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Lisa Fox Jackson Iowa - The Duck Race

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa teaches third grade at Estes Park Elementary School. She also teaches adult painting classes three nights a week at the Art Center of Estes Park. Both, she says, are very rewarding jobs.

The Art Center, she says, is a valuable resource for the local art community. It provides a hub for local artists, a place for them to meet and to show their work. It also provides classes like the adult painting class she teaches. But it takes a lot of money to keep the center going, and there is usually a fundraiser of one kind or another being planned. And that's where the annual duck race comes in.

The annual Art Center Duck Race, says Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa, raised more than a hundred thousand dollars in 2014. It's sponsored by the Rotary Club of Estes Park, and the proceeds to a number of local worthy causes, including the Art Center. Supporters "adopt" a rubber duckie for twenty dollars and designate a charity or group. The Art Center is hoping to raise two thousand dollars this year. Each adopted duck gives its adopter a chance to win one of several major prizes that are being offered, which this year include a trip to Hawaii, and cruises to the Caribbean and to Alaska.

The Art Center of Estes Park opened its doors in 1987, and the first duck race was held in 1989. Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa says that the Center is committed to providing a facility and support to local and regional artists.

Lisa Fox Jackson Iowa - Animal Camouflage

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa says that she feels incredibly lucky to be teaching third grade at Estes Park Elementary School, and to have Rocky Mountain National Park so close by.

She takes her students on several field trips to the national park each year, and it is something that they always look forward to. It's a day long adventure. Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa and her class are taken by bus to the park, where they are greeted by a Park Ranger, who stays with them and acts as their guide. The Rangers, she says, are all very knowledgeable about the park's flora and fauna and ecosystems.

Aided by the expertise of the ranger, the kids are always treated to a lesson in animal camouflage, which they invariably find fascinating. "A few times we've been lucky," says "Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa. "We've been observing some serene setting, usually some kind of mountain view, only to have a previously still animal move. And that's been the first that any of us notice it; it blends right into the discussion about camouflage."

She says that the Park Ranger always explains that many animals use their coloration as a way of hiding from predators. Then the kids are surprised to hear the Ranger say that sometimes, the opposite is true. "Some of the animals use their coloration to be more successful as predators," she says. "The Ranger might say, ‘the predator animals is completely still and the hunted animals doesn't see him, just like we didn't see that still animal a few minutes ago.' It's very effective."

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa says the days at Rocky Mountain National Park are always fun and informative, and she brings a tired bunch of kids back to school when the field trip is over.

Lisa Fox Jackson Iowa - Taiko Drumming

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa attended Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and received degrees in Visual Arts and Education. She made a discovery there on New Year's Day 2007 that ended up having a lasting impact on her life.

She and her then-boyfriend took a stroll through the city's Pearl Street Mall, a five block commercial area that is closed to traffic, and in addition to many unique businesses draws all manner of street performers. On this day, the couple happened across a traditional Japanese New Year's Day celebration.

Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa says that she began painting seriously when she was a teenager.

"And we heard this energetic, rhythmic drumming," Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa recalls. "Actually we heard it from a few blocks away. And it was just mesmerizing. I remember they were playing in front of the courthouse. And we stood there and listened for about an hour. It was incredible." It was Taiko drumming, she knows now. "I was just blown away by the energy and the intensity of it all," she says. She found out that the ensemble was based in a local dojo, a kind of school. And she got involved, taking drumming classes and learning the art of Taiko drumming.

"A lot of people think that it's some ancient form of drumming, but actually, Taiko is a fairly recent phenomenon," says Lisa Fox Jackson of Iowa. "It started in Japan not long after World War II." It had migrated to the United States by the late 1960s, when the first American Taiko Dojo was established in San Francisco. "Strictly speaking, it is not a martial art," she says. "But it's a serious discipline, and to do it right requires complete dedication, and a melding of mind, body and spirit."