So… today we went to the Capital and the Smithsonian (see above). While we were there I got to talk to my Congressional representative, Morgan Griffith. He was really nice and took our opinions seriously and listened to what we had to say. Overall it was a nice meeting with him. He told us that coal was an important economic factor in our area and that the government was working on ways to make it more environmentally friendly cost efficient.
After the meeting I went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, where I saw the dinosaurs, oceans, and a really pretty petrified tree. It had changed color because the minerals had been replaced slowly over time. Later I got to talk to a volunteer at the museum who was working with fossils and sorting out tiny bones into different piles. He told me that the new technology allowed these bones to finally make a difference in research and that they actually needed to be sorted by someone now, because they had been sitting somewhere since the 1920s. It was really neat to see what he was doing.
The last thing we did in the museum was listen to marine biologist talk about pteropods and how cool they thought they were. Pteropods are “wing-footed” snails that use their winds to fly in the ocean. They swim in the deep sea waters and are just now being researched by many scientists.
Last thing I did before going to bed was listen to Sybille Klenzendorf ( I have a business card, that’s why I can spell her name) talk about the WWF and what she does in the program. She explained how they work with other environmental organizations to get people to see nature as an important part of their lives and treat it with respect. Another thing she explained is how the organization chooses which animals they are going to focus on out of the thousands of species that could use our help.
I had a great day. Some of the things that I have done today are unbelievable and I have not talked about some of it just because I’m tired of typing and want to go to bed. Sorry.
“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
I know the huge number of people reading this want to know what that stands for so I will tell you. It stands for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. It is a place where animals who are extinct in the wild or severely endangered come to be researched so that one day they may be reintroduced to their ecosystems. These animals are not on display like a zoo they are for research and usually reproduction.
While I was there at SCBI I heard a panel of people who work there talk about their jobs and what they do on a day to day basis. They also answered delegates questions and told us how they became interested in conservation and came to work at SCBI. After that I had a really good lunch and was sent to different scientists.
The first group I went to visited the mane wolf, who is extinct in the wild and was extremely cool. After hearing about their diet and how they were cared for, what the scientists had to do to take care of them, and why they were there to begin with; my group moved on to bird-watching. We did this from 1-2, which is possibly the worst time to watch birds, EVER. I saw two blue birds, a male and a female, and a really pretty female tree sparrow. That’s it. Nothing else worth mentioning.
The last place I went was to the woods. Why not? It’s a place of conservation. We went there to set up two camera traps, cameras that go off at movement or heat. They take pictures of animals in the area and show scientists the common mammals that go through particular areas. The woman who helped set up the cameras, Stephanie?, told us that we would be getting pictures from the cameras later this week. I really want to know what we will see.
This was one of the greatest experiences. I got to talk to people who deal with conservation on a daily basis and see what they do for a living. I also got to do some hands-on activities so I didn’t fall asleep. Even better!
Forgot to say that I went on a tour of a bunch of the monuments around DC last night, meant I was really tired this morning. I got to wear a cool glowstick and see all the monuments lit up with their lights.
The only time I’ve ever actually seen these is during the winter before so the fountains are covered up when I visit. Obviously it’s not winter now so the fountains were working and they made the monuments really pretty. I was able to revisit places that I had seen in March with my APUSH trip and recreate pictures that are still just as funny.
WYSE also took us, the longest route possible it felt like, to see the White House. We got right up to the fence and were able to take pictures. You should have seen all the people and police around the place. I even got to see some protesters (I believe they were protesting war).
Andean or Spectacled Bear cubs. They were adorable and I spent a good ten minutes watching the two of them run around and climb the trees in their exhibit.