Monday, September 29, 2014
Pretty Perfect Weekend Field Trip
I'm teaching ecological restoration at the University of Pennsylvania this term as an Adjunct Professor. It's a class for graduate students, and I have taught it every other fall term since 1992 - that's 22 years now, about as long as some of my youngest students have been alive.
I'd like to take the students on a lot of field trips. The more that they can get out in the field to see actual restoration work, the better. But UPenn is very near the heart of Philadelphia and it's hard to get to a site, take a tour, and get back to campus in the allotted 3-hour class period. So, I always offer a weekend field trip to my preserve. We did the trip this last weekend.
Many of the students are foreign nationals, and most don't own cars, so they use the regional rail network to get near my preserve, and then Kali and I pick them up at the train station. Yesterday's trip started off badly - a 60-year-old man walking on the railroad tracks was struck and killed by a train (it happens more often than you might imagine; most victims are suicides), which delayed the start of the trip by one hour. But the students all finally arrived and we enjoyed two hours of nearly perfect early autumn weather.