Today is Monday, September 5, 2011, Labor Day. It is the unofficial end of the summer season although nature’s calendar doesn’t bring the equinox for another 16 days. There is plenty of summer season left but schools and colleges all around the country started up last week and this week and there is that distinct psychic shift from summer pastimes to a full schedule of school and work.
I returned to full work schedule several weeks ago and with the first classes this last week I met dozens of new students in my classes and around the college. I also did a great deal of planning and organizing for the coming field work season so I will have much more to write about in the coming months.
Two key meetings took place this last week - one with the faculty members who want to share in the work this term and the other with a special set of students who will become my field supervisors this semester. The faculty are organized into a group called a departmental learning community and we will run at least four events over the course of Sept. to Dec. The first event is our orientation event to introduce all of our students to the field site and the kind of work that they can engage in for their Academic Service- Learning requirements. We plan to host this event in conjunction with National Estuary Day which is the large public event on Saturday Sept. 24 at the center. As we get closer to the date I will try to post all of our plans and activities.
The other meeting at the start of the field season was with a set of students who have come through the field season in previous years and who came to me asking what else could they do. They are organized into a leadership team and will be at the field site on their own schedule and will become my site supervisors on a daily basis. If they can keep the work flowing smoothly and make sure that everyone works safely and productively they will be a tremendous asset to the field work. Besides working with the new students each member of the team is going to select and design something of their own creation. Then each of them will take the lead in getting that element of the project accomplished between now and the end of the term. I can also write much more about their activities after this coming Friday when we are planning a group trip to the preserve to reacclimatize them to the project and to look at some of the possibilities.