Recent Posts

May 11, 2013

This morning we walked across the road to Keys Marine Lab for our chartered snorkeling trip to the reef (so we could be on one boat together).  We left the dock around 9:45 for a full day on the water.  We started with a snorkeling visit to Coffin Patch Reef, so named because a ship was said to run aground on the reef releasing its load of coffins into the water!  The reef is about 6-7 miles offshore from the Keys and harbors a diversity of soft corals, large fish, sea turtles, sharks, and rays – all of which were…

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May 10, 2013

Living in Hopiland

We arrived at the Hopi Mission School in Kykotsmovi around 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 4th. After getting some dinner at the Hopi Cultural Center, we had an orientation to the religious identity of Hopi from Eric and Jane Polingyouma. Our daily schedule for our time here usually included a lecture in the morning, helping out at the Mission school from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and another lecture in the afternoon, followed by dinner and group reflection time. Our lectures and field trips consisted of: Participating in mass and a feast day of a Navajo Catholic church, St. Joseph’s Hearing…

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May 10, 2013

First off, hello to our parents, and all the parents (in case your children have neglected to contact you).   Also,  Happy Mother’s Day! Now that we have been here for a little over a week we will soon get our blind confidence badges as we have become more comfortable with the city. So far we have gone some places and seen some stuff.  Some highlights include: Noah and The Whale, an indie pop group, live at The Palace Theater.  The lights were pretty darn cool, disco balls and all. We visited The National Gallery and gawked at the real life…

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May 10, 2013

Octopus nursery…

Today’s trip to the mudflat provided another surprise.  Aspen and her team were completing their data collection (examining the habitat requirements for brittle stars), when she noticed a small octopus (Octopus joubini) in the sponge she was studying.  As the octopus came out, multiple baby octopi followed and we were able to view some of them hatching from their gelatinous egg cases.   In total, 8 or more babies hatched and began swimming around in our tub. Wow. After our first morning snorkeling trip, Dave Ostergren gave a policy lecture on Marine Protected Areas.  Students were encouraged to examine how…

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May 9, 2013

We have arrived in the beautiful Southwest, with sweeping landscapes, giant rock formations and spectacular sky views. As we traveled, we noticed the vast fields of corn change into vast arid land, as far as the eye can see. The dirt took on a reddish hue. Soon we started seeing canyons in the distance against a clear blue sky. Sage and juniper plants began to pop up along the sides of the road. We passed from Kansas into Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and finally into Arizona. The mild hills of Kansas transformed into the flat expanses of Texas and New…

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May 9, 2013

More fieldwork…

Another perfect day in the sun.  The conditions today were again spectacular.  One boat of students went to Old Dan Bank and a second to Triton Flats for more research.  On the way we saw a dolphin and a small group of very large (i.e. 5-6 ft) fish.  At Old Dan we caught a sea horse (Hippocampus erectus), pipe fish, and a sponge crab during the data collection process. We had a particularly interesting visit by a sharksucker (Echeneis naucrates).  This fish species attaches itself to sharks (and rays and other large fish) and parasitizes the shark by removing blood with a…

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May 9, 2013

Can I Take A Picture?

As we began to learn about Native Americans here in the Southwest, photos have played a large role in our conversations about how people are represented. We often assume that photos are an acceptable way to document what is going on around us. Our Western concept of freedom of information is different from many of the ways that Native Americans think of access to information about their culture. There are some things that we, as outsiders can see and document, some things we can see but not document and some things that we cannot see at all. Given the Mennonite…

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May 8, 2013

Praying for Rain

After two full days of work, Goshen College Students have helped Wilderness Wind staff unpack the camp materials needed to provide service for the rest of the season.  Throughout the week, they will be providing some general maintenance tasks before setting out on the water. According to the National Forest Service, almost all of the lakes are covered in ice–the only exception being the rivers with their constantly moving water.  If the ice remains, the group’s plans might change.  Nevertheless, nature might lend a hand to melt the ice–so for now, the students are silently hoping that will happen. One…

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May 8, 2013

by Kate Stoltzfus 1. Everything is cuter. I want to use the word quaint every twenty seconds, and this is coming from a girl who had used that word maybe five times in her life thus far. The crammed brick houses, with their red front doors, are quaint. The double decker buses are quaint. The winding streets lined with outdoor coffee shops and old pubs and ancient curtained theatres are quaint. The women wearing galoshes, the children splashing in fountains in their underwear, the absence of garbage cans, the rum ball I bought for 70 pence…no other word describes it all…

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May 8, 2013

Research Projects Begin!

  Today we went to the field in both the morning and afternoon for snorkeling in order for students to begin their independent research projects.  On Monday evening each group presented their research proposals to the class and we were able to discuss, advise, and brainstorm the best methodologies for each experimental question.  The research projects are as follows: Habitat Requirements of Ophiuroidea (brittle stars) in the Florida Keys -  Lydia Yoder, Michael Wiebe, & Aspen Schmidt Descriptive Analysis of Nudibranch Distribution Surrounding Long Key, Florida - Erica R. Grasse, Nathaniel L. Klink, & Luke N. Zehr The Analysis of the Relationship Between Macroalgae…

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