January 14, 2004
For more information, contact:
Ellen Laubhan or Jackie O’Hara
Poudre School District
Lab School Parent Donates Time and Earnings
Fort Collins environmental writer, parent and
volunteer, Gary Wockner, has donated $500
to Poudre School District’s Lab School for Creative Learning. Wockner received the money as a writing fee for an
article that appears in the Jan/Feb 2004 edition of Orion, a prominent
national magazine focusing on nature writing and environmental issues.
Wockner’s Orion article, “Get on the Bus: Post-hip soccer
dad meets supercool eco-star,” discusses his
escapades over a weekend last September where he follows environmental activist
Julia Butterfly Hill and actor-activist Woody Harrelson on their traveling
“We The Planet” show from Fort Collins to Boulder. Also during that weekend,
Wockner accompanied one of his daughters on
an environmental fieldtrip with the Lab
School and refereed his other
daughter’s soccer game. The tension between being a traveling journalist
and a school-volunteering soccer-dad is what drives the article.
“I was initially hoping to write a sort-of Tom Wolfe journalistic piece
where I got on the bus with these high-profile stars and followed them around,”
Wockner says. “But I had other commitments that
weekend. As I was standing in the mud on the environmental fieldtrip at
the confluence of the Poudre and South Platte rivers
with my daughter’s 4th grade class, I realized that was the story, and that there were numerous connections between
The Lab School
for Creative Learning is a public elementary school within Poudre
School District that specializes
in experiential education and service learning. It has about 120 students
and a fixed class size of 15, both of which provide a small, comfortable,
and innovative atmosphere. Fieldtrips are the norm and teachers are given
latitude to create and grow so that students can do the same.
Julia Butterfly Hill is the environmental activist who became internationally
famous by sitting in and saving a redwood tree in Northern California
for two years. In 1999, she wrote a best-selling book about the experience,
The Legacy of Luna, and afterwards she used her resources to start
the Circle of Life Foundation which “activates people through education,
inspiration and connection to live in a way that honors the diversity and
interdependence of all life.”
Orion magazine has a similar focus. Since 1982, it has “worked to
reconnect human culture with the natural world, blending scientific thinking
with the arts, engaging the heart and mind, and striving to make clear what
we all have in common.” Renowned writers such as Barbara Kingsolver, Wendell
Berry, Barry Lopez, and Terry Tempest Williams often write for the magazine.
“These things are all tied together,” says Wockner.
“As I was writing the article, it became clear that Julia and Woody’s
message in their shows was the same message as the Lab
School – hands-on, earth stewardship,
and service. The piece just wound nicely around that theme. Orion
is the ideal placement for this article. They put out a beautiful, provocative
publication with a similar mission.”
Wockner has a history of literary eco-philanthropy. Among other
efforts, in 2003, he published a novel, BicycleCowboy.com, which donates
$2/book to the wildlife preservation group, Sinapu,
which co-leads, with the Sierra Club, the Southern Rockies Wolf Restoration
Project. Wockner also works as a wildlife ecologist
at Colorado State
University in Fort
Collins and writes for other local and regional
“I greatly enjoy writing and I’m a committed conservationist,” he says.
“With these donations, I’m trying to keep the inspiration rolling.”
The article, “Get on the Bus,” can be viewed from the author’s website
(GaryWockner.com), Lab School’s
website (www.psdschools.org/lab), or by purchasing Orion magazine.
For more information contact:
Stephen Bergen, Lab School
principal at 482-2506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gary Wockner, parent, author, and wildlife
ecologist at Colorado State
University at 491-5724 or email@example.com.