Thursday, September 17, 2015

Settling in at Las Cruces

My first week at Las Cruces Biological station is best described as tentative at first and, as the week progressed, adventurous.  Coming into the OTS program was quiet unorthodox looking at my background. I am a Visual and Media Studies major, took French in high school, and come from central New York where the only insects I have come close to (well, have come close to me) are earwigs. So, coming into this week I felt a little out of place.  And after our first official class, Dangerous and Annoying Creatures, I was put into a swirl of paranoia, checking every mosquito bite for growing larvae and being startled by every root emerging from the ground thinking it was a snake. Despite my fear of finding larvae snacking on my arm or the pictures of untreated snake bites coming to life, spending more time in the field turned my fear into more pre-cautions for safety than excuses that would keep me from going outside.  As the days went on, I gained more and more confidence working outdoors. My favorite activity this week was our first insect lab. Not only was it fun chasing around butterflies and other insects with our nets, becoming more comfortable holding insects was exciting.  Before this week, I would have never voluntarily catch, hold, or try to identify any insect, including a harmless butterfly. However, between learning how to properly handle one and what we learned in intro to Lepidoptera and our lab, I found myself constantly trying to identify any butterfly I saw flying by me in my free time.  I’m very excited for the up coming weeks, and the new learning experiences to come. 
Jordan General
Duke University

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