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Wild West Trip 2019

Wild West Trip 2019

Wild West Trip 2019

Students share their "study away" experiences from exploring the wilderness and national parks of the western United States.

by Zach Wheeler on September 03, 2019

This past May, Dr. Jeffrey Mohr, Associate Professor of Biology, led a class of 14 students on an outdoor learning adventure around the national parks of the western United States. Basic principles of ecology, field-study techniques, identification of local flora and fauna, and general-nature interpretation were emphasized. Students received course credit and the experience of a lifetime. Here’s what they had to say about their time out west:

Hannah Wilson: During the 2019 Wild West Biology trip with Dr. Mohr and Dr. Hovis, I was able to experience and engage in God’s beautiful creation all around me through a variety of different locations. This trip was a great opportunity for me to learn in a hands-on way. A few breathtaking sites that we visited were Death Valley (header image), Devil’s Golf Course, Yosemite National Park, Bristlecone Pines, and Mariposa Grove.

Taylor Broadwell: The falls in Yosemite were absolutely stunning, and something I’ll never forget the sight of. I will never grow tired of exploring God’s creation, and these falls are an example to me still of just how much grace and beauty is in the world around us.

Madelyn Edwards: One of my favorite places on the trip was the top of Moro Rock at Sequoia National Park. After nearly 400 steps, we made it to the top of the stairway, to the top of the rock. The whole climb up it was extremely foggy, but once we reached the top the fog cleared. It was at this moment that I felt God’s presence.  I could have stayed there forever watching cars drive down the one mountain road or the bald eagle that was chasing the crow just about the level we were. The only word to explain it was BEAUTY. This trip was by no means easy, but it was more than worth the work it took to experience the beauty God has created.

This trip was by no means easy, but it was more than worth the work it took to experience the beauty God has created.

JD LeClair: It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity especially for someone who lives on the east coast. We were riding from Monterrey to a beach campground three or so hours up the highway. For most of the drive on the right was the rocky blue ocean and on the left were cow pastures with mountains in the background. My buddy and I glanced over to our left just in time to see a giant Mule deer buck standing in the CRP grass with the ocean just to our right. I’m a deer fanatic so that was also an experience I’ll hold onto forever.

Monica Keever: California is so full of such different and diverse life! Everywhere we looked, there was a change in the ecology and in the environment around us. One minute, there would be snow up to our knees and before that, we were in the desert of Death Valley, and not too far after, there was this massive ocean in front of us! Amazing. Therefore, I will be forever grateful for this unique experience that SWU gave to me.

I will be forever grateful for this unique experience that SWU gave to me.

Samantha Calcutt: I believe that I had to pick a favorite place on this trip I would pick the Sequoia National Park. First, getting to see the General Sherman tree (the largest tree in the world) was amazing. The idea that the General Sherman tree, started from a seed in a pinecone the size of an egg, truly shows how God works in nature.


Tags: science, ecology, biology, study away, inventive learning