Day 1 of our trip

Atlantic ocean just south of Melville

After many long stressful hours of travel we arrive at the Melville airport on the Atlantic side of the island. Customs was a breeze and the greeting we received, “Welcome to my Beautiful home”, truly makes us feel welcome. The daunting thought of climbing into a van with a steering wheel on the right hand side (opposite of the US) that will be traveling on the left hand side of the road (also opposite of the US) isn’t as pleasant. Our group is so spell bound by the natural beauty of this place that we climb aboard willingly. Our journey takes us through the heart of Dominica, across the middle of the island, over the treacherous roads that are so narrow most places won’t accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Tortola island on the final flight to DominicaDriver’s honk to each other in friendly greeting or in some cases as a warning to other drivers on blind curves. An hour long ride through dense, lush, green rainforest, past the Atlantic ocean churning against the shore, sheer drops, misty mountain tops and bright sunshine everywhere. All these things create on of the most breath taking, enchanting and memorable rides of my life.Mountains

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ITME

So,  you all might be wondering where we’re going to be staying in Dominica.  We will be residing at the Institute of Tropical Marine Ecology (ITME), which is a field station located in the village of Mahaut.  This institute is great for visiting researchers as well as university groups such as our Tropical Marine Ecology class.  Facilities offered include lecture rooms, dorm-style accommodations, a computer room, and don’t forget the cafeteria (yay, food!).   This station operates just like a mini-campus.  Oh, and it’s also environmental friendly.  They support local farmers and fishermen as well as minimize negative environmental impacts.  I think it’s a perfect place for students from an environmental college, don’t you? 

For more information on the facilitiees of ITME, you can visit their website: http://www.itme.org/facilities.htm

Nature Lovers!!!

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Dominica is located in the eastern Caribbean, between the French Islands of south of Guadeloupe  and north of Martinique.  It’s natural wonders and rich culture make this unspoiled island a remarkable place to visit.  For all you nature lovers, there are so many activities to participate in such as hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.  There are also 170 different species of birds, 1000 species of flowering plants, 74 species of orchid and 200 species of fern found in this magnificant paradise.  Tropical rainforests cover two-thirds of the island giving anyone the chance to escape.

Coral Reef Habitat of Dominica

Dominica Coral Reef courtesy of ITMA

Dominica has several different coral reef type habitats surrounding the island. Each type of habitat has its own specific species that call it home. The true coral reef habits surrounding the island include “Fringing Reefs” in shallow water, “Fringing Reefs” in deep water, and Oligospecific Coral Assemblages which have only a few dominating coral species. Other habitats that aren’t classified as “true coral reefs” include “unconsolidated rocks”, “consolidated rocks”, and “sea grass beds”. Each of these habitats is unique in its own right, complete with its own species and bottom type. Pictures and more details of each type of habitat can be read about on ITME’s website. Photo courtesy of ITME.

About Unity College

Unity College is a one-of-a-kind private college located in the small rural town of Unity, Maine. The campus bustles with active students, faculty, and staff all focusing their passions for the outdoors towards creating an incredible undergraduate experience. The hands-on education here is unlike any other, where the lakes, mountains, bogs, Atlantic ocean, and even roadside streams are all your classrooms. Your hands get dirty and your boots most definitely get muddy. Programs of study range from Environmental Writing to Wildlife Biology to Adventure Education. The opportunities that lie within such a close-knit community are endless as they engage students in their quest to become environmental stewards.

Allison Hall Visitors Center

Day to day adventures of Unity College

Trafalgar Falls in Dominica’s Rainforest

Howdy y’all,

My name is Karen, also known as quite the Sea World freak, and I’m going to be giving you a quick heads up on what’s up with our trip. While in Dominica from midday March 13th through midday March 21st we will be participating in a number of exciting and educational activities. Of course all this buzz around campus about what we’re doing for our spring break has made many of our peers a little on the green side. Speaking of green, while in Dominica we will be hiking in the beautiful lush green rainforests that cover a large expanse of Dominica’s terrain. In addition to hiking, our group will be snorkeling on various coral reefs. Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and a variety of plants and animals will be on the agenda for discovery. As part of our preparation for this we have been studying the various types of fish that can be found on or near the reefs in Dominica. These include but are certainly not limited too Angelfish, parrot fish, Barracuda, Snapper, Grouper and many types of red fish such as squirrelfish. Other than all that terribly dull “nature stuff”, we’ll be exploring the culture and history of Dominica with trips in to the capital for the weekly market day to get culture shock, fruit, possibly some baskets and oh yeah, souvenirs for “you people”. So enjoy your spring break if you get one, have a good day at work if you don’t, and most importantly if you’re not going to be in the Caribbean like us, try and stay warm!

Science Writing

Science writing is obviously writing about sciences. It may be about biology, medicine, genetics or the environment. Science writing is a big part involved in most majors here at Unity College. It can range from writing children’s books to writing to governmental agencies. Science writing can be investigative, explanatory, or even narrative. We can use science writing to inform/teach the general public or educated people about what is going on in the world. We are using science writing in this class as a blog to tell readers what we are doing on a daily basis in Dominica during spring break.