Tag: enrichment (page 1 of 16)

“My Wildlife Research Era” by Shayna Demick

This semester, I am taking the Honors section of ENWC201: Wildlife Conservation and Ecology with Dr. Kyle McCarthy. The other section of ENWC201 is for Wildlife Conservation and Ecology majors and is taught by Dr. Angela Holland. 

For the Honors class, we attend the combined lectures twice a week and have a separate meeting on South Campus after our Thursday lecture. Something that I especially enjoy about the Honors section is that it consists of just 10 students and two professors, as compared to our combined lecture of over 200 students. 

I’ve gotten to know the professor and my peers much better because of this opportunity.

The Honors section is fascinating. For an Honors credit, we are conducting wildlife research in the woodlot forest on South Campus. There are three groups of students working together to answer various questions about wildlife. My group’s question is “How do different species respond to lures?” and the lures my group chose to study are fatty acid tablets, Gusto, and Obsession by Calvin Klein. The professors provided the lures and six game cameras to set up throughout the woodlot.

Each group will have four control cameras to reference throughout the research project. In three weeks we will be looking at the footage from our cameras to see the types and frequencies of animals approaching the cameras. I am personally most excited about seeing the animals who stick their face up to the cameras. These animals are going to take the most adorable selfies, which I will definitely be printing and framing. Maybe I’ll send them to National Geographic too just because I can. We are expecting to get photos of deer, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and possibly wolves. 

Before starting our research, we set up a methods sheet that included a table for camera data as well as step-by-step instructions for the research. Theoretically, future students would be able to conduct research using our methods. I have never written methods, so this experience has been valuable practice for the research that I conduct in the future.

Then, this past week my group members and I went to the woodlot to set up our cameras. We spent an hour in the morning doing the first three cameras (one for each lure) and we returned in the afternoon to set up the last three cameras. We encountered many spiderwebs, poison ivy, bees and mosquitos. I had failed to consider that the forest would be muddy and humid. This was unfortunate, for I had decided to show up to the woodlot wearing two pairs of pants, a jacket and sneakers. Let’s just say that I now have a lot of muddy, sweaty clothing to wash. 

The woodlot is a never-ending maze. If I was left alone, I would never be able to find my way out. I would just become one with the trees and maybe befriend some squirrels — that sounds pretty nice, actually. Thankfully, I was not left alone. However, my professor asked me to lead the group to find open game trails, which was easier said than done. Open game trails are the trails that don’t look like man-made trails, which is confusing because woodlot appears to have mostly human trails. We can’t put the cameras on the human trails because they are motion sensor cameras, so we would end up having hundreds of strangers on our hard drives instead of animals. We would learn nothing about the lure and we would be deprived of cute animal selfies. 

I was embarrassingly bad at identifying game trails. Eventually, my group identified six different game trails to place our cameras. At each game trail, we fastened a camera to a tree and placed the lure across from the tree. I ended up begging my group members to set up the lure because I learned that “Gusto” is mouse guts and smells exactly how one would expect mouse guts to smell. I had too sensitive of a stomach to take one for the team. Additionally, I already reeked of the Calvin Klein cologne which smelled like a combination of bug spray and urine. Fortunately, the team took one for me. I set up the cameras and they set up the lure and we took test photos with each camera. Our professors asked us to pose like the animals we would see, so I’m very excited to see how silly we look in the photos. 

One of the other groups is studying visual deterrents and using scarecrows, glitter tape and pink boas. Here are some photos from their set-up process!

I can’t wait to see the results of everyone’s research! I am so glad I was able to take this Honors class. 

“Values” by Jenny Gloyd

Last week, I had an experience in one of my classes that really challenged me to think. Not about science or math, but introspectively. My professor asked me to write a 5-page essay about what I value and why. At first, I didn’t think I would ever be able to fill 5 pages–this is my usual fret when it comes to longer essays. Then, after a few minutes of deliberation, I was suddenly worried that I would not be able to fit my thoughts into the given constraint. 

To start, there are a lot of different categories of things that can be valued. For one, I value a lot of what has been given to me in my life. I value, maybe not most importantly, small material items, like a well-made latte, or a new, brightly-colored sweater. Little items like these add a bit of joy to everyday life. I value things in my life supplied by nature, like forests to hike through or the sounds of birds chirping in the morning. I also, at my core, value people. I think highly of the time I spend with my friends and family. Continue reading

“That’s All Folks!” by Alyssa Schiff

And just like that, the spring semester of 2020 has come to a close. For some, this is the end of life at UD and in college. What would already be an incredibly bittersweet, exciting, and uncertain time has now been made more bittersweet and uncertain by the global pandemic. Seniors have not been able to say goodbye to professors, friends, and the campus as a whole. Closure for the end of this chapter will need to wait until we are able to have an in-person graduation at a later date.

Having said all of this, it seems the world really is sympathizing with seniors. In the past few days I watched as John Krasinski held a virtual graduation and commencement for graduating seniors on his YouTube show “Some Good News,” bringing together countless celebrities including Jon Stewart, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and even Malala Yousafzai. Then another virtual ceremony was held featuring the Obamas, LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Pharell Williams, and many many more.

What a strange time to be entering “the real world.” Despite the uncertainty and obvious disappointment in losing a typical senior spring, this is also a time of gratitude for me. I have been unbelievably fortunate through this period. I was able to continue living in Newark in a very comfortable apartment with my best friends where we have internet capable of supporting six computers all day. I have also remained healthy, and have been able to make the best of quarantine by being surrounded by wonderful friends.

My roommates and I have had countless movie nights, themed dinners, celebrated holidays, gone for social distancing picnics, take-out nights, drives blasting music, and we have even opened a home salon where several of us have had our hair cut or dyed (don’t worry, no bangs!). We have commiserated, but also shared our joy and gratitude for this time together.

Looking back on my time at UD, I have only endless gratitude. I owe so many thanks to the professors who have pushed and encouraged me, to the Honors program for being a support system and for providing countless opportunities, to the McNair Scholars program for facilitating my research and my path to graduate school, to the Writing Center for providing such a lovely work environment, and to all my fellow classmates, friends, and students who have changed and inspired me.

When I applied to UD and the Honors program, I wrote an essay on optimism. I wrote that I am optimistic because the beauty of humanity is that we are all constantly inspired and moved by each other. That people always change each other, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, and how wonderful that can be. While I cringe looking back on that essay, I feel the sentiment now more than ever. We may not be able to physically be together on campus for a graduation, but we will carry each other — friends, classmates, faculty, and staff alike — and UD with us for the rest of our lives. I would like to think as much as being a UD student has changed all of us, that we have also affected change to UD during our time by questioning the systems in place, furthering research, writing, performing, and more.

I think often on a quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young. He writes, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”” And perhaps these last four years weren’t just “nice” but instead challenging, frustrating, difficult, joyous, and wonderful. We have been stressed and sleep-deprived, but also (hopefully) changed for the better, and if that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

“Quarantine Cooking: Healthy Meals to Keep You Focused on Work” by John Salsini-Tobias

The change from eating dining hall food to actually having to cook at home certainly isn’t the worst aspect of online learning, but cooking nevertheless can take up valuable work time. Without endless options while at home, many students (including myself) will find themselves snacking throughout the day. It’s easy to grab a bag of chips or a granola bar but this option is rarely healthier than nutritious balanced meals. Let’s examine a possible day of eating in easy-to-prepare meals that any student could throw together while listening to a recorded lecture or practicing a Quizlet. 

The first meal of the day obviously is breakfast, and nowadays it’s an easy one to skip if you can wake up and start class just by grabbing your laptop. Staying in a routine will be healthy and this means actually getting out of bed (looking awake and out of bed reflects well in class too). One delectable and popular breakfast dish is avocado toast. Popularized by millennials, this can be spiced up in many different ways to add some flavor and balance to your diet. Personally, I prepare mine with some sea salt and a hard boiled egg on top of mashed avocado on whole-grain toast. Here are the steps to make a new morning preference:

  1. Peel and pit avocados
  2. Put about ½ of an avocado on each slice of bread
  3. Dice the avocado and mash into bread with fork
  4. Add any toppings such as sliced egg, salt, pepper, cheese, tomato, or anything you like!
  5. Toast the bread and allow to cool before eating.

Around midday you’ll probably get hungry again, so now it’s time for lunch. A college favorite that I often find myself making is a classic: ramen. It’s fine to eat a plain bowl with the included seasoning, but you may find yourself wanting a more filling experience in the absence of restaurants like Ramen Kumamoto. I often add a soft boiled egg to my ramen. For this, I recommend preparing the noodles normally and then in a separate pot boiling the egg. Of course, adding other toppings such as scallions, pork, tofu, bean sprouts, or cabbage to the noodle broth can be done to add flavor. Again, this is an easy way to make a tasty meal out of a simple food.

  1. Boil noodles in a pot of water
  2. Add flavor, seasonings, or toppings that need to be cooked to pot
    1. For a soft boiled egg, prepare 1 inch of water in separate pot
    2. Once water is boiling, add egg directly from fridge and leave for 4 ½ min
    3. Remove egg and immediately cool with cold water, then peel and enjoy!
  3. Add noodles to a bowl and add any fresh toppings desired

A powerful way to finish work hours and prepare you for an evening of relaxing (or more work!) is this pasta dish. Once again simple to prepare, this lemon pasta tastes amazing and gives you some carbs to keep up your energy. Just add a salad and a desert!

  1. Bring a quart of water to a boil
  2. Prepare pan of spaghetti, tomatoes, lemon zest, olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt
  3. Add boiling water to pan, cover, and heat until it reboils
  4. Remove the lid to simmer for 6 minutes while stirring
    1. You can add kale or spinach for more flavor and to soak up the juices
  5. Serve with seasonings and some parmesan!

Five Movies to Watch While Stuck in Quarantine

Right now it feels strange to think we were at UD over a month ago, and that our lives were seemingly normal, and now that we’re living in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. I’m not sure I ever thought that anything that has impacted the world as majorly as this would have happened in my lifetime. At this moment, it feels hard for all of us to stay upbeat and positive, as everything feels like it’s ending, and we have so much free time stuck at home with nothing to do. One thing that I have been doing while not in class, is watching movies. I find they help give me not only a distraction but help me stay positive. If you’re feeling like you’re struggling and want something else to think about, or feel like you need something to believe in the world again, here are the top five movies I would recommend to you.

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle

I’m probably biased towards this movie as it is one of my all-time favorite movies, and something I have loved since my childhood, however I believe movies like Howl’s Moving Castle are a nice breath away from reality, especially right now. Howl’s Moving Castle tells the story of a young girl named Sophie who has a spell cast on her by the “Witch of the Waste” which turns her into an elderly woman. She goes on a journey to try and break the spell, and meets a wizard named Howl and goes aboard his moving castle for a life-changing adventure. This movie is perfect if you just want to be taken away to a fantasy world and feel like a kid again. The art in this movie is amazing and the soundtrack fits in perfectly. It’s hard to put all the things I love about this movie into words, but I would highly recommend this movie to anyone of any age.

2. Perks of Being a Wallflower

I’ve watched this movie so many times since it came out, and could watch it thousand times more. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a boy named Charlie who is socially awkward, and is considered at school to be a “wallflower,” someone who tends to stay away from crowds and the spotlight. However, he meets a girl named Sam and her stepbrother Patrick and they change his life completely. This coming of age movie is so powerful and touches on so many issues in the world today. It makes you feel so many emotions from pain and sadness to joy. Even though high school wasn’t so long ago for me, it gives me that youthful nostalgia for those days in my life. It is perfect for those days in quarantine when you’re missing your friends or thinking about all the memories you have made here at UD.

3. Love, Rosie

If you’re looking for another semi-predictable, cheesy rom-com that will make you want to cry, laugh, and want to rip your hair out in the best way possible, then this is it. Rosie and Alex are that couple that always finds their way back to each other but the timing is always wrong. The movie takes you through a journey of their ups and downs and has you constantly on the edge of your seat wondering if they will end up together, or if time and misunderstandings will be too big of a hurdle. This movie is one that will easily distract you from the outside world and make you feel warm inside. It’ll make you believe that what is meant to be will be, which is something that in the world today doesn’t feel like it exists. Our lives may be crazy at the moment and it might be hard to stay hopeful for a better tomorrow when it feels like everything is crumbling down. But this movie, even as lighthearted as it is, reminds us that the best things can come from the seemingly worst things to happen to us.

4. In This Corner of the World

While this movie is an animated film, watching this for the first time made me cry, and I’m not one to usually get emotional over movies. This story is set during World War II and is about a girl named Suzu who moves in with her husband’s family in Hiroshima, Japan. The movie tells of all of the challenges she faces during this time living in a war-torn country. The thing I love the most about this movie is the overall message. This movie portrays that even in the worst times, there will always be hope in the world, and you can always find beauty in something. While normally I’m not the one for wartime movies, this movie made me realize how lucky I truly am for even the smallest things in life that I take for granted. I feel that watching this movie now is perfect timing, especially with everything going on in the world today, and how chaotic life feels. It’s a nice reminder of all the good and positivity there can be, even if it seems like there is no hope.

5. Ferris Bueller’s day off

This movie is honestly such a classic, and a movie that my parents love as well. If you’re looking for something that will have you laughing until you cry — this is it. Ferris Bueller is known as a troublemaker at his high school as he is always slacking off. He decides to take one last day off of school and go on the journey of a lifetime. This movie will keep you wondering how Ferris doesn’t get caught, and laughing at all the close calls he and his friends have. If you’re looking for something lighthearted and exciting, this is the movie for you. It reminds you to live each day to the fullest even with the ups and downs in everyday life. 

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