2009 winners of the Rachel Carson “Sense of Wonder” arts contest

You can view, and read, the winners of the 2009 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder contest at the website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Bee on a passion vine flower - 2nd place photo, Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder contest, 2009 - by Patricia, age 70, Peggy, age 47, Maggi, age 16 - via EPA

Bee on a passion vine flower – 2nd place photo, Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder contest, 2009 – by Patricia, age 70, Peggy, age 47, Maggi, age 16

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder 2009 contest winners

EPA’s Aging Initiative, Generations United, the Rachel Carson Council, Inc. and the Dance Exchange, Inc. are pleased to present the winners for the

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder project logo, EPA

Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder project logo, EPA

third annual intergenerational photo, dance, essay and poetry Sense of Wonder contest. All entries were created by an intergenerational team.

The categories are Photography, Essay, Poetry, Mixed (Photo, Essay and Poetry) and Dance.

Drop over to EPA’s site and look, and read.

2010 contest rules are already up.  You can get the entry form there, too.  Links to the 2008 and 2007 winners and finalists also reside there.

This photo caught me a bit off guard, bringing back wonderful memories.

Gina, age 36, Bill, age 64, Christian, age 1 - 3rd place photo, 2009 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder art contest - EPA

Bill and Christian explore outdoors, photographed by Gina – Gina, age 36, Bill, age 64, Christian, age 1 – 3rd place photo, 2009 Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder art contest – EPA

Gina, the photographer, described the photo:

My father has been a good role model to me as I grew up with plenty of time outdoors. The red plaid shirt became a sort of symbol, and it was an honor to get a matching shirt myself when I was in college. Now, at just one year old, my son is continuing the tradition of wearing the red and black shirt outdoors. It was fun to photograph the two together in our rural wooded backyard, and helped illustrate that my father can continue to pass along his sense of wonder and love of the outdoors to my son, his first grandchild.

My father, Paul Darrell, wore an old jacket for my entire life — a once-fuzzy buffalo plaid red-and-black woolen jacket.  No one in the family can remember a time he didn’t have it.  The jacket was probably at least 30 years old when I was born.  He wore it when it was bitter cold — one story was that when it was well below zero one wintry morning in Burley, Idaho, it was the only coat he wore to walk to his furniture and appliance store to make sure the pipes hadn’t frozen, a walk of about a mile each way.  It was too cold to start the car.

After he moved to Utah it was his usual gardening and yard-work coat on cold mornings.  I know he took it on a few campouts with my Scout troop, and I’ll wager it went along on camping trips with my older brothers and sister 20 years before that.  I remember my father sitting warm in that jacket on cold mornings around the campfire.

We had a peach tree in the back yard in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  Frosts would come on those mountain slopes when the peaches were just ripened.  I have memories of my father picking peaches in the jacket.  He’d slice the peaches for our breakfast.  No peach has ever been sweeter or more flavorful (but I keep searching).  I remember my father in his buffalo plaid jacket, his arms full of ripe, cold peaches, coming through the kitchen door, and the smile on his face.

The red buffalo plaid coat was so much a symbol of my father that, at his death in 1988, it was one of those objects we nearly fought over.  My niece Tamara ended up with it.

I have one, now.  It’s a good L. L. Bean version, with the wool much thicker than my father’s well-worn version.  After 20 years it still looks new, compared to his.  I suspect it always will.  It could never be warmer than his.

Special tip of the old scrub brush to Dr. Pamela Bumsted.

10 Responses to 2009 winners of the Rachel Carson “Sense of Wonder” arts contest

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    More on buffalo plaid as a fashion frenzy in 2009 and 2010, here:

    Tip of the old scrub brush to Heidi Totten’s Facebook files.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think it was Woolrich. I think I’d remeber that brand. The old Utah Woolen Mills shop carried Woolrich everything, and I found great bargains there when I attended the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City — it’s a brand name I watch for.

    The jacket was very simple — like the smaller check on the kid in the photo. It had two breast pockets, no side pockets.

    And as you can see from the discussion, we don’t know where the thing is now.


  3. mpb says:

    Was the jacket a Woolrich? The old Woolrich were pretty special. My Dad had a Woolrich red “deer jacket” which is actually a bird jacket, I think. It has a game pocket across the back that I used to store books in when crossing Beloit College (Wisconsin) campus in winter. Also, two hand warmer pockets, two patch pockets, a zipper split hood which could be snapped to make a stand up collar to keep ears warm….

    Alas, everything is in deep storage.


  4. Tamara Gibo says:

    I think we should have an auction, or raffle, or “Buffalo Plaid Lottery.” There must be some way to transfer ownership and ensure it ends up in my hands….


  5. Sif says:

    My first guess would be Dwight. I think he’s just moved into a new home; perhaps there has been a recent sighting. Check it out with him – and let us know.


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    So who has the jacket?


  7. Tamara Gibo says:

    In the spring, Grandpa would wear that buffalo plaid jacket every Sunday morning for our weekly foray in the orchards in search of wild asparagus. I still remember the smell on my fingers as we emptied our Wonder Bread bag full of those sweet, thin spears.

    I haven’t purchased any that come close to the flavor of our Sunday treasures, but we do use asparagus in the “Paul Darrell” sushi roll we serve as a special on his birthday.

    I wish I did end up with that jacket. I would have it framed. I only got his blue plaid night gown, his one and only Hawaiian print shirt, a silk hankie, and a yellow and magenta tie.

    By the way, Truck loved the peaches too. The ones that ended up on the ground would ferment into become tortoise booze.


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t think I’d heard the tortoise story. Truck?

    Peaches have been bad in Texas this year, too. The best ones are worse than the worst ones we’d get in Pleasant Grove. Babe’s, a very popular mostly fried chicken joint, has a sign posted that the peaches are so bad they won’t make peach cobbler.


  9. Sif says:

    Lovely post. Your memories are dear. We’ve been looking for those perfect peaches this year, too, and found only two during the season. Buffalo plaid rules – thanks for the photo. The energy feels a lot like that of Paul.

    Peaches were also important when a flight attendant wouldn’t allow Tamara to board a plane in Utah with a box containing a tortoise; Dolly took out a marking pen and wrote “Peaches” on the box, and another attendant allowed it through.


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