Gearing up for the Gulf

Hello! And welcome to the first blog post for the Community-Based Conservation class in the Gulf of California. In the next few weeks we will be blogging about all of our experiences, interactions and adventures during our time in the Gulf. During our time we will be based in the Kino Bay Center as well as camping in a couple of different locations.

The past few days have been a flurry of studying for my final exam and watching Duke basketball play (AND WIN!!!!) in the finals. Needless to say, this trip kind of snuck up on me. As I sat down to write this post I thought of everything that I’ve already learned from this class. Last week we had a pre-departure quiz on a number of readings that were assigned at the start of the semester. They covered everything from the cultural history of the area, the types of plants and animals found around the Gulf of California, an interesting piece criticizing large non-profit conservation organizations, and information on the fishery regulations. Each one provided a glimpse as to what we might encounter during our time in the Gulf of California for the next 19 days.

The reading on conservation organizations and the issues surrounding community-based conservation really drew my attention during our pre-departure readings. I found the insights interesting and some of the points that were brought up made me aware of issues I never even knew existed. I hope that during our time in the Gulf of California I can gain a better and broader understanding of the issues that surround the concept and practice of community-based conservation. What I know about the practice of community-based conservation primarily comes from reports from organizations that participate in this form of conservation. I hope during our time we are able to talk to community members and conservationists alike who are affected by the practice of community-based conservation, and come to understand all different viewpoints on this practice.

I hope to not only learn from the community members who we speak with but also from my peers. I think each of my classmates and I bring a unique perspective to this class and I am interested in engaging others in conversations about our experiences and what they are gaining from these conversations. I’m also excited to get to know them all and cook together, trying out new recipes and gather together over food and shared experiences.

Finally, the different biodiversity that can be found in and around the Gulf of California is something I’m definitely looking forward to. The variety of marine and terrestrial animals found in the area is an exciting prospect and I want to explore the area as much as possible. Through camping and spending time at the station I know we will encounter a variety of different and unique habitats. We were told we would have the opportunity to swim with sea lions during our trip and I can’t express how excited I am about that possibility.

There’s only a small amount of time left before we depart, and we’re all counting down the hours until then. I know there’s so much in store for us at the end of the plane ride and I can’t wait to experience, learn, and immerse myself in all that this class has to offer.