Joe Paddock's collection of poetry "Dark Dreaming, Global Dimming" focuses on both birds, and the fate of our environment, and the many instances in which the two are interlinked. A native of Litchfield, Minnesota, he and his wife now live in the same house where he grew up. Years ago he served as "poet in residence" for MPR's Worthington station. I chose the poem "Mass Extinction" both for its bittersweet tone and for the fact it refers to a public radio reporter as "cruel" (I love it!). Upon doing a little research, I found out there's more to this story. Read the poem, and then keep reading to find out what I learned.
Earth is currently losing something on the order of 30,000 species per year - some three species per hour.
And maybe 15 years ago,
blurry now in memory, the story
on public radio, in Hawaii,
of a last bird of its kind - I can't
remember its name -
had been discovered, and
the reporter and guide,
were listening to, recording
its song. I do remember clearly
the full richness of its warble,
somehow tired and forelorn, a song
that continues in me, sounding
down through the years,
only in me. The bird, the last
of its species, a male, lost
in the hormonal fires
of his breeding season, lonely,
singing to call in a mate, one
that didn't exist, that wasn't,
and he sang and he sang, and cruel,
the reporter and biologist,
then played for the longing bird,
a recording, an echo
from out of the past,
of a full-throated female response,
and O! how the male bird then burst
into glorious song!
- "Mass Extinction," by Joe Paddock, as it appears in his book Dark Dreaming, Global Dimming published by Red Dragonfly Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.
So when I read this poem, I immediately recognized that this must have been one of the stories Alex Chadwick reported back when NPR and National Geographic were partnering for their series "Radio Expeditions." Sure enough, I quickly found the story Paddock must have been thinking of when he wrote his poem. But look at the story synopsis:
In the latest National Geographic Radio Expedition, NPR's Alex Chadwick reports on an extremely rare bird species in Hawaii. The Po'ouli can live only in the most remote areas of the islands. Scientists have found THREE birds...two females and one male. Conservationists plan to either mate the birds in captivity, or bring them together in the wild and hoping the birds form a mating pair.
Momentarily I rejoiced, but I should have known better. A search of the phrase "Po'Ouli bird" quickly told me that the birds never reproduced, and as of 2004 are believed to be extinct.
Does the added information add to or take away from Paddock's poem? In this case, neither, I think. His poem is still just as bittersweet, and the truth of the bird's extinction just as real.
Posted at 3:32 PM on August 16, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Funding
Well, it was great while it lasted. And frankly, it's still pretty darn good.
What used to be a free transaction on GiveMN will soon have a 2.9% charge associated with it.
For the past nine months GiveMN's website has become a clearinghouse for Minnesota nonprofits, creating a central location for people to give to their favorite charity or arts organization. And for all this time, neither the organization nor the donor has been charged any sort of transaction fee; 100% of each contribution went straight to its intended recipient.
Starting October 1, that's going to change.
GiveMN's site is run by the server provider Razoo, and up until now its financial transactions have been handled by the organization Network for Good, which charges a 4.75% handling fee. The funders of GiveMN, a group of foundations, have been paying that fee so that the nonprofits could get the whole benefit of donors' generosity.
GiveMN announced back in April that its original budget couldn't cover the costs of the vast number of transactions it was soon supporting.
Since November 17, 2009, the site has transacted approximately 18 million dollars in donations, made by 50,000 people to 4,000 nonprofits. Almost 3,000 nonprofits now use the site regularly for their fundraising. Note: the vast majority of that giving - 14 million of it - was made on Give to the Max day last November.
Starting October 1, Network for Good will be replaced by U.S. Bank,
which is offering its services for a significantly lower 2.9% transaction fee. which will allow Razoo to offer its services for a significantly lower 2.9% transaction rate.
GiveMN Executive Director Dana Nelson says she's thrilled with the new arrangement.
Basically, they're donating their services to GiveMN and Razoo. A credit card transaction rate is made up by a bunch of different costs, so what they're doing is eliminating their part of that cost.
Nelson says 2.9% is one of the best rates, if not the best rate on the market.
In order to become fully sustainable, the organizations receiving donations via GiveMN will now get their donation, minus the 2.9% transaction fee. Nelson says while she would have loved to be able to continue to cover the fees forever, this is still a very good deal for small nonprofits looking to streamline online contributions.
At this time we're just so excited to be able to offer one of the best rates we can. The value of the service - no set up fees, great social media tools, fundraiser pages and project pages - all provided without any cost to the user... that's a lot to offer non-profits in MN.
Nelson says funders might step forward to cover transaction fees for particular fundraising projects or events, but she doesn't see GiveMN returning to a transaction-free model again in the future.
50,256: that's how many tickets were issued during this year's Minnesota Fringe Festival.
It's the first time the festival has issued more than 50,000 tickets in its 17-year history.
That's an 8.7% increase in attendance over last year's festival.
I say "issued" instead of "sold" because a portion of those tickets are comps.
The number of people attending the Fringe went up as well; nearly 17,000 festival admission buttons were issued in 2010 compared to last years 15,267. That means the average button holder attended roughly three shows.
Finally, the Minnesota Fringe Festival took in 12.9% more cash this year, too. The 169 productions earned over $355,000 in ticket sales over the course of 11 days.