Friday, July 14, 2006


This week has been one of the greatest of my life.

River school is better than I even hoped. This first week of the program has been a combination of River Science and Management and Stream Ecology. I've learned a crazy amount every single day, which consist of 4 hours of lectures and 4 hours of in-field study. There are five main facilitators and lots of guest speakers with a mixture of professors and professionals from many different specialties and industries.

The program has ten students - 2 undergrads, 5 graduate students and 3 professionals. Not one has emerged as an egomaniac knowitall. Everyone is nice and smart and laid back and seem really interested in learning.

I've spent about twenty hours this week in rivers. I'm exhausted, and I'm thrilled. I can't imagine ever wanting to do anything else...

This post (rambling as it is) will be my last for a couple of weeks. Next week the program moves to the Oregon coast for two weeks. I'll be heading out Sunday morning and will return on the evening of the 28th - hopefully. This afternoon I got stuck in about 18 inches of mud. I pulled as hard as I could and got me unstuck but not my shoe. So I had to put the foot back in the hole, get the foot back in the shoe and pull even harder to free it and the foot at the same time. I was pretty freaking dirty at the end of it all.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back in School

I received the syllabus for my summer coursework today, along with the reading assignments for the first day of class. So it looks like I'm officially back in school after a very long break from academia. I'm glad to be back, and feel extremely fortunate to have a second chance at this grad school thing. I think I chose better this time around.

This program is actually 5 graduate level courses (a total of 10 credit hours) jam packed into 4 weeks. Weeks 1 and 4 we're on campus in the city for the morning (starting at 8am) and in the field at various restoration sites for the afternoon (ending at 5pm.) Weeks 2 and 3 are spent camping on the Oregon coast and all day every day we're in the field at two major restoration sites.

We'll be doing a lot of team work - gathering and compiling data, monitoring sites, writing reports, etc. It also looks like we'll be presenting our recommendations to various restoration groups and professionals at the end of the program.

I'll admit I'm nervous about going back to school. But there are worlds of differences between this program and my last one. For example: "Insect repellent," "Full change of clothes," and "Waders" were included on the "To Bring To Class Daily" list in the orientation email. And any academic program where students are advised to "be prepared for all types of weather" has got to be at least a little fun.

So, to sum up - I'm back, and expect lots of river pictures to come!

The Columbia River from Hamilton Mountain Trail.
(A nice hike, I highly recommend it.)