Thursday, October 15, 2015

Saving the Tiger Leaf Frog by Sarah French

The other night I had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture given for a graduate class on conservational architecture at Las Cruces field station. The lecture was given in Spanish on a project done to help create artificial habitats for the tiger leaf frog, which is greatly at risk of extinction. The largest reason for this is loss of habitat, though environmental changes play a significant role as well. 
            The natural habitats were examined and artificial breeding grounds created with tires and tarps to hold stagnant water to mimic the natural ones as closely as possible. This raised the discussion about what other types of habitats were being inadvertently created, such as those for mosquitoes that could potentially carry diseases, what the health implications are, and how those weigh against the benefit of saving one species from extinction.
            Attending this lecture, and understanding what was being spoken about, was a great confidence boost for me. I can get by well with my Spanish and hold conversations, but I’m always aware that people are speaking slower and enunciating more than normal for me to understand. This class was a good challenge to listen to true Spanish being spoken in an academic context, as opposed to the more difficult, colloquial Spanish of the conversations at meals and on the bus on which I try to eavesdrop for the practice.
Oftentimes there are guest lecturers presenting at my university, but I have not taken up the opportunity more than a handful of times. Here, I strive to take every possible opportunity to go out of my comfort zone and learn, from a night nature walk with a photography class from Stanford at La Selva, to this lecture in Spanish. Though there were moments in the lecture where I did not understand what was going on, I understood much more than I had expected, and learned a lot. This goes for most of my new experiences here, and I will do my best to bring this new element of adventure home with me.

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