A small army of students hired by Cornell, known as “Gorge Stewards,” patrol campus’ two gorges from May through September, providing guided tours and natural history lessons — while making sure visitors enjoy the scenery safely.
The course does not follow the typical prelim and final schedule; instead, students have several species identification quizzes scattered throughout the course of the semester. For these exams, students often roam the Cornell Botanical Gardens, identifying different types of trees.
Every time a debate about climate change arises around me, I grind my teeth and waver. Should I add my opinion? Will others hear my perspective and denounce me as ignorant? Sometimes they do, but I usually speak my mind anyway. I tell them about an alternative perspective that is constantly weighing on my mind: are humans even obligated to try to mitigate climate change?
The first time I went scuba diving, I saw nothing but mud. The last time I was diving, I hovered just above the ocean floor as hungry sharks fed on our “chumsicle” — a frozen mass of fish designed to attract the finned creatures. Last fall, a friend of mine enrolled in Cornell’s Open Water Scuba gym class. After an Oscar-level performance of puppy-dog eyes and some well-timed Jaws jokes, I agreed to take the class alongside him. I was terrified; who breathes underwater for fun?
The other day, I was in the woods and saw color explode. I watched the red radiate, as bright and burning as the color of a sprouting rose or the dark red of an apple in the late autumn. The color drifted on the surface of the water, as if a layer of oil had been spilt, swirling in globs. Then came bursting orange and yellow, colors of the edges of fire, smoldering on hazy liquid. The green was alive, like the verdant greens of the moss growing on the surrounding trees.
I’ve showered once in the last 10 days. A camp stove explosion burned off the bottom half inch of hair on the left side of my head. My leg got stuck in quicksand while hiking through neck-deep water in a river. After walking over 10 miles a day through three national parks in the southwest, the toes on my left foot have definitely seen better days. My dream hike across Zion National Park in Utah was cut short when my three friends and I were forced to evacuate after it snowed a foot during our second night of backcountry camping.