Written by Michael Rouleau
Eastern Connecticut State University EES students with Professor Dickson Cunningham on a cinder cone volcano amongst the San Francisco peaks of northern Arizona. Photo taken by Professor Drew Hyatt.Back row: Chelsea Roston, Kevin McCormick, Samantha Boyle, Kurt Stefancyk, Carly Burgess, Haley Celotti, Sean Kellarson, Professor Dickson Cunningham. Front Row: Michael Doyle, Olivia Spiller, Rachael Dern, Stephanie Rogers, Lindsey Belliveau, Mackenzie Fannon, Michael Manzi, Daniel Grondin, Matt Gonsalves
Willimantic, Conn. - In May 2014, 16 environmental earth science (EES) students of Eastern Connecticut State University took a 12-day field excursion throughout Arizona. The excursion, a three-credit summer course, brought the students to a number of national parks and geological wonders for an up-close look at the region's geology, geomorphology, natural resources, environmental science and Native American heritage.
"The trip was a great experience in which we were able to apply our knowledge from the classroom to further understand and learn about the beautiful geology of Arizona," said Stephanie Rogers, a senior EES major from East Hartford.
Some of the destinations included the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Salt River Canyon, Saguaro National Park, the Santa Catalina Mountains, Montezuma Castle National Monument and more.
"Despite climbing into the Grand Canyon, no one actually fell in," remarked EES Professor Dickson Cunningham, one of the trip's faculty advisors. "The dormant volcanoes that we scrambled up also remained asleep!"
The trip's workload involved hands-on learning, student projects, presentations and educational hikes throughout the Grand Canyon State, not to mention the preliminary classroom sessions that occurred on Eastern's campus prior to the trip.
"It was an amazing experience that entailed many fields of study including geology, sustainable energy, desert ecology and anthropology," said Daniel Grondin, a senior from East Hartford. "We learned to approach and understand the topic at hand and to hone our field skills."
Cunningham concluded with, "Our field excursion was action-packed, great fun and an excellent educational experience for all of us!"