Maggie's Minute June 13

Summertime!

If you'd like to mark the summer solstice by setting your watch in a way uniquely Coloradan and are up for an interesting hike, The Sun Dagger of Canyon Pintado can help. The canyon is a fascinating ancient art gallery of more than 200 sites within 16,000 acres along Hwy 139 between Loma and Rangely. Canyon Pintado, or "painted canyon," was so named by the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition, Spanish missionaries in search of a route to California who came upon its walls of petroglyphs in 1776 as they traveled west into Utah. The Sun Dagger, one of the myriad drawings etched by peoples of the Fremont culture and thought by many to be an astronomical tool of an agrarian society, is a shadow that moves over a series of emblematic circles and spirals, crossing the central spiral on June 21 at 8:31 am.

Many congratulations to Margaret Coel, who will receive the first Colorado Humanities Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, June 22, during the 2012 Colorado Book Awards ceremony in Aspen, which will begin at 1 pm at the Doerr-Hosier Center, Aspen Meadows. The author of 15 mystery novels set in Colorado and Wyoming, Ms. Coel is a six-time Colorado Book Award winner for fiction and has been on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. She is a past recipient of a WILLA Award for Best Novel of the West, a 2012 Frank Waters Award for exemplary literary achievement, and the 2010 Hillerman Sky Award for the most evocative descriptions of the Southwest. A stellar writer and historian, we're proud to introduce the achievement award at this year's Colorado Book Awards with Ms. Coel as its first recipient. Tickets to the Colorado Book Awards are $10 in advance, or $20 at the door. (Call us: 303-894-7951 x10.)

With the onset of summer, our Chautauqua history festival season begins! Voices of the Valley Chautauqua in Pueblo will take place July 30-Aug. 5, High Plains Chautauqua, with the theme of "Celebrating Courage and Conviction in America," will be in Greeley Aug. 7-11, and in Grand Junction, the theme for Two Rivers Chautauqua, Sept. 14 & 15, will be "Inventive Minds."

There's still time to register for Theodore Roosevelt and Water in the West, a two-day event on Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30, which includes a special workshop on the Auraria campus for educators, and, for the general public, a talk at the History Colorado Center by Theodore Roosevelt (portrayed by historian Clay Jenkinson) and the all-day Saturday Seminar. For more info and to register, contact History Colorado.

Great news! Our 2012-2013 Motheread/Fatheread Colorado program is stronger than ever. With dozens of program partners across the state for our Motheread, Teacheread and Story Exploring training institutes, we're rapidly fulfilling the 1:1 cash match required by a large Mile High United Way Social Innovation Fund grant we received for the program this year. Since the end of April, thanks to several Colorado foundations and a very generous anonymous donor, we've already reached the $171,000 mark, with $70,000 yet to go. We'd love more help from our friends, so if you've been thinking about joining our membership program, consider the "Ready, Set, Go!" level at $1,500-a membership category for people specially interested in early childhood and family literacy in Colorado. With your help, our 2012-2013 program will ultimately benefit more than 20,000 young Coloradans.

By the way, with the goal to double participation in our Writers in the Schools program to 2,400 students this year, we're expanding "West of the Divide" for the program's six- to 10-week workshops with professional poets and writers, and seeking partnerships with elementary, middle and high schools in Grand Junction and along the Western Slope. If you're interested, contact our WITS coordinator Tim Hernandez.

We Coloradans acknowledge that the beauty of June is a contradictory thing in our part of the world, one of majesty and delicacy, benevolence and ferocity. As a community, we have learned to celebrate its gifts and help each other through blizzards and tornadoes, lightning and hail, flood and fire. The natural wonder of Colorado is that it shows us, every season, how to best be human.

Maggie Coval, Executive Director

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