Colleen Innis

For my experience, Cara, Brian, and I went to Lake Katherine in order to observe nature in its truest form. This "adventure" was truly humbling to me, as I was so small in comparison to the grand lake surrounding us. There was a large variety of birds, trees, fish, and geographies in the area. Before Brian arrived, Cara and I sat on a wooden bench near the lake and observed nature as well as fell into a deep reflection about our lives in proportion to the great world encompassing us.

After Brian arrived, we hiked around the lake through forested areas, carefully landscaped areas, and areas invaded by wild geese, ducks, and squirrels. We not only had fun enjoying each others' companies, but we also enjoyed sharing our world with the hundreds of other organisms surrounding us. Exploring nature deepened both our understandings of it and our appreciation for it. Engrossed in our natural experience, however, we were stopped by the sight of a single beer car smashed into the mud near the lake. We noticed then the ducks, mallards, and  geese in a nearby vicinity. How could someone trash something so immensely beautiful? I personally thought about the hundreds of thousands of bubble gum wrappers, empty water bottles, and McDonald's napkins that I don't give a second look every day. This newfound appreciation of nature had opened my eyes. (And I hope Brian and Cara's too.)

How does this experience relate to class? Way too many ways. Not only did we witness the effects of littering on nature and its food chains, but every single tree was labeled! Yes, Mrs. Coy, I'll say it again: Every single tree was labeled! Amongst these trees were yellow, red and orange leaves. We identified how one could incorporate the concept of phenology into these changing trees, as it reminded us of our phenology tackk project. We saw a maple tree that looked awfully similar to tree #14...

This article describes the issue that the world faces with its usage of coal. We use coal for everything, and it is detremental to our air. This article discusses the myth about having clean coal, and denies the possibility, as it emits CO2.

My opinion is that we should try to use more alternative methods for energy. They exist, and I think that whatever hardships they cause for the human race is worth getting rid of coal. We caused the problem so we should deal with the consequences for fixing it. I acknowledge that coal is very useful. However, the bad overcomes the good. The article explores some other options for coal usage which, while admirable, cannot fully solve the problem.

Throughout this article, the topics of global warming and the greenhouse effect are explored. As time goes on, the earth continually warms and cools. However, the  human race has affected climate change more in the past century than ever before. The surface temperature has risen as well as the levels of carbon dioxide and methane in atmosphere.

In my opinion, everyone should be more careful as to how they treat the environment. Everyone is aware of global warming, as it is a legitimate issue, so everyone should work to decrease climate change. I think people are too selfish. It may not affect them as much during their lifetime, but what about future generations? I want my grandchildren to know what a polar bear is. I found the amount of CO2 absolutely disgusting. Something needs to be done. Now.

This article focuses on pollution in the ocean, or marine pollution. There is plastic and other litter in the ocean from humans. The article goes on to explain, however, that there are many different types of pollution besides the commonly known form of littering, such as noise polluton. Luckily, people are beginning to notice the effect that they are having on this particular ecosystem. They are creating laws in order to protect the marine environment, and it is going to make a difference.

In my opinion, if there is one ecosystem that is more important than the rest, it would be the ocean. There is so much unexplored, and it takes up 70% of our earth. I think that people need to pay more attention to the way they treat the oceans, although it is great that they are becoming more aware. The way things are going, it is looking up so hopefully we will see a huge improvement sometime soon.

quarter 2

This article explores the coyote, a dynamic species that we live side by side with. It mainly explores the diet of the coyote and the relationship to its environment. For example, coyotes in downtown Chicago will eat more paper as well as other substances that may be harmful to the coyote. By putting a collar on coyotes, they can use their "crittercams" to find new information on this creature that lives near us, allowing us to help restore the size of their population, perhaps even in a more comfortable and natural habitat.

In my opinion, the coyote is a beautiful creature and it should be studied and protected. Believing that coyotes are dangerous is a common misconception. Yes, they are capable of harming a human, but they typically will not harm unless they feel threatened. However, coyotes are a danger to small animals such as house pets. While some may not be concerned about the population of coyotes dimishing, I think it to be very important to study these creatures and help them to flourish in the most comfortable environment possible.

My next article shines light on the subject of the Bangladesh Arsenic Crisis. The wells installed in the early 1970's were infultrated with arsenic, which can be deadly if consumed. While the United Nations Development Program is doing all they can to stop this, they predict that it will take ten to twelve years for the arsenic to clear out of the water supply. Arsenic can cause defects in pregnancy, cancer, and weakness to the immune system, causing one to become very susceptible to disease.

I think that it is terrible that these people have to suffer as a result of their water supply. However, I do think that before installing the wells, they should have explored the possibilities of any harm or toxins to the human body. An entire population is completely at risk due to this decision. While I do understand that water is a limited resource for these people, I also believe that it is unethical to stream an entire water supply through any kind of well without thinking to look at hidden substances. What is water if it deteriorates your health?

This article basically explains ways to restore our beautiful rainforests, such as reforestation and solid waste management programs. There are simple sponsorships such as Plant-A-Tree or Adopt-A-Hectare that make large differences in miniscule ways. Not only are there projects like this, but there are also other things supported such as composting programs and keeping poachers out.

I think that it is an amazing thing that Rainforest Adventure is doing in order to save the rainforest. However, I think that they are doing it for the wrong reasons. After exploring their website, I found many pages trying to sell rainforest tours. This organization is not non-profit, which leads one to believe that they are not using the money collected from selling these trips the correct way. I obviously do not know this for a fact, but my personal opinion is that they should keep travel and restoration separate so that one does not get confused into falling into the wrong motives behind doing right things.

This article explains the problem of tuna fishing. Tuna and different porpoises (such as dolphins) school together, therefore causing them to get caught together by tuna fishermen. After a long fight between enviromentalists and fisheries, it is now illegal to sell tuna with dolphin in it, and they have to release them all upon catching them. However, a threat is still being posed on these mammals because they are still being caught. While they are always looking for safer ways to fish, dolphins are still being caught and can easily become harmed in this process and/or the process of release.

I think it is great that they are really making an effort to save the dolphins, especially because I was always that nerd that looked for the dolphin- safe labels on seafood. NOAA has really pushed studies for safer methods of release, hopefully boosting their survival rate a lot more in the next couple years. I am really happy that they are taking it seriously enough to go past just illegalizing it and are actually looking out for their safety.

A few months ago, the Bryde's whale was discovered off the coast of Florida. It is very genetically unique and could quite possibly be the most endangered of all the whales, with a known 50 to its population. Their home is also the home of many oil spills, which could be a reason for their small population. Also, since it takes the government a long time to declare a species endangered, the number of whales could be even more threatened.

I think that this article is absolutely amazing and I am so excited to hear about new whale species. However, it breaks my heart that they are so endangered. If we focused our efforts more on cleaning up the oceans and the air and cleaning up oil spills, things like this would happen more often, except the new animals would have more of a chance. I am concerned for the well being of this new species and I really hope that we make the right choices when it comes to protecting them.

3rd Quarter (Absent)


For my experience, I went to the Brookfield Zoo (even though it was really cold) and I was able to see a lot of animals from different ecosystems around the world. It was so exciting! Since it was cold out, there were not a lot of people at the zoo that day and I practically had the entire zoo all to myself! With the zoo being empty and the employees still working, I was able to get a lot of one on one time with the animal experts, allowing me to learn a lot about the creatures. For example, I found out that in every pack of gorillas, there is a leader male that acts as the king of the group. When a new male asserts his dominance, he becomes a threat to the other leader and often overthrows his power.

My time at the zoo relates to the class because I got to see and experience biodiversity in the zoo, just as we have been learning about in class. I saw marine life which reminded me of the aquatic unit, and I saw animals from different types of ecosystems such as deserts and rainforests. Also, when I was at the zoo, the song Goodmorning by Mandisa came on the loudspeaker and I started singing and it reminded me of Mrs. Coy! I also went to the Shedd Aquarium but we're only allowed to get credit for one experience, so I chose the zoo.

Biodiversity is severely declining in the oceans, and at this rate, extinction may rapidly become an even larger issue than it is today, as it is almost irreversible. For example, 6 out of 7 sea turtles are at risk of extinction. Climate change and habitat loss are the two major causes of the decline of the oceans.

I really like this article because marine life is really important to me. It makes me sad that this is a reality, and that is why I chose to major in marine biology in college. I wish to change this and enrich marine life, hopefully resulting in a decline of extinction. WWF came out with a statement that said that Earth cannot keep up with our demands, and this is having a toll on the environment. I hope to change this, as I believe it is never too late.

Fourth Quarter

For my fourth quarter experience, I went on a field trip with my class to the Cal Sag River. We were able to collect microinvertibrates and study their makeup. We also tested water levels and explored the beautiful nature around us. I had a great time getting to know some of my classmates that I did not know well before, as well as exploring an ecosystem very close to my every day life! It was very interesting to see all the creatures that you live with that you don't know exist.

This relates to environmental science because it was a field trip for class and I got to see some of the ecosystems that I have been learning about all year, as well as study them some more. We learned about river life as well as forest life, preservation, and danger in these ecosystems. We saw a lot of litter and pollution which can be incorporated into our lessons this year. My friends and I picked some up, and we were glad to have been able to apply our lessons to real life.

Experience 2

For my second experience, I helped plant a tree with my class. Beforehand, we had tree keepers come in and talk to us about trees, the environment needed for them, and other interesting facts that I never knew about trees before. For example, did you know that if you cover the bottom of your tree with mulch, it will kill the part of the tree that is covered and it can no longer grow and develop from that point? (I didn't, I learned that from the tree keeper.)

This relates to class because we had to plant a tree at Marist where I take my class, and I was guided my Mrs. Coy and some other Marist faculty. We learned new things relating to the class as well as taught others things we had previously learned. It was a growing experience for me, my peers, and a new tree outside of Marist! I can't wait to return to Marist in a few years and see how far that tree has grown! Helping the environment also commemorates the class of 2015, and I'm so glad I got to partake in this experience.

Comment Stream

3 years ago

Wow! Every tree was labeled!!! :)

3 years ago


3 years ago

2nd Qt = 48/50 (late)

2 years ago

3rd Qt =30/50. Experiences count for 30 points. You need to add 2 articles.

2 years ago

+8 pts for the article.

2 years ago

It will be so neat for you to come back to Marist (even decades from now) and see the tree you helped plant!! Thanks for a great year, Colleen! Go- make a difference! 50/50