Monday, June 7, 2010

STUDENT HIGHLIGHT: Exploring Harvard Forest

By Julianne Henry
Outreach and Communications Intern

Does it count as exploring if the location is already well-documented?

At any rate, as the commuting Outreach and Communications Intern, I usually don't see much of the Harvard Forest property apart from the office I share with Aleta (one of our proctors) in the basement of Shaler Hall. Today seemed like a good day to change that, so I picked a door and walked out of it, determined to familiarize myself with my surroundings.

[this is what Aleta's and my office looks like from the outside]

First word that comes to mind is GREEN. It's June, so everywhere you look there is bright greenery slamming itself straight into your eyeballs. This is more pleasant than I made it sound.

[greener than a fistful of dollars]

After wandering around the outside of the building for a while, I picked a path at random and started walking, only to be confronted with -

[Cows! Thousands of them!]

Yeah. Turns out we have some simulated farmland. Or possibly real farmland, since those are some very real cows.


[This cow was unappreciative of the paparazzi treatment.]

I would like to take this moment to point out that cows are awesome, and it took great effort to disguise my childlike delight upon seeing them.

Eventually I wrenched myself away from the pasture and continued up the path, into the woods, keeping an eye out for signs that would tell me things like "KEEP OUT ALL OUTREACH AND COMMUNICATIONS INTERNS WEARING INAPPROPRIATE HIKING WEAR THIS MEANS YOU JULIANNE GET BACK IN THE OFFICE RIGHT NOW"

All of the signs I did see, though, served only to inform me of the landscape. Like the one that told me about this former gate.


[Stone wall, blank spot, vertical stone, more wall.
Hundreds of years ago, blank spot was a wooden gate.]

Further up the path was a sunny clearing with some daisies. At least I think they are daisies. Lacking a botanical background, I do not feel qualified to positively identify any plants I come across.


[Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do...
Alternatively, "Hi, I'm Daisy!"]

"But hey!" I hear you saying to your computer monitor. "Aren't there a lot of bugs and stuff out there? So far the only animals you've shown us are cows!"

You're right! There are certainly a lot of "bugs and stuff" out here. I saw ants, wasps, dragonflies, Daddy Long Legs, and other crawly things. However, they were all very, very fast, and disinclined to pose for a pretty pretty picture. So for now, you must contend with endless photographs of cows.


[How many photos of cows are too many photos of cows?
The world may never know.]

1 comment:

Colonel Hayduke said...

As a HF REU alum (2004), I recommend befriending the cows. It's much easier to get the compost to the bins if you can walk through the pasture without fearing the cattle, so being on good terms is essential. I found stealing apples from lunch and hand-feeding them worked pretty well.