Sunday, 18 June 2017

In Retrospect.

I found this week at UWF to be very interesting, even though we were not graced with good weather. I enjoyed going travelling throughout Pensacola to observe the differences between developed and natural watersheds. On Thursday, we helped conduct a beach survey using construction levels, A-frames, and percent coverage squares. Friday was one of my favorite days of the course. We were able to get a tour of the EPA labs, and were able to see their specialized equipment and coral/aquatics lab. Aside from a close call with lightning, it was one of the coolest experiences I've had. 

                 We saw so many gorgeous creatures
I will treasure the experiences I had
with you all

Casey and Sarah were absolute joys to
work with

Our final week at UWF was very bittersweet for me. While the idea of going home was very tempting to me, it was very sad that this trip had to come to an end. This trip has been one of the greatest experiences I have had. I have learned so many useful skills along the way, like how to identify many corals and fishes in the Caribbean, how to use a YSI meter, and even how to catch, measure, tag, and release sharks. 

The sights that we saw seemed like
something out of fantasy.
There was so much knowledge that I gained during these five weeks. I was honored to meet all of our instructors, and talk to them about their research or how they got to where they are now. I was able to see so many incredible locations, like the estuaries of Jacksonville, the grass flats of Fort Meyers, and even the coral reefs and bright blue waters of the Florida Keys. I saw so many magnificent creatures along this journey as well. I saw scalloped hammerheads at UNF, fields of brittle stars in Estero Bay, and sharks, eagle rays, and sea turtles in the Keys. 

Overall this experience will be something that I will treasure forever. I would recommend this to anyone I meet. The amount of knowledge you can gain and the experiences you will have are once in a lifetime. But one of the biggest things I will take away from this will be the relationships I formed with the other members of my cohort. The bonds I forged with my new friends are ones that I doubt will fade away. We were forced to work together as a team and it brought us closer because of it. I will miss everyone, from my fellow students, to our wonderful GA's who kept us entertained and organized along our trip. It saddens me to have to make this last blog post, but I am so incredibly thankful and honored to have been able to go on this adventure. I have been inspired and I can't wait for what the future will hold. 

"The sea, once it casts its spell, it holds one in its net of wonder forever."
-Jacques Cousteau
                                                                        -Tyler Williams

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