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Adventure Science Center Blog

Science Educators and guest authors exploring our world and the science and technology that connects us.




Explorer of the Week: January 2

Explorer: Osvaldo Gonzalez

Location: Vinocunca / Huayana Picchu, Cusco, Peru (South America)

During the summer of 2017, I made a trek to Peru to visit Cusco and hike up Vinocunca, or Rainbow Mountain, and Huayna Picchu, overlooking Machu Picchu. I explore to interface with different cultures and learn about different ways of living. When you’re out of your comfort zone, you learn a lot about yourself.

Explorer of the Week: December 26

Explorer: Laura Braden

Location: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia (ASIA)

During a trip through Southeast Asia, I had the opportunity to visit the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I spent days admiring the architecture of these temples, learning about the history of the region and enjoying the surrounding scenery. I even stumbled upon this amazing tree growing over the wall of one temple!

I explore to learn as much as I can about a different area. The past has such an impact on the current day and still has so much to teach us.

Explorer of the Week: December 19

Explorer: Anna Goolsby

Location: Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona (USA)

A while back, my dear friend Dani and I took a spontaneous trip to Arizona to see the beautiful Red Rocks. We drove up sheer mountainsides through pitch black nights, braved a snowstorm to get to Lowell Observatory and even hiked through treacherous desert lands in search of ancient Native American ruins. Apart from gaining a few blisters and a healthy respect for heights, we also found a deeper love for our beautiful country and for the wonderful friendship we share. With each step along our adventure, we learned more about each other to the point where it felt like I was meeting my friend again for the very first time.

On this trip, I learned that exploring isn’t just about seeing what’s “out there,” it’s also about realizing what’s in us all – a connection to our lands and neighbors that’s deeper than any cavern and richer than any red clay.

Explorer of the Week: December 12

Explorer: Molly Hornbuckle

Location: Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, Central Highlands, Tasmania (AUS)

Of the many creatures I encountered on my visit to Australia, wombats were by far the most intriguing (and adorable) that my friends and I came across. Not only do their pouches face backwards giving you a view of the cute little babies inside, but they poop in cubes… I repeat, THEIR POOP IS CUBED. Now, I’m not completely clear on the science behind this -- and I’m not sure if science is clear on it either -- but the most common hypothesis I can find is that it serves as a territorial mark for their burrows. They tend to live in hilly locales, so cubed poop is a must to keep it from rolling down into other wombats’ territory.

Adventure Science Center note: After Molly submitted her entry, National Geographic published an article about just this!

I explore to discover new places, new cultures, new creatures, and new adventures. There’s so much to see on this pale blue dot we call home, and I want to experience it all. (Or as much as a I humanly can!)  

Explorer of the Week: December 7

Explorer: Nikki Armstrong

Location: Foster Falls / Firey Gizzard Trail, Sequatchie, Tennessee (USA)

I was on the phone with my brother one day talking about how I wanted to find a new way to meet like-minded people, but I wanted to do it in an unconventional way that would also allow for a deeper form of human connection to exist and flow. What's more perfect than meeting people within the beautiful scenery of nature, surrounded by some of the greatest beauty Tennessee has to offer? He simply said “stop looking, and create this experience yourself.” That's how ReLeaf Outings was formed. 

I've found that this process has been ever so healing to me personally, but has formed lasting impressions on those who choose to join in and explore. Friendships, new relationships, a deeper understanding of nature, amazing "ReLeaf" of our everyday stresses and, most importantly, new experiences outside of comfort zones. I have no idea where this journey is leading… but that is the beauty of the journey. What I do know… is where it has come today, has exceeded my expectations and has given me great hope in the beauty of this world. Why not share what I’ve learned through exploration with everyone else? The healing power that exists right outside our front doors is meant for everyone to explore. 

I explore, because as humans… we're meant to. We are meant to be curious and find our own truths and connect on a deeper level with this Earth and with each other.

Explorer of the Week: November 28

Explorer: John Bartlett

Location: Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada, Central California (USA)

As meteorologist and marine scientist, I explore because of my curiosity with the natural world. Hiking offers the perfect space to enjoy some fresh air, while also learning about our planet. This is a snapshot of my wife (Jenna) and I trekking through Yosemite National Park. We’re native to the North Carolina/Tennessee mountain region, so we love hiking the rolling hills of the local Appalachian Mountains. But, Yosemite taught us about a completely new landscape, with different vegetation, unique weather, and thousand-feet granite cliffs. Go outside, go explore!

Explorer of the Week: November 21

Explorer: Susan Earl Hosbach

Location: All Across the Globe!

I love to explore! The opportunities I have had to visit places I've only dreamed about is truly amazing. The people, the culture, the history, the beauty - just the tip of the iceberg when answering why. To sum it up, it's about the adventure, the unknown, the experience!

It was hard to choose just one photo, so I pulled a few of my favorites from the last three years: the iguana who hung out at the pool in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the spectacular sunset in Wailea, Maui; the pair of cuckatoos who woke us up each morning in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia; the historic pub crawl On the Rocks in Sydney, Australia; the beautiful Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia; the extra-large Voodoo Donuts in Portland, Oregon; the temple ruins and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand; and finally the visit to see where all the retired Mardi Gras floats are housed. Wow!

Explorer of the Week: November 14

Explorer: Patrick King, II

Location: Lake Cushman in Mason County, Washington (USA)

I went to Seattle, WA, a few weeks ago. Space Needle and delicious seafood aside, the thing I wanted to see the most was the temperate rainforest outside of the city. Imagine Jurassic Park meets The Shire from Lord of the Rings and you’ll be close. A friend of mine from the area recommended I visit Lake Cushman, so I did just that! I rented a car and took the 2 ½ hour a trip out to the lake, which is near Olympic National Forest. The lake was cerulean blue and crystal clear, full of huge trout jumping out of the water, and situated between mountain peaks covered in a mist that seems to be near constant that close to Puget Sound.

I explore because there is a whole lot of world out there, and we only have a little time to see as much as we can.

Explorer of the Week: November 7

Explorer: Karissa Kessen

Location: Cali, Colombia (South America)

I visited Cali for a study abroad program in graduate school, where we were looking at how race and colonialism were interpreted in public spaces – including museums, galleries, schools, and nonprofit organizations. My graduate program specialized in inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, so this study abroad really served as a case study for me and my fellow classmates as we talked to and observed the people in their daily lives. My visit showed me just how problematic stereotypes can be, as Colombia, a beautiful country, works to rebrand itself to the international community to be an ecotourism destination.

I explore to learn about my role as a global citizen in our interconnected world community. 

Explorer of the Week: October 31

Explorer: Erin Castellano

Location: Whiteside Mountain in Jackson County, North Carolina (USA)

My brother is a huge outdoor recreationist, and he is the one who suggested an ice climbing trip. We went with a group from Chattanooga, Tennessee, on a two-day, one-night adventure. It was INCREDIBLY cold... so cold that the banana I was saving for breakfast had frozen! There were no stairs and no grips on these frozen waterfalls, just some ice picks sticking out of your boots and ice picks you held in your hands. The climb took physical and mental strength, team encouragement, and perseverance to reach the top.

I explore because my comfort zone constantly expands with each new adventure. It's fun to try new things and see new places, especially with good people. I was lucky that I got to take this adventure with my brother. It was an enriching experience that I am so grateful to have been a part of… once! 

Explorer of the Week: October 24

Explorer: Bethany Caldwell

Location: Meillionydd Archeological Site in Bangor, Wales (United Kingdom)

For my Masters Degree in Celtic Archaeology, I had the awesome opportunity to be a part of an excavation at Meillionydd, which is a prehistoric site for those who lived in the Iron Age of Britain (think 400 to 700 BCE). We only had a short four months for the dig, so we needed to dig in all conditions like this photo that shows us digging on a rainy, muddy day. Armed with my trusty trowel and wellies, I conquered the pit I was working on with my fellow archaeologist... it made for the best experience!

The reason why I became an archaeologist is that I love to learn and, to me, that's what being is an explorer is all about. It's about collecting data and finding new things out, and then using that to help answer those hard-hitting questions about how we as humans came to be. From one explorer to another... Never Stop Exploring!

Explorer of the Week: October 17

Explorer: Kate Simerly

Location: "Torture Chamber Cave" along Usumacinta River, Mexico/Guatemala 

My passion for wildlife filmmaking gives me the opportunity to explore remote environments and get up close and personal with some incredible species. It is thrilling, but it can sometimes test your courage. Last summer when I found myself in this dark jungle cave, surrounded by thousands of swirling fruit and carnivorous vampire bats, I turned to humor, channeling my inner Batwoman. Because of bats' spooky reputation, many of their homes like this cave are being destroyed and I work to shed light on the need for their protection as part of an intricate and interdependent web of life.

Posted by Molly Hornbuckle at 12:00 AM
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