A Four-year Review for V. F. Thomas Co.
On 13 February 2011, I retired and began to use my time to work on a variety of projects that I hoped would be of benefit. After the completion of each year since retirement, I have taken time to evaluate the progress of each project and what I have perceived to be its importance. Below is a list of projects, with notes on the status of each one, but here are some general comments regarding all the projects in general. I have become convinced that the most important thing that I can do, both online and off, is to give to the next generation(s) an Earth with as clean an environment as I possibly can as well as an ethic to do the same for subsequent generations.
I will leave online what I have already posted but I am concerned that this information will keep people distracted from the really important issues of cleaning up the planet and/or doing what can be done to prevent further degradation of the environment. I could remove the links (below) to the projects I used to spend my time on, but maybe that work that I have done will keep people from spending their time reinventing the wheel. Perhaps the time they save will be spent reconnecting themselves and others with the natural world.
All of the material posted on this website is for the free use of anyone who wishes to use it, with the requirement that no one using this material will ever charge anyone for access to it, either online or in print or in any other form.
This project is a record of the natural history of Mount Desert Island and the immediately adjacent ocean. I would like to see this project adopted. I envision the creation of a nonprofit organization, perhaps called the Mount Desert Island Natural History Society, that will be the natural history equivalent of the island's historical societies. The new society would, among other things, (1) have its own website, (2) maintain/update the Champlain Project data, (3) develop a newsletter, (4) provide scholarships to help students and adults attend various natural history camps and programs, (5) create displays for libraries, schools, and other interested groups, and (6) create and/or support natural history collections.
Until such an organization is created, I will continue to host and update the Champlain Project.
You may click on the link above for an overview of the whole project or on one of the links below to explore a specific topic.
checklists | mysteries | organizations and other resources
I would like to transfer this project to a nonprofit organization that will make it freely available online. I offered the data to Billion Graves, but they were not interested. I e-mailed the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) over a year ago, but they did not reply. I tried again, and this time they responded, but after a brief exchange of e-mails, I never heard from them again. Their website now links to Find A Grave for lists of cemeteries, and there is a GIS map on MOCA's site that shows the locations of some but by no means all Maine cemeteries.
So, I will leave these Maine Cemeteries web pages online, and when I happen across a cemetery during my very infrequent travels, I will add it to this project, but when I die, these pages will be deleted.
This project includes three brief articles (Redundant Research | Not Another Book! | Where Did You Get That Information?) and an online surname-based genealogy. I have found a much younger person who is very knowledgable about websites, and soon the online genealogy will be under his care on a different website. I will provide a link from here when that happens.
The emphasis of this project is to develop and post identification tools for U.S. stamps and postal stationery. You may click on the link above for an overview of the whole project or on one of the links below to explore a specific topic.
In order to help the nonprofit Anaskimin to publish the second volume of Ancestral Plants, I am going out of the stamp collecting and dealing business, and am offering my entire stock (preferably as a single lot) for sale. The proceeds will be donated to Anaskimin. I am also looking for an organization or individual who will take over the web pages linked to immediately below.
online keys to front-of-the-book postage stamps | downloadable Excel file for U.S. front-of-the-book stamps | online keys to design types of U.S. stamped envelopes and wrappers | Maine postal history
SLOW(?) DESTRUCTION OF MOUNT DESERT ISLAND
The page linked to by clicking here will give you a less than rosy picture of what can unfortunately be found on Mount Desert Island without looking very far.
MOUNT DESERT ISLAND CULTURAL HISTORY PROJECT
For information about Mount Desert Island's people and their interaction with the island, visit http://mdihistory.org/cultural-history-project/, a project of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society.
Here are some websites that I think are worthy of your attention.
Anaskimin - a nonprofit whose mission is "to reawaken people's awareness of the landscape they live in, enabling them to reconnect with, appreciate, and value natural places". As treasurer of Anaskimin, I am aware of its financial needs, not only in terms of the dollars needed to carry out its goals but also the need, as a nonprofit public charity, to show (to the IRS) that it has broad public support. Although gifts of $100,000 or more would obviously be welcomed, donations of smaller amounts (every $1 is important) from many people will help demonstrate public support. You may send a check, payable to Anaskimin, to P. O. Box 400, Southwest Harbor, Maine 04679, or you may call 207-266-5748 to make a donation via credit card. All charges incurred when processing credit card donations and payments are being covered by a donor, so 100% of your contribution will be available for Anaskimin. Thanks.
Delta Institute of Natural History - a school for small group instruction on a diversity of natural history topics, with focus on plant taxonomy and primitive technologies.
The Naturalist's Notebook - a unique shop and exploratorium for anyone who is "even a little curious about the last 13.7 billion years". I particularly recommend their blog.