Friday, June 19, 2015

Introductions and Impressions: Whirlwind Week One

What a whirlwind this week has been! I have been being introduced to new things all week. From the wonderful town of Menomonie, to the electronic spectrophotometer, to the green algae of Tainter Lake, to the plethora of local coffee shops... all of them have left what will be lasting first impressions.
The Summer Dorm Space…Mostly Coffee and Tea

Regarding the town, I am incredibly excited to be in an area and surrounded by people who are passionate about environmental justice, sustainability, green living, and preservation. Additionally, each person (especially within the social science’s group and the interviews they’ll conduct) provides a different perspective, different form of reasoning, and different background to why they believe what they do. These perspectives offer a unique tools to solve the current issues at hand and act preventatively for the future. The beauty of this interdisciplinary work is getting these different perspectives heard and represented. I look forward to participating in this kind of work, which I believe is the work that will truly influence the world for the better and with longevity. 
First Day Hike!

Being thrown into the thick of things with some of the science soaring over my head and some of the details of how to get around town falling to the wayside, has been emotionally overwhelming and exhausting. However, each new day I manage to find continued energy and excitement to see what new things I will learn and how to impact our mini project as well as the summer’s long term endeavors!

Vertical Profile of Local Geology
Courtesy of Dr. Kuchta
This science feels both familiar and  brand new. I try to pick up on as much as I can and get as many of my questions answered, but after Tuesday afternoon (and 5 stops at exposed bedrock) Dr. Kuchta graciously told us students to go home, eat, rest, absorb the information, write down questions, and not to be hard on ourselves when we can’t remember everything that was thrown at us. He reminded us students that we can always ask more questions (sometimes repeatedly) to thoroughly understand the systems of this area. I found this to be vital to my decompressing, reflecting, and ability to not stress and maintain excitement. Abiding by Dr. Kuchta’s suggestions also helped me develop thoughtful and calculated ideas and questions to delve into this information regarding Eastern vs. Western geology and how that impacts Eastern vs. Western stream/creek beds. Austin and I will continue to explore the data we gathered regarding the chemical composition of these Eastern and Western samples and hopefully will have something to present on Monday!

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