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Veverka's Blog for Heritage Interpreters

Thanks for a great year - more to come for 2022.

3 January 2022 - Hi and welcome to my 2022 new years blog. It's bee n a tough year for most of us dealing with Covid and re-arranging our daily lives. I had to adjust and re-tool too, not being able to travel to clients and do on-site training or planning proects. Here's a summary of JVA and InterpSHARE activities for this past year:

InterpNEWS in it's 11th year reached over 100K in 60 countries. We lost a lot of subscribers with CV shutting down their institutions and folks loosing jobs. Hopefully 2022 will be better.

- We now have 47 new college level interpretation training courses through my Heritage Interpretation Training Center with 42 course participants for 2021. I added several new courses. You can find them at my course catalog at:

New courses:
Interpretve Storytelling.
- Interpreting climate change issues to your visitors.
- Starting your own interpretive consulting business.
- Starting your own tourist guide business.
- Economices for Heritage Interpreters.

- Two new interpretive text books in the mill:
- Economics for Heritage Interpreters
- The Interpretive Exhibit Planners Toolbox.

I started a new Blog - this one - now reaching over 1000 interpreters.

- I started the new Climate Crisis/interpretation Resource Center:

What climate crsis - no water in CA?

- I started a new Mentor program with Polaris to help coarch museum folks into interpretive career
changes. The mentor help is FREE.

- InterpSHARE - my new FREE interpretation seminars starts its 2nd season this January

My first
InterpSHARE for 12 January is on zoom at 1:00 - 2-00 Eastern time. Is Interpretation Stagnant? If you want to attand just send me an e-mail and I will send you the zoom joining link. I can send you the list for the rest of January.

What's coming for 2022? lots of new courses, books, and seminars. Here's what's planned for InterpNEWS for 2022 so far. Remember, subscriptions to IN are FREE.

March/April - eating insects (as most of the world does), May/June- Storytelling (how to develop your own stories to tell your visitors).

July/August Lost Civiliations (who built them?) - September/October
In Search of Ancient Aliens.

So that's a taste of what InterpNEWS is up to for 2022 with a surprise Christmas Issue.

Isle of Aaron - Scotland.

l need to copy and paste the links)

InterpSHARE - my free interpretive seminars - New InterpSHARE free seminars are ready for January. I sent out details but if you missed them send me an e-mail - JV

Time to share a good story.


Darkness caused by dino-killing asteroid snuffed out life on Earth in 9 months
By Mindy Weisberger published 11 days ago

As sunlight dimmed, plants and animals died.

Following the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, parts of the planet would have been plunged into darkness.

The years following the asteroid impact that wiped out non-avian dinosaurs were dark times — literally. Soot from raging wildfires filled the sky and blocked the sun, directly contributing to the wave of extinctions that followed, new research has The Cretaceous period (145 million to 66 million years ago) ended with a bang when an asteroid traveling at approximately 27,000 mph (43,000 km/h) slammed into Earth. It measured about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) in diameter, and left behind a scar known as the Chicxulub crater, which lies underwater in the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatán Peninsula and spans at least 90 miles (150 km) in diameter. The impact eventually snuffed out at least 75% of life on Earth, including all non-avian dinosaurs (the lineage that produced modern birds is the only branch of the dinosaur family tree that weathered the extinction).found.

After the asteroid struck, around 66 million years ago, the cataclysm extinguished many forms of life instantly. But the impact also caused environmental changes leading to mass extinctions that played out over time. One such extinction trigger may have been the dense clouds of ash and particles that spewed into the atmosphere and spread over the planet, which would have enveloped parts of Earth in darkness that could have persisted for up to two years.

During that time photosynthesis would have failed, leading to ecosystem collapse. And even after sunlight returned, this decline could have persisted for decades more, according to research presented Dec. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), held in New Orleans and online.

Garbage dump' discovered in ancient Egyptian tomb dedicated to fertility goddess
By Laura Geggel

The dump is 3,500 years old.

Archaeologists unexpectedly found the rubbish heap in a tomb within the 3,500-year-old Hathor cult complex, a three-temple complex that sits within the Hatshepsut Temple at Deir el-Bahari (also spelled Deir el-Bahri), near Luxor. Even though the dump was hidden in an early Middle Kingdom tomb, many of the artifacts in the dump date to the New Kingdom, which includes the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties that ruled from the 16th century B.C. to the 11th century B.C.

Many of these artifacts are votive offerings — special objects, like figurines, purposefully left for deities, religious leaders or establishments — that people in ancient Egypt gave to Hathor, the goddess of fertility

"The deposit of votive offerings to Hathor discovered in this tomb indicates that this part of Hatshepsut's temple was not used for worship and was treated as a place to dump rubbish," said Patryk Chudzik, the director of the Polish-Egyptian Archaeological and Conservation Expedition to the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari, and an archaeologist with the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Warsaw (PCMA UW).

The female ruler Hatshepsut often invoked Hathor, so it's no surprise she had a chapel dedicated to the goddess at the temple, according to the World History Encyclopedia.

Chudzik's team discovered the Middle Kingdom tomb with the rubbish heap in spring of 2021, while investigating the Hathor cult complex, and working to conserve and reconstruct it, especially for its public opening to the Hathor Shrine.

"When we found it, the tomb was filled with rock debris," as well as a vast number of artifacts from the early Middle Kingdom, votive offerings to Hathor from the New Kingdom and the remains of a late 20th-dynasty burial, Chudzik told Live Science in an email. "The oldest materials from the votive offerings to Hathor are dated to the 18th dynasty, while the others were made during the reign of the 19th and 20th-dynasty pharaohs," he said.


Flecks of silver in poop of ancient Cambrian creature baffle scientists
By Harry Baker published 11 days ago

How did metal get into this worm's poop 500 million years ago?

Researchers were baffled when they found shiny specks of silver in fossilized worm poop, because there is no known explanation for how the wiggly creatures could have made it.

The silver specks were found in coprolites, or fossilized feces, that were embedded in a lagerstätte — a deposit of exceptionally preserved fossils that sometimes includes fossilized soft tissues — in the Mackenzie Mountains in Canada. The ancient dung was produced by tiny worms that lived below the seafloor when the region was covered by an ocean during the Cambrian period, between 543 million years to 490 million years ago.

The largest of the silver specks was around 300 micrometers wide (for comparison, a human hair is between 17 and 180 micrometers wide) — sizable for the excrement of such a small creature, according to a statement..

The discovery of silver inside coprolites was "very surprising," lead researcher Julien Kimmig, an assistant research professor at the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at PennState, told Live Science. "It's the first time we've ever seen this."

The researchers were initially confused as to which animal the coprolites belonged to. But after slicing through the rock samples, they came across fossilized worms still in their burrows, which would have been built below the seafloor.


Impeccably preserved dinosaur embryo looks as if it 'died yesterday'
By Laura Geggel published 12 days ago

The embryo's position shows it was getting ready to hatch.

About 70 million years ago, a wee ostrich-like dinosaur wriggled inside its egg, putting itself into the best position to hatch. But that moment never came; the embryo, dubbed "Baby Yingliang," died and remained in its egg for tens of millions of years, until researchers found its fossilized remains in China.

Researchers have discovered many ancient dinosaur eggs and nests over the past century, but Baby Yingliang is one of a kind. "This skeleton is not only complete from the tip of the snout to the end of its tail; it is curled in a life pose within its egg as if the animal died just yesterday," said study co-researcher Darla Zelenitsky, an assistant professor of paleontology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.

This curled-up pose is what interests researchers. Living bird embryos are known to move into the best position, known as tucking behaviors, to help them hatch from their eggs. But these behaviors had never been documented in dinosaurs, until now.

"The discovery of this embryo hints that some pre-hatching behaviours (e.g. tucking), which were previously considered unique to birds, may be rooted more deeply in dinosaurs many tens or hundreds of millions of years ago," study co-lead researcher Fion Waisum Ma, a doctoral student of paleobiology at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, told Live Science in an email.

Baby Yingliang's egg — unearthed in the city of Ganzhou, in southeastern China, in 2000 — wasn't analyzed until 2015. That's when Yingliang Group, a Chinese stone company that had acquired the egg and put it into storage, rediscovered the fossil during the construction of Yingliang Stone Natural History Museum, a public museum in Xiamen, China.

"Fossil preparation was conducted and revealed the beautiful skeleton of the embryo," Ma said. "It is one of the best-preserved dinosaur embryos ever reported in science."

The embryo of the oviraptorid — a bipedal, toothless, bird-like, feathered dinosaur — measured nearly 11 inches (27 centimeters) long, but it was curled up to fit into its 6.7-inch-long (17 centimeters) oval egg. The skeleton was scrunched up, with its head lying on the dino's abdomen and its legs on each side of the head. It appears to be a late-stage embryo, "which roughly correlates to a 17-day-old chicken embryo (which hatches on day 21)," Ma said in the email.

Baby Yingliang's unique position suggests a pre-hatching strategy similar to that of chickens and other modern birds. "Before this study, we really didn't know how dinosaurs were positioned in their eggs because previous fossil embryos were too fragmented," Zelenitsky told Live Science in an email. "Now we can see quite nicely that oviraptorid dinosaurs had bird-like postures while incubating inside their eggs."


This Giraffe-Sized Reptile Was the Largest Flying Creature to Ever Live
The pterosaur likely launched itself about eight feet off the ground before
flapping away, solving the mystery of how these creatures could even fly at all

Rasha Aridi
Daily Correspondent

Quetzalcoatlus—a member of the ancient group of flying reptiles called pterosaurs—was the largest flying creature to ever live. This giraffe-sized reptile had thin limbs, a terrifyingly long beak and a whopping 40-foot wingspan.

Though Quetzalcoatlus was discovered around 50 years ago, scientists have had a tricky time piecing together details of this creature's life—including how it even managed to lift its giant body off the ground to fly, Megan Marples reports for CNN.

A new collection of research published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology offers the most comprehensive information on Quetzalcoatlus yet.

"This ancient flying reptile is legendary, although most of the public conception of the animal is artistic, not scientific," Kevin Padian, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley, says in a press release. "This is the first real look at the entirety of the largest animal ever to fly, as far as we know. The results are revolutionary for the study of pterosaurs—the first animals, after insects, ever to evolve powered flight."

Part of the reason it has taken so long to unearth Quetzalcoatlus' secrets is because, like modern flyers, it had hollow bones that helped it fly.

"You have these sort of potato chip-like bones preserved in very hard rock, and you've got to remove the bones from the rock without destroying them," Matthew Brown, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Texas in Austin, tells CNN.

Upon analyzing their collection of bones excavated from Big Bend National Park in Texas, the team discovered two new pterosaur species. One of them was a second, smaller type of Quetzalcoatlus, which had a wingspan reaching 20 feet. They attributed a few hundred bones to the smaller Quetzalcoatlus, leaving only a few dozen bones belonging to the larger one. However, the team was able to reconstruct a skeleton for the new species and infer what the larger one looked like, according to the press release.

Then, with the help of an aerospace engineer and a biomechanic, the team of paleontologists learned how Quetzalcoatlus managed to fly, Jordan Mendoza reports for USA Today.

With the help of an aerospace engineer and a biomechanic, the team of paleontologists was able to discern how the species flew by studying models and applying physics principles. Kevin Padian et al / John Conway

Paleontologists have previously presented ideas about how the giant reptile took off, such as running and flapping its wings or lurching forward on its wingtips like a vampire bat. The new research suggests that the creature crouched and then launched itself eight feet in the air, giving it enough space from the ground to flap its wings and lift off, George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo.

"(The team) applied a lot of the aerospace knowledge to understanding how something like airfoil works and how much speed you need to generate lift," Brown tells USA Today.

Once the reptiles were airborne, they could fly well. "Pterosaurs have huge breastbones, which is where the flight muscles attach, so there is no doubt that they were terrific flyers," Padian says in the press release.



More than 300 smuggled tarantulas, scorpions and giant cockroaches seized
from luggage in Colombia

By Mindy Weisberger published 13 days ago

Authorities found hundreds of spiders concealed in plastic tubs.

Tarantulas were among the over 300 living arthropods that authorities recently confiscated at Colombia's El Dorado International Airport. (Image credit: Colombia Department of Environment)

Hundreds of Colombian tarantulas, giant cockroaches and scorpions that were crammed into a suitcase and illegally bound for Europe were seized last week by authorities at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, Colombia.

Airport police spotted the living cargo in luggage belonging to two German citizens who were leaving the country, and they alerted the Ministry of Environment, agency representatives said in a statement on Dec. 2.

Authorities then confiscated more than 300 animals in 210 plastic containers that the travelers had stored between rolls of film. The tubs held 232 spiders — trapdoor spiders and tarantulas — 67 giant cockroaches, a scorpion with seven young, and nine spider eggs, according to the statement.

Though the German citizens claimed that they were transporting the arthropods to In September, Colombian authorities foiled another illegal export operation, confiscating 3,493 shark fins and 256 pounds (117 kilograms) of fish swim bladders that were headed from Bogotá's airport to Hong Kong.

The airport "continues to be a focus of attention for wildlife trafficking in Bogotá," Secretary Urrutia Vásquez said in the statement. In 2021 alone, officials recovered more than 11,000 trafficked specimens at the El Dorado International Airport; of those, 7,058 were living, ministry officials reported.Germany for research, they did not have the proper authorization for removing the animals from the country, ministry officials said.


Nature Detectives

janice kelley (
I am restarting a weekly nature education program for kids afterschool this week.

Nature Detectives programs, products and free resources give children in kindergarten through third grade the freedom to explore the outdoor world through inquiry-based learning that extends far beyond the classroom, pages of a book or screen.

Our programs blend art, literacy, science and stories as we: learn new ways to observe, increase our sensory awareness and develop meaningful relationships with the outdoor world in a loosely structured, high-touch format. They discover the connections that exist in nature and their role as a pa
rt of our world.

Browse our website for activities, art projects, creative writing journals, and other simple ways you can share nature experiences – as provider at your site or as a parent or grandparent with your child.

Veverka Note: Janice is a HITC Alumni and a super teacher/interpreter. It gives me great plasure to share her new program for children with you all and her contact details. Be sure to check out her website. John V.


Veverka Updates 3 January 2022

John is pleased to have been selected to become a Technical Service Member
of the PUP Global Heritage Consortium. John will provide technical services for projects involving heritage interpretation planning and training.

The PUP Global Heritage Consortium unites people and organizations dedicated to introducing emerging paradigms in heritage management and planning. It focuses on stemming the tide of non-implemented natural and cultural heritage management plans and transitioning to a more holistic, integral management approach. Ultimately this improves conservation of biological and cultural diversity. PUP Global Heritage Consortium - Home (


I recently had the pleasure of joining the Polaris Museum Mentor Network. The network helps link up folks looking to enter the museum field or thinking about museum career changes, with experienced professions (mentors) in the museum or heritage field. Having taught University Courses (and mentored students in heritage interpretation) I was/am happy to become a mentor for folks looking to work in museums or within Heritage Interpretation fields. To learn more about Polaris and either "look for a mentor" or donate hour time to be a mentor, you can visit their web site for more information.
The mentoring services are provided FREE.


John Veverka - 3 January 2022. Based on the recent hurricane (extreme weather) and the extreme flooding occurring (1-3 September), you may be interested in two of our InterpNEWS special climate publications on the Climate Crisis. One resource issue on Extreme Weather and one issue on Climate and Flooding. These two publications are available as PDF' for FREE. Visit our Climate Change Resource Center for more climate issues. If you want these two issues just send me an e-mail with your e-mail and I will send them to you (


Veverka -3 January 202 - Interpretive Planning Textbooks at the Heritage Interpretation Bookstore.

I have a library of Interpretive Planning e-Textbook that I use as texts for my interpretive training courses. Subjects include: Interpretive Master Planning, Advanced Interpretive Planning, The Interpretive Trails Book, Interpretive Writing Text Book and others. You can visit the Book Store Web Site to check them out.




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