Terra Sigillata

i-6999100be19191e7995da17c5cf4cee9--greetings-from-quaint-key-west_-florida.jpgI wrote at length the other day about my visit and talk at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, noting that Duke students and their Key West High School mentees would be presenting the results of their 2008 projects yesterday afternoon. Well, we were sadly flying out about the time of the presentations but one of them captured all of the results.

In fact, one project chronicled all the projects dating back to 2002 – kind of like looking in a mirror’s reflection of a mirror.

This project established the Science Corner for the garden website, hosted at Duke but linked on the garden’s main site.


The three sections are:
We are a Biodiversity Hotspot
Species in the Garden
Duke and the Gardens

The Species in the Garden section has some terrific photography and the detailed inventory will form the basis of future projects to photographically document all the garden’s specimens.

The Duke and the Gardens section is the most comprehensive in describing the annual projects from 2002 to 2008. At the time I spoke to one of the students leading the team (sorry, I didn’t get your name – note added: it was Joseph Jakuta), they could only locate records back to 2006. Here they now document much more including group photos from almost every year: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002.

I’m really impressed with what Dr Pimm et al. are able to get accomplished with these students in what is essentially six days. That kind of focus is amazing and, even as a mid-career faculty member, is a lesson to me in how to help students get the best, most intensive experience in such a short time.

I’m sorry that I don’t have everyone’s name but I was delighted to meet all of the students involved (you can check the bottom of the 2008 page for their group photo as I didn’t want to infringe on the copyright.). The ones I remember are cancer researcher-turned environmentalist Catherine Carter and videographer/editor Jessica Stocking. I also believe that Megan Morikawa was working with Jessica and was thinking of either starting a blog or wanting to guest post (write to me, Megan!).

The excitement and engagement among these students really made me want to come back and work with them for a whole week. Yes, yes, I absolutely needed a vacation to get reacquainted with my family but a scientist is always a scientist – one can’t help being in such an incredible natural environment and not being fired up about the scientific aspects of the place.

So, perhaps, one might find me as a 2009 Pimm Key West intern.

Comments

  1. #1 leigh
    December 23, 2008

    very cool, it’s great to see such projects going on. it’s great for the college students to mentor high school students. it’s great for the high school students to gain the experience and get some time to talk with college students. of course the garden benefits from the projects. everyone benefits!

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