Aerin W. Benavides and Lacey Huffling, graduate students in the Teacher Education and Higher Education program in the UNCG School of Education, provide their daily account of life out in the field during the 2013 Rockfish Herpetological Research Experience as part of the HERPs Project.
Aerin: I love Rockfish! At this HRE we too get to ‘go to camp’ and stay in the hotel rooms at the lodge on the property. For some reason, this helps me feel that ‘team spirit’ as an integral part of the program, 24 hours a day. As part of Dr. Carlone’s human research team this year, staying connected to it all helps me as a researcher to have a deeper understanding of all the forces at play. I become a better observer, and my experience as a human researcher at last year’s HRE’s helps me feel confident I can get the job done this year, and improve on it. My best part of the first day is getting to pick up participants on the way that would not have been able to go to Camp Rockfish otherwise because their families just can’t afford or can’t arrange for transportation from Greensboro to Rockfish (near Fayetteville.) I was a little sad that David’s (not his real name) mom decided to drive him at the last minute because on the car ride I get to know the kids better. I was picking up Hannah (not her real name), and Sandy’s (not her real name) parents drove her to my house from Winston-Salem. Sandy was a talker. Within a few minutes both Hannah and I knew all the places Sandy had lived and had intimate knowledge of her vast array of friends and step-siblings. I even heard all about that time she got suspended from school, and what that terrible teacher was like, and how much she liked art and the art teacher. Hannah was kind of quiet, but she did tell me she was the oldest, often responsible for her younger siblings’ care, so this week of the HRE (Herpetological Research Experience) sleeping in a cabin with other high school girls was a time for her to be a kid and have fun. I was glad for her. I love the feeling I am helping provide this amazing opportunity free of cost to interested low income kids.