Wells Gray Explorations

3 10 2011

Traditons grow easy in the rhythmic cycle of an academic year.  This year marks my 7th autumn teaching at  TRU and my 7th field trip with botany students into the unique environment of Placid Lake, just north of the border of Wells Gray Park.  There is an immediacy, a compelling drive, that I feel anytime I immerse myself within the activity of a botany field trip.  Names ring through the wet forest on our way into the fen.  This year, so many students want to make the trip that we need more help both from other faculty and family.  My second year botany class remains one of my favorite classes to teach, and the embedded field trip is an important part of its charm.

Shared experiences–whether it be the bright sun and mounding Sphagnum in the fen or the pounding water coming off of Moul Falls–binds the members of Biol 2280 in a way that no classroom time ever could.  I feel like all I need to do is point the crowd in the right direction and this shared spirit evolves as a natural consequence of the 36 hours we spend together, as a group, intent on exploring the natural history of the park.  Each year, I drive south, away from our education and research center, with a deep sense of regret that I have to return to the larger confines of my life.  At home, before I begin the marking, I take the time to finish the journal pages that I began admist this year’s cohort of botany students.

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Bird nests and the bright colour of bog birch occupy me on the way out of Placid Lake.

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