Monday, February 6, 2017

Bassin Zim 2017

This month I took my ecology 201 class (freshmen) on its annual trip to Bassin Zim near Hinche.  Classes are getting larger each year, so we had to divide the group up between two Saturdays.  There is now a sign at Bassin Zim with entrance fees, so we didn’t have the usual dramatic haggle of price negotiation.  Maybe someone saw last year’s blog post complaining about that?  The fee is $5 for foreigners, and 50 gds (78 cents) for Haitians, and they give us a reduce price!  The goal of the trip was for students to experience performing a bioassessment of the site, comparing the basin below the falls (where people swim, wash, etc.) to the small stream that comes out of the cave above the falls.  There is a remnant of a forest along this river – perhaps because of the spiritual taboo of cutting trees around cave entrances.  

We looked at land use, tested water quality (bacteria, nitrate, phosphate, pH, DO), and used sPer environmental meters* to measure air temp, humidity, light, and wind.  No one killed anything this time, and students picked up their liter.  I tried to give the young ‘guides’ (kids who live near the park and grab your hand to ‘help’ you, hoping for a tip) some suggestions for protecting the park, like use the paved paths.  See the Audubon Center blog for comparison of results over the years.

*Thanks to the 2016 Amazon Workshop for introducing me to these meters and guiding us through activities in how to engage students in environmental science.  Click here to sign up for their workshop in the Peruvian Amazon.





Monday, January 23, 2017

Hawk, baby, mouse

The day my translator was not available to help me teach at the elementary school, I had to improvise based on what little Creole I am able to speak, and came up with this game to teach kids that hawks eat mice.  I had kids take on the roles of mama hawk, baby hawk, and mouse.  The baby asks the mother for a mouse, and the mother chases the mouse and gives it to the baby who says “Mesi manman!”  Even the preschoolers could do it!