June 2008 Archives

Leaves and Lizards Tree Guide

Christopher Gurguis, Mary Boyum, and Lorea Ormazabal also produced a Tree Guide for Leaves and Lizards using photographs taken by Christopher Gurguis.

The guide is available for download from:


Student Reports are now online

The student reports for the 2008 Field Season are now online:


Major Arenal Pyroclastic Flow

Latest report from the Smithsonian / OVSICORA-UNA:

4 June-10 June 2008

OVSICORI-UNA reported that an incandescent avalanche descended Arenal's SW flank on 6 June producing an 800-m-long scar and depositing a wide debris fan at the base of the volcano. A plume of dust, ash, and gas drifted W and NW, depositing fine ash in a small area downwind. The plume panicked tourists and park rangers 2 km away to the W. The park was immediately closed for the day and the tourists were evacuated. According to a news article, another incandescent avalanche descended the SW flank on 10 June and generated an ash plume. Authorities evacuated people in the area.

Sources: Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Nacion

Legend added to the maps

I have just added a legend to the maps. Although I might adjust the maps further, they are now complete.

I have also adjusted some parameters for the MapServer layers (base map, satellite image, synthetic streams) to make them load more quickly. The improvement should be more noticeable on slower internet connections.

So Much Work to Do...And So Little Time

Today we met as a class to discuss what each group needed to do, which included: making an inventory of data, creating a plan for results, discussing conclusions and overall paper format, and turning in field equipment.  We also discussed what our final paper should include (Intro, Methods, Results, Conclusions, and Literature Cited), and what each section of the paper should include.  Then our group continued data analysis, outlined our results, and wrote up our results section.  And we got back our graded annotated bibliographies, which will be a big help when deciding which sources to use in our final papers.
The spring icons have been updated. The 'hot spring' icon has been made clearer, and a new blue circle icon has been used for the cold springs. Blue&white crosses have been used for stream points (the sample point and the measured boundary crossing). These are now connected with a simple flow diagram. This is a simple line drawing that shows how water flows between these points.

We are back - and welly pictures

Yes we all made it back safe and sound, despite a quick sprint across Bush International Airport to meet a tight connection.

The road data is now complete on the map, and the building photos have also been added. I have a few more map changes to add. Student reports will also be uploaded after they have been completed and graded.

Attached are a group of photos from Johanna's "Welly Wanging" competition that closed the field work on Saturday afternoon. I'll leave it to Johanna to give a commentary. Giovani and Dr. B were judges, and Steve & Debbie made up the out-field spectators.


Thank you

This morning we waved a fond goodbye to a great group of humans. What a wonderful experience. We want to thank Dr.Brown, Richard Marsden, all of the students and Geovany for their hard work-rain or shine. A special thank you to the parents and the University of Dallas who trusted us to provide these young people with the opportunity to share our dream. We hope this experience has planted the seeds that may someday grow into solutions for how we, the human race, can live symbiotically with Mother Nature.
Muchas Gracias,
Debbie and Steve
Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat


End-of-season games

The course's field assistant, Johanna Weston, coordinated the amazing First Annual Welly-Wanging competition.  Students competed by flinging their field-issue rubber boots off the their right foot without using their hands or kicking the boot.  Competitors were judged based on distance in a best-of-three competition.

Our two winners were Noah Jouett (Best distance:  18 meters) and Mary Boyum (Best distance:  16 meters).  The winners (dubbed the winning wangers)  were garlanded not with a traditional laurel given to Olympic athletes, but with a balsa leaf worn on their heads.  We'll post more photos of the competition later, but here's one taken by Debbie of Leaves and Lizards.  She and Steve, along with our guide Geovany, were our special guests (and only spectators) for the competition.

From left:  Mary Boyum, Adaire Chatry, Johanna Weston, Christopher Gurguis, Samantha Behrent, Lorea Ormazabal, Katheryn Miller, Katherine Biernat, Adriane Smith

End of fieldwork, start of data analysis

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All three groups finished their fieldwork yesterday, and so far the data are fairly complete and should give them quite a lot to analyze when we return to Dallas tomorrow.  Steve and Debbie have told us that they have gotten more than they expected from our group, and we hope to have even more to tell them about their property after more analysis is done.

The students have a free day today, and some will head out for whitewater rafting, while others are doing a canopy zip-line tour.  They are anxious to see a little more of the area around us, and are thinking a lot of their friends and family and what to bring home as gifts.  Last night most of the students went to a local church in Monterrey for mass, and enjoyed the experience and the differences in Mass her compared to back home, including for a while bats circling in the top of the church.

We will have them post one more blog entry before we leave, and some photos of yesterday's welly wanging competition.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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