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I'm a New York City based kidlit writer, diver & adventurer. I love sharing the mysteries of the deep with kids of all ages who love adventure.

If I could live anywhere I wanted to, it would be at the bottom of the ocean or in a tree house that I designed myself.

If I were a character in a novel, I'd choose a middle grade adventure novel, just like the kind I like to write! 


An Adventure In Thinking About Water and Electricity!

An Adventure In Thinking About Water and Electricity!

I am back home in Brooklyn, writing and settling into my fall schedule, which means it's time to catch up with my blog! I have so many adventures that I want to share with you. 

This summer, I had the chance to visit an ecolodge in Bonaire. Bonaire is a small island off the coast of Venezuela. Unlike many other islands, it has a dry, arid climate, like a desert. In fact, you can see lots of cactus everywhere on the island!

A Fence Made Out Of Cactus!

Photo Credit: Liz Summit, 2016

Are you surprised to learn that there were cactuses on an island? I was! I think of islands as lush, tropical rainforests. So, I learned a lot about Bonaire's local ecosystem, the local environment and the living things that call that place home, while I was there. 

The road in Washington Slagbaai National Park

Photo Credit: Liz Summit, 2016

The Auriga Ecolodge is located in the kunuku, the farm area of Bonaire. Hans, who built the ecolodge wanted to preserve and protect the environment. He also wanted visitors to think about their relationship to the island they are visiting. So, he bought land that he has allowed to stay wild. On the edges of that, he has built an ecolodge.

Maybe you've stayed in a nice hotel or motel with air-conditioning and maybe a pool? This is the opposite of that! 

Everything about the ecolodge is set up to help you think about nature and your impact on the environment.

It was a fantastic adventure. And, it helped me to think about water, electricity, and my relationship to the environment in all new ways!

I live in New York City. If I want lights, I flip a switch. At the end of the day, I charge my laptop, my tablet, and my phone without even thinking about it. If I want to watch t.v., I hit a button. The only time I really think about energy is when my phone battery is dead and I have to find someplace to charge it! If I want water, I just turn on the tap.

The ecolodge is set up to help you think about where these things come from! Let's go on a tour!

Here is the ecolodge. It's an old horse stable! It has a kitchen, two bedrooms, two outdoor seating areas, a bathroom, and an outdoor shower. But the absolute best part of the ecolodge is the star gazing platform (more on that in a few)! 

 

At the ecolodge, I had to think about two important things: water and electricity. All of the water I would use during my stay was in a cistern on the roof. The cistern is a big, black container. You can't see how much water is inside. So, I needed to THINK about how much water I was using to cook, to take showers, and to brush my teeth. The electricity was solar powered and came from solar panels on the roof. Luckily, Bonaire has a lot of sun. But, again, I needed to THINK about charging my phone and my laptop. And, I especially needed to think about when I wanted to run the fan to cool down. 

 

There's a lot to do at an ecolodge. First, I would get up every morning and crawl up the ladder to the stargazing platform! (It's called a stargazing platform, but it was good at sunrise, all during the day, and at night!). From there, I got a great look at the iguanas. They were all around us and liked to catch the sun: in a tree, on a cactus, and even on the solar panels! 

There was also time to take a shower in the outdoor shower! Yes! An outdoor shower! It was so cool (Don't worry: the doors close. And, there was no one around!)! And there was time to cook. After I made breakfast, I would take the scraps to feed the pigs, who live on the property. 

In between, there was time for reading, relaxing in the hammock, finding cool critters like hermit crabs and iguanas. It was also a great way to reconnect with nature, really thinking about where my water and electricity come from. I think this experience will help me to conserve more and be more aware of saving both water and electricity. 

Of course, there is also always time for writing! Here I am working in the upstairs living room (with an awesome view). And, here I am in my favorite place at the ecolodge. The star gazing platform! 

Rebuilding Coral Reefs, One Coral At A Time

Rebuilding Coral Reefs, One Coral At A Time

What "Nature" Looks Like

What "Nature" Looks Like