South Florida: Pre-Departure

Fourteen students and two faculty trip leaders began their travels to South Florida this morning. For the next seven days, students will learn about marine ecology and conservation. Prior to their departure the group remained on campus for a weekend of pre-travel activities. Miu Yatsuka ’24 and Ella Davies ’24 share a reflection from this weekend.

Miu Yatsuka ’24:

This weekend we have been working on various workshops to prepare for our trip to Florida. On Saturday, we learned about Ethical Travel and what it means to travel respectfully. After calculating my carbon footprint, I was shocked by the environmental consequences of this trip. In order to create a positive impact on the community we are visiting to compensate for the damage we are causing, we learned about ways of supporting the local community such as investing in local businesses instead of larger chains. This workshop also helped me understand my privilege and the importance of being mindful in order to help preserve the environment we are visiting. The Ethical Travel workshop was followed by a grant workshop that furthered my understanding of the structure and process of requesting a CSGC summer grant.

To close the day, we watched a documentary about coral bleaching and its effect on communities narrated by a creator trying to document the bleaching process to spread awareness. On Sunday, we started the day with a leadership workshop where we reflected on ways we can contribute our skills to the traveling experience. We then worked on research projects to deepen our understanding of the science and the different places we will interact with on the trip. After lunch, we were introduced to blog posting which brings us here, my blog post for March 6.

Ella Davies ’24:

Today we started our day with a leadership workshop which entailed group discussions on what makes a good leader, as well as small group discussions where we addressed our upcoming trips and how we were feeling about them. Personally I am quite excited to head down to South Florida and learn more about marine ecology and sustainability. This exercise led right into our next activity where we were partnered up to do mini research projects on a topic that coincides with the trip. I had the opportunity to research more about the Florida Keys and the coral reefs around them. This mini research project has made me even more eager to jump on the plane and start exploring and experiencing all this trip has to offer with my travel group.

Early tomorrow morning we will be boarding the plane and starting the adventure. It is nice to be able to share this experience with old and new friends, already the travel group has had some fun while preparing for the trip by taking breaks and playing Ninja, a fun active and strategy game.