At Eastern Nazarene College, in addition to the numerous courses offered on campus throughout the academic year, students have the opportunity to expand their classroom both nationally and across the world. In May, professor Jonathan Twining and his Field Problems in Ecology class explored Hawaii and Dr. Matthew Waterman’s Epoch Making Events in Science (EMES) class toured the British Isles in June.
EMES in the British Isles
The Epoch Making Events in Science (EMES) course travelled to the British Isles toured through Ireland, Wales and England to visit various museums, historical sites, and experience a culture outside of the United States. In preparation for their trip, the students visited different locations in the Boston area such as the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Boston Museum of Science, and Franklin Park Zoo where they researched topics like the structural and behavioral adaptations of animals.
“I think the main benefit of a travel course over a traditional format is the ability to experience things first hand, in their native context,” said Dr. Matthew Waterman, associate professor and department chair of biology and chemistry. “This type of interaction makes learning more vibrant and real.“
They began their tour in Killarney, exploring the Ring of Kerry with a beautiful scenic drive along the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula located on the southwest coast of Ireland, and enjoyed an Irish song and dance show later in the evening. They next stopped for tea at Blarney Castle on the way to Dublin and toured the ancient castle and its beautiful grounds. In Dublin, they also toured Trinity College and saw the magnificent Old Library and its showpiece, the Book of Kells. The class also learned about the history of St. Patrick while touring the St. Patrick Cathedral.
“I loved driving through the hills and pastures of southern and western Ireland,” said Amy Wetzel, a rising senior journalism major. “The greenness and natural beauty was absolutely breathtaking. But I also loved exploring the city of Dublin. I really can't pick just one favorite part!”
After a ferry trip across the sea to Wales, the class toured Beaumaris Castle and explored its crenelated walls and deepest dungeons. En route to London, they stopped at the cities of Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon with tours of Oxford University and Shakespeare’s birthplace respectively. After a quick bite to eat at the Eagle and Child, where notable writers JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis rubbed shoulders, they were off to London for the final 4 days of their trip.
Once in London, the class dispersed to explore their respective interests from Sherlock Holmes' Baker St residence to the Museum of Natural History’s exquisite dinosaur exhibit. Intertwined with their free time exploring the city of London was a daylong excursion to Stonehenge and the city of Bath.
“Regardless of your destination or educational focus, there is always the general benefit of being immersed in a culture and exposed to people and places different from what you are accustomed to that comes with all types of international travel,” said Dr. Waterman.
Field Problems in Ecology in Hawaii
Biology professor Jonathan Twinning and ten students in the Field Problems in Ecology course traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii for two weeks to study tropical natural history and learned about the cultural history of the Hawaiian people. The class went snorkeling on coral reefs, hiking in rain forests, and touring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Along the way, they learned about how life came to be on those isolated islands, how life responds to volcanic disturbances, and how humans have impacted the islands by introducing exotic species that are crowding out the native, endemic species and driving them towards extinction.
Students in the class are left with amazing stories and wonderful memories of their time in Hawaii. “I truly enjoyed all of the hiking that we did on the trip, but for the most part the hike up the Mauna Ulu Volcano was the most memorable,” said Brianna Ferraro (15). “How many people can say they've stood on top of a volcano before?”
Hannah Welsh (16) said “The coolest thing we did on the trip for me was snorkeling with sea turtles. They are my favorite animal and being able to swim with them was an amazing opportunity.”
They also spent time talking with native Hawaiians and learning about the culture, such as the concept of "Malama honua" which means “to care for the earth.” “In Hawaiian culture, the earth is seen as a big canoe,” said Professor Twining. “The idea is that we need to take care of the earth, because it was what supports life.”
Another traditional Hawaiian concept was "Aloha 'aina, aloha kai" which means, “to love the land and love the sea, and never take more than you need.” An advocate of Creation Care, professor Twinning said, “This is a concept that our consumption driven society really needs to hear. Otherwise, we will eventually run out of resources.
“Although these are Hawaiian concepts, they represent a fundamental truth and have a parallel in Christianity. God put humans on Earth to ‘keep and serve it’ (Genesis 2:15) and to love both God and our neighbors. Thus we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our planet, and to cultivate meaningful and helpful relationships with God and one another.“
The glow of Halemaumau at night with a sky full of stars