In the studio: Mary Ellen Ryall

1 11 2013

Butterfly posterMary Ellen Ryall and I crossed paths more than eight years ago when I purchased milkweed seeds from her through eBay. This connection quickly morphed into a frequent e-mail exchange and a great friendship! I do volunteer design and photography for her environmental education organization, Happy Tonics. For several years, I designed and produced her quarterly 4-page newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens, as well as other marketing materials. I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her a few years ago. The poster included original photographs by me and my friends Brian K. Loflin (www.bkloflin.wordpress.com) and Jeff Evans (www.evanimagesandart.com).

I had the chance to visit Mary Ellen in her former home base in Minong, Wisconsin, in August 2011. (Sidebar: at the time I was making the three-hour drive from the Minneapolis airport to Minong, I called Michael and learned that I had just missed a big earthquake in the D.C. area; it was enough to scare both him and our cat, ZenaB, and for a vase to fall off a bookcase and break!). While in Shell Lake and Minong, I visited Mary Ellen’s Monarch Butterfly Habitat and met many of her friends, most notably Diane Dryden, a published author and feature writer for the Washburn County Register. Diane’s novels, The Accidental King of Clark Street and Double or Nothing on Foster Ave., are available on Amazon here.

About a year ago, Mary Ellen relocated to Fitchburg, MA, to be closer to her sister. She talked of slowing down, but I knew she wouldn’t—she’s brimming with far too many ideas! An author and truly dedicated environmental educator, Mary Ellen’s first book, My Name is Butterfly, was published by Salt of the Earth Press in 2011. This teaching book about a little girl and a Monarch butterfly was illustrated by Marie Aubuchon-Mendoza and is available here.

TwoBooksEarlier this year, I assisted Mary Ellen with producing The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book. Written by Mary Ellen Ryall and illustrated by Moira Christine McCusker, It is available for purchase here. It is published by Mary Ellen’s new company, Butterfly Woman Publishing. Our next project is a plant guidebook, which we hope to debut in 2014. She visited the D.C. area a few weeks ago to attend a three-day conference for the North America Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC). She is presently on a task force to design a smart app called S.H.A.R.E. (Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment). This app will allow gardeners around the country to list their habitats on a national map. Mary Ellen blogs about organic gardening and open pollination for diversity on her blog here.

After seeing the portraits I did of her while she was in town, Mary Ellen said, “now I see that I have to go out and buy a new wardrobe!” The outfits she is wearing came from my “modeling rack” as well as my closet. She feels I captured her energy in the shots—and if you’ve ever met her, you know how high-energy this woman is!

P.S. Butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators after bees. Butterflies as pollinators are in trouble too. The Monarch butterfly population is down to only five percent in 2013. The Monarch and other butterflies need native host plants. We need to plant native wildflowers to bring butterflies home. Milkweed is the only host plant of the Monarch butterfly. If you would like to be part of the solution to stop the decline of Monarch butterflies, plant some milkweed seeds in your garden! Mary Ellen sells seed on her website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MaryEllenHeadShots





The Orphaned Images Project: Petticoat Junction, anyone?

12 08 2012

Scribbled in pencil on the back of this photo:

Luella Devo and me, Jesse and Adelaide Devoe on the silo

With just a few seconds of research, beginning with the fact that two of the women in this photo are likely sisters—Adelaide and Luella—I found a grave marker that indicates Adelaide Delphine DeVoe was born October 15, 1890 and died May 3, 1984. Her younger sister, Luella Adella DeVoe, was born two years later on October 24, 1892 and died April 15, 1957. They are buried in the Parfreyville Cemetery, Section 12, Dayton Township, Waupaca County, Wisconsin.

Adelaide was 93 when she passed away at Bethany Home. She lived in Waupaca for 60 years and worked for 30 years in the laundry at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home (WVH). She had two brothers, Claude and Floyd. I can’t find any indication that she or her sister ever married or had a family.

There is very little information on the link for Luella’s gravestone. I did learn that in 1941 she was the “head laundress” of the WVH-King Laundry. Ed Fosgate was the head laundry man and there was a total of 12 employees in the Laundry. They handled 7,567 pounds per week with 3,300 of this being sheets. There were 641 members in the WVH.

I did find their father, Charles DeVoe. He was born in Rennessalier County, NY on June 26, 1855. When he was six, he moved with his parents to Fond Du Lac, WI. In 1890 he married Amanda Chapel. They had seven children (one died in infancy). They moved to Janesville and then to Oshkosh.

From the Waushara County Obituaries: Left to mourn his loss are his wife, four sons, Harley, Lloyd, Claude and Floyd, and two daughters, Adelade and Luella, all of Oshkosh, and two brothers, Henry and Willard of Etna, Washington. He died July 29, 1922, at the age of 67 years, 1 month and 3 days at the home of his niece, Mr. Ora Wing. He was sick only a few hours.

Research is fun even if these aren’t my family members! It’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, made easier by someone’s cursive writing on the back of an old photo.

Double-click on the photo to see more detail. Learn more about The Orphaned Images Project on my site dedicated to this project here.





Scene from Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio

7 05 2012

In April, my friend, Mary Ellen Ryall (left), came all the way from Minong, Wisconsin, to see my photography exhibit (Garden Muse: A Botanical Portfolio) at Green Spring Gardens and to promote her new children’s book, My Name is Butterfly. Accompanying her to the show were Deneen Stambone (middle), a Fairfax County English teacher, and artist Worth Cooley-Prost (right), who is a glass artist as well as a mixed media artist. Check out her work here.

I met Mary Ellen more than seven years ago when I purchased milkweed seed from her via eBay. We started corresponding and are now in a publishing venture together. I also designed and produced her bimonthly newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens and currently maintain her Happy Tonics blog here. I visited her neck of the woods last August (see postings from that trip in my August 2011 archives here). Mary Ellen blogs about environmental education, sustainable agriculture, Monarch butterflies and other pollinators, and other nature-related topics here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Mandy Harvey: Musically Inclined

14 01 2012

Mandy Harvey, a jazz vocalist and songwriter from northern Colorado, was one of the feature articles in the January/February 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I met and photographed Mandy at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI, host to HLAA’s Convention 2010. Mandy was the guest entertainer at Friday night’s Rumble event at the Museum.

Barbara Kelley, editor-in-chief of Hearing Loss Magazine and deputy executive director of HLAA, interviewed Mandy for this issue of the magazine. Learn more about Mandy’s here and listen to her music and buy CDs here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Mandy showed an early talent for singing, but also had infrequent periods of hearing loss. At age ten, her family moved to Colorado. Her vocal talent blossomed and she won numerous school awards, notably Top Female Vocalist of 2006 as a high school senior.

After high school, Mandy went to Colorado State University. During her first semester, Mandy noticed she had to move closer to hear recordings. Hearing aids helped at first. Six months later, she had no hearing left. Discouraged, Mandy returned home to take American Sign Language classes and pursue Elementary Education at a local community college.

Once she returned home Mandy decided that she would take a year off from singing, but continued to play the guitar with her father. One day, while searching the Internet, Mandy and her father discovered a song titled Come Home by One Republic. Mandy’s father suggested that she learn the lyrics. Mandy thought this would be impossible but she gave it her best effort, and to her surprise she was able to learn the lyrics. She realized then that she didn’t have to give up singing.

I met Mandy in 2010 in Milwaukee at the HLAA Convention where she sang at one of our events at the Harley-Davidson Museum. HLAA photographer Cindy Dyer photographed her at the Museum before her performance. We were pleased to catch up with her recently to ask her a few questions.

Tell me about your hearing loss.
My hearing loss is due to neurological damage and the last it was tested showed it around 110 dB in both ears.

Do you use any type of assistive technology?
I had hearing aids when I was first losing my hearing, which was around winter 2006 and the beginning of 2007. Once my hearing loss progressed to a specific stage hearing aids didn’t help much. Because of the nerve damage, a cochlear implant was not an option for me. At this point I rely mostly on lip reading and American Sign Language.

Talk about your aspirations to become a music teacher.
I went to Colorado State University in the hopes of becoming a vocal jazz teacher. In all honesty I wouldn’t feel right about giving my professional opinion to students wanting to study voice. If I cannot hear them to give advice or to teach 100 percent, I would end up just getting frustrated and feeling as if I was wasting their money. Instead, I have turned my life to performing jazz as well as working in the medical field.

What about your personal life and family?
I currently live in Denver with my hearing service dog, Annie, and my love, Travis. My family is extremely supportive and they have learned some American Sign Language. My sister, Sammi, is fluent in the language now. It helps a lot to be able to communicate with your loved ones. Travis is currently learning the language for me.

Where is your singing career right now?
My singing career is in a beautiful place right now. As things stand I work a regular 8-5, Monday through Friday, job. The weekend is mine for performing. Having the regular job mixed with weekend work relieves the pressure of having to do a bunch of gigs just to be able to pay the bills. Instead I am able to do gigs that inspire me and that bring joy.

I have two albums, Smile and After You’ve Gone, which are both full of jazz standard, though the latter contains some original work by myself and Mark Sloniker. I am currently saving up to make a Christmas album this year.

Tell me something about yourself you would like people to know; something that would surprise people.
That’s a hard question. I used to be fascinated by insects and toads and non-girly things like that. When I was a child I wanted to travel the world and discover amazing finds on archeological digs.

You have a fascination with the 40s. How has this genre influenced you and your music?
I have been fascinated with the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s my entire life. I grew up listening to The Beatles, Doobie Brothers, and classic jazz. I love everything in those eras from the clothing to the inventions. It truly was a beautiful time in history…seems to have had lots of details that were not as obvious as things are today. Back then, there could be a song about someone’s smile and how it would capture the imagination. I feel music today has lost some of that mystery and has become far too blunt.

What are your favorite songs?
My Funny Valentine, Someone to Watch Over Me, Come Fly with Me, Over the Rainbow, and of course, Smile…this list is never ending. I find passion in the music and it makes you feel something different every time you sing them.

What music don’t you care for?
I love most everything but I am not a huge fan of most Rap or R&B. I will admit I do enjoy a few songs here and there but in general they all tend to feel the same.

Who is your favorite artist and why?
Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Blossom Dearie, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Thelonius Monk, Duke…oh my goodness, my list could go on and on. They are brilliant and the work they have done inspires me every time I think of them.

What one place in the world would you like to visit?
I have always had a dream to live in Scotland. The country has always called my name. My goal is in the next 10 years to have been there for at least three months continuously. If you are there for only a week you cannot understand the culture.

To find some of her recordings, go to YouTube.com and search for Mandy Harvey. You will find several videos, including her rendition of Smile.

Barbara Kelley is deputy executive director and editor-in-chief of Hearing Loss Magazine. She can be reached at bkelley@hearingloss.org.

Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, Costco membership, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.





Fresh and fading in the afternoon sun

6 09 2011

New and old blooms of a ‘Rozanne’ Geranium, photographed in the Demonstration Garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station in Spooner, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Er, um, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt!

5 09 2011

Unknown amorous bugs on an unknown flower (sorry, that’s the best I can do at this juncture). The female was trying to gather pollen but the male had other ideas! Photographed in the Demonstration Garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station in Spooner, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The elusive Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis)

3 09 2011

I photographed this type of moth in my own garden years ago (here), and the image was what I call a “record shot,” just like this one is. A “record shot” won’t win any prizes—it is simply captured to record its existence and uniqueness, no matter the technical quality or stellar composition.

I wanted to share this shot anyway, since this creature is so elusive, very quick and hard to photograph. I photographed this Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis) frantically feasting on the blooms of a ‘Franz Schubert’ Phlox (Phlox paniculata) at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station in Spooner, Wisconsin.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Moss-covered trail (and mosquitos!)

2 09 2011

It certainly looks inviting, doesn’t it? Mary Ellen and I had just stepped onto this walking trail near Spooner when we were ambushed by a huge swarm of mosquitos. And I do mean ambushed. We ran through the woods back to the car, screaming like little girls the entire way. (I still got the shot, of course.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Unidentified beetle on Japanese Anemone bloom

1 09 2011

I photographed this little bug while it was munching on fallen pollen “chips” from this Japanese Anemone flower in the Demonstration Garden of the Spooner Agricultural Research Station in Spooner, Wisconsin. I’ve made an attempt to identify it but haven’t been successful (yet).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hide ’n seek

31 08 2011

Photographed at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A window of blue

31 08 2011

Beach on Lake Superior in Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





American Pelecinid Wasp (Pelecinus polyturator)

31 08 2011

I photographed this insect on the side of my friend Mary Ellen’s house in Minong, Wisconsin last week. My immediate thought was that it was some kind of wasp, but I hadn’t seen anything like it before. Good guess, though, since my hunch was confirmed with a visit to my favorite bug ID site, www.whatsthatbug.com. The perfectionist in me would loved to have photographed this creature on a leaf, of course.

Learn more about this insect (docile and harmless to humans; but to other bugs—not so much!) on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Field Station website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Agastache

31 08 2011

Agastache bloom photographed against a backdrop of native prairie grasses at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, 8.25.2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Minong Flowage (Nancy Lake), Washburn County, Wisconsin

31 08 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly

31 08 2011

Monarch Butterfly on Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), photographed in the Demonstration Garden at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station, part of the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences at UW-Madison. One section is an official All-America Selections Display Garden, one of only seven sites found in Wisconsin. The Demonstration Garden showcases plants that are suitable for growing in zone 3 and is a joint effort between the Research Station, the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service and area UW-Extension Master Gardener volunteers.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Wisconsin cloudscape

30 08 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Wisconsin sunflower field

30 08 2011

I’ll prepare a panoramic photo to show you that this entire field was three times wider than this shot—just spectacular!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Red-legged Locust

30 08 2011

(unidentified) grasshopper photographed at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat, a restored native remnant tall grass prairie in Shell Lake in northwestern Wisconsin

UPDATE: Thanks to my fellow naturalist/blogger/writer, Jane Kirkland, for her identification of this little critter. It’s a Red-legged Locust (Melanoplus femur-ruburm). (Thanks, Jane!) Jane was a bestselling computer book author and after sighting a Bald Eagle flying over a grocery store parking lot, she began writing award-winning nature books! She is the recipient of the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Education Award, a Writer’s Magazine Book Award and two Teacher’s Choice Awards. She has been featured on PBS, Animal Planet, and is a regular guest on WXPN’s Kids Corner radio program in Philadelphia. I met Jane while I was on assignment photographing the American Horticulture Society’s National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in 2008 at the University of Delaware’s Newark campus. While at the Symposium, I bought one of her books and it helped me to identify this Halloween Pennant Dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) that I photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens a few years ago. Learn more about Jane on her website here and see the books in her Amazon store here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Shell Lake, Wisconsin

30 08 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Along Lake Superior in Wisconsin

30 08 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sunset over Minong

30 08 2011

Photographed 8.24.2011 in Minong, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





No Barriers: Bill Barkeley

11 01 2011

Bill Barkeley is the cover subject for the January/February 2011 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I had the immense pleasure of photographing Bill and his wife Mary Beth this past summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was there as the keynote speaker for HLAA’s annual convention in June 2010.

Bill is one of 15,000 people in the United States and 100,000 in the world with Usher Syndrome Type II, which is the leading cause of deaf-blindness. Bill has worn hearing aids since he was five years old, but in 1987 he discovered that he had been slowly going blind his whole life. “My hearing loss is 85 percent bilateral, progressive, severe sensorineural hearing loss. I am also legally blind,” he said. We took a taxi over to a local park for our photo session, and on the way Bill and Mary Beth told me about their journey since Bill was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type II. Usher Syndrome is an inherited condition. The vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative condition of the retina, and the hearing loss is due to a genetic mutation affecting nerve cells in the cochlea. Learn more about Usher Syndrome on the Foundation Fighting Blindness website here. Despite their challenges, the Barkeleys are the most down-to-earth, upbeat and positive couple that I’ve ever met!

In his article, No Barriers, Bill writes about dealing with hearing loss since early childhood, marrying Mary Beth and raising their three sons, then being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type II. By 2007 he had worked his way up to being a director of sales and marketing for a Fortune 500 company. He then decided he “needed a challenge and a vision to help take me on the next phase of my life.” At age 45, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, utilizing the latest hearing aids, FM systems and Bluetooth technology. He said it changed his life. “I retired from my 25-year career. I became a deaf-blind adventurer and storyteller, traveling the globe while sharing a message of inspiration, aspiration, hope and faith for those with hearing and vision loss.”

Walk Your Own Path, a film by Josh Levine, documented Barkeley’s climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. The climb was also covered in the July 2008 issue of Outside Magazine. In Triumph of the Human Spirit: Reaching New Heights with Hearing Technology, published on www.healthyhearing.com, in 2008, Bill wrote, “My mission is to educate people about all the available technologies and how they can transform and enhance their lives. The greatest message that came out of my climb was that I had dual disabilities and I did not ask for accommodations. The expedition team did not modify expectations, processes or goals to help me summit. I blended in with assistive technology…it was assimilation versus accommodation. That is incredibly liberating. People describe me as deaf-blind but these words do not define me.”

In 2009 he was awarded the No Barriers USA James O. Goldsmith award. The award “recognizes the individual that passionately and selflessly works to break down the barriers that limit accessibility to life. Through pioneering spirit, focused determination, innovative spirit and tireless effort, the recipient opens the door to adventures for others.”

In July 2010, Bill took a group of kids (with and without hearing loss) to the Peruvian Amazon on the first Hear the World expedition. Hear the World is a global initiative by hearing system manufacturer Phonak to raise awareness about the importance of hearing and consequences of hearing loss. The Amazon trip was covered in social and traditional media. Read a recap of his trip here. The website, www.tonic.com, also has an excellent recap of this trip. Bill will lead the second Hear the World expedition with Global Explorers to Grand Canyon National Park in July 2011. Learn more about this trip on www.globalexplorers.org. Applications start January 17, 2011.

Bill also invites adults, parents, families and kids to join him in South Africa this July for the World Deaf Congress 2011, sponsored by the United Nations. He will share a message of “Life Without Limits” using assistive technologies such as hearing aids and FM systems for hearing loss. Learn more at www.wfd2011.com. Barkeley is also on the board of directors of No Barriers USA (www.nobarriersusa.org), a community of modern day pioneers who use the experience of nature to promote innovation, education and assistive technologies that create transformative life experiences and inspire people with challenges to live full and active lives. Learn more about the No Barriers USA 2011 Festival in Winter Park, Colorado, June 28-July 2, 2011 by visiting their website here.

Mary Beth wrote a companion article for this issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. In For Better or for Worse, she explains that, “Communication is the most important element and the glue that binds the relationship and validates the other person. Being married for 24 years is a real feat no matter what the circumstances. I have to say that our circumstances, although seemingly challenging, have proved to bring us closer together in an effort to stay connected and active. We have witnessed the promises we made “for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer and poorer.” She shares the frustrations and adjustments (revealing both the serious and humorous sides) in dealing with Bill’s hearing and vision loss.

Mary Beth works part-time as the Community Service Representative for HomeInstead, a non-medical home healthcare company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bill is now active in community service. He is past president of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI). He is on the executive committee of the Hearing Loss Association of America (Grand Rapids chapter). Visit his website, www.billbarkeley.com , to learn more about his upcoming adventures and speaking engagements. The Barkeleys have three sons, John (21), Brian (20) and Will (16). Photo of the Barkeley family © Betsy Pangle; all other photos © Cindy Dyer

Read Bill and Mary Beth’s articles in Hearing Loss Magazine by clicking on the pdf here: HLM Bill Barkeley





From the archives: Monarchs for Mary Ellen

14 12 2010

My friend Mary Ellen is likely snowed in with 15 inches of snow in a remote town in Wisconsin. To brighten her day, I thought I’d re-post some Monarch photos from my blog. This was originally posted October 15, 2008.

Yes, more Monarchs. I can’t help myself. They’re everywhere! I learned a technique from my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics about how to “stalk” Monarchs with a camera. Wait until they have their proboscis inserted into a flower and they become completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible. They won’t even notice you’re there. This one sure didn’t. I was able to shoot about 50+ images of this Monarch in less than five minutes.

Want to learn more about the senses of a Monarch? Click here.

Here’s a surefire way to attract Monarchs to your garden—plant milkweed!
Mary Ellen sells common milkweed seeds in her eBay store here. Milkweed is the sole food for the Monarch caterpillar. Adult butterflies can feed on other plants such as this butterfly bush, but the caterpillars only eat milkweed.

Mary Ellen and I crossed paths a few years ago when I purchased seeds from her through eBay. This led to a frequent e-mail exchange, and now I do volunteer design and photography for her organization. I design and produce her quarterly 4-page newsletter, Butterflies & Gardens, as well as other marketing materials. You can download the latest issue of the newsletter in pdf format here. I also designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Poster for her this past spring.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos





When Your Child Has a Hearing Loss…

4 09 2010

Hearing loss in children is the focus of the September/October 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America. I shot this cover of Craig Yantiss and his son, Anthony, two years ago. HLM Editor Barbara Kelley interviewed Anthony’s mother, Lisa Yantiss, (in photo below, far left) for the cover feature, We Thought the Test Was Wrong! Anthony is now three years old and wears a cochlear implant and a hearing aid.

Also in this issue:
In their story, About Maya: A Daughter Born with Hearing Loss, Robyn and Mike Bittner share the story of their daughter Maya’s hearing loss and the family’s journey from denial to acceptance.

In Moving from Grief to Warrior Mode, Christina Marmor shares how she and husband Chuck dealt with their son Christian‘s hearing loss diagnosis at birth. Christian was implanted at 15 months and is now 3-1/2 years old and thriving.

All photos below © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. 1) Lisa Yantiss with son Anthony; 2) The Marmor family: Christina, Chuck, Christian and Liliana; 3) Christian

A seasoned veteran of hearing loss, Marcia Finisdore provides resources and support in her article, The Early “Big Bang”—A Guide for Parents from a Parent.

Nancy Macklin, HLAA’s Director of Events & Marketing, recaps the 2010 Convention in Milwaukee—complete with loads of photos!

Lise Hamlin, HLAA’s Director of Public Policy, discusses cell phones compatibility in her article, Cell Phones Age into Hearing Aid Capability.

Audiologist and long-time contributor, Mark Ross, shares the latest generation of hearing aids in his article, Hearing Aid Features: A Closer Look.

Author/contributors photos appearing in this issue © Cindy Dyer. From left: Brenda Battat, Executive Director of HLAA; Pete Fackler, HLAA Board President; Lise Hamlin, HLAA Director of Public Policy; Mark Ross, audiologist; and Ronnie Adler, HLAA’s National Walk4Hearing Manager.


And finally, our youngest author to date, AJ Traub (12), interviews Ronnie Adler, HLAA’s National Walk4Hearing Manager. AJ has been actively involved in the Walk4Hearing since 2007. With the help of his Walk4Hearing teams, he has raised over $5,000 for the program!

Curious about the Walk4Hearing? Want to get involved? Learn more about the program on HLAA’s website here, or watch the video below:





Another Monarch for Mary Ellen!

3 09 2010

This one is for Mary Ellen Ryall, creator of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin! I photographed this Monarch butterfly on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. An overcast but very bright sky made for great lighting for photography. The gardens were swarming with insects—including Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Monarchs, various Skippers, Sulphurs and Common Buckeyes. I photographed an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia  few weeks ago here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bill and Mary Beth Barkeley

24 08 2010

I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Bill Barkeley and his wife Mary Beth in Milwaukee during the Hearing Loss Association of America’s annual convention in June. Bill was the keynote speaker for the event. I was photographing him for a cover feature article for a 2011 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America.

In addition to his career as a motivational speaker, Bill works for Steelcase, Inc., with leadership positions in sales and marketing in Seattle, San Francisco and Grand Rapids, MI. He is currently Director of Marketing for the Steelcase Premium Group.

Bill is one of 15,000 people in the U.S. and 100,000 in the world with Usher’s Syndrome (Type 2) the leading cause of deaf-blindness in the world. His hearing loss is 85% bilateral, progressive, severe sensorineural hearing loss. He has worn hearing aids since he was five years old and discovered he was going blind at age 28. He is now legally blind. The symptoms of Usher’s Syndrome are hearing impairment and retinitis pigmentosa, which causes vision to worsen over time. This incurable condition is genetic and inherited or passed from parents to the children.

In 2007, Bill became the first deaf blind person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa (19,400 feet). Initially, he contacted Swiss-based Phonak, manufacturer of technologically advanced hearing systems. He was referred to Phonak’s Hear the World Foundation, which outfitted him with hearing instruments. Bill then contacted Mountain Vision Expeditions, a trekking and climbing company, to set up the Mount Kilimanjaro trip in an effort to raise funds for Hear the World. The climb was featured in the July 2008 edition of Outside Magazine, as well as Josh Levine’s film documentary, Walk Your Own Path—Bill Barkeley’s Climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Click here to hear the 2009 interview, Life Without Limits, with Barkeley on the WGVU Morning Show. Barkeley was featured on ABC News in 2007 in an interview here.

Bill recently returned from a trip to the Peruvian Amazon for Hear the World, a global initiative by Phonak and Global Explorers, a not-for-profit educational travel organization. The expedition integrated students of mixed hearing abilities (both hearing and hard-of-hearing) to raise awareness about hearing. Click here to meet the young explorers who joined Bill on this life-changing adventure.

Check out the videos made during the expedition (from the Hear the World Facebook page):

Sounds of the Jungle
The expedition team describes the unique sounds of the jungle on their first day in the Amazon.

Hearing Technology in the Amazon
Many of our students with hearing loss have never heard underwater sounds before. By utilizing an underwater microphone linked to an MP3 recorder connected to a Phonak MyLink unit that wirelessly transmitted the sound to anyone wearing a cochlear implant or hearing aid, students like Zoe, had the chance to hear a number of new water sounds she never knew existed!

Turning the Sound Off
Students without hearing loss wore high-powered ear plugs during a hearing loss simulation exercise to give them a taste of what their friends with hearing loss experience every day. This video details the students reactions to the exercise.

Photo by Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Just updated my online photo galleries!

2 07 2010

I’ve added more than 50 new images to my Botanical Portfolio on zenfolio.com. Many of the photos were shot in my own front and back yard townhouse gardens, while others were shot in gardens across the U.S. and Canada. In every city I visit, I make an effort to visit a botanical garden or nature preserve to capture new images. I recently added the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes) and Boerner Botanical Garden in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to my roster of gardens I’ve visited. Both were worth the visit, but Mitchell Park really needs to do something about the exterior entrance of their conservatory. When we drove up, we noticed weeds growing up through cracked sidewalks and the shallow ponds on either side of the door were drained with weeds growing in them. We almost didn’t stop to get out because the place really looked abandoned. The inside, however, is a completely different story—beautiful, lush, and well-maintained. We read in their brochure that they recently renovated the place and added LED lights to the domes so they can be viewed at night in the Milwaukee skyline. I’m sure it’s beautiful lighted at night (never mind that it’s not actually open at night unless there’s an event), but they really should have set aside some of those funds to fill the ponds with water, plop in a few inexpensive water lilies and 49 cent WalMart goldfish, and do some weeding and cement repair. (Psssst! Hey, Mitchell—I’m available for consultation and implementation!)

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p270076135

And to see why I love my local Green Spring Gardens so much, visit my Green Spring Garden photography folio and see the plethora of photographs I’ve shot exclusively there over the past four years.

http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p787446313





Sunset in downtown Milwaukee

24 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sweat bee on cornflower

22 06 2010

I think this cornflower is a Centaurea dealbata and the insect is probably a Sweat Bee (Agapostemon angelicus? Agapostemon melliventris?). According to Wikipedia, the insect earns its name because it is attracted to the salt in human sweat. And “their sting is only rated a 1.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, making it almost painless.” Hard to believe there is actually a “sting pain index.” But of course…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Shasta daisy at Boerner Botanical Gardens

22 06 2010

Photo shot on Sunday at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.








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