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Education does not have to be boring, and education can also be achieved outside the classroom

As a university professor for many years I am fully aware of scholarly tradition. Plus being a student at Harvard and having three research appointments at Yale University have provided traditional research and publication experience. So I am fully aware of peer-reviewed journals.

But I never needed tenure, so I was not pushed into cranking out articles in peer-reviewed journals. My peers are throughout the world and the readers of our overall network of web sites is over half a million people (digital imaging, digital printing, flora, fauna, and archaeological web sites are read literally around the world). More people read our FLAAR network in a week than read a peer reviewed journal in an entire year.

At digital printer or digital photography technology trade shows, whether in Dubai, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Munich, Orlando or Las Vegas, total strangers come up to introduce themselves and thank FLAAR for the full-color PDFs which we provide on our web sites. Each PDF is like an article, or often a chapter in a popular textbook. Since there is no textbook on wide-format inkjet printing the FLAAR Reports have been popular each year for now over 17 years.

Gradually we are evolving; step-by-step we are moving into additional areas to provide education to a wider spectrum, especially to younger people. We have spoken with many people who have confirmed our understanding that if you educate young people many of them will in turn educate their parents.

While visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden circa 2012, to prepare a photographic exhibit there of sacred Maya flowers, I saw the installation of a multi-cultural entertainment event outside. It is called Lantern Fest.

Even though I saw it only in the daylight hours (the festival is even more spectacular at night), I remember how sophisticated it was. And definitely entertaining for my eyes. It featured traditional Chinese architecture and symbols, but all illuminated from within. So the exhibit glowed with inherent beauty.

Even though I have been to Beijing and a dozen cities throughout China over the last six years of visiting China on business, I still found the presentation of the Chinese dragons and Chinese lanterns amazing.

The idea occurred to me that it would be possible to present educational messages during such a festival. If 50,000 attend such a festival, that is a good number to have reached. If 150,000 attend even better. What if a quarter of a million people attend over a several month period?

The goal of a non-profit institute is to undertake research and then to present the acquired knowledge to the public. We have specialized web sites to present the information to archaeologists, epigraphers, botanists, zoologists, art historians especially those interested in architectural history or iconography. But now we can also reach an even greater number of people of the general public.

Hopefully these people will eventually wish to visit the areas where Maya civilization flourished: El Peten, Belize, Yucatan, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Tabasco, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Step by step into the world of attractions, festivals, and comparable events.

Since I have been attending digital technology trade shows since the late 1990’s, I decided that a good way to advance in the world of attractions and festivals is to become familiar with international trade shows. I noticed that one genre was trade shows related to amusement parks.

I visited DEAL in Dubai in 2014, while I was in the UAE to lecture for a group of executives and managers in the printing industry. DEAL (Dubai Entertainment Amusement & Leisure Show) is capably organized by IEC, which also organizes SGI (aka Sign Middle East).

Then later this year we are set to visit IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Actually caves could be considered an attraction.

Festival of Lights is a festival (which lasts several months) but has many features which make it comparable to some aspects of an amusement park.

Attractions provide jobs plus allow the world to experience natural beauty

The impressive caves of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala are a good example that attractions provide jobs (to the local Q’eqchi’ Mayan people).

Lake Atitlan is another natural attraction. Antigua Guatemala has Spanish colonial architecture as the focus of its attraction and of course Tikal is a Maya attraction.

Auto Safari Chapin is a well conceived zoo as an attraction. The ZooMAT in Chiapas also uses animals as its attraction, but here the focus is exclusively on birds, reptiles, mammals specifically of Chiapas. ZooMAT stands for Zoológico Regional Miguel Álvarez del Toro de Chiapas.


First posted September, 2014

PNYNN and Livingston reports

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