The Hook Challenge

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Hook teaching students how to read nature and why it’s important for sustainability, 2012.

2016 UPDATE of donation link:

 

UPDATE 6/26/2014, 10:03amCST

When the St. Edward’s folks said, We’re going to do a 48-hour Hook Challenge to see if we can get another 145 donations, well I thought that was a great goal and I was completely unsure how we were going to achieve it.  But people were up late stirring the awesome sauce.  About halfway through the challenge, it seemed unlikely that we would even get half of our goal.  But as I mentioned, awesome sauce people were mixing it and a lot of natural juice was flowing and we came out even better than expected:

  • 115 donors; 146 donations!!!!  

Yes, our anonymous $25,000 pledge will happen because the total number of donations was over 145.  My personal hope was for 145 new donors but 146 donations feels great!  Yes, I was screaming out loud to Hook as the numbers came through (in case the overcast skies in Austin were blocking his hearing in heaven!).  Yes, I was scaring the cat as I danced around the kitchen to the theme of Rocky after midnight.

I’m not going to say I wish Hook were here to celebrate with me.  He was with me last night and he’s with each of you today in gratitude.

People have asked if the #HookChallenge donor link will remain open.  My guess is probably until June 30th 2014 at which time, St. Edward’s will close its official books on the #LoveBlueGiveGold campaign.  However, the regular link to donate to the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment remains live indefinitely so individuals can donate at their leisure:

On behalf of Allan and all the future students who will benefit from the funds raised for research projects at the Wild Basin, I thank you.

Rosemary Guzman Hook
Widow of Allan | Steward of the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 12:14amCST

Final donor tally:  115 donors!  The donation link will remain open thru the night to get us closer to 145 donors:  bit.ly/seulbgive

Huge thank yous all around!

I’ve mentioned before how the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment scholarships are open to any student in the world interested in conducting creative research at the Wild Basin in Austin.   What I may not have explained in detail is why this feature of the Hook Endowment was important to Allan and I.  We understood that to grow awareness about the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and the Hook Scholars and the Hook Endowment itself, we would need to be open to offering these funds to more than St. Edward’s University students.

Hook and I were so grateful that St. Edward’s agreed and now here I am winding down on our second major donation push for the Hook Endowment — the first in 2013 when Allan was still alive and now tonight in 2014:

This has been a wonderful 48 hours spent torturing you with my blog and the count.  Thank you so very much!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 9:19 pmCST

Some serious Wow is happening over here in Austin, Texas.  We are up to 97 donors with only 48 more to go!  That is your donation.  That is your donation on crack!  I’m speechless but only because I’m exhausted.  I even forgot to make myself a cocktail when I said I would.  I’ll update again around 11ish if there’s numbers available.  We can still do it.  We can make the goal of 145 donors by midnight!

Listen to some Rocky with me – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj0jzepk0WA – while you donate or while you motivate someone to donate:  bit.ly/seulbgive

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 7:04 pmCST

We are at 83 donors which is more than the halfway point!!!  (I’m counting Hook donors + Wild Basin donors). And it’s officially cocktail hour so I’m making a gin and tonic to celebrate!   Need 62 more donors by midnight tonight. 

Will you help us get there?

I just raised my fists up in the air Rocky-style and said, “Go Hook!”

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 3:34 pmCST

64 donors to the Hook Wild Basin Endowment and 4 donors to the Wild Basin Preserve for a total of 68 donors — woohoo!  I write “woohoo” but what I really want to do is throw my laptop across the room because it keeps locking up so that all of my online updates on FB, LI, TW, G+ and here on this blog are taking twice as long as they should.  On the bright side, the laptop still works so thank goodness for small gifts.

How many of you will stay up with me tonight until midnight?  My pledge is now up to $680 (68 donors x $10) and of course there is still the $25k pledge if we meet the goal of 145 donors!

Time for me to get some packing in for the next couple of hours, but I’ll check back in after 5 o’clock with an update.

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 1:24 pmCST

My contact lenses are starting to stick to my eyeballs, I’m so tired but I’m in this until 11:59 pm tonight!  In the meantime, I really need to finish packing up this house where I’m living in preparation for my move back into the Hook House.  Someday I hope the Hook House will become the Hook Scholar House.  More on that in another blog … as well as this mega move.

62 donors — yea!!!!   You all are amazing!  For the love of nature and education and Hook, let’s get 83 more donors!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 12:54 pmCST

59 donors and growing!  86 more donors to go.  We can do this!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 10:34 amCST

Made it to my breakfast meeting this morning but just barely.  The good news is we are up to 51 donors (Hook Endowment donors + Wild Basin donors).   I can almost hear Hook’s voice saying, “I can’t believe so many people are donating!”

We only have 94 more donors to go and our anonymous donor pledge kicks in with their $25k.  Hook’s concept of a “nature think tank” is becoming a reality.   Years from now we are going to look back and be amazed at how the support for the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and the Hook Scholars have grown.

But, the Wild Basin isn’t Vegas.  What is learned at the basin doesn’t stay at the basin — this education will be applied everywhere, throughout the globe, and our awareness and reverence of the natural world will become the norm.  Thank you for that awesome sauce this morning … now, help us get 94 more donors!

UPDATE from 6/25/2014, 12:48 amCST

An anonymous donor pledged $25k if we meet the Hook Challenge of 145 donors by 11:59 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, 6/25.  We are currently at 42 donors as of 12:50 a.m.

Staying up late to track this stuff is a lot like cramming for an exam in college except I’m not 20 anymore and slamming caffeine lost its allure years ago.  No doubt I will fall asleep during my breakfast meeting which begins six hours from now at 6:50 am.

ORIGINAL POST from 6/24/2014, 10:47 amCST

This will be the shortest blog post you’ll ever read from me.  That is my gift to you, but today is about me asking for a gift from you.

Wait!  Please read this brief post to the end.  If you’re thinking, I already donated for chrissakes, well I’d say someone is feeling a bit dramatic today and quite frankly that’s my job. 😉

This week, St. Edward’s University kicked off a #LoveBlueGiveGold campaign to increase their alumni contributions.  They chose to include the Hook Endowment as part of this giving challenge not only for alumni donations but for any person interested in supporting the sustainability and education of the environmental gem known as the Wild Basin Preserve.  Here is what I am asking from you:

  • If you were one of the original 145 donors, would you encourage one family member or friend or acquaintance who has not donated to give $10 or more to the Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment?  http://ow.ly/ymVvI
  • If you have not donated yet, would you make one online contribution of $10 before midnight on Wednesday, June 25th 2014? http://ow.ly/ymVvI

Those interested in donating more than $10 are certainly welcomed to do so.  (If you’d like, read about the original giving levels established by Allan in 2013:  Hook giving levels)

You can watch the progress with me of how many people meet the Hook Challenge by 11:59 p.m. on 6/25: http://think.stedwards.edu/giving/progress.   For each new donor who commits online by the deadline, I have pledged to make a donation of $10 per donor toward the Hook Challenge.

For those not already in the know, here is a quick explanation of what the Hook Wild Basin Endowment is and what purpose it serves:

In 2013, my late husband Allan (“Hook”) and I established the Dr. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund to provide scholarships to any student in the world interested in conducting creative research at the pristine, 227 acre track called the Wild Basin and which is part of the incredible Balcones Canyonland Preserve in Austin, Texas, U.S.A.  Allan and I managed to convince (asking, begging, guilting) 145 friends and family to donate to this endowment which resulted in eight Hook Scholars receiving funds in 2014 to study at the Wild Basin Creative Research Center  This center and the Wild Basin Preserve are graciously managed by St. Edward’s University, a private institution in south Austin and where Hook spent the last 25 years of his life as a biology professor before he passed away.

Please Note:  I tend to emphasize the “any student in the world” eligibility of future Hook Scholars.  I do this because it is not the norm for a higher education institution to open its scholarship coffers to students from other universities.  But as part of their overall global initiatives, St. Edward’s University encourages students from any university to apply to the Hook Endowment.  Why?  Because the greater the awareness, the greater the exposure, the greater the chances we have of keeping preserves like the Wild Basin as a learning vehicle for educating young minds about the sustainability and necessity of our natural environment.   Forward thinking.

#LoveGoldGiveBlue today and help us meet the Hook Challenge by donating or getting one person to donate by the deadline:  http://ow.ly/ymVvI

p.s.  Today’s original blog word count: 563 |  My average blog word count: 2920

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Obituary: Allan W. Hook, Ph.D.

Services for Dr. Hook in Austin will be held Sunday, September 8th, 5pm at St. Edward’s University’s chapel followed by a Celebration of Hook aka a “Hookabration” in the Maloney Room inside the Main Building, 3rd floor on SEU’s campus (look for the tallest, red-peaked building).  

In lieu of flowers/plants of any kind, please consider a tax-deductible donation to Hook’s legacy, The Dr. Hook Wild Basin Endowment, instead:  http://bit.ly/1KR8YDv  (Choose OTHER for donation then type in HOOK ENDOWMENT)

Condolence cards may be mailed to the Hook House, P O Box 151240, Austin, TX 78715-1240.  (I’m torn between not wanting you to waste paper but wanting to support the U.S. Post Office.  Your call.)

~      ~      ~

OBITUARY:  Dr. Allan Hook, November 17, 1953 – September 3, 2013

HDU_Hookkissingarmadillo

Allan William Hook— known to the masses as “Hook”—passed away at his home at age 59 on September 3, 2013.   Surrounding him were his family and friends who gently guided him through to his end here.

Hook was born on November 17, 1953, in Quincy, Massachusetts, but spent most of his childhood in Fair Haven, New Jersey, where he excelled in school science fairs and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Summer days spent as a lifeguard at Sandy Hook beach on the Jersey shore would help shape him, physically with a trim physique that he maintained with daily laps in the pool, and spiritually with a love for the sand and salt that later led him on many fishing junkets to Port Aransas, Texas.

But it would be wandering in the wild with his mother on nature walks that ultimately inspired his passion and lifelong love for natural science. Hiking through creek beds for fossils and taking the time to stop and turn stones and leaves in search of bugs fueled his curiosity about the natural world.  He embarked on a journey of learning that began at the University of Maine (Orono) where he received a bachelors in biology. Hook obtained a masters in entomology and zoology from the University of Georgia (Athens) and under the direction and guidance of the world-renowned wasp expert, Howard Evans, he completed a doctorate in zoology and entomology from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Academia led him to Austin, Texas, where Hook taught at the University of Texas and then as a professor at St. Edward’s University, where he spent over 25 years teaching evolutionary biology to undergraduates. His research focused on the social behavior and biodiversity of solitary wasps.  Hook spent much of his time roaming the fields and woods of Texas collecting insects, then collaborating with colleagues on research at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory on the West Austin shores of Lady Bird Lake. He also enjoyed several sabbaticals in the rain forests of Trinidad, Honduras, and Brazil collecting and collaborating with fellow biologists and smuggling home fiery homemade hot sauces. For his peers, he was a source of respected research and knowledge, and if they were lucky enough, a hilarious companion for collecting trips into the wild.  He was dependable as a loyal friend and an endless source of ribald jokes muttered from an infectious smile.

In addition to a large body of published research, Hook had the honor of discovering three new species of insects which now bear his name: Nemomydas hooki (fly), and two, solitary wasps—Solerella hooki and Pseudopolis hooki.

In 2009, Hook married Rosemary Guzman (a non-bug person), and as any good hymenopterist would do, he took his wife on a honeymoon to the jungles of Chiapas.  Together, Hook and Rosemary created the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund to support his reverence and study of nature.  This fund provides fellowships to any student in the world interested in conducting creative research at the Wild Basin Preserve in Austin, Texas.

Hook was preceded in death by his parents Walter Allan Hook and Andrée Jeanne Gougé Hook. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Guzman Hook, his sister, Claire Hook Patton (Curtis) and brother, Walter David Hook (Paula), step-mom Faith Hook, stepsisters Sandy McCray (Big Mike), Gay Benedict (Roger), Amy Bergh (Greg); and numerous nieces and nephews.

Hook’s ashes will be spread in Texas and in the countries of Trinidad and Australia.  

Services for Hook in Austin will be held Sunday, September 8th, 5pm at St. Edward’s University’s chapel followed by a Celebration of Hook, a “Hookabration” in the Maloney Room, 3rd floor of the Main Building, on SEU’s campus.  All are welcome.

As an advocate of sustainability, Hook’s final request was to encourage a donation to the Hook Wild Basin Fund in lieu of flowers/plants.  You may make that tax-deductible donation to the Dr. Allan W. Hook Endowed Wild Basin Creative Research Fund at http://bit.ly/2lEHKyW

Or, you may mail your donation to St. Edward’s University’s Advancement Office, ATTN Hook Endowment, 3001 South Congress, Austin, TX 78704.   To read more about the Hook Wild Basin Endowment, click here:  http://bit.ly/2ASJGrb.  To watch the YNN Austin interview about Hook’s life, click here:  http://youtu.be/OmFFv0hfYbI

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His and Her Dreams

I’m a dreamer not in the John Lennon sort of way but in The Cranberries’ Dreams sort of way.  My dreams are never quite as they seem.   Sometimes in my dreams, I watch what I believe is my own life except the main female character doesn’t look like me and the main male character doesn’t look like Hook.  But, they act like us, using our mannerisms, saying what we would say.   As the non-me female lead, I feel what she’s feeling.

HDU_DreamingWhen I have these dreams, it usually means I’m worried about something or I ate too many bread products just before going to bed.   I do recall shoving baked potato chips into my mouth that I’d discovered in the pantry the night before.  Hook’s been trying to sneak snacks into the house which is fine so long as he sticks to our silent agreement to hide all snacks from me so I won’t eat them.  He’s also supposed to hide all junk food in general so I won’t nag him about eating stuff which will make his digestive system work harder than it needs to.

Too many chips meant not enough sleep and too many dreams.

Hook’s Dreams

Hook doesn’t dream often but when he does it usually includes throwing a bug net around or fishing with friends.  He’ll wake up on any given morning and say he dreamt he was on the coast and caught a red fish or that he had been in the field collecting.  He never seems to wake up frustrated even though sometimes he doesn’t catch anything or wakes up just before he’s going to catch “a big one.”  If there were other people fishing or bugging with him and he can identify them by name, I’ll always ask, “Could you see their faces?”

This question confuses Hook.  He replies that if he couldn’t see their faces, how would he know it was them?   In his dreams, the people are clear and real and the places he goes to actually exist.  While Hook’s dreams are exact and definite with a lot of action, mine are fuzzy and indistinct with a lot of feeling.   In Hook’s dreams, he’s doing things he wants to do again.  In my dreams, I’m feeling things I don’t want to feel anymore.

Dream Lessons from Freud

Do our minds continually send us back to learn a lesson that we did not learn the first time it was placed before us?  That’s my question not Freud’s.

Freud said that we are all of the characters in our dreams.  In order to understand the purpose of a dream (wish fulfillment or resolving conflict), we have to decide or figure out which character we represent or if we represent all of them.  Sometimes, we’re not even who we think we are in our own dream.  My Rosemary character in my dreams may not actually be me but represent someone else or something else that is unresolved or unfulfilled.

I’d visited Freud’s house in Vienna, Austria, back in 1995.  The house had what Americans would call, “a comfy feeling to it.”  The furniture was decorated in velvet burgundy giving the impression of intimacy and warmth.  Book shelves crowded Freud’s analysis room so that it felt cozy like all good reading rooms should.  Definitely a place you’d want to lounge around in while chatting over Vienna coffee and pastries.   I doubt Freud fed his patients anything but his bizarre analysis but I’m still going to guess what he might have concluded from our dreams:

  • I’m confused about what is next for us.  I say, “Austin to Australia in August,” because that is what Hook says but I know we’ve no way of knowing if it will be 100% certain until we’re about 30 days away from departure.   It’s that known unknown again.
  • Hook needs to go fishing.  He also needs to swing a bug net around and catch something interesting and exciting.  He did not get out of the country last year at all when normally he would have been gone for an entire summer in Trinidad. The man needs to catch some fish so he can come home excited which will in turn help his body to heal faster.

Hooks for Hook

Hook’s university started a scholarship fundraiser called Hooks for Hook.  They asked students and faculty to buy a gold hook like a jewelry hook with a clasp that pins to a lapel or a hat.   The fundraiser kicked off the Allan Hook Wild Basin Scholar which will be awarded to one student a semester who will study at Wild Basin Preserve in Austin, Texas.

The fundraiser sold out of the initial 100 Hooks for Hook, but in anticipation of your question — Can we still donate? —  why yes you may because there is no end date to donations.   If you click on the Hook Wild Basin link above, it’ll take you directly to the donation page.

St. Edward’s students and faculty were the original donors to the fundraiser with an average donation of $5 per person.  I was a little leery about using this blog to $olicit moola, but I was both touched and impressed that Hook’s department thought up the idea after his students said they wanted to do something nice for him because of what he’s been through.  When I told Hook I was going to add the donation link into this blog, he said, “You’re dreaming if you think people are going to donate.”  Then he said not to tell you the average donation was only $5 in case you wanted to donate more.   What a fundraising hog!

I can think of other dreams I’d rather be having.  I want Hook’s dreams, the kind where you’re in action, doing things you love, excited at the challenge ahead of you.

Maybe we all need Hook’s dreams.   Or, maybe we just need a couple of shots of good Vienna coffee.

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