Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It has been an absolutely crazy summer! The amount of traveling I have been doing with my wife has been extraordinary, and it has been wonderful to finally visit some new places. Oahu was of course brilliant. About a week ago we just returned from a camping trip in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, which was quite the experience. Besides being stared at everywhere I went (not many brown folks out there), it was amazing to visit such a different type of mountainous forest, which is rain forest, as it gets over 80 inches of rain a year!

Soon I'm off again, this time to the Southwest. I'm so excited, it will be my first time to the Grand Canyon! I'm studying up before I go, trying to learn all I can about the environments I will immerse myself in, and all about the animals of the deserts I hope to come across. Studying up in this way before traveling always makes my trips so much more fulfilling. I'll take plenty of pictures!! See you all soon!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Common Myna

This little bird was all over Oahu!

They were brought over from India in 1865 to control cutworms and army worms, which were destroying the islands' sugarcane crops. But once on the island they started breeding like crazy, forcing out previously established bird populations and spreading Lantana camara, a really aggressive tropical weed that pushes out native plant communities.


Back from Oahu!

Aloha! Sorry I've been MIA, I was hoping to write write write once school was over, but I've been busier than I expected! I've been doing awesome stuff though, so no one's complaining. :)

First thing first: I went to Hawaii last week, and had an absolute blast. I stayed on the North Shore of Oahu, the surfing capital of the world, well removed from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki. I was able to enjoy a truly spectacular array of natural wonders. Each island is made up of incredible microclimates, al of which can be explored indefinitely! There is never enough time to enjoy and learn about Hawaii's amazing ecosystems!

One thing is undeniable about Oahu: the elements are always in motion. The ocean churns, and is constantly beating against the shores. The clouds are constantly shifting with the winds. The winds rush against the mountains on the Eastern side of the island, pushing up and cooling, condensing into rain. The rain forms rushing streams and waterfalls, eroding and carving dramatic ridges in the face of the towering mountains. The mountains themselves are rich in silica and mineral-saturated, wet earth, and so become covered in ferns trees and becomes rainforest. On the leeward side, the earth is drier, suited for agriculture. The sun shines bright and hot and supports a wealth of life. The water, warm, harbors reefs of unique and pristine beauty. Oahu is an always moving, breathing island, sheltered by the sky, surrounded by the sea, supported by the earth, bathed in rain, and is fueled by the fiery bellows from underground. It is impossible not to feel this energy while you are there, not to have an emotional response that touches your heart!