Good and Full Day

Today was a pretty great day. I had a very nice morning getting some minor things cleared out of my to-do pile and then met the CERMES technology support person, Dale. Why should that be so terrific? He came by my office to familiarize me with the UWI and CERMES system and see what I might need, technologically speaking. There was a nice matter-of-fact calm about Dale. What was interesting to me, as someone coming from the IT sector in higher ed, is that he is a dedicated staff member for the CERMES program. He doesn't need to be the expert on a variety of software packages or the campus Learning Management System. He supports the use the desktop machines, the computer labs, the projection (from what I can tell), and the campus (or CERMES) server access. It was great working with him. He’s going to load ArcGIS on my desktop machine, plus the extensions I need. I don’t have to do it. Just today, prior to meeting this technology support specialist, I tweeted something not too kind about IT professionals, after reading an article on IT staff and “the way they are.” I have to be a little kinder about the IT support folks.

By the way, I did NOT take any of these photographs. The hawksbill turtle (first photo) is from the Bienvenidos a Bajatortuga site . The leatherback turtle (below) is from Gabriel Malor's blog.

In the middle of being shown the technology facilities at CERMES, a professor came out of a lecture room and said to me and Dale, “there’s a talk on turtle in there. Do you want to learn about marine turtles?” Why yes, I’d love to learn about marine turtles, especially in Barbados. I sat in on a fantastic guest lecture from someone from the Barbados Sea Turtle Project. I learned all about hawksbill turtles (above, in water), green turtles, and leatherbacks (the one in the sand), who seem to be nesting in Barbados right now. I know a bit about leatherbacks from our time in Trinidad. All of these amazing sea turtles are engendered in some classification or another. I hope to be able to participate in a field trip with this same lecturer and the students in the class when they go out to monitor turtle nesting in the near future.

I had to sneak out of the turtle discussion to meet with my new colleague Kim for a planned meeting to discuss her Grenadine MarSIS data. Kim is a PhD candidate at CERMES who is heading up the Grenadine MarSIS project which is a “multi-knowledge Participatory GIS (PGIS) which integrates a range of transboundary information on marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystems of the Grenada Bank together with the social and economic aspects of marine resource use patterns and corresponding activity profiles of its users.” It’s an amazing geospatial, space-use analysis project that I will go into more discussion about over the coming months. I’m working on the Google Earth and web mapping integration of Kim’s collected data. Kim’s blogged during her recent, and final, reach vessel outing, which you should check out.

Scooting out of the meeting with Kim to make another meeting, this time with the ChargĂ© d'Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. I met Dr. Brent Hardt, we chatted about the Fulbright and what I will be working on, he met my family, we shook hands and took a picture, not with my camera. It was brief and yet, very exciting to be taken so seriously. I also got to meet the person at the Embassy, Juanita, who has been helping me all along the way, after I found out I received the Fulbright award. Juanita’s assistance prior to coming to Barbados was invaluable and helped make the transition very smooth. Oh, one more thing that my family and I got to experience at the Embassy, a security briefing. It got us a little nervous, though it is always wise to stay alert and be sensible. Afterwards, I felt protected. No pictures from my own camera, though. Drat. The photo is of the US Embassy in Barbados and is grabbed from the Embassy's web site. I couldn't take my own photo.

Finally, we ended our evening with a shabbat service at the Shaare Tzedek synagogue. There are about sixteen Jewish families who are members of this congregation (the only Jewish congregation on Barbados, I believe) and for the next 11 months, ours is family number 17. Services were held in a home made into a sanctuary found in a neighborhood. It was lovely. The photo below is from this Jewish Virtual Library site.

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