Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to Keep a Moon Journal and Support Community Radio at the Same Time

Note: This program first aired on November 1, 2013.

Its Funathon, the time of year when WERU raises the money it needs to keep itself going. And when I say, itself, I really mean everyone involved in the station, volunteers like me, professional staff, listeners around the state and the globe, business members and underwriters. We are all part of this ongoing project, this experiment in community building through radio waves.

Fall is the time when we hopefully stop running around like crazy, like we did all summer, when it gets cold enough and dark enough to hunker down around the woodstove, when we can take a moment to give thanks to those people and things that enrich our lives. As a listener, but even more so as a programmer, I am incredibly thankful to WERU for letting me do what I do week after week. I’ve talked about transgendered fish, glaciers and ancient volcanoes, baby birds and frog eating snakes, seasonal flu and the human microbiome. I’ve kids talking about science topics on their minds. I talk about sperm and eggs and sex on the air on a regular basis. Where else would this be encouraged, but on community radio?

Today’s show is all about action, things I want you to do. First I want you to call 1 800 643 6273 and make a pledge of financial support to this radio station. If you value locally produced news and short features like this program, now is the time to pony up. If you appreciate the coverage of science and nature topics on the air, let the station know by calling in or pledging on line now. You will feel better, knowing that you are even that much more engaged in the programing you appreciate. Pledging takes you from the role of passive listener to active participant, and we thank you for that support.

Now, for the rest of the show, I have another way for you to make that leap from passive to active as well. In the next few weeks I will be doing a short series on the moon. To get this series started, I want to begin with an experiment in everyday science. I want you, the listener to watch the moon, and keep a moon journal. All you need to do is, when you see the moon, you note what time it is, where it is in the sky, and what it looks like, what shape it is. Do this over time, a month at least, and if you skip a day, it doesn’t matter. There are plenty of cloudy days when you won’t see the moon. Just keep track of when you do see it.

What you will find is, once you collect this data for a while, you will begin to notice patterns.  The moon is incredibly regular in its patterns, and being on a monthly cycle, it enables us with our short attention spans to actually be able to follow them. After noticing the lunar cycle patterns, you will find yourself starting to make predictions, having expectations about when you are going to see the moon, where it will be in the sky and what it will look like. At that moment, you will have crossed the threshold from being a passive observer to having an active relationship with the moon. And I can tell you, it is incredibly gratifying when the moon is exactly where you expect it to be, when your expectation is based on your own observations and hypotheses. That is your homework, in preparation for the upcoming lunar shows. Having your own learning in process will make whatever I say to you that much more valuable.

So take this time to become an active participant in community radio, and an active participant in the world around you, around us all. It is a win, win, win situation, and I thank you in advance for your support.

PS, You can go online at and make a donation at any time!