Friday, December 5, 2014

LANDS Forever

Wednesday marked the final day of the inaugural LANDS Field Semester.  The end is bittersweet.  We (Laura and Emily) are sad for our tight crew to disperse and for our adventures to be over.  The lair will be a quiet place without the 15 voices of the crew members and the constant accompaniment of conversation and laughter. On the other hand, we're basking in the glow of a successful program. It's been incredible to watch our students learn and grow throughout this semester; we're excited to send them off into their next chapters with new knowledge and skills, and in many cases with more refined professional goals. 

Rachel and Michelle making their way through their evaluation forms

The week consisted of a variety of closing activities: lengthy written evaluation forms (the students weren't thrilled about the number of questions, but their feedback will be immensely helpful for next year's planning!), an informal discussion with Nancy Mathews, the Dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources, and a focus group with educational researcher Karen Nordstrom to assess the program's learning outcomes.

The students share their experiences with RSENR Dean Nancy Mathews


Not sure what this is about.  Typical antics in the lair.
The highlight of the week was the final presentation, which the crew ROCKED!  The room was packed -- all 55 seats were filled, with standing room only well into the hallway.  The presentation was engaging, informative, and polished (the result of multiple practice rounds, with feedback and revisions), and the students were confident and articulate.  Clearly, their tree presentations and discussions about public speaking skills prepared them well. We even got some press:

Brainstorming the qualities of good and bad presentations through some "chalk talk"

James and Flore rocking the final presentation (and apparently having a great time!) (Photo Credit: Joshua Brown)

The program culminated with a potluck lunch at Emily's humble abode, where the students got to spend some time with a member of their favorite species (as we learned during the tree inventories): Felis domesticus.
LANDS crew members and Chaplin the cat express their mutual appreciation

The crew enjoys one last meal together.  Back in September, they were afraid to sit in adjacent chairs, and now five of them voluntarily squeeze onto a couch.

As per usual, our sentiments are expressed on the nearest available chalkboard
We are so grateful to the 15 LANDS students for being the pioneers, and helping us make this program possible.  We hope you've enjoyed following our adventures via the blog this semester.  What a great experience it's been.  Here's to many more!

Signing out until June,

Emily and Laura