Here is a collection of topical articles and personal essays by Robin Van Auken.

Volunteer Abroad with Pandas & Other Bears

Bears are iconic and have been throughout history, playing a major role in art and mythology. They were traditionally been hunted by humans, often as a challenge to dominate a large, fierce species, or for their rich reserves of meat and fur. Most American children are familiar with the beloved "Teddy Bear," invented to honor U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. The story goes, Roosevelt was on a hunting trip [...]

2019-02-22T16:58:23-05:00By |

The Road to Williamsport

Home of the Little League World Series, and So Much More! The road to Williamsport is heavily traveled, despite the fact that this small city in northcentral Pennsylvania is home to only 29,000 people. That's because Williamsport is home to the annual Little League Baseball World Series, which attracts more than 40,000 people to its final game, and millions of viewers to all 32 of its televised games on ESPN [...]

2019-04-24T10:45:37-05:00By |

Stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park

I visited Cherry Springs State Park (Coudersport, PA) once again, this time staying the full night in the campground. The first time I visited was October 2018 with my sisters Susan Ward and Sharon Tracy. We stopped, on a whim, after a day trip to Niagara Falls, Canada side. It was quite a haul, driving to Canada and back, and including a side trip atop a mountain, and [...]

2018-08-05T14:48:32-05:00By |

Don’t Let Fear Paralyze You

I live with the fear that all raccoons have rabies. Or distemper. Or cooties and other germs. They’re cute, but I avoid them. This despite having a childhood friend who had one as a pet. I used to cuddle “Ricky,” until he hit raccoon puberty. One day, Ricky left and he didn’t come back, listening to the call of the wild, instead of my friend at the back door. [...]

2018-07-12T21:23:59-05:00By |

Muncy Heritage Park

Muncy Heritage Park Muncy Heritage Park is an archaeological treasure along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River Kneeling in the weeds in what would become Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail, Bill Poulton brushed aside debris. He knew the old well was near the defunct canal, but after decades of neglect, tiger lilies, poison ivy and oak trees had overgrown the small patch of land. He [...]

2019-04-09T17:00:37-05:00By |

Find the Beautiful, the Strange at Your Local Botanical Garden

Botanical Gardens Have Historic Roots I am not a botanist, but I enjoy spending time at Botanical Gardens. According to Wikipedia, the inception of botanical gardens is linked to the history of botany, and most 16th and 17th century scientific gardens were devoted to growing medicinal plants. The concept of a botanical garden evolved to encompass, "displays of the beautiful, strange, new and sometimes economically important plant [...]

2018-07-12T21:36:34-05:00By |

Useful Guide to Free Photos, Media and More

As a writer, you're not always concerned with visual or audio artwork. It's often secondary to the Muse dictating the story to you. As a Self-Sufficient Author, however, you need media for marketing your author brand, so how do you find it and use it legally? The Ultimate Guide to Free Photos, Media & More was too ambitious, plus it wasn't an achievable goal, so I created A Useful Guide [...]

2019-04-10T11:30:47-05:00By |

Reawaken Your ‘Sense of Wonder’: Remembering Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson The spirit of Rachel Carson lives on, instilling in the Earth's human population awareness of its fragile environment and an urgency to protect it from toxins. Although it's been five decades since the publication of her runaway bestseller, "Silent Spring" (1962), Carson remains one of the greatest nature writers of America and one of America's Top 100 Scientists according to a Time magazine poll. "The beauty [...]

2019-04-09T16:59:40-05:00By |

Register Your Author Website Domain Before It’s Gone

Claim Your Name Now Register Your Author Website Domain Before It's Gone What are you waiting for? An invitation? If you haven't registered your name with ICANN as a domain for your Author's Website, then you better get a move on. I have a unique name, and there are still several people in the United States with the same name. Lucky for me, I'm tech savvy and I registered [...]

2019-04-09T17:23:47-05:00By |

Devil’s Den

The Devil's Den in Florida is a dramatic freshwater spring, and popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. To reach the Den, visitors must descend narrow, limestone steps to the karst. Lycoming College Nautical Archaeology class visit the Devil's Den, Florida Lycoming College archaeology students got a rare view into a prehistoric cave structure created by an underground river while diving at Devil’s Den [...]

2018-07-12T22:00:19-05:00By |

Solo Camping

I spent a week solo camping, as a way to kick start my writing this summer. I viewed solo camping as a "Writing Retreat." Constant Companion: Chubbers, an Australian Shepherd-Husky Mix.Constant Companion: Chubbers, an Australian Shepherd-Husky Mix. Confession: I wasn't alone. I brought my constant companion, my dog, Chubbers. My husband and the cat can get along without me for a few days. She can't. Feeling ambitious, I took [...]

2019-04-09T17:28:40-05:00By |

Kids Dig ‘Arch in the Park’

Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8, Lycoming College Unite to Offer One-of-a-Kind Archaeology Experience to Area Youth MUNCY -- Arch in the Park is a hands-on heritage program designed by students for students. Organized by communication students at Lycoming College, Arch in the Park is an archaeological outreach offered by Muncy Historical Society, Northcentral Chapter 8 and Lycoming College's archaeology department, under the direction of Robin Van Auken with Hands [...]

2018-07-12T22:17:56-05:00By |

Grit Chronicles: Suffrage in Williamsport

On occasion, I share historic news reports and here's one of interest, in honor of Women's History Month. People don't often think of Suffrage as a community effort, but without commitment on the local level, the 19th Amendment would never have passed. Thanks to the dedication of women in smalltown America, as well as the "Silent Sentinels" who picketed the White House and went on Hunger Strikes in our nation's [...]

2016-11-29T12:24:42-05:00By |

World of Little League Museum videos

Hands on Heritage assisted the World of Little League Museum cast and videotape local children in the "Where in the World of Little League Museum" series to celebrate the 2015 Little League World Series. The videos were part of a social media campaign. The videos were posted on Facebook, once per day during the annual Little League Baseball World Series. If you're interested in viewing a video sample, watch [...]

2018-10-06T10:04:14-05:00By |

Muncy Heritage Park Offers River Access

  Muncy Heritage Park offers river access. MUNCY — River enthusiasts, canoeists and kayakers have another gorgeous access point to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, this one overlooking a significant historic site: the Last Raft Crash Site at Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail. Muncy Heritage Park offers river access. Muncy Historical Society built the trail, another phase of the organization’s Master Plan for its Heritage Park [...]

2018-07-14T13:00:10-05:00By |

Hands on Heritage: Keeler Company

Hands on Heritage: Keeler Company Hands on Heritage: Keeler Company The E. Keeler Company, manufacturers of boilers, etc., conduct Quo of the old industries of the city. The business was established in 1864 by J. Heathcote & Company, who conducted it until 1877, when it was incorporated with a paid-up capital of $50,000, the executive officers being George W. Sands, president; Isaac Barton, treasurer, and A. G. Anthony, [...]

2019-04-10T10:59:03-05:00By |

Hands on Heritage: Market Square

Hands on Heritage: Market Square This 1875 photograph shows the southwest corner of Market Square in downtown Williamsport. Bustling with downtown traffic despite the muddy thoroughfares, Williamsport's booming lumber trade summoned entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on the region's wealth and new construction. The block featured a ticket office for the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company, a hardware store and a pianoforte maker. Michael Ross, an indentured servant of Scottish origin, [...]

2018-07-14T12:50:45-05:00By |

Kitchen Sink Bars

I like the portability and stability of Lara Bars when I'm in the field. They hold up well in the backpack, and they're not outrageously expensive. They are a treat, however, and when I'm shopping, I'm already spending more than most people because I'm choosing organic, whole foods. I'm not shopping for candy. But when I get a hankering, I have to satisfy it and it has to be sweet and chocolatey [...]

2018-07-14T13:25:01-05:00By |

Crash Site Remains Worst Airline Disaster in Lycoming County History

Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 crash site One man's quest to memorialize the victims of the worst airline disaster in Lycoming County history, the crash of Allegheny Airlines Flight 371 on Bald Eagle Mountain, is coming to an end. The crash site has received designation from the Commonwealth as an official archaeological site. In addition, plans are underway for a monument to be installed onsite. Shane Collins' personal efforts to [...]

2019-03-10T15:11:28-05:00By |

Just Below Your Feet

Just Below Your Feet is Stephanie Bowen, right, and Sara Griggs A year ago, during American Archaeology Field School, one of my students asked about Cultural Resource Management in Pennsylvania. I told her about CRM and about PA Act 70, which has devastated professional archaeology in the Commonwealth, and encouraged her to research the topic as an independent study, a capstone project for her American Studies major. [...]

2018-07-14T13:36:38-05:00By |