PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT NEWSLETTER
University of South Alabama, Fall 2012
STATE of the DEPARTMENT
Chair Dr. Larry Christensen reports great news regarding our 4-year-old PhD program in Clinical & Counseling Psychology (CCP). Our first six students, the entire cohort, are in accredited internships, a wonderful success rate, since up to 25% of students often do not get matched to an internship. Interning is the final step to becoming a full-fledged clinical psychologist. The students expect to obtain their doctorates by the end of the 2013 Fall semester. Hearty congratulations to our pathfinder students O. Student success paves the way for CCP accreditation by the APA. The next step is the self-study report that has been completed by CCP Director Dr. Marty Rohling, with input from the CCP faculty. The self-study has passed the initial staff review and we are now waiting to find out if the accreditation committee approves the program for a site visit. In short, all looks good at the present time.
Other important news is that our eagerly-anticipated MOVE to the COMMONS seems to be finally materializing. The Communications Department, whose space we will inherit, is scheduled to move out in Dec 2012. Psychology renovations are scheduled for Spring 2013, hopefully to be complete by May 2013. Larry is particularly encouraged about a May move for us, because the renovation department actually contacted him to ask what colors we would like our walls to be painted! Definitely a very good sign.
DEPARTMENTAL ROPES are
Our departmental secretary Ms. Lisa Nash really loves her job, particularly the interactions with the students. She started back in Jan 2011, taking over from Ms. Bonnie Hall who retired at that time. Lisa reports that the “long lines that used to accumulate at her desk” back when she was learning the ropes are
NO MORE. She knows how to help the students directly (e.g. with overrides), or otherwise where to send them within the university labyrinth when they need outside help. She also keeps us up-to-date with bits of news that we might otherwise miss: Did you know that the Homecoming Queen this year was Psychology student Meredith Vigilant?
25 YEARS & COUNTING
Dr. Chuck Brown has reached the 25-year mark with South, which entitles him to a picture with President Moulton (see below) and a special memorial pin.
Chuck came in 1987, bringing along his NIH grant to study the natural acoustic environments of East Africa and their effects on animal communication. Chuck went to Africa 3 times in his career: 1981, 1986, 1991. He now spends his time archiving his library of natural sounds (mainly monkeys) gathered over the years, a process that involves converting analogue tapes into digital form. These will go into a gigantic database of animal sounds at the Cornell Library of Natural Sounds. The project makes data available to all animal researchers via the internet. Chuck points out that it is time for a new ecological comparative psychologist to go into the rainforest, river, and savannah environments of East Africa to document how things have changed for the animals, especially since the disturbing human uprisings of the last +20 years.
Chuck also works on an e-book that will cover the latest technology in bio-acoustic research. And he continues his research in noise-cancellation-technology, the idea being that both the automotive and motorcycle-helmet industries will use it to make things safer on the road for drivers. As of now, some auto manufacturers seem interested, as well as the Walter Reed Army Hospital, since hearing loss is the biggest health impairment suffered in the military UO.
On the teaching front, Chuck is completing the instruction manual for his new Intro Psych e-textbook, a project with Drs. Josh Foster & Michael Gordon (now at William Paterson University). Most of our regular full-time faculty (Drs. Brown, Foster, Powell, Slattery, Yates) are now using it for their Intro courses (Come on you adjuncts, get with it).
The WONDERFUL WORLD
Over the years, Dr. Mark Yates has thoroughly explained to us his word-neighborhoods ". He now studies a whole new word-world: AGE-of-ACQUISITION (AoA). And naturally (being Mark) he wants to know how the two worlds interact C. AoA refers to the time when a word is first used in childhood. Compare HAMMER (early AoA) vs. OYSTER (late AoA). Early AoA words tend to be more concrete than abstract, but not always: So we have MISTAKE (early AoA) vs. CULTURE (late AoA). Mark presents AoA-varying words in his single-word-recognition paradigm (Is it a word or not?) and then measures RT. He already has tons of RT data on word neighborhoods (phonological / orthographic / semantic), and now he will determine how these neighborhoods interact with AoA. Will early AoA words have lots of neighbors? Which kind of neighbors will predominate? (How exactly is AoA measured? Standard tests from large subject populations simply ask adults when they first used the term. A good start, but Mark thinks a better method would be to actually test kids themselves. As usual this more direct method would involve more footwork.)
Mark’s previous grad student Daniel Ploetz has found that AoA affects word processing more than the concrete/abstract variable. He is also collaborating with Drs. Jack Shelly-Tremblay &Tim Slattery in a 3-man Reading Research Group, where each contributes his own level of expertise to understanding the complex act of reading. Jack is the expert on the hard-core EEG psychophysiology (see below). Mark considers himself the middle man with his intense interest in the single-word level. And Tim (also see below) looks at everything from the level of sentence processing.
NICE IDEA guys!
Aside: Mark has a very cozy office and I always see something I never noticed before. There is a National Audubon Society sticker on his desk. Mark clarifies that NO he is not a birder, his only real birding interest lies in the KU (his alma mater) JAYHAWKS. A coffee mug on his desk depicts the “evolution” of these birds over time. After some discussion on the matter, we determined that jayhawks do not really exist in nature, only in KU neighborhoods.
Upon leaving, I notice a pile of books outside Mark’s office. Like us all, he is preparing for our imminent move by clearing out some clutter. Unfortunately, some of this clutter involves books. We chatted a bit about how books are becoming extinct, in both professional and personal lives. We rarely peruse books anymore in research; we get journal articles downloaded through the library. Even reading for fun is more and more through e-books. Old books are actually being recycled (and not just to other libraries!). Very sad, but how is the world going to store all this physical material &, when it is so much more efficient to store it digitally?
EEGs & EPILEPSY
Dr. Jack Shelly-Tremblay has delved into a new line of research for his hi-tech EEG technology. Two USA departments recently invited him to become adjunct faculty in order to look at the effects of temporal lobe epilepsy on EEG language behavior. He is working with Drs. D. Naritoku, J. Ochoa, and O. Darbin in Neurology, and K. Evans in Speech Pathology. The goal is to thoroughly evaluate the degree of language impairment, both pre- and post-treatment, in patients with severe epilepsy. Treatment for this disease still basically involves partial lobotomy, or actually cutting out the brain area affected by seizures, although medication is also available, as well as deep brain stimulation, whereby micro-electrode-arrays are implanted to stimulate the brain electrically.
Jack will present hospital patients with word stimuli and determine the nature of their semantic recognition deficits via EEG patterns, specifically the N400 wave. Consider the word pair MOP-WIG. How are these related? Obviously they share certain structural-visual features (hair-like stringy stuff) but they are in no way semantically related like the well-known pair DOG-CAT, with its strong associative links. ( Does all this ring a bell with Mark Yates’ interests? Yes! See above!). Word links or neighborhoods show up in EEG patterns in the temporal lobe of the brain, which houses the human language processor. Furthermore, the LEFT and RIGHT hemispheres differ, as we all know from our textbooks. Jack expects the structural networks will show up more in the RIGHT brain, while the semantic networks will show up more in the LEFT brain. For more information on this broadly-scoped project, check this out: http://www.usahealthsystem.com/neurofaculty
Jack still has time for his work in the motor-neural science of postural control in walking. Check out this fascinating video to view the latest technology in gait analysis! http://www.southalabama.edu/research/PhysicalTherapyvideo.html
TREKKING along the
Dr. Tim Slattery is our resident psycholinguist, interested in ALL levels of language processing, from bottom-up to top-down manipulations. At the bottom, Tim & colleagues at UCSD have a more or less continuously funded grant from Microsoft (80K delivered in 2-year installments) to study the effects of i n t e r – l e t t e r and inter – word spacing in reading, using eye-tracker technology. What sorts of manipulations enhance reading? Adding a bit more space between words seems to speed up reading, at least until a certain point, whereby the processor goes awry. There is a sweet spot of optimal value, according to Tim. He also studies aspects of font perception. Did you know that Cambria results in slightly faster reading than Times New Roman? Can you tell the difference? Maybe next year our newsletter will change to Cambria! Font research has also discovered that serif vs. sans serif has little to no effect in reading. But did you know that programmers prefer fixed-letter-size over proportional-letter-size, since it makes all the commands line up nice and neat? And do you know why the sentence “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is important to font researchers? (Answer on p. 5).
Now to the top: sentence processing. Here is a typical garden path sentence: “While Anna dressed the baby played in the crib”. For a few ms, we wonder: Did Anna dress the baby or herself? Normally this sentence is disambiguated by a pause (in speech) or with a comma (in reading) after “dressed”. But lacking the normal cues, we have a garden path in which the listener or reader meanders around a bit before finally processing the sentence. Tim then adds additional cues to show the reader the proper path to follow: Adding “that was cute and cuddly” after “baby” seems to help a bit. These types of experimental manipulations show how syntax and semantics interact in sentence processing.
Tim has two students assisting him in his various levels of reading research. Clinical-doctoral student Noelle Newhams and undergrad senior James Hoffman have both thoroughly mastered the art/science of eye-tracking technology. At home, son Michael (age 5) may be following in Tim’s footsteps someday. He knows that “daddy is a scientist” and is himself an avid reader, now heavily involved in Harry Potter.
promotes more REPLICATION
Dr. Josh Foster is part of a new international organization of psychologists, the OPEN SCIENCE COLLABORATION (openscienceframework.org), whose members (at present 50-60) strongly believe in experimental replication. We all know how difficult is it to publish a replication, since that’s not news anymore. NIH frowns on replications, and grant-writers search elaborate databases to ensure that their proposed study has not already been performed elsewhere. Bottom line: Although replication is one of the hallmarks of science, it is not valued by scientists. The lack of replication is an enormous problem in psychology. In many cases it is unknown if previous research findings represent actual psychological phenomena or are merely statistical flukes. This problem is not limited to psychology; replication rates in drug research are reported to be as low as 35%. So what does OPEN SCIENCE propose? They will target 3 highly influential journals: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, and Psychological Science. Their goal is to replicate studies published in these journals in 2008. The replications will be high-powered with large sample sizes. (For example, Josh replicated a study that originally used a sample of 236 participants. His replication has a sample of more than 900 which gives it exceptionally high power—about a 95% chance of detecting the experimental effect if it exists). The collaboration is also creating a site where scientists can register and document the progress of their studies every step of the way. They hope to cut down on the temptations that scientists often face to massage their data to fit their hypotheses or tweak their hypotheses to fit their data. These initiatives should make psychology a more rigorous science, and make psychologists and the public more confident in the results of psychological research.
Josh also continues his work on narcissism, along with former student Jessica McCain (now at U Georgia and working with Josh’s doctoral advisor, Keith Campbell). This trait now subdivides into (A) authentic vs. (B) masked narcissists. The (A) variety is your everyday run-of–the-mill narcissist. (No need to go into this if you have followed Josh’s work by thoroughly reading your newsletters each year). But the (B) variety is more interesting. These folks report feeling really great about themselves on surveys, but with further interaction they admit that their self-confidence is really more of a mask that they wear. Josh was shocked by how common masked narcissism is (approximately 50% of narcissists) and by how easy it was to get narcissists to admit to wearing a mask. One would think that they would not want to admit to this! So research has a way of challenging even our strongest beliefs!
Josh loves to teach BIG classes. The BIGGER the better. He likes to stimulate the class by telling stories and using vivid examples. He says his teaching style could easily accommodate a class of 1000 students (his dream is to teach a class in the Mitchell Center). He is not as gung-ho about online teaching, preferring the direct face-to-face interaction between professor and student.
When I made my appointment to interview Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, I was asked “Do you need directions?” I thought to myself: No, I know where the Clinic is. Well, upon arrival thereupon, I found that Jen was no longer there! She is now Director of the brand new Mental and Behavioral Health Capacity Project at the Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center, located in the Technology Research Park Building III on 650 Clinic Drive. After some meandering around the Park, I found Jen’s suite at 2500. Lots of new rooms, furniture, and people! Jen introduced me to Ms. Joy Aull (Training Specialist) and Ms. Darla Stokes (Secretary V ), who assisted in our interview.
The Center has initial funding from a Medical Settlement Agreement with BP for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Incident. As part of that settlement, BP and the Medical Benefits Class Counsel awarded Jen & the USA a 5-year grant totaling over $8M to provide mental and behavioral health services to improve the overall well-being of individuals, families and communities in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. This settlement is unusual because it focuses on increasing overall capacity and community-wide access to high quality, integrated health-care, sustainable, and evidence-based services, rather than providing services only to directly affected victims. One goal of the project is workforce development. Jen is teaching a doctoral course this fall, entitled the Psychology of Resilience and Response to Trauma. Currently, 3 of our doctoral students (Aimee Nguyen Var, Adrianne McCullars and Becky LeCroix) have clinical assistantships with the MBHCP program. Other doctoral students are also working within the project and the community (Noelle Newhams, My Kim Nguyen, Candice Selwyn, and Caitlin Wolford). The team is learning a number of evidence-based interventions (COPING CAT, STRENGTHENING FAMILIES PROGRAM, MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING, MARRIAGE CHECK-UP). Research and services are also taking place at the newly developed MARTITAL AND FAMILY RESILIENCY LAB located in our Clinic at University Commons. The Center also houses a partner grant (Community Health Workers Training Project)directed by Dr. Steve Picou, a USA Professor of Sociology specializing in Environmental Sociology, Disasters and Social Impact Assessment.
Jen still has time for scholarship, and it was truly a banner year. She published a first-author article in JCCP (Risk for suicide ideation in the U.S. Air Force; An ecological perspective) and Partner Abuse (Attachment, relationship beliefs, and partner-specific assertiveness and psychological aggression among college students). She and Deborah M. Capaldi were the Guest Editors for an entire issue of Prevention Science (dedicated to articles on the development and prevention of intimate partner violence). Jen also completed a 3-year long Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project, a comprehensive review of controversial issues lingering within the domestic violence literature. All this and she turned 50 too!
HE SAYS…. SHE SAYS or rather:
S/HE SAYS….the MRI SAYS
Dr. Ben Hill continues to research the complexities of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). There are increasing claims from retired athletes that their neurological problems in later life are due to sport injuries in youth. Are these legitimate claims? TBIs can be extremely complicated to decipher. Sometimes neuro-imaging, such as MRI, shows damage when there is no cognitive problem. Alternatively, a cognitive problem is sometimes found when there is no obvious structural brain damage. One approach to the problem is to obtain baseline measures of cognitive performance from young athletes (presumably before any actual brain damage takes place) and then refer to them later for comparison (when the claimant reports a cognitive problem). The state of AL is endorsing this practice for high school sports. This is conceptually a good idea, but difficult to implement, since the testing contexts are far from perfect. Tests are typically administered by the untrained school staff, and high school athletes may try to “sandbag” to ensure they are not taken out of games after a concussion. The good news is that psychologists know more about cognitive architecture than high school athletes so we can design tests that identify unusual patterns of deficits. Additionally, light can be shed on the problem of verifying TBI through the methods of meta-analysis, validity measures, checks on inter-variability among different tests, and (last but not least, as all psychologists well know) accurate control groups.
These measures are applicable to many different health problems. Ben is also looking at the effects of lead poisoning on IQ. We all recall the highly-publicized lead paint effects on children back in the 70’s. There is now clear evidence that lead exposure does negatively affect cognitive functioning. Specifically, a 1-10 mg/Dl increase in blood lead level is associated with a 5-7 point decrease in the IQ. Fortunately, there is now a way to remove lead from the body, through a process called chelation. Ben’s doctoral student, Josh Kline,plans to continue this research for his dissertation. Ben has two other graduate students working on related issues: For her Masters thesis, Anna Boettcher is surveying how much health-care professionals and trainers working with high school athletes actually know about TBI research. Ben’s new student Rachel Hoadly is looking at intra-individual variability in young adults with ADHD.
Oh and here’s something really interesting: Ben’s cat Tidbit (age 13) recently started showing some neurological problems: ataxia, weird posturing, hypotonia, falling to the side, very deep sleep. His “speech” utterances (meows) were not affected, however. The vet diagnosed a brain tumor while Ben diagnosed a stroke. Ben was correct. Tidbit was treated with drugs and is now making a full recovery! Ben really does know his stuff!
Dr. Elise Labbé continues to probe into the state/trait of Mindfulness-Meditation (MM). MM-Therapy is becoming ever more popular in treating the sick and elderly, where physical ailments easily cause depression. Recently Elise supervised Brittany Escuriex & Jessica Shenesey on their dissertation research projects, part of which involved assigning Ps to one of three conditions, to compare how each achieves a state of relaxation: Ps were: (1) specifically instructed on MM; (2) told to “progressively relax their muscles”; (3) told to simply “sit quietly and to relax and breathe”. There was a single 40-min meditation session, followed by both mood questionnaires and physiological (heart-rate, respiration) measures to assess relaxation. Results showed that all conditions eventually succeeded in eliciting a relaxed state, but the first condition, specifically MM, showed the quickest effects.
Elise has four doctoral students (Keri Johns, James McAbee, Kelley Drayer & David Chavers) using MM-Therapy with cancer patients. The study is in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Butler, an oncologist at the USA Mitchell Cancer Center. Cancer patients are particularly important to study, because they usually have additional ailments due to the chemotherapy treatment itself. The therapy results are so encouraging that the health-care workers at the Center have asked Elise et al. to help with their very own MM-based stress reduction program.
Elise herself “relaxes” by running! She looks forward to the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC this fall, a 26.2-mile course involving 30K runners. She also “relaxes” from time to time with her three young grandsons: Blaise (2 1/2 years old) and newly arrived Knox and Orion (8 and 7 months, respectively). And she continues to practice MM on a daily basis.
ABA TEAM EXPANDS
Dr. Kim Zlomke was just finishing up with her doctoral student Jillian Murphy when I came in. They were discussing what to do about her thesis project, where some of the kids got “shifted into other groups”. (Oh the problems of real world research! Once I got to the ZOO to find that my animals had been shifted around…) Jillian’s project involves “positive-peer-reporting” in 8th graders. There are 3 experimental groups: (1) high control, where psychologists actively coach teachers to tell the kids to praise each other; (2) naturalistic, where the teachers get more indirect feedback, and (3) control, with no intervention. The goal is to see how kids benefit when they are actively encouraged to interact positively with peers.
Kim has just completed her 3-year mid-tenure review, and is involved in $250K worth of contracts to deliver psychological services to various local learning centers and conduct research. Kim’s team is working at a pre-school for low-income kids and in our Clinic on parent mediated behavioral intervention for kids with developmental delays. She is also focusing major effort on our Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) program, along with Drs. Lisa Turner & Laura Powell. The program benefits undergrad Psychology majors by giving them the experience they need for Psychology-related jobs upon graduation. Special courses are required: PSY 417 (introduction to ABA), 418 & 419 (independent research training), and 420 (learning). The most important element in ABA training is real-world experience with operant conditioning that students receive at Woody’s Song and The Little Tree.
Dr. Joan M. Sinnott (JMS) came to South in 1989 at the invitation of Dr. Chuck Brown (they knew each other from grad school at UM Ann Arbor) to help set up a Comparative Hearing Lab. JMS focused on comparing speech perception in humans, monkeys, and gerbils. From 1984-2008, she obtained 5 PHS NIDCD R01s (overall TDC = $2,504,278) and a Research Career Development Award (K04, $250K), published 22 first-author peer-reviewed papers (remember that animal data cannot be obtained over the internet), and trained 15 Masters students, among which was our very own Dr. Laura Powell. In 1998, JMS created the endowed Sinnott Chair in Comparative Psychology (with matching gifts of 1M each from the USA Foundation and various Sinnotts), and in Spring 2008, the Sinnott Graduate Student Fund (completed in 2012 with matching gifts of 100K each from the USA Office of Development and various Sinnotts). Life was GOOD… and then came the GREAT ECONOMIC RECESSION of 2008 M. That fall JMS was gearing up to apply for her 7th NIH grant, when word came from her NIH contact that NIDCD could no longer fund basic research due to budget cuts. (And if she wanted to apply for future NIH funding, she should “team up with a clinician”.) But every cloud has a silver lining . JMS decided to retool and start working more intensively with zoo animals (see below). JMS also decided to retire in 2012 (financially NOT academically) and let the $$ build up for a few years in her two endowed funds to guarantee stability and security to her future successor. She has relocated from AL to her home town of Utica NY, but you have not seen the last of her! She has an EMERITUS appointment and will (a) work on writing up her backlog of NIH data, (b) continue her work in Comparative Psychology at the Utica Zoo, and (c) return to the good old USA at HOMECOMING to prepare the Newsletter!
Somewhat sadly, JMS conducted her last class PSY 490: Operant Conditioning of Zoo Animals at the Mobile Zoo in Spring 2012. The class consisted of 6 students, 4 monkeys, and 3 pigs. The goal of the class was to train the students to train the animals to perform on a LEFT/RIGHT reversal task. (Go 10 trials to the L, followed by 10 trials to the R, with a speech cue on trial 11 to tell the animal when to switch sides). The students showed various levels of mastery in their final papers (2As, 2Bs, 1C, 1D). The animals mostly used a win-stay/lose-shift strategy in learning, with incorrect responses on trial 11, indicating no attention to the speech cue. But PIG OLLY succeeded in performing the reversal task perfectly, at least on one test day, indicating possible attention to the speech cue! (See below photos by student Charles Joe Newman).
Valedictorian Olly, Class of 2012.
Olly’s final. Olly’s award.
ANSWER: “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” contains every letter in the English alphabet at least once.
and the LIVIN’ is EASY
Larry Christensen traveled to: POLAND: Historically not too interesting as it was basically leveled during WWII. BALTICS: Very interesting with lots of picturesque little medieval towns. Estonia has a Monument to Liberty, built by the Communists after WWII, and kept around as a reminder of how the little country was “liberated from liberty” during the Soviet Union days. Here also Larry ordered walrus/seal bacon and found out it was nearly 100% uncooked strips of fat! RUSSIA: St. Petersburg is rather gray and dreary, but has great architecture. The Hermitage Museum rivals the Louvre in Paris (If one spent I min per exhibit, it would take 9 years to go through everything). Catherine the Great’s Summer Palace has fantastic gold-gilded statuary and waterfalls. In Moscow, Larry visited Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb (Lenin is being relocated as he gets less and less attention with time), the Kremlin, a walled-fortress enclosing 54 acres with five churches (you can visit these) and the Police Academy (no visiting this), St. Basil’s Cathedral with its famous onion domes dating from the 1500’s, and the Subway System, as ornate as any of the above-ground buildings. Larry says the hotel accommodations were as good as in any western country. And if you really want to splurge (Larry didn’t), you can spend $1000 (minimum) per night at the Moscow Radisson.
The L-R family went off to the mid-west where they got to experience first-hand the DROUGHT. First to IA, for Marty’s family reunion of +100 people, where they stayed on the family farm and saw horses & pigs and rode on tractors & combines. Then on to IN for Jen’s mother’s 90th birthday party of +100 people. Here costumes were required and Jen dressed as a skeleton N. This must have been really lively as the event made TWITTER.
The Fosters went to Washington DC to visit family and the Smithsonian Museum, where son Mathew (4 years old) particularly enjoyed the giant elephant and primate exhibits. Josh’s & Hope’s big personal news is the birth of their second son Colin, born Oct 1, 2012.
Mark Yates, wife Wendy, daughter Chloe (age 5) and son Quinn (age 19 m) visited the Navarre Beach to frolic in the sea, sun & sand. All 4 enjoyed the sea & sun, and ¾ enjoyed the sand. All except Quinn, who complained that the sand was “messy”. Strange, since Quinn, like most kids his age, has no problem with mud, according to Mark.
The Slatterys headed north-east to visit family. Tim comes from the finger lakes region of NY, where his brother has a 25-acre spread on Cayuga Lake. Wife Shannon comes from MA, which is close to NH and VT, so here the family relaxed in the beautiful mountainous regions of New England.
Jack S-T & family visited Carlsbald Caverns NM, an immense limestone cave, home to the country’s largest population of BATS, and deep and wide enough to sink the entire Empire State Building!
Kim Zlomke & family went home to MO to visit her parents on the Lake of the Ozarks. Swimming, fishing, and boating were the high points. Kim also had lots of time to observe in more detail the cognitive development of daughter Cecilia (21 mo), who is now at the 2-word stage in language development, and the 1-2-3(“twee”)-4-5 stage of counting.
Chuck & Diana Brown spent time at the Grayton Beach State Park FL, which more than rivals the AL parks, with its birds & wildlife, nature trails, and kayaking. They even did a 20-mile bike-ride! They also visited the Dismals Canyon near Huntsville, one of only two places in the world where you can see bio-luminescent mini-spiders !!
Ben Hill and buddies traveled around in the upper mid-west. The high points were Chicago IL (Shedd Aquarium) and Pittsburg PA (Three Rivers Stadium) but they also worked in Lexington KY and Charleston SC.
Lisa Nash stayed close to home this year. She and daughter Alyssa (age 16) beat the heat by spending time at the Water Park in Destin FL.
Joan Sinnott retreated to Sinnott Lodge at Otter Lake in the Adirondack Mountains NY. There is swimming, boating, fishing, mountain-climbing, hiking, gardening, and wildlife-watching from Adirondack chairs. Mammalia: Otter (naturally), chipmunk, mink, beaver, porcupine, red fox, deer, black bear, moose (once JMS saw a moose swimming in the lake!). Aves: Ruby-throated hummingbirds, goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches, loons, ducks, geese, turkey vultures, fresh-water seagulls, great blue herons. Reptilia: Snapping turtles, bullfrogs, spring peepers. Insecta: Beautiful Monarch butterflies, dragonflies & Luna moths, and not-so-beautiful black flies & mosquitoes.
Otter Lake NY viewed through the hemlocks
from JMS’s Adirondack chair.
This newsletter gets by with a little help from JMS