Field of Science

Rainforest field trip - not this year

Sixteen years ago TPP initiated a rainforest ecology class with a field trip which is now taken over the 9-day long Thanksgiving break plus a day or two.  Owing in part to its popularity, and in part to wishing to be around for holidays with family, every now and then, a rotation of instructors means that now TPP only teaches "his" course two out of every four years.  It was a wonderful weekend in Lincolnland to mostly finish up fall yard work and begin helping Mrs. Phactor with holiday decorations.  But as beautiful as it was TPP found himself wanting to take a walk through the rainforest, not necessarily teach the class, but just to soak in the sounds, smells, and sights that are rainforest.  It's just such an endlessly fascinating place, and having spent so much time there, the things that put off many people just go unnoticed, but these days the majority of people are not actually comfortable out in nature so accustomed they are to totally tame human environs.  A few emails have arrived from students to tell TPP what a great time they are having, or what wonderful thing they've seen, or that it's been raining.  A colleague reports that a study tree of our interest has stiffed us once again by not flowering when one of us is there.  One of the best things we do is provide such experiences for our students, even though it represents a considerable undertaking for the faculty involved.  Foreign travel with college students remains fraught with real and potential problems, logistical nightmares, but when you put students in a stimulating environment you find that it becomes very easy to teach.  The image is from an area in the middle of a long-time study site that has an improved trail for quicker access. 

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