Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rain Thoughts: A Springtime Tale of Field Work, Classrooms, and Cynthia Barnett

Last weekend I attended the local book launch event for Cynthia Barnett’s new book Rain: A Natural and Cultural History.

April Showers...
This has been an especially insightful spring for me. First, thanks to Ms. Barnett, I got back into the rhythm of the classroom for the first time in decades. She allowed me to sit in on her inaugural Environmental Journalism course for the School of Journalism. As a Hearst Visiting Professional, Ms. Barnett will also be teaching in the fall.
Only four months away and highly recommended (image by Jennifer Adler)
Second, despite an almost overwhelming amount of field work on our most recent project, water quality-focused and Live Oak-situated (watch for a blog entry soon)...

NFREC Project: yes the dimensions are this big x 2
...I still found time to realize some good media-work ideas. Namely, a short audio interview of Ms. Barnett recorded earlier this year (by graduate student Mackenzie Boyer) in hopes of previewing both the environmental journalism course and the now published book. Listen to it here.

It's Raining Content
Publishing day for Rain fell on April 21st. And for us Cynthia Barnett admirers, the days surrounding the release offered a king’s ransom in great content! Some of which included a New York Times book review, a profile in the Gainesville Sun, a fascinating, hour-long book discussion on WBUR’s On Point Radio and a Wall Street Journal piece by Ms. Barnett exploring rain, stormwater infrastructure and Los Angeles.
The Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury 
University in Burbank, Calif., estimates that
 L.A.’s massive flood-control system shunts
 some 520,000 acre-feet of rainfall to
 the Pacific Ocean each year—enough
 to supply water to perhaps a
 half million families.
Cynthia Barnett; "To Fight the Drought, L.A. Needs a Rain Revolution"

Cynthia Barnett signs books at First Magnitude Brewery
In all honesty, I am not in the habit of being around, much less taking a class with, a writer I consider a giant of the craft. This spring has been one of the experiences of my time in Gainesville I will treasure most.