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By Claudette Sutton
Welcome, welcome, to the Summer 2020 Tumbleweeds all-digital issue! Needless to say this transition, like so many others these days, has been prompted by the COVID-19 crisis, but the implications are very exciting for us — and we think for you, too.
In this summer when rules about use of libraries, museums, parks, camps and other kid-friendly locales are in such flux, going digital gives families the most up-to-date and useful information possible — what you need, when you need it.
What will you find in here, in our 25th anniversary, first all-digital, issue?
A full range of summer articles for parents of infants through teens, plus many favorites from our archives. Articles are now shareable, with links throughout to relevant organizations, books, people and hands-on activities. Like an article? Leave a comment. See your child’s artwork or photo? Click! Send it to Grandma in Idaho.
Our colorful new family events calendar now includes photos and web links. Listings are scant so far compared to previous summers, but we’ll be adding more as organizations step into their “new normal” and begin scheduling more virtual and in-person events. You can add events to the calendar yourself now, through an easy-to-use form that lets you upload a photo at the same time.
Ads link straight to the advertiser's website, Facebook page or email, providing easy access to prices, product descriptions and program registrations.
Best of all, in this summer when uncertainty is the only certainty, everyone will have the ability to add or change ads, calendar entries, and camp directory listings at any time. We’ll continue offering seasonal releases, on September, December, March and June 1, with new articles in between. Quite a change after 25 years locked into quarterly print schedules!
All this called for a colorful new digital design, to capture the magic that Ann Hackett created in our print issue for so many years. Mari Angulo masterminded the print-to-web transition, having to let go of her self-professed “color phobia” along the way. (She succeeded.)
All together, we hope these changes will provide new ways to satisfy our oldest need: to connect with one another.
An interesting irony popped out while editing this issue’s articles with co-editor Kristen Cox Roby. While the medium is virtual, the message over and over is, “Get away from your screens and get outside!” After months of home-based schooling and sheltering-at-home, writers are encouraging us to take advantage of Santa Fe’s warmer days and nights to rejuvenate ourselves with time outdoors.
What better place to begin than in the sandbox? For the past few years, Sand Play Saturday at the Railyard has provided young kids and parents with the timeless pleasures of sand, water, sun and company, and the crowds proved its appeal. This year, as Kathryn York describes in A Better World Begins in the Sandbox, the Railyard Park Conservancy will comply with current gathering guidelines set by the governor, but the Railyard is open at any time for walks through the gardens and art installations.
Science educator Judy Reinhartz, of the Santa Fe Alliance for Science, steps it up by urging parents and teachers to put getting children outside on their to-do list. Her Let’s Go a’Wandering! describes several theme-based walks and exploratory games that encourage observation and discovery.
Whitney Spivey, outdoorswoman and mom of twins, takes us on Fab Four New Mexico Outings: Tsankawi at Bandelier National Monument, Pecos National Historical Park, Tent Rocks National Monument and Sulphur Springs at the Valles Caldera National Preserve, with pro tips on visiting with young children. The COVID-19 situation has restricted access to some of these locations, but we include them in hopes that they’ll reopen on at least a limited basis soon.
The Santa Fe Conservation Trust is also adjusting its summer schedule, hoping to offer its ¡Vamonos! series of five walks per month virtually this year. In the meantime, Joann Smogor’s Rebooting in Nature offers suggestions of where to walk in Santa Fe, and all the inspiration you’ll need for rejuvenating your body and spirit outdoors. She includes a helpful list of precautions for avoiding the coronavirus while you’re out.
Are you ready to go beyond saying, “Wow, pretty flower!” on hikes and drives? Christina Selby’s wonderful new book, Best Wildflower Hikes New Mexico provides flower descriptions and color photos for over 40 drives and sites in our state. In her Take A Walk on the Wildflower Side, she picks five kid-friendly day hikes, with tips for keeping them especially young-child-friendly.
Once you’re done hiking for the day, look up at the skies! If you take a drive to nearby sky-watching destinations on a cloudless night, you’ll catch a glimpse of the unadulterated night sky that’ll take your breath away. Kelsey Sinclair guides you to five places, with tips of what you should know before you go, in her article Oh My Stars!
Ready to head back inside yet? Kristen Cox Roby interviewed Wood Gormley Elementary School’s longtime art teacher Mary Olson just before her retirement for ideas on setting up an art station at home. See Space to Create to learn how to build a dedicated space and provide materials for creativity, and get some ideas to get children started.
Good books can take us around the world from the safety of home, and our public libraries are devising new ways to get us there while their buildings are closed. Tracey Mitchell of the Vista Grande Public Libraryin Eldorado describes their first online summer reading contest and provides a list of books that might help you stay sane when life is Stranger than Fiction.
In some cases, this spring’s home-based learning opened up new opportunities that classroom learning couldn’t. Mari Angulo was so inspired by how Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association students thrived in the new medium that she wrote Virtual Music Education Hits Unexpected High Notes.
Mitchell Rocha, of Santa Fe MathAmigos, translated Judy Reinhartz’s article “Counting on Math,” from our Spring 2020 issue, to share Judy’s excellent book recommendations with Spanish readers. See her Contanda con Literatura.
Last but not least (well, smallest, but not least important): Infants and toddlers need special ways to engage and interact in these coronavirus times. What to do? Five local organizations pool ideas that will support your child’s development, joy and bonding, in Rachel Kutcher’s delightfully practical Real-Life Learning.
This spring, Tumbleweeds won numerous awards from the New Mexico Press Women’s 2020 Communications Contest. Sally Maxwell, Artemisio Romero y Carver, Gloria Valdez, Anna Farrier, Lynn Grimes, Adrienne Harvitz, Carmen Harris, Kristen Cox Roby and I won prizes, and Tumbleweeds took first place in the “Sweepstakes” for total number of awards points. We’re honored to share the winning articles here.
I have to shout out Ana June, who has been our cover designer for many years. You'll find a photo of a young Graysen, her son who is now in high school, gracing the cover of the Summer website launch, and another of her photos on the calendar page. Glad she's still onboard!
Twenty-five years ago, we received most of our articles on paper, took phone calls on a landline, pasted up ads manually, and delivered mock-ups of the pages to a web-press printer in Albuquerque. We could afford to use spot color only on a few pages. (Ten years ago we moved to Santa Fe New Mexican’s excellent commercial printing enterprise, to support our local newspaper.) Today, Tumbleweeds has jumped to its next phase, serving families’ timeless needs in new ways. We’re glad you’re on the journey with us.