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Mike MacDonald

 

"My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago"


More nature can be found within an hour’s drive of downtown Chicago than twenty-nine national parks, yet most Chicagoans are unaware. Until now! Come to be informed and inspired, as internationally published photographer, author, and humorist, Mike MacDonald, takes you on a virtual journey into Chicago’s wild side. Combining breathtaking images and imaginative storytelling, Mike leads you on an adventure into wondrous, enchanted lands located just up the road from home, work, and school.

 

About Mike MacDonald:

For over two decades, Mike has photographed Chicago’s natural wonders: its prairies, savannas, woodlands, and wetlands. His celebratory work has earned him the distinction of being Chicago Wilderness magazine’s most prominently published photographer. His images have been nationally and internationally featured in many publications such as Outdoor Photographer, Petersen’s Photographic, Boy’s Life, and BBC’s Gardens Illustrated magazine.

In 2015, Mike photographed, authored, and published his nationally acclaimed coffee table book entitled My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago: A Celebration of Chicagoland's Startling Natural Wonders. Publishers Weekly wrote, "It was celebratory, soulful, and poetic." And just a few months later, Mike doubled down on his commitment to connect Chicagoans with nature by launching ChicagoNatureNOW!, a website that helps people discover the best nature that the Chicago region has to offer.


Mike is the creator of an immersive style of landscape photography, designed to give viewers a hyper-realistic experience of each breathtaking scene. His approach is a fusion of macro and landscape photography that transforms seemingly flat prairie landscapes into rich, three-dimensional panoramas. It has been said that a Mike MacDonald photograph allows the viewer to enter the scene and to share his experience.

Mike's photographic playground includes many wild locations across the Chicago region such as Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Spears Woods in Willow Springs, Orland Park's McGinnis Slough, Lockport Prairie, and Wolf Road Prairie in the town of Westchester.

 

Our Adult Programs:

A typical Sunday meeting begins at 10:30, ends at noon and consists of a speaker or presentation focusing on current issues, ethical philosophy, lifespan education, or the arts. Platforms are open to the public and admission is free, although we request a donation of $5.
 
Our Program for Children:
The Golden Rule Sunday School, for children from birth through 8th grade, also meets every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For more info, contact the Sunday School director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Location: 7574 Lincoln Ave. Skokie IL (at Howard St.)
Park in our lot, on Howard or Jerome St, or in the nearby Albany Bank lot.

 


Jeff Bone

Principal, Landon Bone Baker Architects

 

"Sustaining Community: Affordable Housing and Community Design in Chicago"


Jeff Bone, a principal at Landon Bone Baker Architects, will discuss the work of his firm which specializes in community-based, affordable, and environmentally responsible housing and design in Chicago and the region. For almost 30 years, the firm has successfully balanced context, technology, and economy in its work while bringing a strong sense of ownership to the residents of a wide variety of new and rehabbed affordable, subsidized, and supportive housing developments.

From large-scale urban design and planning initiatives to small non-profit projects integrated into existing neighborhoods, Chicago’s diverse housing needs require unique design solutions both big and small for people in communities across the city.

 

 

About Jeff Bone:

Good design should be available to all. That’s the belief of Jeff Bone and Landon Bone Baker Architects. An innovative leader and hands-on champion of affordable housing, Jeff nurtures the firm’s grassroots approach to help nonprofit clients translate their vision. He regularly engages community members to co-create inventive, inviting, and sustainable spaces and places that transform lives, revitalize neighborhoods, and regenerate cities.

For a synergistic effect on LBBA projects, Jeff partners with unique nonprofits, including Archi-treasures, on whose board he has served for years. This organization transforms people and communities through collaborative art-making. When affordable housing residents make art that becomes part of the architecture, they feel ownership and pride, thereby increasing social sustainability of buildings and neighborhoods.

Jeff has shaped best practices, codes, and policy in many capacities, including volunteering with Affordable Housing Building Code Group of the Business and Professional People for the Public Interest; advocating to preserve SROs and establish best practices in design/construction; and volunteering with Tiny House Working Group to champion new, economical housing options.

Jeff’s built work has been honored with numerous awards, including multiple AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Awards and four prestigious First-Place Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design.

 

Our Adult Programs:

A typical Sunday meeting begins at 10:30, ends at noon and consists of a speaker or presentation focusing on current issues, ethical philosophy, lifespan education, or the arts. Platforms are open to the public and admission is free, although we request a donation of $5.
 
Our Program for Children:
The Golden Rule Sunday School, for children from birth through 8th grade, also meets every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For more info, contact the Sunday School director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Location: 7574 Lincoln Ave. Skokie IL (at Howard St.)
Park in our lot, on Howard or Jerome St, or in the nearby Albany Bank lot.

 


137 Films

 

"We Believe in Dinosaurs: Documentary About Creationism"


Amy Ellison and Monica Long Ross of 137 Films will tell us about the making of their film company’s most recent project, currently in post-production, called “We Believe in Dinosaurs.” Shot over the course of three years, the film follows the designers and builders of the $100 million, 510-foot Noah’s Ark “Museum” in rural Kentucky whose express purpose is debunking evolution. From blue prints to opening day, the film tells the story of the unsettling, yet uniquely American, conflict between science and religion.

 

About 137 Films:

One hundred thirty-seven is a magical and bizarre number for physicists. It is the value of a number called the fine-structure constant. This constant, 137 (or actually, 1/137), is the way physicists describe the probability that an electron will emit or absorb a photon: it's the square of the charge of the electron divided by the speed of light times Planck’s constant. It combines electromagnetism (the electron charge), relativity (the speed of light), and quantum mechanics (Planck’s constant), and, strangely enough, is a pure, dimensionless number. It has fascinated physicists for decades.

Throughout the Thirties and Forties, the greatest scientists of the day tried and failed to figure out the magic number 137. The great Werner Heisenberg told his friends that the problems of quantum theory would disappear only when 137 was explained, and spent years trying to explain it; fortunately, the problems did go away despite his failure.

Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists of this century said that physicists ought to put a special sign in their offices to remind themselves of how much they don't know. The message on the sign would be very simple. It would consist entirely of one word, or, rather, number: 137.

Dr. Leon Lederman, Nobel Laureate, in his book The God Particle said "I tell my undergraduate students that if they are ever in trouble in a major city anywhere in the world they should write '137' on a sign and hold it up on a busy street corner. Eventually a physicist will see that they're distressed and come to their assistance."

During an interview for The Atom Smashers, John Marburger, President Bush's science adviser (himself a physicist), asked if we had ever stood on a street corner and tried it. Monica said "we named our company after it, held it up, and physicists have been coming to our assistance ever since."

 

Our Adult Programs:

A typical Sunday meeting begins at 10:30, ends at noon and consists of a speaker or presentation focusing on current issues, ethical philosophy, lifespan education, or the arts. Platforms are open to the public and admission is free, although we request a donation of $5.
 
Our Program for Children:
The Golden Rule Sunday School, for children from birth through 8th grade, also meets every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For more info, contact the Sunday School director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Location: 7574 Lincoln Ave. Skokie IL (at Howard St.)
Park in our lot, on Howard or Jerome St, or in the nearby Albany Bank lot.

 


Sea Beast Puppet Company

 

"Best Day Ever"


“Best Day Ever” follows the adventures of Kat and MK, two puppeteers with one goal- to put on a show. But it’s hard to do that when you’re lost in the screen and it’s even harder when the puppeteers turn into puppets themselves! Join Kat and MK as they try to conquer the world they’ve created and discover the wonders of shadow puppetry at the same time.

 

About Sea Beast Puppet Company:

Kat Pleviak has been a professional puppeteer and member of the Puppeteers of America since 2002. She has an MFA In Youth Theatre and Puppetry from the University of Hawaii Manoa (2009) and is the founder and Artistic Director of Sea Beast Puppet Company in Chicago, IL.

Under Kat’s direction Sea Beast has initiated a number of exciting puppetry projects including a series of original works including “ Little Red Rosie and the Dragon of Dümm”, “ Liquid Ladies”, “The Shadow Puppet Conspiracy”, “The History of Light”, and “Méfiez-Vous de la Vache-Garou” which won best in show at the Chicago Fringe 2013.

Besides performing Kat has experience in company management and flexes these muscles by hosting the "Puppet Meltdown Puppet Slam" and presenting out of town artists in such events as "Oddities: A Collection of Curious Puppetry". Kat's work has been seen at regional, national, and international festivals including the Motor City Puppet Blast (2014), the Chicago Humanities Festival (2014), The Chicago Improv Festival (2013-2014), The National Puppetry Festival (2013), Potlatch Puppetry Festival (2009,2011), Port City Puppet Festival (2010), UNIMA Congress (Perth 2008), and the Illinois Story Telling Festival (2009,2010).

Mary Kate Jenkins is a Chicago area puppet builder, puppeteer and props designer with a BFA in Drama from New York University's Experimental Theatre Wing. She has interned with several New York area production companies such as Basil Twist and Encyclopedia Pictura, where she worked on Bjork's music video for "Wanderlust." Props Design credits include “Buddy Holly” at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, “Sylvia” at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, and “Iolanthe” at Light Opera Works. Her current projects include puppeteering in the children's eco-based television pilot "Mr. Furry Fur Fur and His Friendly Earth Friends” as well as Sea Beast Puppet Company.

 

Our Adult Programs:

A typical Sunday meeting begins at 10:30, ends at noon and consists of a speaker or presentation focusing on current issues, ethical philosophy, lifespan education, or the arts. Platforms are open to the public and admission is free, although we request a donation of $5.
 
Our Program for Children:
The Golden Rule Sunday School, for children from birth through 8th grade, also meets every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For more info, contact the Sunday School director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Location: 7574 Lincoln Ave. Skokie IL (at Howard St.)
Park in our lot, on Howard or Jerome St, or in the nearby Albany Bank lot.

 


Patrick Drazen

 

"Holy Anime! Japan Views an Outsider Religion"


After 5 centuries of missionaries, Japan’s Christian population is still less than 1 percent; but Japanese versions of Christianity exist in the media, in the fad of church weddings, and in social programs. Patrick Drazen looks at Japan’s complicated history with Christianity and its status as a minority religion. Based on his forthcoming book Holy Anime!, this presentation takes a humanist approach to both Japan and its version of Christianity.

 

 

About Patrick Drazen:

Patrick Drazen is the author of two books on Japan’s popular culture: Anime Explosion! and A Gathering of Spirits: Japan’s Ghost Story Tradition. Both look at Japan’s popular culture, mainly comic books (manga) and cartoons (anime) as expressions of Japan’s history, social customs, religious beliefs and philosophy of life. Holy Anime! will be his third book.

 

Our Adult Programs:

A typical Sunday meeting begins at 10:30, ends at noon and consists of a speaker or presentation focusing on current issues, ethical philosophy, lifespan education, or the arts. Platforms are open to the public and admission is free, although we request a donation of $5.
 
Our Program for Children:
The Golden Rule Sunday School, for children from birth through 8th grade, also meets every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to noon. For more info, contact the Sunday School director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Location: 7574 Lincoln Ave. Skokie IL (at Howard St.)
Park in our lot, on Howard or Jerome St, or in the nearby Albany Bank lot.

 

American Humanist Association
Annual Conference

 

June 8 - 11


Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Airport Hotel & Convention Center


Join hundreds of humanists, atheists and freethinkers in Charleston, NC for four days of informative lectures, book signings, celebrity guests, networking opportunities, child care, fun activities and more!


Register today!

 

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