Author Archives: Claire '12

Odysseys

 

I have had the good fortune to cross paths recently with journeymen and women of all sorts. Whether in pursuit of knowledge or for sheer adventure, CC students and their friends scatter to all corners of the globe.

Two frisbee teammates, Sophie Herscu (’11) and Hannah Sohl (’11), were both awarded Watson Fellowships to undertake twelve-month-long research projects outside of the US. As outlined on the Watson website (The Watson Fellowship: Our Fellows), Sophie will be traveling to Montreal, Nunavik, Australia, and Brazil to study the empowering effects of social circus groups. Hannah is headed for Canada, Bolivia, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, and Laos, where she’ll be studying the relationship between local communities and their riverine ecosystems.

Somewhere in Russia, three more 2011 grads are making their way steadily around the world on a transcontinental roadtrip. After brainstorming about the trip for years, Jack Naito, Ezra Siegel, and Richard Swift successfully arranged to purchase a car in Japan and start on a journey they’re calling “The Road is West: Japan to Alaska, the Long Way.” If all is going well, they should be on their way into Mongolia to start work with the Tributary Fund before continuing across to Europe.

Closer to home, the State of the Rockies summer researchers embarked a few days ago on a survey of the Colorado River Basin (State of the Rockies Blog). Along the way, they’re taking every opportunity to interview policymakers, hydrologists, farmers, naturalists, and recreational river users in order to better understand the dynamic life of the river that sustains human life in the arid West. In conjunction with that research, a few recent CC grads will be documenting their aquatic traverse of the Green and Colorado Rivers:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV_AoKRrF2M[/youtube]

 

Another river system far to the north drew in two more intrepid travelers. Through a CC friend, I met two St. Olaf graduates who are attempting to become the first women to paddle from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay. They’ve been on the water since the beginning of June and are documenting their progress on their blog (Hudson Bay Bound | Home). Keep up the great work, Ann and Natalie!

Being surrounded by such adventurous folk, it’s hard to escape the contagious spirit. So, with the help of the Ritt Kellogg Fund, Lauren Foster (’11), Lucy Holtsnider (’11), McKenzie Wooley (’12) and I are headed to the Gallatin Range in Montana for a two-week horsepacking trip in August. After renting horses from Montana Horses at the Mantle Ranch in Three Forks, we will be making our way through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, northwest of Yellowstone. Aside from getting to explore a beautiful stretch of backcountry, the four of us Hardy Horsewomen are looking forward to spending time together before we scatter to new homes and jobs in the next year.

So pretty soon I’ll be packing up my cowboy boots, bear spray, and Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie (a gift from my mother) to breathe for a moment between busy summer and hectic school year. In the meantime, I’ll be scheming about how to next get back in the saddle, launch from the shore, or put wheels to the pavement. Best of luck to my fellow wanderers – we’ll trade stories at the crossroads.

 

 

Sunshine

In honor of the hot weather and recent solstice, I decided to take a closer (but not direct) look at summer’s most conspicuous player: the sun.

NPR’s Science Friday show had a video feature a few weeks ago about sunspots. These bursts of plasma and flaring magnetic fields signal solar storms that can radiate all the way to Earth’s surface:

Scifri Videos: Solar Spotting.

With all that ultraviolet light piercing the atmosphere, it’s important to protect yourself. The FDA’s new rules shed a little light on the sunscreen market:

Explaining Sunscreen and the New F.D.A. Rules – NYTimes.com.

On my list of movies to see this summer is Queen of the Sun, the recent documentary directed and produced by Taggart Siegel. Colony collapse disorder, the unexplained mass disappearance of honeybees, threatens to spark a global ecological crisis. Check out the trailer here:

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? | Trailer.

And thanks to diligent archaeologists, news about the Middle East and North Africa isn’t just about political unrest:

Pictures: Ancient “Solar Boat” Unearthed at Pyramids.

Now to screen up, get out there, and enjoy the sunshine.

Settling In

It takes me a long time to get settled into a new place. At the end of May, I moved off-campus (to an apartment across the street, but off-campus nonetheless). I have been incrementally unloading piles from my car, lugging them up three flights of narrow stairs, shuffling them from room to room, and coaxing them toward their dwelling places. On the first day, I stocked the bookshelves. After a week, I managed to confine my clothes to closets and dressers. By the end of week two, I had sheets on the bed, a full refrigerator, and a bedroom fan. In a decorating frenzy this weekend, I tried to fend off the white walls with an assortment of posters, pictures, and tapestries. Progress continues, however slowly.

Still, a home feels empty without living things. I have kept plants – with varying degrees of success – since I was very young. My south-facing window played host to fledglings before they outgrew the sill: a hibiscus that is now my height; an array of herbs and succulents; and a $3 cactus that, with its spiny spawn, has since outgrown many pots. I enjoy their company. No surprise then, that I found myself in Rick’s Garden Center in search of new roommates. After thorough inspection and much deliberation, I came away with two hanging plants. One is a philodendron (family Araceae) that trails cheerily down from my kitchen ceiling. The other, perched in my bedroom, is a rabbit’s-foot fern (Davallia fejeensis). Under a mound of fronds, furry tubers grope down the edges of the pot, tarantula-like. I didn’t realize when I brought it home that I was joining a legion of highly specialized plant-lovers: Send in the Fronds – NYTimes.com. Despite its rather alarming appearance, I hope my rabbit’s foot will bring the apartment its namesake good luck – at least until I find a place to hang my horseshoe.

The Winning Strata-gy

When it comes to sporting events, I love to root for the underdog. At the College National Ultimate Frisbee Championship, we had the thrill of learning what it’s like to be that underdog, fighting our way up through the pack. Both our Men’s and Women’s club frisbee teams qualified for the championship tournament, a first for either in the school’s history. As teams from a small school, we were hardly expected to match the level of play of teams from huge DI schools like the University of Oregon, the Univeristy of California at Santa Barbara, and Stanford. Our women’s team, Lysistrata’s Tools (or’ Strata,’ for short), began the tournament seeded 15th out of the 20 qualifying teams and fourth out of the five teams in our pool. In our first day of pool play, we came out strongs and upset the #2 and #3 seeded teams in our pool. About 3:50 into this highlight reel, you can watch us keep fighting for our “Cinderella Story:”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfrWQbvka60&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Determined to keep our energy up, we finished out our pool play undefeated and qualified for quarterfinals after that strong win against UNC-Wilmington, the overall #3 seed in the tournament. It was great to be playing in Boulder – in addition to the beautiful backdrop, our sideline was packed with parents, fans, and CC friends who came out to support us with typical Tiger spirit. We faced a tough loss in quarters to the University of Michigan, who went on to lose to UCSB in the finals and take second in the tournament. While we would have loved the chance to keep playing together, we couldn’t help but be proud of the performance we put on for CC’s national debut. Not only did we play hard, we had a blast doing it. Here’s to Strata, all smiles after our final game: