I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect at UWF, but it turned out to be such a blast! Monday started with a hike through Blackwater Creek State Park. There, Ranger Ian Stone informed us about the long-leaf pine habitat and we learned how controlled burns keep the forests healthy. We also visited a creek in the uplands and contrasted it with a creek in a more urbanized area of Pensacola. On Tuesday, we got up close and personal with groundwater discharge and learned about how groundwater can be tracked using Radon-220. Later this same day, we took a field trip to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pensacola campus and got a tour of their labs. On Wednesday, we got to put our snorkeling skills back to work and did some seagrass mapping. I was definitely excited to get back to snorkeling! That night we were treated to some pizza paired with data talk. Thursday and Friday were probably the most taxing days for the whole group – both days were spent fully in the sun on very reflective white-sand beaches. On Thursday we did beach geomorphology surveying and got to learn how to use a sightline level to map the changing elevation of the beach. Friday was by far one of my favorite days. We took a road trip to a super unique habitat – dune lakes – and also got to see the location of a new sea turtle nest! We wrapped the week up by cheering on the Blue Wahoos to victory!
(All photo credit: Corey Corrick)