I truly enjoyed "Leave No Child Inside" (5/4/07). Gaylord Nelson, favorite son of Wisconsin and father of Earth Day, said, "The most important environmental issue is one rarely mentioned - the lack of a conservation ethic in our culture." In an era of videogames and other competing interests, this statement has never been more accurate.
Studies have proved that providing children with early and frequent nature experiences has a direct impact on their future conservation ethic. Here in Wisconsin, it is critical that we foster an appreciation for the environment in our children, as they will play an integral role in preserving this state's great outdoor areas for future generations.
The state's Department of Natural Resources is hard at work connecting our kids to the natural world.
The DNR Warden Service actually has an initiative called "No Child Left Inside," which has provided youth with outdoor experience. We have emphasized events such as the Learn to Hunt Program, the National Archery in the Schools Program, and the Youth Outdoor Education Expo.
The DNR also features an angler education program that ties Wisconsin's fishing tradition to the state's academic standards and holds teacher education workshops.
In addition, we promote free fishing and open house for our state parks (no license or stickers required) during the weekend of June 2-3, 2007, so that kids and their families can experience the joys of Wisconsin's outdoors together.
Because of initiatives like these and those featured in your story, I'm heartened about the conservation ethic we are instilling in today's generation.
Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Thank you for highlighting the disturbing trend of "nature deficit disorder." In recognition of their leadership roles in nature education, Madison's own Aldo Leopold Nature Center and the UW Arboretum participated in the inaugural "National Dialogue on Children and Nature" in 2006.
National representatives from business, health, education and environmental communities came together to investigate how their collective efforts might improve access to the outdoors.
Madison and south-central Wisconsin are ripe for similar partnerships. Special programs like the nonprofit consortium Nature Net (www.naturenet.com) exist to help parents and teachers connect kids to the land. In particular, "Nature Net News," a monthly e-newsletter for families, gives readers all the tips, tools and encouragement they need for visits to local nature sites and seasonal activities; and "Nature Passport," a free summer scavenger hunt at local parks, provides outdoor fun and exploration for young and old alike.
Aldo Leopold once wrote: "There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot." Thanks to the support of a concerned and involved community and a plethora of terrific natural places, we in Madison are "those who cannot!"
Kathe Crowley Conn president & executive director, Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Nature Net
For Rich Albertoni to suggest ("The Crystal Corner Turns 60," 4/27/07) that Kenton Peters' flouting-the-law conversion of a warehouse into condos is the very thing that sparked a downtown renaissance of music and food is so laughably off the wall as to cause anyone who's been around Madison for more than a few years to say: "What?!"
It was more than 20 years ago when my wife and I were between houses that we rented a condo in Randy Alexander and Todd McGrath's Canal Place project. The downtown renaissance was well on its way then, thanks to the efforts of people like Todd and Randy. Everybody else is a Johnny-come-lately.
Gene R. Rankin
Regarding the cover photo on Dining (4/27/07), your restaurant guide to the Madison area: Whoever picked that photo doesn't own a dog or a cat.
My husband and I love the Dining Guide. Frequently when facing the dilemma of where to go for dinner, we'll flip open the Dining Guide and go to whichever restaurant the page is open to. This has led us to a lot of new and fun dining experiences. We thank you!
Steve and Tammie Kasdorf
Rich Albertoni has unwittingly revealed the problems endemic to the youngest adult generation in his profile of the band We the Living: that a generation raised on mediated experience has completely lost the ability to think critically ("After the Profits," 5/4/07).
John Paul Roney - like two or three kids under 30 that I meet each week - has an unhealthy obsession with Ayn Rand, a writer (and that's overly kind to someone who manages to be turgid, simple-minded and heavy-handed all at once) who couldn't possibly be more spiritually, morally or intellectually bankrupt.
Her pathetic philosophy champions egoism, capitalism, and selfishness while viewing altruism as a vice. That all works real well if you are a white upper-middle-class male with rich parents to fall back on; and it's the reason Ronald Reagan and the neoconservative/libertarian whack jobs cite her as a big influence.
Roney also displays the egotism necessary to having the Christ-complex of his hero Bono. (Is there a more empty-headed boor in music these last 30 years than Bono?) It's no wonder Mike Droho left the band.
Roney's statement that it's "a shame we can't be friends" is tantamount to placing the blame on the other guy. Bono and Howard Roark would be proud, but I'll be out on the patio talking to the adults when Roney's band is opening for one of my favorites at the High Noon.
Not the first
Vince O'Hern: Madison is not the first Sundance Cinema in the U.S. (Making the Paper, 5/11/07). A San Francisco theater, the Kabuki, was taken over by Sundance several years ago.