Senior Nathan Crane and junior Alex Steinline, both Fisheries and Wildlife Management majors, traveled to Brazil over spring break. They had enrolled in a class taught by Dr. Jill Leonard from the Biology Department and Dr. Susy Ziegler from Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences called Fisheries and Forest Management of the Amazon. Nathan and Alex shared their experiences (and some beautiful pictures) with us.
Nathan writes, “I went to Brazil to learn about how Brazilians manage and use their natural resources, as compared to how the U.S. does. I also went because I’ve always wanted to see the diversity of species in the Amazon basin.
“The trip was fantastic. I was able to see so many species of frogs, fish, insects, and more. My favorite things about the trip were seeing the arapaima, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, trying the local foods, and meeting the people. The students and staff at the field station were all so friendly and generous. They showed us true hospitality. The only lows were that we had to leave, and that I got traveler’s diarrhea the last day we spent there.
“I learned the most about Brazilian culture, species diversity, and traditional fishing methods used in the Amazon. Currently, I am developing a web page to be used as an English language resource for field ID at the station. It’s more of a service project than research, but the species we could identify have provided us with information on what taxa are easy to identify, and which are not.
“After this trip, I feel more confident about international travel. I went to a country where I don’t speak the language, don’t know the species, and could have gotten into trouble with the wildlife, and the worst that happened was just bad diarrhea. The trip has also provided NMU with a connection in Brazil, so that students in the future may be able to study and do research there, as well as Brazilian students coming to Marquette for the same reasons. Getting to do research there would be fantastic, and it is something I’m keeping in the back of my mind as I figure out what I’m doing with my life.”
Alex writes, “We were in the Northeast part of the country in the state of Para. I really wanted to go because I had never been out of the country and I figured that this would be an amazing place to have my first international travel experience. I was absolutely right! For me, it was an absolute honor and a privilege to be able to go on this trip. The culture down there is so different, I met so many cool people, and I got to see and experience so many things that I would not have had I not gone. Plus, I held a sloth which was just awesome.
“I think what amazed me most was the culture and how different it was from our own here in the United States. Here in the States, it is the norm to see strip malls filled with Walmarts and Taco Bells. In Brazil, no such places existed. Instead, there were street markets filled with local vendors selling homemade and homegrown goods. It was truly amazing to see people that really had to work for everything that they have. All in all it was a GREAT experience and I cannot wait to go back!!!”