Monday, October 21, 2013
a super local field trip
by student blogger Leah
...those are the words on my syllabus for Ecology of Food with Dr. Murphy. I’ve got an idea of what “local” could mean and I know what a “field trip” is, but the insertion of the word “super” somehow sent me for a loop. I suddenly felt lost about what to expect when we met for class on this fall day as you see below:
The above photo is the epitome of a super local field trip, even if it is difficult to understand why just by looking at the image. The woman you see there in the green vest is the head groundskeeper on campus here at CIA, and those people in the photo are my classmates.
We talked about corn. Andra explained that each silk on a corn cob is connected to each kernel on a cob and that is why it is **CRUCIAL** not to disturb the corn cobs while the corn is growing because if the incredibly delicate silk gets torn or broken from the kernels, then the kernels don’t grow and there is no corn. She compared each silk to an electrical cord lighting a lamp, unplug the cord from the wall and you have no light. Simple. So don't mess with the corn, promise?
We talked about the acorns that drop from Oak trees. The acorns can be made into flour. One of the Korean students in my class volunteered information about a Korean dessert made from acorn flour. We talked about how smart the squirrels are and the delicate ecosystem that acorns are part of.
We talked about an invasive species of grass weed that came here from overseas and is incredibly prevalent and threatens our local ecosystem. The stresses placed on an environment from foreign species may seem minimal until they are observed over time, and in fact time reveals their sad detriment and threat to native plants or animals.
We talked about runoff that carries contaminants from industrial life, such as oil or gas drippings from a car on the pavement, to ground water supplies and what this means for marine life. There was explanation of manmade systems that must be installed each time that asphalt, concrete, or pavement is created to offset the negative effects of industrial runoff.
We talked about respecting the land and fostering the local ecosystem so that food can continue to flourish and our world can continue its natural pattern of growth.