Every Story Has a Beginning:

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog!

For those of you that don't know...
My name is Shabana and I am a
 junior at Union College in Upstate NY. I am an
 environmental science major (concentration in ecology) and a music minor (composer,arranger, violinist, vocalist, guitarist). 

I am currently living on Long Island and I have a Jack Russell Terrier named Ningo :)

My Purpose:
Honestly, I'm not very good at blogging. Most of the time I feel like I'm just making a list of places I've been and it's hard for the reader to understand what I am experiencing. What I would like for you all to understand is what my life is like living miles away from home!

SIX months: June ->December 2009
I've kind of had/have a lot going on...

June 19-July 11 ALASKA
July 12- July 14 Seattle, WA
July 20- Aug 14 Union College
Late Aug-Early Nov Australia (term abroad!)
Early Nov-Early Dec New Zealand (term abroad!)

These next couple of posts I'll try to summarize my summer thus far, but to put it into perspective...I'm leaving for Australia in less than a week. Aspirations and concerns regarding my term abroad 'Down Under'...soon to come!


June 19-July 11
The start of my summer was spent touring Alaska with students and professors from Union College (aka the Shisty Fissures). This was my first trip without my parents and my first trip to the west coast!

For 3 weeks, we studied geologic hazards for in various places in Alaska like: Anchorage,Denali, Tangle Lakes, Valdez, Cordova, Whittier, Chitna, Kodiak Island, and Seward. We spent about 1-3 nights at each campground.

While we were there, we were pretty much ruffin it out from sleeping in tents the whole time to no cell phones/internet to limited encounters with running water to skipping/throwing rocks anywhere we could find them...play following video...

We hiked 4 glaciers (or Glah-see-urs):
^ Matanuska Glacier ^ Castner Glacier

^Child's Glacier ^Exit Glacier

We Fished:

We played in the mud:

FUN in MUD!--->
NOT So Fun in MUD...
**By far, best "behind the scenes" footage of the trip!**
vid credit: Curley Q

Some of us had TOO much fun in the mud...

And Sang (alot)

Oh and (of course) we fit in some academics too!

I'm sure there were more academic pictures, but I was too busy learnin to take pictures. PLUS, the whole trip was a learning experience!!! Even two months later, I wish I never left. Three weeks went by so fast and it was not enough time to really get to know Alaska. Every location was so different from each other and we only saw a small portion of Alaska. Hopefully I'll be able to go back someday and visit Juneau and the far northern portion of Alaska. 

Here is a link to the blog that we kept in Alaska:

**Video Summary of the trip SOON TO COME!!!

After Alaska, I was off onto more adventures. This was only the start!

July 11-July 14
On the way back from Alaska, I had a layover in Seattle. So I decided to spend a few days in Seattle with family that I rarely get to see (and even one cousin I had never met before!). Being on the west coast was different from the east. Seattle had lots of mountains and smiling people with a friendly outlook on life. Great vibe but nonetheless, no city is like New York City :)

Me and my Auntie Isha

July 20-Aug 14

The next portion of my summer was spent doing research. But not just any old research...
I had the opportunity to do research in the field!
I was really lucky because most of my friends had 9am-5pm lab work, but I got the chance to work in forests around the area. The main title of my research is: The Effect of Competition on Native and Exotic Plants in Eastern Deciduous Forests.

For those of you that are interested... I will be planting seeds that are completely surrounded by its own species and change the ratio in each plot until the plant is completely surrounded by a different species.  

For example: 
PLOT 1 has a NATIVE focal plant and is surrounded by 3 other native plants
PLOT 2 has a NATIVE focal plant and is surrounded by 2 native plants and 1 exotic plant
PLOT 3 has a NATIVE focal plant and is surrounded by 1 native plants and 2 exotic plant
PLOT 4 has a NATIVE focal plant and is surrounded by 3 other exotic plants

We plan on varying density and light levels. I would like to look at the mycorrhizal differences in the plants (which would be really cool!) but it may be too much to take on.

Ohh no guys... I think my nerd is showing again, sorry. lol.

At the end of my research this summer, we made some final plans to continue the research next year in hopes of planting seedlings next summer to observe its growth.