Holiday Science

I have decided that some things, including ginger bread houses, are not just for kids or, graduate students are still kids, or there’s very little difference between kids and adults. It’s probably a combination of all of the above.

At BU, there’s a rather confusing set up in terms of departments/programs. The Earth Science and Geography Departments merged to form the Earth and Environment Department (E&E). There’s also an interdisciplinary Biogeosciences Program between the Biology and E&E departments. Here’s a schematic I drew for my sister to explain it. The light green “SB” is me.


We did this at the end of last semester, so it’s a little out of date, but the Biogeosciences program has a lot of events to bring together everyone in its program. As a creative attempt to do this, we had a holiday party where we built a ginger bread house. This wasn’t just any ginger bread house. This was a ginger bread house surrounded by all of our field sites. Being a group of stressed out graduate students right in the middle of finals, this creative outlet of a break was brilliant. We wasted no time turning the large cardboard pieces into a masterpiece of various candies and colored icing. Here is our house:


Everybody contributed their own section to this masterpiece. Mine was a salt marsh:

IMG_6537Specifically, this is a salt marsh in the fall because all of the Salicornia have turned red/purple. If you haven’t guessed from all my photos of Salicornia, this is my favorite marsh plant, sorry spartina.
Betsy made a lovely log bridge over a mud patch leading to a lake:


These are pictures of what we called the dirty back and picturesque front. On the left we have the dirty back with a snow experiment and a few forest experiments along with a miniature version of Betsy on her computer (for all of the GIS/R people doing “underwear science” as some ES/Bio people call it. Science you can do in your underwear). On the right you can see the picturesque front of our ginger bread house with the lake, salt marsh, heart be-speckled mud patch and bridge, and meadow also in the fall. The actual house has a few aluminum solar panels installed on it.

IMG_6540 IMG_6541

We had an amazing time making this. Perfect study break. Thanks Pam and Amanda for planning it!


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