As many of you know I am seeking my Master’s degree from Miami University’s Project Dragonfly in the Global Field Program that includes an Earth Expeditions Course. If you are seeking to further your education or like me are a lifetime learner (I prefer this to professional student) this is truly fantastic. In my pursuit of environmental education I have focused all my energy in my beloved Southern Appalachian region which now includes the piedmont of the Carolinas. I never considered the opportunities to study habitats, conservation efforts from a global perspective. As for the inquiry methodology offered by this program I believe that is elemental to connecting human beings to the natural world. If you personally care enough to know and further your knowledge about the environment, you are hooked and on the way to developing your own set of environmental (nature) ethics.
So to challenge myself, this past summer I was off to Baja California for my first field experience. I knew it would be challenging being confined with 20 humans. But who gets to go to Mexico, camp in the Vizcaíno Desert wilderness at the Rancho San Gregorio and on the shores of the Sea of Cortez at the Vermilion Sea Field Station? Maybe see WHALE SHARKS? Snorkel in the ocean? Now you understand my motivations.
I felt like Captain Picard (a Star Trek reference – for you non science geeks) “boldly going where no one has gone before” which combined with my childlike sense of wonder was surreal. Identify a central theme to my trip? A supreme science geek enters foreign habitats where all the science book pages of biology to zoology literally came alive.
Have you ever see a green desert? In my southern girl mind desert meant sand, camels, and more blowing sand. Not a scene from a Dr. Seuss book with blooming Agave and Cacti. My assignment do science here – bring on the delight. We accomplished field studies, imaging marking a 9 meter square with spiked plants, listing the life in the ecosystem. It was literally painful, humorous and enlightening.
As for the Sea of Cortez, I was convinced my new career was as a professional snorkeler. I was Dr. Sylvia Earle conducting an ocean field study of Whale Sharks, literally participating in one of the required reading studies on community conservation. And nobody said anything about seeing: Brown Pelicans, Blue Footed Boobies, Devil Rays, expletive SEA LIONS, Chitons, Brittle Stars, Sun Star, fantastic fish, Frigate Birds, Common Dolphins, WHALES, and snorkeling in a natural aquarium.
Take away you ask? I want to discover what motivates people to experience nature, connects them, and spawns environmental concern.
Want to hear more contact me to schedule a talk!