Sunday, July 28, 2013

Yue Chan: 5th post

On July 26th, we attended a public hearing that discussed tentative plans about waterfront planning. It was my first public hearing and though I was not well versed or knowledgeable about the topic, I still found the discussion to be fascinating mostly because it was interesting to see the types of people who attended this meeting and the opinions that were voiced.

The most interesting highlights of the hearing for me was the Marriott Long Wharf Edge Activation Project and the plans for the New England Aquarium.

It was interesting to learn that the Mariott Long Wharf hotel was originally built to keep everything inside safe and to block everything outside. The simple solutions suggested to overcome this obstacle was genius in that they were very simple ideas, such as including glass panels for a sun room type setting around the building. They were also very interested in improving the public realm which was impressive to me. Including the public seemed like a very profitable idea for both the hotel and the public. 

During the New England Aquarium's, plans were proposed to increase public awareness of the identity of the aquarium, bringing their educational mission outside of the building, and to increase the visibility of of the aquarium. I especially loved the idea of providing free education outside of the building for public access. Spreading knowledge is invaluable and I'm so happy to hear the aquarium understands that. 

This hearing was also fascinating to me to see such a skewed and unfair representation of the public. The people who showed up and actually bothered to voice their opinions were so few. I wonder how hard it must be to appeal to the larger public's attention and encourage people to attend these hearings. Hopefully, I'll be able to attend more hearings in the future for subjects that interest me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dock section.

Here is a photo of the dock section from the Barking Crab in 2008.

Your assignment : Describe what you see, tell me how it is different from what you observed,
and tell me what factors contributed to the difference.

All the best,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Last Day...

And here it is…the end of our class…it is sad to admit it’s over. We all had so much fun and learnt so many new and interesting things!
During our meeting at 871 Comm Ave we talked a bit more about the ideas that can be done in order to save the striped bass. As our professor pointed out it is hard to save it because basically every state has a different law to save the striped bass.
There is one thing I would like to say: I really enjoyed this class! And the best part about it was the fact that it took me out of my comfort zone and made me see things differently that I had seen before. It left me curious to find out so much more about what I was literally holding in my hands and setting my eyes on.
I learnt so many new things that I once considered strange and learn how to observe things and apply that knowledge to my life. I cannot wait to take my kids (the ones I care for) to the beach and tell them what I have learnt and maybe we will be able to explore more! Holding my guidebook of course!
I really hope everyone enjoyed this class as much as I did, so…Thank you Bruce for making this class such an amazing experience!

Goodbye ES 141

Pretty much, hands down the most interactive and exciting class I have had in my college experience. When I told my peers about the activities I was participating in during the period of this class, they were all in awe and filled with jealousy. It was great.

Although this class was great in "doing science" and getting me interested in science, I think one thing I took out of this class was to always question everything and to be intrigued enough to go searching for answers. There were multiple times when I had no idea what I was holding in my hands. Or when I had no clue where I was or what I was standing on. A lot of times through life I tend to just take things as they are without much questioning, but this class pushed me to be more curious. Once I was able to find a certain species, I wanted to find more and I wanted to learn exactly what it was and where it came from. I didn't just want to be told it was a sea worm, I wanted to know why they wiggled so much, and if they would bite or not. I wanted to know why I had never seen sea worms used in fishing before. All these questions would arise from nowhere.

I learned to take my observations and apply them to my life. Sometimes my observations are different than others' and I needed to learn to understand that. My opinions may not always be the same as others, and that's okay. As long as I'm learning in the process , I truly believe that listening to everyone's opinions matter when trying to figure out what you, individually, believe. I was able to experience many firsts during this course, and for that I am thankful.

Thank you Bruce for an exciting class that taught me to learn to love the harbor more and how to pay more attention to my surroundings. Hopefully one day I'll be able to go out fishing with your crew again! I'm always free to go fishing!

'Whale Watch Failure'

This morning, I read Professor Berman's cautious e-mail about the weather and its probable effects on the trip planned for today. Once I read the e-mail, I called the Aquarium to figure out if everything was still a go for the whale watch. They quickly told me that the event was rain or shine so I shouldn't have any issues with that. I went to the boat at 9 am with Lorraine and MJ and we sat on the bottom area of the boat to make sure that we were able to have a good view of the whales. We were pretty surprised at the weather, but we didn't think it would be a huge problem. The boat ran smoothly for the first miles. We made it past Deer and Spectacle Island without a problem. However, a couple of miles past the islands, we began to hit some really rough waters. It was so intense that I had to hold the table in front of me for support. This persisted for about 15 minutes, which seemed infinite at the time. All three of us became very sea sick. Once we began to worry about this, the captain of the boat announced that the risk that the rough waters were putting us in was not worth it for today. He mentioned that the waters were about 5-7 feet waves, and that he had never experienced waters that rough while going on a whale watch. Once he announced our return to Boston, one of the children on the boat said 'well that was a whale watch failure.' We all laughed at the accuracy of the child's statement, and I feel that this was a perfect phrase to describe the morning. The waters made me so sick that I had to go onto the deck to get fresh air and look at the horizon. Luckily, nothing more happened and we made it to Boston safely!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Public Forum

For our last half of the class, the atmosphere changed. We have been going to the docks and into the water to 'do' science. However, the focus changed to public opinion and decision making on public interest as well as the well being of the environment. We went to the public forum at 3:00 at the Atlantic Wharf. I had an idea of what would happen, but was pleasantly surprised that the public was quiet and the discussions progressed calmly and without any tension although there were some people with dissenting opinions on some matters. The presentations I was able to see consisted of landowners on the Long Wharf and their ideas for changes of the structure on the exterior of their property. I saw that the debate consisted of profit margins for the landowners and their tenants versus the public interest in being a part of the area on the Long Wharf. It was a great opportunity to see the significance of this area of Boston is so important to the community and is open to discuss several opinions.

patrick palmer public hearing

Although this was not my first public hearing it was still interesting.  First the "vision", which is not a project, was floated into the meeting and all of the high points are hit and hammered home.  The benefits are all listed and each member of the board has an opportunity to ask questions.  These questions are usually generated by each member's particular group's interests.  This is the first step in whether anything goes beyond the vision point.  If it is poorly received the likelihood of the vision gaining strength to the clear the next hurdle is not probable.  I took the time to investigate the area as I waited for my soon to be cancelled whale watch trip to look a at the very uninviting and unattractive brick wall at the vision site.  Clearly from my point of view this area could use a redesign to open up the space to benefit of all who visit.

Christopher Charles Reardon/ Sad then Happy Students

Whale Watch Cancelled: Sad Students

Decision to go to The New England Aquarium: Happy Students


Atlantic Salmon

School Day

A Light Lunch

Brave Christopher: Touched one of these Rays 

Psychedelic Stuff 

Purple Sea Urchin

European Moon Jelly

Japanese Sea Nettle

Australian spotted Jelly & blue blubber

Sea Lions and Penguins

Southern Rockhopper 
Northern Fur Seal 

Whale Watching or Sea Sickness?

I was part of the group that actually made it into the 9AM boat out to go whale watching. The workers said that the boat goes out whether it rains or shines, so we went ahead purchased our tickets and boarded the Boston Harbor Cruise to go whale watching. It was about 62 degrees outside so we decided to sit in the indoor cabin on the lower level, while we drove out to the whales. Before we first took off the captain said the waves would be between 3-5 feet and that if anyone wanted to leave they could do so. I was brave and remained put and was exciting to go see some whales! after about 20 minutes the captain mentioned the waves were now 6-7 feet and that he was going to be making the decision to turn the boat around. I was extremely glad he decided to do so because I was so close to getting extremely sea sick. I have been in rough water before, but my stomach has never dropped so many times on a boat before. One of the workers mentioned he had NEVER seen the water so rough before and apologized for the trip being cancelled.

Although I wish I would've seen some whales today, I was glad I didn't get sick!

Day 6: Aquarium

Today the plan was to go on a catamaran to go whale watching at 10:00. Unfortunately, at 9:45 we were informed the trip had been postponed and the noon trip was looking as if it would be cancelled as well. To help assuage the disappointment of not being able to see whales, Stevie, Stephen, Coulter, Karissa, Chris, Antoine, Terry and I decided we would go to the aquarium together.  Although I had been to the aquarium one time a few years ago, I felt this experience was very different because I was able to identify some species, and Karissa was like our own personal guide! I love the big tank in the middle of the aquarium; I think the design is very well done because you are able to observe so many different sea creatures from many different angles. We saw three sea turtles, some sharks, and countless fish. My favorite parts of the aquarium were the touch-tank (because I now feel fearless and will touch any creature), the penguins, and the different jellyfish. Although I was disappointed not to see any whales, I still had a great day at the aquarium. 

The group of us who went to the aquarium:

Some of the pictures from around the aquarium:

No Whales: Not Surprised

Today's whale watching excursion was canceled due to inclement weather. Being the skeptic that I am I was not sold on the idea of seeing whales anyways, maybe just their tails. Although the day was not a total loss. A few of us decided to salvage the day with a trip to the Aquarium. It was a crowded day at the Aquerium. Many tourist, families, summer camps, and a few ES 141 students crowded the New England Aquarium. There was so much to see! Inside the Aquarium there is a large central tack filled with numerous types of sea life. I saw huge sting rays and other large types of fish. There were also Sea Turtles, Hammer Head Sharks, and a scuba diver feeding the fish from his hands (pretty cool). There were also different types of jelly fish and even an Anaconda to be viewd. The Aquarium has a section of seals and sea lions, which are massive animals and strangely cute. My favorite part of the day was seeing the penguins. They sure do have happy feet. Although we were unable to see the whales today we turned disappoint into fun. We also managed to "do science." Looking at all of the different types of fish made me crave seafood. We concluded at the Barking Crab.

Business As Usual

Our 5th day of ES 141 was more of a traditional classroom setting; we did take a small field trip to downtown for a bit of politics. Our class meet as usual at 9:00 A.M. for a brief lecture on legal affairs concerning recreational and commercial fishing. Question such as how do we as a nation protect fish like Striped Bass from being over fished. We learned that solution do not come easy. there are numerous factors in play. scientist and others concerned with Striped Bass populations suggest bans on how many fish can be caught and the size of the catch. others are more concerned with making a living.  Both parties look to law makers for the soltution. We learned that like so many issues, politics can be as tedious when it comes to the fishing industry as it is with so many other issues facing the nation. There is no easy solution. A general consensus seems to be the best solution at this time.

In the field our class sat in on a public hearing about what to do about the future of the real estate down by the Long Wharf. As expected, there were two opposing sides, those in favor of making a buck and those in favor of the public interest. I was unable to stay for the whole meeting; but I noticed public interst tends to take a back seat when up against capitalism.

No Whale Watching Today! Aquarium Instead - Coulter Bailey

Due to the rough seas today, the Aquarium Whale Watching was cancelled, and it was unlikely any of the later tours were going either. Since we were already down there though, we decided to go to Boston's Aquarium! We saw a lot of fish, some African Penguins, and sting rays! We definitely made the most of today, and it was still fun to see the fish, even if they weren't big whales out in the ocean.