coyotes are not uncommon sights here. And like my wild neighbors, I am most comfortable in the woods, on a trail, away from people, cars, and the incessant noise of a city. Like, I imagined, that coyote in New York City.

During the four days I spent in Manhattan, I explored the city. I’d never seen buildings so tall. I was both amazed and distressed by the way they cut the endless sky into thin slivers. The sounds and smells of the city overwhelmed my senses, and yet, I was always curious about what was just around that next corner. As I explored the city, that young coyote was my shadow. I saw everything through its eyes: the stone canyons of skyscrapers, the people with their cell phones, the beauty of Central Park. By the time I got back on the plane to return to the mountains, I had the story that would become A PUP NAMED TROUBLE nestled in my heart.

I wrote two other children’s novels—THE DOGS OF WINTER and LUCKY STRIKE—over the next six years, but I never forgot about that coyote in New York City. In my other life, I’m a librarian. I love doing research. During those years, I read everything I could about urban coyotes. I learned that coyotes had made themselves quite at home in cities from Atlanta to Portland. I read with curiosity and deepening admiration the extent of their adaptability. When it came time to work on a new book, I knew exactly what I would write about.

In my new book, A PUP CALLED TROUBLE (Harpercollins/Katherine Tegen Books, Feb. 2018), a young coyote with an abundance of curiosity finds himself whisked away from his home in the wilds of New Jersey and, like Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ, plunked down in a world he could never imagine: downtown New York City.  Using my memories of how I felt in NYC and the research I’d done, I created this young coyote’s own Oz, populated by Makers (humans), Beasts (cars), an evil “witch” (an animal control officer) intent on catching him, and friends—a crow, an opossum, a poodle, and an equally curious young girl—who help him find his way home.

My great, good hope is that readers of A PUP CALLED TROUBLE will come to appreciate that no matter where they live, whether in the mountains or the city, they have wild neighbors. And sharing their community with these critters is a privilege, not a threat or nuisance. Whether it’s a red-tailed hawk soaring above skyscrapers, an opossum ambling through the garden, or a coyote trotting along a street on a winter night, they can fill us with awe and wonder. Something we could all use a little more of.

[Please visit Bobbie Pyron’s website to learn more about her: www.bobbiepyron.com]

Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival

The Bernal Heights Outdoor Film Festival, which will be taking place here in San Francisco over the next several days, opened tonight. It included a short short video clip which I filmed and which Tod Elkins magically fixed up for the event with a title and music and amazing edits (including adjusting color, creating transitions, taking out the jiggle and the wobble, cutting out sections where the coyote ran out of the picture frame, and much more). Tod is a filmmaker, and I take raw footage, so we made this a joint project for the festival. Thank you, Tod! And thank you Leslie and Anne for inviting us to participate! Coyote is the mascot of the neighborhood so it had to be included, no matter how simple the clip, and I happen to have many clips! Leslie and Anne picked this one.

This opening-day event was warm and welcoming: the Master of Ceremonies, Ian Williams, was amusing and lots of fun. There was live music by a Chinese harp player with her Cajon drummer (a cajon is a square, wooden drum), an amazing dancer, and the food was beautifully presented and delicious.

Kudos to Leslie Lombre and Anne Batmale who organized the event: it’s the 14th season that they have done so. Of course it was the films themselves that carried the show: each one was creative and impactful in its own way: most were enhanced with music and no words! Each creation lasted on the average of about five minutes, with its focus stemming from each filmmaker’s unique individual experiences or take on life situations. I was very inspired. The festival continues for several days, so be sure to go!

For more information on the Film Festival, go to: Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema.

Coyotes in Pre-Colombian Mexican Art

Here is a wooden sculpted coyote from the Museo de Artes Populares, in Mexico City.

In Aztec mythology, coyote — often referred to as huehuecoyotle — is the lucky god of music, dance, mischief and song. The prefix “huehue” was attached to gods that were revered for their old age, wisdom, philosophical insights and connections to the divine. Coyote can be associated with indulgence, male sexuality, good luck and story-telling.

Coyote is also a benign prankster, whose tricks tended to backfire and cause more trouble for himself than for the intended victims. A great party-giver, he also was alleged to foment wars between humans to relieve his boredom. He has shapeshifting powers. (Wikipedia)

I hope everyone sees that the Pre-Colombian storyteller possessed amazing wisdom and philosophical insights, into both coyotes and human nature, insights which hold true even today. Coyote is STILL fomenting wars between us humans: just visit your Nextdoor site to see the fights and disagreements about coyotes: coyotes’ shapeshifting powers continue to influence how different humans see this critter! And, of course, we all associate the howling-song-dog with song and sometimes mischief: did you ever wonder who cut through your garden hose last night?! Now the coyote is in trouble again — he has created more trouble for himself! As for good luck, any number of runners and walkers in the parks have told me that seeing a coyote in the park is their good-luck charm for the day. Pretty cool! Photo credits: Audrey Chavez and Nicole Wendel from their recent trip to Mexico City.

Here are four art pieces from the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City:

Lauren Strohacker’s New “Coyote Anthropophony”

I’m excited to let everyone know about this artist, Lauren Strohacker, whose art examines the ever-growing conflict between humans and animals as our manufactured environments (physical, political, and economical) expand into natural habitats. I love this art, and I love Lauren’s message. Lauren now has a Creative Residency in Scottsdale, Arizona, titled Coyote Anthropophony. This is an interdisciplinary project that utilizes sound, photography, projection, and education to better understand historic and contemporary relationships between humans and coyotes.

“Coyote Anthropophony, visually and sonically explores coyote adaptation to life alongside humans in suburban and city environments. Collaborating with art and technology collective, urbanSTEW, I capture images of local urban coyotes with infrared trail cameras and record and manipulate city sounds (the anthropophony) to mimic coyote vocalizations, conceptually blurring our perceptions of human and animal domain.”, says Lauren.

In conjunction with this installation, Lauren will be giving a workshop which will focus on coyote education and art making. Visitors will learn more about urban coyotes through a screening of Citizen Coyote​, an educational/informational presentation aimed at youth and classrooms, and everyone else. Following the 30 minute film, Strohacker will lead an all-ages workshop where she’ll teach visitors of all ages how to transform local maps of Metro Phoenix cities into origami coyotes — see the little fellow to the left!! If you are in the area, here are the details: Coyote Anthropophony Workshop with Ecological Artist, Lauren Strohacker, Saturday April 29th, 2017, 11am – 2pm, 7034 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251.


Here is Lauren’s apropos artists statement. Thank you, Lauren, for your amazing vision and for spreading it via your beautiful art and dedicated workshops!

Animals disappear: some literally, in the wake of human expansion, some metaphorically, becoming ubiquitous and fading into the urban landscape. 

My suburban upbringing was filled with mediated representations of the animal: literature, television, and corporate branding. While the feeling of attachment to wildlife was authentic, the wildlife itself was artificial. Even an encounter with a living, breathing animal is bound by unseen regulation. Populations are controlled, predators are decimated, and survivors are displaced to the edge of human comfortability. Boundary lines are drawn and animals are expected to obey, and subversion of this obedience is punishable by death. 

These realizations underpin my exploration as an artist. Often collaborating with environmental organizations, I compose interdisciplinary interventions that utilize human networks in order to reimagine and reintroduce wildlife systems destabilized by our manufactured environments. Both real and imaginary interactions with animals influence human perceptions of cohabitation vs. conflict, a dichotomy that ultimately determines the uncertain fate of wildlife in the Anthropocene.

Carl Safina: “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel”

Thank you, Carl Safina for, as a scientist, writing about what is so obvious to many of us who have come to know wild animals by spending hours observing them.

I’ve been studying coyotes for almost a decade now, and I see some pretty basic similarities between ourselves and our lives, and the lives of coyotes. They are immensely social, they mate for life, they have rivalries and joys, they tease each other, they play, they work together, they care for and take care of each other, both parents raise the young and spend a huge amount of time teaching them how to be successful in their environments, they show immense affection . . . and anger, they have agendas, they defend their turf, they have territories from which other coyotes are excluded. They even play tricks on each other. Each coyote has his/her own unique personality and characteristics and no two are alike. I, as Carl, have been delving into “WHO” these animals are — as a species and as individuals. Please read these reviews about Carl’s book, and then delve into the book itself!

Reviews:

Humans Aren’t Special: Carl Safina’s “Beyond Words” Delves Deep Into Animal Minds: http://www.popsci.com/humans-arent-special-carl-safinas-beyond-words-delves-deep-animal-minds

Carl Safina Makes A Case for Anthropomorphism.  The marine biologist’s latest book uses science to show that animals, like people, have complex inner lives: https://www.audubon.org/news/carl-safina-makes-case-anthropomorphism

“I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that for a scientist was forbidden fruit: Who are you?”

Weaving decades of field observations with exciting new discoveries about the brain, Carl Safina’s landmark book offers an intimate view of animal behavior to challenge the fixed boundary between humans and nonhuman animals. In Beyond Words, readers travel to Amboseli National Park in the threatened landscape of Kenya and witness struggling elephant families work out how to survive poaching and drought, then to Yellowstone National Park to observe wolves sort out the aftermath of one pack’s personal tragedy, and finally plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in the crystalline waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Beyond Words brings forth powerful and illuminating insight into the unique personalities of animals through extraordinary stories of animal joy, grief, jealousy, anger, and love. The similarity between human and nonhuman consciousness, self-awareness, and empathy calls us to re-evaluate how we interact with animals. Wise, passionate, and eye-opening at every turn, Beyond Words is ultimately a graceful examination of humanity’s place in the world.

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