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Occidental Oriented - April 2016 - MacKenzie Nekton


Occidental Oriented - April 2016 - MacKenzie Nekton

Oh April, how I love thee… It’s the season for daffodils and forget-me-nots, for rain, sunshine, and my birthday. I’m 17 on the 11th! I’m hoping that this year is full of new friends, new experiences (positive ones), and enough sleep. Devin is beside me right now, eating a quesadilla and doing his homework, but he won’t be around for my birthday. He’ll be on the senior retreat, preparing for the end his high school career and the opening of a new chapter of life. I will be celebrating by having Indian food dinner with my family and maybe some ice cream after. I’m not big on birthdays. Rather than a celebration of me, if should be a celebration of my mother, who brought me into this world on this day. She did all the hard work! 

Botanical Dimensions, a new Ethnobotany Library in Occidental, is offering classes on a wide array of subjects. Classes include workshops on botanical illustration, the history of spices, and hallucinogenic pants. The classes are taught by Kathleen Harrison, an ethnobiologist who was also taught in Hawaii and the Peruvian Amazon. In case you are wondering, ethnobotany is the observation of the relationships between humans and plants, and the study of these relationships. These classes are perfect for people who want a class about botany and biology but don’t want a hard science class, and for people who have an interest in the natural world. The library in Occidental has over one thousand books about all sorts of things related to ethnobiology. Botanical Dimensions also has their main administrative offices here in Occidental. Current projects that BD is working on include the development of an Amazonian Digital Herbarium, the Mazatec Project in Mexico, and the curation of an Ethnobotanical Forest-Garden on the Big Island of Hawaii. That’s pretty cool in my book! They’re located at 3830 Doris Murphy Court. 

Right across the street, you may notice the hand written “KICKD OUT” sign taped across the Ping-Pong sandwich board sign, from which one can gather that Ping-Pong at the Y is no longer happening. Your Fridays and Sundays are now free – go out and take a walk! I’ll figure out why this happened while you’re out walking, and get back to you on it.

The vintage clothing store Such Fine Things, where I “worked” one summer, is closing down, and a new vintage clothing store, Missy Girl of Occidental is opening in its place. Inez Dorfman will be the new owner and manager, and she’s sure to get some awesome stuff in there. Teresa is thinking of reopening Such Fine Things in a new location with a different inventory of arts and crafts.  In the meantime, I can’t wait to see why Missy Girl of Occidental has to offer. 

The meetings held a few months ago on the plans for the YMCA building have been wrapped up, and the design that the attendees and architects came up with is posted on The big link you see is the right one, but you have to scroll down quite a bit to see the proposed plan. A meeting will be held at 5:00 pm on April 7th at the Occidental Community Center to discuss fundraising and next steps for implementation of the community’s plan. This meeting will be facilitated by Occidental’s own Victoria Johnston who has plenty of experience and expertise in fundraising and community coordination. I may be there, or I may be at a meeting of the Junior Commission on Human Rights. Regardless, you should go – the meetings have all been well run and informational. Being an active part of your community is very important, so go ahead and take advantage of this opportunity. 

I hope that you have a lovely April, and I’ll see you when I’m seventeen.