Jamrock

It’s been about two weeks since I’ve arrived, here, in beautiful Jamaica.  I’m currently staying in an area known as Bluefields Bay.  Since arriving, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the beauty of Jamaica, and the warmth of Jamaican people.  I’m truly appreciative of this awesome opportunity.

I’m here on the island conducting my master’s research, which focuses on how marine protected areas (MPAs) affect  community members’ relationships with one another, and with their surrounding environment.  Bluefields is home to one of Jamaica’s largest MPAs, appropriately named the Bluefields Bay Special Fishery Conservation Area.  At present, this MPA is being managed by the Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society (BBFFS).  I’ve been fortunate enough to sit down with some of the wardens and local community members in the past two weeks.  They’ve welcomed me with open arms and I’m beginning to learn more about Jamaican culture!  Stay tuned.

West Coast, Best Coast?

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I spent the summer of 2014 working in Alberta.  I had a great time.  I love the west coast (I guess Alberta classifies as just west coast-ish, but it’s close enough) – mountains, ocean, big trees, how can you go wrong?   During my time in Alberta, I met numerous BC- and Albert-ites that referred to Ontario as “Onterrible”.  Admittedly, that was something that I had not heard before, and I found it a little funny, if not also a little hurtful (in a light, prickly sort of way).   Some time during the summer, I was also introduced to the moniker: west cost, “best coast”.  I, of course, laughed it off.   For some reason, whether in Canada or the U.S., there seems to be some unspoken coast-to-coast rivalry – that whole “east versus west” thing.  Ontario will always be my home, and I love it with unreserved passion.

Okay, all of that aside, the west coast offers some seriously spectacular views.  A week ago, I took a brief trip through the Mojave and Death Valley (alright, so maybe I stopped in Vegas too).  The trip was remarkably hot, dry, and beautiful.

There were instances when I thought our 2002 Ford Focus would sputter and implode.  Luckily, we had about 6 liters of water in the trunk and triple A service (although, cellular service was spotty and unreliable).  As much as I like the desert, I couldn’t help but think that the planet would be an insufferable place if it became one big scorched plane.  This imagery seemed rather relevant and poignant as California continues to experience a long drought.

Oh yes, and I became reacquainted with my bovine, west coast friends.

Moooooo.

Envigorate

It’s probably time to write a blog post, as I’ve been absent for nearly three months (I’m currently experiencing a mixture of shame and embarrassment). To be frank, blogging is difficult for me because it’s hard to articulate all the random thoughts that go through my mind on a regular basis.

The student-led ENVigorate Festival took place at the University of Waterloo at the end of March.  It was an amazing access, and I wish to congratulate all those who organized it!  I hope that it becomes an annual occurrence.  There was a lot going on, with speeches, workshops, music, etc.  Needless to say, it was a lively and colourful day in the environment buildings.  Personally, I signed up for two workshops: sprouting and crocheting (it was a tough choice, there were so many things that I wanted to do).  I’ve always loved to knit, and I had heard that crocheting was quite easy, so I decided to give it a try.  I’m sure the knitters out there would understand, but the act of knitting can actually be quite addictive – perhaps, it’s the prospect of creating something from nothing with a simple repetitive motion.  Crocheting was definitely the same.  The particular workshop that I attended taught us how to crochet tea towels.  As with knitting, I found my “gauging” ability to be pretty poor, resulting in a tea towel with uneven margins.  In the end, I decided to unravel it while I was about halfway through, and am now in possession of a colourful ball of yarn that I hope to turn into a tea towel again.  What can I say, I tried.  I hope that the “Practice makes perfect!” mantra has some truth to it.  I’ve made it a point to buy some of my own crochet needles and finish my tea towel before I forget how to crochet altogether.  Perhaps, if I finish and it looks decent, I will post a picture of it :).

Sprouting was another new experience for me at the festival.  I’ve posted some pictures of my sprouts, below.  I had no idea how easy the process was, and how delicious sprouts taste when they’re fresh.  All you need a mason jar, mesh (or cheesecloth), water, and something to sprout (which you can easily get from health food stores or the Bulk Barn).  If you wish to learn more about sprouting, you can read this page.  I encourage you to try it!

Day 1

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Which way is home?

It’s been a month since I’ve last blogged.  I got a bit caught up in the holidays, and I’m admittedly still very much in a holiday mood, but the real world is drawing me closer.  I hope to return to some regularly scheduled posting soon.

This week, an article by the National Geographic titled “How Do Sea Turtles Find the Beach Where they Were Born?” has been trending online.  I’ve always been amazed by the fact that despite the extensive migrations made by sea turtles, they manage to return to the exact same place in which they were hatched to mate and nest.  As it turns out, scientists have now found that loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) return to these initial beaches by sensing Earth’s magnetic field.  Apparently, each beach has its own “magnetic code”.  Accordingly, however, nesting sites will shift in response to changes in this field.

The photo seen above, of a nesting green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Costa Rica, was taken by my friend Nathalie. How cool is that?!

An internal compass is certainly a handy navigational tool, sometimes I wish that I had one.

Holiday delights: Animal Planet

For those who haven’t heard, Animal Planet is free on Rogers this month (thank you, Santa).  Needless to say, this holiday has been a time of tea, yarn, and some serious R&R.  Speaking of which, I recently watched a TV documentary about the world’s first sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.  Baby sloths can bring cheer to anyone’s day.  If you feel the need for some warm and fuzzies during this cold season, I suggest watching a 50 minute video of the most laid-back animals on the planet.  Seriously, I’m trying to spread the holiday cheer!

Just look at that face.

Fun fact: Sloths are pretty much always up in a tree, but for whatever reason, they come down every 7 days or so to defecate (a fact that’s probably been made famous by Zefrank).

Bottom line, I am loving Animal Planet and sloths right now.

Your vote counts! The Aviva Community Fund

Please support the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (KTTC) in the Aviva Community Fund competition!  Here is a background blurb from the KTTC website:

“Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre is a registered charity whose goal is to protect and conserve Ontario’s native turtles and the habitat in which they live. We accomplish this by operating a turtle hospital that treats, rehabilitates, and releases injured turtles, by performing extensive research in the field to further conservation initiatives, and by running a comprehensive education and outreach program.”

You can vote once every day.

—> VOTE NOW, click here! <—

Productivity

I saw this article recently about the hours in our day with the greatest productive capacity.  Apparently, it’s the first two hours after you wake up, according to behavioural scientist Dan Ariely.  In the past few years, I’ve grown to be a serious coffee addict.  The first two hours of my morning, in part, are spent enjoying my coffee while performing “low” tasks (e.g. e-mail, social media etc.) – exactly as Ariely describes.  I’m going to make an effort to try this new routine of making a plan before bed, and then carrying out the plan when I wake up in the morning.  For the record, I am NOT a morning person in the slightest.  I will report back on my progress.