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Oceanography class goes coastal for spring break

It’s not unusual for college students to travel to the beach for spring break. It is when they go with their professor. It certainly is when the trip is part of the course curriculum.

Cynthia Venn, professor of environmental, geographical and geological sciences, took her oceanography class on a brief coastal trip over spring break from Virginia to Florida seeing first-hand how the geology and climates changed down the coast.

“It’s one thing to be able to take a class so small and really have one-on-one time with the professor to learn the material, but to actually experience it hands-on is a much better way to further your education,” says Shannon Carr, a senior environmental science major. “Dr. Venn would provide us with photos of different birds, but we really got to know them once we saw them in their natural habitats.”

According to Carr, some of her favorite parts of the trip took place in Florida. A particular stop at Loggerhead Marine Center — a rehabilitation center for multiple different sea turtle species — was very memorable.

“It was really cool to see the vet’s office and all of the turtles they have there,” Carr says. “It was also cool to hear their stories as to why they are there and how well they’ve recovered since they arrived.”

Another highlight occurred on an airboat ride through The Everglades, according to Carr.

“We got to see mangrove trees up close and personal, which is something you can’t find up here in Pennsylvania,” says Carr, adding the trip has tremendously shaped her future.

“I’m graduating in May, and I’m looking to find a job in Coastal Restoration,” Carr says. “Since this class topic is not something offered regularly in the EGGS department, being able to have the opportunity to take it my senior year has been beyond awesome.”

Carr says the oceanography class did a great job of meshing together previous classes she took, such as biology, soil resources and surface hydrology.

“It’s a perfect wrap up to an already wonderful experience here I’ve had at Bloomsburg in the EGGS department,” Carr says.