Category Archives: KLRU

KUT series on dyslexia in Austin

Ben Shrader talks about dyslexia in his Sound of Reading film about Learning Ally.

Ben Shrader talks about dyslexia in his Sound of Reading film about Learning Ally.

During National Dyslexia Awareness Month, KUT, our Austin NPR station, broadcast a series of interviews about dyslexia, and I was invited to be part of the series after they saw my Sound of Reading film about Learning Ally (formerly known as Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic).

I had a nice time talking with KUT reporter Ms. Kate McGee about my experiences with dyslexia, and how dyslexic students have to work hard and take an active role to get the right accommodations they need for learning. If they don’t get the help they need for everything that involves reading, including writing and math, students could crash.

After donning headphones, we talked for more than 30 minutes in the KUT studios, which was near the KLRU studios where I had an interview a few months ago with Central Texas Gardener about my work to help educate kids of all ages about invasive species.

One of the hardest things dyslexic students need to do is come to grips with their dyslexia. When I was younger, I didn’t want to be known of as a dyslexic, but as I found things that I liked and was good at, I felt better about myself. Once dyslexic students recognize that they have talents and challenges that other students don’t have, they’ll have great success in life.

Here’s my interview with KUT:

Additional KUT interviews about dyslexia and dysgraphia:

Thanks Ms. McGee and KUT for the chance to talk about dyslexia and help encourage dyslexic students to know that they’ll have success in life.

Your friend,


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Filed under Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Kate McGee, KLRU, KUT, Learning Ally, National Dyslexia Awareness Month, NPR, The Sound of Reading

Central Texas Gardener – Invasive Plants With Commander Ben

My invasive plant species interview with Central Texas Gardener aired today! Yea!

If you didn’t get a chance to see today’s episode on KLRU, our local Austin PBS station, you can watch my segment with show host Mr. Tom Spencer in the YouTube video above.

Central Texas Gardener - Invasive Plants with Commander Ben episode

Central Texas Gardener – Invasive Plants with Commander Ben episode

In my interview, I talk about how I got started with my work helping to educate kids of all ages about invasive species.

Commander Ben and a native Texas Live Oak have a watch party for today's episode of Central Texas Gardener.

Commander Ben and a native Texas Live Oak have a watch party for today’s episode of Central Texas Gardener.

You can also learn more about my Invasive Hunter Academy.

Thank you so much Mr. Spencer and producer Ms. Linda Lehmusvirta. I had a great time and you made me feel at home. 🙂

Your friend,

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Filed under Central Texas Gardener, Invasive Plants, Invasive Species, KLRU, Linda Lehmusvirta, Texas Live Oak, Tom Spencer

Central Texas Gardener Tackles Invasive Species

Linda Lehmusvirta, Commander Ben, and Tom Spencer on the Central Texas Gardener TV set

Linda Lehmusvirta, Commander Ben, and Tom Spencer on the Central Texas Gardener TV set

Last month, I had the great honor of being invited to appear on the Central Texas Gardner show that is aired on PBS. When I arrived, I was met by Linda Lehmusvirta, the producer of the show. She took me up to the studio where the show is filmed and introduced me to Tom Spencer, the host of the show. It was so great to meet both of them and they made me feel right at home.

Before the show started filming, Mr. Spencer and I took our places on the set and talked about different things while the make-up artist prepared us for our close-ups! 😉

When the show was about to begin Ms. Lehmusvirta took my mom to the control room. (My mom said it was really cool!) Once everything was “quiet on the set”, the cameras began to roll and Mr. Spenser asked me all sorts of questions about invasive species, my blog, my videos, and my work with the University of Texas and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The 10 minute interview went by so fast! It felt more like a minute.

The whole adventure was so much fun and I am so happy I had the chance to meet both Mr. Spenser and Ms. Lehmusvirta. They’re the best! Many thanks to both of them! 🙂

The KLRU schedule for the Central Texas Gardener show with my interview is listed below:

  • Saturday, September 14 – Noon and 4 pm
  • Sunday, September 15 – 9 am

Updated: Interview air dates.

Started high school

It’s been very busy with lots of homework, but I’ve been enjoying my first few weeks as a freshman in high school at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy (SMCA). I’ve been using my Learning Ally iPad app for the audio of all my textbooks, including biology and my English books!

Your friend,

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Filed under Central Texas Gardener, High School, Invasive Species, iPad, KLRU, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Learning Ally, Learning Ally app, Linda Lehmusvirta, PBS, St. Michael's Catholic Academy, Tom Spencer, Wildflower Center

Dr. Michael Webber Hot Science – Cool Talks on the Longhorn Network

Commander Ben and Dr. Michael Webber at the KLRU television studios at UT Austin

Last month, I had a chance to attend Dr. Michael Webber’s Hot Science – Cool Talks lecture, “From Fracking to the 40 Acres: Energy Challenges for UT, Texas and the World”, in person at the KLRU television studios on the UT Austin campus.

Dr. Webber is the Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and he is also an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin. KLRU is our Austin, Texas, PBS station where I’ve seen many Nova and Nature television programs.

I missed Dr. Webber’s presentation earlier this year when he gave it as part of the Spring 2012 lecture series, since I was in Washington D.C. getting the Invasive Hunter Academy ready for Kids’ Day during National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). So I was glad that I got this second chance to see his presentation in person.

The KLRU studio is cool, mostly painted black for the TV background. Someone said that they used to film Austin City Limits, a music program, here.

We could sit in the raised seats or on seats set up on the floor. I wanted to sit in the floor area, as close as I could to the front, so I could see his presentation clearly.

During his presentation he talked about natural gas, wind, and solar as being clean energies for the future. He also talked about biofuels, such as corn. The downside is that corn used for fuel can’t be used for food, and that may drive food prices up.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing

Dr. Webber also talked about fracking where companies drill far down and then sideways. They blast the shale rock and force a sand and liquid solution down to help release the natural gas out of the cracked rocks. They make a protective covering around the tube to try to keep fluids from leaching out into the surrounding land or aquifers. Fracking helps us get natural gas from areas where we could not before, and Texas is a great producer of natural gas for clean energy.

Learn more about future energies from Dr. Webber’s presentation

You can see Dr. Webber’s presentation on the Longhorn Network on Monday, July 9, at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. CT.

If you don’t have the Longhorn Network, watch a replay of his From Fracking to the 40 Acres webcast and Hot Science – Cool Talks presentation.

Fall 2012 Hot Science – Cool Talks presentations

I can’t wait to attend the Fall 2012 Hot Science – Cool Talks in person. They’ll be in the new Student Activity Center.

I liked them in Welch Hall because it felt very scientific, and I really liked the periodic tables on the wall, but having them in the center is hip too. That’s where
Dr. Andrew Howell gave his Hot Science – Cool Talks lecture in January.

Hope to see you there!

Your friend,

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Filed under Austin Technology Incubator, Biofuel, Clean energy, Clean Energy Incubator, Dr. Michael Webber, Fracking, Hot Science - Cool Talks, Hydraulic fracturing, KLRU, Longhorn Network, Natural gas, University of Texas, UT Austin