Water & Peace

6 Things I Never Thought I’d Do
by Meagan Knowlton -- January 29th, 2015

Today, I give you an ode to the Nicholas School (the “Nic School”).

Dear Nic School,

Now that my second semester with you has begun, I’d like to celebrate our five-month anniversary by highlighting some of your unique qualities.

I’m sure you’re aware that we don’t always get along; sometimes you send me home with assignments that result in my spending 7 hours fiddling with MATLAB just to solve one question in a problem set.  Also sometimes Environment Hall is a little bit chilly.  Maybe we can work on that together.

But I digress.  My love for you has matured to a deep appreciation for the ways in which you force me to grow.  My email inbox is full of awesome and unusual invitations to participate in activities that I would never have dreamed I’d be doing.  I’m learning how to manage more things than just the environment.  I’m also learning to diversify my diet to include leafy greens.

So thank you, Nic School, for all the ups and downs so far.  And thank you especially for all the opportunities.  Below, I’d like to highlight some of exciting activities and habits that have come along during my first five months here.

With much love,

Meagan

P.S. It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by.  Here are two pictures illustrating the difference one year makes for me.

This is where I was about a year ago: exploring the cathedral at Amiens, France.

This is where I was about a year ago: exploring the cathedral at Amiens, France.

I was trying to capture the light from the sunset hitting Duke Chapel. It's so lovely to walk by this every day.

I was trying to capture the light from the sunset hitting Duke Chapel. It’s so lovely to walk by this every day.


6 Things I Never Thought I’d Do

1. Willingly go to campus on a Saturday: It’s Saturday as I write this.  I’m eating a brownie that a classmate made, which is amazing and covered in sprinkles.  It’s only marginally chilly in this computer lab.  In reviewing all the evidence, I have to admit that being here on a Saturday ain’t too bad.

2. Hang out with lemurs: I’m sure you all have read my lemur post and have since dreamed of the beautiful lemurs that I get to hang out with.  I never thought I would find myself at a center dedicated to lemurs.

3. Compost: Sorry all you environmentalists– I’m just not motivated enough to compost.  But luckily, the Nic School provides oodles of compost bins throughout Environment Hall.  We’re also really good about recycling or just bringing reusable cups/cutlery/dishware.  The crinkle of a non-reusable water bottle induces cringes that reverberate throughout Environment Hall.

The rooftop garden of Environment Hall.  (Admittedly, this photo was taken in the early fall.)

The rooftop garden of Environment Hall. (Admittedly, this photo was taken in the early fall.)

4. Chase a stream: On the Water Resources Management trip to Asheville that I wrote about in October, our professor Martin Doyle explained how it’s hard to define the boundaries of a stream.  To illustrate, he showed us a creek in the woods, explained what it connected to downstream, and asked us to identify the point at which this creek started.  We chased the stream upwards into the forest for a while, tromping around in mud and dry channel banks, but never seemed to reach the creek’s headwaters.

New Hope Creek

The lovely New Hope Creek in Durham. Not the stream we studied on the WRM trip, but certainly a stream I’ve explored.

5. See a duck tornado: “Meagan, this sounds like the name of a sci-fi movie.  This is not real.  Please stop.”  But it IS real!  And I’m going to see it!  In February two of the student groups are going on a field trip to the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, a huge hotspot for wintering waterfowl.  Apparently bald eagles try to infiltrate the masses of birds, sending the birds into a panic and leading to frantic “duck tornadoes.” All I want in life is to witness this duck tornado.

6. Enjoy kale: Sometimes I eat it now.  I barely recognize myself.

 

You know what’s the great thing about this list?  It’s only going to keep growing.

“Life is a great adventure… accept it in such a spirit.”  -Theodore Roosevelt

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