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Trip Reflection

mturer's picture

I'm conflicted about the result of our trip, so my reflection may be a bit scattered. There were some things I really liked and some that I didn't like so much, but overall I think we made the right decision to experiment with this alternative class structure.

Still, I think we failed in our objective to connect with water. I spent a lot of our ramble looking into the water, but I couldn't find much except for mossy rocks and trash. The water itself seemed a bit dirty (probably due to the trash surrounding it), and I think that may have been why I didn't see a lot of people doing what I was doing. Most people I observed were talking in groups or exploring the plant life around the banks. I'm completely okay with this, but I think if our intention was to explore in this way, we should have chosen a different location. 

The water was cold and contrasting with the overwhelming (to me) surprise of Monday's heat, and I enjoyed being able to sit on a stone in the center of the creek, surounded by water on all sides, and look for frogs or minnows in its slower parts. I didn't find any, though. I guessed that this might have been because of the conditions of the creek area which, again, weren't very good. In result, my individual ramble was a time of pastoral reflections shadowed by the real, ecological concerns of litter and irresponsible human behavior. I don't think I did much connecting in result, but I do think my experience was important.

I do think the trip helped us acheive things that we usually can't. For instance, Rachel mentioned that the absence of individual chairs let us connect as a group better, which I noticed, too. Instead of focusing on my individual experience in an academic setting, being in the park with nothing to separate me from the group allowed me to focus on our class as a single entity in the context of our whole environment. Usually, in the chairs outside, I am thinking about ways to analyze our readings or ideas to keep in mind for future posts or assignments. The way we organized ourselves on the trip allowed me to contextualize these thoughts in a greater setting.

The group feeling also improved my experience on the ramble. When I was looking into the creek, I felt the urge to share with the group or to let my experience be the whole group's experience. As an introverted person, that is unususal for me. Because of this, I wish we had had more time at the end so we could all talk together about our individual rambles. 

I am glad we did this. For future reference, I think a ramble like ours should be structured differently (structured less?) or in a different location, though I know that we aren't able to really access "the wilderness" like some are, but I think Monday's class was a valuable experience that will probably help us in improving our ecological literacy.