Before this class, my experience with fieldwork was limited at best. I had been snorkeling once, and growing up in Wisconsin had not provided me many opportunities to do work in the field. I learned about so many new ecosystems in this class that I had never even thought about previously. When I look at a shoreline I no longer just see water and sand and vegetation. I can understand now how inter-connected these massive systems are. I have a better appreciation for the challenges these systems face, and what we have to do help. I see these habitats as living, breathing entities rather than an abstract landscape that is someone else's job to understand.
This class has pushed me and challenged me at every turn. Living in a salt marsh for 24 hours, snorkeling in open water for 4-6 hours a day, hiking through blazing hot sand for 2 hours, taking sediment cores, studying beach morphology in 96 degree weather, and just generally getting up early every single day to do physically demanding work among the elements are all things that I would have told you I wouldn't be able to do before this class. Somehow, however, I managed to do it all. And I loved it! I will definitely be happy to rest for the coming summer months, but I know that deep down I'll miss getting up every morning with the promise of some new discovery; That's what this class gave me.
|Farewell from the UNF Cohort!! - Photo Credit: Dr. Kelly Smith|