Karen Land is a writer, public speaker, library-lover, and wilderness advocate, giving Iditarod dog mushing presentations at schools and libraries across the country. To date, she has delivered over 1000 talks in 35 states. In the sport of mushing, a sled dog team is often referred to as "a string of dogs." Her current string is made up of an Alaskan husky named Noggin and a Corgi-Springer mix named Chloe. Join them on their adventures...
Email Karen at mymusher at gmail.com
Dog mushing is all about knowing when to run and when to rest.
NOW is the time to stay put, tending to those we love while keeping safe and healthy those we’ll never even meet.
We’re all on the same trail—we must care for each other.
Since the first known case of coronavirus was announced on January 21st in Washington state, I’ve been closely watching the news to see how this all would unfold. In an attempt to make an informed decision about my travels around the country, I searched for any and all information on the coronavirus. It was an extremely frustrating process. So little could be found. Our country’s leaders were acting like nothing was happening. But it worried me.
On Sunday, March 8th as mushers were packing sleds and harnessing dogs, setting off on their 1000-mile Iditarod journeys to Nome, I began emailing this letter to schools and libraries.
Dear Teachers, Principals, and Librarians,
I am sorry to have to write this letter, but I wanted to give both schools and public libraries as much of an advance warning as possible. After much thought and consideration of all of the variables involved in a 40-day talk tour throughout the states of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts during the ever-changing COVID-19 outbreak, I have decided it would be best to cancel my March/April 2020 trip. It took me 6 months of hard work to plan and schedule this trip. I am heartbroken about it!
In order to keep my prices as low as possible for schools and public libraries while still covering my own high travel costs (Airbnb rentals and hotels, truck maintenance, gasoline, etc.), I always need to book as many talks as possible. This means that my upcoming travel itinerary has my dogs and me visiting schools and public libraries in over 35 different towns and cities, the majority of them in New York state.
Even before New York declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak, I was closely monitoring the news, trying to obtain as much information as possible on the ever-evolving situation. Unfortunately, the lack of information and testing makes it difficult for the public to know how extensive this outbreak truly is. To be on the safe side, I feel it is best to suspend the upcoming tour. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. The dogs and I are just as disappointed as you are! It was a difficult decision to have to make, but I feel it is the right one at the moment.
I do want to offer options for still having your talk(s) at our scheduled time(s) via SKYPE and/or rescheduling talks for Summer 2020 or Fall 2020, depending on when it is safe for travel. Please refer to these options listed below and let me know if any of them interest you. If you have other thoughts or ideas, please share them with me!
***For space reasons, I have omitted the options from this blog post. Email me at mymusher at gmail.com if you are interested.
Again, I apologize. We’re so sad to not be coming your way in the next few weeks and months but, like a musher running her dog team down the Iditarod Trail, we all must adapt to the unfamiliar terrain before us. My main concern is the health of all. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been honored to visit both small and large communities across this country to share my beloved dogs and stories of the Iditarod Trail with fans of all ages. We look forward to continuing this in the future!
Please let me know you’ve received this message. And then we can talk about your own ideas and needs.
Noggin, Chloe, and I traveled to five states in 29 days, giving 25 presentations to thousands of students, library patrons, and mushing fans. We met so many wonderful people! Thank you to the schools and libraries for inviting us to your communities and to all of the enthusiastic dog lovers who attended our talks!
We’re home now, doing laundry, cleaning out our truck, and repacking for our Midwestern and East coast adventures. Interested in a SUMMER READING talk? We’re booking now for May, June, and July. For more information, email Karen at mymusher at gmail.com.
What a great time we had on our last Iditarod Public Library and School Talk Tour of 2019 and THE DECADE! Thank you to Grand County Public Library (Moab, Utah), Montrose Regional Library (Montrose, Colorado), Mesa County Libraries (two presentations at the Grand Junction, CO central branch and one at the Fruita branch), Bemis Public Library (Littleton, Colorado), Erie Middle School (Erie, Colorado), Erie Community Library, and Eaton Public Library (Eaton, Colorado).
TO CELEBRATE MY 20th YEAR OF IDITAROD DOG MUSHING TALKS, we’re planning a MEGA ROAD TRIP around the United States for 2020! There’s a good chance we’ll be IN YOUR AREA! For more information, email Karen at mymusher at gmail.com … or… mymusher at yahoo.com.
Great Bend Public Library, Great Bend, KS. Photo by Susan Thatcher.
Kansas Reading Roundup, Garden City, Kansas.
Kansas Reading Roundup, Hugoton, KS.
Basehor Community Library, Basehor, KS.
Jefferson County Library, Windsor Branch, Barnhart, MO.
Lemmon Public Library, Lemmon, SD.
Jefferson County Library, Windsor Branch, Barnhart, MO.
Chloe, Noggin, and I have been on the road for almost three weeks now. So far we’ve given 16 talks in Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Lots of driving, sharing stories, dog-petting, and laughing!
Libraries are awesome in any season, but SUMMER READING is always special! We are honored to be a part of so many exciting and creative summer reading programs. Thank you, librarians!
Thank you to all of the awesome LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS from our East coast trip! Noggin and I were honored to visit so many wonderful libraries and schools in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. WE LOVE LIBRARIES!
This upcoming May and June we’ll be visiting public libraries and schools in Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a visit!
This morning Noggin had a difficult time staying awake during our Skype session with students at Meeteetse Branch Library in Wyoming. I imagine the poor dog thinks I’m just sitting on the floor (in front of the computer) talking to myself! She sees no reason to participate in such nonsense.
When I’m Skyping, Chloe always looks concerned for me…
Little do the pups know how much fun I have talking with the students. Their awesome questions make the hour fly by!