A New Learning Adventure

In the end, we will conserve only what we love,

we will love only what we understand,

and  we will understand only what we are taught.

~ Baba Dioum

A popular theme of people living in the San Juans is a passion to conserve the whale population, specifically the Southern Residents.  Beam Reach aims to give students a real world experience of what it is like to be a researcher or a graduate student.  This is done by giving them tools and information to pick a topic and research it in a sustainable way.  It also aims to have students think about how to present their findings both in papers, presentations, and now video.

We will use sailing and an electric motor to travel through the Salish Sea gathering data on killer whale behavior and their calls with the use of hydrophones.  This opens up a wide realm of questions to be asked by students for their personal research topics.  A full week has gone by in my adventure with Beam Reach.  By full, I mean a whole week and a very busy one.

We first explored San Juan Island by visiting Lime Kiln State Park.  It just so happened that transients were in the area.  Luckily, Kelsey spotted them from a window in the lighthouse.  Talk about the stars being aligned.  (You can check out this blog by an avid whale watcher, Jeanne, who was able to track down the whales we saw.  Of course, that means her pictures are much better than ours.)  Hopefully, this trend continues in the coming months.  We have also gone out on a hike, a kayak trip, and a visit to The Whale Museum.

Our brains were also very active throughout the week.  We have explored many topics from Bathymetry to Bioacoustics through lectures given to us by friends of Beam Reach in the field.  As you may have guessed, a slide presentation was usually displayed.  If you have ever used PowerPoint, you know that it is difficult to zoom in without distorting the image.  During his lecture on the Environment of the Salish Sea, Scott used Prezi to create his presentation.  Prezi is a free way to make a presentation online that gives you the ability to zoom in!  It also allows you to visually map your ideas to better show how they relate.  I was experimenting and made my very own Prezi.  You can check it out here.

I attempted to point out some neat features unique to this newly discovered tool.  The path through the Prezi is also representative of how all of us feel after the first week.  It has been a little overwhelming with all the newly acquired information, but it is beginning to come together for us all.  I had a lot of fun making it, and I will definitely use Prezi in the future.  I hope that it will help you make more powerful presentations in your future as well.  Go to http://prezi.com/ to get started on your own Prezi.

I will leave you with some food for thought.  Here are the preserved brains of a Spotted Dolphin, Human, and a Fin Whale that are displayed in The Whale Museum.  It is interesting to see that the brain size in these mammals are so similar.

Happy Learning and Teaching,


Special thanks to all of our teachers throughout the week!

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