Rainforest & Logging
We began our trip with a visit to the Ho Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. On our hike along the Ho River, we saw old-growth forest, nursery logs, abundant epiphytes, and lush ferns and oxalis in the understory. The national park gave us a view of the original ecology of this area, where forest growth was mediated by tree size, ability to reseed in the under story, fungal disease and fire.
It took 14 of us to complete a ring around this large Sitka Spruce. Most of the large spruce on the peninsula were logged off during the second world war to make spars for aircraft (and the famous "spruce goose"). Historic records suggest that Douglas Firs in this area were taller than today's redwoods.
Outside of the park, much of the forest has been logged, and old growth is rare. Our group took a tour sponsored by the Bend Logging Museum. We saw the efficiency of modern logging and sawmills (above) and several reclamation efforts of the industry (below).
A stream that has been restored as salmon habitat by Rayonier, Inc., the largest forest land holder in the Olympic Peninsula. Culverts under roads have been lowered to grade, and the series of riffles shown here were created.
Students discussing Rayonier's efforts to establish owl habitat in second and third-growth forests by thinning the under story and inoculating trees with fungus to create nesting cavities
Miami is the largest of many booming urban areas along the east coast of Florida. Above, the group is heading into an excellent Cuban restaurant in Miami. Below, they are posing for a group photo on a protected beach just south of Jacksonville. Most of the coast between these places is highly developed with many homes and businesses on fragile and relatively unstable coastal landforms such as spits and barrier islands.
The group was able to appreciate both the appeal of this area for development and the hazards posed by hurricanes in this area. This conflict between protection of habitat and development is typical of the issues Florida faces. In this case, it would appear that nature can take care of herself, and our concern is for coastal dwellers in the event of a hurricane. In other cases, it is clear that human intervention will be needed to protect Florida's magnificent ecosystems.
That's all! (Then we went home and got stuck overnight in a blizzard in Ohio).
Florida Sea World
Behind the Scenes at Sea World
Sea World is one of Florida's main tourist attractions, but few tourists get to see the activities that go on behind the scenes, as we did. Albion's Dr. Carrier collaborates with scientists from Sea World, and was able to arrange this tour for us. Above, students are being told about efforts to rehabilitate injured Florida Manatees. Below, you can see the scars from boat propellers on the back of a manatee. This animal is being treated with antibiotics, in hopes that these wounds will heal. The animal will then be returned to its habitat and released.
Important research in marine biology is also being conducted at Sea world. Below students and faculty are looking at young sharks, still in their eggs, in the research facility adjacent to Sea World's "Terror of the Deep" display. Albion students working with Dr. Carrier have been involved with Sea World in a project which involves observing shark mating events, capturing females, and taking them to this facility. Much of what is known about shark reproduction results from this study.
Artesian Water rises at Juniper Spring in central Florida. This remarkably clear water feeds Juniper Springs Run, a stream popular with those seeking to see wildlife in a natural setting. We canoed several miles down the clear stream, amid turtles, herons, a few 'gators and tall Cyprus. Much of Florida's water supply comes from the Florida Aquifer, which feeds this and many other spectacular large springs in this area.