Sunday, April 28, 2013

Florida Species

Old Man's Beard - The scientific name for this is Usnea.  It is a lichen and in the family Parmeliaceae.  This is a funny plant because it looks just like an old man's beard.

American Alligator- I never knew the real name of the alligator was the American Alligator.  These alligators can be as long as 15 feet and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.  A good way to judge the length of an alligator is by looking at the length of its eyes to its nose.  This measure in inches is roughly the length of the alligator in feet.

Slash Pine- The scientific name for slash pine is Pinus elliottii.  Slash pine can be found on the East coast of the U.S. up to NC.  They grow fast and can live up to 200 years old.  The trunks of the trees look like someone slashed the entire tree. 

Black Mangrove- Black black checkerboard back.  This is how I can spot black mangrove from the other types.  This mangrove grows on both coasts and although we saw shorter mangroves, it can grow up to 50 feet.  It's bark contains tannin and can be used to tan leather. 

Colloquium Class Reflection

Colloquium was a much better class than I was expecting.  Initially, I was dreading this class because of all the negativity I heard about the class.  However, it was a great class for many reasons.  First, it was a nice stress reliever for me.  This semester I was taking 4 classes and doing an internship.  I had two senior capstone classes that were all group work and required a lot of my time so it was nice to relax in a slower paced class.  Second, the field trips were great.  I hadn't been on a field trip in 5 years so it was nice to go on four this semester.  Plus, I have only been in Florida for not even two years so I didn't know much about Florida's environment.  I learned a lot about the history, plants and animals of Florida.  Third, the professor was passionate about the subject which made the class a lot of fun to attend.  Every class was fun and I knew I was going to learn something new.  Professor Borden was a joy in the class and on the field trips and made sure there was never a dull moment.  Fourth, I met a lot of good people in that class and made a few friends.  The entire class came together and connected with each other.  It felt like a small family in the class as everyone was comfortable speaking in front of the class.  Lastly, colloquium allowed me to write again about subjects that weren't boring.  The papers reminded me that I am actually a good writer when I write about interesting topics.  Also, A Land Remembered was a great book.  It kept me entertained and it was a nice escape from boring textbooks.  This class was easily one of my favorite classes at FGCU.

Word Count: 302

Fort Myers Beach Field Trip

The Fort Myers Beach field trip was one of my favorite field trips.  Partially because it had been almost a year since I had been to the beach before that trip, and also because I was able to see a part of Estero Island that I have never seen.  This field trip contained a few firsts for me.  Usually when I go to the beach I go with friends and play games on the beach.  However, this time I saw the bay side of the island, and learned a lot about the history of the island.  I really enjoyed learning about the Estero Island being a barrier island and the way it has been shaped over the years from hurricanes.  This field trip is when I learned how the Miami Hurricanes got their name.  This field trip is also where I tried sea grape jelly for the first time.  It was honestly some of the best jelly I have ever had!  The history of the island was fascinating and it seems like a very cool place to live.  However, I wouldn't want to live there without any mosquito repellent!  I have no idea how she managed to survive that.  But I think the coolest part about the trip was seeing the dolphins.  That was the first time I have ever seen a dolphin in real life and it was an awesome experience!  The bay was beautiful alone but when the dolphins swam by it was even more beautiful.  There were several large schools of fish in front of us and I was hoping more dolphins were going to stop by.  The video above is a small clip of a video I took when the dolphin was swimming by.  Any field trip when you get to see a dolphin is a great field trip!  And that is why this was my favorite field trip we went on.

Word Count: 316

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Clumping Bamboo at ECHO

Going to ECHO farms was a great treat for me,

As I learned about everything from miracle fruit to the Neem tree.

I have always been fascinated with plants and food,

And being outside on the farm put me in a good mood.

On the farm all of my senses were heightened,

And my knowledge of horticulture was enlightened.

There were so many colors that lit up my eyes,

That I am sure the farm is beautiful even under dark skies.

The sound of the wind as it brushed through the trees,

Soothed my mind like a nice summer breeze.

I still have the taste of Moringa leaves on my lips,

And ECHO’s advanced irrigation systems work very well even though the water barely drips.

I learned about so many different foods and plants,

And walking through the giant farm we looked like marching ants.

The Moringa tree is neat since it can purify water,

It could probably even make liquid drinkable if it came out of an otter.

Bamboo is very strong and it can be used to make floors,

But if you get the running kind then your neighbors will beat down your doors.

I’d rather go to ECHO and learn about appropriate technology,

Than to sit in class and learn about sociology.

I cannot imagine an entire family living in a tiny house such as the hut,

Because no matter what way I turned someone was always brushing against my butt.

Enough with the jokes it is time to get real,

This next statistic might change the way you feel.

25,000,000 acres of farmland becomes desert each year,

This combined with world hunger might make you shed a tear.

Ending world hunger is ECHO’s number one goal,

And I can only hope that they will pull the world out of this malnourished hole.

Word count: 306

My neighborhood

Growing up, my neighborhood was not very big. There were about twenty houses and everybody knew each other. There were two streets, Cody and Patton, and they crossed in the middle of the neighborhood. Behind one side of the neighborhood was an elementary school with a big yard consisting of three baseball diamonds where I used to play little league. That elementary school was where I went to school from kindergarten through fourth grade, so I would often walk to and from school. On the side behind my house is a major road in my city. Before about 6 years ago there were a lot of potholes in the street and when big trucks would drive by it would shake the house as they went over the potholes. On another side of my neighborhood is where my grandparents live. It is very nice being able to walk one minute and show up in your grandparents driveway.

There were two families in my neighborhood who had kids around my age and I would play every single day I could with them. Their names were Preston, Jack, Brian, Grant, and Judd, and we would play outside when the weather was nice (I grew up in Illinois) and inside when the weather was not as nice. In the summer we played basketball, soccer, catch, football, etc. In the winter we mainly played with Nerf guns or video games inside. Those guys were like the brothers I never had because we did almost everything together. I wish I had some pictures down here in Florida to show but they're all up north!

When we took a break from playing games, we would go over to one of the guys' houses and their mom would make us grape Kool-Aid with extra sugar (of course). We would also snack on potato chips that one of which their entire cabinet drawers consisted. It was definitely not a heart healthy snack by any means, but these are some of the tastes I remember from my neighborhood. I also remember the smells of the freshly cut grass in the summer and the smells of the flowers and trees as they would bloom in the Spring. The smells of Spring are what make me miss living in Illinois the most.

There are many sounds I remember from my neighborhood. I remember hearing all of my friends yelling at each other to pass the ball while we played whatever sport it was that day. I remember my friends' dad whistling throughout the whole neighborhood around 6 p.m. when it was time for dinner. However, while these sounds still remain in my mind, there is one sound that I vividly remember. Down the street from my neighborhood was a small airport where people could learn how to fly. So, throughout the day in the summer I would hear numerous small planes circling around town. To this day, whenever I hear a small plane flying low to the ground I think of my neighborhood when I was growing up.

I hope this paints a picture of my neighborhood for you. I kind of told a story more than outline my neighborhood but I think it helps tie everything together. Below is a picture of my neighborhood. The red circle is my neighborhood, the purple dot is my house, and you can see the school and baseball diamonds towards the bottom of the picture. The two white circles were my friends’ houses and the white arrow points to my grandparents house.

Word count: 587