Celebrating Wonder

Larry Santoyo is a teacher and practitioner of Permaculture Design. Photo courtesy of Larry Santoyo

Noted scientist Carl Sagan once said, “We all have a thirst for wonder. It’s a deeply human quality.”

Now, more than ever, a sense of wonder and curiosity about our world is essential. Science, an extension of our human tendency to wonder, provides a way of understanding our relationship to the world we live. It’s a crucial time to take an interest in the many discoveries, innovations and practices that will shape our future. That doesn’t require lengthy academic training for us to participate, just a spark of wonder, curiosity, and a desire to learn something we didn’t know.

For instance, what can superorganisms like ant and termite colonies teach us about creating more effective, sustainable, and prosperous businesses? Or, what could inhabitants of tidepools teach us about making less toxic, more resilient building materials? How does studying other planets teach us about our own planet? How can humans not only grow as much food as they need, but make the world healthier through the innovative food production design? These are a few of the key questions that we will learn fascinating answers to during our Topanga Science Speaker Series.

The Topanga Enrichment Program (TEP) and the Topanga Library present this very special series focusing on extraordinary discoveries in bio-inspired and regenerative design, environmental science, conservation and planetary science. TEP plans, funds and operates supplemental programs to enrich the educational experience of students at Topanga Elementary Charter School, and the greater community.

Along with important environmental conservation and sustainability programs at Topanga Elementary, TEP is branching out into community-wide educational programs and events. The goal is to raise awareness about our precious local ecosystems and how they relate to our lives, and the bigger picture of the global ecosystem.

In order to engage the greater community in wonder, curiosity and lifelong learning, TEP and the Topanga Library present their Science Speaker Series:

Saturday, March 4, 3-4:30 p.m., Dr. Bonnie J. Buratti, Senior Research Scientist and technical manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will give a talk called “Earths Above,” inviting us on a journey through the solar system. She was recently named the NASA Project Scientist for the Rosetta mission. She is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and book chapters, and a frequent public speaker, TV and radio guest. Dr. Buratti was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the International Astronomical Union recognized her work by naming asteroid 90502 Buratti after her. Her book “Worlds Fantastic, Worlds Familiar” will be published in April 2017. 

Saturday, March 25, 3-4:30 p.m., Larry Santoyo, founder of the Permaculture Academy, teacher and practitioner of Permaculture Design,  was mentored by Permaculture’s founding father, Bill Mollison, and taught Permaculture with Mollison throughout the U.S. and Australia. He has taught environmental design at colleges and universities nationwide, including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, Evergreen College, CSU Northridge, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  He is also the Senior Designer at Earthflow Designs of Los Angeles, one of the largest Permaculture companies in the world.


By Julie Morley


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