Semester 33: Human Ecology Project

As you may well have guessed, we’ve been busy here on campus! We’re rolling out of our third week of academic time since our second expedition. It’s hard to believe how quickly it’s all gone by. Our Family Weekend was such a blast—we enjoyed sharing this place that we care so much about with people who care so much about us! Our parents and siblings enjoyed seeing our cabins, participating in AMX, getting to know Leadville through our eyes, and seeing a mid-semester slideshow compiling the best photos we have from our time on campus and our expeditions. Not to mention the Family Weekend classes! They involved a lot of student performances—a history “séance,” Family Weekend poems from English class (that brought many a tear and required lots of tissues), describing recently-completed Spanish projects on social issues in Latin America, solving tough problems with our parents in math classes, and running around and playing games in science. We had a lot of fun! Later in the weekend, we had the chance to get out and explore Colorado with our folks, and some of us even got to tour Colorado College! It was nice weekend to be able to catch up.

Needless to say, we’re glad to be back in our HMI community! Perhaps one of the most exciting things we’ve been working on is the Human Ecology Project. The assignment, which is a combination of P&P and science, asks us to think about how the land shapes the people and how the people shape the land in Leadville. So far we’ve had the chance to sit in on two panels of locals talking about their lives and work, and spend time interviewing people in town that we encounter during our explorations of Main Street. Some of us have even employed our Spanish to chat with Leadville locals and translate interviews! Our science labs have taken us out into the field to explore the geology and ecology around town to build a more scientific foundation of information. We’ve got to measure the toxicity of mine tailings and talk to resident wildlife experts, too!

A lot of us are building our interview and journalism skills and gaining new experience with video editing. While technology might not be the first thing you think about related to HMI, we’re getting after it. It’s been fun to learn together and experiment with different techniques as we edit our videos and interviews in a way that effectively communicates the message we want to get across.

The project has given us the chance to dig deeper and question some of the assumptions we have about Leadville.  Some of the information we’ve gathered has really been interesting, and it’s been a privilege to get to know the people that make this place home. Eventually, we’ll compile our interviews and experiences, create unique videos about our hypotheses, and present our final products at a film festival on campus!

We’re looking forward to giving you more details about our campus lives a bit later in the week. For now, we’re headed back to work uploading, cutting, and editing videos! We can’t wait to tell you more about the Human Ecology Project and our film festival.

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