Wednesday, July 8, 2009
- Anna Stachura
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Today Group B woke up early for a long hike down the mountain to the cove. We biked down to Morgan Steep to begin our hike. We examined biodiversity, focusing particularly on snails, in several different locations at varying elevations. Dr. Haskell explained the importance of snails to the surrounding environment, emphasizing their calcium content as a critical nutrient for female birds. We listened for different species of birds in the forest and were able to get responses from the scarlet tanager and the yellow billed cuckoo using recorded bird calls. We were able to find and identify several species of snails throughout our hike. In addition to all of this, our group discovered several small ponds overflowing with tadpoles. We ate a quick sack lunch before the difficult hike back up the mountain.
After we arrived back on the central campus, our group went canoeing on Lake Dimmick. We had a great time exploring the lake, paddling, and swimming.
Tonight after dinner, we are going to the Culprits concert at Lake Cheston. The band is local and includes two of Dr. Evans’s sons. We are looking forward to meeting some of the members of the Young Writers program, another pre-college program currently taking place at Sewanee. All of us are excited for Fourth of July tomorrow!
After a short break the entire group set out with Dr. Knoll to study the hydrology of the limestone in the valley. We returned to Morgan’s Steep where we had been with Dr. Haskell that morning and set out down the other side of the mountain. Along the trail the group saw many caves and vertical shafts formed by the gradual erosion of limestone by acid rain. If too much erosion occurs the caves fall in on themselves and form sink holes which were also along the trail. We saw many house-sized sandstone boulders that had fallen from the plateau above into the cove. The group learned the underground air in the caves is constantly 56 degrees by hanging near them to escape the heat of the day. The limestone in the area is a sedimentary rock from an ancient shallow sea so we saw many marine fossils. After the second hike back up the mountain we all enjoyed a much needed rest and got ready for tomorrow’s activities
-Mark and Kenzie
Lunch was had at a Native American rock shelter near the dig site. There we were tasked with finding the cave painting on it. Turns out the cave art was of a man. It was extremely faded and pretty hard to see unless someone points it out. After lunch we worked on the site for about another two hours and came back to wash the artifacts and try to figure out what they were. Some things that looked like one thing, turned out to be completely different. For instance, what we thought was a nail turned out to be an old chicken bone that had somehow been turned slightly green.
Later, when we had everything cleaned off, everyone got together to try and date some of the artifacts based on words or makers marks on them. Most thing we dated turned out to be from the 1920s-1940s. We discovered that we had found an old toothpaste bottle for something called “Teel” which was the precursor to Crest. One of the bottles found was and old historic whiskey bottle by Frankfort Distilleries Inc. And on some items we could find almost exact pictures of the artifact, like the toy car. Tomorrow group two gets to continue the dig and I know we all can’t wait to see what they unearth!
Despite the overcast sky almost every member of SEI jumped from the Sewanee conglomerate (rock) into the refreshing water of the Reservoir. Once everyone was in the water the fun was able to start. Between the rope swing, Frisbee, and “dock rocking,” there was something for everyone. On the dock in the middle of the Res was an active game of four square, which ended in what has been duped “dock rocking.” This particular activity consists of as many people as possible flooding to one side of the dock and essentially sinking it, while being careful not to fall off. This proceeds as soon as someone decides to make a move to a different side of the dock, followed by everyone else, and their weight, resulting in a seesaw like motion. After everyone had sufficiently tired themselves out, we made our way back to the vans. However, a day at the Res would not have been complete without a belly flop contest. The SEI campers are proud to report that one of our own, Will Vaughn’s stomach was more red than Bentley’s and
thus he brought home to gold for the campers.
When we got to the bottom we searched for snails for a while then we finished we climbed around on the rocks and looked at waterfalls. Gaby found a turtle shell. We ate lunch before we made the climb back up to the top. The climb up wasn’t nearly as easy as going down. We went up a steep slope and had to climb several waterfalls. Then once we got to the top we had to make the journey on bike back.
Later that night we went to a concert for a band called The Culprits. It was really fun. There was another group of young writers there as well. The band was really good and we ran around and through a Frisbee. After the concert we headed back to Hoffman and watched some TV.
Friday night we had a fun little mixer with the Young Writers! So we all got dressed up and went to Lake Cheston to see THE CULPRITS! It's a boys band and two of them are Dr. Evans' sons. They are actually pretty amazing and their songs are on iTunes! At first no one would go up and dance but when the writer's camp came down everyone started dancing. They sang songs like superstition, and steady as she goes, also Jason Mraz, OAR, and even Dave Matthews... We got to meet a bunch of new kids that were at other Sewanee camps and also some local kids that are our age, which was pretty cool. We even danced on stage until they got mad because someone unplugged the drum set thing, but other than that, it was pretty crazy. We had way better dance moves (especially Hannah!) than the writer. Everyone behaved though, so don't fret. After the concert was over we all went back to Hoffman and watched movies and ate leftover cupcakes from Will's birthday (Mrs. Noggle - Will has been eating them for breakfast!) Then we all went to bed.
Friday, July 3, 2009
-Doug and Kevin
After a lunch break in McLurg, the two groups separated again to hike with either Dr. John Willis or Dr. Jerry Smith. Because my group had hiked with Dr. Willis the day before, we joined Dr. Smith for a hike around the Domain to learn about identifying the characteristics of the land, or as Dr. Smith put it, to learn the "vocabulary and grammar" of the land so we may "read its text." We started at a past home site long devoid of any indications of human activity save for the natural growth in the area. There we received our first instruction in the identification of certain characteristics of the land that tell the secrets of the area's past, such as age of trees in the area, unnatural alterations of the land's topography, and indicator species. Our group continued on foot around various areas of the Domain such as another abandoned home site, the cornerstone site, and the local cemetery. At the end of the hike we all felt confident in our ability to divine the secrets of the land--a skill that will come in handy later on in the camp experience.
That afternoon, we split into our groups. I’m in Group A so that’s all I’m qualified to comment on. Group A includes Kenzie, Audrey, Tiff, Angie, Lauren, Kate, me (Hannah), Doug, Kevin, Mark, Parker, Scott, Will Vaughan and John. Group A went with Dr. Willis to discover Landmarks in Time and Place. Basically, he took us on a tour of Sewanee’s natural history centering on the importance of water, sandstone and coal.
After dinner, Angela Galbreath lead us in a case study of Haiti focusing on the links between poverty and the environment. She challenged us to solve one of 7 problems (Clean Water, Education, Environmental Issues, Health, Hunger, Political Instability and Weak Economy) based on the situations in Haiti.
Today is the first day of a brand new pilot program for high school Juniors and Seniors. Each day, we (the first class of students EVER through this program) have to update this blog thing. And it’s my turn. So:
For the first day, we all met and went to an Opening talk held by the Dean of Undergraduates Eric Hartman and Dr. Jon Evans, Director of SEI. It was a cool overview of everything we’re going to be doing. The two weeks of field studies culminating in Group Projects on the King Farm where we’ll have to apply all the skills we’ve learned to figure out why the King Farm succeeded onto of the plateau while the others failed. It should be very interesting and educational.
After the Opening, we had a campus tour led by our awesome ‘camp counselors’, Bentley and Allison. Sewanee is really pretty (but most of you parents have been here so I don’t need to tell you that…) We’re staying in Hoffman dorm because it has air conditioning. It’s comfortable. Everyone seems to have settled pretty well. We eat at McClurg’s which is the big dining hall in the middle of campus. They have almost everything. According to Bentley and Allison, whatever they don’t have now, they have during the school year.
After the tour and dinner, Dr. Evans introduced us to SEI through a presentation called Sewanee Landscape Overview. He covered what we were supposed to expect, field safety guidelines, vocabulary, and the basic geology of the Domain. Following Dr. Evans’ introduction to the plateau, Allison and Rachel performed a comical skit designed to teach field safety.
And that was Day 1.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Bentley here. I guess I have the honor of making the inaugural first blog post.
Everyday I will grab one or two students to come to the computer lab before dinner to update this blog. We will try to include as much information about our daily adventures as possible! We will also be uploading photos to the flickr account so that others can share in our experiences!
Be sure to also check out our collection of geo-tagged photos here. As of right now we only have some sample photos from a lab tagged, but Sunday night we will try uploading a few new ones to get things rolling. Additionally, feel free to check out our flickr account for more photos from the Sewanee Environmental Institute.
That is all for now!