kindly taken 29-01-2015 (and stitched together into a panorama) by the talented Greg MacDonald, looking north and eastward from Kent Vale, on the NUS campus
While walking home this evening, I heard a sound that was almost like a dog barking, but not quite. Being a super duper owl enthusiast (as my left arm can attest), I started off in search of the caller. It was a spotted wood owl (Strix seloputo). A quick Google search revealed that I’m not the first person to spot this species on the NUS campus, but I may well have been the most excited ! Apparently, this species’ population was once thought to have dwindled to no more than 10 pairs, but sightings seem to be increasing. Very cool.
Semester 2 of AY2014-2015 officially started on Monday, but for me, it really started today (the first day of teaching). I was stoked to meet our new class of students and to try out a new “name game”. They didn’t disappoint. Many of us had funny/interesting tidbits to share about our names, and I especially liked this quote: “My name is Hazel, but not like the nut.” Too cute.
The class period was all about getting to know one another (to the extent that’s possible when time is so short !) and covering some of the foundational aspects of urban ecology. How and why did this field of study develop (and why did it take so long before it did) ? Why is it so worthwhile ? What are the two main approaches in urban ecology (and which one has been dominant so far) ? What is urbanisation ? These are some of the questions we tackled this afternoon. This introductory material is undoubtedly drier than what’s to come, but hopefully I didn’t bore the students or confuse them.
Next week we’ll complete the introductory material and move onto meatier topics. We will also get going on the group projects, which I know the students will rock. We are stoked to give them the instructions and watch them run with them.
Each week, we will try and blog, but this space is just as much, if not more, for our students to use. I know they’ll have insightful questions and comments and hopefully most, if not all of them will share them here. I’m also hoping they all go out and read Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.
This is Joanna, over and out.