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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 and influence that would mark his career. […]

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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. “Meet me by the Brain.” If you’re a University of Iowa student and I said this to you, you’d know where to go.

The Buddha and the Brain are two relatively new public sculptures in the Iowa City community, now well-known enough that they’ve become landmarks with even a tradition or two attached to them. Funny thing is, the Buddha and the Brain are actually not those things at all — and yet they are. […]

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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. Over an hour and half, we traversed about a quarter mile, a half at most. […]

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UR Here: Iowans need a lesson about home and community from Denmark

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 the rest of the world how to be a good society. Denmark is often atop the list of happiest countries. Their cultural concept of “hygge” — which means something […]

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UR Here: Examining the ‘loose parts’ of the natural world

Photo by Tom Dean

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 see everything outside my car’s window as a picture. The principles of perspective, line, shape, pattern, texture, echo, visual flow and weight that I had […]

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UR Here: How variation in building facades can change the paths we take

Recently, I was sitting at the front window café bar of Iowa City’s Z’Marik’s Noodle Café on Dubuque Street eating my krith-a-raki for lunch when I decided to conduct a little experiment. For 15 minutes or so, I kept track of how many people walked past on my side of the street and how many […]

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