“Ecology Class Adventures” September 29, 2010

By Caciques Scott Endzel and Catharine Pirie

As half of us met in the boathouse nervously waiting for what our scuba instructors Ian and Kristen were going to teach us, we set up our equipment. As we sat awaiting instruction, they began teaching us how to maneuver with our compasses. They laid out lesson plans for the class, so that we could achieve our Advanced Open Water certificates, which consist of many underwater adventures. We headed out on the Red Rising and Kenny T to triangle cut. As we back rolled into the murky water we were swarmed by jellyfish. The stings in the face and through our rash gaurds did not stop us as we slowly descended with our buddies and began our underwater navigation. The small harmless jellyfish, though shocking, barely made a mark as we navigated through the water. We split up into buddy pairs and had to navigate ourselves in a 50 by 50 square.

The other half of the human ecology group met in the library to discuss a reading that had us all thinking. We had just read two chapters from The Omnivore Dilemma, which forced us to face the hard facts about where food comes from and how it is processed. After a lengthy discussion about our reactions to the reading we jumped in the vans full of excitement, waiting to see where we would be exploring. Arriving at the farm was eye opening to us. It was not like any farm we had seen before: it was spread out over an area of 260 acres and there were not many animals. Reverend Nixon, the owner of the farm, showed us around his farm starting with a blue hole that was in the middle of his property. Next, he took us to the fields where he grew his watermelon and tomatoes. It looked as though there had been a fire there recently and there were only a few vines found in between the rocks. Reverend Nixon explained to us that to get this field they had to start a fire and burn down the trees to clear area. We were disappointed to have to leave after such an amazing adventure but the car ride home was filled with conversations about the farm.