Tag Archives: education

Enjoying Art in Siouxland, Buena Vista University

11 Jan

Student artwork on display in the Social Sciences and Art Hall at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Whenever I am in a college town traveling about Siouxland, and there are a few, I always like to stop into that institution’s art department building and see what students are creating. It’s always a joy. Whether photography, sculpture, or painting. It’s nice to see a person’s take on life. And during a visit to the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was also struck by where the art was seen. I assumed it was time to change the pieces on display and so some waited on the floor until they are hung. That to me created another dynamic in art. It’s display. I found it just as interesting even though I assumed this would not be for the duration. It still gave me pause and got me to think about presentation. And certainly got my attention.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Understanding Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

9 Jan

Many times I have visited the community of Storm Lake where Buena Vista University is located. It’s a nice looking campus, situated near a lake and a city park and contains many interesting elements in and of itself. One place on campus I have not checked out what a science center.

Natural science items on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Alaskan brown bear on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students learn science by doing according to online information. I was surprised by the number of stuffed animals on display, as well as a few skeletal remains exhibited too. Walking by classrooms and viewing the taxidermy students seemed very engaged in their learning process. And seeing items posted in a hallway it seems students get a chance to put their theory into practice. Posted photos showed students in the field learning and performing field tasks.

The skeletal remains of a white rhinoceros on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of animal busts on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally love education. There is all sorts to be had, not all of which requires an extended amount of time studying in institutions of higher learning. But my own college education was something I still draw from to this day. The experiences, people, both student and instructor and for the first time using my noodle to decipher and understand a much larger world around me than I could even imagine growing up at home. While I might not have directly used my higher education in pursuit of my career, its foundation and learning the ability to critically think and understand and improve my comprehension of various matters have helped me immensely as I have traveled through life. And I also find that even though my collegiate years are decades behind me, I am still learning and striving to critically assess and understand life events that unfold around me and help inform me to better understand the world I am living in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The skeletal remains of an African elephant on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man and Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

24 Dec

I always like seeing objects in juxtaposition to one another and how, mostly differences, can stand out if one takes the time to notice. During a trip to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was admiring one of the campus buildings and its sleek modern glass and steel look. Situated within an area of trees that were turning color.

Seeing the contrast between nature and a building of glass and steel, the Estelle Siebens Science Center, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man’s relationship with nature is a complicated one. At least it seems to have become that way. Some folk just want to strip nature bare and reap whatever profits are there for the taking without being good land stewards and without much thought, leaving that heavy lifting to someone else. In some places planners seemed to realize the two need to work in harmony and attempt to make that happen. Whether it is successful or not depends on who is viewing and if they are paying any attention. Either from the outside looking in, or the inside looking out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature outside, maybe looking in the glass and steel building on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Seeing Perspective in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm lake

12 Nov

No matter how many times I visit a place in Siouxland, I always find something I have missed or want to revisit. And sometimes I find myself using the compositional technique of framing to help solidify what I want a viewer to see. Other times its placement of a subject within a frame using negative space to help reinforce where a viewer’s eye should go. But then again, a viewer might disagree with me. But I always enjoy the challenge and better yet, just getting out and revisiting a place and breathing some fresh air and enjoying the day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Checking out views through the Victory Arch of the Schaller Memorial Chapel on campus at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Victory Arch on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A poem on a bronze plaque affixed to the Victory Arch asking students to do well but be their own beacons of light and freedom as they graduate from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Supporting Agriculture in Siouxland, Dordt College in Sioux Center

20 May

Every spring Dordt College in Sioux Center hosts an Ag Day, which coincides with part of its educational mission in helping sustain agriculture in Siouxland and in general. There are at times a variety of equipment parked on campus, new stuff and old stuff.

Some older tractors were on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A large 24 row planter pulled by an equally large tractor which contrasts with older equipment also on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What caught my eye walking about this particular day was remnants of a recent spring snow and the ever remaining low temperatures that made winter reluctant to cede to the coming spring.

A pile of snow from a late snow storm is still melting during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

This particular day I arrived early in the day as I had an appointment elsewhere and saw a large number of elementary students roaming campus, looking at a variety of exhibits, maybe sparking an interest in some form of agriculture or related field as they grow and sharing a love of a land that encompasses Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children check out goats during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A young boy shows off a pet goat during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Chiuldren “play” on older farm equipment on display during Ag Day at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa Friday, April 27. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Siouxland History on the Roadside, Rural Sioux County

23 Nov

While up in rural Sioux County I drove by what appeared to be a former one-room school house. Sitting forlorn by the roadway. At one time a proud structure that was there to begin young people on their road to adulthood and citizenship for their local communities and county. Relics of a past, many older people I have talked with over the years have fond memories of attending such a school, and learned a lot from the dedicated teachers there and went on to become successful in their own right. They all learned a lot with little. Myself I attended the same one-room school house for one year that father had attended. Then that school district combined with others. I have memories of that year and sometimes think more about it that the two subsequent school districts I attended as more district combined. Just because it’s rural doesn’t necessarily mean it should be discarded or thought ill of. It is a different way of life, and when the United States was just beginning, these schools were a way for a sprawling nation to become educated and move the nation forward.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

What appears to be an abandoned former rural one room school house in rural O'Brien County, Iowa Saturday Nov. 5, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

What appears to be an abandoned former rural one room school house in rural Sioux County, Iowa Saturday Nov. 5, 2016. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland is a Community, Le Mars, Orange City

18 May

This past Saturday ended another 6-week class session that I teach at the local community college, Western Iowa Tech Community College. My short classes are offered through the Lifelong Learning program of the school and are not credit courses, but programs geared to adults and those retiring baby boomers who have an interest in something they want to pursue. Having worked for newspapers over 25 years, it has been an interesting and fun switch to teaching people how to further their knowledge about photography and learning to use their cameras to photograph an image how the individual sees it, as opposed to setting the camera on program and letting it decide how an image should turn out. I spend a lot of time on composition, learning to see light and shadow and how together they help create an image the photographer wants to share with viewers.

The Photo Safari class is one week longer than the others and allows me to give an introduction to some aspects of photography and then spend four weeks actually going on location to photograph. The last day of class we share photos we each made at the various locations. Since I also teach in classroom sessions about photography, this particular class is geared to being in the moment, on location, and the class meets whether it is sunny, hot, raining, or snowing. Barring a major storm of any kind, the class is geared to help the students photograph what is before them at that moment in time, and I am on location to help, offering suggestions if needed as well as talking about composition, light and shadow, and other various photographic techniques.

I find this class the most fun simply because the people attending it truly become a small community for 6 weeks. And while friendships are made in the other classes I teach, here as we wander around the downtown of different communities, state parks, preserves and various entities looking for a photograph, these like-minded individuals explore with each other and share what they are seeing as well as helping one another achieve their own personal vision. And come the final week, albeit sad because it is the last day, it is fun to see how everyone interprets the same geographic location on their own terms and what fascinates them about the places we visit, and then to say goodbye.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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