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UR Here

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Finding the nativity in your own community

Whether one believes in the literal or religious truth of the Christmas story or not, it remains a powerful and influential tale, obviously for Christians, but even for many non-Christians....

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Like a wolf in the wild — and Aldo Leopold — commit to your pursuit

Aldo Leopold is arguably the greatest conservationist of the 20th century. His formative experiences with the natural world occurred right here in Iowa, providing the foundation for the revolutionary thought...

2008 Iowa Floods
Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: In the midst of chaos, we must reclaim the mundane

Many think extraordinary measures are needed to solve the dramatic challenges we face in the 21st century, including climate change. Perhaps the opposite is true as well. Perhaps what we...

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Creating community through communal creation of meaning

“Meet me by the Buddha statue.” If you’re from the Iowa City area, quite a lot of you would know our rendezvous point immediately if I said this to you....

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: The Japanese art of forest bathing invites you to soak up nature, hug a tree

On an unusually warm but cloudy March day about two weeks before the vernal equinox, I took a group hike in the woods at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in Hiawatha....

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Great change starts with conversation and community

Marchers hold up posters during the Des Moines Women's March on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. -- photo by Mei-Ling Shaw As we look ahead to a world of profound --...

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Is home where the heart is?

Illustration by Thomas Dean One of the failures of adults, and even schools, is quashing the creativity of children. Too often, we tell them they’re not good at something --...

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Iowans need a lesson about home and community from Denmark

Photo by Faruk Ates My maternal grandparents and other relatives immigrated to these American shores from Denmark. So I have to admit some sense of pride when the Danes show...

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: On embracing the value of doing nothing

Photo by Dawn Frary As a typical middle-class grade-schooler in the ’60s, three months of freedom lay before me after the last school bell rang in June. This was a...

Photo by Tom Dean
Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Examining the ‘loose parts’ of the natural world

As I was driving home recently from the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City after finishing my first-ever nature photography workshop, my camera-obsessed eye could not help but...

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Rethinking the comfort zone

Photo by Anna Gutermuth We often live by notions and aphorisms, sometimes perhaps more than we should. The greatest danger comes when guiding concepts become clichés, yet we still depend...

Illustration by Jordan Sellergren
Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: A tense encounter on the Pentacrest turns transcendental

Illustration by Jordan Sellergren Recently, as I approached the University of Iowa’s Jessup Hall on my way to work one cold morning, a wide wingspan of majesty and terror flashed...

Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: How variation in building facades can change the paths we take

What compels pedestrians to a particular side of a block? -- photo by Britt Fowler Recently, I was sitting at the front window café bar of Iowa City’s Z’Marik’s Noodle...

UR Here
Posted by Thomas Dean |
UR Here: Top-down management of Black Hawk Mini Park at odds with park’s original vision

Nearby development and top-down planning has eroded most of Black Hawk Mini Park’s history as an inclusive, grassroots forum. -- illustration by Jared Jewell In my previous column, I discussed...