This is an old post that never made it to my travel blog. My daughter and I went to Costa Rica in 2017 and stayed in a really gorgeous though remote part of Costa Rica, on the Pacific Ocean side, working with a turtle conservation group. The location was in Playa Junquillal and the organization was Asociacion Vida Verdiazul. We wanted to do a volunteer project somewhere (no particular destination in mind) and decided to go through a company called International Volunteer Headquarters - IVHQ. We had a great time and did some good work. This is a post I wrote for IVHQ.
Here’s what to expect on a Turtle Conservation volunteer project with International Volunteer HQ: Meg Stewart and her daughter Tillie recently joined us in Costa Rica and they’ve decided to share their experience…
My daughter and I wanted to do an international volunteer project together this summer. I am a teacher and I have summers off and my daughter is 16 years-old so couldn’t go on one of these volunteer programs alone. She is fluent in Spanish so I was set on going to a Spanish-speaking country. We looked at all sorts of volunteer organizations and kept coming back to IVHQ, with the primary reason being a wealth of well-made videos showing what projects are available and what we might want to do. We decided on turtle conservation in Costa Rica.


Orchard Beach at Pelham Bay Park

We met bright and early at Orchard Beach. The day was very warm. You drive through the sprawling Pelham Bay Park - with horse stables and bike paths and picnic benches - to get to the beach. Parking is $7. The field trip was led by George Harlow and we walked north along the beach towards Twin Island.

This field trip provided another view of the local NYC geology, with all its complexity. Because we were not given a field trip guide ahead of time, I looked up some information about the site and what's there. Here are the links: Bedrock Geology of New York City: More than 600 m.y. of geologic history and 6. Pelham Bay Park (USGS). Don't you love going into the field knowing what you might find? I do.

Here's what I saw: the Bronx section of the Fordham Gneiss, loads of folding, partial melting (we've seen that on all stops thus far), a patch of garnet sand, tourmaline, epidote, beryl, biotite and muscovite (sometimes intergrown with each other) and kyanite blades (see below)! Sillimanite? No, I don't think so.

And a dinosar:

Bring on the Black Rock Field Trip!! That'll be all week, the week of July 27. Just like old times and field camp at CSU Hayward in the Sierra. Ha!


Field Trip to Inwood Park

Today was more like a real field trip. Though we met in upper Manhattan and walked and looked at a great outcrop right in a community, we scrambled around in mostly lush Inwood Park, poison ivy and all.

The field trip leader was George Harlow, Curator, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at AMNH. We ambled around, first in the city, along Cooper Street and then into Isham Park. Then we went to Inwood Park. The aerial view map below is where we went in Manhattan, but not the Bronx. As you can see in the simplified geologic map and cross-section below, the geology is quite complex. It is also almost completely covered with vegetation, which is very often poison ivy. It is nuts. I longed for a western or southwest field location where all the outcrops are exposed.

The first very cool thing we saw was a great example of boudinage. See the image below (try squinting - they're there). The boudins were in the Inwood Marble and are a result of a more resistance or rigid layer (probably proto-sandstone) within a more plastic layer (possibly proto-limestone) undergoing compression.

We saw some good-sized garnets with eye-shaped feldspar growths:

Tramping into the Inwood Park, we saw "potholes," which I have seen elsewhere but did not know that they were created from glacial meltwater, with a rock or two swirling around and down, carving out a deep hole. The opening on this one - in Manhattan Schist - is about a 2-foot diameter.

By walking north and crossing the Henry Hudson bridge, we ended up in the Bronx, looking at the Fordham Gneiss. At this outcrop, we saw more garnet, amphibole, pyrite, and ptygmatic folding in the gneiss. A very good trip, all in all, and we were finished by 2pm.


Summer Practicum Activities - #NYCgeology along 5th Avenue

It's all starting now! My summer will be spent doing research in astronomy at the museum and going on field trips with curators and post-docs affiliated with the MAT program.

Today, I went on a "field trip" to see  some of the building stones of a part of Manhattan, New York. Led by Denton Ebel, the trip went from the lower Central Park area to 5th Avenue and 45th Street. We saw an array of rock types, many of which came imported from Italy. Building stones are a great way to teach geology when you a) don't have a budget for a real field trip and b) don't have access to real geology right in the neighborhood.

Here are some shots from inside the Apple Store, where we saw the "special" rock that Apple loved so much that they purchased they whole mine so they could brand their stores. We also saw some lovely partial melting migmatites.



I met one of the new MAT students, a Cohort 4 student, the other day. She bounded up to me and said, "hey, I've been meaning to talk with you. I found your blog and that was great, but it just stopped." She told me she was worried that meant something like, I hurt myself, I gave up on blogging, or I was overloaded in the program and it was too much. She was dying to know what happened and what she had gotten herself into! Here's the scoop...I have not had one single minute to do too much more than stay on top of my AMNH school work (lot's of it!), go to my school residencies (Monday to Thursday from September to mid-June), commute an hour and a half (minimum) each way, everyday, and see my family once in awhile. ha ha I live with them but they usually just see the back of my head while I'm working away on my school work and class prep. There is no time to blog! Sorry 'bout that. If I can muster the strength, I will try to write an update about my experiences. There have been a lot of experiences!


Nice Place to Visit But...

New York City is so...invigorating, eye-opening, contemplation-making. There is a stark contrast between the community of my life in Poughkeepsie and that community that I see here. As I make my way to the Museum, I walk through rich and poor neighborhoods, some people walk their dogs and take up lot's of space on the sidewalks, some are asking for money with a sign, some have on work uniforms as they hustle to catch the subway. There are young kids walking with huge backpacks to get to summer day camp bus pick-up, there are babies in strollers who look nothing like the women pushing the prams, and there are stinky streets everywhere. 

New York, it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.

And do people even pay their parking tickets in NY?! I find one or two each morning walking in through Central Park.

More About the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at AMNH - Videos!

I stumbled on these videos today and thought I should post them. What they present about the MAT program is pretty close to my own experience.