Today students learned more about river ecosystems by hiking through the Paiva Walkways. Located in Averio, Portugal, these walkways are famous for allowing accessibility to the incredible geology, archaeology, and, of course, ecology surrounding the Paiva River. Our students focused on the importance of river systems and economically important trees found in the area such as cork and eucalyptus. After hiking, students enjoyed a nice picnic and refreshing swim in the river.
Tomorrow we are excited for classes and leisure time in Lisbon!
We woke up this morning to the sound of waves crashing on the shore and a beautiful, bright sun shining outside anticipating our voyage on the lagoon today! Each morning we like to warm up with a little activity to get the blood moving, and today one of our fearless leaders, Teryn, challenged us to spell out "Portugal 2017!" The students caught on quick and got to spend some extra time on the beach before hopping on the bus for Aveiro.
Here in Aveiro we boarded a cultural treasure, a historical boat crafted in 1945 that was tasked with ferrying local men to work out in the water each day. Our biology professor lead discussion and a guided bird watching as students discovered popular species and even saw flamingos! We were able to view and compare different habitats along the coastline while listening to traditional "Fado," Portuguese folk music.
We stopped briefly to observe a local lighthouse and returned to the water with a few additions! We spent the rest of our boat ride with a high school natural biology camp from the local university. It was a hilarious ride as we realized how many similarities we had and hyped each other up with applause and cheers.
(Photo credit for this shot goes to our own Lois Wu)
Here we are with our boat and crew! What a fantastic afternoon exploring estuaries and local heritage.
"Finally!" was the sentiment of students today when they saw the Portuguese coastline today at Peniche, a historic and beautiful city located on a small peninsula about an hour and a half north of Lisbon.
Under overcast skies, we first toured and learned about a historic fortress that later served as a prison for political dissenters during the facist dictatorship. As the clouds parted and the sun came out, we found ourselves on the sand dunes and beach putting to practice our habitat vulnerability assessment strategies that we learned yesterday in class with Patricia. Everyone felt complete with a dip in the cool waters of Areia Branca and a sunset that is likely the most photographed to date!
Sweet dreams of pink sunsets and new friends! Boanoite from Portugal!
Today our Session II students spent most of the day in the classroom getting acquainted with Aquatic Ecosystems and the Portuguese language! Students were introduced to the various ecosystems found within Portugal and its importance to life and culture. They were challenged to consider controversial issues regarding the delicate balance between human and environmental needs and each are now equipped with what we consider "survival" Portuguese.
At the end of the day, students were asked to reflect on their own values and personal experiences regarding conservation and their time thus far in Portugal. Many commented on the beauty of Lisbon, their gratefulness for new friends, excitement for exploring Peniche tomorrow, and finding comfort in the small things.
Students in their first Portuguese class.
Students enjoying the view of Lisbon.
Students reflecting in their journals at the end of the day.
Kiera here - I am so impressed with our students and how enthusiastic everyone is! We've been in Lisbon for a couple days and are already having a blast.
Here we're playing a team building game which challenges each group to build the tallest tower - the creativity is booming and you can see the beginning of some of our wild structures!
Above is just a small example of the beautiful architecture this city has to offer. Today was filled with orientation and a walking tour of downtown Lisbon. We've already explored so much and cannot wait to see what's next!
I've worked in outreach and science education since graduating from the University of Iowa, two years ago. As an informal educator I have developed curriculum for public visitors, private school groups and audiences from all over the world. I also facilitated labs and discussions on animal behavior, ecology, marine biology, chemistry, and environmental stewardship.
In addition to my professional experience I also enjoy traveling! I spent a season in Spain as an English tutor and traveled throughout Europe; Portugal being one of my favorite cultural and historical destinations. I am eager to share my passion for marine conservation and to learn with our students about sustainability in and around beautiful Lisbon!
I look forward to exploring ecological recovery systems, implementing conservational efforts, and studying the value of our world’s ocean. Not to mention spending as much time in the water as possible - anything from snorkeling to surfing and playing soccer on the beach nearby. The stargazing will be especially brilliant, and I can't wait to share stories of my favorite constellations.
Fun facts about me: I am 24, I speak Spanish, I live in Washington DC and am originally from Iowa, but more importantly - I am completely obsessed with the ocean. My biggest accomplishment to date is having dived with sharks and on ship wrecks in the Atlantic Ocean. I love getting to know new people and hearing their stories and experiences, which is especially fun traveling abroad!
The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind of goodbyes and celebrations. On Thursday night after the navigators presented their projects, we returned to the hostel where the management treated us to a goodbye cookout. We ate, sang, and danced – and said our goodbyes to Silvia and Raquel. As one of our girls expressed, “I’ve never met so many women who are so passionate about science in such a short time!” We have been so fortunate to learn from them and Patricia as well as others with whom we’ve interacted over these 3 weeks.
On Friday morning we said farewell to Setúbal and boarded our bus to Lisbon. After a culminating session and lunch at CIEE Lisbon headquarters, we went to theOceanário de Lisboa for a wonderful tour of this amazing place. It is the largest aquarium in the world and was a fitting place to end our exploration of the sea.
Our final dinner was near the aquarium at a Brazilian steakhouse. We feasted, danced some more, and even celebrated the upcoming birthdays of our July girls. SO many hugs and tears are already happening; we wonder what a scene tomorrow will bring. But we’re happy to know that these global navigators will soon be sharing their stories and experiences with families and friends at home.
So long Portu-GALS!
With affection and gratitude (and on the behalf of all the women who were proud to lead you on this journey!)
“Be the change you want to sea” has been the motto for our CIEE Lisbon students since coming to the coastal town of Setúbal. They have certainly taken it to heart! Over the last few days, the girls have been planning “Power Talks,” small group presentations on topics relating to their fieldwork. Between the secretive whispers in their rooms in the afternoon and the amount of time the girls spent in their groups crowded around computer screens conducting Internet research, we knew they were brewing up something good. They did not disappoint! Each presentation went above and beyond expectation and drove home why we should care about our oceans. Check them out below:
Kat, Haley, Rebecca, and Emma did an amazing job setting the stage for each of the subsequent presentations by providing a closer look at one way humans exploit the ocean and sharing possible solutions to this huge problem.
Lily, Caroline, Meilee, Emily, and Olivia made sure we understood how our every day actions contribute to climate change. Our Global Navigators reminded us that human activities such as deforestation, and burning fossil fuels increase CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. They also emphasized how weather patterns play a fundamental role in shaping ecosystems, human economies, and cultures that depend on them, including those of Portugal. The girls provided us with a look at specific case studies focusing on how sea level rise, drought, violent storms and increased temperatures affect people and their environment, in addition to discussing how we can respond to anthropogenic climate change.
Recreation and Aesthetic
After having spent two weeks enjoying all that the sea has to offer, Charlotte, Sandra, Danna, Anisah, Anne took on the persona of the ocean for their presentation. From that point of view, they were able to gave voice to a new perspective on human interaction with the sea.
One of the highlight was their remix of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. Read along with the lyrics as you listen to Danna and Sandra on the ones and twos:
"Now this is a story all about how the ocean got flipped-turned upside down. We'd like to take a minute, just sit right there and think about the impact you have on the world. Left of the Milky Way, born and raised, on Earth is where I spent most of my days. Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool when a couple of humans who were up to no good, started making trouble in my atmosphere. I threw a few little fits, but y'all didn't care. Now you say: 'We'll help you big ocean, just stay right there.' I whistle for a human and when it came near their t-shirt said "Be the change you want to sea and volunteer." If anything I could tell that this man was rare but I thought, 'Nah, forget it he's making a change.' I saw them pull up around 7 or 8 and I yelled to the humans 'Yo, thanks for the change!' I looked at my kingdom and they were finally here and I sit on my throne as the problems disappear."
Annabelle, Margo, Sydney, and Alicia switched things up a bit and brought us from the seaside to the courtroom. Through their mock trial, where all of our Global Navigators served as jurors, they tried "humanity" (represented by Alicia) for crimes committed against aquatic ecosystems. Annabelle presented the case and Sydney led the jury through the details. Margo did her best to defend humanity a.k.a. Alicia, but it was not a good look for humans. As Margo stated in her closing reflections following the mock trial: “The Earth was not given to us by our ancestors, but loaned to us by future generations.”
Feel free to watch their mock trial here:
Pollution and Waste
Our last group of the evening, Whitney, Lily, Antara, and Maddie surprised us all by revealing that they had started an initiative called Elimiwaste. The site they created is a place for collaboration and inspiration as it gives users concrete actions that they can take to improve the world around them. Through Elimiwaste, the girls strive to: 1) Commit to eliminating as much waste as possible by participating in projects and cleanups; 2) Use their skills to contribute to the reduction of pollution and waste; and 3) Team up with others to make ideas, dreams, and visions possible. Check it out and support our entrepreneurial Global Navigators!: http://elimiwaste.weebly.com/
As Lily said during the launch of Elimiwaste: “We can’t wait for ‘what if,’ we need to take the initiative now.”
Just another normal day...IN PORTUGAL! We're the bloggers today and our names are Sydney and Emma. Today the Global Navigators woke up on this beautiful day and “ swam” over to the Setúbal Fish Market, where we met Sandra, a passionate fisherwomen who has lived all of her life on the sea. She wakes up everyday at 3 to 4 a.m to catch cuttle fish, mullet, and octopus. One of her favorite parts of going out on the water is watching the sunrise, she takes great pride in her work and loves the sea.
We got to explore the fish market in pairs and buy produce for a traditional Portuguese meal that we helped prepare for dinner. We were a little nervous about shopping and trying to use our new language skills, but we were successful!
We even got to experience a surprise marcha popularde São Pedro (traditional march for Saint Peter)! After that we learned about how the fisherwomen sustainably catch their fish and what types of fish are usually found in the Portuguese marketplace.
After lunch the group went to Museu do Trabalho Michel Giacometti where we learned about work in a sardine packing plant. We learned what the men and women’s roles were in this factory!
For dinner, the group got to make a traditional Portuguese fish full of octopus salad, fried cuttlefish, and shark and skate stew. We all enjoyed being able to cook and make this delicious meal together!
Well that's all for today!! Thanks for reading and we will see you tomorrow!!!
Gooooooooooood DAY People! This is live from Alicia and Annabelle in Setubal! Time for a short intro:
I’m Annabelle and I'm from Illinois. I’m going to be a senior this upcoming school year and I’m having the time of my life in Portugal!
I’m Alicia from Texas! This year I will be a junior in Austin, but for now my life is in Portugal.
Today, we started our usual morning routine; begrudgingly waking up with our roommates, eating our Portuguese breakfast (lots of bread), and a warming up to get us energized for our adventure.
After breakfast, we stepped out of the hostel and into the streets of Setubal. What a sight we were! Twenty-two teenagers and five adults took the city and walked to the ferry where we rode to our destination at the Troia Peninsula. A short ride later, we arrived at the shores. Today was a cloudy day with a slight wind chill, but the low tide allowed us to explore the estuarine ecosystem. Groups of us scattered and scoured different sections of the exposed beach. There we found diverse species of slugs, anemone, shells, starfish, and sea carrots. Raquel and Sylvia aided us in examining the organisms and teaching us about their names, roles, and other fun facts.
After an hour of discovering and strengthening our curiosity on marine life, Raquel and Sylvia taught us some games to connect seagrass and carbon fixation. From these games, we learned that seagrass helps our environment as it absorbs carbon dioxide. Worn out from running and laughing, we wore our goggles to snorkel and cool off.
One bus ride later, we arrived in Carrasqueira where we met a fisherwoman, Catia. She showed us the ropes, literally, of how she collects cuttlefish. After getting the grand tour of the port, we got our hands dirty by picking up the trash near the docks. Eleven bags of trash and 93 salt containers later, we headed back to the ferry to Setubal.
From there, we had free time where girls ate too much food and caught up on their rest, while we wrote this blog post! Once again, this is Annabelle and Alicia signing off on today´s adventure.