Sunday, August 10, 2014

Last full week(end) at HMSC - Cindyjo Keomani Boungnavath

Greetings to all! ສະ​ບາຍ​ດີ​ຫມົດ​ທຸກ​ຄົນ
sa bai di mod thuk khon

It was a bittersweet week as many of us began to wrap up our projects to reach some sort of conclusion/result to culminate all our efforts here at HMSC for these past two months. This week, there is much to note- the beginnings of presentation-forming, continued Tommy's (my mentor) and I discussion on environmental ethics, visited Bridget's office at the Berry-Fisher Building at NOAA, made up a game I like to call "marine bio-ball", and also attended a POW WOW.

photo credit: bridget begay
pose: thinking...until it hurts...ouch!
Although the project that I am working on, The Human Dimensions Project (ODF&W), which started three years ago and will continue until 2020 is yet to be finished, much of the data I collected still holds its importance among all the other numbers (the zeroes and ones). Because I am not given a clear-cut final result of my efforts, it proves a little difficult to explain that all my hard-work will be a contribution. With the presentations, I hope to plan a different strategy of bringing about my project's goals and results compared to that of my colleagues who have obtained sufficient evidence to draw conclusions and make visual aids (charts, graphs, etc.). I will hope to go more into depth about the Marine Reserves Project as it pertains to the socio-economic impacts to that of coastal communities. 

At the office (SB Annex), Tommy Swearingen and I have been corresponding via email, as we sit a far distance of 2 cubicals from each other, about the philosophical side of this program. As we evaluate and observe the attitudes and values people place upon natural sites such as the beach, it serves as a beacon to understand the inner-workings of the valuation of such things. Because peoples' interaction with these sites inform one about their perception of it, the question arises; where does value come from? and what importance does it hold? It no longer was statistics to be analyzed, but moreso thoughts to be pondered. Do the reasons people treat beaches, the ocean, marine animals etc. the way they do, offer an insight on whether or not these very things have intrinsic or instrumental value, and in what view, an anthropocentric one? These ideas and philosophies are what keep me going, people are fascinating creatures, yet dangerous because of our capabilities. 

Later this week, I also had the pleasure to visit my colleague/friend/roommate's office at NOAA and met with her mentors, Dr. Waldo Wakefield and Matthew Yergey; two of which are exceptional men. I was met with Waldo as he was leaving and had also ran into one of his long-time buddies from one of my field-days at Cape Perpetua where he mentioned to say hi to Waldo for him- as I did. Waldo's frind, Erwin Suess, an illustrious oceanographer, was a phenomenal man. I ran into him, his wife, and another lovely couple, whom were all visiting from Germany. We had a great discussion about hydrothermal vents and chemosynthesis where he later informed me about a newly-founded phenomena termed "cold seeps." It was a great time to talk to both men and hear them expound on topics they both delight in, an appreciable experience. 

Moving onto "marine bio-ball," this creation manifested itself as my dorm neighbor's classmate was staying overnight since they had class at 5am the next day to catch low-tide. There was maybe eight of us and so I figured it appropriate to propose that with every serve, a marine-bio fact must be stated and verified by others, before the serve was deemed acceptable. What started off a little wonky with hesitation, became a fun, informing, and great way to express our interests and what we knew to each other. We learned different kinds of seaweed, geneses, facts that weren't really facts, invertebrates, plankton, and different words in Japanese! All in all, a blast of a time with great teammates! 

"siletz pow wow aug 10,2014"

And to end on a cultural note, a group of about five of us, attended the Siletz tribe POW WOW on August 10th, a Saturday. It was a lively place with so much history and stories to be told about. We were greeted with the sounds of bells dancing on the dresses of the Native women, drums in the air, and the sight of men in head dresses and cultural regalia dancing to the rhythm. The music, aroma of fry bread in the air, and the countless booths of jewelry, and different gifts were all a sight to be seen and felt. It was a beautiful, quaint location on the reservation within the forests of Siletz, where the moon hovered overhead and lit the sky. Among things tasted were: elk stew, "indian tacos", fry bread, freshly juiced juice, fruits, etc. where the likings of the taste buds were met. 

~ All this is to say, a great week ensued! I definitely look forward to the challenge of creating my presentation and spending the week actually delving deeper into the results of the interviews I conducted. Wish me luck! See you on the other side - (of next week)!

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