Notes from the Field: An Educational Swamp Tour
For three weeks every summer, undergraduate students from the South Central United States, representing a wide range of cultural backgrounds participate in the “Undergraduate Summer Internship for Underrepresented Minorities” program to visit and learn about climate impacts in the South Central Climate Science Center Region (SC CSC). This year participants spent the balmy month of July starting at Louisiana State University, moving to the University of Oklahoma, and finally ending their trip at Texas Tech University. I have helped with this internship from my home institution (LSU) in various capacities for the past four years under the leadership of Drs. Kristine DeLong and Victor Rivera-Monroy. As a graduate student, I have been largely responsible for technical assistance (e.g., driving vans, coordinating lunches, assisting students with tasks). However, I also get the more exciting tasks of sharing my LSU-learned Gulf Coast knowledge, and, as a native Louisianimal, I get to coordinate different events along the way that I know will represent Louisiana well!
The majority of climate-related issues here in Louisiana are primarily associated with sea-level rise, and our week with the undergraduates delves deeply into those subjects. The trip begins with a tour of LSU campus concentrating on its lush vegetation and its natural and cultural histories, as well as a tour of our facilities, especially those involved with our coast. Next, they get a true set of swamp tours beginning at the coast, moving inland to freshwater swamps, and finally the cultural swamp – New Orleans. The students meet nearly 100 different people along the way: professors, land managers, climate scientists, decision makers, other students, you name it! The week is chock full of work at each location and for everyone involved. Below is a series of photos documenting the summer program activities.
Photo credits to Marissa Vara and Gilman Ouellette.
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