Trip to Smithsonian African American Museum Opening an 'Amazing' Experience
Albion College students, staff and faculty, in cooperation with the Albion NAACP, took a bus trip to the just-opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the event was unforgettable and emotional.
Lisa Colville, '07, Tracks Treelines in California
major Lisa Colville, '07, uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) device
to record the location of a dwarf sagebrush in California's White
Mountains. All photos by Molly Palmer, Stanford University
Life at the Crooked Creek White
Mountain Research Station is something to get used to! It's the end of
July, and every morning our breakfast is prepared by a master chef, who
is also a very knowledgeable naturalist.
After packing our sack lunch,
doing dishes, and cleaning the kitchen, we begin our daily expedition
into the field. The field is very different from Albion indeed—between
9,000’ and 12,500' in the White Mountains of east-central California.
Our mission is to find the upper
limit of dwarf sagebrush, Mountain Mahogany, and Pinyon Pine growth,
which is achieved only by hiking up and down slopes and recording the
diameter, height and location of each plant that we come across. The
elevation of our hikes reached 12,500’ when we found the highest
sagebrush in our field area ever recorded. Hiking at 12,500 feet can be
quite exhausting, so when we come across a scenic spot we grab a snack
and catch the view for a bit.
While in the field, my FURSCA
advisor Dr. Chris Van de Ven and I, along with our collaborators, are
outfitted with global positioning system (GPS), notebooks, calibrated
ropes (for measuring the diameter and height of the plants), rain gear,
and, most importantly, our lunch.
the upper limit of growth is important because we can compare it to
previous data to observe how the plants are responding to climate
change. We expect to see the smaller (younger) plants establishing
themselves at higher elevations than their larger (older) relatives as
a response to the approximate 0.6°C increase in global temperature over
the last century.
Colville and Albion geology professor Chris Van de Ven, flanked by colleagues from Stanford University, climb a mountainside in search of tree life.
Conducting field research out in the White Mountains has been extremely
rewarding and educational. I developed the observational and
organizational skills required to be a field scientist, gain an
appreciation for hiking at high altitudes; as well as work with well
known and respected ecologists and geologists. My summer FURSCA project
has certainly enhanced my exceptional Albion College experience.
| From the White Mountains, Colville looks west at the Sierra Nevada range.
Colville and Van de Ven explore an old mine shaft.