Sunday, June 23, 2013

Audubon Camp

It came and went in the blink of an eye. Audubon Camp is one of my highlights of every year. A camp dedicated to teaching 11- and 12-year-olds about the wonders of nature in the middle of the Ouachitas during summer might not sound like the best deal for a summer job, but I've got to tell you, it is.

For two weeks I taught Aquatic Biology, my personal favorite course from when I was a camper there. My kids caught plankton, saw them under the microscope, seined for fish and other lake creatures, found benthic macroinvertebrates, and *hopefully* had a lot of fun.

"What are all of those big ol' words?" you may ask. Well, let me give you a mini-rundown of the class.

First we use a plankton net (seen above) to catch a massive amount of plankton (if you're lucky.) Second week was luckier than the first, and here is a cyclops carrying an egg sac! For those wondering, this is the type of plankton that Plankton from Spongebob is based on.
There were many different kinds we saw, including a few that I couldn't identify. (Yes, I'll probably be buying a plankton guide in the near future. I won't let those plankton stump me again.)

Here you can see three BMIs. These are water pennies, A.K.A. beetle larvae. They mean the water isn't very polluted, as water pennies can't tolerate pollution well in water.

This orangebelly darter is quite possibly the prettiest fish in the creeks around the camp. The other pretty one is the redfin shiner, which really caused quite a fuss with my co-teacher during the second week.

Speaking of my second week co-teacher, here is probably the best picture I got of him in those two weeks. He's got a gorgeous camera that he used to capture all sorts of animals, from birds in their bird nests to the teeny Ouachita Dusky Salamander, which you'll only find down in the Ouachitas.

This was taken during a bird walk the morning I decided to see at least 100 different birds in one year. It's not a "big year" but I figure I'd like to get to know my birds before I undertake something so amazing.

I did a lot of hammock-sitting too in my downtime. I wish I could tell you it was relaxing, but it wasn't. Campers really liked to see how high they could rock you or how annoyed they could make you while you were sitting in there. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

That One Time I Was A Movie Extra

It happened one night. I was at the market and suddenly a big-time movie producer "discovered me."

Just kidding, I saw an article about how a movie needed extras to be football fans and I thought, okay, that's an easy enough way to cross off "be in a movie" from my bucket list.

So the next day, Caleb and I walked down to the stadium at 9 in the morning.

At around 11:00 or so, after signing photo releases and our lives away, we finally got to go underneath the stadium seating to the actors' holding area and dressing room. We did not get to go inside, buuuut we got to stand in a single file line outside while the props lady gave different people props to use.

And we got to watch the actors filter in and out. We stood roughly 10 feet away from some dude from Band of Brothers. Let's just say Caleb recognized him, and I didn't. We did see the main actor quite a few times, and every time we saw him, he was imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice. In the dressing room, in between takes, literally every time we saw him.

After receiving props, we were sent back to our holding area until noon, at which point we were filtered in a very small section of stadium seats. We cheered and cheered (without a sound) for a good hour. I doubt Caleb and I will be very noticeable, as we were on the edge of the seating.

After they didn't release us for a lunch break or anything, we left. We were too hungry to sit around and wait another two hours. Food > Being a movie extra in multiple scenes in an unorganized movie.

It was worth it, and was slightly fun, when we weren't waiting for 3 hours to actually do something.