Sunday, April 23, 2006

Holidays Come and Gone...

Well my two week Easter vacation is over and I must say, it didn't feel much like a vacation! After returning home from Melbourne, I spent most of my time working on essays. I managed to get quite a bit done without the interruption of always having to run off to class though.

On Saturday I was in Sydney for the day for a Rotary regional scholar orientation where we talked about responsibilities as scholars and how to give effective presentations. The best part of the day was meeting the other scholars in the region and getting to know the others here in Canberra.

Here's a funny story. I was talking with a woman from London who is studying international relations at the ANU and we were talking about bicycles and I mentioned my dollar bike and she said "that's you! I've heard about you, you're famous!" Apparently word has gotten around that some girl got a bike for one dollar and it's big news. Funny, eh?

You might be thinking that we must have enough bikes by now, but you'd be quite wrong. On the way home from a shopping trip the other day, we saw a number of random things on the curbside from someone who had recently cleaned house, including a bicycle. Well we just couldn't let it go to the trash now could we? It's a lovely 1970's model cruiser that we'll keep in our shed out back in case we get company.

The other interesting part of the day was hearing inspirational stories about the accomplishments of past Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars such as Billy Campbell, president of Discovery Channel, U.S. He has a cool job! Other notable Rotary scholars include Paul Volcker Jr, Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Carter and Reagan; Bill Moyers, Journalist; David Mulford, US Ambassador to India; and Roger Ebert, Film Critic.

Other than that I'm still working on planning my global warming debate which is coming together quite nicely.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ANUgreen

Moving to Australia is a big deal. The logistics of it occupied most of time before leaving but once I arrived here it hit me that I had to come up with a research topic as 25% of my masters degree is research and the other 75% is coursework. As I'm kind of a big picture environmental issue person, I expected to have some difficulty in deciding what to focus on. Most people look at very specific things like ant behavior in x type of soil during drought. No thanks.

So I started talking with lecturers and professors to get some ideas of who's working on what and what sounds interesting. Amazingly enough, a research project has amazingly come together quite nicely and painlessly. There is a new initiative on campus called Learning Communities. The idea is to get students outside of the classroom working on projects with students of other disciplines. ANUgreen, which is the campus environmental management organization, is heading up a Sustainability Learning Community (SLC) to work on environmental initiatives on campus. You may remember that I was planting trees with this group earlier in the semester. Of course I was interested in this especially after having worked in environmental education last year. And I find that they wanted to get a postgrad involved in the project to do assessment and facilitate projects so I'm now working on an independent research project involving the SLC and I'm going to be trained to assess their outcomes. Which has now suddenly turned into a job and an internship with ANUgreen! Nice thing to add to the CV. The job is only a few hours a week (five to seven) to work on organizing projects and trips and the internship is at the end of the semester to write up my findings, which I'll have to do anyway in a 5000 word essay for my research project. And they're both paid. Neat, eh?

Currently one of the big things I'm working on is a debate for World Environment Day on 5 June on the topic of Australia's response to climate change. I'm even trying to get local politicians involved along with students and academics. Wish me luck on that one! I'm also organizing a field trip to a local organic farm and a chance for students to talk with gardeners as there is interest in starting a garden plot on campus.

So if you hear me saying how ridiculously busy I am in personal emails (or more likely, don't get any personal emails at all) you'll know why!

Melbourne

Had a long weekend in Melbourne and stayed with our friend Chris who lives a stones throw from the coast. Lots of fun even though I was sniffling and recovering from a cold for most of the weekend. Had some nice bike rides along the coast, went to the Vic Markets and the Melbourne Museum, ate lots of good food, helped Chris pick out his new apartment, and wandered through downtown. Oh, and met Chris's parents. Hi Chris's mum!

Here's me in downtown Melbourne on a bridge over the Yarra River. In case you are wondering, Brian is indeed here in Australia with me even though he refuses to make appearances on my blog right now. He's camera shy but I'll work on him :)



Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Snowy Mountains


The hike up...



Snow Gums still recovering after 2003 bushfires



Brrr... Jenn wondering what was this guy thinking??



Rocks at the top



Tenacity

A fun weekend, thought quite chilly obviously! We're off to Melbourne tomorrow for a long weekend. I've got a (much needed) two week holiday starting this weekend. Yeh!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Roo and Joey

Here are some photos of kangaroos at Kosciusko National Park in the Snowy Mountains from my field trip last weekend. Is the little joey in the pocket the cutest thing ever or what?





The kangaroos in the campground expect to be fed so they would come and check you out and promptly leave if you had nothing for them.



I'll put up some photos of the Snowy Mountains soon, but don't expect photos of the wild and free Snowy River. Most of it has been diverted for Snowy Hydro power generation. In fact, the river was only allocated one percent of its original flow. So while Snowy Hydro bills itself as clean, renewable energy, it's had a pretty significant environmental impact in that not much lives in the Snowy anymore. It's all been diverted west for irrigation. Quite a contentious issue here with farmers, grazers, irrigators, the power company, the national park, and downstream towns all having quite different opinions on where the water should go. At least it's one less nasty coal fired plant...