It’s been a little over a week since I arrived back on campus at Colby from Bermuda. Even with the impeding workload of a 20-credit semester, my mind keeps wandering back to the time we spent on Bermuda.
I think it’s important to say that even though writing papers, solving problem sets, and memorizing vocabulary words was not a formal part of our class in Bermuda, we learned far more than we could have by sitting in a classroom all day staring at rocks. Each member of our group had different interests, and the field setting allowed us all to go out and explore what we found most fascinating about the island(s) of Bermuda. From cats to chitons, we all had something we found really exciting to see and learn about!
One highlight of the trip, for me, was visiting Nonsuch Island and meeting David Wingate. I’ve been interested in conservation paleobiology for some time, but before visiting the island, I had an unclear idea of what its application might look like in real life. On the main islands of Bermuda, there are so many invasive flora and fauna species that most of the native life has been either displaced to the outer islands, or driven extinct. In contrast, the only plants you can see on Nonsuch are native or endemic. I was especially amazed by the way restoring the native plants to the island made it possible for the native animals, like the Bermuda Petrel, Longtail, skink, and West Indian Topshell, to return to the island in less than 50 years. Even more incredible is that restoring the animals to the island in turn helped the plants be able to thrive even better than before.
I also really enjoyed the beaches of the South Shore (in particular Stonehole Bay) because of their beauty. The pink sand was just an added bonus to the beautiful blue water, amazing limestone outcrops, bits of coral washed up on the beach, nearshore cup reefs, and intertidal fauna.
Even though I was hesitant at first to sign up for this course (instead of going to France for the whole month of January), I now know that the 10 days we spent in Bermuda taught me exactly what I needed to learn. When I enrolled in the class, I was worried that seeing my friends who went to France after the trip would make me regret my decision. I’m really happy to say that there isn’t a single doubt in my mind that I made the right choice. I met many amazing people (members of our class + also the Bermudians + especially David Wingate!), barfed on the northernmost coral reef in the WORLD (seasickness is a killer! I’m told the fish don’t mind though…), and gained in-depth knowledge of the geology and natural history of Bermuda in what were definitely the most thrilling 10 days of my life thus far!