Friday, April 25, 2014

Gowanus Adventures

Hi all, I know I've been MIA for a bit (school does that to you), but I just wrote a sample blog post for an application to be an official blogger for Cornell Abroad and I figured you might enjoy it too. The prompt was to write about a recent interesting experience.

Here you go:

I've just returned from a wonderfully refreshing trip which included sunny days and cooling breezes on the shores of a delightful waterway. Was it the Tuscan Riviera you ask, clapping your hands with glee. Well no, it was slightly closer to home. It was, in fact, the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, a EPA superfund site considered by many to be among the most polluted canals in the world. So, maybe I omitted the part about the cooling breezes carrying metal dust from the industrial recycling facility across the way and the delightful oder of raw sewage, and maybe the shores were more like concrete bulkheads crumbling into the canal, but the sunny part is true. And the canal does contain some fascinating wildlife including bacteria that's mutating too quickly for scientist to study since by the time they get the research funding to examine any particular type of bacterial it has already morphed into something else and, at least according to a poster I found, a lost squid that answers to the name Mr. Grabby, although I suspect that's a joke. Not certain though, weirder things have happened.

Why was I at this most desirable leisure spot do you ask? Data my friends. Data. More specifically collecting first hand data of what forest resources exist along the canal. My studio class project this semester is to create an urban forest along the Gowanus Canal and one of the best ways to go about it is to find out what is already there. 

I wasn't lying when I said the trip was refreshing. It was nice to get outside and work with my hands in the sunshine, between laying out grids and inventorying trees and soils I would glance into the canal and see the beautiful technicolor patterns of oil slicks waving as they undulated by. And… was that a tentacle?

Until next time my friends!