My name is Brian and I’m excited to be writing the student blog for the rest of the semester. Some random facts about me are that I like to run and I like eating grits with lots of peanut butter and jelly.
The past couple days have been a whirlwind of classes and schoolwork. On Tuesday in Histories class we all participated in a mock stakeholder meeting wherein we discussed the upcoming mega-resort Baha Mar which is being built in Nassau. Each student had different roles in the meeting ranging from the Bahamian government, local Bahamians, environmentalists, and the Chinese government. I was the role of a US businessman representing the hotels and the airlines involved in the development in Baha Mar. Everybody got really into these roles and many dressed up or even put goofy mustaches on to really fit into their roles. There was a lot of heated, but friendly discussion. We learned a lot about the different perspectives that go into making big decisions about local development. And, it was really interesting and fun to be someone other than Island School student.
On Wednesday, we continued to work on our final Human Ecology projects. Continue reading
Yesterday for our girls dorm activity, we practiced yoga and relaxation with Sharon, the new Director of Admissions for Island School, who was down here for Parents Weekend. All 27 of us had our towels lined up on the dining hall deck, ready to relax after a long, and sometimes stressful, weekend. She first instructed us on how to breathe correctly, inhaling through the nose, and then exhaling for twice as long through the mouth. Then we started with some yoga poses, holding each one for a few minutes to so our bodies could calm down and get relaxed. I am not usually the biggest fan of yoga because I have terrible balance and flexibility, but I really enjoyed this because it was about relaxing and not just about accomplishing certain poses.
After completing the yoga poses, we did a relaxation exercise, Continue reading
After morning exercise on Thursday, all of the research groups gave their presentations, and they all went very well. In the afternoon we met with our parents and our teachers to talk about our classes, and how we are going. I thought this time was great because that is the only time the whole semester where my parents interact with both me and my teachers, and it was good way to communicate how I am doing in my classes, and where there is room for improvement. On Thursday night when the parents were at a cocktail party, the students and siblings watched Finding Nemo in the Pres. Room, which was a nice break from the busy schedule we had been having.
Friday we went on a run/bike/walk to high rock, where everyone jumped in and swam around for a little bit. We had a nice breakfast on campus before going to the directors’ presentation, and then Advisor meetings. In the afternoon, we had optional activities, like seining and long-lining for sharks, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fly fishing. I went scuba diving with my dad, which was a really cool experience because we had never done something like that together before. Continue reading
All of yesterday, students were impatiently waiting for the arrival of their parents and families. At 4:45, we finally were done with our last campus and dorm clean up, and were able to wait outside the steps of Girls’ South, to watch the cars pull in. As the cars would pull in one by one, students looked to see whose car it was, and then one lucky student took off into a sprint towards the car to embrace their family. I was standing on the balcony of Girls’ South, and even people whose families hadn’t arrived were crying, happy to see their friends reunited with theirs. As families all connected again, it was so interesting to see how students interacted with their parents and families, because we have never seen that before.
After our parents arrived, we took them over to CEI to see the art show in the octagon. The theme of our gallery was “branching out”, and we had branches and vines all over the octagon. Inside the octagon, people were buzzing around looking at all of the students’ artwork. Continue reading
These past few days on campus have been filled with preparation for Parents’ Weekend. We are spending a lot of time setting up the art show, and setting work done on our Human Eco projects. Not just the students, but everyone on campus has been working hard to make sure campus looks its best. Students have been talking about what they are going to do with their parents on Parents’ Weekend. I am excited to go scuba diving with my parents and to take them to some of the sights that we saw on our Down Island trip, like the Hatchet Bay cave, and a snorkeling spot with seahorses. It will be interesting to meet everyone else’s parents, too. While I am excited for Parent’s Weekend, and can’t believe I get to see them tomorrow, it is going to be weird having my parents in a place that is so separate from my life at home, and often feels disconnected. [slideshow]
Yesterday afternoon we had one of our final Community Outreach classes. Continue reading
On Saturday morning, we woke up to get to circle a half hour early, at six, for our long exercise. Most of the kids on run track ran around 10 miles into deep creek, and swim track rode our bikes to the other side of the cape to swim the last part of our super swim. We jumped off the rock and into the water, and were greeted by a wall of jellyfish, albeit a harmless species. It reminded me of the scene in Finding Nemo, where Dori and Marlin have to bounce across the field of jellyfish. We were able to get through the jellyfish with minimal stinging, and swim back and forth between High Rock, and Chub Point a couple times. Now that we have swum all of the parts of the course, I am feeling a more confident about the super-swim. We got back to campus for classes, and everyone was bundled up in jackets and sweatshirts for the morning, complaining about how cold it was. When we got to our literature class, we checked the temperature, and it was 71 degrees. It was amazing to see how we had all acclimated to the heat here, which is going to make arriving home to winter difficult. It will also be hard to go home and not have the same daily routine as we do here, as we will still be used to living with 45 other students, having structured meal times at everyday, and study hours every night. For our Saturday night activity, everyone was exhausted from long exercise, so we had a fort building contest in the Pres. Room, and then watched Harry Potter, but a lot of students went to sleep early because we could barely keep our eyes open.
Yesterday, on our day off, a group of students went with Maxey back to High Rock, where we moved rocks under water to get them to form IS F ’12. Continue reading
The show goes on for team LIONFISH!
Hurricane Sandy might have stopped our field work, but we prevailed in the lab. We took this time out of the water to dissect a lionfish not only for our data collection but as a live presentation to another two research team including Conch and Patch Reefs. This fish was particularly exciting to us for what we found in its stomach. Most lionfish we dissect usually have low stomach content. However, this was not the case. This gluttonous fish had consumed approximately seven fish: three French grunts, three tomtates and one overly-digested and unidentifiable fish, all juveniles. It was exciting for us to show other research groups a few things of what we’ve been doing over the course of this semester.
We have been spending a lot of time doing work on our research projects these past few days, getting ready for the presentation Parents’ Weekend, and the Research Symposium. My research group, Climate Change, spent our class yesterday preparing for presentations that we are giving this afternoon to other students, and teachers. The last presentation that we gave was only our project introductions, but now we are presenting about our whole project, so these presentations definitely cover a lot more ground. In climate change, we have been studying the effects that rising temperatures and acidity have on tropical flats fishes, and to do this, we have been doing a lot of work in the lab, with a shuttlebox. A shuttlebox is two tanks, about the size of a baby pool, connected by a shuttle. We change the lower the pH in one tank, observing at what point fish will leave the environment that they are used to, to go to an environment that is more suitable for them, having a lower pH. While we are in the lab, it can be stressful Continue reading
Over the past few days on campus, everyone has been really excited to get started on our Human Ecology final projects. We had our first meeting on Monday morning to talk about issues around campus, Eleuthera, and back home, which could use improvement. After discussion, we found other people who had similar interest, and then talked about potential solutions. My group, which also includes Maren and Remington, is trying to come up with a way that students can wash some of our own more urgent laundry on campus (exercise clothes, stains, etc.) without taking away business from the local business that washes our laundry every week. It has been interesting to listen to the other projects that students have in mind, and exciting to see ways that the impact of our community is going to be improved!
After Human Eco on Monday, we went to DCMS for Community Outreach. Continue reading
Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and although the winds have died down, visibility in the water is next to nil. We rely on good visibility to be certain that we actually see all of the conch along our transects. Because of this, our full research day has been grounded; however, we are trying to make the most of it. We have already begun writing up our results and streamlining the information, finding trends in our data and creating graphs. We are also working on creating our posters that we will present at the Research Symposium at the end of the semester. Here is a picture of us working hard, even inside the classroom.