Winter 2020 Updates

An Amur leopard
Edgar, the Amur leopard at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, grooming himself.

Happy World Wildlife Day!

I believe I’ve set a world record for time elapsed between blog posts, as it’s been three weeks since my last entry. Here’s what’s been going on, along with some exciting news.

Archaeology

I’ve been spending increasing amounts of time on archaeology. For starters, I volunteer in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s archaeology lab when I can, helping to sort and catalog their vast collection of artifacts.

I’m also in a second volunteer archaeology group called Firelands Archaeology, and we’re currently revitalizing the organization.

Lastly, I’m continuing to write about archaeology for StoneAgeMan. Speaking of which…

Writing

I’ve now completed five articles for StoneAgeMan, the new website by Untamed Science’s Rob Nelson.

Here’s a video from Rob Nelson about the nuances of a specific hunting system:

So far I’ve been learning and writing about basic components of archaeology, such as dating methods. Soon, however, I’ll be taking on more exhilarating topics.

Belize

In late May I’ll be heading back to Belize to write about the fascinating work being done by the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project (PfBAP).

The PfBAP is the archaeology field school that I attended in 2017. Before I signed up for that program, I knew nothing about archaeology, or what I was getting myself into.

When I finally made it to Belize, I was amazed to find a vibrant, scientific community operating out of the jungle, and I knew that I had to return there to write about it.

Now, I will.

Rob has graciously agreed to purchase a series of articles about the PfBAP’s research for StoneAgeMan. Our plan is as follows:

I’ll attend the PfBAP field school this spring as a volunteer. I’ll assist with the various research projects operating out of Texas Camp, and write about how they fit into the larger body of knowledge about the ancient Maya.

A cabin in the jungle.
One of the many cabins at Texas Camp. I, however, stayed in a tent while there in 2017, and plan to do so again.

Even though I’ll be covering a wide range of projects, each of my articles will be connected by a common theme.

StoneAgeMan is all about helping people to live healthier, happier lives. When it comes to history/archaeology, our goal is to use information about humanity’s roots to better understand who we are as a species, and how we want to move forward.

Hence, the central question I’ll be exploring while in Belize will be: “How can learning about the Maya help us today?”

While I could answer this question by reading articles and conducting phone interviews, going into the field has distinct advantages:

  • I’ll be interviewing archaeologists while they’re doing what they love.
  • Living with scientists, students and volunteers from around the world will allow me to learn why people from such different backgrounds are drawn to Mayan archaeology.
  • By helping to excavate Mayan ruins directly, I’ll be able to generate more informed opinions than if I simply talked to experts via phone.
  • It’ll be fun.

Of course, I have a lot to do to prepare for my time in Belize. For starters, I need to earn money to pay for the trip.

New Job

I’ll be taking on a second ‘real’ job, in addition to writing, starting next week; I’ll be working as a Nutty Scientist.

This will be a combined acting and teaching position in which I’ll be putting on fun and educational science shows for kids.

While I hesitate to speak too soon, I suspect that I’ll enjoy being a Nutty Scientist: I love science, I have a fair amount of acting experience, and I used to like working with kids. Thus, this might be the sort of position that I’ll do well at.

The Future of this Blog

A logo with a snarling leopard.
Look Mom, the kitty’s smiling!

I won’t be able to do much with this blog until I’ve completed the Belize articles for StoneAgeMan. Once those are finished, I’m not sure what I’ll do.

I’ve previously said that I can’t keep maintaining this site for free. I’ve looked into monetization options; but, to be honest, the amount of work it’d take to start generating revenue from this blog wouldn’t be worth it.

More importantly, my interests are now much broader than big cat conservation, and I’ve already stretched The Jaguar and Allies too thin.

What this means is that I’m considering launching a new, more professional website. This site would be optimized for mobile use and SEO, and would be a platform that I could grow into and expand for many years.

I don’t want to act on these ideas until I’m back from Belize, because my current priority is to focus on making that trip a success. Nevertheless, I’ll let you know what I decide to do once I commit to a specific course.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but 2020 is shaping up to be quite the year.

18 Thoughts

  1. Ooh you’ll be learning about the Mayans that’s so cool.
    I wish the schools I went to had better science programs, instead of the boring & drab lessons they tortured us through…I reckon I would have been a better nerd 😩

    Trying to find a balance between real life and blogging is proving to be quite the uphill task, so I totally get it and you’ve got my full support whichever way you choose to go with your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Naila! I appreciate your support :)

      Science classes in schools pretty much suck as a general rule, which is a shame. Despite always being fascinated by science, I hated most of my formal science classes, with a few notable exceptions. That’s why I love the concept of making science education fun and engaging for kids, and why I like working with people like Rob Nelson who also make science seem fun.

      As for this blog, I’m pretty sure I’ll create a new platform and transfer my most popular posts from this site to the new one. But, that probably won’t happen for a few months. It takes a lot of work to run a good blog, as you know, and I want to receive some compensation for my work.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always 😊

        I think it’s a great idea to introduce fun learning ways so as so perk up the kids interests in school.

        Yeah it’s draining but if good results are forthcoming then it is totally worth it. I’ve wanted to start an official site and explore more into writing but I’m just not committed to the idea yet… so that’s that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ll have to break my record of posting like once per month first haha great to hear from you again, Josh! :)) I see there have been many changes in your life and I’m quite happy to see how things have been going for you. The job as a Nutty Scientist sounds like lots of fun and I’m excited you get to return to Belize! Hope we’ll be able to continue following your journey no matter what will happen to this blog :) take care x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Monika! Yes, there have been many changes in my life in a short period of time. I know that they’re good changes that’ll pay off in the future; but, to be honest, sometimes I feel like things are moving too fast.

      I’m actually really excited about the Nutty Scientist job :) Three of my favorite things are science, acting, and working with kids, and I can’t believe that I found a position that combines all three! Plus, Nutty Scientists originated in Europe, so if this job turns into a long-term thing, who knows where I’ll end up :)

      Like

  3. Excellent news about your return to Belize, Josh – looking forward to reading the articles that will come out of the trip and stay. It makes sense that you would want to progress to a new blog and curios to see if you will merge the big cats and archaeology themes and have them as separate categories on one blog, or whether you will have two blogs. So things are progressing very well for your writing and archaeology (self-oriented) career and I’m sure it will lead you into a professional niche in the future, either in archaeology or writing or a combination. Good to hear that you have an new day job too – sounds like fun! Best of luck with everything. (I’m currently back in South Africa for a while after 4 years in South America.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jacques! I hope you’re enjoying your return to South Africa!

      I’ve not decided what the central theme of my new blog would be; I know what sorts of things I want to write about, but I’m not sure how to tie them all together. Having multiple sites would be one solution, but I’d rather focus my efforts on a single platform, so that I can make it as good as possible.

      Perhaps I’ll make a general science blog, although I’d have to make it stand out from all the other science blogs on the web. I’m sure I’ll figure it out :)

      Liked by 1 person

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