Week Four. Halfway through this summer in Seattle and I've learned that not all salt water is created equal. It's funny seeing my friends for more northern latitudes loving the water but those closer to the equator shivering in their shorts.  Here's something else to add to my list of when not to write a blog post: When you're hungry. But on to what the post is about. The theme for this week was Rivers of Life. Our base was the Olympic Peninsula. We spent a few days in the Quinault Indian Nation and then moved to the Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks. [Insert joke about vampires/werewolves here.] Two of the major goals were to see how the Quinault people's resources are managed and to look at a river restoration project after the removal of two dams.

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Yes. Those are actual bear marks. Photo credit to Alicia. [= 

I'm in a small study room with three other friends trying to focus on a story that will be my final presentation. If you couldn't tell, I'm not doing the best at focusing right now. 

We're back in the Seattle and back at home base. Last week we were on the Olympic Peninsula. The first few days were at the Quinalt Indian Nation. We saw some of their natural resources and learned about their history. Then we went to Forks and saw no vampires or werewolves. We learned things about forestry, fisheries, and dam removals. 

Now I'm going to stop talking because I'm making tea in about ten minutes and I could really do with some gingermint.

Reading: Some of my old posts/writings for ideas.

Writing: The first draft of my "Conservation Story". 

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It's funny how the more time passes between me and an event, is the less I remember. Actually, it's not funny at all. Classic Keren exaggerating. That's how life works. That's where my field notes come in handy. Week 3 was a busy one. We left Seattle bright and early at 8:30 am (give or take) and went on a grand tour around Central(ish) Washington. The details are foggy but first we went East and stopped at a site in Skykomish then North to the North Cascades Institute in Rockport. At the end of the week we went West to a campsite in Mount Vernon and South (partially by ferry) to another campsite in Shelton. According to Google Maps, that's a nine an a half hour trip by car.

The official theme for the week was "Shifting Baselines". We met people who are actively working with the environment. This included park rangers, beaver specialists, grad students in Environmental Education and organic farmers. We talked more about ecological terms like succession, restoration, resilience or keystone species and we could see some of them play out in the sites we visited. Camping was a fun way to end the week because it was my first time actually camping and using a sleeping bag. I like doing these outdoorsy things but I'm also learning my tolerance level for them. The camping wasn't too intense - there were bathrooms on both properties. Despite those amenities, I was definitely happy when we travelled to a site with mattresses, cleaner bathrooms, and less insects.

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Disclaimer: I'm writing from the backseat of our van. I realize that it's not Sunday but if you keep reading, you'll see why and you'll forgive me. I plan on fixing the formatting once I get on my computer. With that out of the way, leggo.
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always forget the wonders of technology. We've been on the road for Week 3 in areas with limited cell and wireless connection. I'm not complaining - it's nice not having your phone with you to check your messages or your computer with you to scroll through a news feed. With all the camping and moving, I wasn't sure if I'd get to do my second Sunday Currently. I got into the sleeping bag and resigned to do it next week when I realized that my phone had 3G! It made me happy. Until I realized that I had two bars. Which brings me to where I am now. Sitting up in my sleeping bag, writing my second Sunday Currently on my phone's Notes. 

I mentioned that we've been camping and hiking and we'll be on the road until this weekend. The official theme for last week was Shifting Baselines. We stayed in the North Cascades. We hiked, learned about beavers, canoed, studied more concepts, and then some. We finished the week by car-camping in another national park which was exciting for me since it was my first time. 

On to the Sunday Currently:

Reading: Nothing. The last thing I read was a Pizza Hut menu. lol

Writing: In my journal about the last few days.

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I'm going to leave this program as a semi-hippie. I'm surrounded by vegans and vegetarians and and rock climbers and activists and it's great. For Week 2, we focused on urban conservation and environmental justice. We were in the classroom for some of the time - doing readings, discussions, and making presentations. We were able to spend more time outside of the classroom - on campus and in other areas of Seattle. The trips included natural reserves, governmental and non-governmental environmental agencies, and the Longhouse for the Duwamish tribe. We ended the week with a debate about whether race, class or gender was the primary driver for environmental injustice.

I liked that this week got us outside so much while we were still in Seattle. It got me to appreciate one of the main readings for this week The Trouble with Wilderness or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature by William Cronon. He talked about how the definition of "wilderness" has changed and showed that most Americans tend to think that nature is where humans are not. He ended by saying we should appreciate nature in our backyards because a tree in a garden is just as valuable as a tree in a forest. He says, "Our challenge is to stop thinking of such things according to a set of bipolar moral scales in which the human and the nonhuman, the unnatural and the natural, the fallen and the unfallen, serve as our conceptual map for understanding and valuing the world" (Cronon, 19).

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Taken at the prairie
I mentioned before that I'll be trying new things. Even before I knew there was a blog component to DDCSP I wanted to spend more time on my blog. One idea I found is called The Sunday Currently from the blog, Sidda Thornton. It's a summary of the week and then sound bites of what I'm doing. I'm torn between whether it's vain or not but I'm going to go through with it. I've been putting my thoughts on this space since 2012 so it may be too late to worry about being conceited or not. (If you couldn't tell, I've had semi-battles with myself about whether or not it makes sense to use this blog but at this point I don't even care because I like it so I should just chill and do what I want with it.)With that out of the way, we looked at social justice this week. We had readings, discussions, presentations and field trips. I learned terms I've never heard of before like intersectionality and I realized that inequity will still be there even if I close my eyes and cover my ears. We visited a prairie, environmental organizations, and the Longhouse for the Duwamish - one of the First Peoples of this area. I also had my first American 4th of July.

That was a brute summary. For now, here's The Sunday Currently Volume 1. (It sounds so much fancier when I say "volume".)

Reading: Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education by Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo. This is part of our required reading. The chapters for tomorrow talked about Critical Thinking and Critical Theory and Prejudice and Discrimination.

Writing: My first ever Sunday Currently.

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Hello friends,

Exciting things are happening and I finally have time to write about them. I started a summer program that's centered around conservation and the environment. For the next few weeks I will be based in Seattle, Washington with a group of cool people from different parts of the US. It's called the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (DDCSP) and it aims to show us the intricacies of conservation issues and promote diversity and inclusion in dealing with these issues.


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