Posts tagged with "nature"

Dog illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Backyarding is Here to Stay

Backyarding is Here to Stay & It Has a Purpose. What’s Yours? 

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

What once only happened indoors now happens outdoors. It’s called “backyarding,” and it’s a trend that’s here to stay. From office work to working out, from eating to entertaining, if these activities were once typically held inside a home or office, they are now being brought to the great outdoors.

Simply think back over the last year and recount the number of times your backyard has taken center stage in your everyday life. The family yard became the safe and purposeful space where we could gather and recharge. Spending time outdoors is great for your physical and mental health, and our backyards are the bridge between indoor and outdoor living.

The backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and you can get really creative in how you expand and enjoy your yard. But before you get to work in your yard, you must first identity what type of “backyarder” you are. Then, you can keep that idea in mind to create a more purposeful outdoor space that is customized to your family’s needs.

Here are just a few of the backyarding personality types. Which one(s) are you?

Entertainer Extraordinaire
Your backyard was the neighborhood hot spot long before the pandemic made that trend posh. Family milestones, birthdays, graduations, reunions, socially distanced BBQs – your yard is *the* place to gather. Your yard is set up for success with patio furniture, fire pit, yard games, plenty of outdoor seating, string lights, and maybe even an outdoor kitchen.  The family yard and community park are five-star event spaces that are always easy to book!  

Environmentalist
You know that nature starts in your own backyard and that taking small steps in your yard can make a big impact on climate change. As the proverbial Robin to your yard’s Batman, you embrace your role in supporting the superhero powers of your living landscape. Those include capturing and filtering rainwater, producing oxygen, and absorbing carbon, just to name a few. 

Expert Landscaper
Your yard makes neighbors green with envy. You know how to maintain a healthy living landscape all year long, and you have the latest outdoor power equipment to make even big jobs easier. Your idea of a good time? Spending the weekend doing yardwork. You love the sense of accomplishment that comes from working in your yard, and friends can count on you for advice about their own living landscapes.

Horticulturist
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is bookmarked on your browser because putting the right plant in the right place is the living landscape Golden Rule you live by. You consider location, maintenance, sunlight and watering requirements, as well as your climate zone and lifestyle needs, before you even think about sticking your shovel in the dirt.

Kid Zone Creator
You know the safest place for your kids to be is in your own backyard, and you work hard to create an outdoor fun zone they will never want to leave. A flat area of sturdy turfgrass to play sports and pitch a tent? Check. Treehouse? Check. Zipline strung safely between backyard trees? Check. An elevated garden where kids can help grow the family’s meals? Check. Natural playscapes, like a patch of sand bordered by rocks and log stump seating? Check. “Fun” is your middle name, and you are winning at this game.

Nature Lover
No binging Netflix for you. You subscribe to “Nature TV” and prefer to spend your free time watching the birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife that count on your yard for food and shelter. You cultivate a living landscape that supports a rich biodiversity with butterfly bushes, flowering plants, water sources, and trees and shrubs with nooks for nesting and food.  

Pet Pamperer
Your focus is on Fido, and you take cues from your four-legged friends about how to purpose your backyard. You’ve planted sturdy turfgrass like Buffalo or Bermuda that can stand up to pet play, and you’ve used soft foliage to create a natural barricade between “off limits” areas and the rest of the lawn. Trees and shrubs are strategically planted for shade, and you’ve even set up a shallow water feature to help your pup cool off on hot days. For you, planting with purpose means keeping toxic plants out of the picture. (For a complete list, visit ASPCA’s list of non-toxic and toxic plants.

Work (and learn!) from Home Warrior 
You don’t need to turn to technology to create a virtual backdrop for your video calls. The natural setting created by your yard’s trees, flowers, bushes and other plants is your go-to video call background. Your kids aren’t doing in-person school? No problem. Your backyard or neighborhood park is a living laboratory for learning that supports outdoor learning, even when school isn’t in session. Your kids take online classes under the shade of a tree. Do homework at a patio or picnic table. Brush up on STEM education by planting and studying flowers, bug hunting, and weather watching.

Zen Master
Enjoying your morning coffee on the balcony as songbirds serenade you. Meditating under the shade of a tree. De-stressing by swinging in a backyard hammock. Taking a break from your busy day to feel the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair. Your backyard is your sacred space for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It’s the best “green spa” in town. You know that spending time outside is good for your health and well-being and that, thanks to your yard, these benefits are only steps away.

Setting the stage for backyarding. One final and important note to backyarders of all kinds. Creating a yard that supports all of the aspects of your family’s outdoor lifestyle means taking stock of what you might need to care for your lawn. Take an inventory of your outdoor power equipment to make sure you are prepared. Then, get out there and create your canvas for even more backyard memory-making.

To learn more about creating the yard of your dreams, visit TurfMutt.

Beyond Green illustration by Heather Skovlund (original photo provided by Beyond Green) for 360 Magazine

Introducing Beyond Green

INTRODUCING BEYOND GREEN: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN HOSPITALITY BRAND DEDICATED TO HELPING GLOBAL CITIZENS MAKE TRAVEL A FORCE FOR GOOD

Forward-Thinking Hotel Network Debuts Booking and Storytelling Platforms That Invite Travelers to Explore How to Travel Gently and Travel Well

Committed to building a better and brighter future for people and the planet, Beyond Green officially launches today as a curated guide for travelers seeking a more purposeful way to explore the world, featuring a global portfolio of 27 hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability in action. Debuting at the onset of a new era of travel in which protecting nature, benefitting local communities, and celebrating cultural diversity has taken center stage, this forward-thinking brandinvites travelers to discover, plan, and enjoy adventures that align with their sustainable travel values and aspirations through a variety of intuitive tools and experiences. These include a new brand website; dedicated storytelling via its @StayBeyondGreen social media accounts; exclusive benefits through I Prefer Hotel Rewards; and a celebratory, limited-time Journeyer’s Pick Package. 

“At the heart of Beyond Green is a belief that to travel gently and with purpose is to travel well. More than ever, each of our individual travel choices make a difference, and, together with our outstanding member properties, we designed Beyond Green to make it easier for travelers to enjoy incredible luxury vacations that also support significant social and environmental change for the future,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of both Beyond Green and its parent company, Preferred Hotel Group. “The world has shown an unwavering need to Believe in Travel, and this is our defining moment to inspire a kinder and gentler way to explore the planet together, where good guests meet good hosts.”

“The question is no longer whether we can transform travel based upon sustainable tourism principles and practices to be a powerful force for saving nature, regenerating ecosystems, and providing tangible social and economic benefits to local people, while also celebrating cultural diversity and inclusiveness around the world. This is now happening, as also represented by Beyond Green members. Rather, the most important question is how travelers help can make sustainability the new normal around the world while also having a great vacation. The answer is when we travel the sustainable way – the Beyond Green way – we can have a positive impact right now on the places we visit,” said Costas Christ, Brand Leader of Beyond Green and President of Beyond Green Travel, also an entity of Preferred Hotel Group.

Digital-First Resources for Inspiration and Information

Experiential travelers looking for a more meaningful way to explore the world can now visit Beyond Green’s website for thoughtful, essential resources and tools to book truly sustainable luxury getaways, from Belize to Bora Bora. The new website features highly curated visual content of each member property and the experiences they offer, along with vivid stories about the world of sustainable travel through its Good Stories blog, where novel content, tips and advice will be added on a continuous basis. The brand also invites travelers to engage in daily dialogues about sustainable tourism, inspiring travel experiences, and best practices for being informed  global citizens on social media by following its newly launched FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn channels and #StayBeyondGreen and #TravelGently online conversations.

I Prefer Hotel Rewards Member Benefits

As part of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, Beyond Green invites travelers to enroll in I Prefer to access meaningful rewards at more than 650 participating properties worldwide. In addition to receiving standard, I Prefer benefits such as points for every eligible stay and early check-in and late check-out privileges, I Prefer members who book stays at participating Beyond Green hotels, resorts, and lodges receive access to exclusive bonus points-earning opportunities that are tied to participation in on-property enrichment activities representative of the three pillars of sustainable tourism. Varying from property to property, these experiences range from an Ecology Tour in San Juan Capistrano at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in California to a specialized lecture on the Gobi Desert at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia. I Prefer members with Elite-tier status will also receive a welcome amenity or community giving opportunity, in addition to earning 50 percent more bonus points during every eligible stay.

Celebratory Launch Offer

Whether seeking to stay within their own country or satisfy the pent-up desire to dust off their passport and go somewhere new, Beyond Green encourages travelers to seize the moment by taking advantage of a limited-time only Journeyer’s Pick Package, available at 15 participating properties for bookings made by September 30, 2021 for travel through December 31, 2021. Featuring the best available rate plus a unique local experience or meaningful memento exclusively available through this special offer, as well as 5,000 I Prefer bonus points, the Journeyer’s Pick Package include highlights such as, but not limited to:   

  • Private 1.5-hour Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy session at andBeyond Vira Vira
  • Traditional sunset Dhow Cruise with snacks and drinks at andBeyond Mnemba Island
  • Guided walking tour of the Monastery of Panagia Spileotissa at Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas
  • Body scrub wellness experience using organic ingredients at Borgo Pignano
  • Polynesian outrigger experience at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Where Good Hosts Meet Good Guests: The Beyond Green Portfolio

With plans for steady, thoughtful growth, Beyond Green celebrates its official launch in collaboration with 27 inspiring member properties that each take a unique and genuine approach to hospitality while representing sustainable tourism leadership through actionable, measurable efforts:

  • Americas – andBeyond Vira Vira (Pucón, Chile); Arenas Del Mar Beach Front and Rainforest Resort (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica), Bentwood Inn (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA); Blancaneaux Lodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize); Carneros Resort and Spa (Napa Valley, California, USA), Cavallo Point (Sausalito, California, USA); Islas Secas (Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama); Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, California, USA); Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo (Raton, New Mexico, USA); The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, California, USA); Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize)
  • Europe – Aristi Mountain Resort (Zagori, Greece); Ashford Castle (Co. Mayo, Ireland); Borgo Pignano (Tuscany, Italy)
  • Africa – andBeyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya); andBeyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania); andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namib Desert, Namibia); Bushmans Kloof (Western Cape, South Africa); Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda); Wilderness Safaris DumaTau Camp (Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana); Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Kaokoveld, Namibia); Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe); Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana); Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
  • Asia – InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia); Three Camel Lodge (Gobi, Mongolia)

Travelers are invited to access more information on Beyond Green, its three key pillars of sustainable tourism, and its member properties, and book authentic, luxury travel experiences around the world by visiting Beyond Green.

About Beyond Green

Guided by a passion to embrace travel as a force for good, Beyond Green is a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability leadership. To create a more purposeful way to explore the world where good guests meet good hosts, Beyond Green has curated a unique portfolio of properties based on their commitment to deliver on the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally friendly practices that go beyond the basics; protection of natural and cultural heritage; and contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities. To be considered for membership in Beyond Green, a property is vetted according to more than 50 sustainability indicators that align with global sustainable tourism standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Owned and operated by Preferred Hotel Group – the family-owned company that manages and operates other hospitality brands including Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Historic Hotels of America, and Historic Hotels Worldwide – Beyond Green ushers in a new way to experience genuine hospitality by the people for the planet. For more information, visit Beyond Green.

About Preferred Hotel Group

Owned and operated by the Ueberroth Family, Preferred Hotel Group is the parent company of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Beyond Green, Historic Hotels of America, Historic Hotels Worldwide, PHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel, representing more than 1,100 hotels, resorts, and residences across 80 countries, in addition to a global portfolio of destinations such as Suzhou, China; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Uganda. With more than 200 seasoned travel professionals situated across 20 countries, the company connects independent hotels, hospitality companies, destinations, and tourism bureaus to key markets worldwide through a variety of strategic branding, sales, integrated marketing, revenue management, and comprehensive distribution services, along with other consultancy services. Fueled by its brand promise, Believe in Travel, the company champions an unwavering belief in the transformative power of travel and its ability to enrich people’s lives and create greater tolerance. For more information on Preferred Hotel Group’s entities, please visit Preferred HotelsBeyond GreenHistoric HotelsPHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel.

The Brando
The Brando – photo credit: Beyond Green
NOLA Has Wiiings illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

NOLA Has Wiiings

Red Bull has teamed up with the New Orleans Pelicans and renowned visual artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums for NOLA Has Wiiings, a project dedicated to replacing backboards at basketball courts throughout New Orleans.

Bmike selected eight local creatives to transform old local backboards into works of art, which will be on display starting this month at the New Orleans Pelicans’ Smoothie King Center and online at RedBull.com.

New Orleans locals can vote for their favorite backboard starting today via the Pelicans Mobile App or website. The artist with the most votes will have the opportunity to conceptualize and design a full art court that serves the New Orleans community. 

Bmike’s custom backboard, for exhibit only, will be on display at Studio BE for the duration of the project.

NOLA Has Wiiings brings artists from around the city together to celebrate, brighten and educate communities through colorful displays of art that showcase NOLA’s unrivaled ability to rebound. 

NOLA Has Wiiings Artists

  • Ceaux, a New Orleans-born multidisciplinary artist, has created a backboard inspired by Harrell Park – located on the “Pigeon Town” side of Carrollton – and the color and playfulness that’s felt at playgrounds. 
  • Ayo Scott, painter and son of nationally recognized artist John T. Scott, has created “Big Ol’ Lil Big Chief” in collaboration with Big Chief Terrence “T” Williams of the Black Hawk Hunters, which is inspired by the resilient spirit of the people of New Orleans. 
  • Kara Crowley – Visual Artist, an artist who embraces black culture and positive representation in her own artistic interpretations, has created a backboard which showcases multiple hands expressing the message of unity. 
  • Jessica Strahan, a self-taught painter and muralist native to and based in New Orleans, has created a backboard inspired by dance and its ability to take people through vibrant moments in time. 
  • Marc Verrett / MarcFreshArt, a Baton Rouge based muralist, has created a backboard that illustrates a positive rise to overcome obstacles through imagery of a skull paired with colorful butterfly wings to represent the eternal drive to fly above. 
  • Jade Meyers/THEARTISTJADE, Art director and founder of the art-based company, “J A D E 1 9 9 1,” has created a piece inspired by liberation, growing up in New Orleans, power, nature, Black culture and sports culture. 
  • Bryan Brown, an artist whose work focuses on New Orleans culture, random but beautiful moments, and philosophy, has created “The Big Brain,” a representation of getting mentally healthy to unlock one’s true full potential. 
  • 1985 Poet; Artist: Monique Lorden, an artist and author and co-illustrator of “I Wish for Freedom,” a poetic picture book, was inspired by her memories of hooping at the park to create “Hoops Dreams and Poetry,” a visual story of childhood hope and community.
VIDAS book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain

ADVENTURE AWAITS IN THIS NEW COMING-OF-AGE TRAVEL MEMOIR 

“VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain”

A Tribute to The Glorious Diversity of Our Worlds

Shortly after the American ministers of hate started demonizing the people of Mexico, New York Times Best-Selling Author Edward Stanton began writing about his own wide experience living in that country, confounding the bigots and their bogeys, showing the real women, men, and children he knew there. When the coronavirus struck Spain last year, he decided to include that country as a homage to it and its people, whom he also knew and loved. 

This is how VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain was born.

A wayward descendant of Mexico’s national hero, a femme fatale who recites poems in cantinas, a Tunisian prostitute in Barcelona, a Spanish psychiatrist who fights brave bulls, the wise owner of the world’s oldest restaurant. They are just a handful of the characters portrayed in VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain, the first memoir to capture Mexico and Spain from the perspective of an American and the knowledge of an insider.

VIDAS explores subjects as diverse as the art of blasphemy, the cult of the Virgin Mary, superstition and witchcraft, the bordellos of Mexico, Spain’s paradise of drink and food, the bullfight, and the running of bulls in Pamplona, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Every chapter of this vibrant travel memoir depicts a different person or place, which combined create a cross-section of the most populous Spanish-speaking countries in the New and Old World. VIDAS is a passage from childhood to adolescence and maturity, a tribute to nature and the open road, an exaltation of love, food, and wine, a journey from the tender, mortal flesh to the luminous world of the spirit.

-RELEASE DATE: March 1st, 2021
-PUBLISHING COMPANY: Waterside Publications
-ISBN-13: 978-1-949003-47-5 (print)
-ISBN-13: 978-1-949003-48-2 (eBook)
-GENRE: Nonfiction, travel, memoir, culture, diversity
-PRICE: $17.95 (print) $9.95 (eBook)
-PURCHASING INFO: VIDAS is available for purchase on Amazon here.

Why You Need This Book

Filled with photographs, this engaging and unique memoir provides a sensory travel experience many of us are craving today. VIDAS: Deep in Mexico and Spain offers the opportunity to learn about faraway lands and striking events while never leaving home. This timely “armchair travel” memoir is for anyone searching for an escape during our troubled time.

“Lyrical…Iconic…Elegant…” –KIRKUS REVIEWS

“A love letter to the Mexican and Spanish peoples, a pure affirmation of life in countries with radical cultures of death.” –ANA MERINO, WINNER 2020 PREMIO NADAL

About the Author, Edward Stanton:

Born in Colorado and raised in California, Edward Stanton has lived in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Spain. He’s the author of twelve books, some of them translated and published in Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. Road of Stars to Santiago, the story of his 500-mile walk on the ancient pilgrimage route to Compostela, was called one of the best books on the subject by the New York Times; Stanton’s environmental novel Wide as the Wind, the first to treat the tragic history of Easter Island, won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Young Adult Fiction and three other international prizes. 

Easter illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Plant-Based Easter Basket

Spring is a few weeks away, and holidays are coming up too. Many want to put some spring-like decorations on the table or use them as a centerpiece. But some don’t know where to begin. Lively Root wants to guide you through the process so you can use what you have on the shelves while also using your indoor plants!

What type of container?
Let’s build a table arrangement together. Start with digging through your old Easter baskets, containers of any shape, size, or color (painting is optional later). Set them all out.

Gather the Extras
Then pull together any accessories you might want to use in your display. You can use Easter motifs like eggs, crosses, bunnies, carrots, cabbages, etc. We will use birds, eggs, and nests for our presentation so the arrangement could be in use for longer than just one holiday. You may even venture out on a walk and pick up bits of nature to use too. Mosses, twigs, dried cones, or leaves can also be a part of the collection.

Grouping Plants and What to Consider
Next, gather your houseplants in the 4-6″ grower pot containers that you have. Different heights would be excellent, as well as those that have pretty colored leaves or blooms. For this presentation, the kalanchoes and Neanthe Bella Palm, Snake plant, English ivy gold child, spider plant, and pink polka dot plant are compatible because they all like to dry out between waterings. As you assemble plants in groupings, you’ll want to consider their light needs as well as watering and humidity needs. You may want to use this assembly temporarily or for several weeks. It will be easier to maintain if all the plants take basically the same type of care.

Recycle and Repurpose
If this will be semi-permanent, you’ll want to make sure that your container drains well. If your planter doesn’t have a drainage hole, get out your handy-dandy drill and drill a few holes in the bottom.

You may want to recycle an old Easter basket or gift container you got a gift in prior. You may find something but not like the color anymore! That’s when a paintbrush and chalk paint comes in handy. It’s easy to use and easy to clean up.

If you don’t have a collection of has-beens, drop by the local resale store and rummage through their cast-aways. You’re sure to find the perfect container.

Create Groupings
Once you have your containers, clean them up, paint them and let them dry. Next, assemble your plants and accessories. Do small groupings to see what you like best. Place the plants (in the grower pot) in your chosen container just to see how the arrangement looks before assembling. Take a picture with your phone to remember the setup. Then remove all the items. We use a screen to place over the container’s bottom to help hold the soil, so it doesn’t drip through and clog the drainage holes.

Next, select the correct potting soil for the plants you assemble. At this point, you can either keep the plants in the grower pot and set them in the container and cover them with craft moss or pot them straight into the decorative container. It’s up to you. If it is a temporary selection, then the grower pot assembly may be the easiest way to go. We use a cactus and succulent mix with a little well-draining potting mix together for these plants.

Plant and Assemble

You will want to build the soil up a bit before placing the plants. Remember to leave the soil line below the top of the container about 1/2-1 inch so there won’t be water spillover. If using it temporarily, you can keep the plant in the grower pot and place them on the soil. If you’re using it as a more permanent collection, remove the grower pot and place the plant where you want it in the assembly. As you go, fill in around each plant, tucking soil in between each one so the roots are covered and secure.

Do the rest the same way. If needed, make a funnel out of a plastic container or poster board and feed the soil through it to get to the tight spots where your hands don’t fit. Tamp down the soil with your fingers or a spoon. Be careful not to bury the top of the stems in soil but just up to your plant’s soil line. You can add a top dressing of time-release fertilizer or use a balanced liquid fertilizer when watering. Once it all is assembled, use a clean paintbrush to brush any excess soil on the leaves. Then check the soil moisture around each plant and water as needed. Next, top dress with craft moss or colored rocks.

Then slide in your accessories to make it festive!

Mix Nature In
Another fun way to decorate around the house is to use the nature items you might have picked up outside. Bark, twigs, and moss can be a part of the next project. Inspect the items for ants, bugs, or the like before assembly and remove them.

Keep your plant inside its grower pot. Use a hot glue gun to glue the pieces around the grower pot and assemble them in an organic arrangement.

Finish it off with some twine or raffia. Set these on a side table or in a collection together. Or you can use them at each place setting as a take-home gift for your guests.

Now, once you’ve got your decorations finished, snap a photo and share it with us on Instagram or Facebook! We’d love to see your plant creations! Tag us with #LivelyRoot and share the love!

Extra bonus:
Use your children’s leftover Easter baskets to repurpose into a summer arrangement by following the same instructions as above. We didn’t plant them in the soil this time but left them in the grower pots and tucked moss around the containers. When it’s time to water, just disassemble, water, let drain, and then place back into the basket. We included a clear plastic saucer to protect the basket in case of leftover dripping

About Lively Root

At Lively Root, the green spaces created have been instrumental in development as horticulturists, for an ideal green space. Lively Root’s plants are home-grown and full-scale fulfillment centers. They only sell eco-friendly products that are packaged and delivered right to your doorstep. Founding members have over a century of horticultural experience as growers, retailers, and landscapers, ranging from small plants to indoor plants, outdoor plants, large trees, and flowering shrubs. They have planted & maintained trees on residential and commercial properties. Plants improve health by purifying the air, soothing stress, making people feel happier, and offering style and ambiance. 

Kusama with Pumpkin, 2010 for 360 Magazine, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner, Victoria Miro

NYBG Newest Installation

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has announced the dates for its expansive 2021 exhibition, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, featuring work by internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition will include four experiences that will debut at the Botanical Garden. NYBG is the exclusive venue for KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature. On view April 10 through October 31, 2021, the exhibition will be installed across the Garden’s landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. Advance, timed, limited-capacity tickets for the landmark presentation go on sale to the public March 16, 2021.

The exhibition, related programs, and accompanying publication will reveal Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world and its countless manifestations, beginning in her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. The exhibition will include works from throughout Kusama’s prolific career and multifaceted practice. By integrating seasonal horticultural displays, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will further illuminate the power of nature that pervades the artist’s practice and dynamic body of work.

Multiple outdoor installations will be on view, including monumental sculptures of flora that will transform the Garden’s 250-acre landscape and visitor experience. Her signature polka-dotted organic forms and mesmerizing paintings of plants and flowers will also be presented. These vivid observations of biodiversity will be shown along with archival material that has never been publicly exhibited, and more that will be on view for the first time in the United States.

Among the works created for and debuting in the exhibition are:

  • Flower Obsession(2017/2021), Kusama’s first-ever obliteration greenhouse;
  • Dancing Pumpkin(2020), a monumental sculpture presented on the Haupt Conservatory Lawn;
  • I Want to Fly to the Universe(2020), a 13-foot-high biomorphic form presented in the Visitor Center; and
  • Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart(2020), an outdoor installation reflecting its environs.

Spectacular seasonal displays will complement the artworks on view, making each visit unique as new plantings, textures, and palettes are introduced. Glorious outdoor displays of tulips and irises in spring give way to dahlias and sweet peas in summer, and masses of pumpkins and autumnal flowers in fall. In and around the Conservatory, Kusama’s plant-inspired polka-dotted sculptures will be nestled among meadow grasses, bellflowers, water lilies, and other plantings. Stunning floral presentations will bring to life one of Kusama’s paintings on view in the Library Building through a seasonal progression of violas, salvias, zinnias, and other colorful annuals. In fall, displays of meticulously trained kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum, one of that country’s most heralded fall-flowering plants) will create a dramatic finale for the Conservatory displays.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, Ph.D., said, “For Kusama, cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the terrestrial and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives she investigates in her practice. Her explorations evoke meanings that are both personal and universal. Nature is not only a central source of inspiration, but also integral to the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language in which organic growth and the proliferation of life are made ever-present.”

In the Garden

On the Conservatory Lawn, visitors will encounter the monumental Dancing Pumpkin, a 16-foot-high bronze sculpture in black and yellow. Both playful and powerful, it will be sited in an immersive landscape of river birches, flowering plants, grasses, and ferns. The setting is inspired by the sculpture itself and the plants native to Kusama’s childhood home.

Visitors can marvel at the bright, purple-tentacled floral form with a vivid yellow primordial face of I Want to Fly to the Universe in the Visitor Center Reflecting Pool, and then behold Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2021), where soaring trees adorned in vibrant red with white polka dots will pop in the landscape along Garden Way.

Narcissus Garden (1966/2021), 1,400 stainless steel spheres each nearly 12 inches in diameter, will be installed in the 230-foot-long water feature of the Native Plant Garden. The reflective spheres will float on the water’s surface, moved by wind and currents, each mirroring the environment around them to captivating effect.

The exterior of Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart, a cube-shaped structure with a reflective surface, will be on view, revealing and repeating the changing landscape throughout the seasons. Interior access to the installation, which responds to natural light through colored glass throughout the day, is planned to begin in summer, per New York State and New York City guidelines for COVID-19. A timed-entry ticket will be required for limited-capacity access.

In the Galleries

In Flower Obsession, visitors may opt to apply coral-colored floral stickers to the glass-paned walls and interior objects. Over the course of the exhibition, the stickers will transform the greenhouse. Through works like this, Kusama employs the repeating patterns and forms of flowers to represent the concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity.

Three galleries in the Conservatory will be transformed into a horticultural celebration of Kusama’s self-proclaimed biophilia. My Soul Blooms Forever(2019), colossal polka-dotted flowers made of stainless steel and painted in dramatic colors, will greet visitors under the newly restored dome of the Palms of the World Gallery.

In the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, Starry Pumpkin (2015), adorned with pink and gold mosaic, will be featured in a woodland garden of foliage and flowers chosen to harmonize with the sculpture’s pink polka dots. Using Kusama’s vibrant painting Alone, Buried in a Flower Garden (2014) as inspiration, NYBG horticulturists have designed a living work of art to mimic the painting’s bold shapes and colors, with plantings that will change seasonally. The patchwork of shapes in the painting reads as garden beds seen from above.

In the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool, the exuberantly colored and patterned sculpture Hymn of Life:Tulips (2007) featuring outsized, fiberglass flowers will be bordered by water lilies and other seasonal plantings. The buoyant flowers echo the stunning horticultural displays in the Conservatory.

Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017) comprises a glass cube with two-way mirrors reflecting an infinity of glowing polka-dotted pumpkins within it. The work, one of Kusama’s signature mirrored environments, will be installed in the Visitor Center Gallery. Viewed from the outside, the installation is accompanied by a statement by the artist that reads, in part, “My pumpkins, beloved of all the plants in the world. When I see pumpkins, I cannot efface the joy of them being my everything, nor the awe I hold them in.”

On display in the Mertz Library Building, Kusama’s 1945 sketchbook reveals the 16-year-old artist’s keen eye for detail in some 50 drawings capturing the bloom cycle of tree peonies. This early work is the product of a lifelong connection with the natural world that has inspired her practice across mediums, and also portends the avant-garde ideas she developed while living in New York City between 1958 and 1973 as a contemporary of Joseph Cornell, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, and Claes Oldenburg, and continues to explore rigorously today.

The Library Building presentation will feature examples of her botanical sketches, works on paper, biomorphic collages, assemblage boxes, and recent soft sculpture and paintings on canvas depicting flora and its limitless variety of patterns.

Kusama’s considerable body of performance works is represented in the exhibition by projected photographs of Walking Piece (ca. 1966), a performance in which Kusama walked the streets of New York wearing a bright-pink floral kimono and carrying an umbrella decorated with artificial flowers. Art historians have analyzed Walking Piece as a carefully calculated representation of the artist’s ethnicity and gender, one that was intended to demand attention. Interpretation will provide further context for the artist’s performance works.

From monumental polka-dotted pumpkin sculptures to abstract paintings that suggest cells magnified thousands of times, Kusama’s works suggest the patterns that can be observed all around us. In Patterns in Nature: Science Walk, a self-guided walking tour bringing together living plants and images of magnified laboratory specimens, visitors will explore the visible and microscopic patterns that can be found in nature, and how they reveal what makes species unique, as well as how all living things are connected at the genomic level.

Lauren Turchio, NYBG Vice President for Garden Experience, said, “When the exhibition had to be postponed last spring, Yayoi Kusama shared a moving message that read, in part: ‘The passion that I and those at The New York Botanical Garden have poured into this exhibition is still burning. Everyone, I hope you will wait.’ We are so grateful to our visitors for waiting for this once-in-a-lifetime presentation.”

Programs and Publication

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will be accompanied by a roster of public programs for all ages, including pop-up performances by musicians, jugglers, and puppeteers; self-guided “Kids Get Cosmic” activities in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden; and more. Signature exhibition merchandise will be available for purchase at NYBG Shop.

Coming in summer 2021, a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, co-published with Rizzoli Electa, will include essays by KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, art historian Jenni Sorkin, curator Alexandra Munroe, and NYBG curators and scientists that focus on Kusama’s lifelong engagement with nature and the ways in which her interest in nature and plants has formed her career-long investigation of themes of the cosmos and the interconnectedness of all living things. Images of works displayed at The New York Botanical Garden will be featured.

Ticketing

Since reopening July 28, 2020, the Garden has incorporated safety measures based on best practices and guidelines from health authorities and government agencies. Admission to the Garden is currently available through the advance purchase of timed tickets.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature tickets go on sale for NYBG Patrons beginning on March 9, 2021, Members on March 11, 2021, and the general public on March 16, 2021. The new, limited, timed-entry ticketing system staggers visitors’ arrivals and promotes social distancing. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket.

The following options will be available:

  • KUSAMA Garden & Gallery Passincludes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds and access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, installations in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building and Ross Gallery, as well as interior access to Flower Obsession and Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity in the Visitor Center Gallery, plus the Tram Tour and Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • KUSAMA Garden Pass (Non-NYC Residents)includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • KUSAMA Garden Pass (NYC Residents) includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Natureoutdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • A timed-entry ticket will be required to access the interior of Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

NYBG will welcome Bronx Health Care Heroes and Bronx Neighbors to KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature with complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through these community access initiatives, the Garden seeks to acknowledge, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Additional information about these initiatives will be available in the coming weeks.

About The New York Botanical Garden

Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is the most comprehensive botanical garden in the world and an integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. Visitors come to the Garden to connect with nature for joy, beauty, and respite, and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, music and dance, and poetry and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness, graduate programs educate the next generation of botanists, while engaging classes inspire adults to remain lifelong learners. The 250-acre verdant landscape, which includes a 50-acre, old-growth forest and the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, support living collections of more than one million plants. Unparalleled resources are also held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most important botanical and horticultural library with 11 million archival items spanning ten centuries, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere with 7.8 million plant and fungal specimens. Committed to protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources, Garden scientists work on-site in cutting-edge molecular labs and in areas worldwide where biodiversity is most at risk.

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KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is presented by:

Major Sponsors: Tom and Janet Montag and MetLife Foundation

Generous support provided by: Citi and Delta Air Lines

Digital experience provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies

Additional support provided by: Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; and The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are made possible by the Estate of Enid A. Haupt.

LUESTHER T. MERTZ CHARITABLE TRUST: Providing leadership support for year-round programming at NYBG

The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information, visit their website.

“Nature Vacations” Surge During Pandemic

Public lands saw a record number of visits in 2020 and interest in “nature vacations” surged.

TripAdvisor says more than 50% of its consumers are more likely to take a nature trip than they were before the pandemic. Booking.com‘s data shows that 56% of its travelers are searching for “off-the-beaten-track escapes”. Pitchup.com, a lodges, cabins, and campsites booking engine, reports that reservations for 2021 are more than six times higher than last year. RVshare says 73% of millennials indicated they are likely to rent an RV in 2021.

In the race to lure back travelers, vacations in nature are leading the pack. We have assembled a list of nature-focused vacations, ranging from touring Canyonlands National Park by mountain bike to wrangling cattle on a remote ranch in Wyoming.

1. Ride the Rockies and More

With maps and other resources from Adventure Cycling Association, plan a ride on the remote Great Divide Mountain Bike Route crisscrossing the crest of the Rocky Mountains through the U.S. and Canada. Or visit Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Badlands National Park on the Parks, Peaks, and Prairies route between Montana and Minneapolis. https://www.adventurecycling.org/

2. Channel Your Inner Cowboy

Red Reflet Ranch is a 28,000-acre luxury resort and working ranch on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains, just three hours from Yellowstone National Park. Guests stay in private chalets and enjoy family-friendly activities like horseback riding, cattle wrangling, ATVing, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, shooting and feasting on farm-to-table cuisine. http://redrefletranch.com/

3. Explore National Parks by RV

Blacksford is a new recreational vehicle rental business with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, no generator fees, bedding, bath, and kitchen supplies, free Wi-Fi, a free annual national parks pass, and 24-hour roadside assistance. Blacksford also curates road trip experiences by connecting travelers with vetted campsites, guides, and other hand-picked attractions. https://www.blacksford.com

4. Teton Tiny House Retreat 

Just minutes from Jackson Hole, WY, Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-size, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus. Each has its own outdoor fire pit and deck. And the resort is located just a stone’s throw from Grand Teton National Park. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com

5. Camp & MTB Canyonlands

Utah’s 100-mile White Rim Trail loops in and out of a multi-colored array of spires, arches, buttes, and mesas carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers. On this tour with Escape Adventures, guests ride the famous off-road route, while detouring to admire secret passages, hidden slot canyons, natural rock arches, and ancient Puebloan ruins. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/utah-white-rim-mountain-bike-tour/ 

6. Hike, Bike or Ski Big Sky

Find active adventures on the trails around Big Sky, Montana, when staying at The Wilson Hotel. On the edge of town, hike to the glacial cirque surrounding Beehive Basin or through the forest to Ousel Falls, or trek to natural wonders and wildlife in nearby Yellowstone National Park. Mountain biking abounds as well, with over 20 miles of lift-served riding. And in winter, 5,850 acres of ski terrain spreads out from the summit of 11,166-foot Lone Peak. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

Tree illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

USDA Forest Service Reflects on 2020

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the USDA Forest Service today announced it surpassed goals and set records in 2020.

“2020 was a challenging year, with record wildland fire activity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the Forest Service, we have risen above these challenges and set our minds, hands and hearts to carrying out our mission to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.

The Forest Service relied on its strong science, innovation and partnerships to overcome this year’s challenges as the agency found new solutions to serve the public during a time of unprecedented need.

Creating healthy, productive forests and supporting rural economies

In 2020, the Forest Service provided jobs and stability for local economies through a year of historic timber production, selling more than 3.2 billion board feet of timber, the second-highest level in 20 years. The agency also improved forest conditions and reduced wildfire risk on over 2.65 million acres, removing hazardous fuels like dead and downed trees, and combating disease, insect and invasive species infestations.

The Forest Service undertook a suite of regulatory reforms to meet the goals of the Secretarial Memorandum to the Chief of the Forest Service modernize and align agency directives with new legislative authorities and reduce regulatory burdens. By the end of December 2020, the Forest Service will have nearly completed all guidance to implement new legislative authorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition, Forest officials quickly began implementing President Trump’s Great American Outdoors Act to increase access to national forests and grasslands and make progress towards reducing the agency’s $5 billion infrastructure backlog.

Managing wildfire, and providing for health and safety

The Forest Service was successful in prioritizing early suppression of wildfire ignitions while facing a record-breaking fire year, with the most acres burned on national forests since 1910. The agency’s modeling research on how COVID-19 may spread between firefighters or in communities during response efforts led to new interagency safety protocols to better support fire camp management.  The protocols not only successfully minimized the spread of COVID-19 among the agency’s 10,000 firefighters, but early learning suggests the safety measures resulted in additional health benefits to fire crews, reducing ailments common in fire camps, which translated to a healthier and more resilient firefighting workforce available to protect lives, homes, and communities threatened by wildfire.

Sharing stewardship responsibilities and being better neighbors

The Forest Service made significant strides toward Shared Stewardship this year, working more closely than ever with Tribes, States, and local partners to make sure the right work happens in the right place at the right time. So far, 44 states and territories are now involved in a Stewardship Agreement. The agreements allow the Forest Service to employ the latest tools and share decision making on the highest priorities to improve forest conditions across broad landscapes. These new agreements have resulted in increasing resiliency of forests, protection of communities and reduction of wildfire risks. They have also produced jobs and stabilize economies.

Increasing access and improving recreation experiences

This year, Americans sought out their public lands in tremendous numbers, finding relief in the Great Outdoors, showing us once again how public lands unite our nation. In response, the Forest Service generated solutions to ensure visitors had every opportunity to safely use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands during the pandemic. The Forest Service welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors, many of whom were first time users, with 95% expressing satisfaction with their experiences.

“Next year, we will continue to build on these successes to improve conditions on America’s national forests and grasslands to ensure they are healthier, more resilient and more productive,” added Chief Christiansen. We will keep building on the partnerships that make these successes possible and commit to increasing access to better connect people to their natural resources, so these national treasures endure for generations to come.”

For more information about the Forest Service visit www.fs.usda.gov

Kaelen Felix illustrates Elkhart Lake for 360 magazine

Elkhart Lake WI

By Elle Grant x Vaughn Lowery

As summer winds down and fall arrives, many find themselves itching for one last summer getaway, or rather, that first autumn weekend away. 360 Magazine was able to take advantage of such a trip, visiting Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake this past September. Located in the heart of Moraine State Forest, Elkhart Lake is the ideal natural getaway, being home to lake activities as well as canopied hiking and biking trails.

Elkhart Lake, located on the East side of Wisconsin, is both a stunning sojourn into nature and also a historical destination. With a population just under one thousand, the village maintains a cozy quality, with local shops, restaurants, and activities maintaining a small-town, yet polished feel. Yet during the summertime, the town swells and comes to life. First inhabited by the Potawatomi Indians, the name Elkhart stems from the description Native people had of the area, that the lake resembled the shape of an elk’s heart. Native American culture can easily be explored in the area through local tours and at the Henschel’s Indian Museum. Elkhart is also a significant historical definition in terms of its relationship to racing, reaching its peak in the mid 1950s.

Our stay at the Shore Club was nothing short of superb. The new owners, Tom and Kristin Pagel, have done an incredible job renovating the hotel. Renovations including adding updated technology to enhance guest stays: Netflix, Alexa, a digital concierge through the Whisper app, Peloton bikes will soon be available, and luxury motor sports for those interested. Furthermore, the site also boasts an indoor pool, a game room with ping pong tables and vintage arcade games, and a gym. For those interested in seeing Elkhart on two wheels, free bikes are available for guest use at the front desk. The restaurant on site, the Cottonwood Social, offered consistently well-done meals, including the perfect weekend brunch.

We began our lake escape with a pontoon cruise on the namesake of the area, Elkhart Lake. Before departing, we sipped and snacked on the Osthoff’s signature cocktails and hors oeuvres. On the pontoon boat, we were able to view the lake’s crystal-clear lake waters and receive a tour that included information of the area’s history, legends, and folklore. The evening air aboard the boat made this the perfect way to begin a stay. Following the pontoon ride, dinner at the Osthoff Resort’s newest restaurant, Concourse Restaurant and Lounge, proved to be a unique culinary experience. With specialties such as the honey balsamic trout, seared scallops with sweet pea risotto, and the veal schnitzel with pickled cucumber relish, there was a delicious and refined option forevery set of tastebuds. The restaurant’s décor, a tribute the area and Osthoff’s vintage racing roots, also deserves special note.

Elkhart lake is famed for its historic roots as a racing circuit in the 1950s. During this decade, the village of Elkhart Lake transformed into an open-road race circuit where top sports car drivers traveled from all around the world to take on the unique terrain. Likewise, thousands of fans were drawn to the area, eager to see the athletes and vehicles alike. The racing today is focused at Road America,but the historic circuit is marked with signs denoting Wacker’s Wend, Kimberly’s Korner, and Dicken’s Ditch. This auto focused tour of the area isn’t to be missed. Road America also offers an opportunity to join in on the fun with options such as go-karting and ATVs at this world-acclaimed facility.

Road America and Elkhart Lake are famous as one of the oldest, largest, and most iconic tracks in the world. Currently, its original course is registered on the National Register of Historical Places, emphasizing its significance. Gaining popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, the post-World War II economy spurred on the influx of sporting luxury automobiles. For Elkhart specifically, the notable Sports Car Club of America were the main organizer of their races. Incredibly popular races such as the RoadAmerica 500, SCCA National Sports Car Championship, the United States Road Racing Championship and the IMSAGT Championship. Today, it continues to host luxury races and draw motorsports fans and can even be found in numerous racing video games!

Following a wild time racing, time winding down at the Aspira Spa was well-needed. Inspired by local Native American practices and traditions, but fused with modern technology and science, the spa offers the ideal treatment for any interest party. The inside space of the Aspira is thoughtfully designed and embraces the concept of Feng Shui as well as the natural elements. Personally, we enjoyed the Element Facial; this facial is a mask focused in traditional Chinese medicine representing the five elements. These five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Harmony can be restored through the combination of colored light and essential oils inspired by these elements. By exalting the healing practices of indigenous cultures around the world, Aspira is able to provide a holistic, organic, and thorough approach to healing and relaxation.

Traveling back in time once again, visiting the Carriage Museum at Wade House transported us even further back – back to the 1860s stagecoach era located within this Wisconsin Historical Site. To get a full experience of the period, we were able to travel in that manner: horse-drawn carriage! The museum also features Wisconsin’s most diverse collection of transportation of this manner with over 100 horse-and-hand drawn vehicles. For the transportation enthusiasts, this isn’t to be missed.

When one thinks of wine country, Wisconsin might not exactly spring to mine. Yet award-winning sommelier Jaclyn Stuart operates Vintage Elkhart Lake, a charming shop where she hand-selects all wines available. The tasting at her bar came paired with cheese plates, potato chip flights, and other delectable pairing bites. The shop, beyond wine unique to the area, also sells other local delicacies for those interested in bringing home a taste of Wisconsin.

It would hardly be a trip to the lake without time spent on the lake fishing. Elkhart Lake is 119 feet deep and 292 acres wide, providing the perfect home to a variety of fish species: musky, walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill and crappie all inhabit the lake. Going with a licensed guide like Jay Brickner will aide in explaining all those numerous species. Below the surface isn’t the only place to find remarkable species – a variety of endangered bird call this estuary home including bald eagles. Whether or not fishing is an interest, time spent on this beautiful, blue lake is worth taking a boat out for. A little closer to shore also boasts the best of the lake’s charms. From the time when Native Americans lived along its banks, Elkhart’s pristine quality has been appreciated. Taking advantage of more advanced activities like a hydrobike or other watersports can be a more adventurous way to embrace lake life. Other options including standup paddleboard, jet skis, and speedboats. Even taking a walk in the sand along the shoreline is another greatway to take advantage of all the lake has to offer.

The natural beauty of Elkhart Lake region is its most obvious draw, but the culinary seen isn’t to be underestimated. Lake Street Café, serving California Bistro style fare, also offers Wisconsin’s third largest wine list ensuring the perfect pairing for any dish. Quit Qui Clubhouse features classic pub and grill fair with a Wisconsin twist, including homemade soups, chili, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Siebkens Resort and 67 Saloon are also phenomenal dinner options reflecting inspiration from the area.

Elkhart Lake proved to be a much-needed September getaway. The natural beauty paired with the historical aspects of the Native American culture in the area as well as the history of luxury racing makes this an incredibly well-rounded destination.

Rodent illustration by Nicole Salazar for 360 MAGAZINE.

CITY RATS × STREETS

By Althea Champion

Thirty-four years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown, lush greenery and wild wolves freely inhabit the landscape, uninhibited by the burden of human life’s presence. Nine months after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the U.S., another lifeform—one much less beautiful and romantic—roams the comparatively barren city streets of the U.S.: rats.

In East Coast cities, from New Orleans to Boston to New York City, residents are reporting sightings of rats swarming, scouring the city, capitalizing on the valuable real estate human beings recently left behind in pursuit of the safety of their homes.

The swell of rat turn-out is not simply because the once busy streets they cowered in the shadows of are now empty, but because they are starving and in dire straits. It seems that hard times are not unique to humans during these past few months, but are actually falling on rats, too.

“Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas,” the CDC reported in a May update of rodent-control guidelines in respect to COVID-19. “Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food. Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior.”

According to the Boston Herald, Boston is currently handling an impressive rat problem of their own, with the Allston/Brighton neighborhoods reporting a whopping 88% increase in rodent activity in comparison to last year.

“Boston is experiencing an unusually large surge in rodent complaints during the coronavirus pandemic,” reported Meghan Ottolini of the Boston Herald. “With residents reporting massive infestations in gardens and rats ‘the size of cats’ scurrying down the street in broad daylight.”

The waste that rats once prospered on is no longer available as a result of much frequented restaurants and bars closing their doors. Scraps can no longer be found without extensive searches. Thus, city rats, motivated by their acute distress and changing landscape, are resorting to desperate measures. 

In New York City, where restaurants are permitted to serve patrons outdoors as of June 22, rats are also showing up to dine at the literal heels of customers bating for crumbs, according to The Guardian.

In cities more than ever, the line between wildlife and the human race is slimming. Unlike those who live in more rural areas, animals are not something city folk come in contact with on a daily basis—aside from a dog, cat, and the occasional hamster. 

Perhaps this is changing. Linda Rodriguez McRobbie of The Boston Globe suggests that the urban wildlifes—the coyotes in Chicago and San Francisco, mountain lions in Boulder, and the groundhog in Philadelphias—are perhaps lessening the “artificial division between ‘man’ and ‘nature,'” and maybe that isn’t a bad thing. Perhaps, humans do not have to be separate from nature, and rodents do feature in nature.

It is, after all, the year of the rat.