Maddie is part of the Storify thread following #CSUFBaja. Take a look.
Graduate student Miguel Macias works at the Fullerton Arboretum. But today he stared on the local news, describing the attributes, both beautiful and stinky, about the recently bloomed Giant Corpse Flower.
One international experience isn't enough for Maddie Ybarra. The undergraduate leading our campus tree water sources study will be heading to La Paz, BCS later this month as one of eight ambassadors in the new Global Titans Leadership Program. Read about it here.
Immediately following the three weeks of our intersession GeoBio course, I headed to the cape region of Baja California Sur to explore the next possible field course. Traveling with Dr. Kari Knutson-Miller, Dean of International Programs and Global Engagement (IPGE), and her Mexico specialist Christine Pircher-Barnes, we connected with RED Travel Mexico (http://redtravelmexico.com/adventures/academic-adventures/), an ecotravel organization that provides conservation-based academic experiences for students that also serve to empower local communities by working with them to create more sustainable resource-extraction practices. Many people of these communities also work as guides and cooks for RED when student and tourist groups visit the communities.
I first visited a forest restoration project in the Sierra de la Laguna, where years of overgrazing has destroyed both vegetation and top soil of the local grazing allotments. My host, Luis Garduño, brought me to a site where RED is collaborating with the local village to help reduce water run-off, and reestablish key trees and shrubs to restore the ecosystem. Fencing is key, as the grazing is too intense to recover anything with the presence of cattle. At this site, students would work with the local ranchers to create physical runoff barriers for slowing water loss, plant native saplings, and repair fences.
Kari, Christine and I also joined our other host, Chris Presenti, for a visit to RED's sea turtle research camp on a remote sand spit in the middle of Bahia Magdalena. We were entertained by many breaching and spy-hopping gray whales during the boat ride to camp. At the camp, we helped measure and weigh four green sea turtles caught earlier in the day. All but one were recaptures. The data being collected helps to determine population demographics and migratory patterns. This long-term project relies on cooperation from local fishermen, even those from villages that once depended on the commercial sea turtle market for their livelihood. Now a number of these fishermen work to preserve these remarkable turtles.
Plans are in the works to hold a 2018 intersession course in the Baja Sur region focusing on conservation, and Baja culture. Check back here later in the year, and at http://intersession.fullerton.edu for details and more information. We hope some of you will join us.
We had three fantastic weeks, but GeoBio 2017 ends tomorrow with the final poster session. What a great group of students and what fun it was to team-teach the course with Jennifer Garrison from CSULA Geology! Throughout the class we were amazed by the commitment and passion of these 11 students. As was true last year, the energy they bring to the class makes it worth giving up our January, and also makes us look forward to doing it again next year. Our thanks to them, and to CSUF for actively promoting the teaching of such "study away" courses. Next up: GeoBio Summer '17 - To The Mountains: Explorations of the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite.
GeoBio on Facebook (click here)
We are still accepting applications. To apply click here
GeoBio class participant and lab member Justine Perez wrote a review of her experiences during the 2016 GeoBio Field course. Here is the link to her article in the OC Register.
Spring months are busy, but this year has been particularly exciting. The annual DEPRAVED field trip took place during Death Valley's superbloom, Danny, Justine and Teresa all presented posters at on- and off-campus conferences, a few of us attended the annual Desert Symposium at the Desert Studies Center, and many familiar faces appeared in the Desert Ecology #postersessionselfie assignment. Looking forward to May with Board meetings, Eriastrum surveys, and most importantly CSUF Graduation.
You've got to be crazy to forego three weeks of your winter break to take a class that's not even required, right? Well, 10 students and two instructors from the CSUF Departments of Geology and Biology did just that for the first-ever GeoBio 336 Field Investigations intersession course. These outdoor enthusiasts banded together to learn about the combined geological and biological histories and landscapes of the Mojave Desert, including an 8-day excursion to Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. Over these eight days, participants followed the shorelines of ancient lakes, climbed alien-looking tufa formations, scrambled across recently erupted cinder cones and lava flows, and admired the fascinating rock trails of the Racetrack Playa. They also peered into crystal springs to get a glimpse of endangered pupfish, walked among oddly-shaped "cornfields" of arrowroot plants, and strolled across the lowest point in the Western hemisphere, the Badwater Basin. Of course there were also three days of challenging mapping exercises and vegetation analyses, but in the end, original knowledge was generated, potential careers were launched, and new friendships were made. In short, a worth-while forfeit of three weeks off - especially because it didn't seem like work, it was more like a learning adventure.
We can't wait for intersession 2017!
New from the lab.